The Shonen Jump manga PPPPPP just broke away from typical Shonen story tropes by tragically and irrevocably crushing its protagonist’s dreams.
Warning! Contains spoilers for PPPPPP Chapter 59!
Most Shonen Jump series feature an upbeat protagonist who strives to accomplish a grand dream, but PPPPPP just used this trope to deliver a shockingly tragic blow to its main character. In other Shonen series, protagonists often suffer tragic setbacks as they strive to attain their goals, but this can’t really compare to PPPPPP. In this manga, it is now impossible for the hero to accomplish their dream.
PPPPPP is a manga by Mapollo 3 following Lucky Sonoda, a seemingly untalented scion of a famous family of pianists. His mother, who left the family with him when he was young, later contracts a terminal illness and in order to give her some happiness and peace before she dies, Lucky resolves to reunite with his siblings and have them all play the piano for her together one last time. It’s a goal that leads him to improve his own piano skills and attempt to defeat each of his siblings in a piano competition, gathering them to his side one at a time. It is a long and arduous process, but Lucky has managed to reconnect with a fair amount of his siblings already. However, the manga’s most recent chapter shows that he wasn’t quite fast enough.
In chapter 59, Lucky’s mother’s condition takes a turn for the worst. After a beautiful flashback recounting when she first met Lucky’s now-villainous father and lovingly remembering her kids when they were young, Lucky’s mother bids them all an emotional goodbye. Lucky arrives at the hospital just in time to see the last moments of his mother’s life and tearfully reiterates his dream to have her children play for her one last time. But this isn’t enough to keep his mother alive, and the chapter ends with the beep of her flat lining life support trailing into darkness.
PPPPPP Can Now Explore Lucky’s Life After His Dream Has Died
The entire chapter is an emotional tour de force that is all the more shocking for how it subverts Shonen tropes. In most Shonen series, the protagonist strives to accomplish one nearly unattainable dream, and usually by the end they succeed. For instance, Naruto dreamed of becoming Hokage and eventually accomplished this goal. This makes the death of Lucky’s mother completely unexpected, as he can’t achieve his dream if she isn’t alive. With his mother’s sudden passing, Lucky is now left without a clear goal, which makes it even more exciting to see what he will do in the next couple of chapters. Lucky is portrayed in the hospital room as being metaphorically tethered presumably to his six siblings. But with his dream destroyed, he is free from having to continue following his dream. It will be interesting to see what he does with this newfound freedom.
The death of Lucky’s dream puts him in a fascinating position that very few other Shonen protagonists ever find themselves in. Thus, he is free to break away both from his dreams and the preexisting expectations of the Shonen genre, opening the story up to new and exciting possibilities. Hopefully other Shonen Jump series will learn from PPPPPP and take more risks that completely defy the typical Shonen story structure.
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PPPPPP Chapter 59 is available to read from Viz Media.
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