This week's TOC presents the authors with the interesting question of "Is there something about you that no one would believe?"
Tonikaku Kawaii (Kenjiro Hata): I was hugged by the director Yoshiyuki Tomino.
Be Blues! (Motoyuki Tanaka): Not a thing!
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari (Hikaru Nikaido): There's a bunch of things I really can't talk about so it's fine if you don't believe me.
Detective Conan (Gosho Aoyama): "That person" isn't Agasa. No one believes me no matter how many times I say it, lol.
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san (Aiko Koyama): That my TV turns off by itself in the middle of the night on it's own due to it slipping out of the outlet.
Anonatsu 1959 (Ashibi Fukui): That I saw a tea colored dog just outside of my field of vision once.
Imouto Rireki (Kei Nishimura): That when I overeat I tend to lose weight the next day.
Kimi wa 008 (Syun Matsuena): That I'm shy.
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ (Mizuki Kuriyama): In my high school days I tested at the top of my class.
Fire Rabbit!! (Aya Hirakawa): Hmmm....nothing I can think of.
Maoujo de Oyasumi (Kagiji Kumanomata): That I drool whenever I sniff my stuffed animal's crotches.
Gopun go no Sekai (Hiroshi Fukuda): That with this face of mine I'm actually a twin. (lol.)
Hatsukoi Zombie (Ryou Minenami): I don't really empathize with people so I've never had this problem.
switch (Atsushi Namikiri): That if a lizard and a grasshopper have a staring contest, they'll keep going until they dry up.
Undine ha Kyou mo Koi wo suru ka? (Shinya Misu): That a stag beetle ghost came for me once when I was stuck with sleep paralysis.
RYOKO (Kaito Mitsuhashi): I don't have anything right now but perhaps sooner or later...
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu (Teppei Sugiyama): I want to live a life where someone believes in me without hesitation.
Daiku No Hatou (Michiteru Kusaba): I think the fact that I moved from Kyushuu.
Birdmen (Yellow Tanabe): There isn't really anything, I'd say~
Amano Megumi ha Suki Darake! (Nekoguchi): That I actually have trouble drawing boobs.
Sokyuu no Ariadne (Norihiro Yagi): That my cat who died at 18 years of age came back as a kitten.
Chrono Magia: Infinity Gear (Takeshi Azuma): I get line messages from my dead mother.
Zettai Karen Children (Takashi Shiina): I honestly get my manuscripts in on time every single week.
Youkai Giga (Satsuki Satou): There was a time I received chocolates.
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Nouen (Yuuji Yokoyama): Within even the strongest bodies is nothing but water, and I put that knowledge to practice!
Aoyama feeling the brunt of a Conan meme, Hata getting a hug from a rather dubious anime director, and Minenami's answer being simultaneously funny and troubling are the highlights of the week. I'd comment on Kumanomata's but....their name really says it all. (It means bear crotch, but I feel like I said that before.) Sugiyama has a pretty lofty life goal, and somehow I feel like a bunch of these are things that are purposefully unbelievable as a joke. I mean....Fukuda with a twin?! No way!
Evans gets a little racy this week (Juuuust a little, though. Can't go too far in a shounen magazine --think of the kids!!) When he arrives on the scene to make a bust and finds one --on a girl who seems to think they've met before. "What's wrong with that?" You may ask --well the "meeting" was in bed, according to her! While I think young protagonists in shounen stories are more fun since we get to grow both physically and mentally along with the character, we lose out on stories like this that can only come along when the characters are older. That being said, I wouldn't want Evans to become like this every week or anything like that. Evans being the stalwart (and desperate to keep his fragile pride) type he is decides to play along for a bit --her boyfriend is the guy he's after, so if he sticks around he'll probably be able to bag his pray. Except she takes his caution as cowardice and reassures him that her boyfriend won't be back till late so if he wants a chance to get a second chance now's the time for it. The narration is really one of the best parts here --when the lady --Celia explains exactly what she means by "second chance" the narration states "It's a world Evans knows nothing about." Too bad for him the guy returns a bit early and things go south fast. When the guy gets close to finding Evans he decides to take the moment to act fast and spring out with a "Happy Birthday" shout! It's a thing that probably would be way funnier in an anime adaption. It's so random that Celia rather than playing along to get them out of a bad situation just says she doesn't know Evans, haha.
But hey all's fair in love, war, and bed. Evans captures the guy since he has the drop on him, and as he's taken away he asks his lady friend if she'll wait for him, and she flatly says no. He then asks Evans if he hadn't shown up and gotten arrested now would he have slept with her? Like a good man of the west, Evans keeps his mouth shut though! Definitely one of the better chapters of the series simply because it takes advantage of all of the strengths the series has and uses them expertly. While premises can be the same, little elements like setting and characters can distinguish a work, and when all of these come together you get something really entertaining.
RYOKO has been taking it slow since it returned, but with a chapter title like this, one has to know that fun summer times are gone and things are about to get a bit heavy. How heavy you ask? Well...
I wasn't expecting the guy in the suit who was hinted to be a major player in the world of the series even before the hiatus to pay Ryoko and her family a visit. While there's only so much tension one can build without sound or audible dialog, Mitsuhashi does a great job of establishing an atmosphere with Ryoko's inner thoughts. It also shows how sharp she is despite being depicted as very simplistic --from the moment she meets the guy in the suit to when he makes the discovery that the chapter ends on, she's uneasy around him. The conversation itself is laced with tension too, and an odd emphasis on panels depicting the character's feet. It only stands out because it's not something I can say I've noted from Mitsuhashi before, and I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to denote here except a sense of pressure --the characters are frozen in place due to the appearance of this stranger who seems to be a little too friendly --a little too chatty to be trusted. It also has a story board like feel that differs from Oda (not that one), that depicts movement deliberately rather than implying it. On that note, the man --Kogarashi (sadly the picture quality makes it hard to really read his name, but I'm 95% sure that's what it is.) has a bit of his past detailed, and it's the grimmest thing RYOKO has depected to date --people turning into foodstuffs and killing each other until he was the only one left --and all he wants is to be able to see and do it all over again. Kogarashi is bad news, and he wants Zen's powers to rot food. Ryoko seemingly wards him off but he finds proof of Zen's existence in the house and sets out to attack ending the chapter. Not to say the last few chapters of RYOKO were boring, but the series is back to being exciting again since the hiatus and I can't wait for next week.
Has all the death and destruction happening around him caused Xeno to lose it? This week he has accused that of which has no form to be the killer?! What could that mean? This week ends with more questions than answers, and is mostly investigation, but I like getting this bold statement before anything is cleared up, if only because it gives us something to anticipate. Baron acts as if he doesn't know Xeno in the case for obvious reasons --and it's helpful for introducing the other characters --suspects in this case, which is what takes up a lot of this week's installment. Though it's implied by the freelance journalist Kaoru Hanai that perhaps the AI in the house is responsible for the death they witnessed? It'd make for one heck of a case and fit right into Xeno (the series)'s motif of locked room mysteries --and Xeno's assertion that it is something without a form that is the murderer this time around.
Aside from Xeno's impressive bed-head, we've got something else to note on this page --a painful way to die. Freezing to death in the snowy wastes outside of the villa has to be..yikes. Though it's also not the kind of murder you can blame on AI....or is it? The case only gets more complex as it goes on, as the hallmarks of a good mystery go. That being said, I can't really say I've read a lot of mysteries to know this for sure, but might this be one of the rare times that a modern setting like an AI controlled house is used? I find it really intriguing myself --it sounds like the kind of thing you'd hear in a horror setting (which I guess isn't too far removed from mystery in a way.) but not here. It's kind of like a modern Souboutei too --but I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Ultimately it's got me interested and has the potential to be one of Xeno's best outings yet.
This week's Youkai Giga features the "Yagyou-san" which oddly I can't find anything about through googling. Or, well, more like I find things but they're all wildly different, so we'll go with the Youkai Giga description which says it's a fearsome youkai who wanders around on unlucky evenings indiscriminately attacking anyone who's in it's path. Despite this description, the chapter itself is actually very....human? A Yagyou woman has chosen to look pretty over fulfilling her youkai duties of wandering around at night and hassling humans much to the chagrin of her grandfather. One thing I am seeing in Satou's works is this sense of Youkai doing what they do out of a sense of obligation to old traditions, and how the younger ones are trying to break away from this and live their lives, which is interesting in a series like this even if I can't really tell if it's just for the sake of telling a story or if Satou is trying to make a point. Like a lot of the time it really does seem to just come down to "We just do youkai things because that's how it's always been." Which is also oddly...human come to think of it. Anyway daughter dearest complains about her problems to a man who seems to be her beau, and he suggests she try living by herself (or maybe with him), but the apple really doesn't fall too far from the tree as the girl reveals she knows the man has been seeing other girls and reverts to her demonic ways when confronting him. Hey, traditions became as such because at some point they worked, right? You don't mess with any woman --especially those who are demons. Also special note to the final page of the chapter --if Satou should start a new series in the future, they might do good to consider horror, as those expressions are on point.
This week's Sunday, er, Wednesday Diary is from Birdmen's author Yellow Tanabe, and she talks about wanting a pet cat. While the other authors have stuck to mostly talking about manga, I like that she really does take advantage of this page to write about something important to her. Tanabe says she'd really like to own a Penguin, realistically speaking a cat would be more up her alley if it weren't for her allergies, her schedule, and the fact that she just doesn't think she'd be able to take care of one keeps her from taking the plunge --though it would be great material in learning how to draw cats, so maybe it'd be worth getting one for that? Then she just settles on wanting to draw cats. It's a very free-form sort of thought piece, but I do like feeling as if I'm talking to these artists thanks to this page, so keep 'em coming!
A short editorial this week with Souboutei on break, but them's the breaks. If you want news and other features, check out my talkback for issue #11 on twitter here. Thanks for reading this (late again, sigh.) editorial piece, and tune in next week! See ya!