Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Selling Sunday Returns

Been a while since I've had some numbers to throw at you fans, and honestly won't have a whole picture until the end of the year, but I figured something is better than nothing --especially with the new series all being up to bat.

Shoseki Daily Ranking for 2017.9.15
29. Kyoukai no Rinne #38 - 2017.9.15
42. KOI #1 - 2017.9.15
50. Maiko-san #3 - 2017.9.12
53. Gin no Saji #14 - 2017.8.18
55. Hoankan Evans no Uso #1 - 2017.9.15
58. Mushibugyo #31 - 2017.9.15
59. Aozakura #5 - 2017.9.15
80. Magi #35 - 2017.8.18
93. Major 2nd #10 - 2017.8.18
114. Hadakamera #1 - 2017.9.12
124. Ranma 1/2 #16 - 2017.9.15
140. Youkai Giga #1 - 2017.9.15
144. Re:Creators Naked #1 - 2017.9.15
149. Meitantei Conan #93 - 2017.7.18
199. Obutsu wa Shoudoku desu #2 - 2017.9.12
200. Magi Sinbad no Bouken #15 2017.8.18
268. Dagashi Kashi #8 -2017.8.10
289. Daiku no Hatou #1 - 2017.9.15
298. Tenshou no Quadrable #1 - 2017.9.15
314. Meteor Girl #1 - 2017.9.15
321. Komi-san #5 - 2017.7.18
364. Maiko-san #2 - 2017.7.18
368. Maiko-san #1 - 2017.4.12
375. Be Blues #28 - 2017.8.18
408. Komi-san #4 - 2017.6.16
410. Komi-san #1 - 2016.9.16
417. Daiku no Hatou #2 - 2017.9.15
440. Magi #34 - 2017.6.16

The stats above include all series released under the Shougakukan imprint --and not only those that run in Weekly Shounen Sunday. To make sense of this, we have to take into consideration the release dates (On the side of each series's title and volume #). This list was populated by the sales tracking site "shoseki" for the debut day of the new series, of which lists the top 500 releases over a daily, weekly, and monthly period of time. Obviously the closer a series debuts to the top of this list, the longer it sticks around --and the longer it sticks around the better overall sales are as after 500 they aren't as easy to track.

RINNE takes the top of the Shounen sunday litter --not surprisingly as a series by a veteran. Followed by K.O.I in the 42nd spot and Evans in 55th. The blogposts I've made in the past in regard to these series support this, as they are the new series that are consistently highest in the TOC. Now I do want to make the note here that TOC position does not equal higher sales as the TOC is basically whatever the editor wants to push at the time, rather than strictly what the audience wants to buy. Wakaki also gets a bit of clout since he's a returning author --while Kuriyama isn't, making Evans that much more impressive to debut in the top 100. Meanwhile Aozakura and Mushibugyo make modest debuts in the list at 58 and 59. On first glance it might look like the two Magi volumes are doing quite badly, but take a look at their release dates --One is a month ago, and the other more than three --excellent in this particular situation as they've managed to stick on the charts for so long. Same for Komi-san who's first volume is still tracking despite coming out last year. That means as far as shoseki is concerned, Komi's still selling despite it's first volume being old news, and that is the best case scenario for any manga (especially those without an anime.) However there are dark clouds surrounding this silver lining, so let's take a look at those next.

Hatou, Giga, Metor Girl and Quadrable all debuted well below 100 which is quite bad. As I stated earlier, the closer to that magic #500 one debuts, the worse it's doing saleswise, and if it drops off the chart the sales are basically basement bad. It's even worse for Hatou as with two volumes out, one did significantly worse than the other ---looks like most didn't care enough for the series to buy past volume one despite two being readily availble, and this is coming from a series with a veteran author --same for Quadrable! Giga and MG have the handicap of being by first-time authors which is a struggle in and of itself, but wow. These series are all in trouble if they can't pull themselves out of this pit hole, and while it is theoretically possible, it's exceedingly difficult as new manga comes out nearly weekly from different publishers, so last week's failure is quickly forgotten for the next week's big thing. I'm a pessimist by nature, but I take no pleasure in saying that these series are most likely doomed to continue up til' volume three or four and then be cancelled in disgrace. Granted Quadrable has really changed gears so maybe that'll help, but it's tough going, let me tell you.

*29→*37→*50 Rinne #38
*42→*63→*90 KOI #1
*58→*69→117 Mushibugyo #31
*55→*85→140 Evans #1
*59→*86→166 Aozakura #5
140→288→410 Giga #1
298→444→*** Quadrable #1
314→480→*** Meteor #1
289→***→*** Hatou #1
417→***→*** Hatou #2

And now that a few days have passed, we can see what the tracking was for these series. RINNE steers the course still managing to stay above #50 even four days later, K.O.I remains pretty high up too, but Evans and Mushibugyo both took pretty hard falls, though at the very least they're still way above #500, as is Youkai Giga. I can't really say this means they'll survive in the long run, but they're still in the charts which is a good sign overall. Meanwhile both Hatou's fell off the tracker before a week was out, and Quadrable/Meteor lost one place and then disappeared after that. If a series is barely able to last a week sales wise that's...uniformly terrible, and in general they're only given up to volume two to really improve, which means Hatou might be out(o) faster than we may think.

Maiko-san #3 - 17,800
Rinne #38 - 11,268
KOI #1 - 6,890
Mushibugyo #31 - 6,197
Evans #1 - 5,306
Aozakura #5 - 4,745

These are estimated sales for the volumes. It's hard to tell exactly what sold what, so a friend of mine took an educated guess. Maiko-san is selling more than RINNE at this point, so I think it's future in the magazine is almost assured. K.O.I as well is doing better than RYOKO at it's debut, and almost on par with Keijo!! at it's best, so using that as a metric, it'll be around for a bit. Meanwhile Evans and Aozakura I can see jockeying for a middle spot in the magazine --(for sales, not TOC) which is interesting as one has a four volume lead over the other, but they're both pretty safe --though Aozakura might wanna watch it's back --with Evans outselling it with only a volume out, it's only a matter of time before the Japan defense force has to deal with the lawman from the west. MG/Quadrable/Giga and Hatou on the other hand are ranked too low to estimate, so we're left in the dark as to how many books (might have) moved. Shougakukan has a month delay on their digital volumes, so that may help some of these, but I don't think it'll do too much of a dent so I wouldn't old my breath on that.

I hope this spiel has made a bit of sense on how manga sales are (somewhat) calculated! This goes for Jump as well so you can use this as a yardstick in figuring out where your favorite series stand! If you're interested in seeing the whole list, check this but be forewarned it's all in Japanese. I'll try to do another post detailing where the series stand for the entirety of the year at the end of this year/early next year, but for now this'll do. Thanks for reading!

Weekly Shounen Sunday #43

Hey all! It's time for that day of the week that's so special it happens twice! That's right, it's Sunday time! I try not to prioritize or praise one issue or another, but this has to be the most exciting issue I've had pleasure of reading. Or well, at least most of the series in it had something to offer, and it does sadden me I can't cover the whole magazine, but that's the breaks. Lament aside, there's Sunday to talk about so let's jump right in.

Issue #43 starts off uniquely with Evans and Pheebs on the cover opposed to the normal pinup or Conan who I'm sure most have become accustomed to seeing. Seems the Sunday editorial department really wants Evans to succeed, to the point that he gets cover of the mag! That being said, this is just the last color page rearranged which is a little bit disappointing, but Kuriyama's artwork for the actual chapter is pretty nice at the very least. 

This week's TOC is....

Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ by Mizuki Kuriyama (Lead color/cover)
Amano Megumi wa suki darake! by Nekoguchi
K.O.I King of Idol by Wakaki Tamaki
Major 2nd by Takuya Mitsuda
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami (Center Color)
Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu by Tomohito Oda
Detective Conan by Gosho Aoyama
Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama
Kyoukai no RINNE by Rumiko Takahashi (Center Color)
Daiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba
Aozakura -Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido
Hiiragi-sama wa Jibun wo Sagashite iru by Hiroyuki Nishimori
Tenshi & Akuto! by Aya Hirakawa
Jojuu Senjin!! Mushibugyo by Hiroshi Fukuda (Center color/finale)
Dagashikashi by KOTOYAMA
Shinobi no by Rokuro Ohgaki
Magi by Shinobu Ohtaki
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita
Zettai Karen Children by Takashi Shiina
Tenshou no Quadrable by Takahiro Arai
Meteor Girl by Reach Ishiyama
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou
Sunday Higaku Kenkyujo by Yuuji Yokoyama

Not in this week's issue are:

Be Blues

A lot more color pages means a pretty weird TOC. I don't think I've seen one this topsy-turvy in a long time, honestly. Magi being this low in the magazine is incredible on it's own, with Mushibugyo crawling like a bug out of the basement to end on a high note. Dagashikashi is also pretty low, and after a higher up week, Shinobi no is down on the bottom which is a real shame. Hopefully this isn't a precursor for it's sales starting next month....though on that note I do have a few numbers I want to publish, which will provide a bit of background for our new series (and some vets) which I will do soon. 

In the place of a pinup, we get this flyer for the new series on sale this week(!) with a focus on Daiku, advertising the two leads and asking the question --who do you prefer? The ninth wave splashes in with two volumes on sale at once, so it's getting a push I haven't seen since Magi way back when, but it's hard to tell if the series will receive the same reputation after all is said and done. That being said, do you like the stylish Minato, or the hard set Kugurugi? The flyer even goes as far as asking two female editors at Sunday for their opinions --M-san and I-san. (with bars over their eyes to protect their identity, I think?) 

Gonna be in Japan for halloween? Why not hit up Shibuya 109 and hang out with Conan and the crew? You'll get all kinds of limited edition goods, if you can make it before doors close on October 31st! On the bottom, Universal Studios Japan gets in on the Conan chaos with a collaboration that'll occur January 19th 2018. Ah to have money to be in Japan...

I like that Evans chapters start with the premise of the series --The wild west where the strong eat and the weak are meat, (not literally what it says, but close enough.) it kind of makes me think of a possible(?) anime adaption --where we have the narrator talk about what the premise is and add a funny spin to it for each episode. For example Evans and Ted show up to the shooting range where the owner remarks that Evans can't possibly get any better at shooting than he is so why bother? There is of course only one reason, to become popular with the ladies. 

A bit of a flashback over these two pages --of how Pheebs and Evans rivalry started and how Evans' Dad taught him the way of the gun, as well as Evans getting the attention he so desired from two girls who seem to know him by reputation. (They're apparently fangirls?) Evans plays it off as usual --as if he didn't even notice them there as Pheebs comments he's quite popular. 

Ted offers to ask them to leave, but Evans says they won't bother him one bit so they're fine where they are, which irks Pheebs to the point that she starts popping Evans' targets before he can, blaming her itchy trigger finger for the "mistake". I think we can see where this is going, but Kuiryama's execution is what makes it entertaining. 

This keeps happening --which is kinda cool to see that Pheebs is in fact as good as Evans. It'd been easy for Kuiryama to have her title for show, especially since we don't see nearly as much from her as the titular Evans, but she's able to out gun him (even if she is sort of cheating.) Meanwhile Evans fangirls are having a bit of a discussion --apparently one of them likes Evans enough to marry him?! Pheebs can't have that, she just can't. 

Evans overhears this and loses his focus. There's a lot going on here --Pheebs's jealousy, the girls fan worship, and now Evan losing his concentration. Not only that, but a lecture from his Dad kicks in and the Gunman says leaving the ladies a little mystified by missing is the way to go, even if it does mean that Pheebs will most likely make fun of him. He's lucky though (or unlucky?) that he forgets just how many bullets his gun is packing and ends up with nothing left. The fangirl thinking of proposing is relieved by this since she was scared of Evans response whether it's a yes or no, and it's then that Pheebs realizes that Evans did t his to spare the girls feelings and not ruin her dreams of him. Of course Evans will never tell, so who knows if her woman's intuition is on the mark? I'm still sort of surprised that the serialization is so short (15 pages this week in particular) but Kuriyama does a pretty good job of telling self contained stories, so I guess it's all good. I'm not too sure I get the resolution of this one though, but it is nice Evans --while having a goal in mind keeps from being a jerk about it, which keeps his character likable. Next week's preview implies that there will be a pretty lady in pursuit of Evans, and you know --as I said before, Pheebs can't have that. 

I know, I know, I might have lied about including K.O.I in my writeup last week, but I really enjoy it when shounen manga do the whole "introduction of a cast of new characters with unique designs". which is what this week's chapter did if the pictures above are an indicator. Of course the goth chick in the third pic, and the one with the gas mask are most intriguing (to me), so while I won't be reading the series deeply week to week, I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it from time to time. Plus Wakaki's art is still heart breakingly adorable, even if I wish he'd tackle another genre.

Hatsukoi Zombie is a girls night out this week --I'm throwing it in because of it's very pretty color page. Of course this leaves me with a moral quandary as I'd have to spoil the central premise of the series in order for the significance of this chapter to make any sense. I guess I'll take the low easy road by saying the series is mostly caught up scanslation wise, and It's a recommended read. I'm not one for romance, but this series does a lot with the premise that others don't. Sorry I can't say much more about it, but this is a summary blog, not so much a spoilers one! Sort of!

We move on to another quandary in progress in Komi-san which immediately picks up where last week's chapter left off with Komi in a compromising position with Tadano all of which their good friend Najimi happens to walk into. Komi being the upstanding lady she is tries to write a letter to explain that nothing was going on, but can't seem to summon the courage to put her thoughts into words without them coming out embarrassingly.  Ah teenage emotions --I might just be an old fart now but is it really so bad to have others think you like someone? In any case, Komi finally figures out what she wants to write, but when she drops it into Najimi's locker the latter thinks it's a love letter and runs off with it. 

The end of chapter 100 bleeds into the beginning of 101, and we see the letter is...terse to say the least. It just says "I was taking his pulse" --Komi Shouko. Of course as Japanese is pretty concise when it comes to pronouns, one could literally read that as "taking a pulse", not that this is particularly helpful for Najimi or the audience if they didn't read the chapters before these.  Chapter 101 takes this situation but from Tadano's POV. He was only sort of aware of Komi's closeness since he was only partially awake, so when seeing her again, he's not quite sure how to address her. She claims it was taking his pulse, but could it have been something more? Tadano investigates---

But upon realizing Tadano was awake during the whole exchange, Komi takes off like a marathon runner (covering 50 meters in 6 minutes 89 seconds) too embarrassed to continue her conversation with the confused Tadano. Meanwhile Najimi pops up and clears the air by reiterating what was in their letter --"Taking a pulse". Meanwhile Komi is behind herself in embarrassment upon realizing Tadano was awake and as the side text implies, the misunderstanding only seems to's implied that this will continue next week, and I hope I can be here too, depending on what else I have to cover. 

Mr. Shounen Sunday wraps up this particular arc with some juicy almost romantic transactions as well as a bit of tantalizing plot. Shinichi isn't satisfied with a kiss on the cheek and leans in for the real deal, but ends up having to take a raincheck as his time to turn into Conan draws near. Meanwhile due to his involvement in the case, it's spreading on social media that the high school sleuth is active, and on the last page of the chapter, three parties are very interested in knowing this. The bigger arc in the scheme of things right now is looking for the Black Organization member known as Rum, and the three pictured at the end of the chapter are the likely suspects --and if one of them is the person they're looking for, it means that the BO could very well learn that the one they thought they killed --Shinichi is in fact alive?! I might be exaggerating a bit, but this could be the biggest shake up in the story in a long while, and as the (not written by Aoyama) teaser text implies, there will be more in the next chapter! Sadly, Conan isn't appearing next week, so we'll have to wait to learn more, but it should be well worth it I hope!

Celebrating it's newest volume and the end of the anime's 3rd season with a center color page is Rinne! There isn't any news of another season after this one on this color page, and while Takahashi is a household name in Japan, the Rinne anime haven't exactly made huge splashes, so I can't say that there will be any more anime after this, but I also can't conclusively say there won't as Dagashikashi is getting a second season. That being said, I quite like Takahashi's color artwork more than the anime's so this is quite a treat.

Last week, Tsubasa was hired to exorcise a gentleman ghost, but his lingering attachment comes in the form of his first love Diane. The ghost has the ability to take Sakura's shape and while he's got absolutely no idea of her normal behavior (Sakura's very....stoic to say the least, while the Ghost turns up the femininity) this is enough to throw Rinne off his game  making the exorcism that much more difficult. Though Rinne needs money so Sakura makes it very simple for him --exorcise the ghost and get paid. (I did say she's very stoic, didn't I?) Rinne on the other hand is caught in his feelings --the Ghost version of Sakura is really cute, so he's finding it hard to just exorcise her, not to mention does she just not acknowlege his feelings? Is she just incredibly heartless? Rinne doesn't have much time to think about this as Tsubasa summons Dianne, and she's...not interested in the gentleman at all. Turns out she dumped him, and the Ghost just came back to find out if he had a second chance in the afterlife (he doesn't.) So the guys exorcise him, and that's that.

Tsubasa offers the reward money to Rinne, but Rinne feels like he'd have lost something important if he takes it and turns this down. Tsubasa does so as well feeling the same way --though later the both also agree on the massive regret that comes with not taking the money. Coulda, shoulda, woulda boys. 

The Ninth wave shows off some waves this week when Minato heads to sea with his upperclassmen. There's not much to talk about storywise, but dang am I going to be sad if this series sinks rather than swimming with artwork like this. While Evans seems to be getting a push and actually selling well, Kusaba's work is harder to tell at this point. I enjoy Minato's development aside with the artwork, though admittedly it did take almost two volumes to get to the very same point of character development that Silver Spoon had in one, so now it's a question of whether readers are willing to catch that late wave and hang in there. 

Meanwhile Nagiko is going fishing while considering the costs of taking care of a whale for a year, and let me tell you, the prices (as seen above) are no small gulp. The poor girl is at her wits end  wondering how on earth she or the school will ever manage to afford such gluttonous creatures. It's then that a girl walks up and introduces herself as a first year at the same college Nagiko attends --and not only that they're living in the same dorm. Nagiko still in shock over how much whales can eat only responds with "they eat too much". Which as I stated with Komi (maybe this is this week's theme..) is --without pronouns "eat too much". Which the girl immediately takes offense with. Whoops! Glad to see Kusaba is switching up to Nagiko's story as I feel like she's been neglected lately. Kusaba's seems to be focused on Minato, which I get, but I feel like she could be just as compelling if given the time --hopefully starting next week. 

Next up is Mushibugyo for the very last time. Admittedly it feels both appropriate and kind of sudden for the series to end immediately after the final battle, since y'know there's usually a few things a few epilogue type things that follow these. Though running as long as it did, I doubt Fukuda was rushed to come to a conlcusion, so I imagine this was all his doing? Or at least mostly his doing? It was kind of WSS to bump the series up in the TOC and give it a farewell color page, but Fukuda is essentially a veteran so it might just be preference that got him those things moreso than kindness. 

It's been seven years since the final battle, and as time goes on so does the life of people. Jinbee's close friend (who is also the shogun!!) Nagatobimaru has taken up the name Tokugawa Ieshige and now rules the land...or so he thinks. His dad Yoshimune is still running the show even if his kid is of a higher rank. Ieshige is the Shougn, but Yoshimne is the Oogosho! Now I could go into the whole twisted history (and it is quite intersting) but that'd make this Mushibugyo entry crazy long so let's just stick to the basics. In real life, Ieshige is the ninth shogun and the first son of Yoshimune, his rule was beset by natural disasters and dissent against him being ruler in the first place (due to fragile health and a speech impediment), which weakened the Tokugawa name....though Fukuda skipped a lot of this in his story for the manga. I do think the anime covered this so by all means check that out!

Ieshige decides to head out and give his good friend Jinbee a visit, running into the other characters we've met along the way. It's a great retrospective of the Mushibugyo series thus far and a nice sendoff, the left page especially as it is Jinbee returning to Edo as he promised and looking up at the skies with his friends. However when Ieshige arrives, he becomes the plaything for a bunch of children, who's mothers --all three lovely ladies being very familiar with Jinbee scold them for treating the shogun like a toy. 

Turns out Jinbee's been quite....busy in the seven year period between the last battle and now. When Ohtori asks which of them are the legal(first) wife, they all answer that they are. I guess this isn't too strange for the time period, but wow Fukuda. It's like he looked at some of the jump series that ended recently and figured he could one up them by having all ships confirmed in one way or another. I guess it works out in one way, but I can't help but wonder how the fandom in Japan (and everywhere else for that matter) will receive this turn of events. Though wait a second, where's husband Jinbee? 

In a faraway country that's not named but heavily implied to be Europe, giant creatures known as "mushi" or "bugs have suddenly appeared and attack the populace. All seems hopeless but a warrior by the name of Tsukishima Jinbee is on the scene and he won't allow those bugs to have their way! Dropping the series title "Jojuu Senjin" (Always on the battle field!) Jinbee swings his sword, prepared for battle, and the curtains close on this tale. As someone who translated the series for a spell, I do have a bond with Mushibugyo, so it saddens me that it's barely known outside of Japan except for it's short anime. It has a unique artstyle, and while the story doesn't break new ground, it's serviciable for a shounen action fest like this. The final volume comes out on October 18th, so look forward to that! While it might not be all that surprising, there isn't an indication that Fukuda is coming back to Sunday and after 8 years of serialization maybe the guy just wants a break, but he is in fact working on a oneshot for rival publisher Kodansha that's coming out this week, which one can see here. It's called "The Location of God" and not only is it in a rival magazine, but it's a seinen (young men's) magazine as well. Now maybe Fukuda just wanted to try something a bit more mature to test the waters for a bit, but the lack of announcement of another series in Sunday is a little worrying. I hope he'll be back eventually as Shougakukan would be foolish to let a talent like his go. For now at least, thank you for your hard work, Fukuda and we hope to see you again.

Mushibugyo might have ended with a bang, but Shinobi no begins with one this week as Kaede watches Yoshida Shioin's madness unfold. She succinctly sums up what she sees as idiocy --and considering the fact that one wrong move could doom the entirety of Japan, I gotta say I side with her astute analysis. Still, Yoshida marches to the beat of his own drum, even if he's using the severed arms of his enemies to make that beat. 

As if dealing with him wasn't a big enough problem for the American sailors, another issue becomes apparent --remember Todou Heisuke? He's here too, and with a cheerful "Play boooy~!" as a greeting (Does he mean "play ball"?) He joins in on Yoshida's deadly game. 

There really isn't a whole lot for me to comment here, Ohgaki has shown his propensity for violence, and making that violence look pretty friggin' good. Todou wants to be the best samurai in Japan, and with skills like this, he's well on his way to achieving his goal and stacking a bunch of corpses in his wake. 

The Americans think they have Todou surrounded when the scene changes to Sentarou and Pops, the latter of which has left the former in the lurch after "asking" him to give him a ride to the Sasukehana. Pops is understandably uneasy about the whole situation, even without actually knowing just how much the situation is getting out of hand. Yoshida's actions are going to make getting to Perry that much more difficult, and difficulty is the last thing pops needs to get in the way of his assassination of the commodore. To showcase just how serious things are getting, Pops who has jovially referred to Sentarou as "Sen" drops the nickname and apologizes to "Sentarou" that he's attacking without informing him --things are just that dire. 

To think that Pops, Yoshida, and Todou haven't even met yet says a lot about the story thus far. As you can see in the last panel of the chapter, Toudou makes short work of the Americans who had him surrounded, and even scores a souvenir. A Japanese history buff and close friend has said that Yoshida was a guy of extremes in real life --although he wasn't quite the same as he's depicted in this work, he's gained quite the reputation because of his highs and lows --very much like a person suffering from being bipolar. I'm not sure of course, but If true, it's interesting to see how historical accounts can influence the portrayal of a historical figure in fiction.  The actual Yoshida Shioin wasn't violent, but both "Gintama" and Shinobi no have portrayed him as such, though I honestly need to do more research of my own. Heck, that could be a blog in and of itself, but I'll leave that to people much better versed in history than I. Till next week Shinobi no! 

Fujita's strong panel work brings readers into the swing of things in this week's installment of Souboutei. Zanka looms of Kaerikuro demanding the "holy water" that can heal wounds. His wretched state and crazed eyes both scary --and if you've been following the story thus far a little bit saddening. Probably most striking here is Kaerikuro's stoic response that she has what he wants, even in the face of the other priestesses demanding that Zanka leave at once. 

Zanka takes what he wants regardless of what they say to him, and as he heals, Kaerikuro takes a taste of his past using her ability to "taste" spiritual energy --something she's displayed before. 

She's able to "taste" Zanka's pain, and his resolve to get revenge against Sakamaki Teido and the house that stole the lives of his men, and decides that she wants to help him. Her comrades aren't to enthusiastic about this, and she shows off another ability --to control her hair at will to create a barrier to keep them out, a surprise to the audience and even Zanka on the bottom right panel. 

The interconnected flashback between the two characters ends there and we're bought back to the present where the ladies --Kurenai and Kaerikuro are discussing the situation thus far and how it relates to what needs to happen next. Though Kurenai is hung up on one minor detail...there isn't a position like "ensign" in the current Japanese Defense Force. So she's not at all sure who Zanka is..? To this, Kaerikuro asks Kurenai a question....what is the "Defense Force"? Meanwhile Seiichi and Zanka finish their conversation and come to the mutual understanding that they need to bring down the Souboutei. Zanka brings up the "empire" which confuses Seiichi...

....Because no one calls Japan that anymore. It's just "Japan". When Seiichi was attending school, it was the year "Showa" 48, which is 1973.  Zanka freaks out and corrects him, it's "Showa" 7 which is 1932! For a brief explanation, the "showa" calendar is used in official documents and is representative of the reigns of the emperors of Japan. Most Japanese people are pretty familiar with the western calendar, so there's no need to learn this if one wants to go there as a tourist, but it is a fun bit of information. On that note the scene changes to Takoha (been a while since we've seen the big guy), who's still playing audience to Sakamaki Teido, as he too expresses disbelief at the wacky time shinanigans going on. After all if the Souboutei was built in "Taishou" 14 (1925) then that'd make it 90 years old, and Sakamaki even older, yet he doesn't look much older than late twenties at best?! Sakamaki takes this in stride, but seems a little intrigued by 90 years flowing by without him noticing. 

Returning faces abound as Rokuro shows up, still exploring the house when he runs into a strange little girl who's playing ball in the house, but runs off before he can call out to her. Most surprising is that when he sees the girl he asks if it's his sister?! The mysteries deepen in Souboutei and I wouldn't have it any other way. Can't wait till the next issue! 

Time is a relative concept in Sunday as we head next to the world of Tenshou no Quadrable, which is even older yet it's serialization length is shorter than Souboutei chronologically. I've been somewhat worried about the series future due to the rushed nature of current events, and it being so low in the TOC, but perhaps I've been wasting that worry on nothing? Though the main characters certainly do have quite a bit to be concerned about as things fall apart around them, allegiances are tested and betrayals send them spiraling into despair's maw. The man who they thought they could trust --the man who brought them from Japan has betrayed them for power, while Nobunaga who seemed to be a villain at first might be an ally of sorts? Still, even is help isn't enough to stop this ship from sinking, even with the boys' supernatural abilities. 

The ship the gang was trying to escape on is destroyed, and the group separated, apparently lost at sea, as the traitor Varinyaano watches on, claiming that he will return to...well, I'm not sure to be honest, but he's looking at the monsters feeding at the site of the ship's flaming remains while looking pretty monstrous himself, so I suppose it's safe to assume he's intending to return to them, maybe? 

Time flows again and we're treated to a shounen staple, a time skip! Though it's only a year forward, bringing the story to 1584, in Europe --Portugal where monsters are attacking, but don't get far before they're slain. Surprisingly one of the boys --Migel has survived over the past year, and is training someone --reminding them that their revenge requires them to be stronger, and faster. Who is this person? It's Julian's little sister --Shun! It's only been a year, but she's looking way different, and has apparently become the protagonist of this story?! This does seem to be an effort to change the series up in order to get more fans on board, which would explain why it seemed so rushed until now. So on one hand, for now at least, Tenshou might be saved if this change takes hold, but on another hand it might just be too late. Personally? I really like this change as I've always wanted to see a female protagonist in shounen manga who's more than a love interest or damsel in distress. I hope Arai knows what he's doing, because if he can pull this off, perhaps the Quadrable will soar once more. What's called the "Faust" arc begins next week, and I look forward to it --probably the most I've looked forward to Quadrable for it's entire run.  

Meteor Girl begins with the return of a familiar face, the teacher/man in black who had attacked Ryoko and Tetto. Tetto goes to interrogate him and finds that he has lost all memories of the incident. That expression seems to imply that he's lying, and Tetto agrees with me, but Hane interjects that she's already tried asking and it's no good. Teach's memory is really out of commission, and he really doesn't remember anything, so they won't be able to get any information out of him. 

"Were you really that worried about me"? Hane asks as Tetto recalls the events of the night before --well she did fall out of a window and despite Ryoko's best efforts, seemed lost to them, just to get up and walk away without a scratch. Tetto's not quite sure if how he feels is "worry", but he does know one thing, and that is Hane seems to have the uncanny ability to stop rampaging Meteor Girls, and he wants to use that ability to bring Chihiro to her senses as well. I'm not sure what he means by that since he wasn't party to what we were at the end of last week's installment, but for now, Hane excuses herself to hang out with friends, and Tetto keeps his distance until he can get a handle on Chihiro's location.

Meanwhile the two girls from the last chapter are gathering fallen MG's for some unknown reason, and Hane spies this. She begins to follow Ikeyama --the girl with the hat, to find out where exactly she's going, and Ikeyama doesn't take too kindly to this. She's about to attack Hane, but she's saved by her friends calling for her and Ikeyama being caught off guard. Ikeyama joins up with her partner and..

They comment on how much they've gathered so far, though the reason why is unknown at this point.  Gotta say, Ishiyama does a great job at making that whole pile of robots(?) look eerily real, really flexing those horror muscles. Juxtaposed with this is Chihiro peacefully eating shaved ice when Hane and her friends show up, Hane with a huge serving of shaved ice that Chihiro takes notice of.

Hane is able to down the whole thing without brain freeze, which Chihiro notes that she can do as well....could it be they're the same? The chapter ends with Hane replying they might be...I'll say this much for Meteor Girl, Ishiyama is great at knowing just where to end a chapter so that one just has to see the next one, but I do think I want to get some answers now, especially since the series is so low in the TOC which means if sales aren't so great that it could end sooner rather than later, and I'd hate to feel like we wasted time on set up just for there to be no payoff. 

Kuro returns in Youkai Giga, As does the strange Youkai that has been watching over Makoto since her youth. It seems this youkai knows that Makoto's heart yearns for Kuro's master, and gives Kuro the "key" to bringing both sides together. If Kuro can give a certain paper to his master, he'll return it to Makoto for sure. When Kuro "asks" (as well as something that doesn't talk can ask a question) the youkai why it's doing this, it replies that the flame of love in Makoto's heart hasn't complely died out, and there's still hope of feeding it the kindle needed for it to burn once more. After all the youkai too knows the importance of love --since it and the cow it's always with are an item. Look at that loving gaze on the last page linked and try to deny it! Kuro's master and Makoto's future is in Kuro's hands! You can do it, little guy! 

And with that, issue #43 is all done! Next issue, Souboutei recieves a lead color page for the release of it's sixth volume,  Tenshou no Quadrable will have a color page to commemorate it's new arc, Birdmen roosts in for it's monthly visit, and Nanase Nishino will be the pinup of the week. It was a full issue this week like I said it would be, and next week is looking the same! I hope you'll tune in for the next Sunday, and until then, have a good week!