On the cover of this week's WSS is Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Fujita Kazuhiro. I confess I haven't read this series quite yet, so I can't really talk about it's content, but Fujita's art is crazy good. Most western readers would probably know him from Ushio to Tora, but he's drawn series such as Karakuri Circus and Gekkou Jorei, so it's safe to say he's a big name in the magazine.
Conan doesn't actually show up in the mag this week, but it wouldn't be WSS if they didn't pimp the pint size detective in some way. Conan will have a collaboration with Univeral Studios Starting Jan. 13th (Friday) It'll be a real escape game, with all sorts of related merch (pictured on the left) There's also an advert for the new movie coming out tax day (in the US) so don't miss it! (If you're in Japan.)
In Japan there's a thing known as the World Hobby Fair that WSS often participates in to promote their manga, and this year is no different. There will be a special focus on Conan, and Minami Takayama will be the MC for the Conan event! Man I'd love to meet her!
Enough pimping. Now time for manga. As I said before, I haven't been reading this like I should be, but I am at least aware we're getting a character origin story here. Maybe a thing I'll do is talk about this as I read, once I get the volumes in hand. Until then, I'm sorry. orz I do know it is a horror/action manga about a killer house (Yes House) that several of the characters are trying to destroy for various reasons.
This is the intensity of the art I was talking about that Fujita does so well. Look at the right frame. Lines are used to premium effect for speed and head on oumph.
Another great dual page spread. It's scary good how Fujita is able to use these to great effect.
'Tis always bad when the Govt gets involved. (Or is it?) In any case they intend to drop quite a load on the Soubotei.
So while I was
Koyama Aiko had a series called "Chiori-san" in the monthly sister mag of WSS named "Gessan" or "Gekkan (Monthly) Shounen Sunday." Her claim to fame is melancholy slice of life series. There's an air of stillness in her art and stories, as she often uses art in
place of words to craft her work.
The young lady is Kyo, and woman is her Aunt. Judging from their interactions, Kyo making breakfast is kind of a normal fixture in their household.
Koyama knows how to use positive and negative space to her advantage. The topmost panel welcomes the reader into the page, while the bottom ones are bare so that we focus on the conversation rather than the surroundings.
Koyama also has some gorgeous character designs for a shounen magazine. Here auntie explains that Kyo her cook is merely sixteen and the hairdresser can't believe it.
If RYOKO (which I will get to later) is akin to WSJ's Toriko, then Maiko-san is Shokugeki no Souma just without the battle shounen aspect.
Next up is Hiiragi-sama wa Jibun wo Sagashiteru (Ms. Hiiragi is looking for herself) by Nishimori Hiroyuki who is known for "Cheeky Angel" and "Ocha wa gosu" Like Fujita before him (and Takahashi who is also around) he's a fixture of WSS.
To sum up Hiiragi-sama, it's a quasi comedy/mystery series about Hiiragi (the girl with long black hair) who's an amnesiac, and might just be a Yuki onna, but can't remember her past.
Coming in at chapter 100 this week is Masuena Shun's series Tokiwa Kitaeri!!Masuena is known for "History's Greatest Disciple Kenichi". I don't actually read this series so I can't say much, but it sells pretty decently.
I admit this dual page spread is pretty badass though.
Next is "Komi-san wa Comushou desu" Or "Komi-san has a communication sickness." by Oda Tomohito. I didn't read this at first but it's so adorable that I quickly fell in love with it.
The story is pretty simple but relatable. Komi-san (SD girl on this page) is beautiful and aloof to the point that everyone around her thinks she's a total ice queen. However, this seeming air of aloofness is because she's just super shy and while she wants friends, isn't able to communicate this well. This changes when one boy Tadano Hito (Who's name literally means "Just some guy") decides he'd like to get to know her better.
The cuteness comes from Komi trying hard to overcome her inability to talk in various ways. Here she mouths out "Do your best" to Tadano which just about kills him (and inadvertently gets him a good time in the sports festival). This story continues next week!
The next series really requires no introduction as it's one of WSS's most popular. Here's Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic by Oohtaka Shinobu!
I won't talk too much about it since the whole point of me doing this is to talk about series people don't know about, but Magi has been in final arc mode for a while.
Next up is Aozakura: The Story of National Defense Academy by Nikaidou Hikaru, who recently-ish had a series in WSS called "Heaven's Runner Akira" which was about track and field. Hikaru's got a knack for taking on interesting subjects for a shounen mangaka, huh?
I love dual page spreads, so sue me.
Next is Dagashikashi by Kotoyama. This is another popular series in WSS though it's anime didn't exactly do it any favors (Despite being very good) and it's subject matter (Nerding over Japanese snacks). Won't win it any popularity awards in the west either. At it's heart it's a character driven comedy that happens to be about snacks (and really well drawn as that bottom panel shows.)
I kind of like that Kotoyama's design of a more mature Hotaru (pictured above) is pretty and actually does with less fanservice rather than more.
Hotaru has been away for a while and in her absence a new girl --Hajime has been introduced. Personally I really like Hajime, but I'm too suave to get embroiled in a "Best girl" war. This is the first time Hotaru and Hajime meet.
The "plot" so to speak of Dagashikashi is Hotaru is attempting to get the lead Kokonotsu to take over his father's shop so that she can take his Dad (who currently runs the joint and is apparently a big name in the snack world) to her company. While Hotaru's been gone however, it seems Kokonotsu accepted the job since his Dad wasn't around for some reason(?) a fact that Hajime accidentally lets slip. Needless to say Hotaru is pleased with this development.
To everyone's surprise, Hotaru says she wants Kokonotsu! What's made her change her mind? For now we don't know as the chapter ends here.
This is "Jinmen" or "Human faced" by Katou Takahiro. It actually runs in the online magazine "Sunday webevery", but from time to time if a series in another magazine does really well, the editors at WSS will run the first chapter in the main mag in an attempt to get more readers.
I've read a little of the series in the web magazine, and in short it's a horror series about animals who gain human intelligence and well, "human faces" to match, and how they terrorize the people in the park who mistreated them. Our protagonist along with his unlucky love interest get stuck in the park and are trying to escape.
The expression on the last panel always gets a laugh out of me.
"Love interest" might be a bit strong, as Masato (The protag) hasn't seen his gal-pal since they were kids, and is surprised that she even remembers him, which she does!
Horror manga is all about expression, and Katou gets that down pat.
Want to know more? Gonna have to buy the volumes or read it online, cause this is where chapter one ends.
Next up is Hatsukoi Zombie (First love Zombie) by Minenami Ryou. I actually abhor the romance/harem genre, but Minenami does a good job of toppling expectations in this manga and the art is cute so I'm willing to tolerate it.
The series is about our hapless protagonist Tarou who thanks to a head injury is able to see the first loves of people that materialize above them in a ghost like form. In one sense the series is about him nudging these people together to rid them of their "zombies".
That thing being censored is a "failed love" zombie. Normally they don't look like this....
And normally this manga isn't like this, I swear.
Now this is somewhat significant, but I can't really talk too much about it since the manga is being translated and I don't wanna spoil. Let's just say Tarou's first love is closer to him than he thinks, and he might just find this out....in issue 8.
Next up is RYOKO by Mitsuhashi Kaito. I actually translate this series so I won't talk about it too much here. If you'd like to hear more, feel free to follow me on twitter where I livetweet translations of this and Saike Once Again!
I'll give you one extra page to look at while I explain the premise though! RYOKO is about our protagonist Ryoko Tenba and her exploits in a post apocalyptic world where food has become sentient and runs rampant through Japan. It's kind of like Kill la Kill meets Toriko with some Trigger-esque art. The artist, Mitsuhashi is probably the youngest in the magazine at 26 years old and so WSS is really trying to pimp him(her?) as the next big thing.
Another series that requires no introduction (or at least it's artist doesn't, I think?) is Kyoukai no Rinne by the famous Takahashi Rumiko!
I admit I've only started reading this after I started covering WSS, so I don't know the particulars, but with two anime out there, and a third on the way, I'm sure if you really wanna know you can probably find out on your own.
I guess even Takahashi can do moe when she wants.
Even Japanese girls (who are actually reincarnated moms, don't ask) hate going to the dentist.
Next up is DameTerasu-sama by Fujiki Shun. Fujiki and I have a bit of history since I translated his last WSS effort, Hajimete no Aku for most of it's run.
DameTerasu-sama chronicles the aforementioned Japanese deity and schoolboy Kouhei as they try to raise Terasu's "rank" among the other Japanese Gods. The problem is Kouhei is a perverted idiot, and Terasu is lazy as all hell.
Meanwhile the other deities have no problems exploiting these weaknesses for their own ends, as seen here with the Inugami.
Some impressive lighting and panel work by Fujiki. He's always had this sort of slice of life/action hybrid to his works, and it works for the most part.
Next up is Be Blues by Tanaka Motoyuki. It's a soccer manga and I am not much of a sports fan. However the art in this is some of the best I've seen like ever.
Like I mean, look at this. How does he (Tanaka) pull this off on a weekly basis?!
Speed lines for when he wants the characters to rush at you, and empty space for when a moment is supposed to be suspended for emphasis. This guy is awesome.
Something you might not have known is when text is written horizontally like this, it's to imply that the character is speaking another "language" despite it being the same Japanese. Be Blues does this a lot.
And here's Hayate the Combat Butler (or Hayate no Gotoku) by Hata Kenjirou. It --like Magi, is in final arc mode. Some say it's overstayed it's welcome, but I haven't been paying attention to the series since the first anime came on way back when.
I do like Hata's use of backgrounds here though. It looks very lush even without the use of color.
Here's a series that was relatively unknown until it's anime came out recently: Keijo!!!!! by Sorayomi Daichi. It's been a straggler in WSS for years until it got what seems to be a pity anime (that sadly didn't boost interest or sales for the series.)
I don't really think I have to get into what it's about, do I?
I mean, when they actually say something like "She's got the heaviest ass in Japan" with no irony, there's really nothing else I can say.
I am contractually obligated to bring you every dual page in the mag I think. Also the attack name here is "Heaven's hip spot."
And by my favorite manga arist ever is Saike Once Again/ Saike Matashitemo by Fukuchi Tsubasa. As I mentioned with RYOKO's entry, I translate this series and you'll just have to head to twitter to get more than a page or two a week. I livetweet the translations with in-depth analysis so please join me there!
The most satisfying page of this entire arc, really. I'd have to do a lot of explaining for Saike to make any sense 69 chapters in, and I'm lazy, so...just read it online. I translate it, and it's good.
An advert for volume seven which will hit stores January 18th. Saike's a good investment, so get it if you can!
Next up is Jojuu Senin!! Mushibugyo by Fukuda Hiroshi. It had an anime a few years back and like Hayate and Magi is pretty much on it's final arc. What I love about this one is the sense of style and perspective Fukuda has.
Sadly not a lot of that is on display this week, so get an awesome badass making an awesome and badass entry.
This is Denpa Kyoushi (Electric waves tutor) by Azuma Takeshi. Like...all of the other series I mentioned earlier, it's in it's final arc. (What will be in the mag at the end of 2017 I wonder.) Lately it's been less about teaching and more about wild faces and intrigue.
I wish I could tell you more of what's going on, but as it's in it's final arc, that seems kinda pointless.
Speaking of "almost over manga with guns" here's Zettai Karen Children (Absolutely Lovely Children) by Shiina Takashi. It's had two anime so I think it's safe to say that it's sorta popular. Or was, at any rate. Considering how far back in the mag it is, It's fair to say it's glory days are well behind it.
The lips in this image are really detailed. I wonder why it isn't always this way though, hrm.
And we've reached the end of the mag! (I don't talk about everything) Next issue, Magi is on the cover, and Saike, Hatsukoi, and Tenshi to Akuto will get color pages. Two manga from the online mag will also have their first(?) chapters printed in the weekly mag. "Bokutachi tsukiattemasu?" By Tenya, and Shikeishuu sousakan Akutagawa Kai no Jiken by Yamazaki Kyo will guest star in the magazine.
Last but not least is the Table of Contents. To those not familiar with how Japanese manga magazines operate, the TOC works as a gauge of popularity for series that run in a mag. The higher up the series is, the more popular it is --in theory. While in Jump the TOC order is generally iron clad outside the top three series, WSS tends to switch things around -- to give less popular series a chance to shine. That being said, sales are a big factor as to whether something stays in the mag or not too, so that's something to consider.
Welp, that's it! This is my first time doing this so there are some bugs I need to work out, but I hope this made sense and that you'll keep coming back! As always thank you for allowing me the time to introduce you to weird manga. Take care, and see you next week!