Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Weekly Shounen Sunday #17

Welcome back again to the 17th issue of Weekly Shounen Sunday! I had a brief scare this week in regard to getting the magazine as Amazon Japan --where I purchase these with actual money, lol, Hadn't put up the current issue until today whereas in past weeks I could usually preorder on the previous week's Tuesday. I assume this must be some sort of anti-piracy measure by Shogakukan, and while it's a little annoying, as long as I can get the mag weekly, I'm fine with whenever it comes out. Though this does mean I have had a little less prep time. Despite that, I march on! Thankfully I've already had a chance to preview this issue here so that at least cuts down on how much I have to talk about, so let's get crackalackin' people.

It's in the preview, but I just feel better posting the covers here too. Makes these look more professional, y'know? The table of contents is also in the preview so run over there to check out my complete translation of the series featured in this issue. 

The artists came together to draw these for this 200 million milestone! Also in the preview, but I figured people wanted higher quality. If this isn't enough I can do better, but you'll just have to leave a comment --I can't upgrade the image quality here without making the formatting look weird.

And now for some new content! If you head over to Sunday's website, Sunday Webry (Japanese only, of course!) You can have a candid look at Takahashi's storyboards for the final chapter of Inuyasha, and the first chapter of RINNE! If behind the scenes looks are your thing then by all means head on over.

And here's a special interview with Captain Usopp Inuyasha/Ranma/Sabado himself, Mr. Kappei Yamaguchi! You might say he's a big deal in the mag for not only being in many of Takahashi's works, but also voicing Mr. Shounen Sunday's alter-ego (I mean by now the real guy's the alter-ego.) Shinichi Kudo. Sadly I don't have time or the mental fortitude to translate this, but I'm sure intrepid Takahashi fans will soon enough.

Into the WWE? Well, Shogakukan has you handled with figures of three of the biggest wrestlers --The Rock, Triple H, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Granted I haven't been into wrestling myself for a loooong time, but these figures look really awesome. Apparently The Undertaker and Kain will also be available soon! I honestly didn't know that Japan was so into this stuff, but that's what this blog is for --learning new things every week! 

More info comes out in regard to Conan's newest movie due out April. The rival for Heiji's affections ..Ouka Momiji will be voiced by Satsuki Yukino (Kagome from Inuyasha and Rinne's Mom from RINNE) while her butler Iori Muga will be voiced by Daisuke Ono who's known for being one hell of a Butler in Black Butler, and also as Jotaro Kujo. They're going all out in the VA department it seems, which makes me wanna see this even more.

For the first time in 18 years, Takahashi draws a one shot work in Weekly Shounen Sunday called Sennen no Mushin (Mushin of a Thousand years.) which seems to lean closer to Inuyasha in terms of narrative and plot than her current work with Rinne.

The chapter begins with a girl who tried to make friends with another who was abandoned by the class just to end up the object of ridicule herself.

Luckily (?) For her these students end up being stabbed by a mysterious force...?

Along with this guy who only gets to say "shield" before getting skewered.

Seems Mushin is behind all of this. He tells the girl who's worried about the people being stabbed that they will soon forget what happened here and leave unharmed. He was after the guy earlier who had the blood of an oni and thus needed to be brought down. It would seem anyone who gets this blood on them is fated to disappear --or something, but before he can say any more, he faints.

Mushin awakens in the girl's house --her name is "Ai" by the way, and explains that he's been hunting demon blood with his own blood because that is the job of a "Mushin". Turns out he doesn't even know his own name. He then says that until he's able to recover for a bit, that Ai will be his shikigami familiar (I know that's redundant). Which upon googling it, Ai finds is a less than flattering position to be in. 

Mushin leaves saying that she can call him when she needs him, and we're taken into the next day where Ai stands up for the bullied girl again, except this time when she gets mad she does a little more than see some red.

Ai finds that she's able to scare people into submission by just looking at them, and then decides to seek Mushin out to find out just what the heck she's gotten herself involved in, when she sees Mushin doing battle again.

We're treated to a bit of Mushin's past where people who have evil in their hearts are targeted by an evil wooden doll and the Mushin are priests who strive to seal this being. Mushin is just another in a long line of those doing this job --living only to work, a sad fate he was stuck with simply for being born.

Ai takes pity on Mushin and tries to assist him, but the wooden doll attacks first leaving Mushin heavily injured. 

Ai wanted to be involved, but now she has no choice as Mushin is too injured to fight, and the wooden doll is here to take lives and not ask questions. What will their fate be? Till the next issue..!!

Like the Kappei interview before it, this is just too much for a single translator to do, but I thought I'd present it anyway. Here are messages to Takahashi from every author currently serialized in Weekly Shounen Sunday, and her response to all of them. Maybe if I ever have time I'd love to work on this, as some of these are really heartfelt. Though I'm a lazy kinda guy with enough on my plate as is...

Speaking of celebrations, this chapter of Conan celebrates Aoyama's 30th year as a mangaka! Interestingly enough it's referred to as a "special file" rather than a normal Conan chapter, despite still being numbered normally --990 which means 10 more until 1000. Though I've been around the net and most of the spoilers are out there, so there's no need for me to talk about this too much.

Soboutei! In a bit of personal news, I finally bought the first three volumes (With the 4th out April 18th), of  the series, and have read the first and half of the second which gives me a little bit of background on what's going on here. Turns out the sisters from the last few chapters were actually a part of a force (along with Star Plat and the old pyromaniacs featured recently) out to take the house down, which would explain why Takoha already knew them. --Also he's a very Fujita protagonist, being just a selfless guy who doesn't want to see anyone suffer.

After everything he asks her what she wants to do now. Her past has nothing to do with the present, who she is at this moment. Again this is prime Fujita. He's as straightforward as they come with his writing, but he does it with so much zeal that one can't help but get sucked in. It's no wonder he's been around in the biz so long, he gets it.

Even as Takoha is being absorbed by the picture that he and Kurenai are in at the moment, he berates the woman --"Your power is useful to others! You can rely on it!" 

She gets her act together just in time to call her own power to put the smack down on the demonic house's avatar. I was told by a friend on twitter that Fujita loves using sfx as part of the scenery in his manga, and that "Zuuuuuuun" in the double panel just seems to fit right in.

They manage to make it out of the painting with her help, but she's immediately off to save her sister, and Takoha manages to grab a ride in as well, but this time they're without Kurenai as backup as she was left behind!

The next sister is being absorbed by her doubts and the house as it feeds on her, but her sibling won't let her go gentle into that dark night. Takoha quickly realizes that without Kurenai they might be screwed, but big sis isn't going to give up that easily. We'll find out how she does next week, though.

Next up to bat (pun fully intended) is Major. Hikaru appears before Daigo with an apology for not saying anything to him for so long as he was recuperating.

Hikaru is okay, and more importantly he doesn't blame Daigo for what happened in the least. He says it was his own fault for pushing himself and getting wrecked for it, not Daigo's and that he's good to keep playing the sport that they all love. Although I find this development to be a little too convenient, I admit to being happy everything is working out. 

"So Daigo, you can't quit the Baseball that you love either." This page is pretty perfect at conveying the mood that now and forever, baseball is something they treasure, no matter what happens.

Unfortunately for Daigo who's looking forward to playing ball with his pops, his mom informs him that Dad's going to be participating in the Winter league that takes place in Central America, so he's gotta jet almost immediately after coming back. Daigo rides off to try and squeeze one more game in, and...

He manages to find his Dad in their normal spot and they play catch for a bit before Goro heads off to Central America. Daigo thinks to himself that he's not sure whether he'll be like his Dad in the end, but he's going to take Baseball more seriously. The side text says that the "middle school" arc will start next --er, well not next issue, but three from now as Major 2nd will be on break till issue 20. This seems to be a reoccurring thing with Sunday series, but I guess it's understandable with oneshots and new series on their way.

Sorry but your princess is sleeping in another castle --is the note the monsters receive in this returning installment of Maoujou de Oyasumi. (It doesn't literally say that, but I couldn't resist the joke.) But yes, the demons have been had by their own, and the princess has been re-kidnapped by someone else. 

The princess finds her kidnapper asleep and wakes him up in a thoroughly violent way. (Hence the blood), in which he introduces himself as "Suima" which means "Drowsy" in Japanese. Our sleepy Princess immediately reacts to this --this guy must be a sleeping pro! --So she makes things super awkward by calling him master, lol. I can see where this is going but it's still pretty hilarious.

Sui--Drowsy reveals he has electric panels to keep the other monsters from finding her, and the princess immediately decides that these would be put to much better use in making her a soft and fluffy bed to sleep upon much like a okonomiyaki (A Japanese delicacy), which is what she think she looks like in the bottom panel on the right --but to Drowsy she looks much more menacing.

Even in the flaming pits of Drowsy's castle, the princess makes herself right at home and falls asleep on an electrified fuzzball. While the monsters are panicking and enacting plans to find and rescue her, Drowsy's been caught up in her pace and admires his "hostage-turned-disciple.". Apparently this is going to continue next week as well.

Hatsukoi Zombie with it's 70th installment that comes with a color page, and an advertisement for the sixth volume which is also in color.  I won't say much more on this, but I hope the series is doing well, as these color pages are a joy to look at.

That bottom panel....If Kotoyama doesn't end up doing an action seinen manga after he's done his candy tales in Dagashikashi, I'll be sorely disappointed. Look at that perspective and shading!

Smoll Hotaru and Koko-kun (because who's got time to remember how to spell his whole name? I sure don't.) And the first mention of his mother from as far as I can recall. This week's candy selection is the "Milky" drops, which you can read about here. They really are as the article I linked here says---art.

It's been a while, but Be Blues returns to the blog with a double page that I am contractually obligated to share. This week had some amazing art (but when does it not?) so please oblige me as I nerd over it a bit.

This series also has very few words, but with pages like this, I hardly think words are necessary. This tells an entire story using impact lines and well placed panels. Not only that, the expressions are on point, so you don't even need to know Japanese to get how much weight this page carries.

This has stopped being a manga, and started to become an advertisement for the very minute details of the human body, and how well Tanaka understands how it works. I could seriously see this being in a book teaching mangaka how to draw the right way. The eye is guided in gently, then placed exactly where it needs to be (the top two panels) with the centerpiece being an emphasis on this moment of time, with the debris and ball being slightly asymmetrical to the page layout.

Meanwhile this reminds me of Fukuchi's work on Saike, with the speedlines being nowhere but on the bottom of the page, leaving the characters floating in space. Yet, Tanaka takes it to a whole new level with the black background and the ink-like splotches being interposed with the SFX to remind us that the characters are playing on dirt and not a manga panel.

With art like this, every goal really makes you feel like you're a part of the game. Ah Be Blues, may I not go too long without covering you again. 

Speaking of two page spreads, Tokiwa is no slouch with this one either. I should properly cover a chapter one week, but for now just be dazzled with this art.

I dunno if Tanaka has the other authors jealous or something because even Ryoko's already unique art got an upgrade this week. Also the "21" is Ryoko and Zen standing together with the "1" sword. I still really like that he finds a way to get the chapter number in the frontspiece.

These angles and forshortening are really incredible to look at. It's a good thing I've once again finally started up translations of the series again, so hopefully I get this far again soon. Zen and Ryoko go up against some Abalone (Which I've never eaten.) in grand style.

I think it helps that Mitsuhashi has settled on what he wants for Ryoko's character design, but it's crazy how much this guy has improved his art in less than a year. I shudder to think of what he'll be like if Ryoko manages to get a year, and then two under it's belt. Considering that it's still pretty high up in the TOC this is looking pretty likely. While this is different than Oda (not that one)'s storyboarding with Komi-san, there's a similar vibe going on here that it feels more like this is a rough draft for an anime episode which I really think is a representative of the new generation of mangaka.

There's nothing but cold heat in Ryoko's stare, and it's great. She can go from innocent maiden to she-wolf on the prowl for dinner all in the glint of an eye.

Reiei was content to just watch things at first, but realizing that the kids are in trouble she leaps in to show them that they're not the only hungry badasses here. Her eyes spell trouble as well, and it's just so great to behold. 

Here's Hayate with four more chapters until the end, and while I haven't followed the series in years, it does seem like significant things are happening. 

I dunno what kind of shipping fallout will occur here, but Hayate has chosen his girl, and it's Nishizawa. I really like how "soft" this page feels compared to the rest of the chapter.

Next up is Aozakura with a really nice hallway as it's frontispiece. 

I like that the main character --Kondo has trouble with such a thing like swimming and that his senpai hassle him about it. 

I mentioned that the characters in this series are named after the historical figures who also pop up in Gintama before, and now we have a Gorilla...Is Nikaido trying to say something here?

Makanai-san is up next with an issue near and dear my troubled heart....the Maiko aren't able to sleep due to their complex-ish hairstyles!

Although this series is about Kiyo the 16 year old chef, I like that her friend's acceptance and tutelage by others in the way of the maiko is a focal point here too. Sunday seems to be turning into this magazine about very specific occupations and how characters of the target demographic grow into their roles. Here we see how important a maiko's hair is to her identity, as well as how essential it is to keep this 'do.  

The maiko are given a what's called a "Hakomakura" which literally means "Box pillow" to use when they're sleeping to keep their hair set. As you can see from these pages, it's something that takes a lot of time to get used to. Poor thing can't sleep at all --and I don't blame her. I cringe even thinking about trying to bed down on one of those things. It'd take a lot of patience to not go crazy or mess up one's neck, --which is probably part of the maiko training.

Today's "dish" so to speak is Amazake, which is a traditional non-alcoholic drink made from fermented rice. I guess it something akin to warm milk in western countries. Head here if you want more info on this delicacy.

And now with some awesome art-age is Mushibugyo. You didn't think I'd pass up a chance to post a double page spread did you?

You know Mushibugyo is insane when swinging a sword, hell, the tip of the sword alone is something that needs a double page spread. It's ridiculous, but I love it oh-so much. 

Most of all I just love the smug expressions the villain makes here. He's gonna get his comeuppance, and it's going to be all the better when we look back at these expressions.

And now Saike which continue's part 9 with it's second chapter and our heroes on the frontispiece. I never realized how tiny Ana is until this...though Hizu seems a lot taller than usual, or is it just me?

To my surprise Fukuchi is running with this subplot in regards to the ability users and how they'd be seen in the eyes of normal citizens. Here Saike is completely caught off guard --ability users have become so commonplace to him that it's unfathomable that anyone would be afraid of them. He tries to cover for the ability holders by saying that they're incredible rather than scary, but it comes off as flimsy and he knows it. It's sort of like Fukuchi's taking a critical eye to his past series and subverting them in Saike, and I kind of like it.

He then recalls the differing viewpoints of two very powerful ability users he's faced in the past, and how they viewed these abilities as hindrances or the basis for discrimination, and again it's unfathomable to him that anyone would ever think they're scary. "These powers aren't scary if they're used the right way!" He thinks. 

Meanwhile Hideo Hirayasu is a kid who's at the end of his rope, being bullied for his money and wishing he had the power to make it all stop.

Posted because of the detail on the large panel on the right. It's completely unnecessary in the plot of the chapter, but it acts as a different kind of worldbuilding that manga can excel at. Often we think worldbuilding is giving a point of reference into a character's world and how it works, but in this case it's not so much how this world works, but what brings it alive. The gentle remnant of the rain puddles and view of the empty street is a wonderful aesthetic for a scene change that we'd probably only get in an anime to fill for time. 

Fukuchi's love letter to Araki with the placement of the sfx and lack of text takes up the left page, as Hirayasu  heads to school only mildly curious about the accident on the side of the building until he realizes it's one of the bullies who was hurt.

The same thing happens again when another bully steps up to take the first one's place. A day later he's been slashed up and left for dead, and Hirayasu not realizing something is awakening in him can only surmise it's "M" at work. The sense of creeping danger is completely foreign to Fukuchi's works so this is a real case of mood whiplash for me. He's always been this sort of fun guy who has fun and odd ability battles, but here we're getting something scarier...something unknown. Hirayasu and Saike haven't met quite yet, but it's safe to assume when they do that this story is going to take a sudden and most likely very tragic turn.

Returning to the blog after a brief hiatus is DameTerasu. I'm of the mind that this series is regretfully not long for this world, but sales numbers have it placing a little better than Aozakura despite it's TOC placement being in the pits of despair --and worse yet, the first volume (which is out now) is quickly being preceded by the 2nd out in May. Generally when volumes come out this quickly it's to accelerate a series to a rushed conclusion...

It seems while we were away, the series became a straight up shounen battle manga with time stop abilities, impostors and dual page spreads all in the same chapter. Gotta admit though, this looks really cool, if not painful for Kouhei. 

Meanwhile Denpa Kyoushi has two chapters left (though they say that the next one is the last, so I guess two includes this one?). 

I love the comical expressions in this chapter a whole lot though.

"However Sensei never returned to the school ever again." What happened to Kagami? We'll have to wait till the finale next week to find out!

And that brings us to the end of the issue! Next time is the aforementioned Denpa Kyoushi's final chapter, part two of Sennen no Mushin, with Yui Okada playing pin up on the cover. I'm not 100% sure, but I think this might be the first issue I've covered (or seen for that matter) that has no color pages at all to speak of. Again I could be way off base, but there's no mention of any on this page.... but eh, that's not important. Thanks for following me through issue 17! I'm enjoying the previews a lot so I believe those will stick around. I'm also planning on bringing other features to the blog, so toss a bookmark my way if you can! Until the next Sunday on Tuesday, stay cool!

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