Welcome to the only blog on the internet that celebrates Sunday twice a week! If I'm typing stuff you know what that means --that it's time for another writeup of our favorite little magazine! If you haven't already, please check out the preview for issue #26 here as it contains the TOC and preview for the next issue, so I won't be covering them in this post. With that out of the way let's get to the good stuff!
As mentioned in the preview, on the cover are three members of the idol group Nogizaka 46 --probably to tie in with Wakaki's serialization K.O.I or King of Idol RINNE and Tenshi & Akuto also grace the cover because they get color pages, along with the aforementioned K.O.I.
Some pics of the lovely ladies featured on the cover. You'd think I'd know more about them as idols pop up frequently on the blog but well...I don't. Maybe I should enlist the aid of someone who does, hrm.
The idols are taking over and Conan is their captive in a strange crossover between an idol arcade game --Puripara and the pint-sized-sleuth. The crossover is limited to apparel, but that would be wild if they actually did an anime/manga special wouldn't it?
First up is the third chapter of K.O.I or King of Idol. Last time we left our heroine, he had been unmasked as a hero by his roomie Sena. It's this knowledge that gives a totally different impression of the opposing color page huh?
Sena's about to call the cops, but Mahoro (is that his actual name..?) stops her with that killer voice of his. "Please listen to me!"
Sena was under the impression that a guy had somehow gotten in, but Mahoro shows that he is the she that she's gotten to know. Things are calm until an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction leaves Mahoro "bare" to the elements.
While this is going on the other two girls are discussing their roomies (you're welcome for these pages) and we're returned to Sena who's understandably perturbed by this whole situation.
Turns out Mahoro is looking for his mom. Though when Sena asks if she's a member or NEMS, Mahoro elaborates and says that his mom isn't really anywhere as she's passed away.
Mahoro has entered the world of idols for one reason --to talk to his mother again and apparently that can only be done via a thingy called the IOS which is short for "Imaginary Object Synthesizer."A gaget that can turn people's "will" into reality. The text on the right page even suggests that it's something that has completely changed the Idol world. Gotta say this is a twist I wasn't anticipating --heck, Mahoro even suggests it could bring his mom back to life! It's straining the sense of willing disbelief but let's see where Wakaki goes with this.
Sena reveals that she knows Mahoro's mother --apparently she's --or was a top idol known as Ren Hoshizaki.
Sena has looked up to Hoshizaki who's known as the "Legendary idol who fell from the heavens", and Mahoro here has even managed to commit her song to memory.
We get a bit of Sena's past --she had all of a sudden found herself all alone despite being pretty sociable before. It just happened gradually until she found herself unable to play with or talk to others. However when she came upon Hoshizaki Ren, her life changed for the better.
If she could just be like her in some way maybe then she wouldn't have to be alone anymore. Now this story element isn't unique in shounen stories, but I kind of like that here it's a gradual thing that isn't hinted to have any sort of tragic overtones. People change --sometimes an introvert can become an extrovert over time and vice versa. It doesn't always have to be the result of a angsty event or backstory, so I kind of relate a bit better to Sena and her ambitions, which is good since she's most likely going to be the heroine of the series aside Mahoro.
Though they've got a long way to go. Yes, somehow Mahoro got a singing boner --and I'm not sure how that works, but okay. This is the third and therefore last "obligatory" chapter I'll cover on the blog, but any future chapters with color pages or interesting content will still hit the blog, so this isn't the last we'll see of K.O.I. Personally while I like Sena I'm not too invested in the story as I'm not interested in idols, but I do love Wakaki's adorable artwork so at the very least I'll keep an eye on this occasionally.
Idols might bring down the house in a metaphorical sense, but Seiichi is doing it literally in the 55th chapter of Souboutei. Fujita has a way with panel work so that no page is wasted. Also those speed lines on the ground are so very delicious.
Also hell, architecture. The house looks really evil with the weirdly upside down windows that give it a face like exterior. The soldiers aren't sure that Seiichi can buts through a steel frame but clearly the boy's got talent as...
He rips right through it. There are a bunch of dual page spreads for this chapter and I make no qualms of posting them all because they're incredible.
Seiichi's crazed expression in the bottom panel almost has a dissonant serenity to it as he crushes all of the house's defenses and continues to plow on through. He's had it out for the Souboutei since chapter one so he's making sure to work out all of that fifty five chapter aggression.
Another great expression here on the bottom as a picture with it's eyes on him gives Seiichi the heebee-jeebies
Meanwhile Takoha and the others are holding out the best they can while Seiichi clears a path for the nitrogen that Frol is supposed to deliver to them somehow. (It isn't made clear in this chapter either, unfortunately.) However it seems whatever she's going to do is going to be the last thing she does as she says that she will bring the nitrogen in and then she will die. What does this mean? We'll have to wait till next week to find out...
No coverage for the series itself this week but I thought this sales number would be interesting to some. Major 2nd has officially broken the 4 million sales milestone with 9 volumes out essentially sealing it as one of the bigger series in Shounen Sunday. I'm assuming it'll eventually get an anime like it's first incarnation once there's more material out for it as selling this well without any other media is pretty impressive, though it is a sequel.
Chapter two of Meteor girl, and the blurb above even hints that this isn't going to be the typical "Boy meets girl" story. Of course those things --the blurbs are written by the editorial staff and not the mangaka themselves so that may not actually be 100% accurate.
When we left Tetto he had just managed to pry the meteor girl that had fallen on his roof free and prepares to go to school, all the while completely missing (in his rush to leave) that the girl he met yesterday is now dead. Since the meeting with her was really brief, he also doesn't seem to realize there's quite a resemblance between her and the meteor girl that fell on his roof...in any case he gives the pieces of the girl to the trashmen and goes on with his day as usual
And then things take a turn for the bizarre as the meteor girl...moves. It's really interesting to compare and contrast the super natural horror stylings of Fujita and Ishiyama. I'm not sure how to term it here, but while Fujita is definitely going for more of a shounen take on the genre, Ishiyama seems to be playing it straight as the pages above suggest.
And it just gets more surreal and violent from there. While this is going on, Tetto arrives at school and runs into Hane again.
She's removing posters because they "have a dead person on them", and it's now that Tetto finds out that the girl he met yesterday --Yamashita Yuuka has died.
Furthermore he remembers that the meteor girl who fell from the sky and on his roof in the morning had the same distinct mole pattern under her eye as Yuuka did. Hane on the other hand seems to be playing up the creepy on purpose...
I have to admit I really like this page for the "classic horror manga" vibe that it gives off. It looks like she's threatening him, no? But she isn't. She's just implying that Tetto is playing cool when the whole thing actually bothers him. "Telling a lie is bad, you know?" she says.
Tetto's buddies show up and have smartphone footage of an accident that occurred this morning and Tetto realizes that the meteor girl he dumped this morning is...moving somehow.
Speaking of her, she comes upon two girls and is implied to have harmed them in some way to get their umbrella. The contrast of the speed and impact of the left page is kind of mollified a bit by the right one --I mean maybe
definitely my sense of humor is macabre, but there's just something kind of hilarious about the top half of a girl sitting in the rain with an umbrella at first glance.
Though it stops being funny in a hurry when we see just how strong this Meteor Girl is, when this guy casually tosses her aside because she's in the way. One thing I haven't commented on is the fact that this is very clearly an unusual occurrence in this world. Meteor Girls fall from the sky and are treated like trash --tossed away and collected. A common theme in the series (or well, the two chapters out so far) are how used to this people have become, which I feel like will become the real core of the series so to speak. --How a moving and violent Meteor girl changes the perception of people in this 'verse.
In any case, Tetto shows up on the scene just to get attacked. Those teeth would give the wolf in Goldilocks a run for his money, but it's all part of the horror atmosphere. Meteor Girl is getting another color page next issue, and the not-written-by-the-artist blurb at the bottom suggests we'll finally get answers next chapter so I'm looking forward to it.
RINNE is next with a color page celebrating the third season of the anime and 36th volume of the manga. On the right side is an advertisement for the aforementioned volume which contains the battle between the Shinigami and the black cats that are contracted to help them. There's a joke with their names that would take a bit to translate, but it basically lists what each of their personalities are and their offensives --sort of like a wanted poster. It's a pretty clever way to advertise the new volume, I think.
Encountering an invisible spirit on her way to school, Sakura decides to consult Rinne about the matter, and when he uses a color ball from the land of the dead on it they find that it's the spirit of a parrot that had passed away. I've said it before but I love just how blase everyone is in this series --it accentuates the humor and is a little unusual in the very reaction laden humor of Japanese media.
The parrot parrots a conversation between Hiroshi and his lady friend (is what Rinne and Sakura assume as pictured above) about money. The thing to keep in mind here is everything occurring on these pages are within the imaginations of Rinne and Sakura. The parrot simply says "Where's the money that was here, Hiroshi?" and their imaginations take them to very...interesting places.
Rinne decides to go looking for the owners despite it probably not landing him a net profit, but then he finds a lost pet poster which reveals that the parrot's name is "Momo-chan", it's a male, and apparently worth 10,000 yen. Now he's interested.
The duo try to call the number on the poster but it doesn't go through for whatever reason which makes them all the more concerned in regard to their own make believe fantasy. Meanwhile the parrot hits them with another line "How could you throw that away! Please don't Hiroshi!" They decide to follow the parrot to where it came from and hear the voices it's mimicking. To find well, reality isn't what they thought it would be.
Hiroshi is a 50 year old man and not the young thug they thought he was, and the owner of the parrot (who's unnamed) is a 72 year old lady and not a young woman in peril. Turns out what Hiroshi wants to throw away is the stand that Momo-chan used as a perch. Rokumon says that there's trouble but what exactly?
The color ball Rinne used on the parrot is fading, and after talking to Hiroshi they find that the old lady is actually his mother, and the parrot disappeared a whole six months ago. So the poor old lady just has no idea that her beloved parrot has died. Rinne --to Sakura's surprise uses another color ball (surprising because they're expensive) to give the Parrot just a little more time...
It says "Goodbye" to it's owner before passing on. Apparently this was why it couldn't pass on before now. At the very least Rinne gets Daifuku (check out what it is here.) for his troubles. So it's a story that ends pretty well.
Evans is up next and Phoebe Oakley is back in his midst. She's managed to get a bounty head and wants her payment, but Evans is fresh out of cash. He suggests she goes to the next town over for her bounty but she accidentally lets it slip that she came to see him.....just to tsundere it up on the next page and say something closer to "I don't want to lose to the likes of you". Unfortunately for her, Evans hears that slip up and immediately assumes the wrong thing. Here we go.
We get a brief rundown of their situation again here --they've both never dated anyone in their whole lives, but are too dense/prideful/naive to straight up say how the feel about each other. Phoebe says that she's willing to follow him to get the money from him personally, --if he's not scared, and Evans takes this as a challenge and brings her to his house. It's just adorable how Phoebe turns into a school girl with a crush when she realizes she's gonna get the chance to see how Evans lives.
Evans on the other hand acts on the pretense of disarming his security system and tells Pheebs
I'm tired of typing out her whole name. To wait outside. What he actually does is to hide any and all traces of his acute batchleorism from sight. He seems to have done a good job and tells Pheebs to come in until he realizes he's missed something critical.
Yup the ol' dirty mag collection. I kind of like that all the titles are romanized Japanese words. "Sukebe" for example is "Perverted" and "Kedamono" is "beast". Don't judge Evans my dear readers, he is just a poor man with no love experience. Evans tries to tell her to wait, but Pheebs is already at the door, ready to come in --with an idealized version of Evans in mind. She's already interested in seeing just how he lives for possible future family interactions, lol. Poor girl thinks that he's simply trying to hide an inability to do laundry which isn't wrong per se, hah.
Daddy reminiscence pops up and he tells young Evans that there will come a time where he needs to abandon something for love. In this case it's burning his porno mags. You can see that this is really burning (lol) Evans up to give up his collection, but what's a man to do? Admit he's a pervert? Of course not! Pheebs shows her cute side by admitting it's cleaner than she thought, but she wouldn't mind helping him out if he needs it. Evans pridefully tells her to mind her business so she retorts that she wants her money.
Of course her real plan is to snoop around while he's in the next room which Evans puts an end to by shooting a warning shot and telling her not to move. A man's castle is serious business, little lady!
She says that she'll just come back another time for the money and that maybe when he's feeling more up to it she'll come back to his house to hang out. Evans agrees to that while mourning his lost porno. This chapter was pretty short (14 pages rather than the normal 18) but still pretty good. Next chapter promises more Oakley which I'm totally down for, so I can't wait!
Next up is Tenshi and Akuto with a color page commemorating it's 10th volume and reaching the "voice recording" arc. I always thought "power rangers" was the localized name of Japanese Super Sentai, but it's used here as a translation for "sentai" (battle unit) so maybe the Japanese have more of a hand in that localization than I thought, hm.
Last time Akuto found himself at a loss when a newbie voice actress came and rocked his world with her amazing performance which reminded him of the "Marumushi" (round bug) Nari who as I pointed out last week hasn't been in the series for a while --I did a little research on her and apparently she's only a middle school student and despite that is a pro voice actor. Even in her absence she's left a huge impression on Akuto and seems to be a source of constant humility for him.
The other ladies in the crew realize they have to step up their game as well if they want to stay relevant against the newcomer, but find that the time just isn't there as the right page illustrates. I love how the characters they voice are represented in front of them sort of like stands from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.
Although everyone is shook up by the new voice actor's appearance, Akuto is taking it the hardest --he thought he had everything handled and takes great pride in being the protagonist in this series, but now he's back into feeling inferior --something he thought he had finally managed to overcome.
The other voice actresses try to cheer him up, but Akuto snaps saying that he's taking this very seriously unlike them and that they'd never understand his feelings.
It's here that the super popular voice actor Takaya Minase appears. It seems he's in to record his parts for the anime and apparently he and Akuto have rivalry of their own going on. Will his appearance be enough to shake him out of his funk? We'll have to find out next issue...!
Komi is up next and we're getting a second helping of the boys fantasies about which ladies in their class they'd like to end up with. I actually sort of hope this becomes a thing with the series as it gives us these wonderful half page illustrations of the well drawn women of the series.
I mean look at Komi in the bottom panel...can she get more lovely than this? Although the girl on the opposing page is pretty adorable too. (I wish I remembered her name though.)
Speaking of ladies, Megumi is back again this week with a pretty cute chapter.
The chapter starts off with Megumi and her friend Mio Mizawa having lunch together and discussing their prospects for careers after their schooling is done. Mio aims for being an Olympic swimmer, but if that doesn't work out she'd go for P.E. teacher or something similar to that. It's actually fairly common for kids of this age to have something called a "shinro" which literally means "route" but in a school setting like this has the connotation of "career/university" path.
Of course Megumi has a completely different vision of Mio as a teacher as pictured on the left page. Surprising for a shounen romcom manga, it seems Mio has a boyfriend as Megumi asks her what he plans to do. (He's going into plant sciences --but that page isn't pictured here.) It's via this conversation that Megumi realizes she hasn't put much thought into what she wants to do with herself. It's later she runs into Ma-kun and he reconfirms that he's going to college.
Megumi expresses her concern that she doesn't have an idea of what she should do, and Ma-kun tries to give her ideas, starting with a police officer, and teacher, which seem innocent enough...okay, with her voluptuous figure it is kind of...yeah, naughty.
Let's give Ma-kun credit here. He really does try his best at first to think of legitimate jobs, but he is a high school boy and his mind does tend to wander going from nurse to nursery school worker to gravure idol to race queen to...you get the idea.
Though in the end he says she should just take her time to think about what she really wants to do, and there's really no need to rush. Megumi agrees and says that they can work hard together --which is implied to mean something other than looking for careers which they both sort of laugh off. Oh you two, just kiss already.
Speaking of togetherness between the genders, Dagashikashi starts off with Hotaru calling Kokonotsu over to their "secret base" where she asks him for a tiny little favor..."I'd like to have a child." That reaction in the bottom panel is probably the best thing of this chapter. In fact all of Kokonotsu's reactions are wonderful this week.
Of course he says it's far too early to even think of having children, to which Hotaru replies she'll just look for someone else. Second great reaction comes (right page third panel) when Koko's like "I'M THE MAN YOU WANT". but of course what Hotaru is actually talking about is a snack for "babies" known as Tamago Boro or "Egg biscuits". What Hotaru really wants is to see the moment where a baby eats it's very first snack! Needless to say Koko doesn't share her enthusiasm.
I really like the zoom in on the first panel as Hotaru makes the outlandish suggestion that Koko undergo reverse hypnosis to return him to a baby-like state so she can get what she wants out of him. KOTOYAMA's art has really become something and it keeps improving. When Koko asks why he should have to do this, she replies that he has been "chosen by the snacks" lol. Left with no choice, he goes through with the hypnotism under Hotaru's supervision just for the reverse of the reverse to happen --she falls asleep instead.
Hotaru starts to mutter stuff in her sleep that she probably wouldn't say if she were conscious, so Koko decides to take advantage of this and ask her how she really feels about him. To his surprise she opens her eyes and asks why he wants an answer to that question? It's implied she was never asleep, so maybe he'll get that answer? The blurb doesn't make it clear if this story will continue next week though, sadly.
Back after a loooong hiatus is DameTerasu-sama with it's penultimate chapter. Yes, although the bottom blurb on this page makes it sound like it's super popular, it is in fact ending next week after a mere 28 chapters/ 3 volumes. Sunday can be kind, and Sunday can be cruel. Seems this series is experiencing the latte.
When we left Kouhei and Amaterasu, it was implied they were to be betrothed to create the ultimate God. Kouhei is still sort of not into this idea (he can't go peaking on ladies if he's married after all) but seeing Amaterasu dressed in formal attire seems to have changed his mind a bit. (She really does clean up nicely though.)
Unfortunately pretty clothes do not change what's on the inside, and she almost immediately tells him to buy her afternoon tea in 30 seconds or less. Once a NEET always a NEET. In any case the festival proceedings (that they're a part of) go on.
They get a bit of alone time and Kouhei asks if this is really what she wants --to get married? He wouldn't mind helping her find another way around this since there's still time before he becomes a complete God so maybe they don't have to go through with this...
However something is brewing between the death demon group and the fallen Amaterasu demons. They intend to make sure that this is the last festival of the Gods ever on this really impressive dual page spread.
It seems a confrontation is at hand despite everyone having a good time. I have to wonder how Fujiki can possibly pull off a huge battle like this and conclude the series in one chapter next week, but I suppose he doesn't have much choice left in the matter. Actually as I write this, I think i caught a rare typo! The bottom text says the series will continue in issue 26, but this is issue 26. So I guess even th editorial department isn't above making a whoopsie from time to time. Anyway, I will cover the finale of DameTerasu in full next week so stay tune for issue 27.
Speaking of finales, Saike's ninth part comes to an end this issue with his 82nd installment. Here he explains to Hirayasu that his ability is like a "talent" that he has to develop and nurture for the sake of righteousness.
As such he invites Hirayasu to join him in his hero endeavors. As fellow oracle holders this is the right thing to do! Although I make it sound like Saike is forcing the boy to help, the language he uses here is more invitational than forceful. Call it a case of lost in translation.
Hirayasu considers the implications of what Saike is saying and begins to realize that this is no mere game of tagging out builles. It is then that a certain individual appears and asks of him...
The next day Saike runs into Hirayasu who asks him for a moment to talk. Saike invites Ana and Hizu to join him, but when they do Hizu is able to see that Hirayasu no longer has his ability...what happened?
Hirayasu explains that he met with Kuroda Yumewo --or Negatibrain. I hope to talk more about him in future Saike on the rewind segments, but for now know that he has the ability to erase abilities.
While he is grateful for what Saike did for him, Hirayasu explains that just can't envision a future where people and oracle holders can live together in harmony. Fukuchi suddenly deciding to do away with BG shows just how important this moment is supposed to be. We're supposed to pay attention to their conversation which is why we only get blank/black space between them. Saike --probably against his better judgement tries to get Hirayasu to understand his motives by explaining everything abut him and Johann and how these powers are necessary to stop his schemes, but Hirayasu punctures that reasoning with an armor piercing question. "So if you are able to stop Johann, then would you give up your abilities?"
I love the cinematic feel of this page. From Saike being reflected in Hirayasu's pupils to the flecks of debris flying in the air and the small second panel focusing on his face. Oda (not that one) might have some competition when it comes to storyboard mastery. Anyway Saike answers that he wouldn't because he needs his abilities to continue helping people as a hero. Hirayasu verbally suckerpunches him again: "There is no future where oracle holders and normal people can live together and you say you won't give up your abilities...so in short you just want to be "special", right?"
Saike's world is turned upside down and Fukuchi is one of the rare mangaka to illustrate that literally. Hirayasu goes on to imply that this really makes him no different (or better than) Johann. To hear that after all of his work all of the suffering he's endured is enough for Saike to be shocked into silence. If he's still no better than Johann after all of this then what is he doing it for? I really do think of Saike as a maturation of Fukuchi's past series --where abilities were part of the norm and things were much sillier. I really look forward to seeing what he'll come up with for part ten, as well as celebrate the fact that he has made it this far --though that means I have my work cut out for me as I have to translate all of part nine...
I'm not sure if this is a show of Saike's popularity or something else but for the first time the editorial staff saw fit to give a page preview to part 10 which will premiere in the 32nd issue out on July 5th. (Volume 9 will be out on July 18th for the interested.) It seems Saike will be up against two brothers, the older of which looks like a Fukuchi version of Gon-san from Hunter X Hunter, and the little brother is somewhat reminiscent of Knuckle from the very same series. Is this on purpose? Dunno. We'll have to find out when the series begins in a little more than a month. It is said on this page that they may or may not be enemies so their actual role in the story is unclear at this point.
Possibly ending soon is Tokiwa Kitaeri with some really nice effects here.
These dual page spreads are really breathtaking. I may not approve of Matsuena's use of T&A but I'll be damned if I don't find myself wondering weekly how he manages to draw scenes like this for a week to week serialization.
Maybe one day I'll write up a "shounen manga lexicon"
when I'm less lazy so don't hold your breath. But if I do, the phrase "sudden developments" which is written on the side there would have the definition of "precursor to the end of a series." because very rarely is that phrase uttered when a series has a bright, happy and most of all long future ahead of it. Tokiwa's next volume comes out June 16th and I haven't been keeping track of the chapters in each volume, but I'd assume we're due one more at the very least.
Youkai giga follows up with Kuro's story for the third time. It seems the little guy has become a mascot of sorts for the series as he's the only one to have returned in this otherwise omnibus tale of youkai, which is really interesting. Though I admit it's a great idea as I couldn't see Kuro's tale sustaining an entire series for long so Satou gets to explore other things while playing around with him for a bit.
Sadly unlike the last two installments of Youkai Giga, we only get one short story this time around as Kuro watches out for his master who has very clearly fallen for a woman in town. The left page is a cute moment where the delivery lady that Kuro's master has fallen for starts to reciprocate his feelings by asking her horse how she looks before she knocks on his door. The girl notices that the guy seems a bit down today but he waves her concerns off saying he's fine. Kuro knows his master isn't one to lie and concludes that "love is dangerous". You get all the important things little buddy. You really do.
The unscientific lab returns with it's illustrated interview with Fukuchi. Yokoyama gets right down to business and asks Fukuchi what made him decide to go with a protagonist like Saike for his current work before revealing that he had issues making friends like Saike did in the initial chapters --something Fukuchi shares an understanding with. He goes on to say that his father (Fukuchi's) was a major manga reader and often brought lots home with him and he says himself that his brother is a huge Otaku who has a collection of his own. So when he announced to his family that he'd become a manga artist they were very supportive --especially his grandfather who pushed him to do what makes him happy. So at 18 years old Fukuchi published his first oneshot "Godeli".
They mention Fukuchi's seinen manga debut as well. Up until his oneshot manga in the "Spirits" magazine, he's always been in Weekly Shounen Sunday. The oneshot? Negatibrain, which I've translated and you can read here if you have a batoto membership. Basically Fukuchi wondered to himself what kind of protagonist would the seinen demographic connect with and came up with Kuroda Yumewo. "If a shounen manga protagonist is looking to break through a ceiling", a seinen one is "struggling through that ceiling and realizing things are quite different than what he thought." is what he says. The next installment of the unscinentifc lab will be the last with Fukuchi which is a shame, but with no Saike in the magazine next week it's all we get. I'll be sure to bring it to you though!
And that's it for issue 26! Check out the preview for the..uh, preview for 27, once again located here! Conan's back with more mysteries so that's something to look forward to as Mr. Shounen Sunday takes back his throne. Till next week, have a good Sunday!