Thursday, January 17, 2019

Weekly Shounen Sunday #7 (2019) Editorial section

Kurenai is still in a precarious situation --she needs time to get her sure-kill technique off, but Sakamaki isn't leaving any openings for her. So in order to make her move she's got to get him to lower his guard, and the only thing that Sakamaki finds interesting aside from painting is his long dead sister. It's a huge gamble when you have someone who's as unstable as him. (Unstable feels like a weird word to use with the usually very calm Sakamaki, but if it fits...) 

So what Kurenai speculates is this whole time since having to take his sister's life is Sakamaki has been obsessed with creating the "warm" portrait that she had interested in. It's interesting to consider that as Kurenai points out his sister never once actually took his paintings, rather she just sort of gives them empty compliments. Though this wasn't purposeful --rather it seems rather than her being insane in her last moments of life, it was at that very last moment she asked her brother to kill her that she had full handle on her facilities. I hadn't realized it before but she was Christian which means even though she wanted to take her own life she couldn't since suicide is in violation with the teachings. I gotta say despite this being a desperation tactic from Kurenai, she really knows her stuff. Though I guess it does help that she spent a few chapters in Sakamaki's head. 

Which comes to the core of the chapter itself --did Sakamaki really understand what his sister was saying to him as he killed her (on her request?) Kurenai is able to get into his head like this only because he has had doubts despite being one of the most straightforward characters in this series. Though despite this he really did seemingly overlook one thing ---his sister loves paintings. What this has to do with her suicide-by-brother is still up in the air, but it's enough to shake the foundation that is Sakamaki's unshakable focus long enough for Kurenai to try and kill him, but just as she's about to go for the death blow, she pauses for reasons unknown to even her. Her ability refusing to manifest, and in a literal state of defenselessness, the chapter ends on a thrilling note when Sakamaki asks for the first time...."What is your name?" I kind of think that perhaps it's an effect where one looks into the shadows long enough and they stare back, but where does this land Kurenai now? Does she actually have sympathy for the devil? 

Mirror Mirrors on the wall. It's across the looking glass we go with Xeno in the conclusion of this case. The detective oddly compliments the three women on their outfits before starting in on his deduction, --one wearing a pretty red kimono, another in a yellow dress, and the last wearing a blue Chinese inspired outfit. Except the constant thing in the testimonies is that the colors of their outfits remained the same --excluding the last one. One lady identified it as green, while the other saw it as purple. While it is likely that their eyes played tricks on them, Xeno purports that she wasn't actually there, and used a mirror to fool the others into thinking they saw someone who wasn't present. Thus his deduction of it being one person among the three is right on the money. Baron's pleased with the results, but immediately points out that he knows Xeno was going to try and help the woman escape using a dust chute. Except, that wasn't his plan at all.

The detective noticed that police were on a stakeout nearby some time before and placed a little call to them so that the criminal would only be arrested and not killed. Baron isn't a sore loser however and gives Xeno his payment after all --the leader of the organization he's looking for is the "Blue Institute, and the seven founders all posses a pocket watch similar to his. Though he won't tell Xeno why the two of them have such a thing. So now we know the name of the "enemy" of sorts...also I dig that once again we're presented with the number 7. Could this be connected to the murder doors? It's very likely. New developments are on the way next week, and I can't wait. 

And so here we are. The final chapter of Marry Grave ruthlessly slain by the Shounen Sunday Editorial department.....though they are only executing the will of the fans I suppose --if there just had been more interest in the series...!! Though in all fairness it really does feel like Marry Grave only really came into it's own very recently. I have joked (and seriously meant) that the series might have been better if Rosalie had been the protagonist all along, even if it meant that poor Sawyer would have been slighted. Really I'm not sure what more Marry Grave could have done to endear people to it's unique narrative and it really saddens me to see it go out this way. Especially since the final chapter is truly a taste of what we could have if the series had just a bit more time. A lot of things are just left off as "what ifs" and man, I wouldn't have minded a traveling group made up of Sawyer, Rise, and Dante if the top panel on the right is anything to go by. (Doting Graaaaaaaaandfather Sawyer is the best thing.) Zel is unfortunately more or less left behind without a real conclusion, and that's not even the worst thing here. 

See, everyone in cape side had descendants and they look soooo cool! Not only that, Sawyer is able to meet his son Trent. If this had just a bit more time this could have been a moving moment, and heck, even a good conclusion to the series (Even if it is in the vein of that meme "It was the friends that we met along the way" --but in this case it's more like "the family we met".) Though sadly Yamaji decides to more or less shuttle us through the finale with several (admittedly very pretty) double page spreads that depict the events we'll never be able to see ourselves. 

The last pages are what I assume to be the final result of everyone helping Sawyer recreate what's necessary to bring Rosalie back to life, and them running off to finish the wedding they weren't able to way back when. It's supposed to be very moving and everything, but yeah...only having 18 pages to conclude an entire series that had so much potential was a tall order. I don't blame Shougakukan, Yamaji or even the readers....Marry grave really just had a lot going for itself but couldn't really get it all together at the start when it most needed it. It's truly a shame since I adore Yamaji's unique look at "death" in a series full of it --that it's inevitable but doesn't need to be sad. For where there is death, there is life either beginning or well lived. I guess Marry Grave being somewhat different than a typical battle shounen didn't do it any favors either, but I more just think that the series needed a more active protagonist to really hook readers --something Rosalie was from the very start, but it took Sawyer a bit of time to become. Though the real travesty here is that on the final page of the series there's no advert  saying Yamaji is going to all. Nothing saying he'll be back in Sunday, nothing that he's even going to draw another manga, just nothing. Now he has said on twitter that he'll return, but it would really hurt me more than this conclusion if he ended up going to another publisher since I can say without guile that Sunday needs a talent like Yamaji in it's pages. I hope that they're doing whatever they can to convince him to stay, but if it's not meant to be I hope that he'll find success in any of his future endeavors. It's saddening that once again I've covered a series from beginning to end only  because it was clearly cancelled ahead of it's time but thus is the manga magazine industry. 

Birdmen is as artsy as it is deadly in this week's chapter, and man was it a spectacle to behold. The Birdfolk are ready to announce themselves to the world and they do it on several fronts ranging from social media to TV, and Tanabe's artwork does a wonderful job at being shocking and of course a pleasure to look at. 

It's all rather insidious. (I actually wish I could have used the above page as the advert for this editorial, but Marry Grave ending this issue just baaaarely edged it out.) Santa Clauses handing out stickers and creating Christmas cheer while advertising this site (as seen above) that says it's under construction. Then as the santas are rounded up for distributing things illegally another group comes and setting off balloons filled with a strange solution start off a terrorist attack known as "The last show." which leaves many dead as seen above. Social media goes crazy and the whole world has their eyes on the group that would be so audacious --just as planned.  Now that they have everyone's attention the children of eden --those who have been experimented on are out in a gaudy, shocking and most of all hard to look away moment. 

It's almost ironic that at the end of the chapter the "boss" of sorts says that what he wishes for is a gentle world for the next era. For a chapter where the main characters don't even appear, this one leaves quite the impression. Not only that but if the end of chapter text is to be believed, this is only the start of something much more deadly. I know I haven't said that much about this month's chapter but really this is manga in it's purest form --telling a story that one can just see opposed to having to read --something only someone with Tanabe's talent could pull off. 

Part of a Sheriff's duty is dealing with kidnappings like Evans does in this week's chapter. Though with Max around work becomes that much more difficult (and kinda fun, I guess??) This week is a blast simply because Evans is actually on the scene ready to do his job without letting wordly thoughts get in his way but between Pheebs telling him to get lost because this is her job, and Max's antics, for once the sheriff is stuck playing the straight man role. Normally Evans is cool with Max's antics since they both got into this job to be popular with women, but this time around even he recognizes how touch and go this situation is. If Max was meant to play the heel this time around, Kuriyama did a good job with it--from making off color comments to losing all of his motivation when he finds out the victim is actually engaged, he makes Evans look like a choir boy. Though in the end even he sorta joins in when they realize the little sister who's been kidnapped isn't betrothed to anyone. 

Or at least that's how it looks. A lesson from pops comes in and says if you're gonna be a cool gunman you gotta be as flashy and public as at all possible. Although I'm not going to say that Max and Evans are in the clear, their plan of using the former as a decoy is pretty ingenious while playing up their cool side. Except until Max asks the victim on a date once this whole thing is said and done. Ahh, dude you're ruining the plan! Though I love that Pheebs is ready with a quick shot of her own to defuse the situation. She really is the heroine we needed in this manga. That being said, I do hope Kuriyama has something in mind for Max other than "worse Evans", cause while the manga itself has really made a great niche out of a simple concept, he himself isn't doing anything notable for the work other than allowing Evans to pursue his baser instincts which he does well enough on his own. I guess at least Max doesn't appear too much so it's a huge drag but I'm still somewhat wary of his appearances even if I enjoyed this one. Next week Evans is the subject of a scandal which sounds like all kinds of fun. 

I hate to sound like a broken record, but yeah it really does seem like after Marry Grave was put to rest that Memesis is going to be next. The pictures above depict the end game if the Demon King is set free, and while the pacing is still pretty glacial, it's clear that Leon, Ash and Kijira are making a beeline towards a climatic confrontation. With the series trailing in the TOC, and new series on duty it's really only a matter of time I feel like. Still, as far as Sunday goes I love that Yagyuu goes out with his best foot forward. With only five minutes to go before all hell breaks lose, the reunited trio rush to stop it despite it being set in stone (as according to the Demon King officer.) The side text (though I know I shouldn't believe this) also says the countdown has begun, and considering most series ends around the forties if they're going to conclude, this being chapter 45 suggests a lot. Though the fact that the two enemies that Ash and Kijira struggled against before have managed to combine into one suggests that this is a struggle that won't be easy to win. Good luck guys, this is going to be a tough one. 

This week's Youkai giga features the "Ten" which is a type of weasel. (Think the Itachi, but not quite the same thing.) These youkai are known for their shape changing prowess. In the chapter itself we have two Ten practicing their transformation skills, though one is a lot more enthusiastic than the other. (I kind of like that the other little weasel is like "Dude we don't have to scare people or do youkai things just because it's tradition." It's so very contemporary that I can't help but laugh at it. I mean think about it, a lot of youkai just emulate the behavior of generations before them --somewhat like people, without even really asking why. I guess it makes for good stories but individuality is what the present is about, yo! A Tanuki comes in to give them some advice but they see right through it --(No human girl eats two dango at a time! That's not ladylike! --is what they said.) Though they do have a breakthrough, and it's that it's easier to transform into something you really want to. The first sleepy Ten becomes a pillow while the other is....well, have a look at that last page. I don't think I really need to go into detail do I? 

That's it for this week's editorial! Man this section just seems to be shrinking every week huh? Might have to make a few changes to make up for that any case next week we'll see the return of an old favorite and I'm totally looking forward to that! Until then!