And for my next trick, two Sundays in a week! Pay close attention to my hands dear viewers, as the trick is in how fast I can turn keystrokes into supportive sunday slogans! Okay, maybe my aliterations need some work, but I'm too busy writing this blog to practice, so be kind to me.
Aw. With a cover like this it's actually kind of a shame Komi doesn't get a color page too. It also gets me thinking that while the editorial staff might be the ones to give the option for color pages, it's the authors who decide whether they wanna jump to the call or not. Granted, I'd say having a color page on the front like this where people are going to see it in stores is probably the better deal. Not surprisingly, Conan and Amuro are present, as is Megumi and Aozakura who received color pages of their own. Still, this is the cutest cover I've seen this year!
You know what else is cute? Well, no, not the TOC that's more just charming.
Amano Megumi Suki Darake! by Nekoguchi (Chapter 120/Lead color page.)
Gopun go no Sekai by Hiroshi Fukuda (Chapter 7)
Detective Conan by Gosho Aoyama (Chapter 1014)
Detective Conan: Zero's Tea Time: Supervised by Gosho Aoyama/Art by Takahiro Arai (Chapter 6)
Komi-san wa komyusho desu by Tomohito Oda (Chapter 145)
Be Blues by Motoyuki Tanaka (Chapter 335)
Aozakura Bouei daigakkou monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido (Chapter 92/Center Color)
Tonikaku cawaii by Kenjirou Hata (Chapter 18)
Memesis by Takuya Yagyuu (Chapter 15)
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami (Chapter 129)
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita (Chapter 105)
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama (Chapter 71)
switch by Atsushi Namikiri (Chapter 9)
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu Satsujin Misshitsu: Story by Kyouichi Nanatsuki/ Art by Teppei Sugiyama (Chapter 26)
Kimi wa 008 by Syun Matsuena (Chapter 16)
Maoujo de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomata (Chapter 104)
Shinobi no by Rokurou Ogaki (Chapter 44)
Major 2nd by Takuya Mitsuda (Chapter 142)
Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa (Chapter 127)
Sokyuu no Ariadane by Norhiro Yagi (Chapter 25)
Marry Grave by Hidenori Yamaji (Chapter 24)
Saike matashitemo by Tsubasa Fukuchi (Chapter 115)
K.O.I King of Idol by Tamaki Wakaki (Chapter 49)
Chrono Magia by Fujiko Dousei (Chapter 8)
Zettai Karen Children by Takashi Shiina (Chapter 507)
Daiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba (Chapter 54)
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ by Mizuki Kuriyama (Chapter 58)
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou (Chapter 58)
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Nouen by Yuuji Yokoyama (Chapter 26)
Not in this issue is:
Whoa, what happened to Evans? I don't think it's in any real danger, mind you, but that's the lowest it's been for it's entire serialization. 008 is also hitting a new low this week, so maybe it's just odd series out? Never thought I'd see Evans below K.O.I though. Granted it might be because of Megumi and Aozakura's color pages, but that's quite the crash landing. Ariadne is a little higher than usual this week, and I think it's basically confirmed that Conans flock together for the most part --though it makes sense to market the spinoff close to the original. It is striking to see most of the magazine lined up like this --a lot of stuff is fairly young nowadays, huh.
Celebrating the release of an 11th volume is Amano Megumi, and that's quite the color page, even if you're not into fan-service. Nekoguchi's artwork is quite fetching as is his use of color. It's a very eye catching page, no? I'm also really fond of his character designs --all of the girls here are cute and visually distinct. I also think this might be the first time we see Ringo in color, so that's an added benefit to this as well.
Amano Megumi revels in simplicity, but this is by no means a weakness. It is a series that knows what it wants to be and does just that. Though what really sets it apart from others of it's ilk is it's earnestness to keep things natural and endearing. I won't deny that it is filled with titillation,
see what I did there? But none of it comes off as excess because Nekoguchi doesn't go out of his way to provide situations where fanservice is the result. Not only that, the characters are simple but endearing. For example, in this week's chapter, it's thanks to Megumi that the girls kendo team won a country wide competition, and the star herself is acting kind of childish, much to Ma-kun's chagrin. Still he follows her home after she requests it and as per this series we get all kinds of candid views. Though the series is adept at the sudden swing for the sweet as they get caught waiting at a bus stop for the rain to stop. Ma-kun wants to get home immediately, but Megumi is fine with the current situation, saying she'd like to stay with him for a bit longer. Ma-kun recalls from their childhood how she'd track in mud and get scolded because of her love of playing in the rain and she upset says that's not what she means --it's not like she's a kid!
For a brief moment Ma-kun really does see her as more than a childhood friend, but then a splash from a speeding truck reminds the two that in the scheme of things they really do still have a long way to go. Mom reminds Megumi she's not a kid as she complains about having to do her laundry, bringing the chapter into a great little full circle effect as it ends. This chapter didn't have much in the way of heavy substance, but really, Megumi proves you don't need all that when you've got charm.
I do wonder if my decision not to give "After the 5 minutes" weekly coverage might have been premature....the series continues to betray my expectations in all the best ways. Yamato still hasn't used his ability to time travel to benefit himself or alter the plot. Also, Shogakukan has seen fit to give this series a genre, "Time Leap Panic horror". That's certainly a mouthful, and maybe a little too on the nose, but at least you know what you're getting when you read! So what's the deal with the new stranger who claims to be from the future? He doesn't seem to be up to answering questions as he simply tells Yamato to toss the gun and wait a minute when the latter asks if he's really here to save them.
Fukuda is still bending genres with his artwork and I really dig it. The ball that the stranger from the future is using is called "Odd Genius" Or well, I think that's what it's called, since rendering Katakana is always hit or miss. Well, putting aside what it's called, what exactly is it? It's easily able to cleave through the Buddha statues when bullets had absolutely no effect!?
And this thing can not only shoot holes through the Buddha, it can cleave through them and change shape as well --all without the mysterious stranger needing to actually touch it!
Yuuto at least is using his brain rather than staring slack-jawed at their mysterious savior, and ruminates on what he said when he arrived --he came back from the future? Doesn't that mean that at one point he left from somewhere to go to the Future? He surmises. This is an important point, as it seems likely that this guy might be one of the main characters' future self, or at least that's what I'd like to assume. I could be way off of course, but it would explain how he knows so much and kiiiind of looks like Yamato. Yuuto for his credit assumes he --the stranger must have the same ability to time leap as his brother, and has come back to the past to help! The stranger leads them away from the dangerous area where the Buddha's comrades might show up to somewhere else, and...
He takes them to the bar "Clockworks"
I see what you did there Fukuda where he asks if everyone survived, and a group greets him with a "somehow" where Yamato comes face to face with one of his classmates who he thought died?! What has Ooiwa (which means "big rock", hens his nickname of "Rock") been doing up until now, and why is he in cahoots with the time traveling stranger? Until next time...!
Mr. Shounen Sunday hasn't even started investigating properly as this case opens, and the blood count is just rising...the discovery of Momosaki who was killed in last week's chapter gets the police's attention quickly since she was one of their own. From what they're able to pick up, this person purposesly lead a cop out of her way to follow them so they could go for the kill indicating this is going to be a Conan case where we know some of the clues before the sleuths and the mystery becomes about connecting the dots either with Conan or before him --admittedly I've never been able to, but these cases are some of my favorites. Another female cop--Yagi (not that one) shows up demanding to be let in, but goes silent when she sees the victim, saying that she's figured out something important. Does that something have to do with how she seems to be rather acquainted with the killer? Well, was, as she too is murdered pretty unceremoniously.
The fearsome looking Kuroda happened to be "nearby" and notes that beside the body is a warped 100 Yen coin, implying that this culprit is purposely acting as a cop serial killer --and specifically aiming for female cops. Gotta say that this is an interesting one for Conan's mystery files --I don't think we've had a serial killer who had specific targets before making this case all that much more dire. We're lucky that there is in fact a chapter next week, but it does seem that Aoyama is making good on the promise that this will be a longer case.
Zero and Conan seem to go hand in hand which oddly works well since one is definitely more high octane than the other....is what I'd like to say, but in fact Zero was pretty high octane itself this week all without losing that characteristic coolness that we've come to know the series for. This week's chapter features the secretary from Eri Kisaki's office (yup the very same one who used to be married to one Kogorou Mouri) Midori Kuriyama. Midori wants to plan a surprise party for her boss getting yet another not guilty verdict, and has come to pick up the food for the shindig but by the time she'd be able to get it there by taxi she'd be late! What can she do? No worries, just leave it to Amuro! Though one might regret asking him for a ride --dude never takes his foot off the accelerator, oh no, and when he does it has some pretty awesome looking but scary-to-experience results.
I do like the idea of Amuro clearly doing this to impress/shock, as that playful side of his personality rounds him out well. Even if poor Midori is kind of shaken by the event, and turns down a ride from Amuro the next day pretty shakily, hah. This was definitely the most fun out of the chapters out for Zero so far, but still a far cry from those hoping for something with a bit more substance. Still, I think I might be coming around on the series --at least a little. It's just a fun little diversion and I think treating it as such will increase one's enjoyment of it.
I dunno why I thought the family trip "arc" would have ended last week, but it didn't, and it doesn't appear to be ending this week either. However, the developing events that we get this chapter and seem to be budding for the next one are certainly worthy for a 100th serialized chapter. Hitomi is pretty wise to her brother and sister, and under a pretty flimsy pretense escorts herself and Shousuke out of the room so they can have some alone time. Osana is knocked out by a food coma, and the parents are elsewhere....oh my, could it be the "relationship-advancement" event?
Tadano is unable to really hide his elation at the turn of events as much as he tries, hah. The two decide to go find a spot to see the stars alone together, but then the weather takes a sudden turn and they're drenched. I have to wonder if Nekoguchi and Oda (not that one) traded notes this week...in any case, Tadano is at least a proper gentleman and offers Komi his coat, a gesture that leaves him out in the cold, but Komi in her infinite kindness offers the coat to him, but he couldn't possibly take it from her...so the only way to solve this issue is to share it. I won't pretend to understand romantic gestures, but look at these good kids go. I can't help but to want to cheer them on --but what will Tadano's response be?
Aozakura creeps ever so slowly to it's 100th chapter, and with it has an interesting place in the magazine in regards to sales/TOC rank. It seems to be on shaky ground, but doing a bit better than Saike and of course the enigma Daiku. I want to say that getting to it's second year has absolved it from being cancelled suddenly, but it's probably more dependent on other series doing worse than it, of which there are a few. It seems to be the type of series that while having a "goal" is content with taking it's time getting there since the work is very character driven. This week for example continues the sports festival that has been going on the last few weeks of which has little to do with the ongoing plot. I do like the nod to New Zealand Rugby culture with the dance and shout and response as seen above. Little things like that really please me as it shows an effort on the mangaka's part to research outside of their comfort zone. With the end of the chapter, the group is finally headed to the "war zone" though since this is indicated by end of chapter text, I assume that's not the entire story. Still, the festivities were fun to watch if only because we get to see some characters who don't always have a chance to appear in the story, and how their interactions round out the leads.
The test is on in Memesis this week as the gathered heroes show their stuff. I was thinking Yagyuu would have a few drop out to show just how important this mission is, (so a sorta worf effect) but to my surprise basically everyone passed. The test itself was easy in concept --get a giant stone dragon up a hill using whatever skills in your possession. (I translated this as "Dragon Stage" last time, due to it being rather vague, but a better, more accurate TL would have been "Dragon Delivery.") I was a little intrigued that some characters have already formed teams while others are still going at it alone, however, but this was because Yagyuu didn't show off the team formations much between last week's introductory chapter and this one. Another interesting tidbit is another character I don't remember seeing --Shogi the gambling hero appearing (and he's rather destitute), and Kijira giving him a bite to eat rather offhandedly. I feel like this is going to figure in later especially since Kijira and Ash have been depicted to be "kind" warriors unlike the others gathered.
The pic on the left was just a nice group photo of all the heroes gathered so I had to upload it. I wonder if Yagyuu was just playing with foreshortening that Rose appears to be so small, or if she just is petite?
That being said, she really didn't do much this week. Meanwhile, with the heroes passing the test, they are deemed worthy to hear of their mission in detail --they are to rescue the Kiri Kingdom's princess, "Nasha Raki Linda". W-W-wait. "Linda"? Isn't she the girl from the first chapter?! Admittedly it's not all that surprising since it's not like she died in her first appearance or anything, and aside from her avenging her parents she really didn't mention much about herself. To think she was a princess though....Memesis is still pretty short each week, but I'm fine with it since Yagyuu seems to have a pretty good idea of what he wants to do in every chapter so time isn't wasted.
Now this is a familiar situation in Souboutei --Frol is the one who has the key to victory in her hands, but she can't use her ability right away leaving the others to cover for her as time ticks by. She just needs twelve seconds, but those tick by like an eternity. The sisters have to be kept from stopping her for that period of time, and the survivors of the first incident are doing everything they can to keep the duo from interrupting their plan.
The sisters have the upper hand and so decide to chat a bit. What can they possibly do to stop the invaders plans? Or is it that they intend to help? Surely they know there's not a single thing they can do to stop them right? Why is she acting against orders and going so far to do something that is for all extents and purposes impossible? She answers them that it's because there's still one man in that house --Takoha! Seems he did a little bit of touring around as a ghost and talked to everyone about the Souboutei and how necessary it is for them to come back to the Souboutei. The pyromaniac couple ask why he'd bother doing such a thing when he's possibly dead? And his answer? "Well, that's true, but I just figured it'd be helpful to those who are still alive." How can you hate a guy like that? Seriously. It's even said that out of everyone in the house he's still the most "normal" yet he's been able to keep them going out of sheer will. I really am a sucker for normal guys in extraordinary situations, especially when they're the ones doing the rounds more than the superpowered folk.
But yes, essentially they're desperate to get back into the house because Takoha's selflessness has inspired them. I like that Fujita kept this from us until now, even though I could understand the sentiment that it feels like a last minute pull, but in another way it also comes off to me as them knowing what they need to do but using Takoha's words as that necessary push to get it done. Unfortunately the sisters are on the move and it looks as if the plan is going to fall apart with only two seconds to spare, but let's not count those normal guys out!
Madarame is on the scene and keeps the sisters from moving! This moment, this mere second of bravery is all they need --as Frol is able to activate her ability in a spellbinding manner as the chapter comes to an end. Fujita has said that Souboutei only has one or two mountains to trek up before the series ends, so it really does feel like everything is on a timer ticking down much like the twelve seconds in this chapter, and I'm looking forward to seeing how all these involved parties will play a part.
As much as I talk about not particularly enjoying sports series, you might be surprised to see switch here yet again. This happened with Major 2nd some time ago, so it's actually right up my alley-- I enjoy character interactions/moments in sports series, but I don't really care for the game itself. switch is currently reveling in those moments and thus is much more appealing to me as a series than when they're having practice games or training sessions. Most of all, Namikiri's execution is pretty great --the chapter itself is completely silent save for a few moments, and Raimu is okay from what we can tell too. It's almost as if his brother hasn't died and life continues as normal. I really like that Namikiri eschews the idea that Riku's death has to be this sensational event within the story even if to us it really should be.
Rather it's in a moment of solitude that it all hits Raimu. His brother isn't coming back, and the dream that they sought to realize is now his alone. I can almost imagine him numbing himself to this fact until he's alone and thus unprepared for the resulting wave of nostalgia and emotions. Not only that Namikiri's artwork takes on a story-board like focus as Raimu's eyes fill with tears and he remembers the promise he had with his brother. Rather than feeling sad though, the opposite page implies that he is instead confused as he asks himself why he's crying. Not surprisingly he tells himself that he can't play Basketball anymore, and prepares to quit, but then...
The end of chapter text is usually pretty innocuous stuff --either completely misleading or just fluff to hype one up for the next installment of a series, but this week it was fairly poignant. "In the mirror before him was the reflection of his brother Riku, and thus a new flame in his heart was lit". The chapter ends before we really see what this does to Raimu, so it's difficult to tell if this text is correct, but it certainly does make me want to check out the next chapter. So far so good, Namikiri!
Kisaragi is seemingly the next victim of the bad luck of being in a mystery series until Xeno reveals he's actually still alive, but a wrong move could change that. He orders Manami to call an ambulance and the police as the investigation starts. The cops show up, and the inspector in charge of the case seems to be very familiar with one Manami Kuga, stating that this is the third occurrence....occurrence of what exactly? Seems this is the third time someone in her presence has been hurt, so for whatever reason Manami is bad luck to be around, and according to the cop in charge --Okasabe, very likely to be the prime suspect as much as being labeled as such angers her.
All things considered, Xeno does offhandedly defend her by stating that they were in conversation when the attack occurred, and there's no way she could have quickly changed gears from talking to murder. Okasabe is pretty genre savvy too, asking if Xeno knows who among them could be the perpetrator --too bad this series bucks the trend and Xeno flat out states that the murderer-to-be that they're looking for isn't here! Manami has a stack of books with her as reading is her pastime, but Xeno's had a look at the material she's got with her and has found a few strange things --such as a tear just big enough for a 3 centimeter bladed weapon in the book cover, and how a certain book that Manami has is the only one with a book cover --something normally libraries toss out. She then realizes this book isn't one of the many she's borrowed, and Xeno is quickly able to put the pieces together and deduct that this reading material is in fact their murder-to-be weapon.
Someone must have stuck the book into Manami's stack when she wasn't looking, and by placing the bladed weapon in the cover and opening a slit just big enough for it to be stabbed through when the book is slid inside has created quite the creative murder weapon. This actually gets Manami off the hook as if someone went through all this trouble of giving her quite literally "killer" reading material, then she was more likely than not the target rather than the killer. Poor Kisaragi just had poor luck in being the one to find the book first. Osakabe accepts this explanation begrudgingly, but says he intends to talk to Xeno after his business on the island is through. So it appears this case is going to go unsolved for now, interestingly enough.
Xeno going for a longer game with this case is actually kind of exciting since it means his business on the island and what has occurred here will mingle together at some point leading into a way more complex case than what we've seen so far --I hope. Oh, but that isn't the end of this chapter --not by a longshot. So after the cops leave, Manami drops the bomb that she's figured out who Xeno is and thus knows why he's headed to Onugamishima. See, that island in particular is where Kai was born and raised, and even more intriguing is that she is his niece! Kai's shadow still extends over the length of this work, and I for one am all for it. I do wonder how Manami will fit into all of this, but she certainly doesn't seem to be going anywhere, thank goodness.
Shinobi no really surprised me this week in several ways, so lets just get right into it. A guy stumbles into an abandoned temple after drinking a little too much one night and sees well...that on the right. Someone's armed to the teeth, and that can't possibly be good for the country and especially not for this dude. That being said, he did seem to be specifically looking for a certain bunch of kids and finds them here for some reason....what would children be doing in a place like this?
They're a cute bunch, but again kids in a place like this can't bode well. Despite their serious affect in the page on the left, their interactions show how childish they are, hah. The boy, Hajime (on the bottom of the page on the left) says that adults aren't allowed in their "secret place" to which the girl complains that it's not very secret if he goes around announcing it to people. The other kid, Hanzou seems pretty laid back about the whole thing which annoys the girl even more. The guy says that they should leave, and quit playing here, but Hanzou insists they're "protecting" this place and not playing games. Anyone who comes in and isn't authorized to has to be "erased".
Been a while since we've gotten a true blue Ogaki dual page spread, and I'm happy to report that he's still got it. Though it's actually the kids moves themselves that are worth discussing --Hanzou on top uses the Iga Ninja art "Kaen Guruma" or "Flame wheel", the girl uses the "Housshin Ryuu Ougi" "Tengu no Mai" or "Tengu dance" and the last boy --Hajime uses "Ore ryuu" "Katana de kiru" which is hilariously "My style, cut with a sword." Hajime has been depicted to be super laid back and it shows with that naming convention, hah. I can't say I'm familiar with the girl's style, but Hanzou definitely rings a bell from --you guessed it, Gintama. In fact, Hajime also has a Gintama verse (and thus real life) equivalent, so it's once again a crossing of universes for this translator.
Supervillain extraordinaire Saitani or Sakamoto shows up in the kids midst with a kid of his own. No it's not his, he found the child floating downstream from a village (and it's heavily implied he might have been the one to raze that poor place) and decided to take it in as his own.
Though John says it's likely he'll have to be the one to raise it. Sakamoto offers the kids a job at his "company" that he's forming today. (Humorously the kids seem much more interested in the baby than his grandiose speech at first, hah.) As bad as this might sound, Sakamoto does tempt them with the promise of being paid even if the kids aren't too familiar with a "company" in the first place. Sakamoto puts it in simple terms that people work together toward a common goal and those who work hardest get the most money. What are they working toward? Complete ownership of Japan. The kids are wisely incredulous about this, but hey, if Sakamoto can pay, why not go along with it?
It's here we're introduced to the kids proper --The twelfth Hattori Hanzou --Hattori Hanzou Masayoshi, Shinchougumi regimental soldier Nakazawa Koto, and Boss of the third division of the Shinsengumi Saitou Hajime. Hajime and Koto are both "soon to be" according to their bio boxes, and while the two boys have appeared in Gintama, so I'm somewhat familar with them, Koto is a little more obscure. Apparently she did exist in history, and according to some fictional accounts might have followed her brother into the Roshigumi, who were a group who headed out to Kyoto, caused trouble and were booted out, save for the 13 who stayed behind and made the Shinsengumi. Again these are fictional stories, but it sounds like Koto might have become a swordswoman herself and joined the Shinsengumi dressed as a guy. It does seem that Ogaki is playing around with this a bit in his depiction, which is cool since I have felt that having more active ladies in Shinobi no would be nice. The truly surprising thing however isn't the kids, but the sudden seven year time skip! That's right, Ogaki jumps ahead by quite a bit and by the end of the chapter seven years have passed, and the door opens on a new arc! What will await us seven years later? Luckily we don't have to wait too long as Shinobi no will be back next week with a brand new chapter and new events!
Silver spoon hits that relatable content this week as everyone celebrates their freedom at last! It's Graduation time! Appropriately enough in the US it is also the time of graduations, so good timing and good tithing for all! Everyone's discussing what they're going to do now that they're free of schooling and have their careers to look forward to...
Except for one girl who's unemployed from the get go, hah. What an expression up there. Though that changes very quickly when she says she's going to study cheese and thus head to France. Ahh to be young and freshly graduated. Though the revelry quickly ends when Mikage approaches Hachiken's Dad and reminds him of their promise. She wanted to prove that his son isn't all just talk, and behold! Thanks to him she's been able to pull up her grades and get accepted into college, so she says, no demands that he believe in his son. Dad says he always has, and even gives his support to Hachiken to move forward as he sees fit, though he thinks it's far too early for him to be thinking of marrying Mikage, which comes out of left field for them both, hah. Turns out one of their friends has been spreading some pretty interesting rumors about them...
Ah I love Arakawa's comically expressive artwork. Mikage's Dad is only hearing this for the first time, and he's none too thrilled. Both Dads threateningly (but politely) greet each other and well, just look at that backdrop, hahah. It's a monster jam and no one is going to survive! Luckily Mikage's mom puts a leash on Dad and drags him away, leading to the final panel of the chapter....and for now. Silver Spoon is headed back to the fields for a while (I assume) and all we're told is that when it's ready to return, there will be an announcement. I feel bad for the fans of the series that it seems "three chapters every once in a while" is the speed of which this series is released, but at least Arakawa does seem intent on seeing it through to the end, so we'll just have to wait for her vision to unfold.
Rashil and Leana are still in the forest of horrors, ruled by a queen with an iron fist! Yagi really does use BG art to utmost effect here as all of the panels of this chapter are bursting with BG. barely a space is wasted as Rashil hammers his way through the forest using his photon powers, and Rulurola finds herself tearfully remembering her past to her annoyance. Though really, the strength of Yagi's adventure story (aside from it's artwork, which I'm really beginning to appreciate) is the character interactions. Rashil manages to get through all of Rulu's forest soldiers and without a hitch embraces her happily upon meeting her again. She's been presented to be this brooding, edgy type, but all of that disappears in an instant when Rashil appears and even shows that her whole personality down to her eyepatch is mostly for show, haha. Rashil even apologizes for keeping her waiting and worries about how she's completely injured despite being the one who forgot about her as if it's not a big deal.
That being said, it seems Rulu doesn't remember him, and says she's offering her body up to "that person" so Rashil shouldn't go touching her so casually, and for wrecking her sacred spot, he can just give up his life as atonement! Ariadne has gotten way more interesting now that we know there are others like Rashil out there, and combined with Yagi's great character interaction, I'm more excited for future events than I ever have been! That being said, I do wonder what Rulu's ultimate fate will be once the dust settles...
With every week that passes with Marry Grave, I really wonder if my fan theory of Yamaji wanting to actually write a series about Rozalie but being forced to shoehorn in a male protagonist is actually true...I won't use up another week to talk about his --Sawyer's failings though as there's a lot more interesting things going on, but it really does feel like Rozalie spices up this story in various ways whenever she's involved. As you can see from the image above, even as a youngster, she had a knack for magic, using the Salamander's tail to explosive effect, and even being able to fly! She even gives a quasi badass boast to her pursuers that while she doesn't want to hurt them, they can't even dream to touch her, so they should give up. Man, why couldn't this series been about her?
It's implied that the Church only sees Rozalie for what her powers can do for them more than as a person, as the reaction of one of the members is to simply marvel at her abilities and comment that her father would be shocked to see how much she's grown. Rozalie responds that she'd rather die than return to them, and thus will live alone. She thanks them for raising her all of this time and departs without another word. Rather than implied, it's outright said that she's an important figure in the Church, and judging by the number of folks sent out to retrieve her, this bears out. We're not exactly told why she's important, but it's safe to assume it's because of her abilities --but to what end exactly? The scene changes to Dante and Sawyer who are looking for the Utopia a month later, the former of which getting annoyed that they can't seem to find any leads. The Utopia should be around here somewhere, but where?
Rozalie happens to be nearby and using a magic that reveals the unseen, finds a castle that just might be what the boys have been looking for, and man does it look grandiose! Sawyer's agency as a main character aside, Yamaji's artwork is always a pleasure to look at, and I marvel at how he's able to keep up a normal page count and keep it looking so good. Sawyer and Dante happen upon Rozalie, and as the chapter title itself says, "A fateful encounter" occurs. I was only half expecting to get an origin story from this arc, so I'm glad to be proven right. That being said, I have to wonder if Yamaji is getting this out of the way now because he's concerned he won't have the time to (due to cancellation) to do so later? It does seem like a strange place to have this flashback story (In my opinion of course) what with plenty in the present to discuss that we haven't gotten to. Still, this has been rather interesting so I have no complaints.
Saike's been proceeding at an even pace up until now with Will not only explaining his nefarious plan but his entire life story to a captive Hizu and Saike, leading the latter to understand that they're in the presence of an evil that cannot be reasoned with. The question here is what does Will want with them in particular? Is there something special about Saike and Hizu that he had to go out of his way to kidnap them, and if so what is it? The answer to that question is....well, a sort of yes and no.
It really could have been anyone as Will explains. What he wants is a person to dump the knowledge of the records onto, so that he could use the "HDD" to back up his own memories. That person would die from the sheer pressure of all that knowledge and Will would be good to go, but hey he's definitely not forcing them or anything! If they decline he'll just have Calim crash the Helicopter, and go search for someone else. No biggie! Though he does say his search for the right person lead him to those with oracles because they aren't "normal" and Hizu/Saike are the most abnormal of them all in his opinion. You have Saike who has an abnormal attachment to his heroism to the point that he'd drown himself countless times just to save others, and then you have Hizu who apparently only follows Saike around to see how he'll die.
Man I like how Fukuchi has this thing where even the most depraved of rivals (or in this case ultimate evils) makes a pretty decent point even if they're far from decent people. Saike and Hizu for all the right they do aren't normal folks at all, though you could make the argument that anyone with oracles --or powers at all really isn't. Also, I like just how much fun Fukuchi is having depicting Will as just a twisted individual. I haven't seen him constantly show off expressions like his in...well maybe ever? It really does cement that this is a villain --not an misunderstood well intentioned but bad execution good guy, but a villain pure and simple. Will even offers a great sadistic choice --he'll allow one of the two to live, if the other sacrifices themselves as his "Human recycling bin". (I'm not embellishing, this is really what he says.) However, in this moment of despair, the teamwork that is Saike's team really shows itself as Hizu.....throws Saike out of the helicopter?
Ahh Ana, you are without a doubt my favorite Fukuchi lady, and it's for reasons like this. So she's been out there the whole time and Hizu could tell. While one could argue that she really should have come in sooner, I like her and Hizu basically working together and deciding to assess the situation first, and act accordingly. Ana saves Saike after Hizu knocks him out of the helicopter, but she admits that she doesn't think she can save them both, so Hizu once again has sacrificed himself for his friend. The bond between the three really is heartening to watch and why I truly love the Shounen demographic.
It's not so much the artwork that I enjoy here as much as it is the execution. (There is a difference!) The snow rushing up as Saike falls from the Helicopter is an excellent effect and definitely well thought of on Fukuchi's part. It's a little touch but goes a long way in depicting Saike and Ana's plunge as the Helicopter rises leaving Hizu to his fate. Saike promises to save him, but how? He can't reset the day without having to first go through the ordeal with Johann again, and will knowing what Will is going to do really effect things in the long run? It doesn't repair just how insidious he is, and that anyone involved with him is likely to be used to the end of being a human recycling bin. They'll need to stop him in his tracks completely, which is probably what this new arc will be about. More than anything I'm looking forward to seeing how the other characters will react to this development since it is likely Saike will be interacting with them.
Like Marry Grave before it, Daiku is also going into flashback mode, but this time it's for Nagiko who has been noticeably absent until recent events. In comparison to another Sunday series --Marry Grave, I wonder if this is happening now because Kusaba has to keep the mortality of his series in mind? Granted the segue is a little more appropriate here since Nagiko has returned to the story proper, and thus her background being explained makes sense --not that I'm arguing that Marry Grave's doesn't, of course. But yes, Nagiko's past is up, and at 8 years old she's really irritated by how the adults in her life treat her like a kid, and her older brother doesn't want to be bothered by his kid sister. Not only that, she's really not interested in the things girls her age are into, so it really does feel like she's all alone.
She gives her folks a scare by seemingly running away from home, just to end up near her grandfather's place where she feels like she's treated properly. Her Grandfather allows her to have whale for the first time, and while as a child she can't appreciate it, it does instill in her a future interest in cultivating the animal that endures even after her grandfather passes, thus leading her to the reason why she's pursuing aquatics in the first place. I'm not at all sure if this will become a full fledged arc (Sadly Daiku is off next week so we'll have to wait a bit to find out), but even if it doesn't this was a great look into Nagiko's past and ambitions --and one that was sorely needed.
There's something appealing about badasses isn't there? Even though we know they're going to see their way through any pinch and thus are kind of predictable, it's still fun to see them do what we know they'll do best, and Kurt the nameless is certainly one of those types. Abby returns to give him a hand, but by the time she does he's already got things handled and instead wants to make plans for their date. Meanwhile Evans and Pheebs "reward" for a job well done is the real Morris! Turns out they caught the actual guy, and thanks to their timing they get access to him. Evans takes the real guy and makes a beeline for Abby while explaining to Pheebs that they'll make with a plan so that it's clear she's bagged the real guy and thus the bounty hunters will back off.
Pheebs tries to drive a hard bargain as if just getting the credit won't be enough (even though she's positively radiant that Evans would be so kind to her, so he tosses in the bounty reward too making it all that much harder for her to decline his offer, but she keeps telling him no as a madder of pride. Evans mostly wants to get his Dad out of a jam, but it seems that really isn't necessary. So now Pheebs is in the unenviable situation of not getting anything for her troubles since she turned down the bounty out of pride and it's now that much harder to ask Evans out --which is what she really wants. Oh the misunderstandings and humanity of it all!
Luckily Abby makes that relatively easy by asking them both to join her at dinner as her treat for helping her out with her mission. It'll be a table for three, but hey, it's a start! Kurt signs off there and rides into the sunset like the gallant cowboy he is, and what's this? It seems Abby actually is looking forward to a date with him whenever he returns. That's...well, I guess after seeing how awesome he is, I wouldn't mind hanging out with him more too, honestly. With this, the Bounty Hunter arc is over, and what an entertaining arc it was. I really hope Abby sticks around even if I'm not entirely sure what she'd be able to offer after the dust settles --I just really like how straightforward her character is, to be quite honest. In a series where misunderstandings are often created by pride, it's great to have a character who creates situations by simply being a straight shooter.
This week's Youkai giga features a rather popular Youkai --The Kappa. I think that most people know of these little guys even if they're not familiar with Japanese culture, or well, only have a rudimentary knowledge. These cucumber loving youkai appear in quite a few anime/manga so you've probably seen them around, which makes this pretty straightforward. The Kappa in this story are bored with their humdrum life in the river, and talk about their sighting of human woman the other day and how exciting that was. They all start talking about how they'd like to go to the village and see more human girls, but one Kappa in particular points out that this would only cause a huge panic, and that they shouldn't. If they go poking around at the human woman they're liable to get themselves killed!
The discussions and disappointment continue until well, speak of the devil an actual human woman appears! The Kappa are so startled that they make a break for it and end up leaving one of their kind behind. Luckily the woman is the kind sort and looks after the Kappa as his buddies look on in jealousy, hah.
She leaves him to his friends, and he describes her skin as just as silky and soft as they had all imagined. Guess that's why you guys should have stuck with your guns, hah. At least that kappa --Manabumaru died doing what he loved. (He didn't really die, don't worry.)
And that's it for issue 29! Next week we hit the big 30 with Be Blues leading with a color page, Shinobi no getting one for a new arc, and Yuugami stopping in for a monthly visit! Wow, already 30 issues in this year huh? The time just flies by when you have two Sundays a week, no? Until the next time, take care.