Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Weekly Shounen Sunday #14

It's a bit late this week but it was still basically Tuesday when I started writing this! Anyway, it's a fairly low key issue of the magazine this week, so I think things will be a little shorter and cut 'n dry. Hopefully I can make up for that with some exciting coverage! Let's get started, shall we?

On this week's cover is the reveal of our shadow culprit pin up idol --Nana Asakawa. She's a part of the "Super Girls" Idol unit, and apparently a "Baby faced big busted" beauty that only appears every one thousand years. (Hey, that's not my term --it's all Japan here.) She's also a huge Conan fan apparently which is why she agreed to dress up as the silhouetted suspect in the first place. Gotta say that cute fangirls are awesome. A shame they're also way out of my reach.

The TOC! DameTerasu is looking really doomed only being five from the bottom. (Sunday Unscientific laboratory is always last so I don't count that.) I mentioned it last week, but being this far down without a first volume release is quite bad. RYOKO is also in a scary position post first volume. Granted, I've been around and know if a series at least avoids the bottom five then it's mostly okay for a little while. Otherwise things are pretty normal ish here, with Aozakura on top because it got a lead color page. That being said, I think it's the only series to get any kind of pimping this week which is interesting...

A Sunday Issue means Conan Pimping, and this one is no slouch. We get a lineup of what will be offered in the Cafe, along with a tag line from the movie --"At long last we meet, my future husband..." I'm looking forward to not seeing this movie for months! 

And here's the Asakawa photo line up. Again, she is rather cute (and young, 18 or 19 now I believe). And a rising star in the idol industry. Sunday isn't the only magazine she's had pin-ups in either but it's the only one that matters for this blog so you'll have to look for those on your own if that's your fancy.

Switch on! I figure readers of this blog have seen the adverts for the Switch in English, but maybe not so much in Japanese, so behold and rejoice! Sadly I can't get a switch for the time being, but I can certainly look at these pictures and question my life decisions! Yay!

The premier of the RINNE 3rd season is rounding the corner in April, and as such it's time to announce the new Opening theme. It'll be "Shiny" by Yoru no Honki Dance (A Night's serious dance.) Who are a "pop rock/dance music" band. I still need to get off my arse and watch the first two seasons of the anime since I've really enjoyed covering the manga here. That being said, I do love me some Japanese music, so I'll probably at least check out this song and the associated animated video. Weirdly the ED was not announced at the same time, but there's still a month to go till airing.

Now to the manga! First up is Aozakura with a pretty sweet color spread and the promise of a new spring themed arc for the manga. Volume 3 is set to be released on March 17th, as well which are all great reasons to advertise this week. 

Now I don't mean to water down the manga (it does a good enough job itself on these pages, hah), but it's less a story about the history of the self defense force and more dudes being dudes with a military-training shtick. WSS really doesn't have any "cute dudes doing things" manga though, which is why it might be doing sorta okay sales/TOC wise. I do really like Nikadou-sensei's artwork, myself.

I really like this set of panels as the hero --Kondo thinks about why he's here and how far he's come. Oh right, I mentioned it before but a few of the guys here share names with the famous members of the Shinsengumi. Pretty sure that's not a coincidence, and girls who dig history are actually a thing in Japan, so again it might be the magazine trying to appeal to a certain demographic outside their normal niche --aka, cute girls doing things.

It might just be because spring is here and with it come lotsa new volumes of manga, but this week's WSS is pretty heavy handed with the advertisements. This here is a advert for volume three that even goes as far as listing the characters in the series who all have familiar names...Kyokawa, Ookubo, Matsuhira, Sakaki No relation and Nishiwaki. Maybe I might do a bit of research and report in next week...

After a week off, Komi-san is back and it's lunch time. It's fun how the unique perspective of this manga --a popular girl who is actually too shy to speak turns even the mundane into interesting experiences.

With half the day's lessons done, Komi and Tadano are ready to do a bit of studying when someone's belly ...well I wouldn't call that grumbling, more like "roaring for the blood of innocents" interrupts their conversation.

Agari (girl with glasses) is the one who's out for blo--lunch, and apparently her thing is changing personalities when food is involved. Since she's basically only a step removed from being a high school foodie, the gang decides to ask her where to go for lunch. She reccomends a pretty old looking place based on how she prefers to eat where there aren't many other people (Which Tadano, Komi and I) totally understand.

This is a scene slightly before Komi and the others approach the restaurant which is run by the Nitas, a father/daughter pair that are arguing over the lack of customers approaching their place during the day. There's a bit of word play with their name "Nita" and the word "appearance" "Nitamono" here, but there's essentially no way for me to get it to work in English, lol. 

The Nita's or well, the daughter Musubi Nita, takes one look at Komi-san's style and grace and immediately figures that they can attract more customers with the very fact that she's eating there. As such the treatment she gives Komi is a little different than Tadano and Agari. In fact in the second page she doesn't even realize they exist until Tadano asks for water, lol. Notice the glass she gives Komi is totally not one you'd give free water in.

The difference in treatment continues with Komi-san getting a smorgasbord of food for simply existing, while the rest of the party is mostly forgotten, lol. On the page beside it, Oda (not that one) using his trademark storyboard paneling captures Komi daintily eating her food in a very realistic manner. 

Now what I really like about this chapter is the punchline. So, Agari is actually a food blogger, and while she was mostly forgotten (along with Tadano) when she did get her food, she rather enjoyed it and gave them a positive review on her meal. As such the Nita's enjoy an explosion of popularity, but will never know it was because of Agari rather than Komi. Goes to show you that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover!

Next up is RINNE with the second part of the puzzle cube story.

The last chapter left off with Kain finding that Renge might just be a thief who stole a very important cube, when it was in fact Rinne's Dad who is the culprit. However Renge really just wants to return the cube to it's rightful owners, so things are getting somewhat complicated.

And they become further so when son comes in to reprimand father.

It appears the group manages to escape at first, and Renge hands Rinne his no-good-dad claiming that she has to return the box to Kain and therefore cannot give it to him. Rokumon quickly figures out she's just gonna hand it back to Kain, which Rinne tries to talk her out of, but then the man himself appears..

And completely misreads the situation, accusing her of being a thief. lol, Rinne's Dad being like. "Well, if you have a look at this situation, can you really blame him for coming to that conclusion?" 

Dad snatches the box back and makes a run for it, but not before claiming that he's never met Renge --whom he refers to as the girl with his son-- ever before in his life so she's innocent of any wrongdoing. He then "says" to her that he will keep the secret of her being a Damashinigami from Kain, hence the sparkly effects.

Renge then figures out how the box is supposed to be solved, due to her days of being a janitor and seeing the design on the elevator. What kind of life has she lead up until now... Dad almost ruins his almost good will by yelling out that "It's to be expected of the damashinigami's number one--" but Renge kicks him off in true Takahashi style shutting him up for good, and ending this mini-arc.

Saya is on the frontspiece of this week's Dagashikashi, which is pretty high up in the mag, interestingly enough! 

Lunch seems to be a theme in this week's WSS with Kokonotsu and Saya about to eat when the former finds his lunch is basically gum. Is it just me or do they seem older-looking? It might just be the school uniforms though. In any case, this chapter is perfect at imbuing Dagashikashi's best trait --it's great treatment of it's characters. 

It makes sense with a limited premise like this --literally about Japanese snacks that eventually the premise takes a backseat to the characters. Here Kokonotsu and Saya are litterally messing around by taking the gum which has a unique property of coloring one's tongue different colors and showing that off. I like how Kokonotsu thinks to himself "Y'know for some reason a girl sticking out her tongue is sorta lewd". It's perverted and a little innocent which is kind of endearing to me.

Saya takes pity on Kokonotsu and offers him some bread to eat since his father was more thinking about the fun-factor of eating gum rather than filling one's stomach. Saya's brother Tou shows up and sees the both of them eating the bread she bought, and knowingly leaves after taking some gum for himself. 

Tou's eating the gum during class which gets him in trouble with the teacher, but not realizing the special quality of this gum and it's tongue transforming flavor, ends with the teach misunderstanding and thinking he's sick or something, lol. See, this is what I mean. It's a simple premise that lives and dies on it's characterization, and Dagashikashi gives the characters a lot of respect in that regard, which is probably why it's one of WSS's big sellers.

And Mr. Shounen Sunday of course. 11 chapters left until 1,000 at this point, but that's going to be delayed slightly as Conan is taking a two week hiatus after this issue. Normally it's one case (three chapters) and then a week off, but If I were to guess, this is being done on purpose to create hype and coincide with the movie. That being said the tag on the side says that a new series about a swordsman will be the highlight when Conan returns. I wonder who it could be? We'll find out when Conan resumes in issue 17.

Tenshi to Akuto is up next with some more shounen-fied mahou shoujo voice acting battles~!

An intro to the three lead voice actors for this mahou shoujo anime --Akuto as "Sugar girl", the girl with him --Asuha as Ice Girl, and Shikimi at the bottom as "Pudding girl". I said it a few weeks back, but I really like Shikimi's design. Hense the totally biased extra large pic of her page.

As if this series didn't play with expectations enough by having Akuto who is very much a dude play the lead role in a mahou shoujo anime, we have Shikimi who looks very much like a dour no-nonsense type of woman playing the cutest character in the series, and doing a really good job at it! Look at Asuha and Akuto's reactions!

Of course Akuto's personality is one where anyone who's better than him in anything is a possible rival and he intends to set the record straight with Shikimi right away. A shame that his forte isn't acting like he's having fun even if it means advancing his schemes, as seen in the last panel on the right. Also I posted this because the girl in the top panel looks like Queen from "Kaitou Joker" in which Akuto's future VA plays the lead role...

Unfortunately despite his efforts, Shikmi's not buying what he's selling and tells him to beat it.

Hah, I like the look into the anime industry these set of pages implies. One careless remark from someone has the director of the series possibly say that "Pudding girl" will have a spin off series due to having more roles. The producer is like "Dude, don't say that to him, he'll actually do it." which got a laugh out of me. Meanwhile Asuha agrees talking spinoffs is really putting the cart before the horse as the show hasn't aired yet, but Shikimi is all for having her own show, which means Akuto might just be the one who's in trouble now...

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in the going ons of Major 2nd despite not having any interest in sports or baseball. Though for me I usually love character interactions in sports manga/anime, but I have no interest in watching them play. I'm weird like that.

So picking up from last time, Hikaru's conscious after his accident on the field, but due to a neck injury he's unable to move around on his own, and only members of his family are allowed to visit him at the current moment.

It's unknown at this point if he'll ever be able to move again which really plays a number on our protag's psyche, and not gonna lie, mine too. This is a development that I have some admitted mixed feelings on, but I do like the way it's being handled by Mitsuda. 

It's two months later and while the rest of the team has continued playing, Daigo has more or less quit the team and become a living corpse. Meanwhile his sister and mom get a text from "Big Daddy" (That's what it says, don't blame me.) that he's coming home tomorrow. I assume this must be the protag from the original Major who's been absent until now. Maybe he'll give Daigo the peptalk he needs to return to the mound? Next issue!

So a bit of errata from last week which I apologize for. Rather than being people who live in this house, these folks were actually out to destroy the Soubotei at one point, but now live within it's boundaries. The Star platinum looking dude mentions that he was "reborn" within the paintings in the house and now doesn't want to destroy it. So I was half right, but that's still half wrong, and I'll try not to make that mistake in the future. Anyway, here's Soubotei!

It's not explicitly stated, but it appears people with super natural abilities have either targeted the house for destruction or come to it's aid due to it's abilities. The old couple in the first two pages I linked have psychokinesis, and on this page we have Kurenai (black haired girl) with spirtual sword abilities, an american professor --Auguste with control over nature, and a girl (who's name is hard to translate, --Frol Horobaine?) With psychic abilities.

I could stare all day at Fujita's pretty fireworks, but I have a writeup to do. Anyway, the secondary protagonist --Takoha (Glasses guy) is drawn by the explosions in the other part of the house apparently the psychokinetic couple are friends of his? 

I love this exchange between StarPlat-ish guy and the old dude, "Old man, I thought you were just some rich guy, but your better built than I thought." "My wife Josephine likes her men to be tough, you see". 

I'm not sure how Takoha knows the clearly foreign couple, but he's willing to jump into the fray to keep them from being hurt by StarPlat, so they must have some history. 

The old couple (with an assist from Auguste) defeat StarPlat, but it seems Takoha got dragged into the fray. What's his ultimate fate? We'll have to find out in issue #15! 

Next up is Makanai-san. I like that Koyama even uses the fronstpiece as a part of her story similar to Oda (yes that one). Seems the misunderstanding with the cop from the other issue has been cleared up as Kiyo is out on the town doing her grocery shopping.

This is an interesting page. Kiyo notices several middle school kids in their uniforms and comments that it's been a while since she wore one. I mean, I know she's 16 and all so she's grown past that, but the way this page implies it, its more like she hasn't been in school in a while, which I wonder about. Why is she a sixteen year old who's a cook at a geisha house?

And speaking of blasts from the past, we have Su-chan, Kiyo's friend from back in the days. I really like her somewhat retro throwback character design. --Especially her eyes. 

Life comes at you fast. Su-chan who had always just been an assistant to the Maiko has now been told she'll be making her debut as one! Meanwhile I just love the expressiveness in her eyes.

So much happens in these two pages yet there isn't a whole lot of text. Koyama's great at telling a story through pictures without losing a single detail. Kiyo is happy for her friend who has struggled so much to get to this point.

To celebrate, Kiyo makes her friend Pudding alamode, and then we're treated to Su-chan washing her face and realizing that her life has slowly begun to change. Makanai-san is just a perfect series to read when one wants to just lean back and enjoy themselves --probably the epitome of WSS itself.

RYOKO continues to march on, which means I need to get back to translating it! Especially before Saike comes back in a week or so. Perhaps next week....I'm such a busy guy, aren't I?

This last page is significant --not because of the character we just met's past being revealed (and that she was on death row?!) but because it's a glimpse into the world before it became food for food that's not seen from Ryoko's perspective. Although I'm still very worried about the series' future, this is a sign that at least the editorial staff will let Mitsuhashi do some worldbuilding.

Next up is Birdmen swooping in for it's monthly visit. Ah I love Tanabe's artwork, and it seems to have only gotten better now that she's allowed a month to work.

Speaking of which, possibly because the series is monthly the editorial staff saw fit to give us a map of the characters, their descriptions and where they are currently. Of course this isn't much good unless you have been keeping up with the series at least a little, but the point is probably to get new people interested. 

I love that with everything going on, the series still has a sense of humor. It appears that the next leg of the journey might be Germany?

Dual page spread, contractually obligated, you get the drill. Look at this thing though. I'm a sucker for manga architecture, okay? Someone stop me from starting a manga architecture blog, seriously.

Tanabe also has a eye for really unique character designs. I remember in Kekkaishi that no two characters looked exactly the same, which goes for Birdmen too.

Meet Barbara Novak. (She looks much older than 18 though.) Seems she intends to get in our heros' way for one reason or another. We'll be seeing Birdmen again the week after Conan returns in Issue 18.

Next up is DameTerasu which starts off with Kouhei being Kouhei and Amaterasu being Amaterasu. (So lazy and perverted for those who don't regularly keep up with this series or the blog.)

Amaterasu gets bad news from from the world of the gods that her father has ended up in the hospital. The one who gave her the news is Amenouzume who's a underling of her dad and an idol of Takamagahara. 

A guide to what makes up Amaterasu. I really like it when the authors do this, if just because it's usually pretty humorous. Apparently her aho-ge is a communicator with the world of the gods!

Amaterasu being the doting --albeit lazy daughter that she is immediately heads off to the land of the gods with Kouhei in tow. It's surprisingly modern, huh? Though I think Fujiki manages to make it look sort of mystic too, what the old fashioned cloud drawings and the architecture. 

To their surprise, Amaterasu's Dad shows up and seems healthier than earlier reported, or well at least healthier than Kouhei who just got crushed. 

And now an advertisement for volume one. March 17th is looking to be an important day for WSS fans! I'm on the fence as to whether I'll pick this up myself as I wonder if it'll last long, but I certainly hope it will.

Speaking of adverts, it's good to be a veteran, cause then you get something awesome like this for your 48th volume. That being said, Zettai has been in final arc mode for a while, so it'll be interesting to see if it's still in the mag by the end of the year.

And now for Keijo's 15th volume. Like I said, there's quite a bit of it this issue. Though not surprisingly there's a lot of manga coming out on the 17th, so it makes sense.

Speaking of Keijo, this weeks chapter starts with the "end". (Yes it's sort of a pun on the word "end" and the ass "end".) 

That just looks really friggin' painful. Though...

It's an actual-factual rear end absorber! Yeah, I'm out of ass puns this week. I'll try harder next week, I promise.

Meanwhile in Denpa Kyoshi, it's getting uncomfortably close to the current US political climate. Also, I'm sort of surprised they were able to get away with using "CNN" and not a knockoff of some kind.

"Humanity.....learn some shame". Truer words....

And an advert for the final arc of Denpa Kyoshi! It's been confirmed that volume 26 will be the grand finale, so the series has at most four or five chapters left before the end. 

Speaking of the end....

Oniwo comes to an emotional peak in this chapter, even if I'm not 100% of what's going on due to not really following it until now --a mistake I make far too often.

D--Did the protagonist just die? The last page of the mag (which is coming up) says that the final chapter next week will be a impactful finale. It'll be interesting to see what Tonaka comes up with.

And here we are at the end! On the cover next time will be Morning Musume '17, and will feature a oneshot by Nishi Aikawa called "Hana no Michi" (Road of Flowers). The blurb text reads that this will be the first in a festival of oneshots, which makes sense with Conan being out of the mag for two weeks, and Oniwo coming to an end. In any case, that's it for WSS #14, and February itself! Till our first Sunday on Tuesday in March, see ya!