Friday, March 31, 2017

Weekly Shounen Sunday #19 (Preview)

I feel like I spend more time on this blog than I do with loved ones, lol. Well, you know what they say, there's no rest for the Sunday obsessed. I've got some deets on issue #19 and free time to discuss them, so lets get all the stuff and do this thing.

On the cover is Rikako Yagi who as far as I know was only in the drama adaption of "The Girl who Leapt through time." I'm not sure how Japanese ladies get these wonderful looking eyes, but I'm not complaining. She's only 15 years old, (16 this year) so I'd assume her career can only rise from her appearance in that drama. 

And now the TOC! I'm going back to using Japanese names this week.

Tenshou no Quardable by Takahiro Arai (New series/color pages)
Komi-sa wa Komyushou Desu by Tomohito Oda
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido
Dagashikashi by KOTOYAMA
Maoujou de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomata  (Color pages)
Magi by Shinobu Ohtaka
Amano Megumi wa Suki Darake!! by Nekoguchi
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita
Yuugami-kun wa Tomodachi ga inai by Jun Sakurai (Color pages)
Be Blues! by Motoyuki Tanaka
Hayate no Gotoku by Kenjiro Hata
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama
Kyoukai no RINNE by Rumiko Takahashi
Hiiragi-sama wa Jibun wo sagashiteru by Hiroyuki Nishimori
Zettai Karen Children by Takashi Shiina
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami
Tokiwa Kitaeri!! by Shun Matsuena
Tenshi to Akuto by Aya Hirakawa
Joujuu Senjin Mushibugyo by Hiroshi Fukuda
Saike Matashitemo by Tsubasa Fukuchi
Keijo!!! by Daichi Sorayomi
Sunday Higaku Kenkujyou by Yuuji Yokoyama

And this week, I'll even throw in the series not in the issue.

DameTerasu-sama by Shun Fujiki
Major 2nd by Takuya Mitsuda (Absent until issue #20)
Detective Conan by Gosho Aoyama
RYOKO by Kaito Mitsuhashi

That's right, for whatever reason, RYOKO which was stated to be proceeding normally in this week's issue in the last issue (#18) isn't here for some reason. Not only that, but it's not in the next issue either. Now I did translate chapter #21 and it did mention a "final battle" but I think it's more referring to the end of the arc that the series has been in since chapter 16 or so. Though that being said, two weeks off all of a sudden is kind of concerning. RYOKO has been awesome lately in my opinion, and it needs to keep up that momentum if it wants to keep from being swept away, especially with new series on their way. Though it is weird that there's no notice for the sudden two week break, and Mitsuhashi doesn't use social media, so there's no way to get to the bottom of this...also Saike sinking lower each gives me cause for worry too. I'm assuming it's location the TOC is because of it's special circumstances, but it's still worrying to see it almost at the bottom. 

And now the preview! Hayate ends in issue #20 with an expanded 29 pages, Mushibugyo get's a color page for it's 29th volume release, Major 2nd returns from it's brief hiatus, Conan takes the cover as the new movie nears (For two weeks!) And another new series --Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ by Mizuki Kuriyama begins. As I mentioned before, RYOKO is on break again, and joining it is Be Blues. 

On the note of hiatuses and whatnot, Takashi Shiina (Zettai Karen Children) has stated here on twitter that Zettai Karen Children's "High School arc" will reach the end of it's "first half" in this issue (#20) and then go on hiatus for an undetermined amount of time. Why does it seem like everything in this magazine is going on hiatus...Anyway, I'll be covering the new series when I get the issue, along with Hayate's finale next week. Until then! 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Weekly Shounen Sunday #18

Tuesday means Sunday, and I'm here with the goods. This week's issue is a little lighter on series so it should be an easy read right? Not when all of the series had something worth talking about artistically. I feel bad leaving things out, but them's the breaks. Speaking of breaks, quite a few series are on leave, but we'll make do with what we have. Let's go, go, go!

On this week's cover is a very pretty Yui Okada the cover says she has eyes that you'll fall in love with and I'm inclined to agree. They're so mesmerizing...She's an actresses and model and has a pin up shoot to enjoy in this week's magazine.

Here's some more of pretty Yui. As always you can thank me by throwing some comments my way.

Lots and lots of Conan. Volume 92 hits stands on April 12th, and apparently the DVD for Episode One that aired back in December is getting a limited edition release with the volume....which is weird but understandable. I hope they'll eventually sell the DVD separately though.

More cast for the Inuyasha stage play, revealing Miroku, Kaede, Oushou, and Naraku, along with revealing when the play will begin it's run --April 6th. Everyone is looking super cool in costume! 

We resume Takahashi's two part oneshot that's already in progress --Sennen no Mushin. To my surprise it got a second color page, but I guess that's why Rinne is off, to give Takahashi time to create.

Last we left them, Ai and Mushin were doing battle against a sealed monster, which the latter gave the former the ability to fight against, which she finds incredible, but if Mushin's been fighting it for years, what can Ai possibly do? (Is what she thinks to herself.)

The monster berates Mushin as a "failure of a demon" which prompts him to reveal that he is in fact cursed. When Mushin inherited the name from his elders, he also inherited demon's blood which renders them dead after a mere ten years of active service, which is how he ended up with the role.

The monster they're fighting against now appeared only after the headless corpse of Mushin's teacher was found near a coffin...and Mushin assumes that the wooden doll attacking them right now is in fact his teacher.

His master rueing his fate of being cursed with demon blood decided to take the path of full demonhood, and bring an end to the thousand year fate of the mushins, by killing the current one and going on a rampage.

Ai calls the whole situation "unforgivable", and her anger at how Mushin's being treated by his master is transferring into Mushin giving him strength! She intends to save Mushin from this tragic teacher-student battle!

Unfortunately the demon's blood he possesses isn't enough to stop his master and Ai is the one who pays the price for this.

Mushin not wanting Ai to die manages to assume his full demon form, and he tells his master that he is the one who will bring this to an end.

Ai's fading out of conciousness, but she notes that Mushin has become a demon. "Yes, thanks to you." Mushin notes to himself on the previous page that he wants to know more about Ai's "heart", and thus does not wish for her to die.

Ai awakens back at home later, her wounds healed and Mushin has disappeared. She doesn't know where he has gone, but from time to time when she looks up at the sky from time to time, she sees a white light which she's sure is Mushin --who she feels a deep bond with. It was a little rushed in my opinion (especially the second half), but a pretty good short story. I do feel like this could have been a volume long epic instead of a two parter but It was good for what it was. RINNE is back next week so look forward to it!

Conan is now 9 chapters away from 1,000. Unfortunately he's off next week (which is odd in the middle of a case.)  so that 1,000 chapter milestone is displaced by just another week. I guess with 30 years of manga under his belt, Aoyama dictates what kind of schedule he wants to run, huh?

RYOKO is up next with it's 22nd chapter. I actually just translated chapter 19 this morning so I'll hopefully be caught up with Japanese releases by the end of the week. It's actually been a really good arc of the series so far, and has only made me appreciate Mitsuhashi's mad world even more. Volume 2 comes out April 18th, so lets cross our fingers that the sales from the first volume will be exceeded so Ryoko can hang in there to get even bigger and better. I mean Sword girl and Gun girl? Can it get any better?

I said it last week but RYOKO's art just improves at a --quite frankly, scary pace. Mitsuhashi has the chops to become a big name if he's given the chance. The last few chapters have also had some excellent writing with Rere's past (not Reirei, whoops.) as well, so while it might be early to say at this moment, I think RYOKO could become a Sunday staple.

Next is Tenshi to Akuto with a cute Akuto on the cover page. 

Akuto and his co workers are out on the town...well, not by choice apparently, since Akuto asks why the ladies are coming with him. Akuto is off to see some Rakugo (or comedic storytelling), and Asuha and Shikimi are following him for various reasons. Maybe it's an influence from the recently concluded (and very popular among the anime community) anime adaption of the "Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū" manga --or completely unrelated, but it's intriguing to see the group of voice actors go to see a live performance that meshes so well with acting in general. If you're interested in finding out more about Rakugo, please check here for the basics.

I will say this --that it is rather surprising/rare for ladies to do rakugo which is why the audience seems put off by this. But this lady --Kyourakutei Mamechiyo (which is probably an alias used when performing) is also the voice actress of "Candy girl" on the show Akuto and the others work on.

It's said that Mamechiyo is already a futatsume which is close to the top spot of Rakugo, the Shinuchi. I don't know her age, but apparently she's very young so even Akuto who's impressed by nothing is put off by this. On the right page we can see that Mamechiyo is good at rakugo as well, telling an entire story with several different roles on her own --which is the name of the ga--er, performance.

Mamechiyo isn't only able to pull off Rakugo but the haughty candy girl as well. I wonder if there are any other VA's doing double duty like that? Like I really think voice acting and rakugo really fit well with each other!

Just when our protagonist has started to see the light and wants to enjoy the work he does, he finds that even Mamechiyo is out to step on him. I kind of like the fact that he's sort of this egotistical dude that continuously finds out that everyone can do everything better than him. 

Meanwhile in Souboutei, Kurenai and the others are waiting for Takoha who followed one of the sisters into the painting to help save her. In comparison to Akuto, Takoha is very much a normal guy in extremely abnormal circumstances. I've actually read the entire series up until this point now, so I more or less understand what's going on. Maybe I'll do a writeup/translation? Cause it's really good stuff.

It is because I've read everything that I can say that Takoha's art sucks. That being said, it has this effect of cheering people up that's been pretty instrumental in saving people from the Souboutei's evil effects on people's minds. So when it doesn't do anything for the middle sister, it's a big problem.

Though a little help from the sister's power brings it to life. (I love that Takoha's like "Wait, when did my picture become a thriller piece? He's totally unaware of how much he sucks, or is he...?)

Even with people ridicululing him for his surreal art pieces, Takoha kept chipping away at drawing what it is he wants. I'm only fleetingly familiar with Fujita's other protagonists that aren't Ushio or Tora, but I can tell that Takoha is the most ordinary, and that makes him incredibly endearing. It's perhaps why the Souboutei hasn't been able to take control of him like some of the others --he's used to being an outcast who has to work hard to achieve what he wants.

Although Takoha's art failed to do anything on it's own, it inspires the oldest sister to get her younger sister to laugh off their concerns like they did in the past when they were sad, anxious or scared. Just laugh, laugh their worries away.

And whaddya know, it works, and the second sister is saved! Score one for the normal guy! Not much happened this week but now that I have a better understanding of the series, I can say for sure Fujita has a new fan in me.

Makanai-san is next with some yummy pancakes as the meal of the chapter. The first volume will be out April 18th, so there's an extra serving of sweetness for the soul.

It's here that we find out Kiyo's friend, Su --who's currently going through Maiko training, is actually "Sumire" which is "Violet"  in English and according to her in the language of flowers "Sincerity". This is also the first time that Su, Kiyo and the boy who hangs out with them all meet each other.  Sumire doesn't like her name because it's not interesting enough, while Kiyo and --ah, Kenta are basically fine with theirs.

At 10 pages a week, Makanai-san isn't shooting for longevity or even a sense of completion, but just little vignettes of the characters as they live. This was literally just a chapter about why Su-chan isn't Sumire, and how she met the protagonist, Kiyo. It's slow, easy reading that's kind of atypical of a shounen magazine, all the more reason why Sunday is a treasure.

Last time on Maoujou, the princess was in another castle --and no that's not a Mario reference, but because she was kidnapped from demons by a demon who has the unfortunate name of "Drowsy".

The princess wakes up and she's completely forgotten about the events of last week, while the demons are still having a meeting about what to do in regards of getting the princess back, and well, not a whole lot is getting done, so meeting successful?

Meanwhile the princess is wandering around for a new place to rest and ends up finding a cute little pod device in her travels, so just as the demons launch an assault, she's on her way out to finer, more restful pastures. 

I'm not sure if this is the start of a new arc or...a new part of the series or something since the bottom text indicates the princess has relocated and the demon castle she was once at is now the "New Old demon castle." ...I guess we'll just have to find out next week. At the very least she managed to escape!

I'm still not really reading Tokiwa but damn did the art hit all the right notes this week. I can't quite explain it, but Shounen art vs Seinen art even in the same publication (weekly) format are leagues different a lot of the time. Shounen also tends to rely more on text to move a story along than art (except in rare cases like RYOKO) so it's kind of surprising to see this level of detail in a weekly work. That being said Masuena does utilize computers in his work so maybe he's cheating, but if the result is like this, I'm willing to let this slide.

Seriously, with pages like this, I almost sorta wish I was paying more attention to this series...but the over the top fanservice just puts me off. It's kind of the price of entry with Matsuena's works, and I really wish it wasn't so, because dude really can art.

I do think this series is being scanslated so if you guys are interested in the story, that might be worth checking out. I might give it a look see after seeing this amazing artwork this week.

Next up is Birdmen making it's monthly visit. --that sounded wrong. Either way, if it's awesome art you want then one has to look no further than this series.

I also really like Tanabe Yellow's character designs. Patricia here looks super cool --and not unlike a character in a western comic book which gives her extra points.

And you know I'm bringing the dual page spreads. I love the crows --or are they feathers? that adorn the page giving balance to this page while also granting it a sense of harmonious disorder.

Same for this page too. Ink splotches are totally my aesthetic.

"You thought that you want to save someone?" Is the black text on the right. That bottom panel seen from a worm eye, and the architecture on the right --it's all Tanabe at her best. The Birdmen are looking for others to join their cause of worldwide heroism, which is why they've come to Europe.

And now they gained the "second ability" which is the "Fire Starter".  They're looking for seven special members to join their ranks....but now Takayama (Bottom panel right page) says they've got to make a choice...but what kind? We'll find out next month with the next chapter of Birdmen!

Next up is Saike, and this chapter is a doozy. 

There's been cases of someone injuring people with reckless abandon all over Saike's hometown and near his school. You can tell from the look on Saike's face that his mind is whirling with questions and most of all a sense of betrayal as he's already having problems enough with oracle holders causing a sense of distrust for his friends and most of all Mikan.

Linked mostly because Fukuchi just does not know how not to be a Jojo fanboy. Look at Saike in that bottom panel. There's no reason for him to have that pose/stance, other than Fukuchi just loves Araki and isn't sorry about it.

The bully who got injured last week managed to get a glimpse of the person who laid him up and told his friends it was Hirayasu, and they immediately out for revenge, despite Hirayasu claiming that he had nothing to do with their friend's injury. The beating is pretty savage until something happens...

Whether Hirayasu meant it or not is irrelevant. Something has awoken inside of him. This is the first time aside from Saike that we've seen an ability stir in someone --especially not one like this.

It's not abnormal for shounen manga in general, but it certainly is for Fukuchi. I really dig what he's doing with this sense of foreboding --of horror as a voice inside of Hirayasu beckons to him. "I am the power you called for, the one you wanted. I am you, and you are me." I can't convey it well in a translation, but the voice has a childlike malice to it that is almost as as unsettling as Hirayasu's transformation.

His body no longer his to control, Hiryasu charges into the classroom where his classmates are almost fully transformed. All he can weakly say to his friends is "Don't look at me...please.."

And now Saike is...well, completely caught off guard. An ability user is right here in what he thought was a safe zone, he is without Mogura pond, and his friends Ana and Hizu. Not only that this is exactly what other ability users have said to him before --that people will fear and rue them eventually....and as much as he tried to deny this possibility it is now right before him and there's no way he can avoid a head on confrontation. It's the worst nightmare he never thought he'd ever have, and he isn't equipped to deal with it at all which is terrible for him, but great drama for us. I really enjoy this turn of events in's what I've been asking Fukuchi to do since the story began....a story where Saike is not the primary focus and a bit of worldbuilding. I can only hope he'll keep this up in the following weeks.

Returning after a long hiatus from the blog (And a cool Godzilla cover page) is DameTerasu! It's basically become a battle manga --maybe in a bid to save it as it's at the bottom of the TOC and it's sales aren't anything impressive. (Well, to be completely honest, it's on par with RYOKO, but apparently that's not enough to make it worth pimping?)

Yup, beams of destructive energy, powerups with menacing SFX --it's a shounen lover's paradise. Personally I like this change of pace, but it's a big swing from the quasi comedy manga it used to be. 

Terasu's on the ropes, but Kouhei manages a powerup of his own to save her! A shame it was at the cost of his clothes. The princess carry is great and all, but when the dude is naked, it's just creepy as Terasu points out. Next week DameTerasu is off, so we won't be seeing how this concludes for a bit.

And now the final chapter of Denpa Kyoushi. It starts off with the students of the class grown up and lending their talents to society in differing ways.

But the bait and switch here is well...this is simply a high school reunion and not the world stage, lol.

The man of honor (who isn't present) is named as "Humanity's greatest Professor". Kagami Junichirou. 

Meanwhile somewhere in Africa, a child is bulled for his impossible dream of making a time machine where an old man gives him mcdonalds fries and then tells him to make it.

"We were put on this earth to do what it is we really desire." "Who are you sir?" "Giving my name is a pain in the ass so..."

"Just call me a "Denpa Kyoushi". 

And with that the series is over. I kind of enjoyed this similar-to-Guren Lagann's ending thing, because honestly bittersweet endings are my jam. The bottom text says that Takeshi Azuma is working on his next series (which is basically a generic sorta thing they write when series end, though it at least indicates that the author might return to the magazine. If that message doesn't appear, then it's likely they're jumping publishers.) I wish Azuma luck, but lets be frreal, Denpa having a twenty volume run is pretty respectable, so he should be fine.

And that's it for this week's issue! For the TOC and preview check out the WSS issue 18 preview right here! It's also got talk of the new series --the first of which will start next issue, and I'll do my best to cover it! Until the next Sunday on Tuesday, stay fresh!