It's Wednesday which means it's Sunday for this blog and it's visitors! Like some weeks before, I wasn't able to get much info for this issue before today so we're stuck with the whole shebang in one issue. There's a lot to talk about so let's just get right down to it, shall we?
Back after a month hiatus is Mr. Shounen Sunday himself along with his GF. If you're used to Shounen Jump, it might be weird that manga only adorn the cover of the magazine once in a while, but for Shounen Sunday and it's cousin Shounen Magazine it's per the course. I was actually looking over the last few issues and realized Conan's had three covers in the last few weeks. It's no wonder Aoyama doesn't do color pages anymore --the covers are enough to keep him busy! I'm sure he's also up to something special for Conan's 1,000th installment in a mere six issues so let the hype train leave the station!
Next is the TOC, which has the series lined up as follows:
Tenshou no Quadrable by Takahiro Arai (Lead color pages)
K.O.I by Tamaki Wakaki
Detective Conan by Aoyama Gosho
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama
Be Blues! by Motoyuki Tanaka
Major 2nd by Takuya Mitsuda
Meteor Girl by Reach Ishiyama (Color page)
Amano Megumi wa Suki Darake! by Nekoguchi
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ by Midzuki Kuriyama
Komi-san wa Komyushou desu by Tomohito Oda
Daiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba
Magi by Shinobu Ohtaka
Maou-jou de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomata
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari by Hikaru Nikado
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita
Kyoukai no RINNE by Rumiko Takahashi
Tenshi to Akuto!! by Aya Hirakawa
Jojuu Senjin!! Mushibugyo by Hiroshi Fukuda
Dagashikashi by KOTOYAMA
Hiiragi-sama wa Jibun o Sagashiteru by Hiroyuki Nishimori
Birdmen by Yellow Tanabe (39 pages)
Tokiwa Kitareri!! by Shun Matsuena
DameTerasu-sama by Shun Fujiki (Ending)
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou
Sunday Higaku Kenkyujou by Yuuji Yokoyama
And not appearing this week are:
Zettai Karen Children
A tiny shakeup with Souboutei lower than it has been...ever, Maiko-san climbing the ranks to the top, and Conan being surprisingly third upon his return with the cover. We've also got Birdmen making a monthly visit, and DameTerasu ending it's run this issue --and Tokiwa following suit next week. Yup, I totally called it. WSS is shifting and it'll be interesting to see what'll be left after the dust settles. One thing is for sure, action series are becoming an endangered species in the magazine, and it's to be seen if this is Sunday's new identity or if they just haven't found a series that fills the action satisfaction quotient.
The Monthly sister mag to Shounen Sunday --Sunday Super is filled with Conan things this month, and that's not too surprising with the movie topping charts all over Japan. One thing that I didn't know of was a spin off comedy manga called "Detective Conan: Haizawa the criminal" where the main character is the shady criminal person rather than the pint sized detective himself. I haven't been able to read it myself but I've seen pics and it does seem like it's pretty hilarious. (Like the name Haizawa uses the kanji from "criminal", so a funny take on the title of the series could be "Mr Criminal McBadguy." If I do manage to read it, I'll post my impressions!
If I'm not lazy.
Gone but not forgotten is Keijo which releases it's final Blu ray/DVD this month. I figured I'd might as well throw this in for people who are sore after the boot it got. Sadly, the home video releases haven't been doing so hot either...
Looking like the four musketeers in this color page are the boys of Tenshou no Quadrable! It's been a little while since we've visited the series and since then the kids have managed to reach Macau.
Two of the boys are talking about a girl --Yuki who they promised to tell all of their overseas adventures upon their return so one boy --Julian is drawing pictures of each of their stops.
Meanwhile two other boys are having a bit of sport when they run across a dragon dancing in the sky. It looks impressive, no? It's actually several thousand bats taking flight into the sky in something called the "Dragon Dance". Wondering what the bats are taking off to see, the two make a promise that all four of them will eventually see the scenery that they're headed toward.
Unfortunately a mix up occurs and the boys are thrown into prison --accused of taking some of the food reserved for royalty, and despite their protests to the contrary they're sent away without any real explanations. Once they arrive there however, they are reunited with a dragon and the man that summoned it...
And this man turns out to be none other than Oda Nobunaga himself?! He says that he hopes they can get along despite the age difference. He shouldn't be alive in this era, much less in Macau, so what's the deal? Next issue has "sudden developments" but with nary a volume out so far, I think Quadrable should be fine for the time being.
Mr. Shounen Sunday is tailing his Missus in this installment after a month off. With Conan, I'm not going to do full coverage since it's legally available
and links to leaks are available way before i can write up the blog. Though not surprisingly what starts off as a simple tale of affectionate stalking ends with murder.
And here's an advert for Maiko-san chi no makanai san. I wrote up a post on finding online scans of WSS series here, but a few updates are necessary it seems, as Maiko-san isn't on the list, and apparently it's been receiving some English language attention since I wrote up that post. If you'd like to read the series in English, please go here!
Speaking of which, the series returns to the blog with it's 21st installment. Part of being a cook means having to take out the garbage, which Kiyo does while reminiscing of her past.
Rain or shine or Snow, when it's Wednesday the trash has to go out. I really enjoy the right page and how Kiyo lights up when she sees her reward for a job well done. One thing Koyama is great at is hinting implicitly at things in her manga, eschewing the need for lengthy amounts of text often seen in shounen manga.
There's a sense of weightlessness in the panel work on the left side, and the sequential anime-storyboard like work on the right is endearing in it's simpleness --another thing shounen manga don't tend to do. There just isn't much down time in this demographic, so when we get manga like these that revel in it, it's a nice surprise.
And it wouldn't be coverage of Maiko-san without the meal --or drink of the day which is Coffee with milk. It's also cute that one of the geisha notes that every Wednesday Kiyo drinks the coffee milk without fail. Kiyo absentmindedly notes that this is how she can tell what day of the week it is, and it's through this implicit storytelling that we know this is a tradition she's kept up for years --much to her friend's confusion.
Next up is Meteor Girl's 3rd chapter. The story very much impresses upon the reader how humans can get used to anything provided enough time. Tetto recalls how the meteor girls started falling from the sky one day, and now humanity got used to it --which is probably the most dangerous part.
He's not left with much time to react as the suddenly animated Meteor girl attacks him, it's strength completely catching him off guard.
He reaches for the weapon he had before to find that Hane has it? She comments that he lied to her and that's a bad, bad thing. There's a deliberate sense of pacing in Ishiyama's panel and art work that lends itself well to the horror atmosphere they're going for here. Hane's creepy, the Meteor Girl is scary and we're thrown into the thick of things in Tetto's point of view.
Hane continues to berate Tetto for lying to her, and that it's "too late" for something as she gives him the bat back. She goes on to say that she didn't want to have to do something, but there's no other choice. To Tetto's surprise she holds the MG tenderly and assures her that everything will be okay?
"It'll be okay, just take a good long rest." Those words are enough to placate the MG who was on the hunt for blood only mere moments before. It's clear now (though it's not pictured here) that Hane knows something about the MG phenomenon, and Tetto demands answers.
Hane claims she has a theory of what the Meteor girls are --the dead bodies of human women. It's not much of a revelation if you've been paying attention to these blogposts, but at least now we have confirmation. Like Daiku no Hatou, it seems the story is only beginning in it's third chapter and if the side text is to be believed, the true "warped story" begins next week. Normally this would be the end of my "Obligatory" coverage of new series, but I'd be lying if I'm not interested in seeing where Meteor Girl will go next, so there's a good chance I'll have it up here in our next session.
Next up is Evans with his seventh installment. It looks as if our gunslinger is on patrol for neer-do-wells, but the prey he's after is less than noble, but still requires some doing to capture. That's right, he is after the elusive panty shot.
What he doesn't know is Pheebs is watching him from above as both his rival and unknowing love interest. What this chapter seems to make clear is that while they're both somewhat interested in each other, Pheebs is the one taking the imitative in her own very tsundere way. Look at her face in the third panel of the right page --she's clearly enamored by the idea of Evans being into sweets. Too bad she's misunderstood his intentions --he's here for the view.
To be fair to Pheebs his intense glare does look like one who's doing something less heinous. Evans heads back into a Dad flashback where pops outlines that a Gunman's occupation is all about "Seeing" and "Being seen". Most battles are decided by who sees and acts first after all --sound advice, if his Dad weren't more talking about ogling women as they walk by.
Evans isn't deterred by public awkwardness and gets down, way down to get a better view of his target.
Fortunately (or unfortunately) for him two dudes talking about holding up a bank are arguing beside him, and prepare to get into a gun battle that he quickly puts a stop to. The more I read, the more I'm beginning to think that Evans' reputation boils down to him being completely unlucky in love, but very fortunate in being in the right place at the right time. Like Spiderman says, "Everybody gets one."
Pheebs congratulates Evans on a job well done, but sadly he's less than thrilled that he has to book these dudes and therefore cannot continue the hunt. The bottom text implies that Pheebs will be back next week, and she will be guarding an important person? Sounds like more misunderstandings and fun to me. Though, speaking of seeing and not being seen, I just realized Evans has been 4 pages shorter than normal WSS fare (that isn't short gag series.) So it's like...not quite a short series but just shy of a normal length one. Could this be Sunday's new method of getting as much bang out of our buck in the magazine?
Komi's back again, and it would seem Oda (not that one) and Koyama seem to be trading notes as the first half of this week's chapter(s) has no text whatsoever.
It's a pretty simple tale of how a warm touch on a cold day is pretty important. Mostly it's just a fun way for Oda (not that one) to play around with the page amount he's given for the series each week. Like Evans, Komi is both a short series and not. Plus I really enjoy just being able to look at his sublime artwork without having to read silly text bubbles, heh.
Part two of this week's Komi is for the ladies which is only fair as the boys got two chapters of guy time. It's time for the winter exams, and Najimi figures they can all get together and study as that'd be much easier --though Tadano sees right through them and points out that they're treating this like a game. Despite that, they decide to go to Nakanaka's house (girl with the eyepatch on the bottom panel) to have a study meeting.
That's all well and good, but another girl tags along with the group under the pretense of being Komi's friend, and it seems there's bad blood between her and Nakanaka. Yamai Ren (the girl) and Nakanaka basically both hold affectionate feelings for Komi and won't let the other girl muscle in on her. What this comes down to is a battle over her affections done in classic JRPG format on the left page, while poor Tadano keeps straight man'ing it up and remarking that they are in fact here to study and not play games (Nakanaka's suggestion) or talk about their love lives. (Yamai's suggestion.)
Yamai basically confesses to being in love with Komi, but that's brutally shrugged off, lol.
The two pick a fight, with one another before finally asking Komi who's her best friend, and she replies shyly on the paper above that "You're both important to me." D'aww.
Sadly they miss the point completely and decide to play a game to decide on who wins her affections --that Najimi wins, and declares that this makes them Komi's best friend. I'd say all's well that ends well, but...yeah. At the very least you guys should study a little.
Aozakura returns home with it's 47th installment. Kondo --the main character left home to go to the Defense agency, and it's with this week we get to see his interactions with those he left behind, including a female childhood friend.
It's warm welcomes and smiles as the guys return to the restaurant they used to chill at before heading off for service. I admit I'm a sucker for homecoming stories as they usually reveal a side of the leads that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. Kondo is hassled by his little sister and has an accidental run in with his childhood friend Matsui on the right page there.
Guys being guys, once Harada (top panel, no glasses) and Takei (glasses third panel) realize that there's a pretty girl in the vicinity, they rush over to introduce themselves. Kondo realizes the only reason why they wanted to come back was to hook up with girls and maybe hit up a mixer or two. Left with little to no choice, Kondo asks Matsui if she can help them out, much to her chagrin.
Admittedly I only really chose to include this in the week's coverage because of the way this chat between Kondo and Matsui is handled via floating text bubbles with no furigana (Or the little characters beside the larger ones often used in Shounen magazines.) It was really naturally done, and I like the overhead view of the house showing where the texts are coming from. Matsui's smile at the end as the two agree to meet up later is nice too. All in all a really nice breather chapter --which seems to be this issue's "theme" so to speak.
I'm not covering Hatsukoi Zombie since the scanslations are basically up to date with it, but this page advertising the 7th volume was too...terrifying to pass up. Do as she says people, and buy the seventh volume. Those eyes do not reflect kindness or any sort of mercy...
Speaking of scans, Souboutei's first chapter has been released!
Though I have nothing to do with the scanslation, heh. If you're interested in checking out the origins of the demon house, start with the first chapter here! No need to worry, I like Souboutei enough that even if the scans catch up, I'll report on it each week. On this first page we see a conversation between two delivery drivers about how delivering the liquid nitrogen is a mistake.
It only dawns on them now (with this amazing dual page spread) that they may be delivering to the right place for a very "interesting" reason. Meanwhile Seiichi is still doing a number on the house while looking for Takoha and the others.
He's able to telepathically link with Rokoro via Frol's powers, and something left within his body from the house during their last encounter.
Seiichi with a rare genuine smile on his face as he explains that that only he can hear him, and that it's up to Rokuro to bring the nitrogen they need into the Souboutei as the house has turned all it's offenses on everyone inside in hopes of killing them before they kill it.
Everyone is surrounded by the dead that the house has taken over to defend itself, and Rokuro is the only one who's got hands free to help.
Of course the poor kid is running into the issue of being a child in an adult's world. He tries to inform them of the importance of getting the nitrogen to the house quickly, but bureaucracy is a slow, slow thing. Fed up with this, Rokuro decides to take matters into his own hands and head toward the truck to bring it to them himself. Next chapter will get a color page to celebrate "massive popularity" so we have that and Rokuro to look forward to.
Rinne approaches with a new challenger, er, friend. (Seriously that's what this chapter is called --"A new friend". )
I haven't been able to watch much of the anime lately but apparently a guy named Matsugo getting a new friend is enough to surprise Rinne, Tsubasa, and Sakura. According to the cat girl there, this new friend is a Shinigami like him and Rinne. I'm assuming Matsugo and Rinne's friendship is onesided as Rinne's reaction to this news is elation and even Tsubasa comments that he's been "Freed". Ah I love the super dry humor of this series --dry humor itself is rare in Japanese media.
Matsugo appears with his new friend who Sakura seems to know already? (Man I need to really find a means to catch up with this series.) And her name is Anju. Considering how close they are, Rinne assumes they're dating but Matsugo says they're only friends. Sakura does comment that she like, likes him though --but she seems to be fed up with the entire situation after dealing with it for a month.
Anju finally makes her feelings known (via megaphone) expecting to be rejected, but to her surprise Matsugo responds and seems enamored with the idea of being her friend. So of course they do all the things friends to --eat lunch together every day, and go to the movies and carnival and such on the weekends. Tsubasa looking up at the third panel there slays me. Especially with his dry "Um, no, that's clearly a date, dude."
Anju was happy being friends for a while but she wants to move their relationship to the next step, but then...Matsugo doesn't kiss the girl --rather he doodles on her likening it to a sleepover where guys draw on each other's faces while they sleep. Tsubasa comments that he's going to get dumped if he keeps this up any longer. Matsugo interprets this as the friendship ending, and Tsubasa (who's basically the humor MVP this week) dryly comments "You're gonna stick to this friendship thing till the end huh?"
Rinne sort of lies to the couple --telling Matsugo that he knows of a great "friendship" spot, and Anju that it's a "lover's spot" when the place in question is in fact a church where two lovers were messily killed. Rinne figures he can either strengthen the two's relationship or be rid of Matsugo so it's win/win for him.
Meanwhile Matsugo still hasn't realized how much enmity Rinne has towards him and figures that this is just another trial of friendship. Next time is going to be pretty interesting, I'm sure.
Next is Tenshi and Akuto where Takaya Minase and Akuto meet up again.It seems the two have some history as Takaya immediately starts to mess with him, and Akuto seems to confide in him enough to say he's been having a tough time with the newest voice actor in their troupe.
The recording session goes on with Takaya playing a mysterious boy who assists the sugar girl squadron. To his (and the vocal director's) surprise, Akuto is able to pull off some soulful VAing that was better than his first audition! But what caused the change?
I think what I'm enjoying most about this turn of events is we're seeing Akuto in a different light --where he's unsure and unstable to the point that he asks Takaya for a moment to talk later. Akuto explains that whenever he's around the ladies he can't help but feel Nari's eyes on him and it throws his senses in disarray. Takaya quickly figures out that Akuto despite his bluster wants to be as good as she is.
However voice acting is a group effort, and he can't hope that things will go well if he tries to strike out on his own. If everyone in the troupe doesn't put their best effort in then there's no meaning to it. It's then Akuto comes to an epiphany --he doesn't have to do this alone. Takaya mentions this is a bad habit he needs to overcome. --It's good to see that despite everything Akuto is struggling to change which makes his character believable if not a slight bit more likable.
Of course Akuto can't let anyone see his weakness, and thus asks Takaya to keep this between the two of them....which fails since everyone tagged along without him knowing. Shikimi's face in the right page first panel is the most incredible thing this week, haha. Though what interests me here is Akuto mentioning on the left page that he has to work harder to be in sync with the others for the sake of the show and "her". What exactly happened to Nari? Ugh, I may just have to plunk down the money for the past volumes since the WSS site doesn't update the character profiles...
Left page, Akuto's tiny little "sorry" gets me each time I see it. I really like it when artists play with text to get an effect close to what voice acting can do. But the ethos comes to a head when Akuto declares at the end that he will need their help to rise even higher than he is now. No longer lost, and realizing that he's not in this alone Akuto now can rise to greater heights --which is the pinnacle of shounen manga.
Mushibugyo is back for chapter 301 and a fine dual page spread to commemorate the occasion. It's been awhile since I covered the series and you'll see why I chose this chapter below.
There's just so much going on with the focal points here that I can't get enough of. The panel work aside, the subtle movements of characters depicted in each frame is a work of beauty. There's only so much one can do without actual movement, and Fukuda manages to evolve past those constraints and give us something that looks like a masterpiece over two pages.
There's a sense of Komi-san like storyboarding here as Mugai jumps in to attack his foe. While Komi uses it to accentuate a sense of delicacy, Mushibugyo manages to take the very same technique and bolster it's audaciousness.
Mugai's attack being seen in great detail from different angles is also incredible to behold, as is the perspective he decides to use. Even the ripples of cloth and hair are used to great effect to portray the illusion of movement on these pages.
The visual metaphor of defeat manifests itself in Mugai's subconscious as he realizes his attack isn't quite enough. However Jinbee is on the scene, and backs up his idol with a simultaneous attack. You'll have to forgive me for gushing, but I think this week's chapter was well worth it. There was just so much it did right with very little text that I had to remark upon it.
Here for it's monthly visit is Birdmen with a cover page that looks like it's straight out of a Harlequin romance novel. Even the text there reads "I'm here to pick you up."
The last few installments of Birdmen have been about gathering a league of the flying crime fighters for a larger purpose. I'm not too familiar with what's going on due to being too busy
with the blog to read the series properly, but I do know some of the details.
The architecture of Tanabe's works could be the star of their own artbook, really, as well as her not quite anime/manga but very anime/manga character designs. They're definitely some of the most unique I've seen in my manga reading life.
Meanwhile the world is reeling from a bio terror threat and the appearance of what's called the "Winged alliance" The reporter mentions France, Germany and the Swiss --could this be Tanabe's way of mentioning world events? We'll have to find out next month when Birdmen returns.
With just one more chapter left, Tokiwa Kitaeri prepares to say farewell.
I can't say I'm too familiar with what's going on in the series, but it would appear after the end of the long battle, Rein the girl pictured here and on the top page is going to disappear. It's not often we get an on screen kiss in a shounen manga, --though if it is going to happen it's usually toward the end of a series like this.
And with an admittedly pretty pair of pages,
alteration for the win! Rein is gone. I'll be covering the final chapter next week of course, and while I didn't read the series it's always bittersweet to see something by a veteran artist come to an end.
Speaking of Endings, it's time for the final chapter of DameTerasu-sama, with a tender first page bringing us into the finale with grace.
As stated last time, the demons have come to ruin the Gods festival, and the goddesses Shizuma and Tsukuyomi are here to stop that from happening. However they can't prevent a huge fight from breaking out which leaves Kouhei and Terasu no choice but to stop the festivities and get ready for a brawl.
Kouhei and Terasu can't help but chew each other out though --Terasu calling Kouhei a coward who wants a girlfriend but won't do anything to get one, and Kouhei saying she's a small breasted shrimp who's no better than he is. It's with that that Terasu literally throws Kouhei into the heat of battle and...
He basically owns everyone in a really impressive two page spread.
However it's thanks to Kouhei that Terasu has found herself actually enjoying the company of humans again, despite all their troubles, and whether they end up married or not, spending a thousand years of godhood together with him wouldn't be so bad.
As such Kouhei continues his godlike duties while Terasu...continues being a NEET to his chagrin. It was a rushed ending, but with being obviously cancelled after three volumes I guess it's all we can hope for. Odd that the normal message of "Look forward to the author's next work" isn't here but maybe the Shogakukan editorial department doesn't want to play with people's expectations...I like Fujiki, so I hope he'll be back with something more successful in the future.
Here Kouhei and Terasu advertise the final volume of the manga which will include extras and...a story that takes place after the series ended?? Guess there's no choice but to buy it now! Or well, in August when it's planned date of release will be. Nice one Fujiki, you gotta reel 'em in somehow!
This week's Yougai Giga chronicles the "Yamako" which is a youkai that can speak human language and dwells in the mountains. In order to keep it's species from dying out, they'll descend the mountains and kidnap human women.
Or well, that's the plan for this Yamako, who finds the most beautiful girl in the village and intends to make her it's bride, ...after all she's the kindest human of the village and it fancies itself the kindest of it's kind, however...
Looks do matter as her reaction indicates.
She freaks out and hits the poor Yamako --but then immediately feels remorse for what she did. Turns out she really is as kind as the youkai thought as she goes to tend to it's wounds (that she inflicted). It seems maybe the ol Youkai might have gotten to put the moves on her after all but..
Nah. Yamako's just too frightening for her. She runs off apologizing leaving it to look for a slightly less terrifying woman. Gotta say I like that Satou is playing from all parts of the spectrum with these, but I wonder how she(?) decides which ones to continue? I'd love to see more of the Spider lady and this one for example...
Sadly the final installment of Fukuchi's time on the Unscientific laboratory isn't about him at all. Rather it's a long rant-ish sorta thing where Yokoyama describes his editor and himself as a hero and villain of a battle manga which is denied in the end by said editor. I'm sorely disappointed that we didn't get more insight into Fukuchi's methods, especially since Saike is away for a month. Why'd you have to let me down like this Yokoyama...
Next issue will see a lead color page for Souboutei, the final chapter of Tokiwa, and the model Hikaru Takahashi on the cover as well as Yuugami coming in for his monthly visit. This is the final mag for May as well, so when we talk again we'll be at the nip of Summer. With all these series ending, will summer bring us more works --and more importantly more hits? It's a competitive time in the magazine and we're lucky to spectate rather than clash in this war. In any case, till next week, have a good Sunday!