Friday, July 28, 2017

Weekly Shounen Sunday #36

They say what happens once will happen again --and apparently that applies to Sunday. Thanks to a kind benefactor, I once again have the issue early which means I can hit Sunday up on Friday which is honestly so much easier for me.  Though honestly I'm not sure if I'd keep doing this since this is waaaay before the release date, and while I am buying the magazine, I don't wanna step on any toes. Even if this is suuuuper convenient for me, not gonna lie.  Anyway, you're not here to hear me question myself, you're here for Sunday shenanigans! Let's get to it!

On the cover is Miona Hori, along with the heroines of Sunday --well from the most popular series at any rate. Grumbles about Ana from Saike not being there.  Though I guess it is telling that Pheebs from Evans is included as it means they're seriously considering Evans a big part of the magazine. Though seriously, how could a character who's actually a boy get in over an actual girl?! ----Egh, I think I'm just in a bad mood due to the TOC which I'll get to next.

K.O.I King of Idol by Wakaki Tamaki
Shinobi no by Rokuro Ohgaki
Major 2nd by Mitsuya Takeda
Komi-san wa Komyushou desu by Tomohito Oda
Tenshi to Akuto by Aya Hirakawa
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido
Dagashikashi by KOTOYAMA
Magi by Shinobu Ohtaka
Amano Megumi wa Suki darake! by Nekoguchi
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami
Daiiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ By Midzuki Kuriyama
Be Blues! By Motoyuki Tanaka
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita
Kyoukai no RINNE by Rumiko Takahashi
Maou-jou de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomata
Meteor Girl by Reach Ishiyama
Hiiragi-sama wa jibun wo Sagashiteru by Hiroyuki Nishimori
Joujuu Senjin!! Mushibugyo by Hiroshi Fukuda
Tenshou no Quadrable by Takahiro Arai
Saike Matashitemo by Tsubasa Fukuchi
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou
Sunday Higaku Kenkyujo by Yuuji Yokoyama

Not in this issue are:

Detective Conan 
Zettai Karen Children (Till Summer)

First, I figure Gin no Saji is basically an irregular serialization at this point, so including it in the "Not in the issue this week" section seems disingenuous, since I don't include Saike there in-between parts. On the note of Saike --yup, my boy crash landed hard, only being above the clearly set at the bottom Youkai Giga. I'm not even sure what to say about this honestly... volume 9 is set to sell it's typical amount so I can't say it's losing popularity per se, but it is worrisome. On that note, no color pages so this is as pure a TOC as we're gonna get. Akuto rises to the top, Tenshou sinks even lower, Daiiku manages to swim it's way to a better position, and every thing else is basically the same as usual. I was a bit off with my estimation of first volume sales dates --it's not October but September --the fifteenth to be exact, and it seems all six new series will drop a volume on that date --with Daiiku getting a leg (or fin?) up with two volumes dropping on the same day. Typically this is done for more popular series. (Like Magi for example) but it's hard to get a reading on how the series is going compared to if the editorial staff is pushing it to unseen ends. Either way the competition is on come September!

And Miona Hori looking very cute though I'd figure cuteness is a prerequisite for being a member of an idol group like Nogizaka 46. One day I'll learn more about idols, one day....

Mr. Shounen Sunday isn't in this week's issue, but the Sunday editorial staff saw fit to give fans a rundown of how much his alter ego --Shiniehi Kudo has appeared with a special focus on his school play visit, and his trip to London. Will he be able to return for a school trip? Sunday's not saying, so we'll just have to find out next week! (Maybe.)

Sunday's taking it's show on the road, and looking for new talent all around Japan! Looking to draw manga? Wanna try to get serialized in Sunday? Or maybe one is just looking for advice in their manga-ing career? This roadtrip is going to provide all of that and a nice cash prize to new authors that catch the editorial staff's eyes! Of course knowing Japanese and, well, living in Japan are important, but I'm not one to let a thing like the language barrier get in the way of doing my job as the Sunday news reporter. 

Shinobi no starts off it's third chapter with Heisuke wishing for war because a battle with one's life on the line is fun! Well, at the very least even with a series like this where the protagonist is not the typical shounen action manga lead, to have a character who exemplifies this is comforting in a way.  Meanwhile the American woman who opened attack on the Japanese soldiers says that she's not "attacking" but giving them "training" although it's clear if war were declared, she wouldn't have a problem with this either, so she goads them to return fire and legitimize her efforts to start a conflict. 

The Japanese forces are reluctant, but their choices are either obliteration or retaliation. Their leader is just about to give the order to return fire when...!!

Pops steps in! Turns out he wasn't just chopping down trees last week to keep in shape --it was to get a clear view of the ship so he can do things like sniping down the enemy from a distance! This is what battle experience can for you! Also Ohgaki's art is just getting better with each chapter. I'm normally the focus on closeups would indicate that he's not confident in action scenes, but in this case, execution is everything. The speed lines, the position of Pops in the eye of the storm...they're all magnificent in communicating a sense of speed and impact. 

We finally get Revy's  the commander's name --it's Miranda. I love the very bottom panel on the left page of her eyes. There's a grit in her gaze that's extremely appealing as she quietly ignores the reccomendation to get back and loads her gun as the Japanese stare dumfounded not at all sure what is going on.  Miranda fires a shot in the air and on the right page declares she's "calmed down" and then tells her men that they're going back. War wasn't declared, which is probably for the best be it for the Americans or Japanese. 

Meanwhile a hapless American soldier finds himself captured and apparently in the midst of being interrogated --via torture for info. Who could be the person behind this kidnapping? 

It's Yoshida Shoin..!! To our surprise he wants his captive to speak English as it will be very useful to them in the immediate future, and furthermore he knows how weak Japan is in comparison to America. (Not pictured) So they need to learn as much as they possibly can from the would be invaders. On the left there he says "Speak English for the sake of Japan's peace". Not sure why, but that's quite any case, to cut to the chase, Yoshida wants all the information the soldier can cough up on the black ships, and in English to boot. Heisuke asks if he'll go through with "that plan" once he gets his info, and he confirms...that he intends to steal the ship. On that note, Pops is watching the ship and notices a Japanese person working on board and throwing out trash which he seems to find very interesting. 

The chapter ends with Pops making a date for his ship break-in...for tomorrow! Four chapters in and we're moving super quick which is interesting --though I'm almost positive that something will stand in Pops' way. We'll have to wait with bated breath until the next issue though!

Komi continues it's off season slow step with it's 92nd installment which includes a New Years visit to the local temple. It's kind of interesting to cover this stuff in summer, though the more pogiant point is that time is actually passing in the series, so if Oda (not that one) is going to keep this a purely High school affair, then he's on a timeline which suggests even if Komi is super popular, there's a point that will have to end unless he is in fact going to cover the titular character's whole life, which I wouldn't be opposed to! 

Here we meet Komi's cousin Akira, and her grandmother Yuiko. Akira is a cutie in her kimono, but to say that Komi is stunning in her's is an understatement.  Oda (not that one)'s focus on the looks of each Kimono and the intricate designs on them is also a wonderful touch as well! Yuiko's proper acknowledgment of the kimonos is a thing as well...

A thing she does not give to Komi's mother Shuuko who I assume has a far too gaudy for her tastes look going on. I couldn't help but include this close up of Komi in her kimono because man...I can't even imagine how much work that must have been to draw in each panel it appeared. Still Oda (not that one) knocked it out of the park, and this visit to the temple was a peaceful and gorgeous affair. 

In the 93rd installment, the temple needs an extra pair of hands for the new years visitors, and Komi gets roped into volunteering despite being really nervous, poor thing. and after her grandmother gives her approval she's dressed as a miko and sent to assist a girl named "Inaka Noko" --another name pun, as this literally means "Country bumpkin". Which from the way Noko speaks (she has a very bumpkin-esque vernacular), is extremely obvious. 

Or, well, she hopes it isn't as once she realizes it's Komi who's lending a hand to the temple, she immediately freaks out as she doesn't want anyone to know that she is in fact a country bumpkin.  Though since Komi doesn't speak much it's hard for Noko to tell if she knows or doesn't know, so she immediately goes undercover and hopes she can't tell who she is --but this doesn't last long as poor Komi is too nervous to do any of the work required of her at the temple so Noko has to step in and give Komi an assist as much as she wanted to keep to herself. 

They manage to get through the day without any incidents, and it seems maybe Noko has managed to escape undetected, but Komi writes her a letter of appreciation for her help, as well as wish her a happy new year. Even though Noko is worried about her school reputation, she can't help but be charmed by Komi's thank you letter. Don't worry, I'm sure your secret is safe with her, Noko-chan.

We move from Komi's taciturn nature to the almost utterly opposite side of the spectrum with Tenshi and Akuto as the latter titular character watches with small fans while reflecting on what was said to him by voice acting veteran Tamaki. On the right page, it seems Subaru's character --Bitter has succumbed to the temptations of the dark side --got to love how her expression matches that of her character's.

Subaru's slowly getting into the swing of bringing the best out of her character, but it's at the cost of her acting with Tamaki's pace, something the producers note on the left. Akuto was the one who said he'd bring out her potential, but he's unable to even though the recording of the battle with the last boss is coming up. The others comment that they feel powerless to help their friend both in and out of the anime as their roles are limited. On the right, Tamaki seems somewhat under the weather which Akuto notes, but doesn't think much of, but the bottom panel denotes there might be more to this than meets the eye...

After recording, the group goes out for a bite to eat, where Subaru expresses her concern --while Akuto has said he'll help them all advance their voice acting prowess, it's almost as if nothing has changed, and she's worried she'll be left behind. Akuto in his own way (which is to say, somewhat rudely) says that he needs for them to believe in him, as he believes in them that they have yet to reach their voice acting pinnacle. The others jokingly say that he should just be honest with his feelings from the start, which he retorts by saying he's not in this for fun like they are. 

It's great how even at a moment like this Akuto expresses jealousy that people can have fun while making voice acting look easy (on left) which the others sort of give him a "ugh, how irritating" expression. The next morning Akuto shows up at work, and comments on how the producer seems to be running about more than usual --though they are closing in on the final battle so it makes sense, and a co worker asks Akuto if he's afraid since this means Tamaki will have more roles in the show --and he considers this and how their situation really is similar to the characters in the show. They're up against a major threat in a final battle that they have to rely on each other to see their way through.

Akuto is able to steel his resolve, when the producer returns and announces that Tamaki has fainted. What where the production is at a critical state..what will Akuto and his group do with this resolve they've mustered up, and what of Tamaki? Next time...!

It's been a while, but Daiiku no Hatou is returning to the blog for a week (or more?) engagement! Minato and the other students in his class have been brought together through harsh and seemingly unfair training, but for what reason? Why it's none other than....

To teach them the foundations of boating. In the magazine itself, these pages are split in a way that the speech bubble is on it's own which was really confusing when I set up the blog entry, and not something I've seen before (though I am no expert, mind you.) In any case,  after long trials, the class is now ready to consider actual boating! 

Everything --including being able to yell was meant for this --a captain has to be able to issue clear and succinct orders to a ship over loud squalls, and should it come down to it --to save others stranded at sea. It becomes very important for one to have the proper training on sea, not just for onessake, but for the sake of others, and I really like how Kusaba illustrates this point. 

Minato realizes he's been resistant to this training, but upon hearing it's practical usage, it all hits home, as his expression on the left indicates. Minato asks why they're pushing them to go on ship so soon into their program, and the answer he gets from the upperclassmen is that they're doing this for them --those who haven't yet become ready for the sea. 

Minato apologizes for how resistant he's been toward the training up until now and how much the upperclassmen have actually doing their best to look out for him --and all of them. This is really a turning point from his character --though it took about fifteen chapters, hah. That being said, I do like that his ambition is more than meeting a girl he had fallen for --his character is now forming into it's own entity, and I think it's now that Daiiku no Hatou can really start to spin an interesting tale. 

And now he's gone from being here by "mistake" to actually wanting to head out to sea, and I mean genuinely wanting to go sailing. The upperclassmen hear this, and take him away to the "cutter" which I assume is a ship of some kind, and while Minato is interested in sailing now, I don't think he was implying he wanted to go right at that second, hah. In any case, I'll admit I'm a little more invested in the story than I was initially, so perhaps if there's time I'll include it in next week's write up, as it would be interesting to see whether he's able to sink or swim. 

Evans the reluctant lone wolf gunman shows up at a wedding as security in this week's issue and while he seems happy for the couple at their event the truth is, he's bitterly frustrated and jealous (if his expression on the left isn't clear enough, heh.) 

While he wallows in his feelings, a woman named Sarah appears and declares that she doesn't acknowledge this holy union. Apparently her friend Ellen, (black hair on left) was the shoulder she cried on and asked for advice to win over the groom, but all of that ended up with her sitting on the sidelines was he goes to marry someone else --her. Not only that, Sarah feels betrayed that her friend would let her down when she knows how unpopular she is, a point that Evans can painfully understand. 

His expression says it all, but I'll translate anyway --"Someone who's the same as me"? Despite being lectured by his father from a young age in the ways of being popular, not a single thing had worked for him --and Evans had always concluded he was alone in the world. As such, he's willing to hear Sarah out, and she gives Ellen two choices...she can annul the wedding before it starts and give her a heartfelt apology, or watch as she and her man die and know what lonliness is. It's not pictured here, but Sarah and Evans both have the same reaction to Ellen calling this whole situation "pointless"..."How could she?!" Evans runs in saying that he's a pro (in various ways) and can handle this situation while remembering his Dad's words about using the right words in the right situation...

Sara is about to finish off the hapless guy when Evans comes in and says that she should choose another fated person --which is essentially a pretty way of saying give up (which is indicated in the script.) The man himself admits he had no idea that Ellen was actually looking at her with eyes of contempt this whole time, in which Evans tells her to give up on him, and his Dads words echo in his head to push forward....Sara is unwilling to give up on this man --and because of that she has to kill him, yet she can't bring herself to and is instead in tears. 

In the end the marriage is cancelled, due to the man realizing what kind of person Ellen is, and Sara is taken away by Evans because of her actions.  Evans had wondered what his Dads words meant to him, but then Sara laments that she couldn't have met a man like him sooner and it starts to come to him --sadly Sarah has given up and says that he should find some woman that he can make  happy somewhere, to which Evans responds that he's not sure about the likelihood of that. This was even shorter than past chapters at 14 pages long, which makes me think Evans might end up becoming another short manga before any case, next week Evans heads to Pheebs's house?! This can only go badly, which means it'll be quite entertaining. 

We turn to Souboutei next where Rokuro is wandering around the corridors of the house looking for Takoha, where he takes notes of strange things in the house, such as a hat hook being in an impossibly high place, and dead ends popping up almost everywhere. It's then that despite this being his second time in the house that he actually begins to wonder who on earth even built this house?

Speaking of second meetings, Takoha runs into the man in the painting again and he says as much --that the last time they met they would most definitely run into each other again so that they can discuss painting --but he wonders if Takoha has lost his nerve? I'll comment more about it on a later page, but I really like how Fujita has a blob-ish means of drawing this guy --a distinction one can tell from this page. 

The guy makes it clear that Takoha is not having a dream, and that he is aware of the hands that dragged him back into the Souboutei. Takoha is surprised he knows of this and recounts his tale, likening it to being dragged back into the grave by zombies, but to our surprise, the guy has no idea what zombies are --and wonders why Takoha uses such strange words, even going as far as asking if he's on an overseas trip? Though the topic quickly changes when Takoha sees his painting and expresses great interest (and jealousy) in the guy's ability to draw something so interesting.  (It's on the right) The two talk paintings a bit, where the guy reveals he wants to distinguish himself from those who would draw boring portraits, though Takoha is much more interested in knowing how he knew about the black hands. 

The guy then launches into a rant about what is most important to people --that which shakes their minds, so his aim is to make a painting that isn't beautiful but causes the mind to move, and as such is good for the body, using the house they're in as in example --the strange locations of hat hooks and peeping holes are all things that cause a stimulus response aren't they? He cites the buildings in Europe and Germany (using esoteric Japanese kanji for them to boot) as part of his reasoning --he traveled to these countries and now has returned home to create a house like the buildings there that would shape the mind....and by living in such a house his mind too would be shaken to the core.

Takoha is still having trouble keeping up with this and finally thinks to ask the stranger for his name which he boldly states in this Jojo-esque dual page spread that he is Deido Sakamaki. Again, look at the BG of the big panel, and compare Takoha --drawn with normal manga sensibilities, and Sakamaki who looks incomplete almost. While one wouldn't be remissed to think that Fujita was tired when drawing this panel, Takoha being completely normal suggests that Sakamaki's outlandish thoughts are reflected in his "foreign" seeming art style, which is captured by him looking like a walking ink streak. It's all very purposeful, and Fujita makes it work in a visually stimulating dual page spread.  

The mysteries just deepen upon this revelation of the stranger's name as Takoha points out that the person he's claiming to be has been dead for years. In fact he was born in the meiji era, so there's no way he could be alive and look so young!! Deido simply states he's always been here in the Souboutei, and the scene changes to Rokuro who has found a banquet all lined up and a skeleton bride sitting before it. We're getting answers, but they can't outrun the questions that seem to purvey Souboutei each week, and honestly I wouldn't have it any other way. Eagerly anticipating the next installment!

Following Souboutei is Meteor Girl with it's 12th installment. Things have been building up to a confrontation of sorts, so lets see what'll occur when worlds collide. 

Tetto gets his jollies in a fashion as he, Ryoko and Hane go looking for the MG who had been spotted moving in the area. While Hane goes on ahead despite their protests otherwise, Ryoko and Tetto run into the aforementioned MG...

Just for her to literally lose her head. Tetto immediately recognizes the man in black as one of the ones they ran into during the incident with Ryoko's sister, the latter of which immediately demands to know where the former is. 

Turns out the man in black --while apparently under orders to capture MG's that move on their own accord, he's on his own time right now, and pursuing his hobby --which is breaking any MG's he comes across. Ryoko objects to this, not only for the sake of her sister, but for all MG's --they have hearts, according to her and shouldn't be treated so roughly. He calls them both naive, and tosses the head of the MG he's just apprehended to help them understand the reality they live in. An aside --but I love the attention Ishiyama gives to the graffiti in the area, I almost thought they were story related since they were so detailed! 

While this is going on, the MG body runs off despite lacking a head, which seems to surprise well...everyone. Shouldn't lacking a head stop the MG's in their tracks? 

The surprises just keep coming when Hane runs upon the body the upper part of the abandoned area, and then gets a first class escort to the bottom where she apparently meets her end! Now MG's who move around are surprising enough, but do they have enough cognitive awareness to commit murder? It's a question we're going to have to keep in mind until next week --and that's just how this series hooks us, huh? 

In a bit of Sunday but not Sunday news, Jinmen --which I did a mini preview on way back when it ran in this magazine is apparently doing quite well for itself --with sales in excess of 270,000! Volume four will hit stores soon and now I'm beginning to think I should perhaps get back into reading it --It's on Sunday's online website for manga Sunday Webry which you can check out here  (Sadly it's Japanese only, but you know how it is.) 

Mushibugyo returns after a brief hiatus, and on the opening pages, Jinbee is messily killed? Good thing I decided to cover this chapter huh?

It all happens so soon that even the characters aren't sure how to react. While everyone is dumfounded, we're taken to Jinbee's past where he and his father move into their new home. This comes as Jinbee voices his hatred toward his weakness. 

As his father trains people in their home, Jinbee pushes himself to become stronger, lamenting the fact that he isn't as skilled and strong as his father. 

Why does Jinbee have such a fervernt desire to become strong? This is because his father had to sacrifice something important (seen on left --his leg.) to protect him, and Jinbee feels indebted to his father as well as deeply proud of the man --he wants, no needs to become a warrior like him to feel complete. On the right page, the softeness in Jinbee's expression as he awakens is one I haven't seen throughout the length of this manga which is a marvel of Fukuda's art that even this late in the game (more than six years of serialization!) that he can challenge himself in new and inventive ways. In any case, Jinbee awakens after being "killed" in a strange new place....

Once again Jinbee's expression steals the show as he looks up at the butterflies and comes to the realization that he was killed, yet he still exists...somewhere, right? What's going on here?

As if things weren't confusing enough, he encounters the conciousness of the man that they are fighting the grossly mutated form of on the outside...why is he here and not there and where is "here"? This page is simple in it's execution --even without a BG it tells us that we're in an otherworldly place, and Fukuda's storyboard is strong on the side of the bigger panel. As for the answers to those questions, week. I'm certainly building up quite the log for the next issue aren't I..

Saike is next, and he creeps ever closer to chapter 100 with his 87th installment. Small details are what impress me, and if I have to point out a minor thing it'd be the pattern on his mother's pants as Saike enigmatically says he's off to "save" a friend when she asks where her son is going. 

Saike did his thing and repeated the day, so he and Ana tell Koutarou that he'll go out this morning but he won't return. Koutarou doesn't have much of a choice if he wants to save his brother, and Ana suggests they just beat down the guy holding him. He asks the two if such a thing is possible, and Saike reveals he's reset things 8 times already so he's fairly sure it is. For now, Koutarou should go along with the plan and meet the "client". The plan seemingly goes along as it did the first time around --which is to say it fails, and Koutarou is taken away by the cops....

But this time around Ana and Saike are following the malcontent in a taxi, and will quickly know where he hides so that they can corner him and teach him a lesson. The taxi driver's design looks different than Fukuchi's normal art style, so I wonder if an assistant drew him? Though it may just be that Fukuchi's just playing around with different means of drawing characters --if so he's really surprised me. In any case upon returning the bad guy asks for....needle and thread as he expresses his disgust at his plan failing. 

He then goads the little brother with the knowledge that his bro is a criminal now, but Saike and Ana are on the scene, announcing themselves as heroes! (Love how Ana is blushing because she's a little embarrassed to say she's a heroine, the little darling.) 

I mentioned it before, but it's an interesting position Ana's in here as normally in shounen manga, girls provide support rather than being the fighters themselves. Here, Saike is the one who acts as support as Ana makes quick work out of the henchmen, which is refreshing! Though the leader won't go down so easily it seems as he levitates in mid air?! He's also not surprised by Ana's ability, so it's clear he probably has powers of his own. 

Fukuchi's no stranger to unique perspective shots, and he employs that here with gusto! Ana's powers are nullified with a strange patchwork, which leaves our heroes at a disadvantage. Saike's done this day 8 times though, so he should have a plan right?? Only next week will tell!

Kuro's story continues in Youkai Giga this week, where Kuro finally comes to the realization that the girl --Makoto that he thought was a demon or an evil human may not be, and that leaves him unable to understand his master's feelings therefore making it feel like it's failed his master somehow...poor thing is taking this really, really hard --to the point that it can't meet it's master eye to eye (though it's suggested the master can't see him now anyway, so..)

No matter how much Kuro wants to wrap it's head around this issue, it just can't seem to and ends up blowing a gasket thinking too hard. In the end it just decides to follow it's master in hopes that it can make up for it's folly. The next Wednesday rolls around and Makoto shows up to do her job as usual, forcing herself to smile despite her feelings, though to her surprise, Kuro's master is happy to see her this time around. What could have happened?

Makoto makes the same observation that unlike last time where he seemed distant, he's in a much more jovial mood. What could have possibly have happened? The side text seems to indicate this is an omen of some kind but what exactly? Could this be an omen of returned feelings?

I thought this was cute so I linked it. It's an advertisement for "Nekottake!" a manga about a helper cat which will release it's 4th volume on August 18th. Hime is the name of the cat, and she's bridging the gap between Youkai giga (on the right) and the Higaku kenkyujou on the left. It's a fun way to transition to the next manga in the magazine and advertise another manga at the same time! 

And that brings us to the end of issue #36! Next week features the first Conan color pages in three years!! This will commemorate Mr. Shounen Sunday reaching the legendary status of having 1,000 chapters behind under his soccer ball inflation belt, and it's one not to be missed! Along with him, Pops in Shinobi no will have a color page, and so will Dagashikashi --along with an important announcement! This is traditionally how an anime announcement is done so hype levels are at max for a second season --though I don't recall the first doing that well. but anime productions are mysterious things. Of course it could be something completely unrelated to an anime too so lets not hang our hats on that. In any case, thanks for being here for this 2nd early Sunday edition, and take care until whenever it is we meet again!