Back on Tuesdays for this week and this week only (for the forseeable future) is Sunday! Fireworks are going off outside (if you're in the US) and inside the magazine (if you're on this blog). So it's like the party never stops!
Gracing the cover of this week's issue is Silver Spoon, Hiromu (Full Metal Alchemist) Arakawa's farming slice of life manga! It used to run pretty regularily in the magazine, but due to Arakawa's family member falling ill (and probably having another series running monthly) it soon became a somewhat irregular serialization. Think Saike, but with less frequency. (Speaking of which, Saike is back this issue too!) It's an issue full of returns and I'm looking forward to covering what I can...though it is a lot. crying noises.
Now the TOC:
Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa (Cover)
Komi-san wa, Komyushou Desu by Tomohito Oda
Major 2nd by Mitsuya Takeda
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama
Tenshi and Akuto!! by Aya Hirakawa
Amano Megumi wa Suki darake! by Nekoguchi
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita
Maou-jou de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomata
Saike matashitemo by Tsubasa Fukuchi (Color page)
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami
Magi by Shinobu Ohtaka
Dagashikashi by KOTOYAMA
Daiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba
Hoankan Evans no uso ~Dead or Love~ by Midzuki Kuriyama
Kyoukai no RINNE by Rumiko Takahashi
Meteor Girl by Reach Ishiyama
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido
Yuugami-kun ni wa Tomodachi ga inai by Jun Sakurai (Monthly)
Be Blues! by Motoyuki Tanaka
Hiiragi-sama wa Jibun o Sagashiteru by Hiroyuki Nishimori
Jojuu Senjin!! Mushibugyo by Hiroshi Fukuda
Youkai giga by Satsuki Satou
Sunday Higaku Kenkyujou by Yuuji Yokoyama
Not in this issue are the following:
Detective Conan (Returning in issue 33)
Zettai Karen Children (Till Summer)
So the winds of change blow through the magazine with Major rising through the ranks and Evans taking a bit of a fall. Tenshi is also a bit higher this week, and while Saike is riding high, I'm almost positive next week it'll be down --I think it's position is pretty much predetermined due to the nature of it's serialization. Conan returns next week, which I'm anticipating, and we'll have one less monthly series confusing things so the TOC should be normalized slightly.
Seems Sunday realizes they do need an app for that, as Sunday Webry is now getting it's own dedicated application come August....which worries me slightly as Shuiesha did the same thing for Weekly Shounen Jump, and now it's not sold on Amazon. I'm hoping that this won't be the case for WSS, but for now it is a good thing, I think. Oh, probably the biggest thing here is that Touch will now be available digitally --the manga that is. Touch is Adachi Mitsuru's masterpiece sports manga, and I'd recommend the anime to anyone who wants to see it!
Speaking of which, Webry is offering prizes to people who register and get the app --it's mostly stuff like storyboards and whatnot, but you can even get a baseball signed by Adachi himself! Sadly knowing Japanese is pretty much a prerequisite for this, but it's a pretty cool offering.
And so we dive right in to chapter 121 of Silver Spoon! Above these pages is an advertisement for the 14th volume which will be released August 18th. I haven't really read much of the series myself so my commentary will be a bit sparse, but the series comes from a personal standpoint for the author --as Arakawa was raised on a farm in Hokkaido which is the setting for this manga. It seems Christmas is coming soon in the series and while the characters want a white holiday it doesn't seem likely.
What I do know about Silver Spoon is that the protagonist --Hachiken and the heroine Mikage have became a couple at the end of the last chapter published. On the left page, it Hachiken reveals that his older brother has had a child, but a classmate overhears this as he and Mikage having a child and the result is as predictable as it is priceless. On the page beside this, it seems Mikage's Dad has realized they're an item and isn't all that pleased by it. I honestly love Arakawa's over the top reactions from FMA, and it's great they're still a thing in this manga too.
Hachiken is looking forward to having Christmas to relax, but sadly his boss says that he'll have to work through the holidays. This doesn't stop everyone from making requests for potatoes and the such from him, heh.
Working on the farm and Christmas lights...it's certainly off season in this manga. (Love that the Potato farm's advertisement is a neon Christmas sign.)
Poor Hachiken's white Christmas consists of rice alone. Guess I can sort of identify with that. --The alone part, not so much the rice part. Sadly while I can read Japanese and write about it, I can't cook to save my life. It's nice to have Hachiken back, even if we're not entirely sure how long he'll be sticking around.
Speaking of off season Christmas stories, Komi-san delights! We get a brief rundown of the "communication sickness" and how it relates to Christmas gatherings --and how difficult it can be to go when you're as painfully shy as Komi.
Despite this, (not pictured) Najimi invites Komi to a secret Santa/present exchange party which the aforementioned feels obligated to go to, despite not knowing at all what to get everyone much less going to do so alone, however to my surprise Komi has a little brother? This surprised me as much as finding out Tadano has a little sister last week. In any case, Komi shows her older sister side by forcing her brother to accompany her on the shopping trip. Unfortunately she's unable to decide on anything, leaving Shousuke (her bro) to do the work for her.
Shousuke and Shouko (I never do refer to Komi by her first name do I?) are pretty similar which I guess is not surprising as they're siblings, but I do love seeing her older sister side here as she forces her brother to buy her something. on the right page.
We find out in the second chapter of this week's installment that it's not only Christmas but Komi's birthday! Well...it's actually the next day from the date of this celebration, but Komi's overjoyed either way, if the right pic is anything to go by. There's a callback to the initial chapter opening in the right page --"Communication sickness is not knowing what expression to have when someone surprises you." Same here, Komi, same here.
Tadano picks up on Komi's unease, and gives a pretty simple but effective answer --just tell everyone by email/text how grateful you are later! What happens is, well...on the bottom panel, Komi may be lacking when it comes to speaking audibly, but she's quite verbose via text. It was a good idea Tadano, don't worry.
Next up is Tenshi and Akuto, where Akuto surprises Subaru by giving her the lead role in deference to his normal "King of the hill" shtick. Though of course his intentions to drag out a better performance from everyone else via improving her voice acting is clear. After all if he's the one who helps her and thus everyone else, it'll make him look good by comparison!
Subaru is not surprisingly reluctant to take on the lead role that even Akuto couldn't do, and turns him down, but in his own somewhat scum-bag-ish way, Akuto says that he's not asking her to do this for the hell of it, but because she's got the talent and is squandering it! In short, without her this whole performance...and he are doomed!
With this encouragement, Subaru is able to pull off a performance that leaves everyone spellbinded. Where did this new Subaru full of confidence and a new cadence come from?
And as Akuto predicted, her performance manages to bring the best out of everyone! Even the producer is amazed that such an amazing performance could come out of these voice actors! It's a cliched development, but I'm really into this all the same. Who knew that Hirakawa could make a voice acting manga this passionate?
Most of all seeing Akuto change (even if only slightly) into someone who actually sees and cares about the talents of others is something to behold too. He brought the best out of Subaru and the rest of the cast, and now they're ready to take on the last boss once again!
On the subject of last bosses --what would one be without a second form? That's the question in mind in this week's Souboutei. One of my favorite things in shounen is seeing weak willed main characters grow into something incredible --and we see that with Rokuro here --one page is all it takes for him to realize that crying isn't going to solve anything. Takoha and his sister Kurenai are depending on him, and he's gotta get moving!
Fujita's still one of the top of his game when it comes to reaction faces. The soldiers ask Rokuro what he's planning to do, and he says that he's getting revenge on the house that killed his father. The lack of color in the left page and his expression show his resolve. Though the more restrained Japanese response of bowing before he runs off to do something reckless shows he's still the timid boy we knew from the beginning of the series.
We're taken back sixteen minutes into the past where Seiichi is bringing down the house in his own unique way, while also keeping the thralls of the house down.
And now things get interesting as new people show up.
Are these new villians? Allies? We're not sure quite yet, but this dual page spread makes it clear --they're quite important to the plot. They mention that Seiichi has the scent of "it" on him, and the leader makes it clear that they are not to underestimate him just because he's a child.
Apparently they're a special military squadron tasked with protecting the Souboutei, which means they're basically Seiichi's enemies. The lead guy here has a peculiar --almost antiquated way of speaking which is interesting...but anyway, while that's going on Kurenai is wandering around in the house completely lost, until she finds something on the stairwell....unfortunately the chapter ends right there, so what she found and it's significance will have to wait until next week.
Back from a month away is Saike --well, you wouldn't know that looking at this color page of Ana playing video games! I'm constantly impressed with how far Fukuchi has come from his Ueki days with his color works...and infuriated that Shougakukan doesn't see fit to give anyone other than Aoyama a color page collection showcase. At least with digital platforms, it's easier to gather these, but c'mon! I'd totally buy a Fukuchi color art collection! Speaking of which, The cover for Volume 9 (out July 18th) looking incredible too.
A bit of a review --at the end of the 9th part, Saike was confronted by a classmate --Hirayasu in regard to his intentions with his oracle. Has he simply deluded himself into thinking he is different than Johann who wants to subjugate normal humans? Does Saike's heroic intentions basically boil down to him not wanting to be righteous but...special? Our hero denies this in his dreams until the ring of a doorbell awakens him.
Turns out Ana has come over to cheer him up and proposes they go out on a date. She's quick to point out that he should be grateful she's giving him her time, which means he can't keep moping around. I think I've made it clear that I have a soft spot for Ana, and these pages with her blush as she comes over and picks Saike up only increases these feelings twice-fold.
Their first stop is a cafe --Ana had wanted to come with her friend Hitomi, but she couldn't make it, so Saike is her stand in. Saike's fine with this but...Ana's wardrobe causes their little date to stand out. Which makes him wonder how she could be too timid to go to the cafe, but not too timid to dress the way she does in public. Hey, hey, hey Saike, goth lolis are good, actually.
Next they go to an arcade where Ana does an awesome Jojo impression while embracing some embarrassingly chuuinbou tendencies. She kicks some tail in a video game and utters a phrase similar to "You can come after me in 100 million years." The next stop is a manga reading library where Saike reveals to her that he doesn't actually like reading manga. gasp. Ana is
rightfully shocked by this "You're Japanese aren't you? How could you be Japanese and not read manga?!" You tell him Ana!! Though seriously, there are actually Japanese people who like reading novels like Saike, so if you do go there try not to have a misguided view of things like Ana.
And in a moment of repose, Ana says to Saike "Do your best Hero!" Saike realizes that moping around won't do him any good and gets his head back into the game!
The two head to an anime related store where limited edition shirts are on sale --and it's there they run into two brothers who seem to be quite popular among the crowd, however it's clear on the right page that one of these brothers has an ability of some sort! How will this tie into the larger plot at hand? We'll have to find out next time as the "brothers arc" comes to a start!
It's been a while, but Dagashikashi hits the blog again! This time features the two siblings Tou, and Saya as it's main characters!
They're out at their Grandmother's place with nothing to do until they're offered some juice...which comes in the form of "Tangerine water". The siblings sort of discuss the properties of something being called juice when "water" is right in the name for a while before Saya decides to call Koko and get the 411 on the beverage. Koko describes it as somewhat similar to Ramune despite it only being about 5% actual juice, so it's mostly just water with a tangerine-ish finish that's created to be easy to just chug down.
Saya remembers how they used to drink this as children and has a tear in her eye in regards to the nostalgia, and this oddly normal chapter of Dagashikashi comes to an end. I guess it's Hotaru who brings the weirdness, though admittedly it was nice to have something like this --slow, and easy to down in one gulp.
I figured with "land" Silver Spoon coming back in this issue, that "sea" Silver spoon should also appear in the blog. The narrative has focused on Minato for the last few weeks, so it's a welcome change that we get a chapter on Nagiko's progress in Tokyo --where it appears she meets her professor for the first time.
The guy in black comments that many female students have showed up to take the class simply because they think "Dolphins are cute" and advises Nagiko to quit because things will only get tougher as time goes by. Nagiko surprises by saying it is actually her interest --her dream to learn more about whales, a wish only exemplified by her experience on her way to the school...
Kusaba's art is still gorgeous to behold. It seems whales are in short number, but on a certain train route from Nagasaki, you can see them just like this.
Despite being told how tough things will be, Nagiko says she still wants to raise and foster the growth of whales. The professor approves of her ambition and it seems she's welcomed into the class! I wonder how Kusaba will cover both character's progression through their schooling, and also will Minato and Nagiko ever meet up again? We'll have to see...
The 13th chapter of Evans is here and the lone gunman who really doesn't want to be alone is on patrol!
Evans is called in by a bar owner to take away a girl who's been starting up brawls in the establishment --Shirley Rhand (Land?) who apologizes for her mischievousness, but Ted reveals that she's been thrown in the slammer for the same crime --merely a week ago. She's eventually carted away by Evans, and from the look on Ted's face, she didn't go quietly.
Shirley makes Evans an offer he really should refuse but doesn't want to --if he lets her escape she'll give him something "good". Evans acts disinterested, but as the info box on the left says he's actually super extremely interested. Shirley even offers to show him the goods, and Evans is ready to partake! Too bad his plucky sidekick is around....has Batman ever had this problem with Robin I wonder, hah.
The paddy wagon the group is in gets derailed, and Ted is asked to head out and help leaving Evans alone with Shirley. He tries to get her to continue the whole "showing the goods" conversation from earlier, but his Dad lecture mode flips on and he finds himself unable to cooly ask the criminal to do what she made good on, so he plays a game of inference that Shirley seems to pick up on..but the thing she shows off is a gun. I genuinely enjoy Evan's expression on the right as he just says "You're a disappointment, y'know that?"
Ted actually comes through the clutch --it's thanks to him smuggling a gun in that Evans avoids getting plugged, but in the end he regrets not being able to strip search Shirley. It seems next issue she'll return along with Oakley in a three way battle...huh. That'll be interesting, I'm sure.
Oddly enough Rinne is probably the only series actually doing summer things in the summer, as Sakura and little Ichigo hit the pool in the 377th installment of the series. Apparently Rinne's job has him at the pool, and the ladies figured they'd hang out with him while he works.
Rinne's not the only Shinigami at the pool however as Shouma appears --but is invisible to the patrons, so there won't be any panicking at his scythe. He's actually here to harvest a soul, but promises to hang out with Ichigo and Sakura soon enough, but it seems Rinne has this job in the bag and Takahashi boots Shouma out of the picture.
It seems the spirit is looking for his wallet, while Shouma tries to impress Sakura and Ichigo by buying them drinks. (The goggles pictured on his head on the left allow him to be seen temporarily.) This actually ties in with the greater plot of the chapter which is the ghost is looking for his wallet to buy a girl something which is what's keeping him from moving on.
It seems he lost the wallet at the bottom of the pool, but was too scared to dive in and get it himself even after all of these years, and since Shouma's not going to be able to exorcise the spirit, he decides to help him out instead.
He's able to grant the spirit wings, and he's able to get his wallet from the pool and it's...not very cool looking at all. Still the spirit is able to cross on and the pool party goes on uninterrupted....though it seems shouma doesn't realize Ichigo and Rinne's relationship. (Should I spoil it? I'm not sure if the anime has gotten this far...)
Meteor girl is up next with it's 8th installment. Last time we left Tetto and Ryoko, it seemed that happiness for the latter was just an arm's length out of reach.
Sorry not sorry.
Tetto tries to talk to Ryoko --that her sister Sachi might in fact be something completely different now, but Ryoko doesn't care. Her sister is her sister no matter what she came back as. This is interrupted by a shining, buzzing noise...! Could it be another meteor girl is about to fall?!
Tetto manages to save Ryoko from being smashed into bits, but the poor girl is still too shocked to do anything but grieve for her lost sister.
The scene changes to the next day at school where on the right, Ishiyama does his very best 80's Jojo reference via Tetto who awaits Hane to arrive at school. He's got questions and she's being adept at ignoring him.
Hane says she's busy, but Tetto tells her about what he went through yesterday in regards to Sachi and Ryoko --and that gets Hane's attention on the left page fifth panel. She wants to hear eeeeeverything about what Tetto experieinced. Meanwhile a glance at a stargazing poster drags Tetto into his memories of hanging out with his friend and older sister figure, Chihiro who as we know from several chapters in the past has died.
....Or so we think. Tetto reviews what he knows and has experienced first hand. Hane's hypoethis about meteor girls being the bodies of dead girls falling from the sky, and how he ran into two of these girls...would he find his heart swayed if his friend Chihiro were to return? If the end of the chapter is any indication, we won't have to wait long to find out.
Yuugami comes in for his monthly visit --opening up with a girl who ends up being left alone to paint backdrops for school by her friends, until Yuugami surprisingly comes in and offers to help leaving an impression of him on her she would find hard to forget. Rio (the girl) seems to have fallen for Yuugami, which makes me wonder if she realizes what she's getting herself into.
The chapter presents us with the question of what's more incredible than love? --and then answers this with "Friendship". Rio and Chihiro are apparently good friends --but their tea ceremony is interrupted by Suzune (remember her from last month?) who sends Chihiro several texts of her exploits. --Seems Yuugami's cousin isn't one to simply leave the story, nope. She's just flipped gears from bothering Yuugami to Chihiro. It's here that Rio expresses some concern that she won't be able to make friends in college when she goes soon, so working on her communication is a must.
The problem is Rio has a real issue with...communicating. Her idea of a smile is on the first panel on the left. She decides that being true to herself is the best way to communicate and as such tries to talk to Yuugami directly by asking one of his teammates what he's into, which doesn't go well as he's the kind of guy who's really only into himself, heh. As such Rio's left no choice (well aside from just talking to him directly) but to figure out a means of changing herself through books.
Rio's able to sort of practice smiling and get it down sort of (with the accompanying text on the right making it sound like she's learned a new move a la a JRPG).
Unfortunately it's not able to help her avoid being in the same situation as in the chapter's opening where she's stuck painting alone until Yuugami appears and says that he loves...."woodwork". It's good that he's so straightforward I suppose. He helps Rio out not realizing her feelings for him.
She realizes watching Yuugami that he's simply a guy who lives to enjoy the present the best he can...and that she should do less worrying about the future and just let it happen. Of course forcing your friend to study with you on the road to college helps, as the end of the chapter shows.
Kuro's back in part six of love troubles in regards to it's master. It seems while the girl he's been tailing has been lonely without the guy, Kuro too is finding the grips of loneliness to be severe. This is the first time he's been away from his master after all!
Kuro then recalls how punctual his master was and how they were always together doing this or that. Though as master grew up, their interactions became fewer and farther apart --sort of like a child growing out of having an imaginary friend, except that the friend in this case is a real youkai. It's interesting though...the girl seems to have some kind of spirital awareness of Kuro without being able to see him. (Also I found out now that her name is Makoto.)
Makoto's friend suggests that she figure out her feelings and decide what she wants to do in regard to the man she seems to like. Meanwhile Kuro runs into what seems to be another youkai who comments on the affairs of love. Who --or what is this youkai and how does it tie into this story? Considering the tempo so far, I guess we'll find out in issue 34.
And that's it for issue #32! Next issue brings us a new series --Shinobino by Rokuro Ohgaki, the return of Detective Conan, a color page for Mushibugyo's 30th volume release, another color page for Megumi, and more Silver spoon. So it's going to be an issue to remember! I hope you'll tune in with me on our regularly schedule Wednesdays next week for more Sunday! Until then, take care!