Saturday, July 22, 2017

Weekly Shounen Sunday #35

What's thiiiis?! A WSS entry on a Saturday of all days? I'm not sure how it happened but I was given the issue super early thanks to a kind contributor, and I figured since I have no life and therefore don't do anything on weekends, that I could knock out Sunday on Saturday and bring you the goods ahead of the curve for once! Though this will most likely be a one time occurrence, so don't get used to it! In any case I've got the goods, and far too much free time on weekends for my own good so lets Sunday!

On the cover this week is Adachi's first work in the weekly magazine in six years, the 30 page oneshot Natsu no Rakugaki or Summer Graffiti! It's the first time in a while we've gotten manga on the cover...though those familiar with Adachi will know it's him through that familiar same face, but I'd like to think of it as a part of his charm rather than a detraction. (Though both interpretations are kinda fair, honestly.)

And now this week's hit parade!

Natsu no Rakugaki by Mitsuru Adachi (Cover and Color page, 30 page oneshot.)
Kyoukai no RINNE by Rumiko Takahashi 
Detective Conan by Gosho Aoyama
Komi-san wa Komyushou desu by Tomohito Oda
Magi by Shinobu Ohtaka
Maou-jou de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomata (Color page)
Shinobi no by Rokuro Ohgaki
Major 2nd by Takuya Mitsuda 
Dagashikashi by KOTOYAMA
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami (Color page)
Hoankan Evens no Uso ~Dead or Love~ by Midzuki Kuriyama
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama (Color page)
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita
Amano Megumi wa Suki Darake by Nekoguchi
Saike matashitemo by Tsubasa Fukuchi
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido
Tenshi & Akuto!! by Aya Hirakawa
Be Blues by Motoyuki Tanaka
Meteor Girl by Reach Ishiyama
Tenshou no Quadrable by Takahiro Arai
Birdmen by Yellow Tanabe
Daiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba
Hiiragi-sama wa Jibun o Sagshite iru by Hiroyuki Nishimori
Jojuu Senjin!! Mushibugyo by Hiroshi Fukuda
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou 
Sunday Higaku Kenkyujo by Yuuji Yokoyama

And not participating this week are...

Gin no Saji 
K.O.I King of Idol
Zettai Karen Children (Absent Till Summer)

Not gonna lie, I'm feeling weird writing that Zettai will be back this summer when the date for this issue is in fact August. I think at this point it's safe to say Zettai will be back in a decidedly fall like time period, but Shougakukan hasn't said either way so we'll roll with it. Anyway, Rinne surprises by taking the top of the magazine --even over Mr. Shounen Sunday himself, Souboutei reclaims a little of it's former glory, Saike is one again out of the basement, and the stragglers of the new pack --Daiku, Tenshou and Meteor girl are showing they're on thin ice. Evans is also a little lower, but with the color pages augmenting where Hatsukoi and Maoujo stand in the polls, I wouldn't be surprised if this is a result of our lawman getting displaced. There still aren't release dates for some of the first volumes which is a little bit of a surprise since it means October will be a pretty packed month, but maybe there's a method to that madness.

 Here we get a look at Adachi's workplace as seen by the baseball mascot Tsubakurou! It's rare to see pictures of mangaka in their natural habitat, so it's my pleasure to bring this to your attention! Tsubakurou is the mascot of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows and considering Adachi's long history with baseball, it's not surprising he's the one to pay the mangaka a visit.  Tsubakurou has a manga too, but it runs in a magazine printed by Shougakukan's competitor Kodansha, oddly enough. Still, that didn't stop Adachi from giving the swallow an autographed picture of Minami from his series "Touch" as a gift! What a nice guy!

Weekly Shounen Sunday isn't the only one getting in on the summer of Adachi --the monthly publication Sunday Super is also giving away stickers and running a special manga tribute contributed by Hayate the Combat butler's artist Kenjirou Hata! Of course there are also prizes to be won, but unless you live in Japan there's no way to enter for 'em, sadly.

"As the seasons change, we can be assured Summer will come". Is how this oneshot begins. Interesting use of the blue background on the color pages...while it does feel like a time cutting measure, in this case it accentuates Adachi's art quite well, giving a summer like feeling. In any case, the conversation on the right is about Granny Watanabe's grandchild coming to visit from Tokyo.

We're introduced to Rin Natsukawa and a boy who reminds her of their promise and how he'll get revenge on her this year. Rin replies with the popular Japanese quasi-meme "Idiot, You're a hundred years too early" as the boy runs off. Apparently she's bullied him since they were children and as her Grandfather(?) states, it's not at all surprising there's some enmity between them. Meanwhile, Rin belittles him for being so weak in the first place and then we get a bit more about their history --seems Rin has been mastering the blade as a child with the boy as her somewhat enthusiastic punching bag. 

On the left, the info that Rin is with the badminton club rather than the kendo one is brought to light, her reasoning being that no one takes a female kendo practitioner seriously, while on the right, Hikaru and a girl complain about the heat in the area. It's not revealed what relationship the girl has with Hikaru --the boy, here but I'm assuming from their covnersation that they're both visiting from Tokyo and he's the grandchild of Watanabe mentioned on the first set of pages.

We get a rundown of Hikaru's situation here, and it's as classic Adachi as one can get. He lives in Tokyo, but every summer he comes out to the country to see his grandmother, while also getting his butt handed to him by a girl who lives in the neighborhood --Rin. He himself remarks on how much he hates this, but yet it happens every summer, and as one can see from the bottom panel on the left, nothing changes even with his Grandma's intervention.  Hikaru talks a big game later when he sees Rin again, but she comments that while each year he comes back ready to rumble, (and has apparently joined the Kendo club), he seems to only get worse at it. The guy on the right page comments about the girl with Hikaru this time and wonders if that's his girlfriend while drooling over how girls in Tokyo are really sexy. This gets him an earful from Rin who quasi complains about how everything is so far from each other in this place and so it's nothing like Tokyo.

The girl with Hikaru watches Rin practice and asks if she's seriously going to take him on in a Kendo match, which she --Rin replies that she's always serious. After a bit of passive aggressive barb exchange, the girl reveals that Hikaru is actually in a Kendo magazine and leaves. Rin goes to check it out and to her...not surprise she sees him. It seems Hikaru is better at this than she thought, so why does he suck so hard when they have their matches?

Earlier on, Rin's Grandfather(?) asked her if she wanted to take a trip with him, and she had declined since she didn't want to be around a bunch of "drunk old men", but oddly after seeing this article, she asks her Dad if she'd be able to see the ocean where they're going, and decides she'll go even though it means she'll miss the Fireworks exhibition which is the stage for where she and Hikaru would have their yearly match. Rin says she's fine with that, and drops the bomb that she's quitting Kendo. More surprises come on the next page when the girl from earlier introduces her boyfriend which means that Hikaru is actually single! Turns out he was down in bed with a summer cold and couldn't come out the day before. He also reveals that when Hikaru joined the kendo club in Middle school he didn't take it very seriously, but after a while he became the best in Japan! Whoa, now his inability to beat Rin who's not even in a club is even more baffling.

Ahhh and here's the Adachi twist --it's predicable but executed sooo well that you can't help but be charmed by it. So as the guy is talking Rin continues to be weirded out by how good Hikaru is supposed to be, yet he loses so miserably when they have their matches. Then it comes back to her --a childhood promise that if he's able to beat her in kendo she'll marry him when they're older. In the present, Hikaru's got the big guy's cold and is too weak to move, yet he's insistent on going to meet Rin for their challenge, so much so that he sneaks out when his Grandma isn't looking.

And my favorite part of the chapter --Rin who was going to go on a trip with her father after feeling betrayed by Hikaru who seems to belittle her as other male Kendo practitioners do instead waits at the temple for Hikaru as the fireworks light up the sky.  There's no words but this feeling of understanding and maybe not a mutual sense of longing but the beginning of something like it is integral to Adachi's works. Nothing is overly stated, just heavily implied, and it's that sense of distant closeness to the characters --where one is never quite sure what they're thinking outside of the actions they show us outright feels very real for lack of a better word. It's how I was able to last through Touch despite really not being interested in the sports genre --Adachi might have a same face issue and tell stories that are generally the same over and over, but his execution is always at the top of it's game which is precisely why he's one of the masters of the genre. His series are less about sports and more about the budding emotions in people and in that regard he knows his stuff very well. In most cases a oneshot leaves us wanting more, but in this case I'm fine with how this ended and imagining how things will go between Hikaru and Rin in the future. 

Speaking of masters, Takahashi is up to bat next with part two of Renge's troubles in Rinne. 

Last time we left Renge she had been under the mistaken impression that her unrequited feelings for Kain would remain just that when she heard he was engaged to be engaged, but that was a misunderstanding. Still it lead to Renge confessing to Kain that she is a damashigami who he has enmity toward due to them leading to his impoverished lifestyle. The problem is, Kain didn't call her out to talk about his engagement --in fact he had declined going to the omiai...he only meant to return a picture of he and Renge from their middle school days that he had forgotten to on several occasions. Which is to say in short Renge just outed herself for no reason, which is most likely going to put a real strain on their relationship...

To everyone's surprise Rinne cooks up a plan to throw Kain off Renge's trail and hopefully fool him into thinking her sudden confession was a mistake by setting it up in a way that she's the one who foils a Damashigami plan in front of Kain --something akin to working under cover. Although this whole situation has Renge wondering if she should continue to fool him, she accepts their help and thanks them. Meanwhile Kain is having trouble accepting what Renge told him while on the beach the next day....

Not pictured, but he figures if she was really telling the truth, then he'd like to apprehend her himself, and it seems he gets a chance with Ageha appears and tells him Renge is up to no good leading the both of them to head off to arrest her, but two hours later they haven't appeared despite the rest of Rinne's plan going off without a hitch. Unfortunately for them, Ageha is a ditz who can't read a map and has gotten totally lost, and Tsubasa who was made to wear the bunny costume and play the bad guy in this scheme gets tired of waiting, runs off and leaves Renge on her own to deal with things.

Kain finally appears and after they apprehend the bunny damashigami, he asks if she's really undercover as a damashigami spy ---I guess Ageha fed him that line? Which she starts to confirm, but then they find out that the bunny they apprehended is really a damashigami and he spills the beans about Renge's involvement with them, essentially digging a deeper hole for her. On the right, Renge resigns to her fate and asks Kain to arrest her which to her surprise he admits he can't do it. He decides to let her go --but with the caveat that they can never see each other again. Rinne decides this is the time to use a "fate reversing" item to change the outcome of this tragedy....

And it's basically a sign saying "You've been punk'd!" Hah, yup Rinne went for the whole "Juuuust kidding!" shtick. It's not clear if Kain buys it because he wants to believe in Renge, or if he really is that naive, but either way he does and says good bye to Renge with the intention of seeing her again. Renge blesses her lucky stars and says she's going to quit being a Damashigami, which the side text seems to imply is the truth...oh, and for the curious the rich lady that Kain was supposed to have an omiai with is pictured at the bottom of the page above, along with the insert that he "strongly" refused. I'm not sure if Renge's really done with the company, as Rinne is a comedy first and foremost which is to say big changes like this would make it awkward to run the same gags, but I suppose if Takahashi is ready to retire it then just maybe...?

Mr. Shounen sunday prepares to leave the triple digits behind in his 999th installment! Sadly you'll have to wait another week for 1,000 as he's taking a normal week off for the next issue, but the drama is at it's peak! --Kinda. So they manage to get Haibara's key chain back, but it's seen better days. When Conan asks Haibara about an antidote to embiggen him for the school trip, she flat out says that she won't help him --if the bottom panel on the right didn't make it obvious! What's a pint-sized detective to do? Well, it'd help if he said he was sorry before asking for things, I suppose. In any case, we've got a week off until the big one-thousand, and it'll be interesting to see if Aoyama has a big case in mind for that commemorative achievement.

Maoujo celebrates a new volume dropping with a color page that's quite aqueous! It's surprising how much mileage Kumanomata has managed to get out of such a simple premise, but that seems to be Sunday's claim to fame in general.

Aside from the color page, we get this advert that lists the Princess's favorite places to sleep. From the old Demon King's castle, to the meeting room, to secret flower garden...anywhere she can take a nap becomes her bed, but what's her favorite? You'll just have to pick up a copy of volume four to find out! I gotta say, I do like how creative some of these "buy our product" advertisements can be, even though their purpose doesn't change, heh.

The chapter starts with the definition of a "captive", accentuating the part where the captive is used as a bargaining chip to get something out of someone else. So when the monsters of the Demon King's castle have a meeting they come to the realization that their situation has become sort of dire --it's almost as if they're being held captive by the princess due to her strong magical abilities and devil-may-care attitude in using them! So what should they do? What can they do? One monster suggests simply ignoring her which they decide to take into advisement, but ignoring the princess is easier said than done, especially when she just sort of takes the cold shoulder in stride.

The princess is in the midst of getting materials to create her very own water bed, and she can't do that if the monsters get in her way. So when she asks wolf-man to move from a storage container and he won't because he's acting as if she isn't there, she simply collars him and moves him aside herself,which seems ineffective at first --he's a big guy and she a little lass, but when she trips and falls the instinct to protect the hostage kicks in, and wolf-man finds himself with no other choice but to comply.

And this kind of keeps happening because when the princess fell over she scraped her knee. While she herself doesn't seem to notice her injury, the monsters all can't help but react in kind --after all she's their captive, and if she's hurt while with them they're the ones who have to take responsibility --so when she asks them for the ingredients for her water bed, they have no choice but to acquiesce. They come to a monster with long tendrils that would complete the princess's ingredients for her bed, but the monster ignores her and reprimands her captives for being captive --leaving the poor princess to finally realize she's being ignored on purpose, and upon this she lets lose with a single tear (that is from her yawning rather than actually being sad) and this is enough to send all the monsters into a guilt trip.

Eventually they just end up helping her make her new water bed and it's a big success! Princess has a comfortable place to sleep while the monsters are back to square one wondering how to handle their lopsided situation. They're beginning to realize they may be over their heads, but for now until the hero comes to save the princess, there's not much they can do. If there is a lesson to be learned here, it's probably "choose who you kidnap wisely, because one never knows how long they'll have to put up with them!"

We return to the world of Shinobi, Samurai and black ships with the third Shinobi no chapter! Seems Pops is rather upset about something, but what exactly?

To answer this question, we turn the clock back a day where Pops is audience to Masahiro Abe, who gives him his mission in no uncertain terms --sneak upon the black ships and assassinate Commodore Perry. Talk about a mission impossible! But Abe seems more than confident that the last and greatest shinobi should have no problem doing this --though Pop's expression on the right is justified. This is a crazy mission! Though pride gets the best of him and he accepts anyway --despite Abe making it very clear that if he fails even a little that it won't end well --Japan will most certainly go to war with America. When he asks if such a mission is possible, Pops replies that his vocabulary doesn't include the word "impossible" in it. That's pretty badass, but are you sure about this Pops? Also the last panel's sense of shading and light/dark contrast is incredible to a point that I'm worried Ohgaki will burn himself out on a weekly schedule. Mind your health, sensei!

On this page we find that Ohgaki's masterful art isn't limited to people as the black ship "SS Sasuke hana" cuts through the waves.

On this page, Vice captain Abbot orders his crew around and comments on the arrival of the "outsiders", who seem to be a group different than his own..obviously. It's here we get our first glimpse of a female character in the series as well. Considering these characters get a page introduction, It's safe to assume they'll be quite relevant.

The "outsiders" request to see the Commodore himself who Abbot goes to so that he may inform him of their arrival. We don't see Perry's face here, but man does Ohgaki go out of his way to show him as an intimidating man.

If that wasn't enough for you, then let the upper two page spread and the page below it be a visual masterpiece. The spread is simply Perry's vision of Japan's future --he himself comments that "Japan will be beautiful when it burns" but Ohgaki knocks it out of the park with the visceral impact of the flames and artwork. What I most want to point out here is Abbot's expression on the bottom --I'm most interested in knowing what he's thinking. Is that a look of reserved approval? Or quiet shock? Only time will tell.

Five days later, the Japanese are uneasily watching the black ships while simultaneously getting annoyed at only "watching" while not "doing". Still those are the orders they were given, and there's not much else they can do even if they're bored, but sometimes nothing happening is for the best --a truth we usually don't realize until something actually happens, and if the right page is any indication, things are about to get exciting in a thoroughly unpleasant way as the female soldier makes her way to the Japanese coast.

The Japanese were ready to move upon the Black Ships at any time, but they weren't expecting them to make the first move. The female soldier really reminds me of Revy from Black Lagoon which is a good thing for me, and a bad thing for her enemies. On the bottom panel she goads the "Yellow Monkeys" to bring their best on and keep her entertained. I've mentioned it in the past, but horizontal text in manga generally denotes a character speaking a language that isn't Japanese despite the text being Japanese. Suffice to say she's probably speaking English. The Japanese open fire while Pops watches from a distance entertained by the spectacle. Well, his job is to assassinate Perry, not fight his grunts, so he's not wrong to intervene.

Meanwhile watching from another location is a man and a boy. The man comments that both sides are ready to mix it up, which is to say that a war is imminent. The man is very clearly Shouin who we were introduced to last chapter (remember?) and the boy who seems interested in the prospect of war is...

Toudou Heisuke who's the leader of the eighth Shinsengumi squadron. According to a history loving friend of mine, (and his name) he has some relationship with Takeyuki who was in chapter one. In historial Japan, he didn't live a long life, but was league with shinsengumi commander Kondo Isami, and Nakagura Shinpachi. As the guy who translates Gintama each week, all these names are super familiar to me, and it's honestly offputting, hah, but the history of it all is deeply intriguing! This is technically the end of the "obligatory" coverage of Shinobi no, but I like it enough to make it a regular part of the blog along with Evans, Saike, and so on, so look forward to another entry next week!

The 152nd chapter of Dagashikashi begins with Koko with Saya --and the latter commenting that it's strange for him to come to her with a place to go in mind, as Koko's usually the sort to just go with the flow, but today he wants to take her somewhere specific --could this be the beginning of a d-d-d-date?!

To Saya's surprise Koko wants to go to an..Aquarium? This is almost undeniably a date like encounter! Though, Koko probably doesn't think as much, according to his actions and words. Still Saya is overjoyed that things are moving in a direction. I chose to cover this chapter not because of the cuteness in the left page, but for the artwork in the top panel. Not only that, the chapter title is simply "Date" which is to say it's the rare Dagashikashi chapter that isn't about candy and about something that KOTOYAMA is really good at --character writing. On the left page, Koko explains his reasons for coming to an Aquarium as collecting info for his manga, but he also explains about his situation with Hotaru who feels he'd be perfect for the sweets business although he himself isn't so sure, and wanted to think deeply about his future. If possible he'd like to choose a path where he can be around everyone --Saya, her brother Tou, his Dad, and Hotaru forever.

Outside, Saya assures Koko that whatever path he chooses, she'll be there for him. They return to the cafe where Hotaru and Tou wait for them --apparently Tou tried making coffee the way his little sister does, but it tastes like wood, hah. The chapter ends simply with Saya taking over, and the friends getting together for warm coffee on a cold day. It's these moments I live for in shounen manga, though paradoxically the demographic doesn't allow for it often. I'm glad at least KOTOYAMA saw fit to give us a chapter that was purely character driven and shows of his strengths as a writer. Downtime once in a while is a good thing as it gives us a side of the characters we wouldn't see otherwise.

As the scanslations of the series are still caught up, I won't talk too much about Hatsukoi Zombie, but I will bring the color page to your attention --along with Sunday's efforts to promote it's heroines this summer on the right. Minenami's art is really pretty, and I'd emphatically recommend that people pick up Hatsukoi zombie should it ever get licensed, or if you're feeling adventurous --in Japanese.

Evans is up against a villain that has even the most hardened bounty hunters shivering in their boots --Lurking Laak. (Not sure of that name, but that's what Kuriyama has, so let's roll with it.) In any case, Evans gets intel of where Laak is lurking, so he heads off to take care of him ---not so much because he's interested in Justice, but because taking down strong guys like him is a great way to be popular with the ladies. Evans is able to mostly figure out the situation when he gets there, but one thing out of his expectations is Pheebs being on the scene.

Although the two give warnings to each other not to get in the way, and they seem mostly put off with having to deal with each other, there's clearly a hidden happiness between them. Now you'd think they'd discuss tactics to deal with an enemy that won't be easy to defeat, but the lovebirds are so bad at conversation that they instead talk about cake.

They get so into the wrong covnersation that the danger in front of them seems trivial at best, despite not being trivial at all, heh. Evans nearly gets shot at and is still invested in what she's saying about cake shop recommendations, and Laak being the discourteous villain he is continuously interrupts their conversation with gunshots. He truly is the worst! Evans flips the tape of his mind to side Dad and listens to the lecture about using an opportunity like this to be cool in front of a lady and decides to head down and deal with Laak directly.

Evans abandons his weapons and heads down to convince Laak to give himself up peacefully as he knows the bad guy is injured and wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight if they went all out. Though (not pictured) is that Evans actually has a gun hidden on his horse just in case Laak wasn't one to be trifled with --so he is just an overly cautious scardy cat, but he then says to Pheebs that he believed she'd back him up if something happened, and that's why  he was able to rush in without being armed. At the very least, he's learning what to say. Pheebs asks about her bounty --but says she'll settle for going to a cake shop in place of that. Were you guys here for the bounty at all?!

In another case of "The scans are caught up so I'm not going to say much about this" is Maiko-san, who's second volume is selling quite well! That's good to hear, as this story while not particularly exciting is usually very heart felt. I wish Koyama the utmost luck with it.

Souboutei picks right up where the last chapter ended, Kinoshita --a soldier who was apparently killed by the Souboutei is back in the flesh somehow, to the surprise of his fellow men. Kinoshita seems more than willing to kill his former comrades if they insist on attacking Seiichi, but his reasons for helping the boy are for the moment unclear.

And in a show of overwhelming strength, Kinoshita demonstrates he is a man to be feared. He asks why the platoon would come to a place like this --and how they managed to. Fujita's art is in fine form here too, with the strong panel work on the left and Kinoshita's pose on the right.

Although he challenges one of the men to a one-on-one fight, the others step in to overwhelm him, but an assist from Seiichi who manages to free himself evens the odds in this dual page spread. The angle here leans more toward Seiichi and Kinoshita, though the focal point is the action in the middle which is definitely a treat for readers.

Kinoshita had hoped to save his men, but Seiichi's intervention has made this difficult. He asks the boy if he's even human, which Seiichi meekly responds he is. Kinoshita expresses his dubiousness towards this, but implies he wants to believe Seiichi --though the Souboutei warps everything in it so trust is hard to come by, however now that the adrenaline of battle has worn off, Kinoshita loses strength and faints leaving Seiichi on his own. While these pages are important to the story, I couldn't help but include them due to Fujita's depiction of the house's corridors --which are unintrusive in the small panels they appear in, but have an unmistakable craftsmanship to them. In any case, Takoha wakes up somewhere in the house, unsure of how he got there...

Where he runs into the man within the house's portraits once again! Will we finally get answers as to who this man is and what his connection with Takoha are? Stay tuned for Souboutei next week for the possible answers to those questions!

Saike returns with his 86th installment, where the older of the two brothers recieves a dubious phone call, indicating that his ability to make balloons using his body could give he and his brother the easy life, but he refuses to help whomever is on the other line, because what the caller is asking for is a crime, and he refuses to play party to such a thing.

The older brother apologizes to his little brother that their lives without their dearly departed parents isn't easy, but little bro says that he believes in his brother and wouldn't have it any other way --via rap. The brothers' silliness really does make them endearing, doesn't it? Though dark clouds are on the horizon as someone watches the duo and says to advance things by the "schedule". Meanwhile we cut to Saike at home where hes preparing to settle in for the night...

When Ana calls him and says he should turn on the news immediately! He does so and finds that the older brother has been arrested for robbery! Not only that, he escapes using his oracle on live TV! What could have happened for things to turn out this way? Though admittedly I like the slow progression of his escape in the bottom panels of the right page.

Apparently they traded numbers at some point, as Saike immediately calls bro to find out just what's going on, and he answers --replying to Saike that his brother has been kidnapped by a certain man who had contacted him on occasion before to do a certain "job". Eventually this man calls him over after apparently kidnapping his brother...

The man --Yuudou Mihari has had his eyes on the treasures in a certain "Kurakiyama" mansion, and for the last month he's been scheming to get into the mansion, and found his "in" when he learned of Koutarou --(the older brother)'s oracle. He thinks of an elaborate plan for Koutarou to enact to grab the treasures and escape while dangling his little brother in front of him. "You'd be a criminal, so I'd understand if you don't want to do it, but your brother's future does depend on what action you take." With no choice, Koutarou does the job, but finds that his ability doesn't quite work the way Yuudou thought it did, as in he was supposed to attach balloons to the guards and incapacitate them, but the balloon only worked on him, so...

A little bit of comedy before the maudlin --but apparently Koutarou's ability only works on days where he's in tip-top shape, in which Saike responds that an ability like that is functionally useless. Unfortunately the joke stops there as the police are about to catch up to Koutarou and he makes a passionate plea to Saike to save his little brother from Yuudou. Saike quickly figures that Yuudou must be an ability user from the way this whole situation has unfolded --but he declares he will save Koutarou's little brother. To me there's nothing better than a fierce Saike, so the chapter end is oh-so-good to me.

Tenshi and Akuto returns this week with the veteran VA Tamaki giving Akuto a piece of her mind by outright calling him trash. She does praise Subaru for her performance, saying she has promise, but Akuto "hiding" behind her to give his own performance later is where she takes beef with him --"Do you have no shame as the lead actor?" She asks. Akuto replies he's going to have her and the rest of the cast rise to the occasion, and that he's not hiding behind anyone --Tamaki warns him that she'll show just how naieve he's being with the next performance. Oh how I love that this is becoming a traditional shounen battle manga but with voice acting. Hirakawa please never ever, stop.

Subaru --poor thing, is caught in the middle of the veteran and ambitious up and coming voice actor. She's still shaken by Tamaki's wonderful performance, and wonders if she'll really be able to even come close to that raw emotion. Hirakawa does a wonderful job of connecting what's going on in the anime within this manga to the "real" circumstances, as the character Subaru plays --Cocoa Kurono is tempted by the darkness of the villain who Tamaki plays. On the right page you can feel the pressure on both the character Subaru plays and the voice actress herself as Tamaki tempts her with the promise of salvation from solitude.

Casting off her self doubt both in and out of the anime, Subaru gives a passionate response..! "Stop! Everyone won't allow for me to be alone!!" Then we flip back to the anime world where Tamaki's villian role simply acquiesces for now, but implores Subaru's character to think carefully.

Subaru's really coming into her own, and this growth is fascinating to see. When Akuto's character asks her if she can fight evil today, she replies sadly that she cannot and apologizes. It comes off the same way in real life, where Subaru apologizes to Akuto for not living up to his expectations, but he reassures her that it's fine --as the lead character both in and out of the anime, it's his turn to shine. This was an exceptionally good chapter of the series that blended the real and pseudo real wonderfully, and for the first time, I earnestly want an anime of this series as meta as that would be.

Meteor Girl is next with a chapter that's actually decidedly light on protagonists, rather we get a look into the life of another character completely --which is to say a little bit of world building which I rather enjoy, honestly! Does Ishiyama pull it off? Let's have a look! Kawamoto who was introduced at the end of the last chapter used to be a bright and sunny 24 year old who just became a professor --but he soon found that educating youth is a tough job. Especially a certain Yuuka Yamashita who was a real trouble maker, to a point that Kawamoto was on the verge of snapping one day until...

The moment where the first Meteor girl fell and struck the stuck up parent of Yuuka in the head, killing her immediately, and the world changed. Contractual obligation aside, this is a well crafted dual page spread, from the cuts of panels to the focal point being on the crosshatched ground before Kawamoto.

While many feared the Meteor Girls, Kawamoto only has a strong sense of loathing toward them because of his personal experiences, and as such finds himself enamored with this new world where he can be a savior of sorts --going as far as getting drinks for those trapped inside of the school because of the falling girls.

When seeing a broken Meteor Girl, he immediately thinks of how great he has it now that he has a role in this world, and that is what lead to him becoming one of the men in black who hunts the meteor girls. As he walks off to start tonight's hunt, Ryoko and Tetto are also on the move, implying a confrontation will probably happen sooner rather than later. I admit that Kawamoto's character has me intrigued --someone who actually benefits from the way the world has been screwed up, so I can't wait to see how this will pan out in future installments.

Oda Nobunaga returns in this week's Tenshou, and while before it wasn't clear who's side he was on, this set of pages states the case that he is in fact (probably) a very bad man --as it was him behind the church fire, and now he's holding priests hostage! The boys try to make sense of what they're seeing, and Oda gives them a little help by saying it's exactly the way it looks.

Oda then has the boys and their charge fired upon, and the situation looks pretty dire until another huge man appears, asking if he's already too late.

Turns out this mountain of a man is the Vice King of India --a representative of Portugal, Spain --a warrior like people who had many years of military experience, and had conquered India and had full authority over it. Apparently all of the country's troubles are Nobunaga's doing, and it goes without saying he'll once again make an attempt on their lives, which the boys promise won't go to his liking.

Julian is most troubled by this events which Varinyano notices and asks the lone girl of the group --Shun, to watch over him and report back if she notices anything strange. It seems emotions are running high in these developments --and the boys still haven't made it to Europe yet. Hopefully Arai's story can arrive at that stop despite being so low in the TOC...

Birdmen swoops in for it's monthly visit and 50th overall chapter! Man it feels like I just talked about this last week --time really does fly...! (No pun intended.)

The group nears the next target of the party they're assembling to fight against their enemies, and we get some pretty albeit trippy art here. If memory serves, this next member has the ability to make fantasy reality, so in a weird way I suppose this makes sense, maybe? sorta? 

It's a whale of an entrance as they arrive at their destination. Where someone finds the birds inability to swim rather hilarious.

Meet the seventh prince of the Rashid empire, Sarkul! Who's ability title is "Phantom Master" which makes sense considering his ability!

The chapter is a lot of mystique around the traditions that allow Sarkul's family to have multiple wives, and therefore many children. --25 in this case! Sarkul himself is happy to meet birds of the same feather, but is more concerned with his older brother who seems to be in a comatose state --so the others are forced to wait around until he gets his affairs in order.

They say boys will be boys --and this is only compounded when you have several boys together, hah. So with the birdmen's powers they're able to communicate with each other telepathically, right? Though the guys get to talking while they're bored and realize if they can do that on their own, if they were to team up they could possibly see what the others see through a group access type thing...which is to say they could peak on the girls in the bath without actually leaving their room! Will they succeed? We'll have to wait a month to find out, sadly --but it's a man's sense of romance! I cheer you guys on, although you shouldn't forget that this is a crime.

This week's Youkai Giga features the Makuragaeshi -- a youkai that flips pillows so that people who are haunted by them find their pillows moved from their head to their feet, and other small pranks like leaving footprints around the rooms they inhabit. While they can be known for small harmless pranks, there have been stories of them causing sleep paralysis and squeezing the air out of victims too. Though with the way Satou draws one above, it looks pretty cute and harmless....although this little guy seems to have a pillow hoarding problem.

The youkai is about to resume it's thing this night as it has for many nights before, but it slips up and the little girl it was going to get the drop on awakens, and is actually rather excited to be visited by a youkai. Unfortunately it can't do it's thing and leave until she goes to sleep, but she's so enamored by it that she has nothing but questions and comments to direct it's way so the youkai is kind of stuck until she goes to dreamland.

The little girl seems to understand (The Youkai doesn't speak normally) and tries to drift off to sleep so it can flip her pillow, but she immediately wakes up and is too excited about her discovery to sleep, meaning that neither one of them is going to get any rest tonight. Much to the youkai's chagrin. Satou once again makes a pretty hilarious scenario work with a limited amount of pages, and is a real gem for it.

And that's it for this week's early edition of WSS! From what I can tell there won't be any color pages next issue --which is odd but not unusual if that makes sense. On the cover is Miona Hori, of Nogizaka 46, however! I know it's a weird day to be talking about Sunday but when isn't it, really? Though it's definetly nice to use my weekends for something other than wasting time! Early entries means a longer time till we meet again, but you know what they say about time apart --it sucks. In any case I'll see you probably on Wednesday a week from this week! Take care, and try not to be too lonely without me! 

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