Saturday, October 28, 2017

Weekly Shounen Sunday #49

Things come and things go, but Sunday is eternal! I'm actually trying my best to bring these in like the Conan anime does episodes...does it work for you guys? In any case here's another brand new week of Shounen Sunday goodness, except Mr. Shounen Sunday isn't anywhere around despite there being a thing about that last week? Whaaaat? More after these messages!

On the cover is Yuuri Ota from NMB 48! I'll just skip the "I-don't-know-anything-about-idols" rigmarole and talk about some of the other features of this cover, such as the three oneshots and Hatsukoi Zombie reaching it's 100th chapter! It's also odd to consider that this is the "November 15th" issue when this is in fact coming out on Halloween, but time comes and goes at speeds not understood by regular people.

Speaking of time, it's time for the TOC!

Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami (Lead color page.)
Aozakura Bouei daigakkou monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido
Komi-san wa komyushou desu by Tomohito Oda
Maoujou de oyasumi by Kagji Kumanomata
Amano Megumi wa Suki darake by Nekoguchi
Major 2nd by Mitsuya Takeda
Soboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita
Dagashikashi by KOTOYAMA
Be Blues by Motoyuki Tanaka
Shinobi no by Rokurou Ogaki
Kyoukai no RINNE by Rumiko Takahashi
Sonoko dokonoko by Masafumi Watanabe (Oneshot)
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ by Mizuki Kuriyama
Zettai Karen Children by Takashi Shiina
Shukan Shounen Shoujo Kankei by Akihisa Maki (Oneshot)
Desu Ka.Makiri by Wakabi Asayama (Oneshot)
Tenshi & Akuto!! By Aya Hirakawa
Saike Matashitemo by Tsubasa Fukuchi
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama
Tenshou no Quadrable by Takahiro Arai
Hiiragi-sama wa Jibun wo Sagashiteru by Hiroyuki Nishimori
Daiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba
K.O.I. King of Idol by Tamaki Wakaki
Meteor Girl by Reach Ishiyama
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou

And not in this issue are the following:

Detective Conan

So as I mentioned, For whatever reason, Conan which was listed as one of the series returning this issue is not here for whatever reason just like K.O.I a few weeks back. There's no notice or anything explaining this, and although I usually like to keep spoilers in the back --Conan is not in the next issue either. Now, I presumptuously thought the worst for K.O.I so I'm hesitant to jump on thinking that for Conan -- maybe Aoyama is just running behind on things, but after this trend started with RYOKO, I've always got a niggling feeling in mind. Hopefully it's just Aoyama needed time to create and nothing more serious. Now for the TOC proper --Some weird faces are on top, but not too weird? Aozakura, Souboutei and Rinne being higher than usual is interesting, and Saike managing to sort of stay out of the basement one more week is nice too, though only for a fleeting sense of relief since it's only cause newer series are doing so badly. It is weird to see Maiko so low and...well, K.O.I but I'd say these are temporary blips as they both sell pretty well, and the new oneshots probably scuttle things up even further. That being said, the actual issue only advertised two oneshots, but the online site (and this TOC) have three. I do wonder if someone at the editorial department is sleeping on the job...

It's all over the net by now, but the opening theme for Dagashikashi's new anime has been decided, and it's "Oh My Sugar Feeling!" by Hotaru's VA; Ayana Takatsu, and the single will be released on January 31st, so not too long after the anime starts (about the 4th episode?) I was a really big fan of the ED she performed for the 1st anime "Hey! Calorie Queen!" so I've got big expectations for this one. Of course I'll also be checking out the anime when it airs...will you?

Picks of Yuri Ota who's 17 as this reading, born in Nara on December 1st 1999, and according to the mini blurb on the last page linked, her favorite Shounen Sunday series is "Alice in Borderland." which was by an artist I once translated, Haro Asoh! Wonder what he's doing now, actually....

First up on the hit parade is Hatsukoi zombie with a rare "on the chapter" 100th chapter celebration! Like, from my experience with shounen mags it seems these celebrations are either a couple chapters before or after the actual event, so Hatsukoi must really be something special to get the color page on chapter 100! Since it is really well taken care of scanslations wise, I don't talk about it here, and even this little blurb was more meant to just note that it got a kudos from the mag, but if at all possible try to buy the tankobons from Japan and show Minenami-sensei that you love them zombies. If I had more time I'd really be giving it proper coverage but sadly I can only do so much. 

Tests are done and you know what that means --time for a bit of fun in Aozakura! It's another series I wish I could do more for, but not reading the chapters out before I started the blog means I'm sort of limited in the scope I can provide for this series. This week is about scoring meat for a barbecue and then drinking oneself silly. I've said it in the past but I do wish shounen manga would hit the breaks like this and give us genuine moments of downtime with our favorite characters. Though I think the more I see Aozakura, the more it's definitely supposed to be the antithesis to the "cute girls doing cute things" that permeates the whole mag. There does seem to be a bit of a rivalry brewing between Kondo and Hijikata which will only be accentuated by them being in the same class next term from the looks of things. It'll be interesting to see what Nikaido has for us in store in the coming weeks!

Also have a dude dabbing, because even here in my world, memes roam free and unfettered. 

This week's Komi is still in Kyoto, but rather than Komi and her class, it's her exploits with Ayami Sasaki and Mikuni Katou, the two girls who are in a group with her (the class was required to split into groups of three for this trip.) The three girls are all shy in various ways which has Tadano a bit worried on the top page, but Mikuni has a plan --and that's her first mistake, heh. We all know know that person who plans out a trip to the minute details just for nothing to work out that way at all --especially when it comes down to dashing from locale to locale in an attempt to see everything which is what happens here. Komi herself is a pretty big deal in the class (which many of the past chapters I've linked have made clear) so the girls are a bit intimidated when deciding on what to do as well (especially since Komi through no fault of her own is incredibly vague in her desire to see things. Left up to her she'd just loiter around Kyoto.) Though they do get around quite a bit at least, going to an amusement park, a movie with eye popping 3D visuals, and as seen above, a park where they get to feed deer. Though with the exhaustive pacing, the question remains...

Asked by Komi here --"are you all having fun?" And well, even at full throttle the answer is an overwhelming yes. I mean look at those picttures on the top panels on the left! It is wonderful to see that Komi's past experiences haven't left her unable to enjoy her present trip with current friends. The next chapter teaser seems to imply that while the girls go to another movie, that something happens doesn't imply whether it's good or bad, but I thought I'd note it. I sure hope I've got the space to spare to talk about it a bit! 

I hadn't thought I'd cover Megumi this week, but it was cute and this is coming from someone who has absolutely no interest in romance. Ma-kun lost a bet to Megumi a few weeks back in a chapter I didn't cover, and thus has to take Megumi out on a date. There are a few wardrobe slips (this is Amano Megumi after all), but for the most part it's a relatively normal date, right up to the "damsel-slipping-and-falling-for-the-hero-to-catch-her" trope that I'm sure we're all familiar with. Megumi's not quite used to heels, huh. Ma-kun has some band-aids for her, and the date progresses swimmingly, but the end of chapter text implies there's going to be more next week on the way back home. Ah why do you and Komi have to put me on the hook for next week when I'm not even sure what I'm going to be able to cover...

Souboutei is way high up this week to my surprise, and it's a chapter full of surprises --for example, Takoha is rather surprised that Sakamaki isn't out to murderlate him, and Sakamaki after getting a bit of a laugh out of this comments that he's not the one who does the killing, but the house and Takoha is the first one who's been allowed behind the scenes --how any case, the scene shifts to Rokurou still deep in conversation with Shino who as we have found out over the last few weeks is actually an alien life form in the shape of a small girl. After hearing everything from her (yeah I'll just go with that to keep things simple), Rokurou comes to the conclusion that Shino is an alien out to kill humanity, but her expression on the bottom panel (the first of many very good ones this week) seems to imply otherwise. 

Shino outright admits that the idea was indeed for mass massacre, but now the atmosphere on earth has made her small and weak. (I'll note that she refers to herself as "we", but again to keep this simple I'll go with "her".) Nitrogen (which was mentioned before, waaay back) has an adverse effect on whatever Shino is, and thus if she spends too much time outside, she'll probably completely melt away. Sakamaki "solves" this problem by decreeing she will stay in the Souboutei, as he uses her for an "experiment". On the right page, is Shino actually creating the Souboutei as part of Sakamaki's twisted desire to keep her captive and create a nitrogen free home for himself and her. Once again Fujita is swinging the expectations of the audience right back around --was Shino actually a victim of Sakamaki this whole time? 

Shino's breakdowns are a thing to see as they're evidence of Fujita's mastery of over the top emotions, and I'm really down for it. Though to continue with the story, Shino was essentially using the bodies of people who came into the Souboutei to keep the nitrogen level in the house down, but after Frol's sacrifice to bring Nitrogen into the house, Shino's all but melted away. She doesn't want to invade earth anymore, just live peacefully in what's left of the house. She's telling all of this to Rokurou because she's terrified of Sakamaki, and wants the boy to help her. Rokurou is rightfully incredulous that a species of something that's basically water can have feelings in the first place --much less fear, but ever since she made contact with Sakamaki's mind, she came away feeling out of sorts and with a sense of "emotion", crippling her even further. 

Still not completely sold on this, but getting swayed, Rokurou asks how he of all people can help her, and she asks to possess his body --to posses his "courage". If she was able to feel "fear" from an attempt to possess Sakamaki, then there's a chance she'll gain "bravery" from Rokurou. While this is going on, Kaerikuro and Kurenai (been a while, ladies!) are racing through the house to find Rokurou, as Kurenai's oneesan senses are tingling --her brother needs her! 

Oh how I love the left page. The SFX placement, the zoom in to Kurenai's head as Kaerikuro saves her from from literally losing her head, and even just the angle and poses of everyone involved. The Souboutei still has control over Zanka's soldiers, and now is using them against the ladies in an effort to kill them dead. With the way that Fujita plays around with expectations, I'm not sure that we can really trust Shino, despite how heartfelt her pleas seem to be. It makes for great theater though, so I'm all for being jerked back and forth --but be gentle Fujita-sensei. 

Shinobi no is on it's 16th chapter, but nothing is sweet for Pops as he has to deal with a very upset Toudou Heisuke. Though rewinding a bit, let's head back to page one where Kaede (long time no see!) is sending a message by bird to Abe in regard to the black ships headed right for Edo. It doesn't take super keen ninja senses to know that war has been declared, and if they don't do something fast Perry will have the nation of Japan underfoot! She asks just what the hell Pops is doing, and if only she knew he was "babysitting" in the worse possible sense of the word. 

Now I know you might be wondering if you hadn't completely forgotten about Toudou's elderly opponent from a few weeks back, but no need to worry, he's here now and just as enigmatic as ever. He's somehow able to slip under Pops's defenses and....appreciate their mutual efforts in working hard on this night. J-Just who is this guy? Before Pops can ask the hard-hitting questions, Toudou comes back demanding a retraction of the implication that he's weak. Pops's expression as he declares how done he is with tonight is really the highlight of the chapter as the old man's attacks throw him overboard.

Toudou might be strong, but he's not exactly the sharpest sword in the scabbard as he leaps after Pops into the drink to demand his apology. Thing about that is Pops is ready for pretty much every attack and even in mid air manages to sneak a chain-to-the-face blow on Toudou, but the timing causes both of them to really fall to their doom below the waves. 

Toudou still wants to pick a fight even here, and we get a glimpse into his past, where he declares he'll be the strongest samurai ever which is apparently in response to hardships he's been through. A wave swallows him whole and that's seemingly the end of him. I had to snip it out, but Abe gets news of what's going on at sea --probably from Kaede, and while it's not clear what she wrote, Abe burns the letter after reading it and congratulates everyone for "their hard work". Hrm....though for you all I did leave in Pop's physique on the right page, as he complains about how sucky everything going for him, and how now the only way to avoid war is to get back on the ship and kill Perry before he reaches Edo.

To his surprise, Toudou reaches the same shore he's on, and the gears click in his head --might as well use this force of nature for something useful right? He takes back what he said about him being weak although he does call Toudou an idiot which the boy basically admits to. He then declares they're headed back to the ships, and will do it using the wood lying around on the island they've drifted to. I had my thoughts that Toudou and Pops would be working together in some capacity so this isn't surprising, but this direction for the story is! Keep the shinobi coming, Ogaki!

Rinne is creeping ever closer to 400 chapters with this week's release which picks up almost immediately from where the last chapter left off. In fact, I want to say this is the first proper "arc" I've seen the series have, I think. Most stories are done in two-three chapters, but this has passed that now. This week, after abandoning the affluent but cursed painting, Rinne's bountiful source of jobs has disappeared leaving him destitute again. Meanwhile Sakura who found out last week that Rinne had apparently sold his bracelet that matches hers is having complex feelings --she's normally pretty unphased by everything, but this actually bothers her. She approaches Rinne and asks if he's having money problems, and he admits that he's at least for a little while doing okay, but can't shake the feeling that Sakura is angry at him for reasons he doesn't know. He apologizes about losing all of his affluence, but promises he can make it all back....

...And Sakura emotes! She says it's not about money, and calls him a money hungry idiot before running off, leaving Rinne completely confused and Rokumon to comment that it's rare to see Sakura that mad. I guess this is some progression in their relationship, sort of? Though probably  not the type Rinne was hoping for, heh. 

Rokumon explains later that he received a letter from Rinne that told him he could pawn the bracelet to buy something nice. Though it wasn't actually Rinne who wrote this, but the cursed portrait from last week before it was exorcised so in short Rinne actually isn't the one at fault! Sakura goes to look for him to apologize, while Rinne tries to buy back the bracelet once he realizes what happened, but finds it's been sold to someone else. Meanwhile when Sakura heads back to class to fine Rinne, he's disappeared, and left a huge sum of money for Sakura declaring that he won't bother her again. 

Rinne has also disappeared from home taking with him all of his furniture. Could it be that he's really feeling bad about everything and has in response left Sakura's life? Or is this one more illusion by an already exorcised portrait? Either way he's not back by the end of the chapter --where could he be?

And that brings us to the first of three oneshots --"Sono ko doko no ko" by Masafumi Watanabe which was not advertised in last week's issue for whatever reason. The title can be translated as something like "Where's that girl from?" though the way it's written it's supposed to be vague. The story follows Makoto and the girl he's crushing on --Akane. It seems this is a love that's destined to stay under wraps until a new girl enters the picture, one that is pretty touchy-feely with Makoto despite him not knowing who she is. 

Although he seems to genuinely not know who she is, the girl claims they even shared an intimate embrace. Makoto is completely thrown off by this and asks Akane to please accompany him with the girl because he has no idea what's going on. The girl --named Miya, is as strange as she appears, talking exciatbly one second and falling asleep another. She's very...catty. Anyway, the more she talks, the more annoyed Akane gets, and she's about ready to leave the very confused Makoto behind --but opts to go to a nearby bathroom to clean herself up however when she returns...

She finds this. Akane in her flustered anger finally confesses that she's liked Makoto --that Miya should take her hands off "her" Makoto. 

The two leave the restaurant, embarrassed (not surprising, really), and Akane wants to complain to Miya but she's gone and a strange cat is left in her place. Through a flashback we see that Makoto ran into this kitty before, treated it's injuries and treated it with gentle care, while admitting that he wishes he had the gumption to confess to Akane, while giving the kitty a cute name similar to the cry it makes "Miya". Seems all the mysteries are solved --except how Miya became a human in the first place. Eh, the important thing is now Makoto and Akane know each other's feelings and this cute oneshot comes to an end. The preview says that the author is working on another work so there's that to look forward to if you enjoyed this! I think it was pretty cute and made use of it's time, but I'd need to see something a little longer to know how I feel about Watanabe's writing in general. 

Speaking of love, we head from Japan to the wild west where Pheebs has taken to bartending at a specific bar for a very obvious reason --it's the one that Evans frequents. 

Pheebs convinces herself that she's got plenty of merits being here, but a woman musing to herself at the bar about how she's single at her age and how sad that is gets her attention. The lady then says she'll buy a drink for someone in the bar and that someone happens to be Evans. I think we know where this is going. Pheebs being the bartender has no choice but to deliver the drink to Evans but does so with her own unique twist --she pours it on him after declaring it's from the lady at the bar. Cruel, but clever way to sabotage someone else's chances, huh? 

The lady intends to serve him another drink, but Pheebs warns her to give up as Evans is the type to see things like ladies and romance as a weakness. (though this is probably more like her estimation than how he actually is.) The lady says she'll give up on him, but realizes something about Pheebs. She then takes a drink to Evans on her own and begins to flirt with him, but after the initial "shower" Evans is wary toward the woman and wonders if she and Pheebs are messing with him. The lady asks if he likes anyone, and upon finding that he doesn't have anyone like that...

The lady outright says that Pheebs loves him. Though with excellent(?) timing Ted comes in with a man who was swindled by the lady earlier --she's a confidence con woman who talks people up and takes their money. She's then captured by Evans and Ted --her reputation smeared, therefore resetting this quasi confession to zero. Pheebs asks Evans if he really believed her --and while ordinarily he would have, thanks to his father's lesson that men who immediately fall for the whole "She likes you" shtick are among the lamest of them all. So as the text box at the end says, "Evans now has some very strange expectations". Ah Dad if only you had just kept your mouth shut, your son might be married by now. 

Next up is the second of the three oneshots in this issue --Akihisa Maki's Shuukan Shounen Shoujo Kankei, or "Weekly Boy and Girl relations". Which is...super duper short. In fact by posting these four images, I basically gave you half the oneshot. In short, it follows the trope of a guy who's tough looking on the outside but actually kind of soft on the inside, but this time it uses romance manga in a magazine that looks very much like the one you come to hear me talk about each week, lol. Onishima (who's name means demon island, so you know he's bad news) comes every Wednesday (the release day of Shounen Sunday) to read romance manga, and it's here he runs into fellow student, Minakami who's been spying on him. She outright says she hates people who are like him, --tough troublemakers, but they share the same hobby of manga reading so he can't be too bad --after all now they can share something they enjoy with each other. A short story, but a very good one I'd say. Unfortunately like Watanabe's oneshot, it's too short to really get an idea of how Maki is as a writer, but I look forward to whatever they've got for us next! 

And now the last of the three oneshots in this issue --Death Ka. Makiri by Wakabi Asayama. It's definitely the strangest of the three. It's basically about a huge Praying Mantis and the girl that takes him in. Oh right it's also an alien --who happens to be able to decipher the lifespan of things by cutting them open. Yeah, I did say it's a strange one, but it's got a weird sense of heart? The girl is distraught over her pet dog dying and the praying mantis having a soft spot for the lass since she saved him from starving on a rainy day and gave him a place to stay tries to find a means to comfort her over this loss by cutting the doggy open. 

And the girl can have some peace of mind knowing that her dog died after a long and happy life, and not because it was in any sort of pain. The artwork of the girl in tears on the right is exceptionally good for a newbie artist and while this story was incredibly odd, it was also surprisingly effective? Should be fun to see what Asayama has in store for us down the line. 

Saike edges ever so carefully toward his 100th chapter with the 96th take in this week's magazine. Weirdly Fukuchi opens the chapter with yet another breakdown of the five types of oracles along with the characters who possess them (and have appeared so far in the series.) It's weird because this would essentially be the third time he's stated this information. I guess this version is in an easy to read chart format so one can glance at it at their leisure and it is important information, though.

Turns out Ming-Ming's clown buddy is named "Ito-chan" which if you read it fast enough sounds like "IT-chan" Fukuchi, what are you doing.....oh right, you want to know what's going on. Yes, well the Clown is Ming-Ming's way of adding punishment to penalty --anyone who loses the game of "acchi muite" to her gets their clock cleaned by It-chan the clown. This is where I think Fukuchi shines best --the ol' Shounen two step where there's an opponent and the protag has to figure out the "how" before they can act out a 'what". In this case, Saike figuring out how to get out of Ming-Ming's world is the goal, and she ain't making it easy --if he doesn't react in time to her game he loses and gets popped in the face. On the right page, Saike is able to beat Ming-Ming in RPS, but can't make her look his way (or the way he wants her to) in Acchi muite. Whatta conundrum! 

Fukuchi's expression game is on a new level as Ming-Ming goes from adorable on the left as she explains why Saike is losing to her, to sadistic on the left. I'm not sure if there's a proper term for what she's using, but to sum it up, it's "initial tremors" that Saike describes to something akin to how the earth shakes slightly before an earthquake occurs. I dunno about you, but I do like how shounen dabble in quasi-science, even if the reality behind them is a bit off. Though here it does sound plausible enough --before the body makes a big move, there's a slight movement. Ming-Ming is able to read what Saike is going to do by paying attention to his shoulders as he moves his head. She's not just bad-guy gloating here --even if Saike knows what she's looking for, he can't exactly stop doing it as it's an innate thing in the body hence her sadistic look on the top. Is there anything he can do?

Kuroda tries to switch out with Saike, but the rules of Ming-Ming's game specifically state that one guy has to go down before another can replace him. Saike thanks Kuroda for the gesture, but he's going to win, so they can take Hi back. After all even if they can run somehow, Ming-Ming will stand in their way, so there's only one way out of this --to win! Though if Saike's face is any indication, he can't take much more of a beating, and Ming-Ming knows this. She's about to deliver the final blow when..

Saike blocks the blow, and does so while looking quite buff. Maybe this is what he does while Fukuchi takes his brief hiatuses between parts? The art's looking a little rough, but it adds to the impact of the page. Especially the odd shape of the bottom panel on the right page. 

It-chan actually has a tell, and it's the sound it...uh, yeah we'll go with that. The sound it makes when it takes a swing at Saike. Turns out these sounds are similar to the Japanese words for "Right" and "Left" and Saike has been paying attention to this while getting his head handed to him. Although It-chan's fists fly at 200 km, it's a easy matter to block them if one knows where they're coming from. The pacing of this chapter is impeccable, as is the chapter ending at this point. Will Saike come out on top, or does Ming-Ming have more up her cape? We'll have to wait till issue 50 to find out! I'm just really glad to see Fukuchi really show his strength in this chapter, and hope he can keep it moving next week as well. 

Quadrable is up next, and to my surprise, Faust explains what drove him to cooperate with Mephisto in the first place and it's quite the story. He actually created a goddess --Helen named after the Greek goddess herself.  He raised this goddess into a fine young lady who fell to a horrible sickness that threatened to take her life if he didn't act quickly, and it was when he was in the dephs of despair that Mephisto came a-knockin' and offered to save her for the nominal fee of his soul. 

Though Mephisto's means of "saving" Helen was to stop her clock and leave her in a state of stasis that turned her into a giant tree and required the use of soul sucking spores to keep her alive, a hell that Faust had to live with until Miguel and Shun appeared and saved them both from Mephisto's grasp. Faust has long since realized that if he truly loves someone he has to let them go, and does so --releasing Helen from her trap in the tree by restoring her time, bidding farewell to her in the process. It's a fairly classic story, but Arai executes it fairly well so I have no complaints. Plus the artwork in the right page is some of the best I've seen in Quadrable, honestly. 

As he promised last week, Faust tells the two where they can find their enemy Varinyano --as the right hand man of the "King of the final night" Yosugara. I did a preliminary google search in Japanese and English and didn't find anything of note about this term, but time is most certainly my enemy here. Anyone who knows more can definitely let me know. In any case, it seems they are in an area somewhere beyond the Alps, which will be most likely where Miguel and Sh--er, Julian! Head next. Meanwhile a familiar face pops up on Saint Helena island...ah, it seems another of the quadrable has survived! 

Not just one, but two?! Though Mansho isn't looking too hot even with Malchino looking over him. He's barely able to eat or move, indicating his time is very limited without outside intervention. However as the two are stranded, it may be a long time till anyone finds them. Malchino sends out letters hoping they'll find their way to Shun and Miguel as he's at his wits end. Will the Quadrable be united sooner rather than later after all? This does give some hope that the series might survive a little longer, but I can't say I'm overtly positive for it's prognosis. 

Hatou is another series who's pulse is fading though a recent advertisement on Sunday's site indicates Kusaba is looking for assistants which might be a sign of something but I'm not sure what. A renewed vote of confidence? Or help to kill this series? Who knows at this point. What I do know is that Minato has returned to Tokyo where a jovial "Sup 'ma?!" turns into an inquisition. His mom isn't used to being referred to in such an informal manner I suppose, but her reaction to it is kind of great. "You aren't my son?! Who are you?!" That aside, Minato is on a mission to find Nagiko in tokyo, but takes a moment to hang out with some of his old buddies while he's in town. 

The best kind of development is the subtle kind! Minato's  buds ask him what he's been up to while he's been gone, and while he starts off talking about how much of a nightmare his experiences have been, by the end of the montage above, he's yammering excitably about how much he's seen and done, to the point that his pals are like "Dude you clearly enjoyed yourself." Ah, how this could lead into something great if the series weren't on death's door...Still seeing Minato go from sheltered Tokyo-ite to man of the sea has been a real joy. However, you're here for the girl so how about getting to that, hm?

On that note, his friends do say they have a date with two cuties, one of which happens to be the very girl he's looking for. Needless to say this is not the most encouraging news for Minato and on the bottom panel he takes it as such. Better act fast before she's off the market, and I don't mean a fishing one! Meanwhile back home, Minato's mom looks over a picture of both his and Nagiko's family together at a gathering, and for the first time in the series we get a glimpse of Minato's father who has passed on. Just where will this lead, and what does Minato's mom mean by "Just a little bit he's (Minato) taking after you? (His Dad)? cliffhangers are the devil, but it's the devil we know until issue 50. 

I blink and I feel like I missed something as I look at that "24" that represent's MG's chapter number. At this point unless the series really goes off the rails, I'll probably cover it until the end which seems like it'll be coming really soon if things keep up. Though yes, I've covered all 24 of the available chapters of the series and it really is odd to think that I've been at this for more than that at this rate! Chihiro kicks this 24th chapter off by throwing Sakamoto under the proverbial bus by outing her as a Meteor Girl in front of the men in black which doesn't seem to surprise the latter who tries to make a run for it. 

But she doesn't make it far, dying(?) which to be honest I'm not sure how death works in this manga. In hopes of saving Ikeyama from the men in black. Ikeyama and Sakamoto haven't been bosom buddies through the limited time we've seen them, but I did sense a sort of begruging respect between them, so it's not surprising that Ikeyama doesn't take this death very well at all. The Men in black seem suspicious of the group gathered anyway, however which seems to render Sakamoto's sacrifice moot. 

Holy gratuitous violence, Ikeyama! I know you're mad and have the right to be, but that guy didn't do anything to deserve that! Granted Ishiyama has this in a tiny panel so we're not treated to too much what I'd like to say if the next page didn't make it extremely clear what just happened. Ishiyama might be on the way out, but there's gonna be blood before that door shuts, and I respect that, even if it's a bit icky. Turnabout is fair play as Ikeyama sells out Chihiro, ousting her as a MG and the ringleader for everything that has happened tonight. 

Chihiro is noticeably not pleased with this betrayal, and Ikeyama takes on the men in Black while denying that Hane has anything to do with her --so she has some honor at least. Chihiro --with a creepy face of her own strides to Sakamoto's body and against Tetto's wishes poor guy has been stuck with a role that's ironically similar that of a female in any other shounen series for the last few weeks. Does a thing saying she can be useful just one more time. 

Again, Ishiyama wants to cut a bloody path through the basement of the magazine, and I respect that. Is there anyone or anything that can stop Chihiro at this point? The side text suggests Tetto might do a thing himself next week, but will it be the thing to bring this nightmare to an end? 

This week's Youkai giga brings us the story of the "Amefurikozo" or "Rainfall kid" A weather sprit often known to take delight in watching foolish people who try to take it's umbrella hat, wear it and then be unable to take it off. Though in the Satou twist, this story revolves around a woman asking the "Kozo" (kid) to bring rain to her village. Except this "boy" is actually a "man" who doesn't really have the ability to control the weather so he can't do much of anything about the woman's problems, but she's wiling to do anything for the sake of her village --and he asks her to eat dinner with him and hang out. Turns out this man has been alone for some time and just wants friends --but then it starts raining! Guess his intervention wasn't necessary after all, but the lady says she'll stick around for a while, after all....she'll need a place to keep shelter from the rain. A pretty cute story that plays with expectations in a way I've come to expect and enjoy from Satou. 

And that's it for issue 49! Next one is the big 50, and with it comes the first of two color pages commemorating K.O.I's 2nd volume, a color page for Aozakura's 6th volume, an expanded 22 pages for Meteor Girl, another oneshot by Kyousuke Tanabe entitled "Sanin no Koroshiya" (Three Asassins.) There's another oneshot, though the terms of which this one is labeled is a tad confusing. It says it's a "short serial" indicating that it is a serial and not a oneshot --of three parts apparently that will be all in the same issue? I'm not sure, but the story itself is called "Kanojo no Umitate Nama tamago" or "She who was born from a raw egg" by Chihiro Kurachi, and last but not least, On the cover will be Nogizaka 46's Erika Ikuta. Lots of stuff to look forward to next week so see you here, same-ish time, definitely same place!