Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Weekly Shounen Sunday #22/23 (2018)

And now for the part of the week you were really waiting for even if you didn't think you were --Sunday on Tuesday (or Wednesday in some areas.) It's a double issue, which doesn't necessarily mean double the fun As if our souls could handle that much Sunday at once, really rather it just means that this particular issue is worth two weeks despite only having a week of content. Basically Sunday's taking a week off for Golden Week, and the numbering has to reflect this, but don't worry, I've made sure to have a lot to say this week so you won't be put off long!

On the cover this week are two lovely ladies of Nogizaka 46 --mainstays of the magazine, it feels like at this point, as well as The newest the most hotly anticipated (by me) new serial ______Go no Sekai by Hiroshi Fukuda! What is behind this mysterious title? You'll have to dive in to find out! 

TOC is the gatekeeper, and I the key.

XXgo no Sekai by Hiroshi Fukuda (New series/lead color)
Detective Conan by Gosho Aoyama (Chapter 1011)
Komi-san wa Komyushou desu by Tomohito Oda (Chapter 139)
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama (Chapter 65)
Major 2nd by Takuya Mitsuda (Chapter 136)
Amano Megumi wa Suki Darake! by Nekoguchi (Chapter 120)
Tonikaku Kawaii by Kenjirou Hata (Chapter 12/Color Page)
switch by Atsushi Namikiri (Chapter 3)
Kimi wa 008 by Syun Matsuena (Chapter 10)
Marry Grave by Hidenori Yamaji (Chapter 18)
Chrono Magia by Fujiko Dosei (Chapter 2)
Sokyuu no Ariadne by Norihiro Yagi (Chapter 19/Center Color).
Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid by Koharu Inoue (Special Mini Chapter)
Maoujou de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomata (Chapter 98)
Shinobi no by Rokurou Ogaki (Chapter 38)
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami (Chapter 123)
Be Blues by Motoyuki Tanaka (Chapter 330)
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ by Mizuki Kuriyama (Chapter 52)
Birdmen by Yellow Tanabe (Chapter 59)
Memesis by Takuya Yagyuu (Chapter 9)
Aozakura Bouei daigakkou monogatari by Hikaru Nikaidou (Chapter 87)
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita (Chapter 99)
Tenshi and Akuto!! by Aya Hirakawa (Chapter 162)
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no satsujin misshitsu Story by Kyouichi Nanatsuki/Art by Teppei Sugiyama (Chapter 20)
K.O.I King of Idol by Tamaki Wakaki (Chapter 43)
Daiku no hatou by Michiteru Kusaba (Chapter 48)
Zettai Karen Children by Takashi Shiina (Chapter 502)
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou (Kuro 25)
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Nouen by Yuuji Yokoyama (Chapter 20)

Not in this issue:


With the series I was anticipating most now arriving, and the TOC mostly back to normal after a weird week last week, it's a good day to be in Sunday. From what I've heard, the sales are about as expected too --as in there was no runaway hit. Ariadne did the best out of the three, but is estimated to sell around 10k, nothing amazing but not an abject failure, while Xeno and Marry Grave didn't chart. While this is worrying, we have to keep in mind they're both sort of by newer artists (though in Xeno's case the artist is new while the author is a vet.) The question from here is whether they'll be able to grow into something more sustainable....and from the TOC it looks like Marry is at least staying out of the cancellation cross-hairs in popularity. Not looking so great for Xeno which only really had it's steadfast lock on it's TOC position to rely on. Still the question is how can things go up (or down) from here? 

I suppose to make up for Sunday being away for a week, we have not one but two Sunday ladies --Asuka Satou and Momoko Ozono. Asuka was born August 10th 1998, while Momoko was born September 13th 1999. Nogizaka's newest single "Synchronicity" is out in stores now, and you can head to their home page here for more info! (In Japanese of course.) 

It feels like my anticipated serials are always the last in the set, as if Shougakukan is holding out on me to ensure I'm paying attention, hah. Though this time it's for good reason as it's an artist I'm quite fond of in Hiroshi Fukuda who gave us Mushibugyo. His unique character designs and panel composition were always the highlight of Weekly Shounen Sunday in my opinion! Admittedly when I read the premise for this series I was kind of worried that Fukuda had taken the "action to slice of life" route I've seen many authors before him take, but I'm happy to report he's still the author I enjoyed reading back then, though it takes a little bit of time to get there (though that's obviously by design.) Though more than that is the title of the series which is, well...censored for reasons that'll also be revealed at the end. Let's get going! 

Interestingly enough the series seems to take a page from another new serial, namely Atsushi Namikiri's "switch" in that it's about two brothers, Yuuto and Yamato and their relationship to each other both as they grew up and now. Except in this, Yamato has a complex towards his younger brother Yuuto who's pretty much amazing at everything he attempts, be it sports or schoolwork. Although in their youth he's pretty proud of his bro, as they get older this gulf of talent becomes a sour point between them, especially Yamato. 

Things get a bit more volitile when you add budding love into the mix with their bookish childhood friend Michiru Isumi. She's stopping in to take care of the brothers while their parents are out of town, and it's pretty obvious that Yamato has a thing for her. Especially in this moment where the latter admits he only really reads manga, so he doesn't quite get what she gets out of books, and she reassures him she likes reading manga too. It's weird to think this is Fukuda's manga series since so far things are subdued, though it's understandable as we're being introduced to the characters and their particular dynamic. Still I see a bit of his claims to fame with the stylish-yet-simplistic character designs and wider than normal panels. 

Yuuto appears and the three have dinner --at the end of which Michiru starts to say something  to Yuuto, but stops herself mid sentence, hm. The next day Yamato runs into a mysterious person who offers him a bracelet and the chance to see the future. Although Yamato has some misgivings toward his brother, he does hope that their days will continue as they have been, and as such he doesn't really have any interest in the future at all or so it seems....

The mysterious person is able to immediately tell where Yamato is headed --to meet his friends, and plays on his insecurities in regard to his future with Michiru and his brother (seems he's got it in mind to marry her someday) to give him a bracelet that'd allow him to go into the future to see things for himself, if he says a certain phrase "Welteim Peritas tenpus" (I'm not at all sure if this is meant to mean something, though.) Yamato is incredulous, but gives it a try --after all the mysterious person says there's no cost to it, so what does he have to lose? 

Apparently absolutely nothing. He uses the bracelet and nothing changes, so he meets up with his brother and friend as usual, but there's an usual sight awaiting them when they arrive in the heart of Ikeburo when on their way to school. 

Fukuda isn't lacking when it comes in weirdness, I suppose....I mean Buddha statues who are into BDSM? BuhDSM?  It's pretty clear this isn't something that's just a part of this world since people are rubbernecking at max, taking pictures and asking if these things are a part of filming for a movie or something like that, but things go from weird and a little funny to very tragic when the Buddhas start attacking civilians in a bloodbath of violence and savagery, all without explanation. 

There's the Fukuda I know and love. Hitting up two page spreads with gutso, and compositions that are large and in charge. 

Yamato thinks he can just return to the past and fix what's wrong --or at the very least warn people of the future that they're facing so that they're better prepared, but there's a snag in this plan. When he checks his watch against Michiru's smartphone he finds it's only been....five minutes?! Yamato managed to hop forward in time, but barely any time has passed at all. 

And it's here the title of the series is revealed --"Gofun go no Sekai" or "The World 5 minutes later". Though Fukuda coins it "After the Five minutes", which is about the same, I suppose. Interesting that all of the advertisement for the series did well to hide this fact, which does make it surprising! So in the end it's kind of like Saike, except while Saike can turn back a whole day, Yamato can only go forward five minutes --for now, at least. Will this be a time-slip survival series of sorts? I could it definitely see that being the case as the mysteries of the series begin to unfold. Of course if it is going that route, the characters and their motivations will be extremely important, as will the central conspiracy, all of which have potential from this first chapter. At the very least I'm glad that Fukuda has found a new genre to apply his unique art in! I look forward to more of this as the obligatory coverage continues! 

It's Mr. Shounen Sunday's world but it feels like he's just an inhabitant as Amuro takes over in the movies and the manga as of late. This time we're treated to an extended flashback of him interacting with Elena and Atsushi Miyano --better known as Shiho "Ai Haibara" Miyano's parents. Why, even her older sister Akemi is featured here, and it's said that the youngest Miyano is on her way, somewhat dating this flashback. I have to wonder where all of this is heading as the final page of the chapter reveals that the next installment will be the end of this particular case, and perhaps reveal why Amuro and Akai were having their face off in the beginning. Although the only time Aoyama has to consider is his own, it does feel like Conan is at least picked up from it's leisurely stroll to a gentle jog as Amuro gets a text from Rum telling him to find leads on Shinichi Kudo pronto. Of course since he's working with the guy himself, his options are a bit wider --and can be screened by Conan himself. It does feel like often with Conan that the cases are kind of an afterthought to the reader, and this one especially comes off that way due to the way it was presented. That's not to say that Aoyama doesn't put thought into the trick and culprits, but with the slow boil hitting a fever pitch, one can't help but want to see big things happen --and it's likely that's what we'll get next issue.

I'm a bit surprised that Cawaii is only now receiving another color page what with Hata being a darling of the magazine of sorts. He's no Takahashi or Aoyama, but Hayate was a big part of the Magazine's DNA for a while, after all. In any case, here we are with the return to the blog of the little "maybe-an-autobiographical-but-maybe-not" manga about young marriage. The chapter opens up with Tsukasa wondering to herself how far will she have to go to find a warm home and someone waiting for her, making it sound as if she's on the run from or searching for something, hm. 

So one of the things I had been wondering about back when I was doing the "obligatory" coverage for the series, and even after that is whether we'd get other characters in this story, or if it'd be something akin to Maiko-san where it's just a cute story of newlyweds with a possibly supernatural bent. The answer to that is, well..while it's not totally shaken off that earlier atmosphere, we did get a new character in the form of Tsukasa's younger sister, Chitose, who has come on behest (or against the wishes of? Could be either or, honestly) of a mysterious person named Tokiko. Tsukasa refuses to say much of her situation and sends her sister packing, but not before giving her the report to send to Tokiko that she's married. Chitose is taken aback by this --surprised that her sister would get married like this, and without anywhere else to go sits at the stairs of the apartment where Nasa finds her. 

Ah, so they're not really related (I should have figured from the way Chitose refers to Tsukasa, seems overly stuffy and not familial at all.) But anyway, Nasa sees her in tears over the news and tries to cheer her up, listening to her story before admitting he's on his way to find a place to propose. It's then that Tsukasa shows up and their connection is made clear to Chitose, and she's none too pleased. Hata's referential sense of humor pops up when Chitose flares up at her "sister's" fiancee, and Tsukasa sort of offhandedly remarks that a "battle-like" development is about to occur as the chapter ends. I've always thought that characters are what make a work --moreso than a story (though plot is important!) and it feels good to be proven right here. The story has gotten quite a bit more interesting now from this short interaction between Chitose, Tsukasa and Nasa to the point that I am interested in seeing how this will go. I can't promise Cawaii will be back next issue on the blog, but I am intrigued again which opens the potential as any good serial should. 

It's the last chapter of switch's "obligatory coverage" and the series shows off that Namikiri art that I had admittedly been missing. Namikiri certainly knows his way around panels and showing movement even on the stillness of a page, which reminds me of Motoyuki Tanaka's "Be Blues". Although I'm not too into sports manga, I really adore how both of these artists make their respective sports pop right out of the page. Not only that, Namikiri rides right into the scene with impact --Raimu and Riku are at tryouts, and there's no introduction of characters or long backstories unfurling, no, it's all about these kids showing off their skills and letting their personalities dance through the court and the pages, a show of real confidence from Namikiri, especially for a first serial. I'm doing a lot of talking here because the story is really told on the pages so succinctly that there really isn't much of a need for me to translate. Though to give context, Raimu finally shows up at the Basketball club, but settles with playing with the small children rather than with the kids his age until Kyoutaro a boy wanting to see just how good the awesome Riku's brother is goads him onto the court. 

Raimu rises to the challenge, and to the surprise of the people there is actually pretty dang good at hoops, though it takes him a bit of being dogged on the court to get into his groove. What I do like about this is Raimu's deviousness, hiding behind his game to watch the others movements and learn how they tick, and playing with the little kids to get himself warmed up rather than being the brash, outspoken shounen protagonist who takes on all challengers. So far switch is still taking it slow...or should I say it's dribbling down the court at moderate speed, making that opening color page two weeks ago seem like a final goal moreso than a point of the story to reach. I do wonder how long Namikiri will play up the twins angle, as I have no idea how it'll work --will the boys be on different teams? The same? Or what? I'm not sure, but it'll be fun to see how Namikiri either commits to or suberts the tropes. Probably a bit of a surprise considering how much I've praised this chapter in particular, but I do think this will be the last "obligatory" chapter of the series as while I do like Namikiri's take on things, I'm still not sold on this as a sports series overall --by no fault of it's own, of course. I do wish it luck, and it will be back on the blog whenever it receives a color page so this isn't the end of Riku and Raimu's story on the blog, just a temporary time out. Though honestly? I could see this perhaps being a hit if it can appeal to the sports starved sunday reader, and Namikiri's character lineup is strong as well. 

Sawyer's got his hands full with a sword swinging Golem when Marry Grave opens up this week. More importantly, there's the little fact that this Golem says that the Deadman Recipe is going to call about disaster? What does that mean? This magic being isn't in the mood to answer questions and just keeps up the offensive until Jean smashes through it with her fists. Though even this doesn't last long as it just reforms itself. 

Sawyer decides to try a different approach, and figures if the Golem has been tasked with protecting these books for some time by it's master, then it's master must have passed away a long time ago. It's then that Jean looks at the portrait in the ruins and the two realize that the corpse they saw earlier (last week for us) was in fact the Golem's master!  Except the Golem is either in denial it just doesn't want to accept that it's master has passed away as that would be a betrayal of their promise to each other. 

It's here we learn that the Golem's name is Atos, and it has been with it's master since he was a young man. The two have defended the church for years, and thus forged a strong bond of friendship. On their last interaction, they traded a promise to keep the Deadman recipe books from falling into the wrong hands, as the master left the golem to undertake one more journey. 

I've said it before that I like how Marry Grave takes the topic of "death" and builds a whole world around it --but not in the sense of being depressing or full of doom and gloom. Rather, it bends the concept of death into something hopeful, as odd as that is to say. Not only that the different ways it affects characters in this series is interesting to behold as well. Though in this case, death may  not be the end, as Atos's master returns and he seems to be fine?! What's going on here? the preview text says that "The time that had been frozen will begin to move again", and while I know this isn't written by Yamaji himself, it is intriguing in it's own right. 

Chapter two of Chrono Ma:Gia leans into the romantic aspect of the series with a kiss that's also a vow between Inumaru and a girl he knew in the past named  Hana. The series has been advertised to be a "Card battling romantic comedy" but we really only got to see the former last week. Admittedly it's a weird combination --but not totally outside of the realm of reason when it comes to anime and manga. It'll be interesting to see how this combination works for itself in a shounen magazine any case, Inumaru finds out that he's got a lot of work to do if he's going to survive summoning more than once since it requires his "magia" which he doesn't have much of as a beginner. Magia sounds like this universe's version of ki from the sound of it, and since Inumaru is new at this, he's running a big risk of tiring himself out if he uses his Magia too much.

Interestingly enough Inumaru's dream is to have a happy marriage more than anything, weird for me to picture based on what we've seen of him so far. Still, seeing different sides of these characters is what makes them endearing. Karin explains the rules and necessity of the Chrono Magia battles, and how they're used to determine the strengths of the people attending the Kurono academy, and those who rise to the top of the Chrono magia battle hierarchy have a chance to have a wish of theirs granted. Though Inumaru has no real interest in this aside from getting married, which playing a card game really doesn't help in, in fact one could argue that it actually does the opposite.  I did find it kind of great that they break the fourth wall slightly when Karin says "I just gave you a shounen manga like speech and that's your reaction!?" And also how she points out his dream is the type that a maiden in love would have. Ah, I wasn't expecting much out of this series, but Karin and Inumaru are pretty funny so far, hah. 

Beyond that, while I'm not surprised that we're getting to the mysterious girl featured at the end of chapter one right away, I am intrigued that her connection to the protagonist was revealed so quickly. Although it's only what Inumaru thinks --that she's the Hana from his past, and it's not directly said. Still, she's a central figure in this story as she says she will marry the one chosen by the cards through battle. 

Inumaru steps up to the plate when she says what she really wants is someone to stand at her side, taking the literal meaning of the phrase much to everyone's surprise. Boy can't take a hint, but that's what makes him interesting. The story is moving along rather quickly which supports what many (including myself) think which is that this series probably won't be in the magazine too long and is just to advertise the cellphone game, but I will say so far it's a lot more charming than it's origins suggest. Next issue is the finale for the obligatory coverage, and so I'll have to make a decision. Will it stay or go? We'll have to see! 

Now this is a color page, Yagi! It's simple, but evocative, with some great color design. Rashil looks cool as he nearly leaps off the page! I hope Yagi can give us more color pages like this as the series continues. The fight itself is also quite well drawn, and unlike the one against the knights, has a bit of tension since Rashil is actually struggling against his opponent. See, a lot of what disappointed me about that past battle was just how it was hyped up but went pretty easily for him. Part of what makes stories like this work is the sense of tension and anticipation between opponents as they struggle. We learn a lot more about them in conflict than we do in any other aspect, and this revenge plot from Rashil's enemy is quite interesting. 

Especially as his form grows more grotesque showing off his past as the fight wears on. Apparently this guy lost his body and his little brother to Photon carriers like Rashil which explains his immense hatred for them. Meanwhile the humans have problems of their own as the clan comes a knockin', and their weapon is fast asleep. 

Rashil is still struggling against his opponent who mocks him for being unable to touch him. Is it because he's half mechanical? Or what? Is he really this weak? Leana meanwhile has been waiting outside for Rashil to finish his business, but after hearing the explosions inside of the cave has decided to have a look for herself, declaring Rashil 10 years too early to make her worry about him. This is the best the series has been in a long while, and I hope it'll keep this up --not surprisingly Ariadne has sold the best out of this serialization group, so it should be around for a bit at least so perhaps it's temporary stumble won't hurt it too much. 

Kuroi Maid's tour through the regular magazine is almost done, with this being the 7th out of 8 one page engagements. This one is pretty straight forward, a new kitty needs a name, and Viola suggests her own name which goes over great when her butler(?) talks sweetly to the kitty, leading Young Master to realize this is what she was going for, hah. It's a cute gag that really takes advantage of the one page format, and explains Viola a little better than the one before it last week. Although she's...well, to be flat out about it, a bit of a brat she's also cute, I think. Plus it's nice to see the young master's interactions with other characters who aren't Iris. I think I might miss these one page engagements when they end next week If I'm to be honest. 

It's time for new blood in the Demon King's castle as they take newbie monsters on a field trip to the hot springs!  Except there's a small snag in this --the monsters have come to realize that their captive princess is in fact the one running the show, and they can't possibly have the newbies discover this, especially since they're so sure that the castle crew has things on lock. They hope to somehow find a way to sweep this inconvenient truth under the rug, but are almost immediately found out when the Princess opens things up with an introduction of the monsters done her way. Though the fact that she's even there has them suspecting something is off, hah. Not only that, no matter how much they come off looking threatening, the merry princess's very presence renders that all moot as she inadvertently undermines them with requests such as back massages and playing ping pong. In the end they take their complaints to the Demon King, and his council and they're all just flabbergasted that options such as "tying her up" and "not letting her run free" even exist. 

I get the idea that as this continues (yes it is continuing) we'll maybe see a new generation of monsters perhaps attempting what their senors couldn't --taming the unruly princess who's much more powerful than she looks. I mean up until now, she's mostly managed to defeat them by accident, so if she were to take a threat seriously, what would happen? I pray for their safety. 

It's a Shinsengumi party as Shinobi No opens up this week. As I said last week, I feel like their general popularity is enough that anyone who's glancingly familiar with anime and manga should know them, so I won't go into too much detail of their histories I'd probably screw up in some way, honestly. So rather than that, I'll focus on what's in front of me in Ogaki's rendition of the group. These six are after the "Grim Reaper" in order to bolster their own image as samurai who protect their country, which means they're in direct opposition of Pops, leaving him no choice but to fight them despite being vastly outnumbered. Despite being confident, I like how pops describes himself as a "small stone on the path of larger glory" as he goads them to fight him. The fight is about to be on, until Sanosuke points out the obvious --They get a reward if they capture the Grim Reaper, but absolutely nothing if they fight Pops which seems like a waste of time, no? Especially when they're kind of broke as Shinpachi's growling stomach shows. Yamanami admits that Pops is no normal guy to have avoided or parried all of their attacks, however, and concludes their opponent is a shinobi which illicit a familiar response of disbelief from everyone. 

Hijikata doesn't care who they're up against, he's here to fight and win, which leads into an argument with Yamanami over priorities, and it's great how both Hijikata and Kondo are very loud at least in this canon. Anyway another favorite thing of mine is discord between friendly factions --characters who would as enemies probably kill each other and probably would as allies, but settle on petty squabbling. As seen on the left page, all of the Shinsengumi have different ideas of how to proceed --Okita who I'm still not sure if she's really a she or not --I mean it's not weird for characters like this to be genderflipped and as I said last time, Pops is the most reliable narrator we have and he ousted Okita as a girl so I tend to agree with him, but her mannerisms and personal pronoun (Boku for boys) seem to indicate otherwise. Anyway, Okita wants another shot at Pops since avoided all of her attacks, but Kondo loudly states that she shouldn't fight old men, while Yamanami points out they set out to train so why not let her have at it?  Hijikata just doesn't want to lose to anyone, while Sanosuke is in it for the money and nothing else. Oh, and Shnpachi who's just hungry and has nothing else to add, hah. Pops figures out very quickly that while these guys are all very strong, together they're (To him.) So he prepares to leave, but Okita's keen senses alert her to this and she's ready to have at Pops right away. 

Pops is happy to oblige, but Okita easily dodges his attack and "playfully" wants to return fire, but Kondo ain't having it. This isn't time to play, he angrily yells, and Okita, just...just....

Cries. What slays me here is the "Charlie Brown" reference in the middle panels. I refuse to believe that it wasn't purposeful on Ogaki's part, just from the way Okita is drawn, hah. It's also a welcome break from the action as Kondo's like a overwhelmed Dad unsure of what to do as Yamanami sort of chides him for making a kid cry. Meanwhile Pops has taken this moment to get into position to counterattack these kids. They quickly get into position to be on guard from any frontal attacks Pops can launch, but they're dealing with a Shinobi here. 

Why settle for the front when you can come right in from overhead?

Evans moves along at the speed of a cowpoke in a minefield. It pokes along slowly, but every so often there's an explosion that knocks one off their feet if they're not paying attention. As such when Pheebs asks Evans about Abby in the opening of this week's chapter, his haphazard response of "She's my new assistant" may come right out of left field. Abby's presence and identity are supposed to be a secret, so telling Pheebs the truth is out of the question, especially since she's one of the bounty hunters in on things here. I was hoping we'd get more misunderstandings without Abby actually falling for the sheriff, and so far Kuriyama is delivering. (It helps as well that Ted's face floating in the air up there like he's dead gives this scene an inappropriate hilarity.) Pheebs immediately assumes the worst since Abby is sticking so close to Evans and it's even worse when she insists Evans not create misunderstandings of their "relationship". Her distraught expression is a little saddening even if I know she's fretting over nothing though. On the next page we're introduced to the bounty hunters proper, and man if this were that type of shounen series, I'd want to see a battle arc about 'em. You have the bounty hunting doctor "Dr. Freeman", Harry the Circus clown bounty hunter, the twin arrows from the east "Mei and Li" and so on. I almost wish Evans was an action series so we could see more of them! 

When the carriage takes off, so are all bets as the bounty hunters make a dash for it in order to capture their quarry. Evans plays it cool and calm, leading them around by the tail towards his trips and traps, but one hunter catches up to him and accuses him of playing up his coolness to impress his assistant who's obviously his lover. Evans thinks this is laughable (although the narration points out Pheebs came to the same conclusion) though this doesn't stop this guy from trying to buy Evans off by asking to be his assistant and thust ahead of the pack. Evans plays him for the fool he is and takes off, while Pheebs has decided she won't let anyone take this score from her, especially not Evan's girlfriend --or so she thinks. Meanwhile another guy has appeared and says that he intends to take on this "prey" and he's been waiting for everyone to show up. There's a lot going on in this chapter which reminds me of the Mattie arc which was peak Evans --so I have a lot invested into this one as well. I hope next week it'll pay off! 

Still flying high without an anime despite it having more than enough material for it is Birdmen. I wouldn't be opposed to seeing this one get an adaption perhaps after it ends, but I do think the early bird gets the worm, or sales in this case. There are a lot of glares and excellent art in this chapter as Maraika joins the ranks of the Birdpeople, and I realize I need to get on reading so I at least understand how this is achieved. In any case, Eishi is intending to rescue Tsubame's little brother even if it means getting the entire group into a world of trouble. 

I've actually read a huge chunk of the series and now I get how the characters and the world tick, and boy does it make a huge difference! Obviously Though I'm not quite caught up on current events, I do understand the significance of Eishi's actions, and the classification of the series as a Sci-fi/ Adolecent action manga. It is really about the growing pains of teenagers in a setting where learning about and adjusting to oneself is important. As for this current arc, it is about finding the group of seven "original" Birdmen in hopes of granting a wish. 

Maraika only wants to help her friends, but she's run into the wrong person as enigmatic Takayama says that she's "not enough". Before doing...something to knock her out and send a wave of concentrated heebie-jeebies to the surrounding populace using Eishi's ability to connect to others using the Birdpeople. 

It's during this time that Eishi warns the humans that he is not someone to be trifled with, in one amazing display of artwork and fury. Admittedly I haven't read enough of this series to know what kind of character Eishi was originally, but from what I've seen over these last few chapters that I've read for the blog, he seems much more --quiet? Not that he isn't now, but there's something far more menacing about him. It's actually a bit unnerving even if he is doing it for the sake of Tsubame's little brother Shouma. 

Though there is a bit of an enigma here, as after everything is said and done, Eishi awakens, and his memories of everything that happened are hazy, almost as if someone else was in control? Hmm. In any case, the rescue was successful, and Takayama has taken Maraika from Lord and says she will be the new "4th" they need in their group....eventually. Judging from Eishi's face, it seems the plot is only deepening as the story progresses forward. I've only seem glimpses here and there of the story, but I wonder who's side Takayama is really on, as it seems as if he's been doing his own thing this whole time? 

I'm not sure how to feel with Memesis yo-yoing around in the TOC and in page count. This one is the lowest of them yet, clocking in at a mere 8 pages. That's even less than shorter series like Maoujo or Maiko-san. Again, Yagyuu tells a complete story in the pagetime, so it's not as if things abruptly cut off or anything, but I really am beginning to wonder if this is by design or if something else is happening behind the scenes....Yagyuu admitted he's not too great at thinking of stories so it might have something to do with that and how the editorial staff at Weekly Shounen Sunday seems to be a bit more lax than other places, but I dunno. 12-14 pages are one thing but 8? Though, yeah, as I said, I'm actually kind of glad this didn't go on for too long --not that this was a bad chapter by any means, just that it was based on a premise that could have gotten old quickly if padded out too long. In short, Kijira and Ash become women to pass through the Hedoro Brother's castle through a route made of Mummy Women. The ladies take to feeling up the new entries and the "once-were-guys" are in a tight spot until Rose busts them out ---because their "assets" belong to her, hah. Rose is ready to take a "Peach colored adventure" with her female allies, but the magic wears off and they --Ash and Kijira are returned to their male selves leaving Rose in the cold. 

And that's it, the trio reaches the castle and the battle with the Demon King's officer draws closer. I do have to wonder how this free format will translate into a volume as Memesis's first will be out May 18th, though. Again as long as the series continues to be well drawn and interesting I don't mind if the page count is lower, but my heart would break if it was because Yagyuu was falling behind schedule and thus we got stuck with another RYOKO like situation. For now at least, they're giving Yagyuu the room he needs to create at his pace so I'll keep my worries in check. 

The pri--er, facility break in Souboutei rages on this week in it's 99th chapter! Although the news that the series may be on the way out soon might be a bit shocking to those used to Fujita's stories being on the longer side, it is nice to see this one made it to the 100th mark without any difficulties. One thing about the opening of this chapter that I dig is this poor guard having to detail why he wasn't able to stop the escapees, and running down each thing that happened to him while the illustration of who did it flashes beside him, hah. From Frol blinding him, to the older couple overheating his guns, and Yadogi holding him at gunpoint as Auguste ordered Frol to bind him, it's clear this guy didn't have a very good day, hah. 

Unlike the Shinsengumi in Shinobi no above, this group does work pretty decently together even if there are a few kinks to iron out as Auguste is pretty sure Yadogi is a spy for the Japanese, and Yadogi isn't fond of being accused of things that aren't true. They don't have long to fight however as the guards are quickly regrouping and back on their trail. It's been a while since Fujita has shown his mastery over special effects, so you know I had to pull that page out on the right and show you why he's a vet. Though honestly this entire chapter had some great panel work as the escaping group works to get out of the clutches of their captors using their specialties. 

The sisters have their all seeing eye however, and they can see right through their plans to bust out of this joint. The sisters are looking to get praised for their efforts if they capture the group here despite being past allies, however....

Yadogi thinks fast, grabs a truck and leaving the sisters no choice but to move over or get run over, blazes a path out of the facility, though the sisters point out that their destination is no surprise --the Souboutei. Although Auguste and the female soldier are still not on good terms, this car is headed to the Souboutei, with no detours! Next week is chapter 100, and I can't wait! 

We've now got an official number for Tenshi and Akuto's farewell performance --5 chapters including this one. Of course you know I'll cover the finale as I do for any series In Sunday whether I'm familiar with it or not (luckily I am pretty familiar with this one thanks to all the weeks I've spent covering it.) though I haven't quite decided if I'll give all five of the final chapters coverage yet. It's likely I will unless another new serial starts aside from the ones I know about (something that's very unlikely at this point.) But yes, appropriately enough this prelude to the end takes the two titular characters back to where it began for them --their Alma matter, from going right into their classroom where they first met and sitting while talking about the past. A warm sendoff for the series that's just shy of four years of serialization, though I'd imagine that at this point Hirakawa has told the story she wanted and thus we'll be getting a true ending. 

I admittedly didn't have much contact with Sunday when this series began, and even when I was able to get the magazine on a regular basis, I didn't pay much attention to this until I started this blog, so in a way I feel like I've grown with these characters in the short time I've known them. I might have had minor complaints about the romantic focus the series shifted into over the last few weeks, but other than that? It's been a nice ride --and despite my romantic fatigue, it is rewarding to see the two get that first kiss they've had to endure even a scandal for --though they get chased out by a police officer before they can get that far, aw. 

And now the final battle between the couple begins --a Japanese dubbed version Romeo and Juliet! An interesting choice for the final curtain call of Tenshi and Akuto, but appropriate nonetheless. Now that we know the finish line is in sight, I think enjoying this final battle gets easier rather than harder as Hirakawa's plan is laid bare for us to see, as well as every other plot point lining up wonderfully so we can focus on this battle without worries. Rather than Tenshi and Akuto it's Tenshi VS Akuto, and the curtain rises next week! 

It should be no surprise that I read these chapters before posting them so I know exactly what I want to talk about before I hit the keys, but even as I look over this for a third time, I'm still rather surprised by what I'm seeing. I try not to exaggerate too much when writing since I have to stay neutral and translate what I see on the page without bias, but I think I can say without hesitation that this is the best case of Xeno so far, and it's not because the case itself was novel or anything, but how surprising the solution was in the end. So let's follow the facts --Lune is the murderer of Noe Satou, and she has seemingly made sure to clean up after the fact, except for two things outside her calculations occuring --she left the murder weapon in plain view, and Xeno master sleuth has shown up at her door to investigate Satou's car showing up without it's owner.  Because Lune's sponsor hired him and not the police, he shows up at her door to ask questions surrounding Noe and Lune's relationship. Seems straightforward though --Noe stalked Lune in order to sell her on her fashion ideas, even going as far as looking like her in a bid to "replace" her, and now she's gone. Sugiyama's art notches up a level and really reminds me of another Detective Series that ran in Jump --"Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro". Granted Neuro was more of a supernatural action series than a mystery one after a while, but one of it's unique points was just how twisted the culprits faces became when caught in the act, and as you can see above, Noe's face get really scary when she declares she will become Lune. 

Weirdly enough Lune looks at this whole thing as a game --trying to hide the murder weapon before Xeno can see it, and when he walks away to investigate the room, she manages to hide it and thus win the "game". To her surprise however, Xeno thanks her for explaining the case to him --by addressing her as "Noe Satou"? Xeno explains that when someone has an abnormal attachment to someone, and is triggered by enough stress/shock that they can begin to think they are the target of their attachment. So it's actually the other way around...Noe Satou killed Lune the fashion designer, and through her own muddled mind moved through her actions thinking she was the one who killed her stalker! It's why whenever she tried to use Lune's smartphone, it didn't register her fingerprints! 

Not only that, the beetle Xeno found last week is one who lives near waterfronts and not in the city. The only way the little bugger could have made it to her house is if she went to the ocean to say, uh, dump a body, and then came back with it in tow. Last but not least, Noe went a little too far in trying to disguise herself as Lune, as there was a secret she kept from everyone about a mole on her face --it's a fake done with makeup. While Noe's is real, thus proving she is not the person she says she is. Oh, and by the way, Xeno heard all of this from the lady herself --she lived and is in the hospital receiving treatment.  

Noe gives herself up at this point --Xeno reveals the press and police are waiting right outside the door. She admits to the crime, but asks that Xeno tell the woman in the hospital that she will "Never become her, as she is the real Lune, a woman who walks proudly upon the runway." It's a chilling ending to a straightforward but not case. Although the clues were all there, it was perspective that changed this into something way more intriguing than it's parts. The end of chapter text indicates that a "New arc filled with despair" will begin next issue, which is a bold statement --will this arc hit closer to home for the characters more than the others before it? 

Kuro's back and this chapter is back to Kuro being charming with his master and his family matters, this time busying itself around the house with an increased focus on the family's son Minoru. Kuro tries it's best to keep up it's promise to never let anyone get hurt again after Minoru's near miss, and for it's efforts Makoto makes a pillow for it to sleep on. Although master Seiji can't see Kuro, he thanks the youkai and asks for it to stay by their side no matter what happens from here on in. A fairly innocuous chapter, but still a pretty cute one, definitely playing up Kuro's role as a warm friendly alternative to the typical youkai stories. 

There's no issue next week sadly, but I'm definitely happy to have the opportunity to rest and relax. I'll at least leave you a tidbit to chew on while you sleep through that Sunday-less week though! Next issue features a color page for Soboutei's 100th chapter, a color page for Tenshi and Akuto, the second chapter of Gobun go no sekai, and last but not least the newest and last serial (for now) featuring a spinoff about Amuro Rei from Detective Conan: Zero's Tea Time! by Quadrable author, Takahiro Arai! Two times the Conan in one issue? Sign me up! It sucks to be away for a bit, but I'll come back recharged with more Sunday for sure! Until then, spend this week off being Golden!