Late but on time is the theme for this week's entry, sadly. Still what would I be if I were a person who gave up while writing about a magazine/genre of entertainment that's all about not giving up!? There's a lot to talk about this week so hold on to your hats and keep arms and legs in the vehicle at all times.
Not surprisingly Amuro has a pretty big slice of the cover to himself --he did manage to be the reason the premiere issue of the spinoff sold out so it makes sense that Shougakukan would want to focus on that. Meanwhile Hanzawa is also making an appearance, and as I noted before, that means two Conan Spinoffs are in the issue but not the main series. That'll be back next week though so no worries! Above all, Saike returns as Tenshi and Akuto bow out. Of course I'll talk about both series down below, but this sunrise--sunset is interesting to consider.
No feet on the table --Table of Contents that is.
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami (Chapter 127/Center Color)
Gopun go no Sekai by Hiroshi Fukuda (Chapter 5)
Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa (Chapter 125)
Detective Conan: Zero's Tea Time: Supervised by Gosho Aoyama/ Art by Takahiro Arai (Chapter 4)
Detective Conan: Hanin no Hanzawa-san: Original story by Gosho Aoyama/ Art by Mayuko Kanbou (Special chapter)
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu: Story by Kyouichi Nanatsuki/ Art by Teppei Sugiyama (Chapter 24)
Major 2nd by Takuya Mitsuda (Chapter 140)
Memesis by Takuya Yagyuu (Chapter 13)
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ by Mizuki Kuriyama (Chapter 56/Center Color)
Shinobi no by Rokurou Ogaki (Chapter 42)
Chrono Magia by Fujiko Dousei (Chapter 6)
Marry Grave by Hidenori Yamaji (Chapter 22)
Saike matashitemo by Tsubasa Fukuchi (Chapter 133/Center Color)
switch by Atsushi Namikiri (Chapter 7)
Kimi wa 008 by Syun Matsuena (Chapter 14)
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita (Chapter 103)
Tonikaku Cawaii by Kenjirou Hata (Chapter 16)
Be Blues by Motoyuki Tanaka (Chapter 334)
san kun komyushou desu by Tomohito Oda (Chapter 143)
Tenshi & Akuto!! By Aya Hirakawa (Chapter 166/Color Spread/Final chapter)
Daiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba (Chapter 52)
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido (Chapter 90)
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama (Chapter 69)
Soukyuu no Ariadne by Norihiro Yagi (Chapter 23)
Maoujou de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomoata (Chapter 102)
Amano Megumi Suki Darake!! by Nekoguchi (Chapter 124)
K.O.I King of Idol by Tamaki Wakaki (Chapter 47)
Birdmen by Yellow Tanabe (Chapter 60)
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou (Kuro 29)
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Noen by Yuuji Yokoyama (Chapter 24)
Not in this issue are the following:
Zettai Karen Children
I've always imagined that the Sunday TOC lineup is the result of the editorial staff trying to push the new and less popular manga opposed to other magazines where it's more like a popularity contest. Of course there are the mainstays that act as the "attractions" to the magazine that remain on top or close to it, but generally speaking that's how things seem to go, but now...I'm not sure. A glance would seem to confirm my suspicions, but things are all over the place here as they were last week. I take some pleasure in seeing all of the detective manga (spinoffs and otherwise) grouped together, and seeing Marry Grave rise from the grave and lumber into a much more respectable place is satisfying too. Despite sales being disappointing, Memesis remains on top, and Saike premieres in a stable position as well. I am a little surprised to see Birdmen crash land in the basement, but it seems like the monthly serials come in low when they're around. I'd like to know why that is, actually. Also we're saying farewell to Hirakawa's voice acting spectacular this issue, but what about the author herself? More on that to come...
We get two Sunday Gals for one issue this week with Miho Watanabe and Kyouko Saito. Saito was born September 5th 1997 in Tokyo, while Watanabe was born Feburary 24th 2000 in Saitama. Both are members of the idol group "Keyakizaka 46" which is a mainstay in Shounen Sunday. The theme of this shoot seems to be what they do on their days off, and that ranges from hanging out to cooking. They're both quite cute, I'd say.
In other news, a rather interesting crossover promotion for Memesis has appeared --the "mentalist" Daigo is collaborating with the series! ....In all honesty I'm not entirely sure how this works, or what a Mentalist is
I guess I could probably use one as my state of mind is frayed most times, I first read that as "Medalist" which really confused me, and then when I realized I had it wrong my mind went to that CBS drama of the same name. The text on the right above Daigo's head reads "If people don't want to be betrayed, then they shouldn't expect anything from people in the first place" From what the interview reads, Daigo read the manga and found it quite interesting in regards to how people react to being betrayed. Daigo himself has quite the following on social media as indicated in the article, from assisting with love woes, work woes, and human reasoning. He's quite popular with high school students as well which is probably why he's featured so prominently here aside from being a fan of Memesis. It'd be fun to see what Yagyuu thinks of all of this!
Hatsukoi gets solemn this week's installment despite the pretty cheerful color page. I'm not even going to pretend to know what's going on since I don't read this as frequently as other series in the magazine, but as far as I can tell, it does seem like Ibusaki is trying to reconcile with Eve who is a part of hi--her. Tarou the protagonist doesn't know that his closest friend who he believes to be a a male is actually a girl who has feelings for him. Again, I'm not 100% sure but it seems to be implied that Ibusaki is leaving soon as she tries to convince Eve to once again live with her. Eve however declines and says she wants to be with Tarou even if "she" doesn't really exist in the strictest sense of that term.
Two dual page spreads hammer down the series' plot in a succinct manner. Eve says even if she can't be with Tarou in the traditional sense, she lives to see him be happy. As long as she can have that then everything else will work out. In short, the feelings that Tarou once had for Ibusaki back when they were children and he thought of her as a girl being reciprocated would perhaps be what brings him happiness. I have been paying attention enough to know the last few chapters have been filled with a sense of unease for Tarou as Mei --another girl who likes him finally went out on a date with him and the whole time he couldn't really respond to her feelings. It might be because he still remembers his feelings for Ibusaki, or maybe he's aware that "he" is a "she"...it's not clear but the story has taken a turn for the dramatic as Ibusaki has to choose between her feelings and her identity which is a shaky thing to handle in a romance story and if I'm to be completely honest, I'm actually intrigued to see how Minenami will handle it. I've also heard conflicting things as to how long the series has --the events in the manga suggest that the story is wrapping up, but Minenami themselves says that there's "still a while to go". Not that Sunday needs to lose another artist, really. I will say this new solemn turn for Hatsukoi Zombie does it a lot of favors ---in my opinion of course.
Things just aren't going Hachiken's way in Silver Spoon this week. First he doesn't get a notification from the campus that the graduation exams are going on and leaves late thinking he's fine just to find out they're happening after all, and he's only got 10 minutes to complete an entire exam when he shows up, then every time he tries to spend time with his girlfriend his teacher pops up and pretty much puts the kibosh on that, and then said teacher scares the bejeezus out of them both by saying that people who fail and repeat are doomed to never succeed, and to cap it off at the end of the chapter he's hit by a car. Ah, that last one is probably way more serious than the rest, isn't it. Still, Arakawa makes it look more comedic than it probably is, so he'll be okay...right?
Like it or not, Zero is taking a leisurely pace through the life of Amuro, and I'm still not sure whether I like it or wish it were a bit more than what it is. Admittedly it might just be because I feel a little like the series --and the press around it, fooled me into thinking it would be one thing and it turned out being something completely different. One distinction that's interesting to make is that while this series is "supervised" by Aoyama himself, Hanzawa-san (which is below!) only credits him with the original work. That seems to suggest that Aoyama's level of involvement with this series is quite high so perhaps it's on purpose that it's kind of laid back in it's development of Amuro? Hm. In any case this week's installment is about Azusa and Amuro meeting up with a rowdy customer when out doing shopping for the cafe, and both parties looking for karasumi --dried mullet roe.
But Amuro uses his people skills to convince the worker to check the storage room for more and the crisis is averted. They even manage to score a new customer in the process! The next chapter seems to promise that we'll get more of Amuro's daily life, along with a secret? Hmm, maybe it's worth checking out after all...
There's no rest for Zero though, as he appears in this special chapter of "Hanzawa-san" as well. Hanzawa is having a difficult time sleeping which is really cutting into their social life (or lack thereof.) Just when sleepiness is about to assault the criminal shadow, they're awoken by morning exercises outside, due to the kids being out for summer vacation. (I like that one of the exercises is meant to build up strength so you're not beaten down by crime --it's literally called that.) In fact most of the exercises are oddly over specific --like for example "beating down sadness, hatred, and anxiety" And it looks a lot like taking a swing at someone. Even Hanzawa is like "Is this what they do in Beika?!" As always Kanbo's gentle (and not so gentle pokes) at how crime ridden the otherwise picturesque city that Conan takes are hilarious.
Hanzawa goes outside to complain and ends up joining the procession due to Amuro convincing them that they should. Since their complexion looks "awful" as he puts it. The nice thing here is seeing all of our favorite Conan characters in Kanbo's style, though it's clear she struggles with some characters more than others. Still it's wonderful seeing some familiar faces isn't it? Hanzawa ends up getting duped by Amuro to head to cafe after exercising --ah well I'm guilty of eating things I shouldn't after I hit the gym so I can't blame Hanzawa. It was a nice short visit, and a reminder that Sunday Super is the home of the shadow-person who's doing quite well for themselves sales wise.
Maybe I'll finally buy those two volumes for myself.
What a way to open this week's Xeno! Ayla's whole identity has been tied to her being an assassin who's never actually killed anyone, so to see that she does have the ability to do it when she puts her mind to it is notable in itself. Of course you know it's not like Xeno would allow himself to be shot without any kind of follow up plan, so it's less about the "what" than the "why" at this point, but no need to worry, I'm here to guide you all through.
Xeno's plan was to create disorder in the ranks of the snipers. He gets shot and they immediately begin accusing each other of shooting, and how this is very bad since they don't get their reward if Xeno is killed. In their confusion they approach each other and end up in a blind spot where Onikobe --as ordered by Xeno sends up a smoke signal, making it child's play for the armed squad to make their way in and apprehend the perps. This is all handled at the very start of the chapter, which is a great move on the part of Kyouichi and Sugiyama. Xeno's got extra pages week and it would be a shame if they were all used to deal with this threat, especially since it's clear Xeno's already got everything figured out.
So with the Snipers in custody, what's next for the detective? Finding out who put them up to this, of course! Though before I get to that, I must talk about how much I really like how far Xeno and Ayla's relationship has grown. Onikobe comes out and berates Xeno for coming up with this plan in the first place --who did he get to shoot him? One wrong move and he could have died! Xeno doesn't give her away and he says that he entrusted this job to someone he could trust as he realizes he is gambling his life. To see Xeno go from empty slate to having someone he trusts with his life is really rewarding, and makes me glad I stuck with this series
despite translating it every week being quite difficult. So now back to the story --Xeno tracks down the mastermind who is on the phone with someone before being found, hmm. He then notes to himself that he'll look forward to seeing Xeno again soon, but Xeno cuts him off with a boast "Soon? I'd prefer now, actually." The guy doesn't seem at all phased when Xeno says he's known of his presence since 20 minutes after the whole incident occurred.
The guy refers to Xeno as if he knows him, but under a different name --Tomorou. Considering this is a mystery seris, I'm positive that name has a deeper meaning that I'm not grasping right now...in any case, the guy notes that even without his memories, Xeno's kept his basic personality. When Xeno asks if they know each other, the guy responds "but of course! We were best friends back in the 'Garden'!" The guy then fills the tunnel with water and advises everyone to run before they drown, leaving them no choice but to let him go. Before he departs, he leaves Xeno a parting gift...
The watch we saw in his dreams in the flashback! The guy says that this was his "treasure" and true enough just seeing the watch triggers a strong surge of memories in the detective's head ending in the image on the left above. Just what kind of past has Xeno had? To be frank, I'm more interested in that than the seven murder doors. The guy also implies that Xeno has allowed many to die for his sake, which might be what he's seeing in front of him in this image, so now my interest and need to see more of his past only deepens.
"Just how many people have you killed? Have you forgotten that sin of yours?" The guy mentions just as he escapes, leaving his name as Kinoo" (Kinoh?) He proclaims he'll be looking forward to the 4th murder door, which means...he's the perpetrator of all the cases Xeno has had to solve? That's not made clear, but now we have a face of the "final boss" of sorts. This week's Xeno had extra pages and made wonderful use of all of them. The case itself was well paced too, and although I doubt this detective will reach the heights of his more popular and long running senpai, Xeno has shown it does indeed have what it takes to run in the same magazine as Mr. Shounen Sunday and keep his own unique identity....even if he's not sure what that identity is yet.
Memesis sees the return of Ramuka the elf fangirl of Ash and Kijira. The castle was about to collapse after the defeat of the Hedoro Brothers, but she was
stalking? following them apparently and leads them to the exit! And wow, can I just comment on how awesome Yagyuu makes even rubble look on the page above? If the reason why Memesis is so short every week is because he needs time to further his art, then I'm more than happy to take shorter chapters! They managed to pick up one of the treasures, a "drain sword" but before they can get very far, a dragon (Apparently they're used like messenger pigeons in this world...) comes with a delivery for the duo from...Leon!? Not surprisingly the older brother of the sister they saved is amazed that those two have a chummy relationship with the guy who is undeniably the strongest hero in the land.
Anyone else would be overjoyed to get even just a little attention from a celebrity, and Ramuka follows suit with the bro, but well, look on the left at the bottom panel and the twin warrior's expressions speaks volumes. Or well, it doesn't which is the joke --are they frustrated? Upset? Accepting but reluctant? Those faces say so much and understandably so --they have a bunch of feelings when it comes to Leon, hah. In any case they get a message and an object, which is immediately identified to be Senrigan, one of the royal treasures, a secret treasure among secret treasures, and apparently Leon gave it to them as a "Good luck on your quest" type thing.
Rose looks through it and is able to see Leon and her friends --despite the treasure being rare, Leon has no problem sending it to them because to him it's just trash, and as an environmentally conscious warrior, he's not one to throw things away preferring to send it to someone "In need." Ash and Kijira can't stand being treated as waste bins and give the treasure to Bail the older brother and feed him some lines about being a great warrior who could put it to better use. Bail is so overjoyed and gives him his eternal thanks as he leaves --I have a feeling that act of spiteful kindness might spur something bigger later, hmm...but the problem is, now they've given up their means of reaching the Demon King since the senrigan is essential for that --all because they don't want to be in Leon's debt. They ask Ramuka if she can give them information on another Demon King army officer, and she's happy to oblige --there's apparently another one in the Kiri Kingdom, and the King has put out an order and request to put it down --a paid request so big that warriors from all over have come to participate. Yagyuu is going right to the next plot point and that's perfect as I feel like Memesis does best when it's on the move. What can we expect from this next officer? What about the Demon King? The mysteries just keep expanding, and it's exactly what I want.
Evans had a pretty shocking reveal last week --Evans' Dad Kurt is alive and well! Though I guess it was never explicitly said that he died, so maybe we were just the ones who jumped to conclusions. For now at least, we'll have to keep to those conclusions as not much is revealed about Daddy dearest this week, except...well, it's easy to see why his son is the way he is. In fact, you could arguably say Evans is at least slightly more considerate than his father, though Kurt is a pretty funny guy in all fairness. Like, he introduces himself from the start as "Kurt the nameless" which Pheebs immediately points out is a fallacy. He does say on the first page of the chapter that he's leaving the "Evans" name to his son and that the next time they meet he will be a nameless gunslinger --mainly because nameless wandering gunslingers are cool. The guy they're up against --according to Pheebs is famous in the bounty hunting profession --Ed Williams. Ed comments that it's weird that a guy this good has slipped under his radar, but Dad and Son know the reason --it's just cooler to be mysterious. Ah, they're idiots, both of them and I love it.
So now the question becomes...why did Kurt take this job if he's not interested in money or working for the government? I think from the very short interaction we've had with him that reason is pretty obvious, hah. Basically Kurt took the job because he saw Abby's face and was convinced he had to to get her attention. Abby of course not knowing anything more than "Nameless Kurt" didn't realize he'd go this far (in basically trying to woo her), much to Pheebs' chagrin, hah.
The bounty hunters are stampeding their way so they have to settle this stalemate immediately, but Kurt and Ed aren't backing down. Abby protests saying there's no need for Kurt to protect them, but he has so much confidence in his gun hand that he basically guarantees their safety and asks Abby on a date after things are settled here. Abby seems unsure of this, but Kurt assures her that he means nothing untoward --she can choose the date, the place, and it doesn't have to be a fancy dinner, just a lunch --plus she can leave whenever she wants to. He calls this the "Friendly plan" approach where he tries to convince her that he's a good guy by being a good guy. Ed sees an opening and tries to take it, but while Kurt's a goof he's really good with a gun and doesn't even need to look at Ed to blast his hat clean off his head. Ed realizes that he's in a fight he can't win and backs off, nominating to settle things with Evans (the son) later. The two are reunited, but will a gang of bounty hunters bring this father son moment to a violent end?
Izou approaches the Shinsengumi after their run in with pops, and asks if they're going after the Shinigami, and departs when Kondo answers no. They don't know much about each other and their interaction is brief, but the Shinsengumi can tell from this encounter that Izou is no ordinary warrior. Interesting cold open to the events that occur in this week's Shinobi no, hmm.
Moving forward to move back, the chapter proper opens with Siebold apologizing to his wife Otaki for being exiled from the country and giving her a hair ornament as a promise he'll return to Japan to be with both her and their child. Ah, here's a piece of history I am familiar with for once, hah, but it is only because I researched for this arc of Shinobi no. I did mention how Siebold was exiled from the country due to a map he had on his person of Japan, and it seems Ogaki did indeed include that in his story. In any case, the gang has finally made it to Nagasaki, thus completing their mission. Siebold doesn't intend on seeing them, just giving them the vaccine he promised understandingly because the last thing he needs is for them to get involved with his affairs. Kaede replies that they'd likely just want to be with him again as a family rather than not being inconvenienced since they are a family after all.
It's right after her speech that a small child finds their way to Siebold, and a woman wearing a very familiar hair accessory --with blond hair comes to pick up the child. Siebold asks about it, and she reveals she got it from her mother who had said it was too flashy for her, a gift from her father who couldn't be in her life.
Said mother comes looking for Ine and well...looks like Evans isn't the only person to get reunited with his family this week. October 1853 --Philip Siebold is reunited with his family. Kaede is moved to tears while Todou comments that Pops seems less enthusiastic about this. To him something doesn't sit right, from the fact that no one has pursued them this far, to the shinsengumi appearing...everything feels as if it was prepared for them, like they were supposed to be here, and not in the sense of reuniting Siebold with his family, no, as if there's a larger plan in play, but why, and who? As if to answer that question we're taken to Sakamoto who's got a visitor --a very cleaned up Izou! He introduces Izou to John Manjirou, and then reveals Izou has traveled to Edo on his request --and two important reasons. To find and capture the Shinigami, and kill anyone who's pursuing him, while advising him of two more points --act as a different person until he arrives in Edo, and if he should encounter a certain very strong elderly man not to pursue him."
Sakamoto didn't want anyone getting their hands on Siebold which is why he was very specific in his orders to Izou who as seen above did run into a group after the shinigami that he quickly dispatched. After all, it wouldn't do for someone else to get that vaccine...and then he says he has plans to "wash the country clean". Sakamoto's always been a mysterious and dangerous element in the story, but now it seems his plan is moving....but what does he have in mind?
Sawyer might be quite the handy traveler a hundred years later, but when he was just a lad, he was a lot less sturdy as he traveled with Dante. Considering what he is now, Sawyer being a child too gentle to eat meat doesn't come as too much of a surprise, even as Dante kills things for them both to eat. When Sawyer finds berries and offers them to Dante, the latter thinks he's trying to get more food out of him, which earns the former his ire. This continues for an entire month of journeying, where Dante seems to only barely put up with Sawyer's existence, wondering why and regretting being kind enough to save his life in the first place. When Sawyer finally collapses, Dante tells him he's got no problem leaving the kid behind, it's not as if he needs him or anything.
I have to wonder if all of this is going to end with Sawyer learning the harshness of reality or if Yamaji will take this in the traditional direction with Dante learning kindness? So what occurred is Sawyer has been gathering things for Dante the whole time they've been traveling so that if he ever needed anything to eat Sawyer would have him covered. He wasn't asking for food, he was offering it. Sawyer was just so overjoyed that he was saved --even if it was on a whim, that he wanted to repay Dante in any way he possibly could even if all he can do is gather foods and give them to him at some point. Dante can scarcely understand how someone like this could live by themselves so long, and brother I'm with you there.
The chapter ends with Dante in a pinch from a monster, but Sawyer leaps in to save him. Again what I want to see is these two to learn something from each other rather than the lesson to be one only Dante reaps from, to see a development in Sawyer that leads him to the current timeline that isn't the one that's obvious, though I think I'll probably be a bit disappointed as Sawyer doesn't seem to have changed that much in current events. Not that this is a bad thing mind you, but if I'm to be frank, Sawyer is the one who needs development the most --especially as the protagonist. Yamaji has sadly done such a great job with the side characters that Evans follies become that much more obvious and so he needs the author's saving throw to keep him from being unnecessary in his own journey. I trust Yamaji, but that doesn't stop me from wanting a bit more from him.
Saike returns with fantastic color pages, but I have to confess something; I almost didn't miss him while he was gone. Not because Saike is a bad story or anything, but Shougakukan's lineup has been so good lately that Saike's vacations that used to leave me chomping at the bit seem less painful somehow. I do wonder if maybe that might hurt Saike a little since it not being constantly around might cause some to forget about it, but with promotions like the color pages whenever it returns, I suppose it isn't like it's completely on the back burner....anyway I am happy to have Saike back even if I wasn't longing for him like I usually am. Let's dive into this chapter.
When we last left the time traveling hero, he had just managed to defeat his longest rival Johann in a war of wits and words. Johann had stumbled upon the secret of the power users --he thought and had essentially wanted to use that to confirm the validity of his existence, but that had seemingly come up for naught. Except this was all a ploy by his henchboy with the power to hypnotize --Will, who revealed that the Johann couldn't begin to understand what he had found --the actual Akashic Records --a compendium of all of the world's knowledge! Will kidnapps Saike and Hizu with the help of Calim who he's brainwashed to crash the helicopter they're in if they resist and then entertains their questions as to what he is and what he wants. Saike asks if Will is trying to be a God, and Will laughs this off --a human can't handle the sheer onslaught of knowledge that would come with using the records --he'd know everything for a few seconds and then die horribly as the knowledge destroys his brain from the inside out. What's good about that?
The truth is Will is 120 years old and was born in Pennsylvania, America. Though hey him looking like a kid is the least surprising thing here --after all they dabble in the strange with their abilities, and he drops the information that he knows a guy (or gal) who has the ability to make others younger. Now this is an easily glossed over point that fills me with intrigued. This person isn't mentioned again for the rest of the chapter, but it certainly does seem like Fukuchi is suggesting there's more to this story and my fears that this might be the end are unfounded. What's more is Will's backstory which smacks of Kira Yoshikage's from Jojo's 4th part --he was an ordinary guy. Ordinary childhood, ordinary schooling, ordinary everything.
He just wanted to live a quiet life. He never made any significant blunders or did anything wrong, but on the converse, it meant he hadn't done anything significant either. One day in his 30s he went to a high school reunion and realized it was due to this kind of life that not a single person remembered anything notable about him.
On one hand this backstory does sound a bit ridiculous --Everyone forgetting about him en masse? Even if he hadn't been one who stood out much to be completely forgotten is a little hard to swallow. Though to separate oneself from the actions of the character is important here --how would one react if the life they thought they had lead --the one that was supposed to be "correct" was suddenly shown to be wrong? To lead to a conclusion they didn't want? We're told to be "normal" and "unobtrusive" to others in order to keep within the rules, but what if it's that "normalcy" or lack thereof that actually allows people to stand out, to be creative, to be themselves? I won't argue that this was Fukuchi's intention or anything since I have no idea and while Will does hit on that, it's not with the significance that would suggest Fukuchi was trying to imply this is the story he wants to tell as much as "This is why Will is a bad guy". In any case I can understand it, and it jives with how powers are created as Will's desperate need to be remembered, to be acknowledged awakens his oracle and as seen above causes him to mind break a man into writing him back into existence. Once he realizes what's going on he even cites Saike's line about "This being a gift from God". The chapter ends there, but the ending text implies next week will reveal why he wants the Akashic records. This was an eerie chapter of Saike on all accounts but considering the heaviness of the information provided I think it was appropriate, and I eagerly anticipate the next chapter.
switch is in this week! I included it because the artwork was eye-catching (in both good and...well, not bad ways per se, but interesting....like the teacher's face on the page above this paragraph on the left.) Also that the story seems to be taking off as it were with the children facing off against the adults this week, and the teacher there acknowledging Raimu by selecting him to be on their team. Up until now only one teacher had recognized their talent, so having that number go up by one indicates the story is laying down the framework that'll lead into the boys' future. Not only that but Namikiri's artwork continues to impress from the way he depicts speed and movement without the benefit of animation. It also goes to show that one of the teachers, Katou really seems to have it out against the brothers, and no lie, I'd like to see him get his comeuppance. Going back to the teach at the end of the chapter, one thing I like is that he acknowledges Raimu not for his ball playing prowess but for his brains --demonstrated by when he asks the question what Raimu would do to change their chances of winning the game he has a pretty epically long suggestion. Namikiri seems to be going with a "brains-and-brawn" approach to the brothers which isn't novel per se, but definitely keeps them both relevant. I'll be keeping an eye on it to see how he implements this, but I am intrigued which says a lot when you know how much I usually don't care for sports series.
I personally don't take any pleasure from raining doom and gloom by insinuating everything is about to end soon, but man it really does feel like Souboutei is approaching it's final battle with this chapter and the ones before it. Granted Fujita has basically said that the end is in sight so it checks out okay, and it's good to see he has a very good sense of what kind of pacing he's shooting for. Like this chapter was equal parts set up and knock down as Madarame has figured out the sisters aren't on his side, and the survivors of the first raid are headed back to settle things once and for all at the evil house.
Meanwhile the sisters reveal that they used Shikigami to alter the results of their CT scans so that they appeared normal to everyone and thus evaded being detained like the others. It's been implied they're being controlled by the souboutei but man, am I not sure anymore. This seems like flat out betrayal, but maybe the house really is just that strong even in it's supposed "weakened" state. In any case The survivors show up even as many are gathered before the house to eke out their own brand of justice in a flashy scene of bravado.
The soldiers standing guard are no match for them either. Yadorigi tries to ask nicely to be permitted inside, but they have their orders and while they aren't spoiling for a fight, they're not about to let them waltz in unopposed.
Even if they have to go through them, the Souboutei must be destroyed! Ahh this double page spread is what dreams are made of. It gives Fujita the time to really focus on the characters and get this sentiment of resolution just right. However, the sisters are still very much a thing and whether they're being controlled by the house or not doesn't matter as they're not letting visitors through. It's been a fight that's been a long time implied and now it's finally happening. Next week...!
Komi-sa, er Kun returns to the younger brother-sister pair of the protagonists this week and wow, I almost wish this series was about Tadano's little sister Hitomi because she is a delight. Although the thing here is she's supposed to be trying to befriend Komi's brother Shousuke, I think in just interacting with him her own personality takes a turn from fairly ordinary little sister to well-meaning but kind of sadistic young lady, haha. Like at the start since Shousuke refuses to speak, she does so for him....by making him sound pathetic and lonely, haha. This continues even when he makes it clear he has nothing to say, so she sort of shadows him and fills in blanks for him.
Hitomi then volunteers, er "volunteers" Shousuke for soccer after class, and bodyslams him when he refuses. (Apparently she was an entrant in the middle school judo competition, so she's tiny but packs a punch! I also like the dig at PTA like warnings on the page where it says "Kids don't do this at home!"
But you know that old saying --You can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink, right? Shousuke might be on the field but he has no intention of playing soccer. However, even he with his taciturn nature has fragile male pride. All it takes is the mere suggestion from Hitomi that he might be afraid of the ball hitting him and he's more than ready to head out on the field to prove her wrong. (It helps that she does throw in on the sly if he makes a goal he's free to leave.)
But you gotta know she isn't going to let Shousuke go that easily. Is there anything Hitomi can't do? Hahaha. That being said, Oda (not that one) really has the chops for drawing sports scenes doesn't he? He could possibly go into a sports manga once he finishes Komi I think. I love how Shousuke's body bends and the awkward angle from behind he draws him from as he makes the shot, as well as the text following suit. Heck, I think they even make the gag of it all going badly even funnier because it doesn't seek to refuge in audacity, rather it expects you to take everything quite seriously, but as Hitomi says towards the end there "You've got a long way to go until you get to the goal, Shousuke." Don't worry guy, we're here cheering and occasionally laughing behind your back.
And here we are at the final chapter of Tenshi and Akuto, appropriately called "Tenshi and Akuto". Appropriately enough I just realized the "Akuto" might be in relationship to Nari's "Tenshi" (angel). Aku is the word for "Devil or Evil" so they really are destined to be together, huh? I always thought the "Akuto" was for "Acting" since it sounds a lot like the English word "Act". Which also might be an appropriate way of reading it, I suppose. Late/failed epiphanies aside, We've traveled a long almost 5 year road to get here and thus farewells are in order. First though, the final two volumes --17 and 18 are due out in July and August respectively, and there's no rest for the weary(?) as Hirakawa already has another oneshot ready for the next issue --more about that later though.
Akuto and Nari are awarded for their performances as newbies as the chapter opens up and Nari takes home a price for best actress, which even though Akuto is supportive of his girlfriend he still feels the sting of the comparative gap between them, hah. Still that he doesn't allow this to get to him is a sign that he's changed into a much better person than he was when the series began. Not only that but when his friends cheer him up, he's able to remember when they all first started out, and how far they've come.
Though what was it that he wanted to say to Nari at the end of last week's chapter? I think that's probably pretty obvious, but I'll say it here anyway --he asks her to marry him. Of course Nari's still in high school so that's a no go right now, but he explains himself --he knows they're still worlds apart when it comes to voice acting, but the recording of Romeo and Juliet has made him realize he wants to be at her side no matter what happens. Nari's so confused by this that she just runs away without saying a word --they haven't even kissed so suddenly proposing is quite a leap. Even now she's unable to look at him without running away, giving her prize to Shou and making a run for it as Akuto is in hot pursuit asking for an answer.
He's tired out and has to rest and while Nari admits she's never met anyone as full throttle as Akuto, she still....(Hey she trails off in the original text too, so I have no idea what she was trying to say.) Still words aren't needed for a sweet moment like this are they? It's been a long time coming and I'm glad Hirakawa pulled it off.
The last few pages are about people wanting to become something and running towards it at full strength. It's by doing this that people --that life is radiant, and it's within that radiance that people find each other and soar towards greater heights. This all comes to Akuto and Nari doing another performance, this time as adults as the series comes to a close.
I think I'm really going to miss Tenshi and Akuto, as much as I whi--commented on how much I didn't like that it became a romantic comedy for a while, and I still haven't read the first ten or so volumes.....there still was something very endearing about how it handled it's separate parts and brought them into an interesting whole. Of course what made this most unique is being a voice acting manga in a shounen magazine, and how Hirakawa used standard shounen conventions to make this exciting and fun to follow. I was halfway thinking they'd announce an anime for the finale since that'd be the perfect tie in for a manga like this, but I guess it wasn't meant to be, which is a real shame. Still it isn't out of the realm of possibility I suppose. All in all Tenshi and Akuto may not have been the most popular series in the magazine, but it had a special something --the characters, the artwork, and the genre that made it unique enough to last over three years and the magazine will definitely be a different place without it.
I don't know what Minato is talking about, The Shourounagashi looks like lots of fun even if it is a bit noisy. Ah, let me explain. The Shourounagashi or Spirit Boat Procession is a traditional ceremony held during O-bon which honors the spirits of ancestors. This is accompanied by firecrackers late into the night --these boats will often be decorated by the hobbies of the deceased and is a pride for the folks of Nagasaki. I guess a city slicker like Minato just wouldn't understand.
That being said this is the perfect setting for a movie farewell or reunion, isn't it? Also don't be like Minato good kids at home, and put fireworks on your head like above. I haven't been able to cover the series in the last few weeks due to everything else taking priority,
though I really wanted to. But there's a reason why I had to cover this one, aside from Minato's troubles at the Shourounagashi being downright hilarious, and it being great to see the kid unwind, a certain someone had been hinted to be returning soon --I told you I had been paying attention and...
Patience pays off.
Leana's new haircut was fetching enough to cover on it's own, in all honesty.
That and the shockingly realistic depictions of the women of the tribe they just visited that are erected in stone. Though mostly what made me pick up Ariadne this week is the premonition of a new journey now that Leana and Rashil have left the cow clan to new pastures. Sorry, not sorry. After meeting up with a past acquaintance, Rashil has started talking in his sleep about being left behind by his "friend" Ash, who we met last time I covered the series. Leana tells him that she doesn't mind if he wants to go looking for his buddies and put their adventure on the back burner for a bit, and it's then that Rashil remembers they had decided on a place to hook up should they be separated. Not surprisingly Leana's like "How could you possibly forget that?!" To be fair to Rashil losing his brother caused him to repress memories out of regret, but now he remembers, and regrets even more --it's been five years since there after all...he also remembers a girl companion of his...hm. She's not engaged to him or anything but his constant talking about how cute she is annoys Leane and reminds me how much I love their interactions.
So Rashil out of a sense of comradire and Leana out of spite decide to set course to find his old gang. They're at least near where they need to go --The Kalfok plateau, but they'll have to go through a forest labyrinth to proceed. Places don't get names like that because they're fun and family friendly, however....
It's summertime for the sleepy princess and her monster companions, and not surprisingly princess swims as well as a rock does. Interesting that all it takes is an outfit change for her to appear older than she normally does. I might have asked before, but I really do wonder how old she is...hm. In any case no one really takes her seriously because they figure she's far too sleepy to really ever need swimming for anything. To prove them wrong she takes on the pool challenge, but she's not going to get anywhere if she's just floating in an inntertube, hah. It's my thought that this chapter was to show that while she's an indestructible God when it comes to magic, she has insecurities and things she's not good at. Which in a lesser shounen manga would be a way to impart an important lesson, but here it just results in the princess just relying on magic even more. If you want to learn things, then you'd better try another manga, haha.
One might think that Birdmen didn't utilize it's month this time around since not much happened, but it actually did address a few questions I had in regard to the parents of the kids off saving the world. Karasuma's mother especially isn't taking the departure of her son to do something she doesn't understand very well, and Tanabe is very fair in how she demonstrates this. Even if it does seem like she's being incredibly shallow in terms of the story being presented. It's kind of like what I said about Saike above --being able to look at the characters actions in context of how they're presented and not how we'd internalize them. His mom --Kiriko devoted her entire life to raising a productive member of society just for him to run off --and suddenly reveal himself to "no-longer-be-human"? In all fairness I wouldn't know what to do with that either. Even though Karasuma is told it's not his fault, it's not surprising that he doesn't feel that way.
However Karasuma despite everything doubles down on what he is--or isn't, by saying that he's probably going to become something else that she doesn't understand. It's implied heavily throughout the chapter that Karasuma is beginning to feel..well, maybe not guilty but conflicted about his abilities to control others to do his bidding. He knows it's "wrong", but the convenience of the ability is one he can't ignore either. Even before, this arc he had been beginning to struggle with the idea of his humanity shifting --or well, the idea of his humanity shifting. By becoming a Birdmen he still retained the idea of being human, but the more he thinks of himself as different the more difficult it gets to maintain that sense of "sameness" that connects him with humanity.
When the time comes to ask Shoma --Umino's little brother to become a birdmen along with the others, he steadfastly refuses, and Karasuma is about to force him into it as his emotions run high until Maraika stops him with her own ability....
Which is apparently an "eraser" who can dilute "negative feelings" from others. She has a childish innocence that the bird people are meant to chase away evil and be figures of justice, which I'm almost positive will come into conflict with the various views of the entire group. That being said, her bringing Karasuma back from the brink is interesting since it does absolve him of some of his development thus far. Is she giving him a free pass, or is something heavier due to come? We'll find out in issue #31 next month when Birdmen is set to return.
Youkai Giga seems to be slightly treading a different path now with Seiji being sent to war and leaving his new family behind. Makoto entrusts his care to Kuro but she can't bear being away from him and doing nothing. Of course this means Kuro will be out of the story for a bit if Satou decides to focus on Makoto --which I kind of hope she does, especially with the way this one ends.
Makoto returns home to her mother, changes her kimono out for a blouse and doesn't intend to return home as she's got to take care of the household in Seiji's place. I really like this development, though I can imagine with the series being called "Youkai Giga" that when Kuro does return we'll be seeing it's escapades from Seiji's point of view. It also solidifies that this series within a series is indeed probably along for the long haul which pleases me since I couldn't imagine Youkai Giga without Kuro, and I'm glad Satou agrees.
And that's it for this jam packed issue! I think I covered 19 or so series this week, and please for the love of everything is holy convince me to never do that again. Next week features a lead cover and color pages for After the Five Mintutes --Gopun go no Sekai, as it seems clear that Shougakukan really wants to push this to be the big thing of the magazine, and Hirakawa Aya's first oneshot in 8 years --Shounen A to Naisho no 7 kakan. Switch will have extra pages --in which I assume the Teachers VS Students game will heat up, and AKB 48 and STU 48 will have a special pinup. Seems like a less demanding issue by far, thank goodness! Still I had a good time with the extra work and I hope you had a good time reading it! Until next week, have a good Sunday and every other day!