Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Weekly Shounen Sunday #37/38 (2018)

It's a week of two Sunday (issues!) Which means a week without Sunday is coming up, sadly. Hello all, I hope my new schedule for releases hasn't tripped you up or anything! Unfortunately as I've said before, this is the new reality for the blog. I'm definitely considering making moves to perhaps change format in the future, but for now, the blog will really be a "Sunday" one.

It's Zero! Fresh off being on *another* cover, he's right back with some news, an Aoyama drawn poster, and a cover all to himself. Being merely related to the King of the magazine is all it takes to be a big name, huh. Though no, that's marginalizing how much work Arai and Aoyama put into this series conception and they definitely deserve the credit. 

It just isn't a Japanese manga magazine without the TOC to rejuvenate and depress us in that order is it?

Detective Conan: Zero's Tea Time: Supervised by Gosho Aoyama/Art by Takahiro Arai (Cover page/Lead color/Chapter 13)
Gopun Go no Sekai by Hiroshi Fukuda (Chapter 15)
Komi-san Komushou desu by Tomohito Oda (Chapters 156/157)
Marry Grave by Hidenori Yamaji (Chapter 32)
Tonikaku Cawaii by Kenjiro Hata (Color page/Chapter 25)
Sokyuu no Ariadne by Norihiro Yagi (Chapter 33)
Major 2nd by Takuya Mitsuda (Chapter 149)
Memesis by Takuya Yagyuu (Chapter 23)
switch by Atsushi Namikiri (Chapter 17)
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama (Chapter 79)
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu: Story  by Kyouichi Nanatsuki/Art by Teppei Sugiyama (Chapter 34)
Kimi wa 008 by Syun Matsuena (Chapter 24)
Zettai Karen Children by Takashi Shiina (Chapter 513)
Aozakura Boei Daigakkou Monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido (Chapter 99)
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami (Chapter 137)
Maojou de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomata (Chapter 112)
Be Blues by Motoyuki Tanaka (Chapter 343)
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita (Chapter 113)
Daiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba (Chapter 60)
Saike Matashitemo by Tsubasa Fukuchi (Chapter 123)
Hoankan Evans no Uso: Dead or Love by Mizuki Kuriyama (Chapter 66)
Shinobi no by Rokuro Ogaki (Chapter 52)
Amano Megumi no Suki darake! By Nekoguchi (Chapter 134)
K.O.I King of Idol by Tamaki Wakaki (Chapter 55)
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou (Kuro 32)
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Noen by Yuuji Yokoyama (Chapter 34)

Not in this issue:

Detective Conan
Chrono Magia.

Seems they've decided to lead in with the youngsters this week as The first two slots and several after that are series that haven't been serialized for a year yet. Seeing Ariadne so high up for two weeks is also surprising, but in all honesty it seems this is a push to get the newer series a little more attention, what with Megumi in the basement, along with Evans. These series have already more or less become a part of current Sunday's DNA so the thought is probably to focus more on stuff that could be a huge hit with a little more time/attention. That being said, Zettai Karen Children being higher than usual is a surprise, as is Marry Grave continuing to hang out at the top of the magazine. I wish I could be more confident in the latter's success, but it's sales actually managed to be lower with it's second volume --as did Ariadne. Xeno however managed to mostly remain the same --unimpressive but not horrible which leans into what I said about it getting comfortable enough to expand on it's storyline. I think we'll be seeing cuts sooner rather than later, so if your favorite series is doing well, keep supporting it. Otherwise start praying.

It's almost as if Aoyama and Arai figured out I was thinking of letting Zero go from the blog and made this announcement basically akin to saying "not yet". Essentially we're going to get into Zero's past starting...soon, and from the poster above and this report below, Aoyama is getting a bit more involved with this spinoff. This is exactly what I've been hoping the series would do, and it seems set to deliver. We're going to see Amuro's academy days along with some of the cops he's trained along with who have appeared in the main "Detective Conan" series....and have died, giving them one heck of a shared trait. any case, Arai and Aoyama are preparing the new chapter of Zero's tea time, so there's no date or issue as to when this will begin, but I think it's safe to assume it'll probably be after Conan's next run in the magazine starting in Issue #40, so stay tuned!

So with the revelation that Zero is going to get into meatier content, what should we expect from this week's tea time? Would you be surprised if I said controversial content? Well, not in the sense of this being overtly offensive, no ---well, if you're of the shipping variety it might be. I don't disparage anyone here --all Sunday fans are my friends! Though I don't kid when i say Japanese fans were none too pleased with the direction this chapter took despite it apparently being written by Aoyama himself. Arai took to twitter to show off the storyboards for this chapter, and he was immediately drowned in a wave of disdain from the fans that Amuro would ever settle down with a lady --even one as pretty as Azusa. Too bad Aoyama isn't on twitter for them to voice their complaints to directly, huh Arai. 

That being said I thought it was a cute enough chapter, as far as the tradition goes with Zero's team time. At least this time the light fluff is cute light fluff I suppose. I'm imagining that the next "arc" of Zero will start after Conan's return in Issue 40, so it's like having two things to look forward to! I never thought I'd say this about Zero's Tea Time, but I'm actually looking forward to the series! I dunno if I made it clear, but I've never been looking for Zero to be an action packed series, just one that actually establishes a reason for it's existence (Aside from cashing in on Conan fans) and having a past arc about Amuro is a great way to do it. 

It's been a few entries, but 5 minutes gets it's 15 minutes of fame in the blog again! The series has been developing pretty nicely I think. It's still refraining from showing off it's big guns, opting instead for really sticking close to the "suspense" aspect of the plot and doing a good job of it. I wouldn't have thought that this would be Fukuda's forte considering what kind of series Mushibugyo was, but I guess that's why you shouldn't judge a manga (or manga author) by their cover! That's not to say that 5 minutes is completely devoid of that over the top action that Mushibugyo had so much of, as seen above with the abilities being used in full force though it is still a much more subdued effort than the last work. 

So what's the "hook" of  this week's chapter? Kakeru who's been sort of tagging along this whole time drops the bomb that she's read her sister --Michiru's diary and it seems she was able to somehow predict these events --all of them, including all of them dying here in the underground at the hands of the Buddha! It had been implied earlier that Michiru knew more than what she was letting on, but this confirmation really takes the story into overdrive. If she knew what would happen, why didn't she try to prevent her own death? Moreover, what else did she know? All Kakeru says is that she was attempting to change the future, but how exactly? The questions are all just pouring out and right now the looming threat of a giant buddha means answers are of a second priority. I've been enjoying the series well enough, but now I'm fully invested. 

Marry Grave has been riding high in the TOC for several weeks now despite it's sales being kind of on the low side. Which on a story POV is great cause it has been much better since the timeskip in the flashback and wow that's a weird sentence to write. In any case, Sawyer and Rozalie are up against the very crazy Sergei, and despite the former having no magical ability whatsoever, he still leaps into the fray to save the latter. Granted she's powerful enough to level the entirety of Cape Side, but it's the thought that counts. 

So what's the hook for this week's chapter? I think the pictures really speak for themselves here. Sergei is ranting on and on about how Rozalie's place is with the Church. The terrible thing about Gaslighting like this is even when you've got a strong constitution like hers, eventually it runs one down and they start to believe what they shouldn't. For her at least, she wanted to be more than just a weapon, and become a person in her own right. Yet having to hide what she is and lie to someone she might care about as well as having Sergei hurt said person is enough to bring her to tears --yet Sawyer despite everything still delivers one heck of a punch to Sergei's temple proclaiming that her place is here with them! It's so very shounen, but that's what I'm here for and Yamaji is delivering. 

It's a fine time to get married (or go to visit the parents) in this week's Tonikaku Cawaii. I may not be reading this series as religiously as others, but the color pages continue to be a highlight whenever they appear. To be fair, I really do think Cawaii has a sense of sincerity that Hayate didn't though on that note, I really only saw the first season of the Hayate anime, so maybe it developed that sense of being more than just a romantic comedy with parody elements?  So I could possibly see myself getting into it if I gave it a chance. Giving it a chance would mean having more time than I presently do, however so I can't say it'll happen soon. Still, I do like the characters in this a bit more than I did in Hata's previous work, so that's a step up! 

The series is still sort of taking it's time to proceed, and that's probably because Hata knows he's pretty safe as far as cancellation goes due to his veteran status and the fact that this series is doing pretty well for itself. He's really in the best situation as far as serializations go. That being said, I really couldn't see the series benefiting from going any faster, honestly. I think the sincerity I alluded to earlier comes from this really feeling like a newly engaged couple going through the first stages of beginning a life together and speeding things up to get to the "better part" really doesn't apply here like it would an action series. Plus taking a tour around Japan with these two is actually kinda fun. Cawaii will be back next week with another color page so I'll probably have more to say then! 

I just couldn't pass up Ariadne this week, because world building is really my jam in adventure stories of this ilk. First off, Rulu and Rashil functioning like night lights in the dark cave is one of the best mundane uses of super powers I've ever seen. Moving along, they've found out that the Rusa people might actually be in the ruins that they're traveling in, as well as a river that flows further in and...glows with an ethereal light. 

Things aren't ever what they seem when the group runs into Faires of Light who seem docile but immediately attack them.  Though they aren't the Rusa folk --just a security system set up by them to keep folks searching for the "first light" away from the truth. Ah, to get so close to the door but get bounced by light flinging body guards is truly the shounen condition isn't it? Still, the exploration is what makes this series stand out from some of it's peers. 

But if something stands in your way, you gotta knock it down! That too is part of the shounen condition! It's great seeing Rulu and Rashil fight together rather than against one another. There definitely is a sense of comradire between them that gets more believable after seeing this fight, and I'm down for more whenever Yagi is up to it. Though the important part comes at the end, where the villain who has been one step ahead of them reveals that he's already on his way to meet up with the Rusa clan. The race is on, and the competitors haven't even met each other yet! Something tells me that this won't last for much longer though.

Now this chapter of Memesis is more up my alley. We got some pretty good humor, and Yagyuu got to use that art of his to set up for something much more hype down the line. So you're probably wondering --now that Ash and Kijira have been infected by Debitch's magic that brings out their deepest desires/ambitions, what will happen to them? Well the answer to that is...absolutely nothing, really. They still want Leon to regret abandoning them....and then accuse each other of being a fals version who can't possibly be the real Ash or Kijira....and then they set out to beat the truth of how great the other person is into the clone and....yeah it's very confusing, and my lack of writing ability probably isn't making things any clearer, heh. In short they're both still really into each other to the point that they have to prove how great the others are to well, themselves, and it becomes one very wild, very weird fight. 

Is what I'd like to say but essentially they end up dancing, giving each other flowers, and other weird things to prove themselves, and it ends up back to where they started. Is it just me or was this essentially a date?  Debitch is less than pleased with this result, but man at this point what can you do? There's a sense of genuineness that Ash and Kijira have that one can't just undo, and it makes them hilarious, hah. Luckily they're able to snap out of the demonic power and return to normal before the end of the chapter. Debitch is in trouble, but then a certain demonic warrior calls out to her, setting up the stakes for this arc quite nicely and all in two pages. 

On the top floor is Devilunrun (The spelling is an approximation, so forgive me.) One of the Demon King's top officers, and in a single page she kills off three heroes in a gruesome show of decapitation. I like this move on Yagyuu's part --having a silly chapter to have one think that Memesis is going to lean further into it's gag origins, but then having a stark reminder that this is a dark fantasy series and those are rarely without some body horror. Not only that but Devilunrun herself (itself?) has one incredible design. Yagyuu hasn't gotten my complete confidence back, but I'm definitely liking where the story is headed now moreso than before. Till next week! 

Namikiri is going to make it impossible for me to not at least acknowledge switch as a series I look forward to each week with artwork like this. It's funny how adding something as simple as after images is enough to really make a page feel alive, and not only that his artwork is incredibly clean so it comes off way more solid than being a sort of gimmick. I can't say it enough how much I really love this page.

So the hook shot for this chapter is that the main characters are in a match against their upperclassmen are struggling to keep up with them while they haven't even broken a sweat! How's such supremacy even possible, and can they do anything at all to stand up to them? Even at the end with this revelation clear to everyone, the upperclassmen just shrug it off and proclaim the game to be on. The bottom text says that next week their counterattack begins, and I have to wonder if there will be anything left of our protagonists once they're done. 

I dunno what Manami did to Nanatsuki, but he seems bent on giving her the worst experience ever seen in Xeno. This whole case started with the death of her fiancee, and now it continues with her Uncle. I'm not sure I'd consider this "luck" as Kuga is still buried in the ground, but he's not actually dead as Xeno points out. He's not going to be revealing who did this to him any time soon however, so the detective still has his work cut out for him. There's at least a note left in his mouth like in the case of Sakuma, so there's something to go off of at least. Unfortunately things take a turn for the tragic, and Manami's Dad, Koichi Kuga was found as well and he's not quite as lucky. 

So now with a Kuga out of commission and another in the great beyond, yet another is brought into the picture --Yayoi Kuga. Yayoi uses the power vested in her as a member of this illustrious clan to say she wants the house destroyed the very next day, which puts a damper on both Xeno and Manami's plans to figure out the secrets hidden there. Yayoi is more concerned how all of these accidents will look to the press and others, and she has the power to do away with all of this negative attention --power she's not afraid to use. Xeno comes in to proclaim t hat he's doing an investigation and such any rash actions like destroying the house are off limits. I love how the guy has no chill whatsoever --just flat out  saying that he knows they've got sins 'o plenty, and he's going to find them. It's that tactlessness that makes Xeno more endearing to me, as weird as that sounds. 

And now the return to the beginning of this matter with the little girl who sang the song describing this entire case --Ai Fukayama, and on Xeno's request, she sings it again, and this is all Xeno needs to make an important discovery...the depiction of Jesus on the cross? I wasn't able to include it, but he says this is what is the "key" to everything hidden on Onugamijima. I know the word "Gods" is in hte name of the island (in Japanese) but I wasn't expecting this God in particular to appear...!

You know how it goes with dual page spreads and my blog, so really there's not much more to say here. Of course I also just feel the energy radiating from these pages as the characters celebrate their victory after a big game --so much so that I can't help but want to share the celebration with you! 

There are just so many different emotions on these pages from sadness, effort, happiness, and victory. It also helps that this is chapter 99 of the series, so it feels like Nikaido themselves is celebrating arriving safely at two years of serialization with the next chapter. Aozakura does quite well for itself in regards to sales --not spectacular but not in danger either, so my thought it is that it'll be around for some time yet. It's an interesting series in it's existence in a shounen magazine despite it's subject matter. I think it really is a series that describes Sunday's unique identity as being open for manga of almost any genre, something that other magazines are only now beginning to consider. Oddly the next chapter doesn't have any kind of advertisement in the way of color pages or anything, so I'm not sure I'll be including it, but I'm sure something will come up soon for the second anniversary and I'll surely be there! 

I could just remain silent and let Souboutei do all of it's talking for me, and I really did think about doing just that, but it'd be weird of me to have nothing here for the entry. So here we are. We've finally come to the singularity point of Souboutei that connects past with present, motivation with the crime, and is in short what Souboutei is about. 

Considering the "cube effect" is generally how Fujita portrays the Souboutei getting it's grips into an unsuspecting victim, and there isn't a Souboutei to speak of here yet, I wonder what this signifies? My guess with the following images is that it's Sakamaki giving into those darker urges --his weakness, and dissatisfaction with being unable to do anything to Yomiza. All of it culminates into this, his sister asking him to end his life and with nothing else left to him, he complies to her request. Fujita's artwork is in rare form --from the realistic depiction of Yomiza, Sakamaki's tearful expression to his decent into darkness as he kills his sister with his bare hands --they're all incredible, and frankly although I'm getting ahead of myself here --I don't see how an anime could do this justice (Though I guess having a soundtrack and voice acting would give it an edge.) 

And now we're back to a familiar scene from the opposite side. Zanka told us this before from his point of view, but now we see it from Sakamaki's --The boy affectionally known as "Yocchan" by his older sister is gone, and Sakamaki Deido has been born. When young Zanka asks what he's doing, He simply responds "I brought my older sister back....I wonder if she's happy?" With this the flashback ends, and Kurenai is brought back to the present. It's after these things are done that the story is at a pivot able point --what happens from here? It does really feel like that now Souboutei can begin to wrap up, but I'd believe that Fujita has more than enough left in his tank to keep us in the house for a bit longer. 

I thought I had Saike all figured out, but Fukuchi proves he's the one in control, and I should never doubt him. Though to be fair to myself, it's more that he took two of my theories and combined them into one. I figured Calim's new ability would come into play at some point, and that the battles going so fast were because a reset was coming up, but I didn't think the two would combine into one track --Calim's new ability is similar to Saike's! He can reverse time, but on a lesser extent, only up to three hours. It also explains where Silva's been this whole time, he was with Calim. 

The new ability "Save and Continue" really does tap into Calim's love of video games, manifesting itself as a controller and activating a screen a lot like that of a loading of game data. Calim is helping the gang out because Hizu's words stuck with him, and that much doesn't surprise me, since Fukuchi hasn't quite been subtle with that. Still, I really like that Hizu's effort to solve things similarly to his own hero --Saike bore fruit and now they have a new ally of sorts. (Calim says he isn't going to help Will or Saike's group again so they may really be on their own this time.) 

So the hook of this one really is Calim realizing that he can use a power like his to fight for others rather than himself, and having this breakthrough really was good for his character. The chapter itself was just a set up for this revelation so there's not a whole lot more to talk about, but now that they have the full knowledge of what they're doing I'm expecting the fights to be significantly less onesided. Fukuchi's seemingly only got one volume to do this in, and I have to wonder what the end game will be if that's where we are with Saike? 

Evans really is at his best when things are kept simple. Like this chapter is as simple as it gets --Pheebs is chasing down a neer-do-well, and ends up injuring her leg leaving Evans to give her a literal pick me up to finish the chase. Since these two are basically teenagers however, Pheebs is only concerned with looking weak before her crush, and Evans is totally consumed with thoughts of her being so close to him. No one's honest with themselves (or each other) so it's just one long string of misunderstandings laced with sexual tension, while somehow seeming incredibly innocent. In short, the essence of Evans. 

Of course Evans is no superman, and even he starts to lose his composure, but when Pheebs wraps her arm around him, it gives him a boost of energy that he needs to complete the chase, but then his characteristic poker face combines with pure elation and we get that expression above. It's freaky and sort of...endearing? Hah. Still in the end, the two awkward lovebirds-to-be have a moment where Evans sees Pheebs still has the birthday present he bought her and awkwardly says if she wants another he'd buy it for her. Is this progress? No idea, but next week a new assistant appears and I'm admittedly curious as to how this'll go. 

I'm really just keeping he Megumi alive in the blog aren't I? Well, I do it all for you, and out of a sense of curiousity as to the events as they unfold. It's getting increasingly clear that Nekoguchi is going to have this vacation arc end with some kind of revelation, especially with the final pages as pictured above suggesting that both Ma-kun and Megumi both want to ask each other the same question, after having friends egg them on and their own feelings sort of reach a boiling point throughout this adventure of theirs. I doubt Megumi is this low in the TOC because people aren't interested in the lead up of events, it's probably likely the editorial staff wanted to push other series instead, so no worries! I just wonder if Nekoguchi really will do the thing next week, or if this is a set up for another...not troll exactly, but delay tactic? These series really establish themselves through delaying the inevitable as long as they can (it just comes down to whether the execution is good or not, really, but in essence that's what romantic comedies are.) Oh and of course having very likable characters, which I think Megumi does well. Will Nekoguchi do it? Or elect to hold back? Next week...!

Shinobi no on the other hand is careening forward with reckless abandon. We had one time skip, now another, and all within the last few chapters. It's now three years after the previous chapter, and Toudou is still working with the Shinsengumi as history intended(?), but now the little boy is a man. It's now December 8th 1867 and a few men have gathered. One has concerns that the Shinsengumi are after his life. Hajime Saito, Kashitarou Ito, and Toudou are together along with the villainous Sakamoto, and with big names like this in the same room you have to know something big is going down. 

Hajime has been sent into the Shinsengumi to deal with Toudou who as the deciple to Pops might have what it takes to get in his way and thus may have to be "dealt with". Above Hajime recounts his mission and how he's being given permission to kill Todou with impunity. Toudou suddenly asks him why he'd join up with their group, and his answer is simply that he thought it'd be more interesting this way, while Touodu says that Yamanami has died and implies that Okita has too. Which lends credence to my fears that the series is rushing to a conclusion --two characters like this dying off panel is pretty scary, even if it is historically accurate. Combine that with Shinobi no's sales dropping, it does feel like Ogaki is being pushed to a conclusion...

Regardless of whether the ending is coming now or later, I admire Ogaki for making sure it's as visually arresting as the series has established up until now. Sakamoto's plan starts on December 9th, and he intends to be rid of this "boring" version of Japan. The "Black Ship" plan will be underway and as of right now there's no one that can stand in his way as they charge into Kyoto! Except, there's one Shinobi who asks if a certain old man can see him now --on his very first mission. Ah it's such a gallant entrance isn't it? Also love that Toudou takes on an appearance strikingly similar to that of his teacher --they look almost exactly the same to the point that I had to double check to make sure this wasn't a flashback! I'm not sure how long Shinobi no has left, but I think we can rest assured that the next weeks will be ones not to miss!

To my surprise we get more Kuro. This chapter was quite a bit more low key than the ones preceding it. Heartwarming, a little cute, and with just a smidgen of foreboding when Seiji says he'll definitely come home to his wife and son. So many death flags Satou --you wouldn't possibly dare considering breaking up this lovely family would you? I like that this one is about photos or well, art, as Kuro draws Minoru, and the child draws Kuro as seen above, while Seiji shows off his treasure, a poster of his wife with a new contraption a "fan", as embarrassing as it is for her. Again a just feel good chapter all around if you ignore that death flag fluttering in the breeze above. 

And that's it for this double issue! Next week we've got color pages all over for 008, Memesis, and Maojo, as well as the second one in a row for Tonikaku Cawaii's newest volume. Yuugami will also be returning for a monthly installment, so there's plenty to enjoy! I'm sorry this one is a little late, but hopefully the next Sunday on Sunday will be worth the wait! See you then. 

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