Saturday, May 18, 2019

Weekly Shounen Sunday #24 (2019) Editorial section

This week's question from Waimyon in Ishikawa asks "If you could ask God just one question, what would it be?"

Yukosae tatakaeba (Sei Fukui): Greetings. I'm Sei Fukui. It's my first serialization in the main magazine and I'll do my very best.
Detective Conan: Zero's Tea Time (Takahiro Arai): Are you really God?
switch (Atsushi Namikiri): I probably wouldn't know so I wouldn't ask anything.
Amano Megumi wa Suki Darake! (Nekoguchi): If you could get all of your week's work done in three days, what would you do?
MAO (Rumiko Takahashi): How are the Tigers going to do this year?
Kimi wa 008 (Syun Matsuena): Would you take me to the place souls return?
Komi-san ha, komyusho desu (Tomohito Oda): I don't want to be reincarnated in this world! What would your answer be? (Comedic Jab).
Major 2nd (Takuya Mitsuda): Why'd the cubs suddenly get so weak?
Maoujo de Oyasumi (Kagiji Kumanomata): Why is the passage of time so quiiiick?
Chrono Magia: Infinity Gear (Takeshi Azuma): I'd ask him the means of drawing a manga that'd sell billions.
Ponkotsu-chan Kenshouchu (Tsubasa Fukuchi): Did Kankuro ever find happiness? (TN- I...Don't know who that is, and googling only gets me results for the Naruto character.)
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ (Mizuki Kuriyama): I'd like to know what God I'm talking to for one thing...
Undine ha Kyou mo Koi wo Suru Ka? (Shinya Misu): God, could you perhaps consider going on a talk show, please?
Anonatsu 1959 (Ashibi Fukui): If he were a part of the 1934 Nichihei baseball game against the V9 Giants, how much would Eishi Sawamura have won?
Tonikaku Cawaii (Kenjiro Hata): Tell me how I can play the stocks so I get 10 times back after only a year, please.
Fire Rabbit!! (Aya Hirakawa): I'd ask for God's yearly schedule.
Be Blues (Motoyuki Tanaka): What is beyond the universe?
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san (Aiko Koyama): I thought long and hard about this and couldn't come up with anything!
Gopun go no Sekai (Hiroshi Fukuda): Can you tell me how to draw an entertaining manga?
RYOKO (Kaito Mitsuhashi): How have you been lately?
Birdmen (Yellow Tanabe): What are your hobbies?
Sokyuu no Ariadne (Nobuhiro Yagi): Please tell me how you allotted my parameters.
Souboutei Kowasubeshi (Kazuhiro Fujita): This might be ignorant, but where is the crew of the Mary Celent-?!
Zettai Karen Chilren (Takashi Shiina): Please tell me the means to have a list of cheat skills and a harem in another world.
Tantei Xeno no Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu (Teppei Sugiyama): What can I do to bring peace to the world?
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari (Hikaru Nikaido): Is the Buddha around?
Youkai Giga (Satsuki Satou): For now just turn the right cheek so I can give you a smack with all my might.
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Nouen (Yuuji Yokoyama): I'm terrified but I'd probably ask how long is my lifespan?

This was a legitimately interesting prompt! not to say that the others weren't interesting, but I have to admit I was way more interested in hearing the artists answer this one, and while I normally feel like Sunday should have allowed something freeform like Jump, this week at least made the format really feel like it works. Honestly the more mundane answers from Mitsuhashi and Tanabe were my favorites in this batch --to them God isn't this scary deity but just another being working hard they are. (Then again I suppose the folks asking for talk show interviews and stock tips kind of had the same thought.)

If Saike was Fukuchi going big, then Ponkotsu is him scaling back to tell something a little more "intimate". I think that's what I can take away from the first three chapters of the new serialization. (That being said, I do feel like Saike and Ponkotsu are based in the same universe despite all of the evidence to the contrary, but that is just one blogger's opinion.) Admittedly I'm way more into adventure/action series than romcoms, so I'm not quite as fond of this series as I was the beginnings of Mao, or really any of Fukuchi's other works. Weirdly his art style does work way better on something like this than the weird battle series he's known for. I'm hesitant to really pass judgement on it even after the first three chapters both because I don't think getting a pulse on what this series is will be possible until other characters are introduced, and even though I'm not fully invested in this series quite yet, I still have a Fukuchi bias. (Hence the coverage continuing past the first three chapters anyway.) I can totally see this doing well in Sunday regardless of how invested I am, and in fairness the setup as deceptively simple as it seems really clicks because of Fukuchi's unique style. Again the premise is still the same just with a new power --this one creates a scanner that reveals vital info of whatever it scans, and you can tell from the last page that Yumesaki is none too happy about her "important" info being spoiled, haha. 

You know, something I'm beginning to realize is that Character based comedies seem to be Sunday's "thing". At least with it's biggest series --they aren't so much about over the top moments (No one is brave enough to challenge Fujita in that regard.) but about the little things, the tiny absurdities, the wrinkles in life that we don't think that much about. Take Evans this week for example: The idea is essentially that the sheriff wants a haircut but is afraid of being ousted as someone who has not even an ounce of style once he walks into the barber. He's had the same kind of back and forth with himself several times until well, you know how it goes. Advice from Dad gets him into the shop, where incidentally Pheebs is getting her hair done. It basically writes itself at this point, but it's no less interesting. Though actually Pheebs does hit on something interesting in the chapter --she's never seen Evans without his hat, and that's just the surprise we need for this chapter to go from predictable-but-funny to pretty hilarious in it's own right. Pheebs wants to see Evans without his hat, but realizing her luck is as bad as his settles to act as if she doesn't care about that revealing herself in the process. 

She goes to bust the bad guy in his place, hoping that he'll get a haircut and come without his hat --but while you can take the cowpoke to the barber you can't make him experiment with his look, heh. He comes back with essentially the same "do" he had before. The punch line for this chapter landed so well because of the small but significant twist --oh and Evan's smug expression is what had me in stitches the most. 

I'll be fair to RYOKO, despite what I said before the "conclusion" to this arc while different than what I was expecting is in line to the "tone" the series has established until this point. On one hand It might feel a little bit like Mitsuhashi stepped up to a conclusion just to back out at the last moment, but on the other I like that Kogarashi became his own character throughout rather than a stepping stone for Ryoko's development. Handled another way, he could have been fodderized and lost a lot of his own individuality. Instead, this arc obstensibly serves as the end of his arc, with Ryoko choosing forgiveness rather than sinking further into the circle of hatred and revenge. It's your classic shounen story to a T, but Mitsuhashi choosing to give Kogarashi flashbacks and a fair more interesting backstory than one would have expected upon his first appearance. 

Rather than killing him, Ryoko welcomes him to her dinner table. I can see this conclusion rubbing some the wrong way, and honestly they wouldn't be wrong. It's always a gamble building up a villain just to have the hero(ine) forgive him in the end --especially when it's clear he has no intention of reforming himself, and from the looks of things is way stronger. It feels as if the author came up with a wall they couldn't figure out anything to do with and instead of crashing through it or climbing over it, they sort of lean against it and walk away. In this case, Ryoko who the narrative has established as being very strong so that's fine, but she shouldn't be strong enough to take out Kogarashi who's doped himself with Parsley's scent singlehandedly. I'd like to think that Kogarashi was more of a metaphorical wall, but I can't really say until we see where this arc ultimately goes. 

Ryoko might have won the fight, but Kogarashi got something a slight bit more significant even if it's also very personal. Can a man really love his food? --Yes I mean in that way. This whole time I thought Parsley and Kogarashi's back and forth was a "wink-wink-nod-nod" sorta thing, not really serious, but if the end of this chapter is anything to go by it very much was a real feeling shared between them both. I don't know if this is the end of them, or the end of the series, or simply the end of this arc, but This chapter --this story has shown RYOKO can handle a bit of nuance while embracing the shounen tradition it owes so much to. 

Souboutei is about to cross over into it's third year, and shows no signs of slowing down. Even if at this point we've got the main actors on stage, and the enemy is standing right before them. That being said, every chapter that Sakamaki doesn't show up in does get me wondering what the evil painter is doing as this war unfurls outside his doorstop. Same for Kurenai --no doubt learning of her brother's "death" is bound to have her feeling a way. Right now at least, the fight has shifted from one axle to another --and become a sisterly spat. That all gets me wondering where Dad is right now --it's because of him the sisters are fighting, and I can't help but think this might have been his intent in some way. 

Because this chapter is about the sister's throwing down, we get more of Fujita's amazing artwork so I can't complain. You'd think the least super-powered of everyone here --Takoha would be sitting this one out,  but the sisters actually ask for his assistance! They are able to bring "familiars" to life, and apparently Takoha's drawing has the juice they need to win the battle. 

And there it is --that black, uh, thingy. It looks pitiful, but the oldest sister makes the mistake of attacking it and it destroys her familiars with little effort. The chapter closes with the younger sisters remarking that it's no surprise that she's surprised --as they were thrown for a loop by this too. So..was this a gamble on their part or is there a method to this madness? I can't say it was entirely unexpected as Fujita isn't the kind of guy to have his protagonist be utterly useless, so Takoha being able to handle himself makes sense, and why? 

The killer is a vacuum! I've heard of it being the maid, but not....ah, no, no, it's not that kind of Vacuum, rather it's the air. Or well the lack of it. There's even a reference to an accident that happened in the NASA space center in 1965, where a space suit malfunctioned and deprived a person of air to their lung and brain causing unconsciousness in 14 seconds. The survivor was able to pull through by somehow boiling their saliva moments before fainting. Ugh, pretty ghastly stuff. 

Though the important thing here is Xeno has said what we were all thinking --this is indeed the 6th murder room, and while they're solving a mystery, the Commander of the ship Sugizaki is getting an earful from his superiors because he fired off a canon, but he's already got it in mind that he's start a rebellion --and his aim is the center of the Govt itself. He knows of the president's wrongdoings, and his connection with Tomorrow --Xeno, and intends to use both elements to his advantage. 

Xeno on the other hand has figured out from clues left behind that he needs to go to the basement to ascertain the secret left behind by the dead soldier, but as he's about to make his move Sugizaki sends a man to make sure he doesn't. Luckily for Xeno, the men on the ship are as interested in finding what the heck is going on here, and prevent him from interfering. They may have been able to get past one obstacle, but there is a traitor in their who is not above to resulting to murder. 

Love is in the air in Youkai giga! Makoto thinks of her husband, and Kuro realizes it's deepening feelings for Osaki are more than friendship. I didn't think that the Kuro story could return to it's rather sweet roots (and I have to say it might be the reappearance of a certain floppy youkai that did it.) On one hand I'm glad that Satou isn't being asked to wrap this up quickly, but as Kuro's sales are anything but spectacular I dunno how long it's providence will last. Still, this chapter was really sweet with it's theme of loving and being loved. Whether you're youkai or human love is essential!

After a long time away, the Sunday (Wednesday) Diary is back on the blog --mainly because expressing this in a series of tweets would have been difficult. This week features Nekoguchi --who expresses his love of board games such as Monopoly, and talks about how he goes to stores and tries out different games by looking at them all lined up. Though really more than the games themselves, he just likes getting friends together with some drinks and having a good time until morning.

That's it for issue #24! I'm glad you guys came to hang out as you do every week. I hope you're checking out the twitter for all the latest Shounen Sunday news, as I'm trying to vary up what it offers. Until the next Sunday, have a good week! 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Weekly Shounen Sunday #23 Editorial section

This week's (late because of me) inquiry is this: May 8th is 'Voice day"! What's your favorite voice type or a person who's "voice you adore"? (TN- I could be here for eternity if I listed all of their roles here, so you'll just have to google these voice actors yourself.)

MAO (Rumiko Takahashi): It's been a while. I always get excited at my own new serializations too. Please cheer me on!
Ponkotsu-chan kenshochu (Tsubasa Fukuchi): Shuuichiro Moriyama-san's acting is my favorite. His performance as the "crimson pig" Porco Rosso is one of my favorites.
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari (Hikaru Nikaido) Hideyuki Hori-san. 
Maoujou de Oyasumi (Kagiji Kumanomata): Kenjiro Tsuda-san's voice is amazing!!
Gopun go no Sekai (Hiroshi Fukuda) Koichi Yamadera-san.
Detective Conan (Gosho Aoyama): My former bride's voice.
Amano Megumi ha Suki darake (Nekoguchi): I always look forward to Hakumatsushishi's twin energetic live commentary. 
Sokyuu no Ariadne (Nobuhiro Yagi): I prefer Jack Bower's original voice. 
Undine kyou mo Koi wo suru ka (Shinya Misu): I had no idea that "voice day" was a thing!! I'd recommend "Jigoku Shoujo's Enma Ai!
Tonikaku Cawaii (Kenjiro Hata): Mito Tsukino-san
Be Blues! (Motoyuki Tanaka): The voice actress Keiko Han-san.
Kimi ha 008 (Syun Matsuena): It might be a bit unsightly but I like Kenichi's VA and everything but if I had a choice I'd choose Iyamasa Kayumi-san.
Anonatsu 1959 (Ashibi Fukui): I really love Toshio Furusawa-san's voice.
Fire Rabbit!! (Aya Hirakawa): I don't have space to really write everything I want here, but I admire those people who can do voices of both genders~~
switch (Atsushi Namikiri): My child's voice.
Komi-san Komyusho desu (Tomohito Oda): I've loved Yui Horie's voice for a long time.
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ (Mizuki Kuriyama): Mika Horii-san. Like the characters she plays, she's very charming.
Souboutei Kowasubeshi (Kazuhiro Fujita): I like voices with a lower register! I want a voice like that!! For a while I've loved Takeshi Aono's voice.
Major 2nd. (Takuya Mitsuda): I'm fine with any voice as long as it fits.
Daiku no Hatou (Michiteru Kusaba): The voice inside of the microwave.
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san (Aiko Koyama): Tamio Okuda-san's voice.
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu (Kyouichi Nanatsuki) Akio Ootsuka and Houchouu Ootsuka's voices are my favorites.
Chrono Magia: Infinity Gear (Homura Kawamoto): The voice actress Ryouko Shinitani.
RYOKO (Kaito Mitsuhashi): I like voices that pierce one's ears.
Youkai Giga (Satsuki Satou): I like a cat's meowing.
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi (Yuuji Yokoyama): I admire those who speak from their bellies rather than their throats. 

I gotta say it's a very "Namikiri" move to randomly drop the fact that he has a kid in the TOC comment. This was the guy who casually revealed he was married a while back, after all. Otherwise there are a lot of VA's here! Which makes sense as one of the biggest honors for a manga artist is to have their works animated --I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them even draw their manga hoping to have their beloved characters voiced by certain voice actors! Though Hata's is actually a youtuber I think, which is also on brand for him, hah. I'm with Misu though --Enma Ai's VA (Mamiko NOto) is one of my favorites too. 

Ah, so that's how Fukuchi's going to go at it, huh? Chapter two of Ponkotsu-chan is only 15 pages long which is a big change from Saike which could run almost 30 pages a chapter from time to time. It does seem as if Ponkotsu-chan is going to be a weekly serialization unlike Saike's "one-volume-a pop" pace. I had been kind of worried about Fukuchi since his last proper serial ended after a hiatus stole it's thunder (supposedly), but if this is how Fukuchi is gonna do it, then it should be fine I think. Plus it does feel as if Ponkotsu might be a shorter series overall what with the premise being what it is. Then again so far we've only been introduced to two characters, and a story like this I could see becoming much more complex with more characters added to the mix. It's interesting to me how this continues to be very Fukuchi while also ticking off many of the familiar romcom tropes. I do feel like sooner rather than later it'll have to decide on being a slightly off kilter romcom or embracing it's inner Fukuchi, --sooner since I think the longer it tries to find it's footing the more the initial premise will lose it's charm. Maybe in that way the shorter chapters will help it out? Before one can get tired of it, it's done --kind of like a lot of the short comedies in the magazine. That all said, it's a really cute manga that's befitting of Fukuchi's artwork. Maybe even moreso than the battle manga he's so fond of, haha. I know I haven't talked much about the chapter itself, but it's really because there's not much that happened --it was purely set-up. That might be kinda bad for a second chapter to not advance much of anything, but in Ponkotsu's case I think it's fine as long as it doesn't choose to dawdle for too long. 

On that note, we go to Evans which is another series that could be one thing (romcom) but instead settles on being kind of not anything at all. (Wow I guess this week's theme is coming off sounding harsher than I mean to.) No, no, I'm not saying Evans is a waste of time, rather it's just a whole lot of things at once that are hard to really describe with an easy to go to term. Rather than that, it relies on having an easy to describe premise which remains strong even two years later --Single Cowboy looks for mate but is extremely bad at it. It's a good thing Evans is actually good at his job or he'd be a real layabout, haha. I think as well the fact that even his good intentions come off as a means to an end fleshes him out as a character. I mean, in a way it could make him awful, but I feel like Kuriyama knows just how much of that side of him to show and how much to give his noble side a spotlight. Like this week's chapter starts off with Evans and Ted meeting up with a lone woman walking in the wilder lands, and Evans offers to give her a ride on his horse --an obvious effort to pick her up. She declines and then asks if Evans is really a sheriff --at gunpoint. Ted then tries to beef up Evans' reputation by exaggerating which only makes things worse. Then Evans remembers his Dad gave him some (for once?) fairly good advice --actions speak louder than words. So Evans takes this upon himself to find a bear and...yes, a bear. No I'm not kidding. The girl is satisfied he's a good guy --I mean he took out a brigand with a bear so he's gotta be right? So after this she'd clearly ride home with him...

Or the bear. I think what really makes this ending for me is just how accepting (begrudgingly on Evans part) they are with this conclusion. Like "Oh, I guess her choosing the bear over me was the natural conclusion to these events." It's very Takahashi-ish in tone and execution, and with the Queen of Sunday being back in this issue it's kind of fitting, really. 

What's a group to do without their savior? I'm probably overstepping my bounds by saying that, but Rokurou did have a pretty big role to play in this showdown clearly why he was taken out before he could do any more to throw a monkey wrench into Sakamaki's plans. This week's chapter doesn't take us out of lurch in the sense of advancement but it does feel like we're arriving at something....somewhere. I hesitate to call it an ending since there's more than enough going on in the world of souboutei to keep us busy for a while, but I do think Fujita is ready for a shift in priorities. 

And the reason why I say that is the cast has now gathered in one location --something we haven't seen in quite some time now. I doubt Fujita would go through all of this effort just to split them up again later, but I am by no means a soothsayer, hah. Just someone who's probably read far too much shounen for his own good. Fujita is in full control of this ship, and we're just along for the ride. He's certainly trying to sell us on Rokurou being dead, but I have my doubts. Takoha's lament however does a good job of it though --"Kaerikuro, we've picked a fight with some nasty guys haven't we..." With this the fight begins in earnest, with the sisters struggle against the oldest one for the all seeing eyes. Souboutei's still heading in a direction I can't be sure of, but as always it's exciting to watch it careen forward. 

Xeno has gone and gotten involved in a little rebellion. No biggie. It's a direction for the story I wasn't expecting at this point where it feels like it could fairly soon. I wouldn't be surprised if with Nanatsuki's veteran star power that the editorial department is giving the series more time to work with it's ending, but it's still surprising that things are unfolding as slowly as they are. Or well, not really slowly per se, but the mystery is unfolding without any editorial pressure as far as I can tell. Heck, Xeno's even been stripped of his right to investigate thanks to military orders so for this chapter at this week, he's a bystander in his own story.  

Though that doesn't last long as yet another body is discovered on the ship, and Xeno is informed. A soldier has died in the locker room without any warning. Xeno takes one look at the body and already knows how this unlucky guy was killed, but more importantly that the very moment he died is an important message for the lot of them. What is this message and how will it change this case? Till next time...!

RYOKO, ....why are you so low in the TOC? This was of course before the blog was a thing, but I feel like I'm living through Fukuchi's series Anagle Mole all over again --A strong-ish beginning marred by a hiatus, which upon the series return ends with a cancellation not long afterward. Anagle had some fantastic highs upon it's return, just for it to run straight into an unsatisfying ending...and now it seems like RYOKO is set to follow suit. Then again it might just be a case where I'm letting my pessimism do too much of my thinking. Let's just enjoy what we have here --since even if this is close to the end of the road, this was an interesting chapter from a narrative point of view. Up until now Kogarashi has been trying very hard to get Ryoko to suffer the way he had since the ingredients had taken over Japan, and while his reasoning for that is still not clear, Mitsuhashi has given him what he wanted by leaving the usually optimistic Ryoko no choice but to cut him down --to use her skills to kill a human. Significant because it had been mentioned in passing that Ryoko never had actually cut anything besides food with her abilities. Even her master specifically says in a flashback that her moves are not meant to kill. So although Kogarashi was more hoping to teach her suffering through defeat, he has instead done so through victory which is...a pretty interesting take on this trope even if it's not exactly unique. 

But where does that leave Ryoko? Kogarashi? The series? Ryoko doesn't take kindly to having to cut someone down for the first time in her life, but is that really the end of Kogarashi who was brought back to life just a few weeks ago? All of the signs point to a rushed conclusion, but maybe this is part of Mitsuhashi's wild ride. If I were to take a stab at this, I'd say the next three weeks will really tell us what we need to know about RYOKO's ultimate fate. 

This week's Youkai Giga features the "Kosamebo" otherwise known as the "light rain monk". This youkai looks like a Buddhist monk that loiter around on roads at night asking for alms. They're a little frightening but not really harmful to humans. In this week's chapter, a Kosamebo who has become entranced with the sight of humans working but is too timid to interact with them. Yet somehow it finds itself in the presence of a very pretty human girl with a fairly similar problem --she too is lonely but doesn't know how to do reach out to others. She figures the Kosamebo might have an idea of how to deal with this problem but it's more interested in how cute she is and accidentally says this out loud. Though she turns the youkai down, he now at least knows the way to solve her problem --it's always good to just say what's on your mind. 

And that's it for this very late edition of the editorial. I hope you're checking out the twitter for more timely updates. There will be plenty of Sunday talk there tomorrow for your viewing pleasure! Until then, take care!