Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Weekly Shounen Sunday #13 (2019) Editorial Section.

This week's WSS Question comes from Fukuoka and asks "What's something that was once popular that you wish would be in vogue again?"

Kimi Wa 008 (Syun Matsuena): Roller Blades.
Undine-sama ha Kyou mo koi wo suru ka (Shinya Misu): I really want to watch a second season of Watamote!! (TN- Watamote is short for "Watashi ga Motenai no wa Do Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! Or "No matter how I think about it it's you guys' fault I'm not popular! A manga that received an anime a few years ago.)
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari (Hikaru Nikaido): Dash Yonkurou (TN- This is a manga that ran in Shougakukan's kids magazine Corocoro in the 80's)
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san. (Aiko Koyama): Coffee Shops that don't serve alcohol.
Be Blues! (Motoyuki Tanaka): Solo Idol units, I guess?
Komi-san Komuyusho Desu (Tomohito Oda): I'd probably answer something like people having more social awareness like babyboomers and stuff!
Detective Conan (Gosho Aoyama): I wonder if perhaps we could get Big Chief's curry dressing to go back on sale...(lol)
Maoujo de Oyasumi (Kagji Kumanomata): Siberian Huskies. (Not really as a pet, but as characters.)
Imouto Rireki (Kei Nishimura): The Medabots anime! I used to watch it every week with my friends in Elementary school with friends and I had a blast! 
Chrono Magia: Infinity Gear (Takeshi Azuma): The Dreamcast. Don't say it was only popular once!!
switch (Atsushi Namikiri): Aloe and Coconut gel.
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu (Teppei Sugiyama): Sorry, I don't have anything in particular. I think the era we're in is pretty good.
Amano Megumi ha Suki darake (Nekoguchi): I'd like to experience bubble, but I'm kind of scared. (TN- Yeah I'm not sure either.)
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ (Mizuki Kuriyama): I feel like programs about Psychics have really reduced in number...
Fire Rabbit (Aya Hirakawa): I'm..pretty ignorant when it comes to fads...(^^;;)
Gopun go no Sekai (Hiroshi Fukuda): Manga. (lol)
Anonatsu 1959 (Ashibi Fukui): I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to fads so no idea. 
Tonikaku Cawaii (Kenjiro Hata) Bitcoin.
Souboutei Kowasubeshi (Kasuhiro Fujita): I want to see more western bands on MTV like in the 80's...I miss me some hard rock bands.
Daiku no Hatou (Michiteru Kusaba): Topknots.
Sokyuu no Ariande (Norihiro Yagi): The B-class Horror movie boom.
Zettai Karen Children (Takashi Shiina): Still waiting for a time where my manga are super popular...
Hatsukoi Zombie (Ryou Minenami): I'm the type of person who isn't interested in what's popular.
RYOKO (Kaito Mitsuhashi): The packaging that came in canned drinking water. (I used to collect those.)
Youkai Giga (Satsuki Satou): Lucky nipples.
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Nouen (Yuuji Yokoyama): Teramisu wheels.

This list had me shaking in my boots cause I thought I'd have to do a lot of research but most of these are pretty universal. Though Fukuda, manga is still popular! I'm also the type who doesn't care about what's popular Otherwise I'd arguably not be writing this blog.  So I get the people who answered that, though I also miss MTV too, so I get Fujita's feelings too. Most of all? I want a new Medabots anime too! I really liked the last one! 

It's man vs Machine in Xeno this week as the machinery in the AI controlled house cut a menacing aura and the deaths of people remain unsolved. Furthermore Baron has up and disappeared! Xeno's still postulating what could have happened and thinks a drone with enough horsepower could perhaps choke a human to death it's probably just a coincidence but all of this happening could be seen as Nanatsuki calling out our reliance on technology... As Xeno continues to deduct, the others around him get increasingly and understandably uncomfortable with his hypothesis' --they're in a house full of machines so the possibility that they could really be used to kill them has to be terrifying. As it usually goes, there's a sordid story behind the other two people who were killed -- and the survivor here knowing he's next has all kind of reasons to be terrified, as he was the lawyer who provided testimony that got someone unfairly thrown in prison, and the proof of his deception was found --not only that a threat of blackmail and extortion for cash was made to keep this secret. The last text he got from the previous victim is to "beware of the faceless devil." Wait, faceless?! Could it be?

Xeno says at the very least he doesn't think this particular case has anything to do with Kai, because his murders have an "aesthetic" to them. Though before they can discuss it further they get interrupted rather rudely and shockingly, causing everyone to scatter, and it's then that Xeno gets the idea that their guide who's been defending the machines up until now is more than what she seems...

She's actually the creator of the AI? But why hide that until now? Though more importantly Baron pops up and it seems he's been captured by someone, and while Baron does ask Xeno to save him, he seems rather casual about the whole matter....wanting to see Xeno solve this one in a grand fashion. The series receives a color page next week as a advert for the "climax" of this case. Xeno had already made his proclamation about who--or well, what is behind this case but there hasn't been as much sleuthing as usual from him. By now you all at home should know that "climax" is essentially a notice that the end is coming but not quite here, and I tend to believe it in this case. I do think it's likely some revelations for Xeno and Baron are on the horizon though. 

I was thinking Evans' "teacher" would be a character of the week and nothing more, but he's back and it appears we've got an arc on our hands. Although it wasn't clear last week whether Levin was telling the truth about his relationship with Evans, but the sheriff does take an appointment with him on short notice, so I suppose it's true to an extent! Levin is still fishing for compliments and I have to admit that side of his character is kind of endearing, at least for now. As long as it's just he's the "pathetically searching for praise" type and not trying to get something more sinister from his actions, he's more funny than off-putting. Haley Ross is the victim of this case and Levin is hoping Evans can help her (and him) out. Levin takes basically any opportunity to point out that he's the guy who made Evans who he is. A scam is on in the form of a love potion and...hooo boy. You know things are only going to get more complex when Evans and Pheebs are involved. They both immediately want this stuff to work and forget that they're supposed to be busting it (and it might be fake!) 

So knowing the mission, the gang is off to a party where this stuff is distributed! A shame that not a single person (other than Haley maybe.) is actually doing this for the greater good, heh. I'm really looking forward to how this motley crew will come together and probably screw up this mission while simultaneously bringing down the bad guys. Evans isn't a series that surprises, but sticks to it's gimmick and delivers. 

One thing I can say about Sakamaki is that between being a sympathetic figure and then wildly swinging to being a horrible human being and back is that he's been constant in one aspect --he's passive. Passive in that he's only defended himself and stayed in the souboutei to paint quietly, leaving Shino and the aliens to be his attack dogs. Heck, he's barely ever really been seen giving an order to do anything, even though we know he's up to no good. It's for this reason that Shino is gleefully awaiting orders. Though maybe not even she could see just how much having uninvited visitors would rile up Sakamaki. It's clear as well she was hoping he'd not only let loose the aliens of war, but that he'd allow access to her full powers to wreak havoc. Though I dunno....Sakamaki seems more angry (yet somewhat stoic) than usual, perhaps because his time with Kurenai has been the closest to what he wants out of painting since he started his long homestay? 

So for the first time in the entire series, Sakamaki is doing his own dirty work. He doesn't outright state why now of all times is enough to force him out of hiding, but he does warn Kurenai that she might want to get dressed in something that is fireproof before he makes a grand display of appearing before the soldiers outside of the house and proclaiming his place as the head of the household. It's exciting, scary, and awesome all at the same time. It's likely these poor guys won't know what hit them after he's done, but it'll be fun reading for us I'm sure. 

Being at the ostensible bottom of the TOC means RYOKO's already nebulous fate becomes that much more worrying. The events of the chapter themselves don't really tell us whether the series is on a collision course with cancellation, but the sales which weren't that great (but also not awful), and it's TOC position are really scary for fans of the series like myself. As for what happened, well --it's fairly straightforward. Kogarashi and Ryoko have their duel and surprisingly she holds her own against him even if it's not like she's able to really inflict any serious damage. It marks a turning point in the series which leads well into what happens next.  

Zen returns and willingly sacrifices himself to Kogarashi to keep him from harming anyone else, and the villain takes the bait --but not before taking Ryousuke; Ryoko's little brother as well. It's a fairly common fatal flaw in stories like this, Kogarashi wants to see Ryoko fight at her highest potential and figures if her brother is his captive that she'll have no choice but to do just that. It's not the most inspired thing, sure, but I like the change of scenario here --Ryoko isn't the damsel in distress but the knight, and it's her brother and friend (both males) who need to be rescued, and also brings out a new chapter in the series which has been mostly character development and monster of the week so far so these are all positive things....but not from where RYOKO stands in the TOC right now and as a series. I'd like this to succeed not just because I'm a fan of Mitsuhashi's work, but because it's a female protagonist in a shounen magazine that isn't a quirky comedy (not that I have any problem with those.) RYOKO might have what it takes to last but it's admittedly an uphill battle.  

This week's Youkai Giga features the Sai no Kami which is a type of God who protects travelers from evil spirits. In the chapter itself, two ladies are cleaning a temple that no one else wants to bother with --a place where a Sai no Kami resides and new people to the village are supposed to stop in and greet it. Though legend has it that there are two gods, and the other one is quite the hottie --and speak of the dev--God, he actually shows up! He chats it up with the ladies and they're both quite glad to see him and even promise to visit again. He's got a good thing going until he looks at his feet and realizes he's had a horribly huge hole in his sock the whole time....that expression at the end isn't because something scary happened (at least not scary in the traditional sense.) but because guy realized his cool game might have been for naught. Guess even impressive people have their worries --even if they're Gods!

The Sunday diary this week features Minenami Ryou who...doesn't actually say anything. Rather in place of words there's an illustration of all the characters making their demands to be cooler, in more scenes, etc.  With Hatsukoi Zombie ending in a mere 4 chapters, I guess Minenami wants to focus on creating the best conclusion they can.

And that's it for this week's editorial! It's a bit earlier and I hope to keep things like this. For the news and other interests be sure to take a gander at the twitter thread here! We've got two series ending soonish so a Sunday shift is on the way. You can be sure I'll be here to report it so stay tuned. Until then, take care!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Weekly Shounen Sunday #12 (2019) editorial section.

This week's very mature question comes from Tokyo and asks "What's the first thing that you enjoyed the taste of as an adult?"

Maoujo de Oyasumi (Kagiji Kumanomata): Wasabi! I just can't get enough of it now!
Detective Conan (Gosho Aoyama): Natto. (Lol)
Amano Megumi wa suki darake! (Nekoguchi): Oyster and Turban shell. I feel like I love things with shells.
Komi-san ha Komyusho desu (Tomohito Oda): Beer! Pickled Dishes! Blueberries!
Fire Rabbit!! (Aya Hirakawa): Blue Cheese and Eggplants! And Natto.
Souboutei Kowasubeshi (Kazuhiro Fujita): Dried fish in garlic oil. I've been eating that lots lately. Dried fish!
Kimi ha 008 (Syun Matsuena): Peppers. I've really come to like them quite a bit.
Gopun go no Sekai (Hiroshi Fukuda): Cheese.
Anonatsu 1959 (Ashibi Fukui): I hadn't really eaten Sushi and Sashimi until my twenties, and now I think they're super tasty.
Undine wa kyou mo Koi wo suru ka? (Shinya Misu): The stomach fat from grilled meat. I used to consider myself a Korean BBQ prince, but the lower classes have overthrown the top.
Sokyuu no Ariadne (Nobuhiro Yagi): Bitter Melons. I thought all of the adults were lying to me before.
Be Blues! (Motoyuki Tanaka): Wasabi.
Tonikaku Cawaii (Kenjiro Hata): Itoshikoishi's Manzai. (TN- Itoshikoishi is the collective name of a comedy duo that performed from 1937 to 2003). 
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu (Kyouichi Nanatsuki): Celery I guess?
switch (Atsushi Namikiri): Pickles on a Hamburger.
Daiku no Hatou (Michiteru Kusaba): Beer.
Zettai Karen Children (Takashi Shiina): I never grew up to be an adult so I dunno.
Chrono Magia: Infinity gear (Homura Kawamoto/Takeshi Muno): Red Ginger, Sliced Ginger in vinegar, and Pompano Sashimi.
Imouto Rireki (Kei Nishimura): Pickled Daikon Radish.
RYOKO (Kaito Mitsuhashi): Raw ham and Sake.
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san (Aiko Koyama): Pickled dried plums and pickled vegetables.
Aozakura Bouei daigakkou monogatari (Hikaru Nikaido): Manual labor.
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ (Mizuki Kuriyama): The evening meal I had before setting out from the ryokan --it all started with beer!
Hatsukoi Zombie (Ryou Minenami): Soft roe, red bean jam covered rice, fatty tuna. I don't much care for sticky things.
Youkai Giga (Satsuki Satou): My adolescent years.
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Nouen (Yuuji Yokoyama): The broth of Miso broth.

I'm with you Satou...more so than any other week I've translated this. Also Same with Nanatsuki --I didn't care much for Celery as a kid. Though most of these being Beer is a feeling I think a lot of us adults(?) understand, even if I don't drink myself. Of course we had a few people who just had to be clever --looking at you Shiina and Hata. 

The happenings inside of the Souboutei are so interesting that it's sometimes hard to imagine there's a whole world outside of the house where things are happening. Well, if you've been wondering about that, wonder no more as Fujita is back and..rather high up in the TOC this week. The Japan defense force begins their attack on the house, and it's a lot to behold. Souboutei's osclating between what feels like a final climatic battle, and feeling as if it's only really beginning. I almost think Fujita might have purposesly mislead us by saying the series is almost over on purpose really. I'm in no hurry to see it end though, so he can take all the time he needs. Another thing I liked about this chapter is how chummy Zanka and Yadorigi are. I always find it great when characters who don't seem like they have anything in common meet and end up mingling really well.  

Though while all this is going on, Sakamaki continues to paint Kurenai, and the two seem to be sort of comfortable around each other? At least now Kurenai's desperate gambit to get Sakamaki to open up to her has lead into some interesting developments with the villain. Why, Sakamaki even asks Kurenai to talk more about her brother Rokurou. He says it as a pretense to get into her head so he can paint her "mind's colors", but I wouldn't be surprised if he's genuinely interested in what kind of person she is. A shame that is interrupted by Shino gleefully bringing him the news that there are folks outside waiting to bring down the house...literally. Those expressions are probably the highlight of the chapter --I'm not sure what Shino is thinking but I can hazard a guess --after being thoroughly thrashed by Rokurou and Seiichi, I wouldn't be surprised if a little battle for revenge was in order. I don't think that these soldiers will be much more than fodder in the scheme of things, but after a brief cool-down things are moving again.  

Xeno's ominous words from the last chapter echo this week as more actors join the stage. I find it great we've come from one killer house to another in this magazine --and yet even with that unique premise these two killer houses manage to be very different. For one thing, the victim here was killed 20 meters away so it can't possibly be suicide. For now that question is left hanging in the air --after all Xeno and Baron are in the same place, and the questions from their first meeting still hang in the air. Baron's still not in a talkative mood, but he does say that he finds Xeno's contradictory existence interesting. 

The case moves right along and we're introduced to another suspect --Kiyomi Tsukui who was caught sneaking around the cottages. She claims that they've all been fooled and two people were taken to another house and killed. The case just gets even wilder from there when the other person killed finds their way to the building attached to the tractor, apparently killed by the AI that runs the smart cottage, this time a lawyer named Senda who before this whole incident received a strange email. Is the house really picking off people one by one, and why? Is the AI seriously the thing without a form that's committing murders? 

RYOKO worries me with it's slow slump through the TOC and not so great volume sales. (Not terrible, but not great either), but with chapters like this I can let myself forget about my concerns and enjoy what's going on. Without really needing to translate things, I think it's easy to tell what's going on, which is exactly what Mitsuhashi's strength is. Kogarashi's appearance is the first real hurdle for Ryoko and worst yet he's managed to take a home team advantage and turn it into a distinct disadvantage. I can't tell really if these developments are meant to speed things along or if they're the natural result of Mitsuhashi's planning, and I hate that RYOKO is in this situation where it's really hard to tell where it's future is headed. It's almost bleaker than this fight in the first part of the chapter where Dad, Rere, and even little brother Ryousuke are put in danger's path. 

And then there's this panel which....I get it. I get how Mitsuhashi's artwork pops. It's less of a thing of being able to draw well. (And I'm most certainly not saying he can't draw well.) As much as it is that he has a very purposeful way of setting up panel for most visual impact. Not only that but he actually uses SFX as a framing device in a way I've never seen manga do. The composition is a moment frozen in time, captured in three panels and seen from the POV of the audience, Kogarashi and Ryoko herself. (And yes Ryoko is swinging around a microwave as her weapon of choice.) 

By the end of the chapter Kogarashi is a lot like me. Rather than Zen who's got the story warping power, he's far more interested in Ryoko. Who even now is humble and says all her victories so far have been won with the help of others. She's revved up and ready to go (if grabbing her gloves wasn't a big enough indication) So next week is going to be one to watch! 

Pheebs manages to score a rather unique chance to learn about her crush Evans when she's in league with his teacher this week. Of course not being able to be straight with him or anyone who has to do with Evans proves to throw a monkey wrench in her plans. Though I suppose more than "teacher", this guy once employed Evans. It's easy to see where Evans gets his general attitude from, as Levin (Spelling TBA), simply wants to boast that he raised a super-star to impress women. This could have been a pretty predictable chapter if not for one thing --Pheebs seems to see right through him, and that's what really makes this work. It'd be one thing if Pheebs were just a wide eyed opportunist, but while she's madly in love with Evans she's no fool. Doesn't help that Levin really hams it up fishing for compliments. Still, both people are extremely ---selfish? Nah, more like straightforward. She wants more Evans stories and photos, and he wants her to think he's cool. 

When bad guys show up, he's able to take care of them easily which is once again a twist to keep this chapter from being completely predictable. Sure he could be someone who talks up a big game but is actually a buffoon, but Levin actually being a good gunman somehow makes this even more hilarious since he's fishing for compliments from one lady when he's clearly awesome without really needing her opinion. Better still that Pheebs is still not impressed after everything he does, but when Evans shows up after doing his job as usual she's ready to praise him right away. Even his Dad says as a lesson that he should be the kind of guy who can be happy with a woman praising him without pretense. Though really, she could see through Levin but not Evans? I guess love really is blind, or blinds. 

Youkai Giga goes to the dogs...or wolves as a young Youkai confronts Kuro and Minoru, looking to protect it's master like Kuro does Minoru. They're not very good at it though, so this comes off as more charming than dangerous. Although we don't see this new Youkai's face, they seem to be way more humanoid than what we've seen in Kuro so far. (Intriguing since we've gotten many humanoid youkai in non-kuro stories.) 

Though where this youkai fails, Kuro succeeds. Could we be seeing the birth of a new team? While Minoru has made a friend, Kuro's been settled into the role of protecting his master's child. That being said, could even Kuro be fortunate enough to make a friend? 

This week's Sunday Diary is Hikaru (Aozakura) Nikaido illustrating their (needlessly) wide room.(Their words, not mine.) Generally speaking they tend to draw on their own with the assistants using the computer from time to time. Nikaido sort of bemoans that the days where several people would come together in one place and draw have changed. They do admit as well that when they were serialized they had plans to move somewhere else, but will continue to do their best in this room.  

And that's it for this week! I hope these are a bit easier to read despite being so late. (Sorry about that...) Till the next editorial post, see you!