Saturday, February 16, 2019

Weekly Shounen Sunday #11 (2019) editorial section.

This week's TOC presents the authors with the interesting question of "Is there something about you that no one would believe?"

Tonikaku Kawaii (Kenjiro Hata): I was hugged by the director Yoshiyuki Tomino.
Be Blues! (Motoyuki Tanaka): Not a thing!
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari (Hikaru Nikaido): There's a bunch of things I really can't talk about so it's fine if you don't believe me.
Detective Conan (Gosho Aoyama): "That person" isn't Agasa. No one believes me no matter how many times I say it, lol.
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san (Aiko Koyama): That my TV turns off by itself in the middle of the night on it's own due to it slipping out of the outlet.
Anonatsu 1959 (Ashibi Fukui): That I saw a tea colored dog just outside of my field of vision once.
Imouto Rireki (Kei Nishimura): That when I overeat I tend to lose weight the next day.
Kimi wa 008 (Syun Matsuena): That I'm shy.
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ (Mizuki Kuriyama): In my high school days I tested at the top of my class.
Fire Rabbit!! (Aya Hirakawa): Hmmm....nothing I can think of.
Maoujo de Oyasumi (Kagiji Kumanomata): That I drool whenever I sniff my stuffed animal's crotches.
Gopun go no Sekai (Hiroshi Fukuda): That with this face of mine I'm actually a twin. (lol.)
Hatsukoi Zombie (Ryou Minenami): I don't really empathize with people so I've never had this problem.
switch (Atsushi Namikiri): That if a lizard and a grasshopper have a staring contest, they'll keep going until they dry up.
Undine ha Kyou mo Koi wo suru ka? (Shinya Misu): That a stag beetle ghost came for me once when I was stuck with sleep paralysis. 
RYOKO (Kaito Mitsuhashi): I don't have anything right now but perhaps sooner or later...
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu (Teppei Sugiyama): I want to live a life where someone believes in me without hesitation.
Daiku No Hatou (Michiteru Kusaba): I think the fact that I moved from Kyushuu.
Birdmen (Yellow Tanabe): There isn't really anything, I'd say~
Amano Megumi ha Suki Darake! (Nekoguchi): That I actually have trouble drawing boobs.
Sokyuu no Ariadne (Norihiro Yagi): That my cat who died at 18 years of age came back as a kitten.
Chrono Magia: Infinity Gear (Takeshi Azuma): I get line messages from my dead mother.
Zettai Karen Children (Takashi Shiina): I honestly get my manuscripts in on time every single week.
Youkai Giga (Satsuki Satou): There was a time I received chocolates.
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Nouen (Yuuji Yokoyama): Within even the strongest bodies is nothing but water, and I put that knowledge to practice!

Aoyama feeling the brunt of a Conan meme, Hata getting a hug from a rather dubious anime director, and Minenami's answer being simultaneously funny and troubling are the highlights of the week. I'd comment on Kumanomata's but....their name really says it all. (It means bear crotch, but I feel like I said that before.) Sugiyama has a pretty lofty life goal, and somehow I feel like a bunch of these are things that are purposefully unbelievable as a joke. I mean....Fukuda with a twin?! No way! 

Evans gets a little racy this week (Juuuust a little, though. Can't go too far in a shounen magazine --think of the kids!!) When he arrives on the scene to make a bust and finds one --on a girl who seems to think they've met before. "What's wrong with that?" You may ask --well the "meeting" was in bed, according to her! While I think young protagonists in shounen stories are more fun since we get to grow both physically and mentally along with the character, we lose out on stories like this that can only come along when the characters are older. That being said, I wouldn't want Evans to become like this every week or anything like that. Evans being the stalwart (and desperate to keep his fragile pride) type he is decides to play along for a bit --her boyfriend is the guy he's after, so if he sticks around he'll probably be able to bag his pray. Except she takes his caution as cowardice and reassures him that her boyfriend won't be back till late so if he wants a chance to get a second chance now's the time for it. The narration is really one of the best parts here --when the lady --Celia explains exactly what she means by "second chance" the narration states "It's a world Evans knows nothing about." Too bad for him the guy returns a bit early and things go south fast. When the guy gets close to finding Evans he decides to take the moment to act fast and spring out with a "Happy Birthday" shout! It's a thing that probably would be way funnier in an anime adaption.  It's so random that Celia rather than playing along to get them out of a bad situation just says she doesn't know Evans, haha. 

But hey all's fair in love, war, and bed. Evans captures the guy since he has the drop on him, and as he's taken away he asks his lady friend if she'll wait for him, and she flatly says no. He then asks Evans if he hadn't shown up and gotten arrested now would he have slept with her? Like a good man of the west, Evans keeps his mouth shut though! Definitely one of the better chapters of the series simply because it takes advantage of all of the strengths the series has and uses them expertly. While premises can be the same, little elements like setting and characters can distinguish a work, and when all of these come together you get something really entertaining. 

RYOKO has been taking it slow since it returned, but with a chapter title like this, one has to know that fun summer times are gone and things are about to get a bit heavy. How heavy you ask? Well...

I wasn't expecting the guy in the suit who was hinted to be a major player in the world of the series even before the hiatus to pay Ryoko and her family a visit. While there's only so much tension one can build without sound or audible dialog, Mitsuhashi does a great job of establishing an atmosphere with Ryoko's inner thoughts. It also shows how sharp she is despite being depicted as very simplistic --from the moment she meets the guy in the suit to when he makes the discovery that the chapter ends on, she's uneasy around him. The conversation itself is laced with tension too, and an odd emphasis on panels depicting the character's feet. It only stands out because it's not something I can say I've noted from Mitsuhashi before, and I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to denote here except a sense of pressure --the characters are frozen in place due to the appearance of this stranger who seems to be a little too friendly --a little too chatty to be trusted. It also has a story board like feel that differs from Oda (not that one), that depicts movement deliberately rather than implying it. On that note, the man --Kogarashi (sadly the picture quality makes it hard to really read his name, but I'm 95% sure that's what it is.) has a bit of his past detailed, and it's the grimmest thing RYOKO has depected to date --people turning into foodstuffs and killing each other until he was the only one left --and all he wants is to be able to see and do it all over again. Kogarashi is bad news, and he wants Zen's powers to rot food. Ryoko seemingly wards him off but he finds proof of Zen's existence in the house and sets out to attack ending the chapter. Not to say the last few chapters of RYOKO were boring, but the series is back to being exciting again since the hiatus and I can't wait for next week. 

Has all the death and destruction happening around him caused Xeno to lose it? This week he has accused that of which has no form to be the killer?! What could that mean? This week ends with more questions than answers, and is mostly investigation, but I like getting this bold statement before anything is cleared up, if only because it gives us something to anticipate. Baron acts as if he doesn't know Xeno in the case for obvious reasons --and it's helpful for introducing the other characters --suspects in this case, which is what takes up a lot of this week's installment. Though it's implied by the freelance journalist Kaoru Hanai that perhaps the AI in the house is responsible for the death they witnessed? It'd make for one heck of a case and fit right into Xeno (the series)'s motif of locked room mysteries --and Xeno's assertion that it is something without a form that is the murderer this time around. 

Aside from Xeno's impressive bed-head, we've got something else to note on this page --a painful way to die. Freezing to death in the snowy wastes outside of the villa has to be..yikes. Though it's also not the kind of murder you can blame on AI....or is it? The case only gets more complex as it goes on, as the hallmarks of a good mystery go. That being said, I can't really say I've read a lot of mysteries to know this for sure, but might this be one of the rare times that a modern setting like an AI controlled house is used? I find it really intriguing myself --it sounds like the kind of thing you'd hear in a horror setting (which I guess isn't too far removed from mystery in a way.) but not here. It's kind of like a modern Souboutei too --but I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Ultimately it's got me interested and has the potential to be one of Xeno's best outings yet. 

This week's Youkai Giga features the "Yagyou-san" which oddly I can't find anything about through googling. Or, well, more like I find things but they're all wildly different, so we'll go with the Youkai Giga description which says it's a fearsome youkai who wanders around on unlucky evenings indiscriminately attacking anyone who's in it's path. Despite this description, the chapter itself is actually very....human? A Yagyou woman has chosen to look pretty over fulfilling her youkai duties of wandering around at night and  hassling humans much to the chagrin of her grandfather. One thing I am seeing in Satou's works is this sense of Youkai doing what they do out of a sense of obligation to old traditions, and how the younger ones are trying to break away from this and live their lives, which is interesting in a series like this even if I can't really tell if it's just for the sake of telling a story or if Satou is trying to make a point. Like a lot of the time it really does seem to just come down to "We just do youkai things because that's how it's always been." Which is also oddly...human come to think of it. Anyway daughter dearest complains about her problems to a man who seems to be her beau, and he suggests she try living by herself (or maybe with him), but the apple really doesn't fall too far from the tree as the girl reveals she knows the man has been seeing other girls and reverts to her demonic ways when confronting him. Hey, traditions became as such because at some point they worked, right? You don't mess with any woman --especially those who are demons. Also special note to the final page of the chapter --if Satou should start a new series in the future, they might do good to consider horror, as those expressions are on point. 

This week's Sunday, er, Wednesday Diary is from Birdmen's author Yellow Tanabe, and she talks about wanting a pet cat. While the other authors have stuck to mostly talking about manga, I like that she really does take advantage of this page to write about something important to her. Tanabe says she'd really like to own a Penguin, realistically speaking a cat would be more up her alley if it weren't for her allergies, her schedule, and the fact that she just doesn't think she'd be able to take care of one keeps her from taking the plunge --though it would be great material in learning how to draw cats, so maybe it'd be worth getting one for that? Then she just settles on wanting to draw cats. It's a very free-form sort of thought piece, but I do like feeling as if I'm talking to these artists thanks to this page, so keep 'em coming!

A short editorial this week with Souboutei on break, but them's the breaks. If you want news and other features, check out my talkback for issue #11 on twitter here. Thanks for reading this (late again, sigh.) editorial piece, and tune in next week! See ya!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Weekly Shounen Sunday #10 (2019) editorial section.

We'll get right into things with the TOC commentary this week from our favorite artists. The question they have to answer is "What was the biggest turning point in your life"?

Detective Conan: Zero's tea time (Takahiro Arai): During the "Darren Shan" Comicalization plan competition.
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ (Mizuki Kuriyama):  When I dropped out of the college I had long desired to go to --if I hadn't perhaps my current situation wouldn't be what it is.
Yuugami ni wa Tomogachi ga inai (Jun Sakurai): The point where I quit my job to become a manga artist.
Fire Rabbit!! (Aya Hirakawa): The third year of middle school to the first of high school.
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu (Kyouichi Nanatsuki): The morning of the deadline  for the Shounen Sunday original work prize in 1990.
Maiko-an chi no Makanai-san (Aiko Koyama): The day I left my hometown.
Anonatsu 1959 (Ashibi Fukui): When I changed where I submitted my manga from a seinen magazine to a shounen one.
Gopun Go no Sekai (Hiroshi Fukuda): Without a doubt when I decided to be a manga artist.
Tonikaku Cawaii (Kenjiro Hata): When "Ranma 1/2" Started in Sunday.
Maoujo de Oyasumi (Kagiji Kumanomata): When I set out and went to the Sunday editorial office.
Imouto Rireki (Kei Nishimura): When deciding whether I should go to a college for general studies or art...I chose Art and ended up where I am now.
Komi-san ha Komyusho desu (Tomohito Oda): I'm not really sure~
Aozakura Bouei Daigakkou Monogatari (Hikaru Nikaido): When I made lots of monster allies in DQ5 and erased my save data.
Undine ha Kyou mo Koi wo suru ka? (Shinya Misu): When I was in an accident on the highway. It felt like my path then was between life or death.
Daiku no Hato (Michiteru Kusaba): When I stopped being a salaryman. 
switch (Atsushi Namikiri): None. I've always been on this path.
Kimi wa 008 (Syun Matsuena): When I had a choice between going to a school for manufacturing or agriculture and chose agriculture. From there I made a bunch of lifelong friends.
Hatsukoi Zombie (Ryou Minenami): When I won an award for manga and gave up on being a novelist.
RYOKO (Kaito Mitsuhashi): I don't think I've lived long enough to know yet, but drawing manga has had a huge influence.
Sokyuu no Ariadne (Norihiro Yagi): When I won a prize for drawing manga.
Amano Megumi wa suki darake (Nekoguchi): When I entered a contest for comic newbies and was informed I was in the final round over the phone.
Chrono Magia: Infinity Gear (Kawamoto/Muno): When I wan't able to get a girlfriend.
Souboutei Kowasubeshi (Kazuhiro Fujita): When I started working as a mangaka. If I hadn't seen Tokimiya-san back then then right now I'd be...
Youkai Giga (Satsuki Satou): When I wrote "There is no path ahead for me" on my "itinerary". 
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Nouen (Yuuji Yokoyama): When I submitted a manga during my days as a secretary. 

A lot of these have to do with deciding to go into the manga industry which I find interesting even if it's not all that surprising. Nikaido though, hahah. I'd also like to know what ended up getting Matsuena out of agriculture and into manga? Hmm. 

With the knowledge that Xeno hasn't managed to grow in sales any since it's last volume (or any of them), it feels like the true mystery is how long it has left? For now at least the series is moving right along as usual a few with a returning face. Also, maybe it's just me but Sugiyama's artwork seems to have gotten a little --rounder? Not that it's a bad thing, just something I've noticed especially with Xeno and Ayla above. 

This week gives us not only one murder but two --A Xeno high score for a single chapter! Though unlike RYOKO (who we'll get to a little later), this week is all about winter fun....well it's not nearly as fun for the two people who died. The setting is a "smart" house, which makes it all but obvious where this is headed. The entire locale is controlled by a a security AI Cyber -3. I'm intrigued by this since it also marks the first time that a Xeno mystery has been implied to be more electronic than "traditional" so to speak --and to keep things even more intriguing we get the return of Kaoru Hanai the freelance journalist who we met during the Yatagarasu incident way back, and he brings with him the knowledge that the little resort town was made by Shichirou Kai, yikes. Though Xeno admits this is the first time he's heard that Kai has anything to do with this locale. So far this seems to be true as we've followed Xeno and Kai hasn't come up yet, but I somehow think the detective knows more than he's letting on. Though heading back to the two corpses what we don't know could fill a whole ski resort, but the most important thing is this: For what reason would these two people have needed to die? The mystery is only beginning....

Evans really is at it's best when Pheebs and Evans are being idiots together. This week sees the two going after Rita Welch --or well, Evans was at first but Pheebs can't stand the idea of Evans being alone with another woman, even if he's only doing so to bring her to justice and not date her. Though really, Evans would try, wouldn't he?  Things are a little different this time around though as Evans is the one at a complete loss. Well, I guess he has played that role before but never like this I think. Especially when he's really playing second fiddle to Pheebs who just can't admit she wanted to see him, haha. Though it gets too close to count for her when they end up having to squeeze into a tight closet to hide from Welch, which ends up with...have a gander above, haha. I do like Pheebs kind of boasting about Evans at the end to Welch as it's somewhat adorable like a girl talking up her boyfriend. (Someday maybe.) Though for Evans he might be awakening toward not minding being a stepping stool for a girl. (Oh no.) The ending text says she's actually rather light in her defense, though! 

I think doing this late does well as I had time to actually translate the chapter before writing up impressions. I am incredibly proud of RYOKO as it continues stride into an unknown future. I want to believe that Mitsuhashi taking his time like this means the series is going to be given another fair shake rather than coming just to conclude but really I have no idea. The plot is definitely taking a back seat to character development but Mitsuhashi's execution makes it more delicious than the foods Ryoko hunts. Rere isn't just injected into the story and forced to work --no, we really do get a sense that she's getting used to the other characters and they in turn getting to really understand her. It's tricky introducing a new character and then including them in the main cast --but I suppose since RYOKO is still in it's early stages it works out well. I'll admit too that I figured Mitsuhashi would prioritize his insane artwork and paneling over telling story or having character development, but he's continued to suprise me by being able to balance all of these elements extremely well while still keeping a sense of mystery. 

The chapter itself is pretty straightforward --Ryoko and Rere head out to get food and Ryoko, concerned that the happiness she has isn't deserved figures that she can only "earn" her happiness by placing herself in harms way alone. Rere in response takes down the okra creature on her own (mostly) and admits while she's not nearly as strong as Ryoko, she's still got enough gas in the tank to be backup, so she should rely on her. On one hand after being away for two years the series does have the same sort of frustration issues with pacing that Conan does with it's hiatuses, but RYOKO being pretty early on in it's story helps this feel a little more necessary. I too am excited to see what plot related matters we'll get in RYOKO soon, but I'm enjoying this journey of character development too. 

Speaking of new characters, Souboutei has a bit of that this week --a shame it's taking a break next week. (Rare, but I suppose even the force of nature known as Fujita needs time to create. It might explain why the series has been so low in the TOC lately.) Also Yadogi getting a surprising flashback at this point of the game really got my attention. She's certainly not an unimportant character or anything, but I never thought she'd get much more expansion than what we have. Though the centerpiece of this chapter is Zanka and Yadogi having a war of words as the latter tries to convince the former that they are not enemies. Luckily they're able to reach a sort of truce when Zanka reveals he knows Takoha. --It really does feel like a Fujita trademark that the main character becomes such a force that even when they aren't present their reputation alone is enough to keep things moving. However, Takoha aside, there's another link between these two --apparently Yadogi, or, well, Kaede as her name is revealed this chapter had a grandfather who talked of a man who was familiar with their family....Zanka Kinoshita! 

She's able to explain her position and relation to him --and problem solved. Zanka is more than happy as a military man to respect the hierarchy. 

Though meanwhile in the deepest part of the house another person has appeared and mercilessly kills several soldiers saying that it's all about work. What work and for whom? We've gotta wait two weeks for that, but I trust that Fujita knows what he's doing introducing more characters now. 

Kuro two weeks in a row! This one is surprising in that it's more about a human than a youkai --though I suppose Minoru being the only one being able to talk to or see Kuro kind of lends itself well to Youkai Giga's universe. Minoru makes a new friend and Kuro keeps him from getting beaten up in a fight. It's all so wonderfully juvenile that I can't help but smile at it. Though that shape staring at Minoru and his new friend at the end has got me concerned. Though I suppose what's more concerning is it's likely we won't be seeing Kuro again for a bit after this. 

I know it's been a while since I've reported on the Wednesday diary, and I don't have any other reason besides I forgot about it for two weeks and was too ashamed to go back and add it later. Now that the editorial is much shorter, I'd like to pick it back up again! This week is Kenjiro Hata who talks about Sunday itself --and his series Tonikaku cawaii. He makes note of Takahashi and Adachi who he's had drinks with before, and Aoyama who he's eaten well as the spirit of Shounen manga --before heading right back to hoping Cawaii will get an anime soon. (And confirming it hasn't got any in the works yet.) Not surprising really (not the anime thing), but that he's had good relations with so many other sunday mangaka since he's the type who goes out and hangs out with readers. I wouldn't be surprised if people know him and not what he does, haha. I might have said it before but I really like that this section exists and I hope they'll keep it up.

That's it for this week's editorial! For more Sunday (and a recap of the entirety of issue #10) please check out the official twitter for the blog here Till next time!