Before we start, I have an announcement. Due to several circumstances and me realizing this blog could do with some changes, this will be the last weekly editorial page. Don't fret! All it means is I'm now going to cover the editorial in a monthly format instead starting with July's WSS issues. We'll still get the same series but in a slightly easier to read and less frequent format. This is all to provide much more content (and be easier on me) for the blog, so don't touch that dial! You can read the WSS TOC comments every week here so if you're into that be sure to check it out. Hopefully my next update will be something that'll really get people interested (I'm working on it now!) Though (for now) for the last time, here's our weekly editorial!
This week's question comes from Saitama and asks "Any surprising changes lately?"
Komi-san wa komyusho desu (Tomohito Oda): My wife's stomach.
Ponkotsu-chan Kenshouchuu (Tsubasa Fukuchi): Before I had realized it, the parking lot's ceiling had a swallow's nest on it.
Kimi wa 008 (Syun Matsuena): The conifer got too warm and is wilting. So now the taphrina pruni has started to thrive on my nanking cherries.
(TN: Taphirina pruni is a fungal plant pathogen, apparently.)
switch (Atsushi Namikiri): The box for the Fueramune toys.
(TN- I'm...not exactly sure what these are, honestly --but you can see pictures of them here)
Detective Conan (Gosho Aoyama): They stopped selling Doc Martens. (Sob.)
Maoujo de Oyasumi (Kagiji Kumanomata): My editor said that the Country Ma'ams got smaller. (TN- A type of cookie.)
Yuko sae Tatakaeba (Sei Fukui): Duck Hunt's Up-B cancel became tolerable! (TN- Most likely a Smash brothers reference.)
Major 2nd (Takuya Yagyuu): My hair is graying more and more...
Amano Megumi wa Suki darake! (Nekoguchi): Two of the huge trees in my neighborhood were cut down so now the scenery looks a little different.
Aozakura Bouei daigakkou monogatari (Hikaru Nikaido): My set up bridge in order to connect the defense force's cafeteria and bath together. (My art is crying.)
Tonikaku Cawaii (Kenjiro Hata): The white cat toy I kept as a quasi pet somehow became the second biggest cat in my house...
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu Satsujin misshitsu (Teppei Sugiyama): Becoming completely tired of the game I was hooked to not that long ago.
Fire Rabbit!! (Aya Hirakawa): The image quality of the games in the arcades.
Souboutei Kowasubeshi (Kazuhiro Fujita): That there are so few book stores around nowadays...it's kind of sad...
Undine Wa kyou mo koi wo suru ka? (Shinya Misu): I've become a little faster at drawing!
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san (Aiko Koyama): If we're talking about right now, then how long it remains sunny during the day.
Gofun go no Sekai (Hiroshi Fukuda): How real Global warming is. (crying).
Anonatsu 1959 (Ashibi Fukui): Robot cleaners are so effective and convenient that it's surprising.
Soukyuu no Ariadne (Nohihiro Yagi): The taxis within the metropolitan area have changed so fast that I was surprised.
Shumatsu wa Aoi Haru (Akane Ogata): Pleased to meet you! I'm a newbie so please enjoy this work! I'm so nervous!!
Chrono Magia: Infinity Gear (Takeshi Azuma): It's like...the weather going from hot to cold so fast is kinda bad.
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ (Mizuki Kuriyama): The surroundings of my alma matter's school. The "Oshidori" is gone now...(TN- This seems to be a restaurant named after a species of duck (But with a different kanji) from what I was able to google up.)
MAO (Rumiko Takahashi): I was surprised to find the eastern part of Kurume where I once lived is now a busy metropolis.
Be Blues (Motoyuki Tanaka): The amount of grass that's grown in my yard!! I'd better cut it...
Zettai Karen Children (Takashi Shiina): I'm not bald, my scalp is just tired.
RYOKO (Kaito Mitsuhashi): Thank you for reading. May everyone's dinner tables prosper. See ya~
Youkai Giga (Satsuki Satou): That person in my graduation photo changed suddenly.
Tokaichi Hitoribocchi Nouen (Yuuji Yokoyama): It surprised me that the temperature in Tokaichi passed 38 degrees Celsius.
Ponkotsu takes a wild left swing while sticking to what it's set up so far. Yet it's all still somehow so Fukuchi --My incoherent rambling should clue you in, I absolutely adored this chapter. It was a little longer than usual Ponkotsu (about 20 pages!) and while we didn't get any huge revelations as implied from the preview text last week, this chapter has opened so many possibilities that I think it's fine to not get answers to hard hitting questions right now. Essentially "God" sends Mito and Yumesaki on a "mission" to capture a lizard with a key. The catch? Said Lizard is in the middle of the Sahara Desert! Luckily Yumesaki borrows a page from another Sunday manga in which her power for the day is to turn things into water. There's a bit of the rom-com ridiculousness (I use this term with affection), but the entire chapter feels like Fukuchi at his Fukuchi-est. Which is using specific powers in weird but successful ways to achieve a goal. What I wonder now is if these missions are going to be a regular part of investigating these powers, and of course what does this have to do with saving the world from the meteorite?
On that last point, Fukuchi graciously reminds us that there are 350 days left until the "end". Interestingly the premise itself is telling of this time limit --if Yumesaki gets a new power each day, then could we theoretically work out a timeline for the series by the powers she gets? (I wouldn't recommend it, especially with how unpredictable Fukuchi can be.) So far it's been a situational comedy with super powers, but I'd also have to wonder if after this "mission" we'll see a bit more of the plot working it's way into the shenanigans? Of course I'm not opposed to cuteness.
In fact one could say I love cuteness. And the end of the chapter really was adorable. If Fukuchi can keep balancing all of these elements as brilliantly as he has so far then Ponkotsu might be way more than I would have initially thought from it's premise.
Ah the perils of reading a manga weekly --jump the shark moments can be all but rectified in the next installment. I don't envy translators who have to do this professionally without knowing what they're up against at any given time. At least here on this lovely little blog, I'm not held to the same standards.
And yes I do have standards, thank you very much. Kai is not actually alive, and honestly I feel a little silly for buying into Sugiyama and Nanatsuki's huge bluff. Granted they also did a wonderful job of making it plausible, right down to fooling the human lie detector Umi by using footage of Kai when he was still alive. The way he died --seemingly an accident would imply that even Kai couldn't have seen it coming however, so I'm right back to feeling silly about thinking he could possibly be back. Xeno at least doesn't fall for Kai's tricks --the footage promises him the truth of his lost memory, but Xeno constantly evolving turns this hint down because "There's something more important than that". Xeno then recalls how Ayla reacted in their second case where she slapped him and asked if he has a human heart at all. Ayla's mortified but he thanks her for it --it's thanks to that he's managed to come this far and know what he needs to do. Umi too resolves herself to confront the illusion that she has in her mind of her father, before revealing that the footage of him is lying. I enjoy the deductions in the series, but I like it even more when the characters show their resolve like they did here --especially now that the endgame is coming.
Speaking of seeing through lies --Sora has seen through Kinoo's manufactured "happiness" as seen as the chapter comes to an end. I'm still fuzzy on the details on how he's managed to possess another guy in a series that has mostly remained grounded in reality, but it seems Kinoo's bodysnatching wasn't completely successful. How this changes up the game is unknown at this point, but with all the elements mixing together like this it'll be a finale that'll shock and amaze I'm sure.
Chaaaaarge! The invaders slash and cut their way into the Souboutei now that the Kirita sisters have told them exactly where to go to find Sakamaki and Kurenai. The last few weeks of getting to know this crew has lead up to this moment. It's what we come to Fujita for and he doesn't disappoint! I always say that when Fujita has chapters like these that it takes away most of what I have to say, but really it's a small price to pay when his artwork says so much.
Unfortunately knowing where they need to go and getting there are far different things when it comes to this haunted house. Every advance the group makes ends with the house correcting itself and leaving the group at a loss. Though not all hope is lost --when they had their backs against the wall before, it was a spectral vision from Takoha that rallied the group.
And two can most definitely play this game.
Ted being more lucky with a girl than his boss who puts every effort into finding a woman by accident is probably one of the best gags this series has to offer. Especially when Ted doesn't even realize what it is he has with Nona but Evans is fully aware of it. In fact he's so aware that he can't think of anything else which is bad form when they're hunting down a killer known for slaying lawmen. They got a tip of him being in the area so the two are investigating, but all Evans can think about is how Ted is clearly in a relationship with Nona, and to give him credit there are plenty of telltale signs --the two are always together, Ted has keys to her house, and when she does return home from work, he happily welcomes her back a lot like a boyfriend would his girlfriend. Yet he doesn't seem to at all consider the fact that they are dating and it aggravates Evans to a point where he can't concentrate on the job. Evans (the series) is funny because it takes relatable situations like these and lays them bare to a point that one can't do anything but realize how ridiculous it all is and laugh.
In fairness Evans does get the job done in the end, and even does so without alerting the couple(?). He nabs the bad guys and leaves without saying a word ---or well not quite, as he implies Ted should take his time and enjoy himself with Nona while he handle's the bad guys. Thing is, since neither of them are aware how their relationship looks to others they think he just was referring to dinner, hah. Sometimes even Evans can do good things, can't he? Now if only he'd focus on doing good things maybe he'd have as much luck (on purpose!) as his assistant.
And now the star of the show even as the curtain closes on it --RYOKO. I'm still in relative shock to see the series just...end. The writing was on the wall, sure. It wasn't selling well, and after a two year hiatus, there wasn't much hope that it'd improve it's lot in life since it wasn't a blockbuster when it was running in Sunday from the start but it's less that it ended and the circumstances around it's ending that have me at a loss for sentiments. Even the worst selling Sunday series at least get a notification in the previous issue's preview page that they're reaching their finale --RYOKO didn't get that. Furthermore this final chapter is shorter than usual at only 14 pages. The events up until now have seemingly been drawing to what should have been a final arc, but instead we get a relatively rushed ending even by cancellation standards. Nothing about this adds up, and unfortunately I doubt we'll get any real clarification unless Mitsuhashi decides to write about it in the final volume due out this fall.
Basically this "finale" more serves as a prelude of things to come that we'll never get to see. The White Rice begins their attack on mankind, and Ryoko's master Daitousai has come to alert the group so that they can prepare the counterattack. Though before all that --everyone has to have a meal together. It's just the RYOKO way, and honestly while I'd completely understand fans who are disappointed that this "finale" includes a scene that doesn't advance the plot in any way, but I appreciate that even in these circumstances RYOKO sticks to what it always has been --a series about how food has the power to drive folks apart as much as it does to bring them together. It's strange really --a series so over the top like this has such a simple center to it. Mitsuhashi's art does lend itself a certain gravitas to being a crazy action series, but I get the feeling that wasn't his ambition at all. Rather, it was just a side dish to a more important meal, that sadly we have to leave before having any part of. Interestingly, unlike Marry Grave and Memesis before this, the final page of RYOKO does have a notice that Mitsuhashi is working on his next series which is even more mysterious. I could get the sentiment of cutting and running from a series that isn't going to grow or sell any more than it has, but it's strange how drastic this was. I want to believe that maybe Shougakukan realizes the talent they have in Mitsuhashi and thus have him working on something even greater, but I don't know at this point. RYOKO was a series that had the potential to be a standout in this demographic with a female lead, a unique premise, and some amazing work on paneling and page composition. Not only that but Mitsuhashi had great respect for his characters and their need to grow at a even pace even if the premise is harried --or lends itself to be that way. It really was a series that was a full serving of ingredients to be popular, but got cold after it's hiatus and that's a real shame. I look forward to seeing what Mitsuhashi will cook up next, and thank him for this meal. (Okay I'll stop with the food metaphors now, it's just a coping mechanism as I'm really going to miss RYOKO.)
Youkai Giga returns to Kuro and hits audiences with an unprecedented turn to the dire. I suppose with the background of events in this otherwise happy-go-lucky Youkai playground being a war this was bound to happen eventually. Air raids have begun in earnest, and while the war is getting serious, life goes on for the citizenry that aren't privy to the tides of battle until they're too tragically close to ignore. Makoto and Kuro have found out about Eclairs through books, and have become infatuated with them --and of course on the note of being infatuated, Kuro wants to share this discovery with Osaki. The discovery of a child however might just mean that the air raids --the war is actually closer than they think. I don't think I'd go as far as saying that Kuro's tone is going to change dramatically, but this is definitely a sign of things to come.
And that's it for the final weekly editorial page! Starting with July this page will only come up once a month like I've stated above. I hope you've enjoyed coming to read these every week, but it feels like now with RYOKO's ending leaving one less series to cover that it makes more sense to write these less frequently. The TOC comments will still get translated every week, so please keep looking out for those. Until the end of July, take care!