Sunday, December 26, 2021

Sunday Retrospective (2021)


Hello again Sunday fans! Another year and 52 Sundays are now past us. The magazine has had quite the journey (alongside all of humanity, let's be real) this year. This is by no means an exhaustive look at the magazine over 2021, no, more like a brief look back at what (and who) was big in the wonderful world of Sunday. Without further ado, let's go!

To start with, this year saw a higher percentage of non manga (Idols, Bands, etc) covers on the magazine, with 28 being non manga and 20 being manga covers. This is similar to 2019 where there were 26 non manga compared to 22 manga covers. 2017 and 2018 saw more manga covers than non-manga, though only slightly. Meanwhile 2020 had 29 manga based covers vs Non-manga covers coming in at 17. Not sure what the change ended up being for here, but it's likely due to the lack of new series. (Which I'll briefly touch upon.)

(Issue 44 and 49 featuring Asuka Kawazu and Aiko Koyama's "Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san.)

As noted above there were also shockingly few new serials for the year. Bilocators by Kyousuke Tanabe, Hajime RomCom Ogabebe, and Kakeau Tsukihi by Sei Fukui were the only new serials during the Sunday fiscal year and the last of these started in August. Keep in mind that the magazine hadn't had a new series since Frieren: Beyond Journey's End and Ryuu to Ichigo began around Spring 2020. So that's a little over a year for new serials --almost unheard of for a weekly Shonen magazine. 

(Okiraku Boy's Hajime RomCom Oga Bebe.)

I get the feeling the lack of new serials was a part of chief editor Ichihara's initiative to cultivate new talent, as there were a ton of short series and oneshots throughout the year, but that really shouldn't take the place of having new content. 5 new serials have been slated to begin at this article's writing but they were only announced in December so there's not much to comment on. We'll just have to see how they fare in next' year's writeup. Unfortunately Kakeau tsuikihi, Bilocators and Ogabebe's initial reactions indicate they weren't well received which is a shame as their artwork and storytelling are a treat to behold. 

Speaking of new and Ichihara, this year saw him step down from the chief editor position to be replaced by one Kazunori Ooshima. Before the conspiracy theories begin, I'd like to state for the record that Ooshima himself said Ichihara wasn't replaced due to incompetence, rather the position of chief editor has an unofficial shelf life of around 5 years, and he had served his time. (He got the position in 2015.) That being said, the timing of which Ichihara's withdrawal was made public is interesting since several WSS anime were green lit for sequels. Almost as if he was the bottleneck. 

If you haven't already, I'd recommend reading the interviews with Ichihara here and here, and Ooshima here. (Translated by yours truly!)

(Takenori Ichihara: Editor from 2015 to 2021)

(Kazunori Ooshima: Editor starting 2021)

I mentioned anime, and yes in that way we were quite blessed this year! Though before I get to that, let's speak of series in memorandum. This year saw a shift in the magazine as several veteran's series ended. Kazuhiro Fujita's Souboutei Kowasubeshi, Atsushi Namikiri's switch, Makoto Hoshino's Night of the Outcasts, Tsubasa Fukuchi's Ponkotsu-chan Kenshouchuu, Nekoguchi's Amano Megumi Suki darake, and Satsuki Satou's Yokai Giga all didn't make it to the end of 2021 with us. Souboutei, Amano Megumi and Yokai Giga all (probably) reached their natural conclusions, but Ponkotsu, switch, and Night of the outcasts felt more like they met their end due to that ever cruel barometer that is popularly and the lack of it. Outcasts in particular was a troubled production as noted by it's author --though it also wasn't doing so hot even with WSS's push for the series. (That didn't stop it from being licensed though!) Interestingly series like Mizuki Kuriyama's "Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~" and Michiteru Kusaba's "Daiku no Hato." still march along though the former feels like it's in its final arc. Meanwhile Takuya Mitsuda's Major 2nd has also had it's troubles with the series coming back from and then going back on hiatus. On the upside, Yuu Watase's Arata kangatari returned from its long hiatus this year. 

(Covers for the final volumes of Souboutei Kowasubeshi and Ponkotsu-chan Kenshouchuu)

Now to the magazine itself, and it's no an exaggeration to say that Sunday's 2021 success can be summed up in one word: Frieren.

(Top: The series was third in the Tsugi Ni Kuru manga awards for 2021, and bottom won the Manga Taisho.)

Dominating sales, taking awards, Frieren was the darling the magazine needed in dire times. Why, it even gave series like Tonikaku Cawaii and MAO the boot despite these works being by well established Sunday veterans! While it probably will never command the raw power series like those do, Frieren has shown it has the chops to stand tall as a pillar of the magazine. There's no anime yet, but I would not be surprised if one is already in the planning phases and is waiting only to be formerly announced. Frieren got licensed by Viz Media this year and as of this writing Volume one is out under the name Frieren: Beyond Journey's End. In less surprising news, Rumiko Takahashi's MAO was also licensed and has a first volume out in English. It feels like after a long drought Sunday fields are flourishing again for fans in the United States.

And now, anime, and with this you know exactly who I'm going to bring up: That's right, the other darling of the magazine: Shoko Komi finally had her anime debut after what was actual years of waiting. 

(Komi Can't Communicate anime visual.)

Was the anime good? I'll leave that to the readers to decide, but we can agree that the wait was worth it. To some dismay the initial announcement revealed that Komi would be streaming on the entertainment giant Netflix, but in a surprising (and yet still frustrating) move the service offered the anime a weekly basis...after a two week delay. Better than nothing I guess? Ah, I am speaking of the anime in past tense. Well, as of this writing its first season has finished airing, but good news everyone!

(Komi confirming the goods)

Season two has been greenlit! I'm not at all surprised as there is a wealth of content to cover and again this has been a hotly anticipated title for some time, though I didn't expect to see season two in April since this past season aired in October. So Komi fans will be well fed well into the future!

While we're talking about Netflix and Sunday anime adaptations, Detective Conan is set to invade the service sometime next year as well: Both Zero's Tea Time and Hanzawa the Criminal have been greenlit for anime and picked up for streaming on Netflix. There's not much more information on these but you can be sure we'll report anything we can on the twitter as soon as the news drops. 

Season twos are all the rage apparently as both The Duke of Death and His Maid and Tonikaku Cawaii have both received announcements for a second season. It felt like the former was bound to happen eventually simply because of it's reception, while The Duke of Death was much more surprising since it flew under the radar (likely because of the choice to use CG over more traditional animation), which is a shame as it was a very charming series that overcame it's visual shortcomings with great voice acting and a surprisingly effective soundtrack. Again there isn't much info on when these will air, but we'll keep you posted. Speaking of the Duke of Death, the manga was licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment! If the CG has been your reason to refrain from giving the series a shot, the manga is certainly worth picking up!

Aiko Koyama's Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san also had an anime this year (interestingly enough by the same studio behind The Duke of Death and His maid) Perhaps that's why it too slipped under the radars of many. It's still currently airing and offered on Crunchy Roll so if you haven't watched it yet, there's your chance. 

Ah we just got a Call for a new anime announcement if sequels aren't your thing. Okay, silly lede aside WSS has a coming attraction you can't miss:

KOTOYAMA's vampire not-quite-a-rom-com manga Call of the Night (or Yofukashi no Uta) was greenlit for an anime which will air July 2022! The manga has been a great read (also licensed by Viz Media!) and it feels as if whenever Viz (or any other) licensing company shows interest in a series that isn't in Shonen Jump that perhaps an anime is on the way. This isn't quite cause-and-effect but there has to be something there. In any case while we have an idea of the staff and studio of the series it's unknown where this will be streaming. Considering the announcement for the anime adaptation was right after a huge Netflix event i'd imagine the chances of it streaming there are slim, but don't take my word for it. 

So what's next for WSS? 

Here's a look at the series coming to Webry, Super and the main magazine in the upcoming year. It's not known what will run where but from the art alone these are looking to be some promising rookies! Here's hoping with Ooshima at the reigns we'll see some of these promising new authors make that jump from oneshot/short series to serial soon enough.

And here are the sure things coming to the magazine very soon. In fact as of this writing two series have started --from the top, in issue 2/3 Yuuhei Kusakabe's Shiroyama and Mita-san which is the series version of the very well received oneshot Radio boy and M16 girl. Meanwhile Aya Hirakawa returns to Sunday in issue 4/5 with Mikado Sanshimai wa angai, choroi, a home stay romantic comedy. In issue 6 rookie artist Yomogi Mogi starts the baseball series Taifuu Relief followed by the return of Atsushi Namikiri taking on MMA with his series Martial. Finally Wakabi Asayama begins the vetenary medicine manga Last Karte  in issue 8. Tsubasa Fukuchi will have a oneshot in issue 6 named Kataoka-san no mou katahou. Fukuchi-sensei has also put out a request for new assistants so it's likely we'll hear news of a new serial from him sooner rather than later. 

2021 was quite the. year for WSS! A shift in editors, plenty of anime, and finally new manga in the magazine. We're still in a place where it's hard to tell where things will go from here, I'm feeling way more optimistic this year than last. There's nowhere to go but up for the magazine and I hope this sentiment is shared by everyone reading! Be sure to keep reading the twitter for the latest Sunday news, and the blog for all kinds of interviews. See you all in 2022!!

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