Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Weekly Shounen Sunday #3/4 (2018)

A bit late, but still great is this week's blog entry! A lot happened this issue which means I have my work cut out for me, but I'll do my best. I apologize for this one being a bit on the late side --but I got the issue later than usual so I've had to readjust my schedule --it's lead me to thinking that maybe this might be for the best, but no worries, I will be covering WSS for as long as I am able!

On the cover is three beautiful ladies from Nogizaka 46, along with Rinne advertising it's finale, and Conan promising a "shocking development". Oh, and not to be forgotten is Hidenori Yamaji's new series Marry Grave, and Ariadne's 2nd chapter! I did say there's a lot to do, so let's get right to it!

Let's hit up that TOC!

Marry Grave by Hidenori Yamaji (New series, lead color page)
Detective Conan by Gosho Aoyama  (Chapter 1008)
Komi-san wa Komushou desu by Tomohito Oda (Chapter 116)
Sokyuu no Ariadne by Norihiro Yagi (Chapter 2 Color page)
Dagashikashi by KOTOYAMA (Chapter 171)
Major 2nd by Mitsuya Takeda (Chapter 120)
Maojou de Oyasumi by Kagiji Kumanomata (Chapter 81)
Aozakura Bouei daigakkou monogatari by Hikaru Nikaido (Chapter 71)
Hatsukoi Zombie by Ryou Minenami (Chapter 106)
Detective Conan: Hanin no Hanzawa-san by Mayuko Kanbo (Special Serial)
Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama (Chapter 48)
K.O.I King of Idol by Tamaki Wakaki (Chapter 28)
Hoankan Evans no Uso ~Dead or Love~ by Mizuki Kuriyama (Chapter 35)
Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu satsujin misshitsu Art by Teppei Sugiyama/ Story by Kyouichi Nanatsuki (Chapter 3/ Color page)
Tenshi & Akuto! by Aya Hirakawa (Chapter 145)
Be Blues! By Motoyuki Tanaka (Chapter 316)
Amano Megumi wa Suki Darake! by Nekoguchi (Chapter 103)
Daiku no Hatou by Michiteru Kusaba (Chapter 32)
Zettai Karen Children by Takashi Shiina (Chapter 490)
Kyoukai no RINNE by Rumiko Takahashi (Chapter 398/Color page/Final chapter)
Souboutei Kowasubeshi by Kazuhiro Fujita (Chapter 83)
Hiiragi-sama wa Jibun wo Sagashiteru by Hiroyuki Nishimori (Chapter 83)
Saike Matashitemo by Tsubasa Fukuchi (Chapter 102/ End of part 11)
Yuugami-kun ni wa Tomodachi ga inai by Jun Sakurai (Chapter 63)
Shinobi no by Rokuro Ogaki (Chapter 22)
Tenshou no Quadrable by Takahiro Arai (Chapter 35)
Meteor Girl by Reach Ishiyama (Chapter 30)
Youkai Giga by Satsuki Satou (Kuro part 16)
Tokachi Hitoribocchi Nouen by Yuuji Yokoyama (Chapter 3)

Not in this issue are the following:


So this is quite the topsy-turvy issue. Also...I dunno if I just missed it but normally Saike's end of parts are advertised in the previous issue. For whatever reason this part wasn't and hit me out of nowhere --leaving me worried that amist lacking sales that the editorial department has decided to more or less leave Saike on his own. Aside from that, Rinne bids farewell --and not surprisingly is pretty low as endings tend to be, Shinobi no is super low as well which is worrying, and Xeno is a bit lower than should be comfortable for a new serial. Still with a guest chapter of Hanzawa-san in the magazine, and three series with color pages perhaps this is just how things shake up for this week. 

Meet Momoko Oozono, Asuka Saitou, and Yuuki Yoda of Nogizaka 48! I think my lack of knowledge in regards to idols is probably legendary by now so hopefully people aren't coming to the blog for that. They're setting up for Christmas in this photo shoot --makes sense as the next issue of WSS won't be out until after the holidays. They probably do, but I wonder if they have some Christmas music I can start with? Eventually I'll know things about idols, I promise (maybe.)

The last for now of Sunday's three new serials comes in the form of a horror action manga called "Marry Grave" by Hidenori Yamaji. Yamaji had a series before this in Sunday Super called "Atlantid" which according to friends of mine was quite awesome! Sadly I haven't read it yet, but depending on how Marry Grave goes, I might rectify that soon enough. What starts as a happy moment on the first page -two lovers to be betrothed leads into the above color page, which is a good move on  Yamaji's part --keeping us in suspense as to how we got here until the time is ripe. Even the sense of color on the top page versus the spread is worlds apart --Yamaji is a mood setter, but how is his writing?

The world of "Marry Grave" has been overrun by goblins, as beautifully illustrated here. I can't place my finger on what it is exactly, but Yamaji's artwork has a decidedly western bent --especially looking at our protagonist on the right. Or well, maybe not too western, but at least not what one would expect from a shounen magazine --especially not Sunday. The protag is wandering in the city of Shantos where he slowly realizes he might be in a pretty bad situation. 

I really enjoy how the worldbuilding unfurls here as protagonist-kun is running for his life. Also, that protagonist-kun isn't the hardboiled dude the promo art would suggest. I'm not sure if this is purposely done of course, but it's a good move by Yamaji that I totally bought into --that someone that badass looking would have to be, well, badass. He totally isn't and that makes him all the more interesting to me, honestly! In any case a long time ago there was a continent where humans and demons lived together and the demonkin with their superior abilities took over and ruled over the humans without mercy, and as protagonist-kun has found, they quite enjoy having humans for dinner. Luckily for him, he's pulled through a wall by helping hands...

A few humans who are still holding on, and with pretty distinct designs to boot. Although the odd choice of armor only on the girl's left shoulder is weird to me. I won't quibble with her state of dress when compared to the guys in her party since that's basically how it goes in shounen manga, but that one detail really gets to me. 

Protagonist-kun, who's name is revealed to be "Riseman Sawyer" Which isn't the weirdest name I've heard in anime and manga, but it's up there. It'd make more sense as "Sawyer Riseman" but we'll leave that be -- is ever so grateful that his buns were pulled from the fire. Again I really like that he's not the brooding guy I thought he'd be, he's more goofy and overly cheerful which is offputting to Maria --the lady who saved him, a decision she questions the more she talks to him. I mean who walks around in times like these with a giant coffin on his back, and a patchwork body all alone? Oh he claims he's looking for something. How very suspicious. Maria explains that they're the only survivors of the town after ten years of demonic reign by the goblins. The church is protected by the remaining magic from the clergymen who hung on for dear life before getting killed and is the only thing keeping the goblins from gobbling them up. 

Maria and the fellow survivors have been stocking up on magic supplies while hiding, and it's these supplies that allow them to use the latent magic abilities that humans posses, however what's most important to them --and quite fortunate for them to have is the "Elder Dragon's" bones, a monster that lived in ancient times with the ability to melt humans by simply breathing. Maria and her friends have been cultivating this magic for ten years for just the right time to use it, and upon seeing their handiwork Sawyer is excited to say the least. He's got such a huge range of expressions and I'm deeply fond of all of them, honestly.

Turns out what Sawyer has been looking for is the very same Elder Dragon, and upon getting the bone celebrates his good luck! Except, that's not yours dude, you can't just go taking it without ticking everyone off. Maria does beat him up but to keep things moving I had to skip that page, please understand. Sawyer needs the bone to meet up with "Rozalie" again, but who's that? Sawyer realizes he hasn't introduced this Rozalie person and cracks open the coffin he has on his back to do just that...and well looks don't need to kill because she's already dead. (Still really enjoy how Sawyer acts like this isn't a really big and creepy deal.)

While this is going on, a lone goblin smells some human meat and is off to feast, but only after it's killed a bunch of it's kind, and in the church if Rozalie herself wasn't creepy enough, Sawyer doting on her most certainly has to be up there. Sawyer doesn't get how everyone else could find Rozalie creepy, and even insinuates that Maria is jealous, and that's why she's saying horrible things. It's then that Sawyer asks if they've heard of the "Deadman's Recipe". Yamaji writes this off in English, but it's probably closer to "Recipe of the deceased" if translated literally. To sum it up, it's a spell that can summon the dead back from their world to ours. 

Sawyer reveals he has the book that lists the ingredients necessary to get this spell to work. Although he's got a grocery list for reviving the dead, he's having a tough time gathering what he needs. In fact, he's been running into dead ends for 40 years which despite his beat up looking face should be impossible since he looks so young --is what Maria points out. Sawyer quickly changes the subject, and tries to sneak out before the guards and Maria realize what's going on. A shame Maria quickly catches on and ties him down so he won't try anything sneaky like stealing their dragon bone again. 

Maria's ready to feed Sawyer to the goblins, and even when it looks like he's staring death in the face, he valiently begs that they let him have the elder dragon's bones for his recipe. Maria shuts him down --that's their final hope to wipe out the goblins and gain their freedom, so she can't go handing it to him on a whim, and if he insists on stealing it she'll kill him and that'll be that. Sawyer replies it's impossible to kill him which she takes as a challenge until he plays it off as joke, though he understands that while it's important to him to get the bone, he can't abscond off with what they're using to protect themselves. 

The guards had found an unconscious women outside the barrier and thinking she was human bring her in but this is a ruse by the goblin earlier to get in their fortification, and feast on their entrails. Maria hears the rucus and heads over just as the goblin is about to start it's meal, nailing it with a fire spell too little too late. The goblin grows to gargantuan levels revealing itself to be a "Jabberwock"! (The kanji reads something like "deep abyss monster" Something I'm sure will be explained later.) For now, they've got no choice but to run for it, though the monster isn't going to make that easy.

At this point, Maria's got no choice but to use their trump card against the Jabberwock, but it very quickly makes short work of her magic spell. All looks lost until Sawyer appears on the scene revealing that her spell might have been snuffed, but it's not all for naught, as the remains of the Elder dragon still remain. Maria asks what that can possibly do for them in this situation, but before Sawyer can respond...

The monster bites down on him hard...and wow what a artistic display it is. Gotta say, if Yamaji can pull this off week to week, he might have a place among Fujita and Ogaki. 

So now the clock turns back to Sawyer and Rozalie's marriage. The ceremony goes fine until demons attack and Sawyer joins the cavalry to save the village, but only after promising his new wife that he won't die and will return to her.

Unfortunately that is a promise he is ill equipped to keep --not as long as fate is as fair as it is cruel. Now this is where the story takes a turn I wasn't expecting from the initial premise and opening pages --Sawyer dying might have been easy enough to see coming, but Rozalie being the one to pursue bringing him back to life? This came out of left field for me (in a good way) especially with Sawyer's antics earlier.  The grieving widow is told that what she seeks is forbidden in the magic world, but that doesn't deter her. She is given the book with the recipe and begins her travels to gather the ingredients needed to revive her husband.

Full disclosure --I actually really would have wanted to read a story about Rozalie --and I really like Sawyer! It would have been a nice spin on events for a shounen manga like this, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. Still, we get a few pages of Rozalie searching for what she needs to bring Sawyer back, finally succeeding (on the right) when she herself is close to death's door --but rather than a tragedy, due to old age which has a sad implication of it's own --she spent her entire life searching for a way to bring back her dead lover.  On the aforementioned page, she asks if he'd still hold her like he used to even though she's aged like this, and man if it isn't heartbreaking. 

In the present Sawyer's missing arm grows back without incident, confusing the Jabberwock, leaving Sawyer to explain he was brought back by the Deadman's Recipe and now is the living dead. Rozalie had succeed at bringing him back, but hadn't realize that the final ingredient was one's own life. So now Sawyer lives while the one who had done so much for him dies. On the right he comments on the irony of the situation --she had wanted to be with him so much but now his voice cannot reach her. 

Though now that he's functionally a zombie, Sawyer's body doesn't feel pain and immediately regenerates which is to say he can ingest magic items and use his own body as fuel to cast spells, and cast he does --a "Volcanic Blaze" upon the demon destroying it completely. 

Sawyer's saved the day but his last spell wrecked the church. He apologizes for the damage, but Maria thanks him for bringing them the sunrise that they couldn't see from the building back and as recompense gives him the Elder Dragon's Bone. With his prize in hand, Sawyer leaves, but not before Maria asks if he intends to keep traveling despite knowing what he does about the Deadman's Recipe, and Sawyer figures since he's already died that maybe, just maybe he might be able to cheat the last part of the recipie's requirements --he just wants to live again with Rozalie no matter what it takes. 

"Because a husband and wife should live together, shouldn't they"? It's this line that wraps up the first chapter of "Marry Grave", and brings us into the world of the dead, undead, and otherwise. Yamaji's got all the makings for a classic in his hands or, barring that --an interesting manga all of it's own. With the doors of Sunday revolving with comings and goings, I want to believe that Marry Grave has what it takes to not be DOA as I really enjoyed this first chapter, but only time will tell. 

Mr. Shounen Sunday is back with his 1,008th installment this week --and the end of this case that took more than a month to wrap up. On the Detective boys' end, their classmate Maria had gotten locked in her grandparent's room after going in to watch a video, and after some time had fallen asleep. Other than being a bit hungry, she's fine, so all's well that ends well on their end. Meanwhile Heiji dispels the mass media swarming around hoping to find out more about Shinichi Kudo's ressurection from the dead, by showing them a picture of the very similar looking Okita and claiming that's who they saw, which seems to work well enough --So well that the three subjects who are accused of being Rum all apologize to someone that they may have been mistaken in assuming Shinichi Kudo is in fact alive. While this is going on, Yuusaku and Yukiko Kudo return home from abroad to get to the bottom of this mess surrounding their shrunken son, while also clearing things up with the blog writer who ousted him in the first place --so it seems like a huge reset button has been hit on the series bringing us back to the status quo, except Conan's (Shinichi's) Dad has figured out the "Asaca Rum" riddle that has been plaguing the former for a good while --

If one shifts the letters around it's "Carasuma" or "Karasuma", better known as "Renya Karasuma" who should be long dead, but apparently has something to do with the black organization they've been chasing after. There are still plenty of mysteries surrounding this person --including how could they lead the organization when dead, but at long last after more than 20 years we have a name! Though as Yuusaku says, if he's right, Conan's picking a fight with a multi-millonare who has power and influence to boot. He and his wife pledge to stay in Japan to see this through --a do-or-die situation, and Conan is up for the challenge....

But not Aoyama. To sum this up, it's a notice that Conan will be on indefinite hiatus for the foreseeable future to allow Aoyama to recover from an unspecified illness. Though he states on here that he's considering starting up Animal Crossing, so I suppose he's at least not dying. Though to be fair to him between bringing back Magic Kaito, the work on the movie, and the 1,000th chapter, he has been a busy dude and probably worked himself way too hard. Volume 94 of Conan will still be released on December 18th, but the manga won't be appearing in the magazine for a while --which explains all the hiatuses suddenly. Let's wish him well, and for a speedy recovery! 

To newer bluer skies we go with the second chapter of Ariadne in the blue sky and a very, very familiar poster of a certain movie that'll remain nameless. 

Rashil got the shock of his life when he ran into Leana and a floating kingdom on the same day, not that one can blame the kid. Though Leana's whole "You were the one who was brimming with confidence that such a thing exists" to Rashil's surprise solidifies her as a favorite character to me. She also casually drops the information that there are seven other flying cities like this one which surprises me too. Yagi certainly is setting seeds in early, which is one way to write a manga like this --also shows he's got a lot of confidence in his craft. Hope that pays off... 

As if there wasn't enough happening, the men pursuing the kids suddenly float up in the air very similarly to how Leana was in the series's debut. Rashil asks if they have what she has, and Leana dryly comments that old men and young ladies are fundamentally different as if the very idea of being compared to them sickens her, hah. Rashil's old man explains that the people of a flying kingdom will ultimately be dragged back to where they came from by gravity. Although it seems as if the old guy happens to know a whole lot about the flying cities, it's more like it was in vogue a while ago to go looking for them thanks to certain legends, but as time went by, people grew disinterested in legends, and eventually they were left to be the stuff of children's books, an interesting if not somewhat real angle, I think, so score for going there Yagi. Rashil is more interested in saving the old guys before they float off and die, but if you've been reading this closely you'll realize Leana made up the whole thing about the angel sickness --there's no such thing. She's just being attracted by the gravity of her homeland. Not cool, princess, not cool. 

The floating kingdom apparently only appeared to claim it's soldiers back before disappearing again, so Rashil and Leana should be fine for the time being. Rashil heads off to check on his little sisters, while Leana speaks to the old man who knows more about her than he lets on, or well, more about everything really. Though it helps that Rashil dropped pertinent info on "Photon Carriers" by accident, so he's got no choice to explain to the princess when she asks. Photon Carriers are human weapons designed to be used in war, but due to their uncontrollable destructive power and the war ending, the order soon went out to have them destroyed, including Rashil who was one of these weapons, but found mercy when the old man decided to spare him. 

Rashil returns from calming his sisters down and Leana is so moved by his sad story she offers to pat him on the head out of pity while still calling him a moron. She really is the best character so far, haha. The old man asks what Rashil plans on doing now? He saved the princess, but this is far from the end of the story --in all fairness he's actually made things considerably worse since all the guards wanted was their ruler back --they really didn't care about the country down below at all, but that may very well change with what he's done. Rashil tries to argue that he was in the right since they were going to marry her off to some guy without her consent, but Leana chimes in that she never said she didn't want to get married, just that she was going to be --so basically he stirred up a bunch of trouble for no real reason. 

So the question is yet again....what is he going to do now? Though as if to answer for him, mechanical soldiers come from Ariadne, and these are the unmanned sort, so he won't be getting away with cheap tricks this time. Rashil is too busy being impressed by them to really think of a counter strategy though, hah. 

The robots take Leana away and that seems to be that, but the old man is oddly fixated on what Rashil wants to do. He could just let bygones be bygones and head back to his peaceful life, but the boy decares that he wants to see the things Leana talked about --the huge mountains, wide seas and new people. Satisfied with this answer, the old man says he should go after the princess and see the world he's been dreaming of. --Quite the strange send off, but still very much in shounen tradition. I know we're supposed to just roll with the old man being so blase about Rashil leaving, but I do wonder if this is the sign of something else?

Rashil quickly uses his photon powers to trash the robots and go after Leana before she gets too far away in an impressive two page spread. I like how the old man seems sort of taken aback by how he has no hesitation in going after her although he was the one who goaded him on. Guess he didn't really expect Rashil to leave? 

Rashil catches up with Reana and declares they'll see the whole world together and as response she makes him her blue sky knight right then and there. This second chapter was wild pacing wise, seemingly idle at first and then taking off into the blue skies like a rocket with it's afterburners on blast --so much so that it's hard to tell where we're going from here, but I can say with certainty I'm quite invested in seeing where this story is going. 

It's Christmas time in the demon world, and all the princess wants go back home?! After all the trouble she causes the demons, you'd think she'd be more than happy in the Demon king's castle, but it turns out the little lass is homesick and wants to pick up her custom made sheets at the very least to make her captivity seem more hospitable. The demons are at a loss for what to do in this situation, and ultimately decide to allow her safe passage back to the castle, but only if they get to tag along too --gotta make sure their hostage doesn't get any funny ideas. Unfortunately for them she immediately falls asleep upon lying on her old bed, and before they can wake her up and high tail it out of there, someone discovers them! that....the queen? 

It's been a while, and it's only for a short visit, but Aozakura hits up the blog again as the group continues their special training regimen, this time with sniper training. Now, as a shounen manga handling this kind of material it'd be very easy, heck, maybe a bit understandable if they dressed up this subject matter to keep it interesting, but Nikaido doesn't do this, thank goodness. Guns are presented in this chapter as things created for the sole purpose of killing other people --especially for their group who pick them up to do just this for the sake of "justice" and "protecting others". Of course they hope to never have to use guns, but the world isn't naive enough to live off of vain "hope" without action. Hijikata is clearly in pain from an earlier injury, yet goes through with the training which simultaneously flies in the face of and gels with the theme of this chapter --which is the heaviness that comes with discharging a weapon. To ignore one's body and go through with what needs to be done, is a decision they may find themselves facing, and it's important to know just what kind of weight is on their shoulders. I respect Nikaido for giving it to the audience straight this week, which is why I decided to give Aozakura a salute by adding it to the coverage list. 

On a lighter note is Mayuko Kanba's "Hanin no Hanzawa-san" which has actually appeared on the blog --though in a special chapter capacity. This is actually the first chapter of the normal serialization, which I assume is running to bolster (and maybe hide) Conan's long hiatus so Sunday fans don't forget about the pint-sized detective. If you want to know more about Hanzawa-san, check out my writeup for issue #48 including the advertisement manga here. To give a short summary of what you can expect from this first chapter, it's essentially Hanzawa the criminal shadow from the Conan manga trying to live an ordinary life, but being really, really, really bad at it.

Like for example, Hanzawa wants to take the train to it's even the editorial staff isn't quite sure of what it's gender is. destination, just to find that there isn't a hole to insert their card into. 

The comedy comes in how exaggerated their reactions are to these seemingly normal situations. Normally if one isn't sure how these things work they'd ask and not  assume, y'know that the city just doesn't want them around. Also a wonderful jab at the main Conan series comes on the left page where Hanzawa notes that they came to the city where Conan takes place --Beika because it's the crime capital of the world. Same thing in the next page when Sonoko and Ran from the main series appear --and Hanzawa hands the former her dropped train pass. "That person seems suspicious" she quips. "That's not all that unusual around here, is it?" Ran responds. Kanbo has no chill, and it's so good. 

Hanzawa tries watching others to figure out what to do, but they move so quickly and are so impersonal that they're not sure, and after a bit just wants to go back home --poor shadow thingy. Eventually a person working the station inadvertently helps Hanzawa through, and Sonoko realizes they just didn't know how the turnstile worked and has a laugh at their expense. "You shouldn't laugh" Ran says. "You don't know if that person is a killer." 

And then what plays out is something straight out of a typical Conan chapter, just that this time maybe Hanzawa is right to play out their criminal fantasies on a system that has wronged them, from hitting Sonoko with a bat to destroying the turnstile with dynamite...ah life would just be easy if we could use crime to solve our problems, no?

Hanzawa keeps these thoughts to themselves and decides to embark on a new life of crime in this new city where there's no way they'll be caught! Well, that's what they hope anyway, but if that Conan giving them the stink eye at the end of the chapter is any indication, life is about to be hard out there for a criminal shadow. 

As the scanslations are basically caught up I usually skip over Maiko-san, but Koyama's storyboarding was so strong this week that despite all I have to write about as is, I had to include it here and at least write a little note. This looks almost anime ready, seriously. It helps that her art and character designs are so strong that they probably don't need any anime touch ups, but the top two panels especially with their expressive camera angles caught my eye when I was skimming the magazine for what I wanted to cover this week. Koyama's only allowed(?) ten pages per week but she puts all of them to good use to create evocative stories that have surprisingly little drama in them --Maiko-san is just a cute, sometimes melancholy, sometimes poignant story centered around food, and Koyama does so much without words some weeks that it's really incredible. This work feels like it'd fit nicely in a seinen magazine, but it's inclusion in Weekly Shounen Sunday is a blessing that I celebrate even if I don't cover it weekly --a comfortable place to rest that other shounen magazines wouldn't dare touch without a romantic or action element, and as such it's a comfort only Sunday offers. 

Evans is up next where a kindly older lady --Ms Davis has got him pegged as a a gunslinger that all the ladies want, and being well to do herself she's got connections to hook Evans up. To her surprise however, Evans replies that he's not in a hurry to get settled down. What? But Evans that's totally counter what the series premise is! Though he has his reasons --and they happen to be working behind the bar as seen in the right page. 

Ms. Davis is one of those ladies who means well but is a little too pushy. Her hobby is seeing young eligible bachelors set up with fitting ladies and she finds it difficult to believe or understand Evan's gentle disinterest in being set up with someone, prodding him to answer the very awkward question of what kind of girl he likes most. Pushed to respond, he states one who can fire guns would be nice, which is yet again right up Pheebs' alley. Evans is trying to be vague on purpose so Ms. Davis will back up off him, but she seems to take this as a challenge, and already has a girl lined up when Evans decides to nip this in the bud and get super specific. "About 5'4, blue eyes, short blond hair, right handed and about my age". Super specific no? Not surprising as this is Pheebs' description to the letter apparently. Don't be mislead, however, Evans only describes her because he's hoping she'll step in and save him from Ms. Davis's prying questions, and not at all because he's finally admitting he has a thing for her. 

Sadly she doesn't really pick up on this, though can you blame her? This is essentially a confession from the man she likes, and she's unable to think straight because of it. Or well, because of her personality well, really both of their personalities, she can't take words for their face value and wants Evans to flat out say he's talking about here before she makes a move. Ms. Davis suddenly says she knows a girl and she's nearby! Except the girl she's talking about is a stranger who happens to fit Pheebs description, heh. It's then that several men enter the bar hoping to scrap with the legendary gunslinger, and trouble seems to be afoot. Evans then states he has one more condition....

And like that he takes out all of the guys in the bar with an assist from Pheebs at the bar. "Someone who's strong during times like these is my ideal." He says. 

Pheebs asks about his "ideal" and Evans admits that he wouldn't mind someone who's a little scared in a gunfight, which Pheebs tries to quickly lie to get on his good side --saying she was scared just now, but Evans actually manages a cool line on his own as he sees through her lies. "If you're with me, then there's nothing to be afraid of, yeah?" Maybe losing his Dad's book of tips might be what he needed? The slow development of their relationship is intriguing to watch --at least the two trust each other to back one another up in various ways, which is a start!

It's the third chapter of Xeno which means it's the last one I'm obligated to bring you. What does the amnesiac detective have in store for us aside from a cool looking color page? Well, for one gruesome death! That aside, Xeno seems to know exactly what's going on if his smile in the face of danger is any indication. So now the deduction part of the case starts to unfold, which is where a mystery series really earns it's mettle. So far it's unknown whether Xeno is going to take a realistic approach to it's cases or something that straddles disbelief a bit more, but it is clear that the series is darker in theme than Conan -- a fact that will allow it to stand out. 

Despite his initial introduction, Himemiya is quite taken by the death of his subordinates, so much so that he demands Xeno tell him the "trick" behind their murders. Xeno however is much more engrossed by the clock being about two minutes too slow and how that might be related to his investigation into Kai's murder. Himemiya fails to see how this is at all important, so Xeno explains --it's all about magnets. What Xeno offers is that Kai had set up the room to be a murderer himself by placing magnets around the house --though this was turned against him when the knives in his room were dragged toward him at a deadly speed, and again against Himemiya's men who were dragged outside at a force great enough to shatter the windows and lose their heads --all because of their belts and suspenders. 

Onikobe is incredulous until his men return with the findings of an investigation Xeno had asked them to do earlier --8 years ago there were linear conducive magnets placed into the walls around the house, using hollow walls within the house to have pipe like structures placed everywhere acting as rails that wrap around the entire structure. Himemiya's men just had the misfortune of getting too close to this secret, leaving the culprit of Kai's murder no choice but to act. Himemiya takes this to mean that Xeno knows who they're looking for and with a very creepy but cool bottom panel on the right page, he asks Xeno who they need to arrest?

Xeno points out that they made a mistake of murdering Himemiya's men in front of them and leaving their trick bare to be discovered. The officer marches off to ask the three people who were not at the scene --Kai's adoptive daughters, but Xeno stops him from doing so. They're human polygraph machines, so if he goes to interrogate the ladies with typical scare tactics he'll get absolutely nowhere, though this goes for Xeno himself, admittedly. Rather, they'd have to find someone else who can question them another way, but who and how? Leave it to Ayla, who has a pretty decent rapport with the sisters, despite her...well, precarious place in this situation. Still, beggars can't be choosers so she's sent to investigate.  

The cops want to know what Ayla has that they don't. It's actually quite simple really --She's terrible at lying. Xeno sends her in with three questions to ask the sisters while watching their reactions --a corsage on her dress acting as a hidden camera for the trio to watch her through. The first question is simple enough "Were you all always in this room"? Not surprisingly Himemiya isn't thrilled by this line of questioning, but there is a method to Xeno's madness. All three girls have different "tells" for when they realize they're being lied to. The youngest, Sora glares at the liar with a scary look in her eyes, the middle child takes a downcast expression while gripping her hands, and while Riku the oldest doesn't seem to have a tell, Xeno has seen through her --her blinking slows when she's being lied to. Kai was using the three to detect the lies of other people, but Xeno intends to use this ability to pick out which one of them is fibbing by setting them against each other! 

The second of Xeno's questions that Ayla has to ask is "Do you know who killed your father"? This gets a reaction as all three girls claim they don't know. Xeno claims the third question will remove any doubt as to who the culprit is, but then Riku stops him and --confesses?! She claims she's the killer and there's no need to go any further with his questioning. Man, I'd feel really guilty not tuning in to the next chapter and bringing it to you, so at least for one more week Xeno will be up in the blog coverage. My feeling is this case will probably end with the next chapter anyway so I'll have a better idea of whether I'd like to keep this around at that point too. Xeno's a weird case where I do enjoy the series, but writing about it would be a lot of work on a weekly basis due to it's nature as a whodunnit. That being said, I really am intrigued by the characters and setting, so I hope whether I can cover it or not, Xeno will be around for the long haul. 

Acting is still only part of the equasion in Tenshi and Akuto, though admittedly the romance has taken a surprising step forward as Shou has finally admitted her feelings for Akuto this week after berating him for beating around the bush with Nari. Although the romance part isn't my thing at all, I do like how Shou first yells at Akuto for being so into his roles and his need to be the best that he's ignoring his feelings. Ah, an explanation ---Akuto is miffed that Nari is choosing to practice on her own and with other people rather than him, so he's clearly jealous and wants to spend more time with her but can't fathom why. Shou says if he can't think of his own feelings or anyone else's he risks all of it going to naught, so it almost sounds like she's pressing him to go after Nari but then she drops the bomb at the end of the chapter that she loves him, but he loves Nari. Will Akuto be able to accept his own feelings, much less Shou's? This is one heck of a confession, and I'm hoping Hirakawa can stick the landing. 

Megumi is pretty comfortable in the magazine as well, considering we're getting new characters one after another it seems. --This time another first year girl by the name of Ringo Nonoichi has joined the fencing club, but not too long into joining she's not sure if she's cut out for it. After Megumi spends a little time with her she's a little more open to the idea of sticking around though. That's really the sum of the chapter, and I'd be lying if I didn't find Ringo ridiculously cute. It's probably her default expression that plucks at my heartstrings, or whatever controls the cute center of the brain. Though yes, Ringo is cute, and now that she's part of the Megumi crew, it's safe to assume the series is going to be around for a while longer (though sales could have told you that.) 

The wheel of rencarnation turns for the last time with Rinne's Final chapter! I never thought I'd have the luck to cover the finale of a series by an author like Takahashi on my quaint little blog, so this is rather exciting! Though a little bit of my neurosis wonders why they couldn't have just gotten one or two more chapters out to make it 400 or more...ah, don't listen to me. 

Sakura awakens in the Elysium fields of the afterlife, unsure of how she got there, but knowing if she can see the Sanzu river, she's in big trouble. She can hear Rinne calling her name, as he looks for her in the circle of reincarnation, but he can't seem to see her. What more can she do but to call his name in return? 

She yells back to turn around and look for her, as she runs up the stairs leading to reincarnation where Rinne takes notice and turns back...

And the two embrace glad to see each other once again. Sakura thinks to herself how his embrace hurts while simultaneously being the only thing that matters to her now. I haven't read too many Takahashi series to completion. In fact, I'd say Inuyasha is really the only one I almost completed but this does feel like her being genuine with these characters without the sense of dissatisfaction that comes with her series as far as I've heard. 

Though it is strange that Sakura is back without incident as Tamako says, shouldn't she have been swept away by the River Sanzu straight away to the wheel of reincarnation? So why didn't that happen? Sabato tries to chalk it up to the power of love, (which Rinne is readily willing to believe) but Sakura shoots that down almost immediately, interestingly enough. Turns out the doll from Ichigo while having a head made of glass was actually made of the otherworldly stone which seemingly kept Sakura from reaching the wheel of reincarnation when it broke apart. Everyone is glad that things didn't end up being worse, and Rinne is finally able to explain everything that happened. 

What happens after this is a gathering of characters in a "What are they doing now" segment --Masato tries and fails to blow up Rinne's dorm when the latter catches him in the act and kicks him out with the bomb, unfortunately poor Rinne has to pay for the repairs which puts him even further in the red. Meanwhile Renge and Kain have started working together as the former has finally officially quit the Damashingami company. Since the whole incident with the Sanzu river device, there's been plenty abuzz in the black market, and Renge is living out her dream of cracking down with Kain at her side, though he's still broke and asking her to pay for breakfast, hah. 

The pretty Secretary who never worked with Sabato has moved back in with her sister Ageha, while Shouma is being teased that Ichigo has started living with her Boyfriend. (Which isn't wrong per se.)  Sabato on the other hand is a wanted man --for a measly 5,000 yen so it's a shoo in no one will reall bother going after him, which is what Tamako seems to be after, hah.  Meanwhile when Sakura's friends ask Annette to reveal what happened between the two when they returned, she can only conjure up their embrace from before and not anything from the future which both Ageha and Tsubassa take to mean that they still might have a chance with their respective love interests. Say what you want, but they certainly don't give up --and neither does the ghost of the girl who has a crush on Tsubasa as seen on the bottom panel on the right. 

The black cats have a picnic where Rokumon says that he had insisted on helping Rinne on assignments, but Rinne had asked for today off, even going as far as getting on his knees to do so. He wouldn't say why he asked for the day off but the reason for that is revealed on the next page --he and Sakura have a date --one they both acknowledge. Sakura admits that since their hug it's not like they've suddenly started whispering sweet nothings to each other --at best they're just doing what they have been, sharing juice (that he's buying since his jobs have become slightly more plentiful --read, slightly) but that's all she needs. 

"I'm sorry Mamiya Sakura." "Yeah, I saw". "I know we're going on a date today, but..." "Yeah..." "Can I borrow some money?" "Ah, there's no helping it." 

And so ends Rinne. I only really started following this series when I began the blog, but it's quickly become my favorite Takahashi work by far....I'm definitely won over by the dry sense of humor, which is native to Takahashi's works, but a rarity in Japanese comics, I think. It's the lack of reaction that makes Rinne stand out from others of it's ilk, and the wide cast of colorful characters that really sold it to me. Even up to it's ending it was an understated series that walked it's own often meandering path, though never to it's detriment. Rinne isn't a classic, I don't think, but it is very good for what it is --an understated comedy with some action elements, and two leads with very defined personalities. While some might say it's a slow boil and a little tedious, I respect Takahashi for knowing what she wanted out of the series for 8 years and sticking with it despite it not being her most successful. That being said, on the side of the last page, it says she's not quite done yet, so perhaps she'll be back in the pages of Sunday soon. Until then, take care of yourself Takahashi-sensei, and thank you for yet another great manga. 

Hopefully it's not the end of Takoha in this week's Souboutei, though things are not looking for for the intrepid painter. Kaerikuro's thoughts whirl between guilt and resolution as she knows if Takoha hadn't tried to save her he wouldn't be at death's door right now, so she has to respond in turn and save him in return! She intends to heal him with her abilities, however...

The soldiers of the Souboutei aren't about to allow her quarter --especially if it means allowing Takoha to get out of his punishment for the crime of sticking his nose in matters of which it doesn't belong, putting Kaerikuro right back where she was before Takoha's entrance --outnumbered and out of luck --especially with the monster in the painting  reappearing and taking a bite out of her --literally. 

Long time no see Zanka! Kaerikuro's expression when he appears is saddening --she definitely looks like one who feels like she failed her mission despite overwhelming odds, but she really did do her best! Aside from that, the panel work on this dual page spread is per the course for Fujita, so incredible. There's no wasted space as Zanka comes in and lays down the law with his steel. 

Rather than being overjoyed that Zanka is here to save her, she begs him to fight without considering her current status. There's no way he can win if he has to fight to defend himself and her...and that probably explains her earlier expression. It's not so much disappointment that she wasn't able to save Takoha, but guilt that she had to involve Zanka in a fight that puts him at a severe disadvantage. In such a short time, she's become a fleshed out and multi-faceted character, all without slowing down Fujita's rapid fire storytelling or intense artwork. I'm afraid to get too attached to her though, since he's a mangaka who's not afraid to brutally injure his characters for the sake of making the dangerous situation they're in that much more palatable. 

Zanka is caught between a monster and a hard place, and worse yet he hasn't fully recovered from his past injuries, but he didn't come alone! Seiichi comes in for the save and now the two formerly splintered stories are combined into one. I feel like Souboutei is really going to start moving now that the main characters (or most of them, anyway) are gathered in one place --but with Fujita's bold moves come major changes so we'd all better be prepared for the best and worst and not necessarily in that order. 

And here we are at the end of Saike's 11th part --oddly not advertised at all at the end of the last issue (unless I missed something, but I'm pretty sure I didn't.) Saike's been really having it tough with his sales lately --the volumes seem to be dipping in the charts rather than rising, so pretty much anything happening that isn't support for the series worries me. Granted just like I'm suffering writing a lot because this issue is filled with content, perhaps there was just no space to include this information in the preview from last week. Either way, Saike's going back on vacation despite feeling like he just got here, and on quite the somber note at that. The chapter begins with Hizu receiving bad news in regard to his eyes at the Brighton and Sussex hospital in the U.K. (I think? It certainly looks that way, and wow that doctor has much more realistic proportions than Fukuchi's normal characters which is cool and a little offputting at the same time.) Hizu's prognosis is that there's a 30% chance he'll be able to regain his sight, and he'll be on the sidelines for four months to have the operation done. 

Saike wants to head back to mogura pond to reset things but Hizu won't allow it --if Saike does that then everything they strove to do today would have been for nothing. He looks at his current situation as a trial from God that he will overcome --sounding very much like volume one Saike. To think that Hizu coming so far from who he was in volume two would bring him to where Saike was in volume one is a weird thing isn't it? I can't say that Fukuchi planned for things to end up this way, though if he did, it was well played.  but the full circle effect is grand as much as it is rewarding. Meanwhile Kuroda has run into a little snag in his plan to remove the ability to grant abilities from Hi --his deletion ability requires his victim to renounce their ability, and well, Hi can't talk being a lesser panda and all, so they'll have to figure out another way around this issue. Through everything, Saike's got no choice but to leave Hizu behind as much as he doesn't like the idea. Meanwhile Johann berates Silvano and Calim for coming back empty handed, Johann taking the betrayal from Silvano especially hard for some reason, hm. Will has to calm him down and wheel him away before his temper gets the best of him which leads to this scene.

Silvano tries to assuage the situation --Johann's injuries are just really bothering him so that's why he's so testy, but Calim says he was prepared for any punishment so he's fine. Silvano seems to think of a black haired boy? girl? for a moment before the scene fades --foreshadowing? While that in and of itself isn't anything remarkable, Fukuchi's not usually one to be this forthright, rather he's much more subtle. What does this mean exactly? I'm still worried Saike is on his way out due to the lack of sales, so there's that, but what if this person's appearance is heralding something much more? It's hard to tell for now, but wild speculation is fun --who is this person related to? Johann? Silvano? Calim? The great thing about the placement of this flashback, is that it could be for anyone on this page. For now however Fukuchi is keeping mum on the subject, but by all means engage me in the comments for this chapter!

Four months pass and now Saike has started High school. I'll try not to gush too much kids grow up so fast though..but I adore how Fukuchi has aged up the characters without any radical changes. Saike and Mikan look distinctively older, but not too much --after all it's only been 4 months, but their expressions and shapes of their faces on both of these pages does indicate they've matured a bit. 

Especially on the right page here with Mikan in the third panel. It might just be the angle of which she's drawn from but she does look slightly different, older even! Anyway Saike and Mikan are enjoying their high school life as normal --Mikan is still looking forward to being an art teacher, and Saike has continued his heroic activities with Ana in the four month interval between seasons. He really thought the threat that is Johann was behind him and his life had settled into something like normal, but that's the thing with trouble --it's around every corner. Mikan and Saike go their separate ways after school one fateful day, and it's there Mikan runs into Johann who introduces himself as "M" (remember that from two parts ago?) and Mikan --before she realizes what's going on is abducted. 

Saike gets a text from Mikan's phone, but the message he receives is from Johann who apologizes for not contacting him since Nepal, and that Mikan is his guest until he gets Hi so they can do a hostage exchange. Mikan's in trouble again, but this time the stakes are much higher --if Johann gets Hi who knows what he'll do!? Part 11 is done, and we'll have to wait till February 7th (Issue 11) until we're reunited with Saike --once again, a sweet sorrow but a necessary one for Fukuchi to create, but lets hope that he won't be returning for the last time. 

Yuugami is up for his monthly visit and with him is a sense of danger in the form of Nitaku who is slightly perturbed that he wasn't selected to be catcher and intends to take this out on Yuugami or well, anyone who's close to him. Including Chihiro who's unwittingly in his cross-hairs as represented by that wonderful frontispiece.  She wasn't even on his radar at first but due to being the only person who triggers a response other than apathy out of him, she must be important right? So he sets out to befriend her and bring the girl to his side --something Nogami who's into the occult is able to sense through drawing a devilish tarot card. She tries to ignore what she's seen, but Nitaku is upon her almost immediately as he knows Nogami and Chihiro are fairly close friends.  

Nitaku forces Nogami to call Chihiro (poor thing she's terrified of him), so that he can discuss Yuugami with her. Of course this is all a feint to get information out of her, using his patented techinique of 1) smiling, 2) using kindness, and 3) profit. This is all for him to conveniently use people, and those he can't use are useless to him. Though the more he talks to Chihiro, the more he realizes he has in common with Yuugami --in that he finds the idea of friendship to be a nuisance. A shame he sort of admits this out loud to Chihiro and has to beat a hasty retreat. Nogami knows he's up to no good, but Chihiro doesn't seem to see it that way.

Though thinking back on Chihiro's personality Nogami realizes she might be exactly the kind of person Nitaku is weak to. She's not one to complain, and will accompany her friends where they want to go and indulge their interests. So while she's not exactly "useful" it's also impossible for Nitaku to grip his claws into her either since she's willingly helpful. Nogami says she knows how to beat Nitaku at his own game, not that Chihiro has any idea what she's talking about. 

Serving as Yuugami's stand in, she tries to explain how he works to Nitaku who's convinced perhaps Yuugami hates him because they're so similar --they only want to be surrounded by useful people. Except that's not it at all according to her. Actually, Yuugami is well, worried for Nitaku.  He's rightfully doubtful of this, after all Yuugami's barely said a word to him. 

So now it's me translating Chihiro who's translating Yuugami. I kind of like that their relationship has gotten to a point where she can more or less tell what he's thinking without him saying anything. Like, when Yuugami says something like "Wanna eat somewhere else? You look like you're sick of eating here." He's actually saying something like "Let's eat together in a different location as you look troubled by all the noise here."  When he says "Nitaku's only good for one thing" he's actually saying something like "Honestly Nitaku's so great at said thing, it's impressive!" Nitaku still can't believe this, but when he looks into Chihiro's eyes he can't see even a trace of falsehood. Her final translation is Yuugami saying "I believe in Nitaku! In his current position he'll get even stronger, and be a man that I can expect great things from!" Nitaku is so swept up by emotions that he sees Yuugami as Chihiro stands in for him...

And totally believes that Yuugami secretly cares for him. Chihiro's just elated she could bring him some happiness even if she's not sure what exactly the problem was in the first place. This was Nogami's plan to tame the beast that is Nitaku and it apparently worked! 

Now Nitaku is a better person, even though that makes him a little creepy to everyone else. Though hey, Chihiro's happy, Nitaku is happy, and the baseball team is able to operate as a unit again, so all's well that ends well? Yuugami will be back in issue 9 which will be out January 24th. 

Lower in the TOC but still heating up is Shinobi no! Perry is furious at Pops for using his medal to blind him --and admittedly that is some pretty hardcore disrespect. Though it's not really like Pops understands his complaining. This is a fight between heavyweights and something like the language barrier ain't gonna get in their way. Pops is ready to start the real fight, but before either man can make a move, someone else tags in. 

I love the irony of Pops calling this old guy "an old geezer". Though yes, the old guy from earlier is back, and Perry seems to know him?? His name is Lu/Ru (I'll go with the second one simply because I like the way it sounds, and not because it's right. Anyway now that I look closely at him, Ru is dressed in Chinese attire which might explain his martial arts like moves. 

Perry is happy to see Ru, but the feeling isn't mutual. Perry  might have hired Ru on to protect him, but Ru's only here to fight strong opponents, and that's it. He comments that perhaps Pops is the strong fighter he's been looking for, and he warns Perry to stay out of their fight or he'll turn on the commodore. Perry takes a hint and sits out as the two old men prepare for battle. Tsuai Ru VS Jinsaburo Sawamura! The 58 year old Shinobi vs the 77 year old martial artist! ...Gotta say this is not the type of battle I expected to see in a shounen magazine, though it's nice to see that Ogaki doesn't fall into old ageism tropes. 

Not sure if it's the narration or Pops's thoughts, but the text on previous pages indicates that this fight will be decided in a second --another thing that's different from the typical shounen battle manga. That is the advantage to having older --much older protagonists, I suppose. We're given a glimpse into Ru's past as a spry 23 year old in a battle at the temple he's training in where it looks as if he's going to lose. To him victory is everything, so much so that the mere thought of being defeated causes him to have a temporary flash forward to the future where he sees his own victory, and before he realizes it he's already moved forward and slain his opponent. He then goes through battle after battle realizing what he lacked was a "fixation" on victory. It's through this that he sees the "path" to victory that has never once failed him. It's through this "fixation" that he's able to "read" the movements needed to kill his opponents --so it's like a supernatural ability to see into the future.

Next up is Pops' flashback which is a lot more comical. (Plus look at him, he's the cutest kid.) His master tells him a Shinobi is always teetering in death's doorway, and that one who is afraid to die cannot serve in their line of work. So he'll need to live embracing death. Little Jinsaburo hears the "shi" of death as "shio" which is salt, and believes his teacher is telling him to embrace salt. (There's a Japanese pun, free of charge), which master comically yells at him for. 

Pops admits Death is scary, but that's why he has to keep it close. The only path either man has for victory is being mentally prepared for thousands of outcomes as pictured above. I still love you for these amazing dual page spreads Ogaki. 

Oh and for those stylishly done blood smears. This whole page's panel work is frame worthy, I think, or what Shougakukan should use when advertising the series. (Make it happen guys!) 

But in the end it's Ru who falls, with Pops admitting if he were as old as Ru right now he'd undoubtedly have been the one to die. "You're strong, old guy." He says as Ru falls to the ground --and the latter acknowledges Pops's strength as well as he fades to black. 

Death and destruction are the name of the game in Meteor Girl this week as well when Tetto and the ladies enter the building that is Chihiro's stronghold. Ikeyama immediately states her piece on the matter, saying she'll be the one to kill Chihiro, and she doesn't care what kind of complicated relationship Tetto has with her. Tetto weirdly says that if he is killed in action that he'd like Ikeyama to kill Chihiro --so he's consenting? Or saying he's likely to die? Hm. 

They head into an elevator to reach Chihiro, but are surprised by an office worker in the building when the elevator suddenly comes to a stop. She immediately allays their fears and says she's alive and not an MG, but Tetto feels a sense of malaise upon her entry. 

When he has a look at her neck his suspicions are confirmed --there's a spot that's clearly mechanical, meaning she is in fact a Meteor Girl, and she's trying to change their directive to another floor for reasons unknown. 

He's able to drag her spine out of her body due to it being exposed (Wow Ishiyama, violent much?) But this isn't enough to stop her from giving Ikeyama a fatal wound. Ikeayma begins to succumb to her injury, but realizes she hasn't accomplished what she came here for. 

They were in a situation like this before, when Sakamoto saved their lives, and now it's her turn, as the original MG's intention becomes clear --she intended to lead them to a floor swarming with berserk robot women who would rip them apart. For the sake of Sakamoto who sacrificed herself, Ikeyama does the same to ensure that Hane and Tetto will make it to the top floor.

She entrusts Sakamoto's revenge and Chihiro's fate in their hands, hoping that this will convey the will of Sakamoto who sacrificed herself for their sakes. It's a shounen trope with a female character, which might add a bit more agency to it for some people, I think. I do like the execution here, though of course this is all happening fast because this series is on the fast track to cancellation so we don't get as much time with Ikeyama as I'd like...nonetheless her actions will hopefully not be in vain as Hane and Tetto reach Chihiro who greets them a question --why did they come here? It's not as if they can kill her --though the way she words it makes it sound like they shouldn't kill her. Hmm. Chihiro certainly doesn't look like she's begging for her life, so what could she possibly mean? 

Marry Grave started with a marriage that ended in tragedy, while Kuro ends with the premonition of a marriage on the horizon. Makoto is going to meet the parents, and Kuro and his master have a new place to live. There's not much to talk about in regard to this chapter, but the cute exchange between soon to be(?) husband and wife --Makoto being worried that her husband to be will someday grow tired of looking at her, and his end of chapter words that "Each and every day, I'll discover something new about you". Is more than enough for this short chapter this week. To my surprise however, Kuro is going to some point, since it seems like the "once-every-other-week" schedule for these has more or less receded in recent weeks. Though I'm happy to say at least for this chapter, the two, their families, and the plucky little youkai are doing just fine. 

And now the last "obligatory" chapter of Yokoyama's newest series, where he casually buys land! No, I'm serious about that. Yokoyama seems reluctant to make such a purchase, but his editor more or less okays it, making this excursion to Tokachi a do-or-die sort of deal. I really do wonder just how much of this is real and how much is fabricated for entertainment's sake ---I mean, they wouldn't really make him buy land out there would they? There's no way...right? Anyway at the end of the chapter Yokoyama has moved to Tokachi, where the real meat-and-potatoes of the series will begin. Unfortunately while this has been a bit more interesting than The unscientific lab, I've just got so much to do as is that I can't commit to covering any more after this chapter except for glimpses once in a while, but you can be sure if I see something I'll say something! 

And that's it for issue 5 and 6! As a reminder there will not be a Sunday Issue next week, so I won't be seeing you all until after Christmas, maybe! What do you have to look forward to? Well, a lead color page for Evans who's getting an additional printing and the release of his second volume, Hiiragi-sama's final chapter, Color pages for both Maiko-san and Daiku, as well as chapter two of Hanzawa-san! So quite a bit yet again, but at least I'll have a week or so to recharge my batteries and get back to work! Ah, as for the giant black spot there, well for whatever reason whenever there are male groups in the magazine, they're censored in the digital releases. So if you wanted to see the advertisement for the group "Sexy Zone" you'll have to buy the physical magazine. I'm not at all sure why this is, however, though it does happen that digital editions do have differences from their physical counterparts so it's not too strange (Though this is rather strange.) Anyway, Happy Holidays to all of you, my beloved Sunday fanatics, and see you with the present of a new Shounen Sunday!