Friday, April 8, 2011

Commentary: Weekly Shonen Sunday

(All rights reserved by their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Continuing my focus on manga magazines based on the availability of freebies, next up is Weekly Shonen Sunday. I used to buy this one regularly long ago because of the Mitsuru Adachi and Rumiko Takahashi titles, specifically H2, Cross Game and Ranma 1/2. I did follow Inuyasha to an extent, but it wasn't as much fun for me as Ranma was. More recently I'd drifted away to other magazines, but I still glance Sunday over at the conbini every few months just to see what's going on inside it. This time, I noticed the big insert sheet and decided to buy the issue just to find out what it was. At 270 yen ($3.30 USD), it's not a very expensive experiment.

(Insert sheet, front)

Sunday and Weekly Shonen Jump are probably the two manga magazines that even casual manga fans are familiar with. Largely, the manga in Sunday are aimed at younger male teenagers, with stories that include sports (baseball, tennis and soccer), fantasy worlds, video games and everyday school life. Plots tend to be simple "us-vs-them" combats, and the moral of the stories is either "be true to your friends" or "protect the peace of society". Although, the person that fights on the side of the public good is the one that's generally rewarded in the end (even if it's only by winning the chosen one's heart). There is a lot of "fan service", either including panty shots, or the occasional exposed breast (remember, Japan treats it's young adult population as being a lot more mature than the west does). Throughout most of the titles, the most consistent elements are that the female characters have painfully large breasts, and that everything is about wish fulfillment.

(Insert sheet, back. Movie trinkets and character descriptions.)

A recent past freebie was the AKB48 clear folder. This time, it's a clear folder to commemorate the start of Hiromu Arakawa's (Full Metal Alchemist) newest series, "Silver Spoon". The insert sheet is just a promotion of the latest Conan movie Quarter of Silence, plus a cork coaster showing Conan drinking some can coffee. There's also a link to a Conan movie event page, if you have an Android. I guess if I paid closer attention to the magazine cover I wouldn't have gotten this issue just for the coaster. But, I did want to see the first chapter of Silver Spoon. I was disappointed, though, in not finding any Adachi manga this time.

(Silver Spoon clear folder. As you might guess, the story is about some students that find themselves in a farming school.)

The titles that may be more easily identifiable by western fans are:
Byuden (from the creator of Major) (boxing)
Rinne (Rumiko Takahashi) (occult humor)
Pokemon Reburst (video game support)
Meitantei Conan (murder mystery)
Hayate the combat butler (sitcom)
The World God Only Knows (girl capture games)
Kekkaishi (fantasy combat)
Koutetsu no Hanatsu Hashira (Hiroyuki Nishimori, creator of Cheeky Angel) (school life)
Ken'nichi, the World's Strongest Disciple (ero slapstick martial arts)
Zettai Karen Children (ero esper combat)
Moonlight Act (by creator of Ushio and Tora) (ero fantasy combat)
Defense Devil (Korean manhwa) (demonic slapstick combat)

(Cork coaster.)

Of these titles, I only have any level of interest in The World God Only Knows (because it's silly). But as implied above, I don't read Sunday often, and I don't buy any of the tankobon collections of the current titles. Rinne doesn't really appeal to me like Ranma or Inuyasha did. Conan is too preachy. Zettai Karen Children is too heavy on the slapstick, although the artwork is really slick. And I think that the people behind Defense Devil are trying too hard to mimic a Japanese style, with the result being just a little too stiff and predictable.

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