Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monthly Shonen Magazine

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

As mentioned a long time back, Jump, Sunday, Champion and Magazine used to all have both a weekly and a monthly version of each title. But, due to a lack of sales, or a decision to rebrand the title, Jump and Sunday dropped the monthly half. I've compared the two versions of Champion side by side, and now it's time to do the same for Magazine.

(Capeta splashpage)

According to the wiki entry, Weekly Shonen Magazine skews to a slightly older audience, which can explain the harder edge. Monthly Shonen Magazine continues this trend, with subjects that include dance contests and people playing koto. There's still an emphasis on sports (car racing, soccer, mixed arts, baseball and basketball), but we're also getting cooking, the occult and mystery solving. The artwork on the whole is below par. Masatoshi Kawahara's human characters in particular tend to the misshaped and grotesque in both of the titles he has in this issue (Shura no Mon and Fudekage). Capeta is like an updated Speed Racer, but without the gimmicked car). On the other hand, there is some good artwork (Noragami, Capeta, Tenman ala Carte), and some decent stories (Noragami, C.M.B.) Personally, there are certain kinds of stories that just don't work for me. I've never understood ballet or modern dance, and drawing a picture of someone eating food or playing music just can not convey the sensations of taste, smell and sound produced by the real things. So, obviously, I'm not going to be pulled in by a cooking comic, among other things. Which kind of eliminates at least 20% of this manga. And I've written before about how I don't care for sports comics, cutting out another 40% right there.

(Ballroom Youkoso)

On the other hand, there are a couple of titles that show promise. C.M.B., drawn by Motohiro Katou, is very similar to his earlier work, QED, but with a different setting. A young genius that is heir to three of Britain's greatest natural history scientists is trying to create his own museum in Japan. He's eventually pushed into solving murder mysteries by a school girl that initially encounters him by accident (the price for each solution is some item that can be added to his exhibits). The primary difference from QED is that the hero draws on historical artifacts and animal nature to explain his findings. Another interesting title is Noragami, drawn by the same duo that created Alive! Yato is a minor god without a shrine or a single worshiper to his name. So, he spraypaints ads around town with his cell phone number. Only people in dire need of help can call him, and his going rate is 5 yen (the coin donated to shrines by worshipers). To fight, he needs a partner that can turn into a weapon, but his attitude is so bad that they all quit on him after a while. Rather dark-humored, but still funny.

The titles westerners may recognize:

Pumpkin Scissors, Ryoutarou Iwanaga
C.M.B., Motohiro Katou (Q.E.D.)
Dear Boys, Hiroki Yagami


Monthly Shonen Magazines' genres include:

Racing (Capeta)
Mixed Martial Arts (Shura no Mon)
Occult (Noragami)
Basketball (Dear Boys)
Baseball (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Sora no Planatus)
Cooking (Tenman ala Carte)
Soccer (Fudekage)
Music (Mashiro no Oto, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)
Edo era Drama - kendo (Kuro Neko Dance)
Dancing (Ballroom Youkoso)
Crime Solving (C.M.B.)
Samurai Drama (Shana Ou Yoshitsune)
Combat (Pumpkin Scissors)
Kung Fu (Tekken Chinmi Legends)
Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Legend of the Dragon's Son)
Heroes (Shin Kamen Rider Spirits)

(Mashiro no Oto, about a young man lured back into playing the koto.)

The price per page rate isn't too bad, and there are enough titles worth reading to justify getting this magazine once a month. No freebies in this issue, though. 460 yen, 874 pages


Dates for 2/13 to 2/20:

Birthdays (21):
Oliver Reed, 2/13/1938
William Shockley, 2/13/1910
Peter Tork, 2/13/1942
Jack Benny, 2/14/1894
Gwyneth ("Kairos") Jones, 2/14/1952
Raymond (Penn and Teller) Teller, 2/14/1948
John Barrymore, 2/15/1882
Galileo Galilei, 2/15/1564
George Harrison, 2/15/1943
Harvey Korman, 2/15/1927
Brendon ("Dethklok") Small, 2/15/1975
Kim Jong-Il, 2/16/1941
Andre ("Beast Master") Norton, 2/17/1912
Elizabeth Taylor, 2/17/1932
Ernst Mach, 2/18/1838
Jack Palance, 2/18/1919
Alessandro (Scientist) Volta, 2/18/1745
Gahan Wilson, 2/18/1930
Joel Hodgson, 2/20/1960
Larry Hovis, 2/20/1936
Richard ("What Drams May Come") Matheson, 2/20/1926

Died (8):
Stan Laurel, 2/13/1965
Dick ("Dead Cert") Francis, 2/14/2010
David (mathematician) Hilbert, 2/14/1943
Richard Feynman, 2/15/1988
J. Robert Oppenheimer, 2/18/1967
Michelangelo Simoni, 2/18/1564
Ernst Mach, 2/19/1916
Walter Winchell, 2/20/1972

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