Monday, September 30, 2013

Kiri-e, Sept. 16, 2013




One of the local Kagoshima groups had another of their kiri-e (cut paper pictures) classes. It was at the Mirai-Kan (Environmental Museum) again. 300 yen, all supplies provided, but you're asked to bring your own glue and scissors. It was a smaller group than before, although the 16th was a national holiday (Respect for Elders Day), and some of the past attendees could have been forgiven for having other plans that day. It does seem, though, that kiri-e isn't all that popular a pastime. We had 6 people, three of whom were new, 2 that had attended one class before, and me. It is hard on the cutting hand, since you have to push down on the knife to ensure you cut all the way through the paper, and it does take a fair amount of concentration to make the cuts correctly. Personally, I find it to be much like any other papercraft and I like doing it as part of the process of creating stuff.


(Finished pictures.)

The sensei knew I'd be attending, and he had a couple new patterns in the intermediate range, which were expected to take longer than the 3 hours we had for the class. I was kind of thinking of trying another building, similar to the waterwheel house I did last time, but with no people in the background, however I was talked into the "2 Children Playing with a Dog". I didn't have any distractions this time, but when we got to the end of the 3 hours, I still had a couple finishing touches remaining. Fortunately, the organizer let me keep working a little longer and I had it pretty much wrapped up 15 minutes after everyone else was done.



Usually, the organizer hands out fliers to advertise the next class, but that didn't happen this time. I asked when the next class would be and got a vague answer - either November or December. I do hope that there is another class again, but I can see why the sensei would hesitate if people's enthusiasm is waning. We'll see what happens in a few weeks.




This one's mine.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sept. articles in the media

Here's the batch of articles to show up in the media from Sept., regarding anime, manga and related stuff.

Japan Times

Miyazaki to retire; fans in disbelief

Miyazaki vows he won’t be idle in retirement

Manga publisher hit with lawsuit

Producer gets deep inside the otaku heart


Daily Yomiuri

Miyazaki to retire after ‘Kaze Tachinu’

Historical shrine doubles as holy site for anime freaks

Shrine attracts otaku pilgrims


Asahi

Famed anime movie director Miyazaki bowing out after latest film

Otakon drew record 34,100 visitors; moves to D.C. in 2017

Kyoto opens new Tokiwa-so flat for aspiring cartoonists

'Berserk,' 'Garden of Words' take top honors at Fantasia filmfest in Montreal

'Dragon Zakura' comic to be remade in Indonesia to meet local needs

Kyoto firms using anime to attract younger buyers to traditional sweets, sake

Pixiv holding 'Attack on Titan' illustration contest

JoJo-themed train makes laps around Tokyo's Yamanote Line

Miyazaki says career creating anime films finally over

Excerpts of Hayao Miyazaki's news conference announcing his retirement

Fujiko F. Fujio Museum attracts 1 millionth visitor

Turning white paper on public facilities into manga

Inter College Animation Festival set for Sept. 26-29 in Tokyo

Austria's Ars Electronica showcases works from Japan Media Arts Festival

Osaka University of Arts publishes biweekly manga anthology

Plastic model developer creates bird-like plane from Miyazaki film

Anime fans offer prayer tablets featuring favorite characters

Disney to distribute Hayao Miyazaki's 'Kaze Tachinu' in U.S.

Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair draws record crowd

Canon promotes new Pixus with lift from Gundam

'Psycho-Pass' to get TV sequel, feature film adaptation

'Anohana' movie details past, emotional turmoil of those left behind

New 'Pokemon XY' series to hit TV screens this fall

Kamen Rider to take center stage at Toei Hero World museum in Chiba

'Kaze Tachinu' makes 10 billion yen in 54 days

Hayao Miyazaki to retire, his real reason for leaving anime

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Q.E.D. volume 33 review

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

Q.E.D., vol. 33, by Katou Motohiro. Grade: B


(Touma tries to get out of helping people, but Kana is persistent.)

Paradokkusu no heya (The Paradox Room, Magazine Great, 2009). Rio Hisanaga is a friend of Kana's. One day, the two of them, plus Touma, walk out to an apartment building owned by Rio's grandmother. Seems that one of the occupants, Tatsuo Mineyama, age 28, hasn't paid his rent in 8 months. Rio has had to get some paperwork from city hall to bring to some civil service workers at the building to open the place up and find out what's wrong. As the door opens, a strong stench wafts out, and a mummified body is discovered in the futon closet. While Rio wants to keep this quiet from her aging grandmother, Tatsuo's ex-wife, Etsumi Mineyama, shows up and starts yelling that her former husband was assassinated and she will go to the newspapers if the police don't find his killer. Kana forces Touma to solve things to protect her friend. During the course of their investigations, Kana and Rio also encounter Tatsuo's best friend, Hiroshi Tatsumi, and mistress, Saki Kinouchi. The three acquaintances all paint different pictures of the victim. To Etsumi, Tatsuo was an avenging investigative reporter that had graduated from an American university, volunteered for a number of public service activities, and was the target of governmental wrath. Hiroshi claims that his friend was a slacker that went to a local private university, rebelled against his parent's attempts to get him to work at the family grocery store and wanted to become an actor. And, to his mistress, Tatsuo was a hardcore punk that never went to university, got an office job right out of high school, punched his boss in the face, and started up a rock band.


(Etsumi, Hiroshi and Saki. Going in one direction, they complement each other's stories. Going the opposite direction creates a paradox, where the person counterclockwise represents everything Tatsuo supposedly hated.)

In the middle of the victim's room is a huge pile of stuff, with no place for sleeping. Kana and Rio discover in the pile a diploma from an American university, a guitar and keyboard, and photo albums showing Tatsuo doing everything that his friends and lovers claim he did. This results in a paradox, since Tatsuo is a completely different person to each of the three witnesses. Etsumi thinks he was killed, Hiroshi thinks it was suicide, and Saki thinks he'd have overdosed on drugs he'd made from recipes he'd pulled from the internet. Questions: Is any of the three lying? Since the evidence in the victim's room backs up all three stories, just exactly who and what was Tatsuo Mineyama? Why was all of his stuff piled in the middle of his room and his body found in the bed mattress closet? How did he die?

No science, just a brief description of how mathematicians address problems that result in self-contradicting paradoxes. The analogy is that this kind of paradox requires the same balancing from the top as a house of cards. And, once you disturb that balance, it all comes down in a mess.



(Det. Sasaduka suggests that the victim stood up too fast, blacked out, hit his head on the wall, and drowned. Note the keys on the table.)

Suirishousetsuka satsujin jiken (The Detective Novelist Murder Case, Magazine Great, 2009). A killer dressed as a deliveryman leaves the body of an adult male in the bathtub, its mouth and nose below water level. He sets out fresh clothes on the washing machine, leaves the bath light on, exits the apartment and locks the door. This is a deadbolt lock that needs a key if you're locking it from the outside. And there are only two keys - the victim's, and his girlfriend's. 4 days later, while Touma is wasting his time trying to teach math to Kana, her father comes home and sees some guy standing in front of the house waiting for him. Inside, the guy introduces himself as Sadayuki Enoki, a detective mystery writer that had talked to Det. Mizuhara before. Turns out that the bathroom drowning victim was another writer, Kazuo Higashinaka. The two of them had been drinking at an izakaya a week ago with 2 more writers - Toshihiro Maitake and Mamoru Shimeji. Kazuo had told them about how to commit the perfect crime; since most accidents happen in the bathtub, hit someone on the side of the head and make it look like they stood up too fast, slipped, hit their head against the wall, and accidentally drowned. Enoki thinks it's too suspicious that that's exactly what happened to him 3 days later. Kazou's girlfriend had stopped by the apartment on Saturday, which is when she found the victim dead. The problem is, his key was sitting on the dining table at the time, so the police want to rule it an accident. The next day, Maitake goes to the police department and gives his report of what happened at the bar, too.


(From top, left and right: Kazuo, Shimeji, Maitake and Enoki. At the izakaya at the time Kazuo talked about "his" idea.)

Seems that everyone had motive in some form or other. Enoki was a one-hit wonder who burned through his royalty money and borrowed cash from the victim just to buy a new car. Maitake writes light novels and always got his ideas from Kazuo, then Kazuo would make fun of him for it in front of the other writers. And Shimeji writes realistic fiction, and would get into fights with Kazou, who was more successful with his hack work. Questions: Since only those 3 writers knew of the victim's idea, which of them is the killer? What's the true motive? How did the apartment key get back into the apartment to create a "locked room" mystery?


(The face of frustration and embarrassment.)

No science.

Comments: The first story sets up a guy who was just an ordinary, average joe who tried too hard to be what the people around him expected him to be, and eventually realized that he no longer recognized himself in the mirror. The second explores the tensions between rival creative types. Nothing really spectacular. Recommended if you like the rest of the series. The only unusual element is that the second story starts out with Kana narrating and explaining who the three principle figures are, and identifies her father by full-name: Koutarou Mizuhara. Her mother's first name is still unknown. She also says that she and Touma are still 2nd year high school students.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Q.E.D. volume 30 review

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

Q.E.D., vol. 30, by Katou Motohiro. Grade: B


(Some background on EF-50.)

Ningyou Satsujin (The Mannequin Murders, Great Magazine, 2008). Shunji Nashida, from Internal Affairs, is back. He's called in to investigate a "murdered mannequin". The thing had a knife through its forehead and had been thrown onto the street in Setagaya Ward (a little west of Shibuya). Later, another mannequin with a knife in its forehead is found hanging by a rope around its neck in Yoyogi Park (east of Setagaya). Both mannequins had business cards in the jacket pockets, the first for Kanroku Kakogawa and the second for Gorou Kishiwada. Both men are top executives of a company called Good Medicine. A little later, Gengo Kusatsu, a section leader at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, gets slashed by a guy riding a scooter in Jingu-Kyuujou (Jingu Baseball Stadium). Nashida links the three to a top secret chemical weapons research project for something called EF-50. Based on his agency's secret files database, there was one worker-related death during the project (cancer) and it was dropped and everyone reassigned. Touma has Kana pass a piece of paper to Nashida, with the clue "look at the crime scenes on a map". Nashida and Kana are stunned to see that they're in a straight line with the next possible attack being at the National Diet building. According to the EF-50 files, one other participant was Kyousuke Kesennuma, currently a cabinet minister of the Ministry of Welfare. Nashida orders security guards to protect Kesennuma, but he ditches them for a cigarette break at the same time that a guy on a scooter kills Heiji Kouriyama, sales manager of Mikiri Pharmaceuticals. The murder scene is near the diet, implicating Kesennuma. And, it turns out that Heiji handled the clinical trials of EF-50 for Kesennuma.


(Heiji gets killed)

During the final attack, Touma goes on a tangent for why he thinks humanoid robots will never catch on with customers. As an example, compare an unmanned bulldozer with a big human-like robot. If there's a landslide, the bulldozer just looks like a crushed bug, while the robot looks like a dead body. If female robot maids are used to care for the elderly, eventually the owners will feel guilty and stop ordering the robots around. Touma then relates the story of Pygmalion, an ancient Greek sculptor that falls in love with one of his statues. The point is that it's too easy to get enamored with your vision of something and to forget what it really is. This is a hint pointing at the real killer, and the purpose of the minor crimes leading up to the big one.

The only science relates to the history of EF-50 and a little DNA testing on hairs found with the mannequins. Plus, we learn about Pygmalion. The interesting thing is that the killer isn't someone sympathetic this time, and the reader is expected to be happy that he's caught in the end.




Inu no Chawan (Dog Dish, Great Magazine, 2008). Bravo Makita is a great salesman. He leads a group of senior citizens through a series of minor purchases for things like knives and cooking pots, up to spending $3000 on $50 mattresses. Three of the victims are Ryouichirou Arai, Takiko Sekine and Shounosuke Murasawa. The next day, Arai and Murasawa are playing shogi at a club/restaurant run by Sekine, when Arai's grandson, Katsuyuki, storms in to complain about his grandfather throwing away money that could be used for his college costs. Touma has been learning shogi by playing someone via a net server and he's at the club to play face to face against live opponents. When Katsuyuki leaves, the three older people talk about how they've been swindled. Touma has heard about the guy hiding behind Bravo Makita - a con artist named Bunji Kuramatsu. Bunji hires sales people to work the marks on stage, and then when the police arrive, the sales guys take the fall. If the marks demand their money back, Bunji says "I'd love to do that, but there's no money for me to return to you". So far, the police haven't been able to pin anything on Bunji that will stick. However, Kana forces Touma to do something, so he makes a phone call.


(Bunji doesn't like Bravo's attitude.)

The next day, the group borrows a $30,000 ceramic dish from a potterer, and sets up a story where Sekine's dog is eating from the dish at a restaurant that Bravo frequents. He'd immediately recognize the value of the bowl, but before he can ask about it, Arai is to step in and counter-bid on the dog, to create a bidding war that will drive the price up to the $15,000 that the group wants back. During their research, though, Kana learns that Bravo is training a new sales recruit - Katsuyuki. And Katsuyuki has been brown-nosing Bravo to get him to stand up against Bunji, a tactic that fails badly and results in Bunji assaulting Bravo to put him in his place. At the end, when Bravo returns to the restaurant to buy the dog, the bowl has been returned to the potterer and the group is trying to get Bravo to accept the bait and switch. Then Bunji shows up with Katsuyuki and the potterer in tow and it looks like the entire plan is about to go down the drain. The only question is: Who did Touma call first to start the ball rolling?

No science. Just a game of sting.

Comments: This volume just contains two straight-forward mysteries with a bit of puzzle solving. Nothing really great, although it's nice if you want to see what a few parts of Tokyo look like. Recommended. (Note, in the volume #29 review I'd mentioned that there's an in-joke with the characters' names. But, I can't find anything quite so obvious in this book.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dream Jam Lot




Back around June, the Dream Jam karaoke bar was in the process of being torn down. By mid-August, it was gone. A number of buildings have been demolished around downtown lately. Some have been replaced by apartment buildings. Others just get paved over and become single-level parking lots. No bets yet as to what happens next here.



Actually, no bets because within a week of the above shot, the space was indeed turned into a parking lot.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

KTS Day, 3



While the KTS TV station event ran from the 21st to the 22nd, the mini-concert held in the open space next to Lotteria on the 23rd was apparently unrelated. The department store, Yamakataya, located next to Lotteria, wanted to promote the CDs of two female singers, Kei Mizuki, and Jennifer. However, it didn't seem to be very well promoted, and was definitely under-attended (maybe 30 people total).



Close-up of the back of the stage, with the names and times for the concert. A table to the left was set up for selling the CDs, but there weren't any buyers when I was there.



Kei Mizuki performed a few songs, mostly of the enka variety. I'm not a big enka fan, so I didn't stick around that long. One of the key points for enka, apparently, is for the audience to applaud whenever the singer finishes a line or verse from the song. Usually, the songs are pretty emotional, so the singers do put a lot of energy into the individual verses, then stand around for a minute while the music plays behind them. On TV, the starts of the pauses are when the studio audience applauds. This time, though, there was one guy to my left that would applaud and cheer after every line. No one else did anything. I couldn't tell if the guy had a mental disability, or was Kei's father. Mizuki did sing well, if you like enka.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

KTS Day, 2



(Advertising for some of the TV shows airing on KTS.)

On my way home from the Volunteer Center, after looking at the KTS stage on Saturday, I made sure to go through Tenmonkan to see what was happening in the open space next to the Lotteria burger shop. Everything had been taken down for the night, but there was a poster listing the event schedule for the entire weekend, and on Sunday there was supposed to be a dragon dance on the hour 4 times during the day, plus advertising for Honda Motors and JA (Japan Agriculture). All I really cared about was the dragon dance, so I came back the next afternoon.



In one corner of the space, a small stand was set up for kids to pose next to figures representing some of the local mascots.



At 4 PM, two of the KTS announcers came out to warm up the crowd for the dance. I'm not sure about the woman, but the guy had been here for KTS Day last year.





The dance consisted of close to 20 musicians on horns, drums and symbols, while maybe another 40 people worked the 2 dragons. While the dragons are Chinese in design, I think everyone performing was Japanese. Occasionally, someone on the other side of the fence would light off strings of firecrackers, which were surprisingly loud.



I had the camera on, and I'd thought I had pushed the record button, but about 3 minutes into the dance, the screen went dark. I turned the camera back on and made sure it was recording. When the dance finished, I only had the one movie file, so I'm embarrassed to admit that for 3 minutes, I was panning the camera around and zooming in and out for no apparent reason.







Fortunately, I still managed to get close to 6 minutes of video of the dance.


Monday, September 23, 2013

KTS Day, 1




On the weekend of Sept. 21st, the local KTS TV station decided to host their 20th anniversary event in Kagoshima. From one announcement, we were told that there were 4 stages, but I only know of 2 - in front of the International Volunteer Center, and across from the Lotteria burger shop in Tenmonkan. I had to work most of Saturday, but the school I teach at is only a few blocks from the Volunteer Center, so I ran over here as soon as work finished at 5 PM. Most of the events and performances had already wrapped up, and some of the stalls were closed.





But the place wasn't completely dead yet.



One of the main sponsors is Zespri Kiwi Fruits, and they had a booth set up near the entrance.



They were also giving out free kiwi samples.



Advertising for the JADDO credit card, using Saigo as a mascot.



The last thing up on the main stage at the end of the day was the announcement of winners of the bingo lottery.



Sponsored by Zespri. Winners got a half-case of kiwis.



5 kids were selected to a jan-ken (rock-paper-scissors) contest for a box of kiwis. And that was pretty much it for me on KTS Day 1. Actually, it wasn't much of a loss. KTS had sponsored the same event last year, so I already knew what to expect. I was just kind of hoping to get a free set of stickers or something this time.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kitaro DVD Review, vol. 9

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

Gegege no Kitaro Magazine DVD Series, volume 9


(Shinigami highlight page.)

We're now past the review of Kitaro's primary associates, also called "Kitaro's family". The feature yokai is Shinigami, who becomes a regular villain in the TV series (he doesn't show up that often in the manga). According to the description, his full name is Shinigami #42. He's married to Aoko (Blue Girl), and they have one son - Honetaro (Bone Boy). The other featured monsters this time are Satori, Aku Aku and Kageonna (Shadow Woman). In the TV series, Satori is a short, pink-faced guy with white whiskers under his chin. In the one-page write-up, he's a mountain-dwelling kind of yeti that likes watermelons. In the TV episode, Satori, which is based on a mind-reading creature from Japanese folklore, hangs out in a remote mountain cave to avoid listening to people's thoughts. Aku Aku is kind of a bone monster summoned by following a specific spell on a stone tablet found on Easter Island. In the TV series, Kageonna is a blue-skinned woman with a snake-like tail. In the one-page write-up, she's a hideous-faced creature that lurks in people's shadows.


(Pages from Shonen Sanensei magazine. Note the cameos by Doraemon and Nyarome.)

The TV episodes are: Shinigami to Satori (Shinigami and Satori, 06/15/72), Iisuta-tou Kidan (Easter Island Romantic Story, 06/22/72), Yokai Yashiki (Monster Mansion, 06/29/72) and Chisogan (Land's Eye), 07/13/72). [Edit: "Chisogan" translates as (地相眼) - "Chisou" = "divination based on the lay of the land" + "Gan" = "eyeball". Chisogan refers to an orb with power over earth.] The special episode is part 3 of the Tottori Mizuki Shigeru Road, and the easter egg is the same as before.


(Kitaro's 10 Abilities poster.)

The two foldout posters are: "Kitarou no 10 no Chikara" (Kitaro's 10 Abilities. This includes using his flying vest, having a remote-controlled hand, shooting his hair as needles, chameleon tongue, snake tongue, the yokai antenna, fingertip bullets, talking with insects, using guided geta, and being able to freely visit heaven and hell), and "Youkai Yashiki no Bikkuri Daizukai" (The Surprising Big Floor Plan of the Monster Mansion).


(TV anime version of Kageonna. The manga version is in black and white at the bottom left of the page.)

The remaining pages are: The Mizuki Collection, History of Gegege no Kitaro Part 9, Where's Yamada, a description of Kitaro coloring cards, and more photos of the Mizuki Road. I like the Mizuki Collection this time, because there's some crossover artwork from the 1970-71 Shonen Sanensei (Boy's Third Year) magazine, that appeared in 3 of the Kitaro pages, where Doraemon and Nyarome make cameo appearances. Doraemon was drawn by contemporary artist Fujio F Fujiko, and Nyarome is the cat from Fujio Akatsuka (Tensai Bakabon). As for Yamada, he shows up all over the place this time, being the main victim in the Easter Island episode. The History of Gegege no Kitaro is finally wrapping up the summarization of the rental book stories. In the next issue, it will begin talking about Kitaro's move to manga magazines.


(One page feature on Kageonna.)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Q.E.D. volume 29 review

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

Q.E.D., vol. 29, by Katou Motohiro. Grade: B


(Mr. Pirate and Mordar talk elephants.)

Erefanto (Elephant, Great Magazine, 2007). The story starts out with a young man and woman on a tropical island. The woman asks what the guy is going to do if his dream fails to come true. The man had never thought that far ahead, but the two of them would probably break up. Then he'd become a pirate and return to steal her treasure chest away. The scene jumps to the high school as Kana tries to sneak herself and Touma past some weirdo who has set up camp at a construction site near the school. The guy is dressed in a jacket and jeans, with a white undershirt and a pirate bandana. He's trying to find an audience to talk to about space aliens, sea piracy and elephants, but the only one willing to listen is Mordar, from the school's mystery club. The rest of the club is trying to get Mordar to be more serious and help with the cleaning chores (previously, the first year student that had stolen their room turned out to be a masochist who loves being ordered around by Enari Queen. He had been doing all the chores, but he'd overheard Enari talking about wanting a bed mattress filled with penguin down, and now he's in Antarctica putting feathers in a bag one at a time). Mordar mentions the pirate treasure the weird guy is searching for, so the entire club, including Kana, follow the pirate to an office building near the Sumida river.


(Touma fails to explain Poincare.)

The group walks into a room on the top floor and finds a safe, but it's too heavy for them to pick up. The students run away in a panic, while Mr. Pirate slowly strolls out. The next day, Kana and Enari return to the building only to find the safe is gone. They talk to the owner of the office the safe was in, and she acts unsurprised. They review the security footage from the camera aimed at the room, and it shows the pirate walking out without the safe. Meanwhile, the pirate had collapsed due to stress and malnutrition, so after a brief hospital visit, he's allowed to sleep in the mystery club's room. The pirate takes the kids to a shed near the main train tracks and shows them the safe. Mordar figures that based on past conversations with him, Mr. Pirate had used an elephant to steal the safe, and then a UFO had teleported the pirate, safe and elephant to safety. When they ask him, the guy says that he put the safe into a coffee cup that he then put in his pocket. While the kids are panicking at the thought of being arrested for burglary and breaking and entering, Touma confronts the pirate in a classroom. He starts writing a proof on one blackboard, and the pirate continues it on another. While the pirate is busy, Touma explains that the guy is really a brilliant mathematician, specializing in the field of topology.


(How coffee cups and donuts are the same thing.)

In topology, objects that share the same surface definitions are interchangeable. That is, a water glass resembles a sphere; a coffee cup is the same as a donut, and a cooking pot looks like a torus. All of the conversations Mr. Pirate had had with Mordar were really lessons in topology (clean proofs are "elegant", failed proofs are "elephants"). Turns out that he'd been working on solving Poincare's Conjecture, one of the seven puzzles for which the Clay Mathematics Institute was offering a $1 million reward (along with the Riemann Hypothesis). Unfortunately, Perelman proved the conjecture first and it was confirmed in 2006. So, this guy turned pirate to settle an old score. When the explanation is over, the safe is opened to reveal a small toy elephant. Then, Mr. Pirate's current girlfriend drives up and says that their boss will be angry if he doesn't return to his job at the bank in Switzerland. The only question left to be answered is: What kind of coffee cup can hold a 200 pound safe and yet also fit in your pocket?

The main science is a fairly deep introduction into Poincare's Conjecture, with a superficial overview of topology. The equation on the cover of the manga directly relates to the proof.




Douki to Aribai (Motive and Alibi, Great Magazine, 2008). Makio Aonori is the art teacher at Kana and Touma's school. He's teaching Touma about pointilist styles, then has to leave early to attend a dinner meeting with his former teacher, Fukuzou Kuromame, along with former classmates Youzou Ryokucha and Akira Akagome. Seems that Fukuzou has been diagnosed with diabetes and has had to give up alcohol and heavy foods, but he tells the younger three to enjoy themselves in his house while he goes to bed early. He vows to keep living a long life, but the next morning he's found dead in his bedroom from an insulin OD. There's no suicide note and the medicine dosages are strictly controlled, so the police investigate each of the three men. Makio had discovered that Fukuzou had plagarized some of his paintings, which is why he was the only one to give up being a painter to work as a teacher. However, Kana thinks that Makio is innocent and pressures her father to keep looking. As the story progresses, Det. Mizuhara learns that Fukuzou had had a different girlfriend prior to getting married - Mitsuyo Shirokoma. Fukuzou and Mitsuyo had been driving when their car went out of control and killed a woman on a bicycle. Mitsuyo had been the one behind the wheel so she was given a 3-year prison sentence. However, she'd been treated for whiplash, and the chiropractor tells the police that the type of strain she received had been typical of a passenger looking in the direction of the impact. So, not only wasn't she the driver at the time, but Fukuzou had married someone else while she was doing time for his crime. She died later, but her son grew up under another name - Youzou Ryokucha. The thing is, both Youzou and Makio, who have motives, have solid alibis; and Akira, who has no alibi, has no motive.


(Youzou in the top panel, from bottom left Akira, Det. Sasaduka, Makio, Det. Mizuhara.)

During the approximate time of the murder, Akira had been in one room watching a movie, and he went to Makio's room to investigate a bumping sound. Makio had been in his room the entire time, waiting to play shogi against Youzou. And Youzou had been in full view in the library room before joining Makio to play shogi for the rest of the night. Questions: What caused the bumping sound? And, how could any of the three sneak into Fukuzou's room to administer a second dose of insulin without the old man waking up and fighting back?

No science, just a look at the police investigative process, and a comment on an artstyle where you paint the entire picture in green, let the paint dry, then come back and add the next color.

Comments: I love the pirate story, both for the math, and for the pirate character. The mystery club continues to prove themselves unworthy of the name, but they do provide the best joke in the chapter - the first year has been in Antarctica for several weeks, and he sends a postcard back saying that he can't get enough penguin down for an entire mattress, so would Enari be willing to settle for half a pillow? Regarding Motive and Alibi, I finally noticed something that I've kind of been suspecting had been occurring in other chapters - the suspects' and victim's names are related to the plotline. But, it's really blatant this time: Aonori - Green Seaweed; Kuromame - Black Beans; Ryokucha - Green Tea; Akagome - Red Rice; Shirokoma - White Pony. That is, in a story about artists, all the character names include words for colors. I don't think I'll go back and recheck every single chapter, but I will be a little more careful about looking for this kind of in-joke in the future.

The end credits for the movie Akagome was watching includes: Music Supervisors - Naniwa Mozalt; Alicia San = Lin Beagle; The Beach = Gene Anderson; A-1 Low = Peter Carter; Red Leaves = Elizabeth W.; Gully Water = Michael King.