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Shiori and Shimiko (2008), vol. 2, by Daijiro Morohoshi, Grade: A-
Petto no Sanpo (Taking the pet for a walk)
Shiori encounters a nice, older woman that needs to run some errands and she asks her to take her pet for a walk. The pet's name is John, and it knows the route to follow. The only problem is that "John" is invisible, and tugs on its leash like it weighs 200 pounds. Shiori needs extra weight so she calls Shimiko for ballast. John drags them into another world, where the two girls have different adventures. In this other world, John becomes visible as a 6-foot tall monster made up largely of a mouth with teeth. In the end, John drags the two girls back to their world, where they meet the older woman. She gives them tiny keychains as thanks.
(Shiori's trinkets defend themselves from Shimiko's shellfish.)
Zakka no Senso (Sundries War)
Shiori and Shimiko find themselves in a strange shopping arcade and end up buying junk they don't need (Shiori gets some small trinkets and Shimiko buys a big seashell). They bring their finds to Shiori's house, where it turns out that Boris has stopped eating food. As the two girls puzzle out whether the cat has found a new master to mooch off of, the trinkets begin waging a war with the seashell. Things start getting out of hand, until Boris runs in and smashes everything. Picking up the broken pieces, they find a flier that they'd been given in the arcade, but had ignored until now. They check out the address and discover it's called Neko-ya (Cat Shop) and is being run by Boris in human form, with an assistant. The assistant buys a bento dinner, and the two eat it, thus answering the question of why Boris isn't hungry at home anymore.
(Betty plays with the Zeno household staff.)
Zeno-Okusan (Ms. Zeno)
The normal-looking older woman is back, and has asked her friend to take care of one of her other pets for her. Shiori and Shimiko meet Dan'itchi's big faced wife, and learn that Mrs. Dan'itchi is the woman's friend. They get suckered into taking the pet, Betty, on another walk. Betty drags them to the woman's house. She apparently is named "Zeno", and her two housekeepers are hairy objects that look like Thing from the Addams Family. They give up, and take a monster bus back home, arriving very, very late.
(Trying to exorcise the weird cat-face monster.)
Meiwakuna Shin'nyusha (The Inconvenient New Guy)
Shiori sees a weird-looking idiotic cat-like thing jumping into her family's garden, but it then quickly disappears. Soon, anything with a face (photos, dolls, other people) begin looking just like the cat-thing, and it seems that Shiori herself is going to turn into this new idiotic creature. The only defense is to slap the target in the face...
(Print out this picture and fold it Mad-magazine style to find Boris.)
Hon no Sakana (Book Fish)
Shimiko is working at her father's shop when a huge book gets delivered (it's taller than she is). The book swallows her and she finds herself in a place where all of the fish are really books. She encounters a fisherman who talks her into joining him in catching book fish. The problem is that you have to use bits of your own body for bait. Shiori arrives at the shop and is also eaten by the book. For her, the challenge is to locate Boris. If she gets the location wrong, she has to allow a puzzle master to bite off her head. Because Shiori and Shimiko are being targeted by different tricks, they keep having to save each other and they do finally figure out the way to escape the nightmare. Back in the real world, someone comes into the store and captures the huge book in a net, explaining that it is a highly-prized human-eating book fish.
(In old-book hell.)
Furuhonya Jugokuyashiki (Used Bookstore Hell Estate)
Shimiko's father has gone missing. There's a rumor that he had been contacted by someone that asked him to visit their house to look over a collection of old, used books that the owner wants to sell. Shimiko and Shiori track down the house, and find that it is bigger on the inside than the outside, and is filled with useless, dirty books. They get lost in a maze of stacks and shelves, and it seems that the house is a trap that swallows up people that like old books, and that Shimiko's father is one of its more recent victims. (Other victims include people that just like to stand in stores and read for free, and those that simply must have every volume of long sets of books.)
(At a party which serves muru muru, and soup that doesn't want to be eaten.)
Mishiranu Machi de (The Unknown City)
Shiori is walking in a strange part of the city. She gets to a crossover bridge that only has one side. At the base of the bridge, some kids are digging a hole. A car drives by with her brother, Shou, as a hostage of the masked thief Cat Man. Kitora also drives by in a wagon pulled by a horde of mice. In the back of the wagon is a giant egg that Kitora claims is the product of the love between her and Dan'itchi. Things get more and more out of control, ending up with a big banquet in a mansion where everyone Shiori knows is trying to eat food that keeps trying to escape from them. Cat Man arrives to steal the egg and is unmasked to reveal Shimiko. The egg turns into a monster that destroys the mansion, then Shiori finds herself back at the bridge. Shou finds her and directs her to climb down into the hole the other kids are digging. When she comes out the other side, she wakes up in a hospital bed, surrounded by her worried family and Shimiko. On the TV behind them, a news reporter talks about a train accident that resulted in 2 people dead and 17 severely injured. Shimiko comments that Shiori could have been one of those 17, while Shou adds that he'd come out of the accident with just a bump on his head.
("Where is it? Where has it gone? Have you seen my face?")
Kao - Hoka (Face and Other Stories)
This chapter is a collection of short horror stories that mostly revolve around things reported to have happened to other members of Shiori's family, including a school girl looking for her missing face, a pair of bodiless faces floating down a rain-swollen river, and a rumor of stray animals in an alley that have human faces growing from their bodies. Another story has Shimiko's store being haunted by a ghost that likes reading books for free (she exorcises it by giving away the endings of the mystery stories it's reading), and a family of ghosts that haven't quite noticed that all of them have died already.
(Part book store, part aquarium, specializing in book fish.)
Hon no Sakana 2 (Book Fish, part 2)
Shimiko's book store gets infested by little air-borne fish that eat all the words from the pages of some of the books. A larger fish shows up to eat the smaller ones, and then steals a book before disappearing into a different volume. Shimiko gets Shiori to help her, and they end up visiting another book store where the owner specializes in book fish. He even has the huge human-eating book from the previous story. Shimiko discovers that the fish that took her book is a kind of long eel that resides across multiple volumes of encyclopedias. She has to find the used bookstore that has volume 1 of the set to locate the eel's head in order to get her book back. Unwilling to wait, she grabs the eel's body and it pulls her into the encyclopedia. A few minutes later, she calls Shiori on her cell phone. She did manage to get her book back, but the volume 1 that the eel's head had been in was in a store in Hokkaido, and it's the middle of deep winter in Hokkaido now. She has to take a bus back to Tokyo, and she catches a cold along the way.
(Shiori sees the night fish.)
Yoru no Sakana (Night Fish)
Inoatama City is in the middle of a small inconvenience right now. People and buildings have been disappearing. The rumor going around the school is that a few of the other students had reported seeing a big fish swimming in the night sky. Then, whoever saw the fish, and their home, disappears the following day only to be replaced by replicas made up of seaweed. Shiori sees the night fish, and calls Shimiko for help. More and more people disappear, including Dan'itchi's wife and child, Kitora, and Shiori's little brother and her parents. Kitora pops back up, but now has the body of a crab. She and one classmate had been abducted only to find themselves in a weird ocean-like place that was so wonderful that they escaped just to invite their friends to join them.
(The war between the fish people, and some of their captives.)
Dan'itchi and the two girls follow Kitora and their classmate to the "Ocean of Night". The path takes them past Ms. Zeno's house, and she has her housekeeper things act as guides to the Ocean (which she is very familiar with). In the Ocean, all of the missing people have been turned into fish, and are very happy with their new lives. Until they discover that they're being kept as prey for a race of fish people. The fish people prepare to eat their food, but they keep getting attacked by a very attractive young fish woman, and her big rolling coral monster. In the middle of the Ocean town square is the Fish Queen - a strange spiral-like fish that spins in a circle while reading a book. Shimiko recognizes the book as one she'd left on the monster bus when she'd returned home from Ms. Zeno's house in a previous chapter. Before the fish people can eat the humans, the young fish woman and the coral monster arrive to cause havoc, killing fish people and injuring the queen. The two are revealed to be Dan'itchi's wife and Kutoru. Everyone escapes but are pursued by the night fish. It eats the escapees, which turns them back human. All of them are restored, with the exception of Dan'itchi's wife. She is resigned to live out the rest of her life with a small face and humanoid body, but her husband still loves her in spite of he deformities.
Comments: Again, the stories are a mix of macabre and silly. The artwork is getting better, but Moroshi still has trouble drawing profiles. Highly recommended. All of the stories ran in Nemuki magazine from 1998 to 2001.