(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)
Ok, I knew this was going to be inconvenient, but I didn't know by how much. I had a lesson with a new kid on Monday, which was the same day that the last chapter of Kochi Kame was running in Shonen Jump magazine. I figured that I'd get a copy on my way in to the school to show off. I stopped at the first konbi, and they didn't have the magazine. I stopped at a second place, and they didn't have it either. I made the mistake of asking the clerk if the magazine had come out yet, and she disappeared into a back room for several minutes. When she came out, she said that Kochi Kame was so popular that Jump had completely sold out and they didn't have more copies. Unfortunately, the delay caused me to get to the school just as the lesson was supposed to start and the owner of the school yelled at me just like the hero of the manga, Ryou, gets yelled at by his captain. I could have tried timing things better.
(Ryou is portrayed by the other artists in the magazine.)
After the class, I hit 3 other konbi nearby. In one, some guy was doing tachi yomi (standing and reading manga for free), and it looked like he had Jump in his hands. But, he wouldn't leave, and when I asked the clerk about it, she thought the magazine was sold out there, too. So, I tried some of the other places I knew of, in the hopes that I'd still get lucky. But, after 45 minutes and hitting a total of 10 konbini within walking distance (tell me where in America you can say that you walked to 10 different convenience stores within 45 minutes) the next typhoon hit the city, and rain just came pouring down. I gave up and returned to the previous place to see if the tachi yomi yarou was still there - he wasn't. I grabbed the copy of Jump he'd put back on the shelf and ran to the counter. The clerk recognized me and said "this is good you found it, isn't it?" I told her about the tachi yomi yarou, and she acted stunned that something like that could have happened in her store. Anyway, I got my copy, and it was only $2.75 USD or so.
(Another fold-out poster of Ryou in various forms.)
The magazine doesn't have much in the way of extras. There's the main fold-out poster, stuff written by the editors about Kochi Kame ending, and the fact that Ryou's eyebrows are going to appear in all the other manga works, so the readers should try to find them all. The last Kochi Kame chapter is basically all of the characters from the last 40 years showing up and saying goodbye. No real story, just a bunch of slapstick gags.
(Ryou's captain getting ready to deal out some more punishment on the slacker.)
Given how much work I went through to get this copy, I'm not going to damage it by scanning any of the pages. Instead, I had to resort to taking a few photos of the highlight pages. Actually, though, the last volume, #200, was also planned for a simultaneous release. The nearest bookstore had a sign saying that #200 would arrive on the 20th. (I'm writing right now on Monday, the 19th.) I'll go back to the store tomorrow and see what happens. I'd like to get the special promo version, which is $9, but I'll settle for the regular $6 version. It's not that I really like this title - I do, but mainly for the detailed looks into Japanese sub-culture. However, there aren't that many titles that have lasted 40 years and hit 200 volumes. So, yeah, this one is kind of special. And it will be easier to scan sample pages of the book than it is of this magazine.
Update: I went into the bookstore at 4 PM on my way to the school. They had a sign up saying that Kochi Kame was completely sold out. I went to their sister store a couple blocks away, and they just didn't have any indications at all that the book had been there. I asked a clerk about this, and she replied that, yes, it sold out that morning. But, it seems that they do have it on backorder. They just don't know when the next shipment will come in. My impression is that most of the "customers" were scalpers. Anyway, I'll have to wait and see if I can get the normal book version of #200.