This Seems to be New: Gangsta. 42

Oh, gods, fingers crossed, this chapter actually seems to be new!  MangaTown has Chapter 42 up. Go read it!

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This chapter open with… someone…. Emilio(?) hanging out on a stoop, watching the world go by as the fight with Galahad, a bunch of people from the Guild (Lancelot in the goggles,  Arthur, and, the randomly named, Hausen,) and the Hunter/Executioner Colt (? Maybe?) rages nearby.

When Emilio sees Galahad overhead, he freaks out.  He seems upset that the fight is taking place in Paulkee territory (why that matters, I’m not sure.) Apparently not having much faith in his colleagues’ ability to win this fight, perhaps, he starts worrying about what will happen if they’re forced out of the city.  That, he tells us, would be “bad” for him. “That,” he said, “I absolutely can not have.”

Emilio takes off running and the scene shifts to the the action inside.

Wherein, I find myself weirdly attracted to this guy:

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Hausen, I mean. Arthur is interesting, too, but there’s something about Hausen…

So, he’s probably doomed. We apparently don’t know his rank (though I thought I had vague memories of him being ‘S’ class,) but he’s pretty bada$$. At one point he tosses a tiny vial of gasoline on Colt and then flicks his lit cigarette at him.

The fight ends when Emilio throws a bomb into the fray.  In the smoke and confusion, Colt hauls Emilio away and they make their escape through a hole in the roof.

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Hausen tells Lancelot and Arthur not to give chase. He’s going to make a report to the Guild Headquarters. Hausen seems to be under the impression that the Hunters only got into the city because the Guild’s security was lax, and so it’s their responsibility to take care of them.

Galahad seems… uncertain (and I really like this shot of him):

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Hausen notices a pair of rings on the floor and thinks they’re Galahad’s.  Galahad instantly recognizes them as Marco and Connie’s, however, and is very upset because he knows the only way they’d come of Connie’s neck is if she’s dead.

We flash to Connie and Beretta.  Connie is in a bad way and it looks like Marco might be dead…? Especially since the page crawl reads: “Losing the meaning of life.”

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Yeah… so that’s not good.

I think I would be more upset by this potential death if the Gangsta. spin-off Gangtsa. : Cursed didn’t make me loath Marco. I mean, maybe the story got better, but I quit after about the second chapter when Marco was wandering around slaughtering entire families of Twilights. It was kind of a gore fest, so I see this moment as a bit of divine retribution. You died as you lived, Marco. I’m sorry for Connie’s loss, but… you? Everyone in this manga, even Nic, has a dark past, but yours was pretty awful.

But this does make me wonder if anyone we like is going to survive this mayhem.  I am still holding out hope that newly minted “Storage” (aka Worick) has something up his sleeve beyond betrayal. The hard part of holding out that particular hope is that, well… Worick has a decent reason to betray Nic. We know Nic killed his father and, pretty much the entire estate, and that Worick has never entirely made peace with that–even though he must acknowledge that Nic was attempting to ‘save’ him from continued abuse.  Even so, we know that moment still haunts Worick and there have been moments, recently, when Worick has shown hostility towards Nic’s darker tendencies (even as he drags him back to Theo’s to be patched up). So, I feel like there’s a real tension there. I hope, however, Worick will only use his complicated past with Nic to fool other people into believing his betrayal is real… when it isn’t.

Fingers crossed.

Also, fingers crossed that Kosuke is back? Does anyone know if this is a thing now?

Gangsta. 41 by Kosuke

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

It’s back, you guys! It’s back! I think some of you über fans out there have already seen these panels in ‘the raw,’ as we say, but I’m extremely excited to see them in translation over at MangaTown because I hope to all that is holy that this is signaling the long-awaited return of Kosuke.

Pleasegodpleasegodpleasegodpleasegod…..

SPOILERS

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Gangsta. 41 picks up where 40 left off, mid-flashback, mid-fight between Striker and Marco. (If you’d like a quick refresher of the events in 40, you can read my review from Jan. 2, 2016. Yes, it’s really been THAT long.)

The fight is canon-typically brutal. The only thing we learn is that apparently Striker and Marco once discussed what they would do if they eliminated all the Tags.  Marco thought they should all die, and offered to be the one to take Striker out, in that eventuality.  Striker, being a sociopath, thought that seemed like a pretty nice promise.

So, he’s disappointed in how weak Marco is now, how he’s fallen for a normal (Connie, in case you’ve forgotten), and, worse yet, has allied himself with Monroe, who is the main source of Celebrer  for the Twilight/Tag community.

I still think Spas is the most ridiculous moniker in the history of time, and hope there is a future scene where we get to hear the line: “The name is Marco!”

Fingers crossed.

Then, we flash to Beretta (?) who has one-armed Connie hostage. Beretta apparently has rape on her mind. Connie, despite being only human, is having none of that bullish*t. However, despite her plucky nature, I have absolutely ZERO hope for Connie’s survival, given that when she stumbles down the stairs in her desperate attempt to escape, what she knocks off the table (and, of which we get not ONE, but TWO close-ups of) is this:

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Semtex… welp, that there’s a seriously POWERFUL explosive… oh, and look, all the wire you’d need…. things gonna go boooooom

Speaking of suicidal, back at Dr. Theo‘s, Nic* wakes up and rips the curtain off its hinges trying to get to his mother’s katana…

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OMG, I’ve missed that face!

Once Nina shows him the blade is there and gives it to him, Nic seems to be mollified. He at least collapses into her tiny arms.

His collapse is followed by this really poignant scene with Alex* that I’m really not sure what to make of:

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The close-up on his A-1 status tag really freaks me out.  Is it because we recently learned that Nic hypes himself past this true ability level?? Regardless, it seems ominous in a way that makes my stomach clench.

Then we get a really short (probably deeply important scene) between creepy-ass Ivan and another boss that we haven’t really seen all that much of, Tag-hating Uranos Corisca (who happens to be the owner of Big Mama‘s brothel, The Bastard [“Pussy” in the anime].)  Daniel Monroe seems to be in this scene, too, and he’s giving advice to Corisca about someone who “will appear” who will be a big help, but “tends to bite.”

Cue: Worick* arriving at The Bastard.

A lot of naked boobs say hello, excitedly, to Worick.  Only one of the girls seems to be aware that there is something really, seriously off about Worick’s behavior.  Big Mama tells Worick that she can’t talk business with him–they’re not supposed to be friends, after all, but she assures him that she’ll continue to take care of Veronica.

Worryingly, Worick says, “I don’t need her any more.” The power is shifted, the Benriya are dissolved–and, oh, and by the way, I’m now known as “Storage.”  He wants Big Mama to tell Corisca that he’s brought the head of Miles, the Monroe lieutenant, as a “present” (people keep offering body parts as “presents.” I do not think this word means what you think it means.)

And that’s where the chapter ends.

The thing I’m most fascinated by is Worick’s codename. “Storage.” I mean, obviously, this is a reference to his hyperthymesia (sometimes called ‘photographic memory.’) I’m also a little concerned because I half-remember Monroe (or maybe Ivan) suddenly having a kind of mind-control power over Delico (who he convinced to shoot Yang in the back.) I don’t know how this could have happened, but I worry that Worick is under the same spell.  (A friend of mine and I are hoping this is actually a double-cross on Worick’s part and he’s playing along and not REALLY under the influence.) I guess I’m just especially worried since Monroe seemed to know that Worick was coming….

So, now, I guess we really have to wait and see if we’re getting more Gangsta soon-ish, or if this was just a giant tease, because maybe the tankobon finally came out? (I did notice page numbers on the scanlation, so maybe this is just someone being completist and getting out the chapters we officially have translated now.)

I’m going to cross my fingers that Kosuke is making a return. I really, really love Gangsta. I was an early fan, and I remain very devoted to this world (minus the gory spin-off with Marco)—okay, actually, no, I could kind of give no craps about anyone else, JUST GIVE ME ALL THE NICOLAS BROWN!


* if you don’t remember Benirya, Nicholas Brown, Worick Arcangelo, and Alex Bendetto… I don’t know what to say.  It’s been a long time, but they are the core of this story. Literally, everyone and everything else, I will forgive. I have a terrible memory myself, and I’ve notice that names don’t really stick for me until I start writing fan fic in that universe.

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon by COOLKyoushinja

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A friend of mine started watching this anime, so I thought I’d check out the manga.  She described it this way, “O.M.G. It is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s a semi-lesbian harem anime about a dragon who falls in love with an office worker and decides to become her maid.”

Yep, that’s pretty much it.

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I’m discovering something about myself.  As you know, gentle readers, I often have trouble with comedy manga.  I bounced out of two really popular manga because of humor: Assassination Classroom and One-Punch Man.

But, here’s the thing, I decided to try watching One-Punch Man to see if I had more tolerance for humor/parody when it’s animated (as opposed to static).  Turns out?  I do.  In fact, I’m on episode 10 out of 12 already and quite enjoying it–and I could barely get through volume one of the manga!

I think that’s going to be the same for Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.

I read the first five chapters of the manga and… well, let’s just say I’m not surprised to discover that COOLKyoushinja-sensei has also written a number of ecchi titles, since Tooru (our dragon maid) ends up stripped naked in public randomly, and there’s at least one cup size joke (D for Dragon!)

There are a LOT of boob wiggles both in the anime and the manga.

Apparently, COOLKyoushinja-sensei is most famous for something called I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying/Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken and Komori-san Can’t Decline / Komori-san wa Kotowarenai (both of which also have anime.) So, if you decide you really, really like his work, there’s a lot more to choose from.

Even though I’m poo-pooing all the boob wiggle, I’m absolutely willing to try watching this.  I mean, why not? After I finish the next couple episodes of One-Punch Man, I’ve got nothing in my queue, especially since I’m not willing to try season 2 of Attack on Titan, given how much I ended up LOATHING the manga.

Humor works much better for me when it’s moving by me quickly, I think.  I’m too judge-y when I have time to ponder and consider, alas.

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Datte Maou-sama Wa Kare Ga Kirai / Good-bye World Conquest by Yamada Nichoume

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I absolutely adored the premise of this yaoi, the execution? Not as much.

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Into every generation is born a Demon King.  For each Demon King, there is a hero who must conquer him.  This is almost exactly the same set-up as the anime  Hataraku Maō-sama! / Devil is a Part-Timer, which I likewise adored. Only, in this version Maou (the name literally means ‘devil’) is a kind of hapless storekeeper who doesn’t really want the power to randomly enslave delinquents (it’s awkward to have people falling at your feet all day long.) The hero, Kamiko, is likewise atypical for what you’re expecting of a hero. In fact, when we first met him, it’s because he’s bought the building Maou’s storefront is in and forcibly evicts him.

The hero is kind of an a$$hole.

Not only is he a jerk, but he’s a little bit shady. At one point, Kamiko confesses that he went into the family business (and, yes, he means that in the yakuza sense) because he really just wanted to break-in to people’s houses and knock over vases (like a cat?).  Maou, of course, is like, “Dude! That’s not cool.”

Because, somehow, in these stories the devil is always kind of decent human being.

In Datte Maou-sama wa Kare ga Kirai all of this is really just background for Maou and Kamiko to have a lot of sex–because, you see whomever dominates the other one is the victor in this spiritual/world-domination power play.  Maou keeps trying to top, but he’s pretty helpless to Kamiko’s advances.

This is listed under the tag “dubious consent” on Baka-Updates, and I suppose you can imagine it that way since Maou does say ‘no’ and keeps telling Kamiko he’s a pervert and not to touch him ‘there’–but this feels more silly to me than rape-y. I suspect milage may vary, however.

For me, this was too tame.  (Also the early pages of the manga are badly translated, so it’s probably okay to skim them to get to the sexy-times.)

5 Centimeters per Second / Byousoku 5 Centimeter by Shinka Makoto/Seike Yukiko

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Seinen stories depress me.  Nearly all of those I’ve read or watched have left me wondering if anyone is ever happy in Japan. 5 Centimetrs per Second is no exception.

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My library had 5 Centimeters per Second collected in one big, fat volume which made me even more depressed because I could look at the thick book and think, “Wow, I read all that just to feel like this.”

The manga is billed as a love story between Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari, but that’s straight-up bullish*t.  Not only is this story not romantic, but half way through, Akari’s story is dropped completely.  Instead, the manga focuses entirely on Tono and follows his “love” (more like lack-of-love) life with various other women he meets after his initial, seventh-grade crush on Akari.

I’m pretty sure the moral of this story is: having an intense romance when you’re young f*cks you up for life.

That theme is underscored when, after Tono is forced to move to some island he meets Kanae who falls for him hard, even though his heart is still focused on Akari (even though they gave up on even pen-paling after a few months.)  Her life gets completely and utterly screwed up by this devotion, too, to the point that, when, after Tono has gone off college and is living a depressing life as a salaryman, Kanae still won’t date the SUPER HOT SURFER DUDE WHO IS SUPER INTO HER (even though she’s mostly otherwise gotten her sh*t together).

WTH is wrong with these people??

I literally don’t know.  I spent the last half of the book muttering, “OMG GET OVER IT” under my breath.

I guess it’s romantic to wreck your life over some girl you loved in seventh grade?  No, actually, it’s not. It’s stupid. Look, I had some very intense crushes when I was young.  IT DID NOT RUIN MY ABILITY TO GIVE MY HEART AWAY TO OTHER PEOPLE.

I dunno, maybe the cherry tree (of the title, as supposedly cherry petals fall at this rate of speed) is cursed. (Although that doesn’t explain Kanae, whose life is also ruined by young love.)

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My take away: stay away from creepy trees.

Apparently, there is a movie. Probably the movie is not only beautifully rendered, but also POIGNANT–which I think is what this was going for, but utterly failed for me.  Also, could we PLEASE just stop with the message that after the age 15 adventures stop, and that everything afterwards is some kind of soulless compromise?

 

Blue Exorcist: Chapter 88 (Happy [Merry X-Mas] Birthday Eve.)

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Since officially giving up on Shingeki no Kyojin, I do believe the Ao no Exorcist is now the only manga I’m reading as it comes out.

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Chapter 88 starts with Rin, our hero, convincing himself and those around him that Plant Girl (Shiemi) is dying and that THAT’s the reason she no longer wants to be an exorcist.  While a number of the others agree that’s a possibility, none of them will let Rin straight-up ask (because that would ruin the plot device.)

Shiemi derails speculation further by organizing everyone into teams to put together this giant birthday/Christmas party.

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At the mall, the speculation about Shiemi’s potential upcoming demise continues.  Several alternatives to death are offered–many of them based on Japanese folktales–until pink-haired Shima says, “Look, maybe she just changed her mind.”

Which everyone finally accepts as a possibility.  However, both me and my friend who read this with me this morning, instantly thought: HE KNOWS SOMETHING.  Izumo thinks the same thing and confronts him.

Tell me, does this look like the face of a liar-liar-pants-on-fire?

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I think so, too.

We bounce around through the various “teams” doing their party prep, and then switch to Suguro (Bon) who is trying to sort through all the information that he and Light got about the secret clone project.  Randomly, Bon comes across a familiar name: Shiro.

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Yeah, Bon, you and me both… I had NO IDEA who this was at first….

I had no idea, even with a visual prompt, I still had nothing. THANK GODS for the wiki (and a friend who with a better memory for names who double checked) because even with the surname supplied, I still had no idea that Shiro Fujimoto was our heroes’ DAD (or adoptive dad.)

Though this suddenly makes sense as to why Satan was able to possess him on the Night of Blue Fire or whatever it’s called.

As if this wasn’t enough of a plot development, Bon notices that there’s a page missing from the list of clones.  In particular, subject 005 seems to have been struck/stolen from the record, leading Bon to believe “Subject 005” is likely the successful Satan clone.

My money is still on Shiemi, btw.

Waking Light up to tell him this news, we get a funny interaction where Bon is fed up with Light sleeping instead of investigating and Light tells him that be works best when he’s accessing his unconscious mind (aka sleeping.) Me, too, brother.  Me, too. Bon is irritated by this, but decides maybe now is the time to ask for permission to go to the party.  Light’s all, “Whateves, dude. You’ve never been required to follow my orders, anyhoo.” (Paraphrase.) Bon, being terminally serious, takes this as an okay. (ILU, Bon.)

Other ways in which Bon is me:

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I really think I might have to take all the volumes out of the library again and re-read.

After this we flash to boob-lady (Shura) who convinces younger-brother Yukio that he, too, should try to relax a little and hang out with kids his own age for a change. Yukio wonders why she’s not going and she drops the random bomb that she’s off looking for a life-partner. (?? Okay! That’s kind of his response, too.)

We then discover that Yukio is legit crappy at crafts, and always has been. When he tells a meant-to-be-heartwarming/self-depricating story about how Father Fujimoto used to indulge his and Rin’s inability to art, Bon pulls the OMG SAD I KNOW A SECRET face, but Yukio doesn’t press him overly much about it, and they go back to crafting their decorations.

The very last scene in the chapter is another flashback in which we find out that while Rin has been content not to know anything about their “true” parentage (or at least he was then), Yukio has always had (and continues to have) a burning desire to know.

Which given this final image:

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What is that? THE FLAMES OF HELL? The crumbled void of nonexistence???? The yawning maw of Hell Itself????!!!????

Whatever it is, it is NOT HAPPY FAMILIES!

If I need to say anything in conclusion of this chapter, it’s that I will forever adore Katou-sensei for her ability to continue serious, intense plot, while giving us these lovely, light, fun character moments.  Shopping trips are kind of like the ultimate in “curtain fic,” and yet, we’re treated both to some wonderful character development between Fox-Girl (Izumo) and pink-haired Shima, in which we see Izumo not exactly warm up to him, yet seriously discuss the ways in which she’s decided to deal with him as a potential double-agent (while also fan-girling over cute cakes!)  Similarly, we get goofy “I don’t art” from Yukio, which is just sweet and silly, yet which seamlessly leads into a major character/plot issue, which is: what is up with Satan? What exactly is this world? And what is Gehenna? (which are the literal questions that Bon asked Light, previously.)

Frankly, this is fairly brilliant stuff.

So, you know, I feel like I could almost let myself join this fandom.

I’m just… still so BURNED from Bleach, that I’m afraid…. Still. I may just have to risk it again.

Thoughts?