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Manga

Sakamoto Days, Manga Volume 1 Review: A legendary hitman retires

Sakamoto Days, a manga series by Yuuto Suzuki, tells the story of Taro Sakamoto, a now retired hitman. Each chapter is one “Day” in the life of Sakamoto. After falling in love, Sakamoto retired, gained weight, and began running a convenience store. When a former employee, the clairvoyant Shin appears, Sakamoto’s is dragged backed into the hitman world. Sakamoto’s skills haven’t suffered in his time away from killing. Instead he’s kept them sharp doing chores for the town people. After visiting his old boss, Shin leaves disappointed. It turns out he was sent to kill Sakamoto for leaving the hitman organization. Shin returns the next day to finish the job.

Sakamoto easily overwhelms Shin. Using the “tools” he has at his disposal, Sakamoto blocks a bullet with a cough drop, then uses them like bullets with the help of a rubber band. Despite his size, Sakamoto is quick on his feet. He’s able to move silently and quickly. On top of all that he seems to possess superhuman strength. Shin returns having failed to kill his former boss. His current boss isn’t pleased. Shin admires Sakamoto too much to kill him and is even willing to sacrifice himself instead. When the boss orders Shin dead, it’s Sakamoto that comes to his rescue.

Taro Sakamoto doesn’t kill anymore but he’s still violent

The penalty is divorce

Suzuki quickly undermines what we assumed to be the main premise of the series. Yes, Sakamoto retired. However, he remains prepared to fight at any point. After the first Day, Shin gets what he wants. An opportunity to work for Sakamoto again. Only it’s at a store. Sakamoto Days centers around the importance of rules. Sakamoto is targeted by his old colleagues for breaking a rule when he ran out on the organization. His wife, Aoi Sakamoto, reminds him of the “family rules,” which include “no killing.” Breaking these rules have consequences. For the hitmen it’s death for his wife it’s divorce.

Despite her hatred of death, Aoi is confident in her husbands fighting ability. When she’s a hostage in busjacking she tells the criminals that she’s not worried because “I know he’ll always save me.” The family rules are codified in the “Sakamoto Family Rules Notebook,” which Taro Sakamoto gives to Shin to follow. Based on Day 2, there’s at least 12 rules, with the first one being “no killing.” Day 3 introduces Officer Nakase. A spirited young woman, she becomes suspicious of Shin and Taro. They have a fun chase scene through the mall. However, Officer Nakase loses our protagonist. After rescuing a young woman, she’s captured by the Zuttomo Motorcycle Gang.

Taro rescues his wife and other hostages

The power of Sakamoto

At this point in the series we know that Shin has a supernatural ability of clairvoyance. Shin and Taro make great use of this ability. It allows them to communicate without speaking. Which is good, especially considering Taro’s quiet. Telepathy also protects them from exposing their past as hitmen. While trying to rescue Officer Nakase, they work in tandem, covered by a smokescreen, while Shin gives Taro the location of the gang members. At the end of the conflict, Taro emerges from the smoke, thin. Does he have superpowers too? Does he need to eat to maintain his strength? We aren’t given specifics but this would be my best guess.

Despite it’s tone and art style, Sakamoto Days is a violent series. However, the violence Taro and Shin produce is far less violent than what the criminals produce. Taro and Shin don’t kill and they use tools normal use for other purposes, like pots, pans, food, or a refrigerator. Whereas, the villains use more traditional weapons like knives, swords, and guns. The violence may be different but it’s always present. Taro often threatens Shin with death, and imagines various ways to “kill” him. It’s played for laughs and I think it’s effective. Engaging in violent fantasy seems to be one way Taro copes with not being able to kill.

A billion yen bounty

By Day 6, Taro has acquired another employee, former triad member, Lu Xiao-tan. She’s got fighting skills as well as being a good cook. As Taro, Lu, and Shin abandoned their more violent lives they’re still able to function, making use of both the violent skills developed and secondary ones. We encounter another former employee of Taro’s, Nagumo. He’s able to shapeshift and avoid Shin’s telepathy. Sakamoto Days ups the stakes here. Other assassins have abilities and Shin can’t read all of their minds. Nagumo is captured. He reveals that a billion yen price has been offered for Taro’s head. When the Pizza Assassin tries to kill Taro, Nagumo subdues him and escapes. We’re briefly introduced to those who want Taro dead, the Dondenka. Taro issues them a warning. Come after him and “get ready to see hell.”

Sakamoto Days is a action packed series, with humor, comedy, and supernatural elements. It balances all these aspect well. Yuuto Suzuki art is versatile. He’s able to provide detail and shading when necessary and draws action well. As Shonen protagonist goes, Taro Sakamoto is both typical and different. Like most, he’s a power house dominating his opposition. He loves to fight and eat. However, he’s an adult male and has already mastered his abilities. The power system (if we can call it that) seems fluid. I appears that each of the best assassins have some kind of power to help them, if that’s the case things could get interesting. Sakamoto Days is a series I would recommend.

Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 160: Is Yuji Itadori the son of Kenjaku?

I had reread Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 160 to believe what I just read. Did Gege Akutami confirm Kenjaku is Yuji’s mother? If that sounds weird it should. In chapter 143, we get a dream scene of Jin Itadori talking to his father, Wasuke Itadori. Yuji’s grandfather tells Jin to “live however he like’s, but give up on that woman.” Jin tells his father not to be so negative in front of Yuji, as “babies remember more that we think,” suggesting this is more than a random dream but a memory from Yuji. Wasuke loses his temper. He tells Jin he knows he wanted a child with a woman named Kaori. This seems to be Jin’s former wife. However, a woman walks in and asks “what are you talking about?”

The woman isn’t remarkable looking except for the stitching on her forehead. Kenjaku possess an innate ability which allows him to swap bodies with another. The transfer leaves a noticeable stitched scar across the forehead. Kenjaku can use the host’s curse energy, techniques, and has access to the hosts memory. Why would Kenjaku seek to parent Yuji? I suspect it likely has more to do with Yuji’s father than Yuji himself. Anyway, Kenjaku says something interesting in chapter 136, he tells Yuki that he “had” Yuji “ingest cursed objects (Sukuna’s finger).” At this point in the story it’s unclear why Kenjaku would inhabit the body of Yuji’s mother but Gege is slowly unraveling this mystery.

Noritoshi Kamo

Jin’s Second Partner

Pseudo-Geto

Thank you for getting along with my son

Setsuko Sasaki returns in this chapter. If you’ve forgotten her, she’s the friend of Yuji from the Occult Research Club. Kenjaku enters her dreams to bring her out of the barrier. He claims that “those who begin inside the barrier have the right to leave once.” When Sasaki opens her eyes she’s outside with Iguchi. It appears Kenjaku lead many civilians outside of the barriers but why does he care?

Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 160 seems to confirm Kenjaku was Yuji’s mother

Elsewhere, Yuji, Panda, Megumi, Kinji and Kirara plan a course of action. They can’t locate Angel via the Kogane. Panda speculates that it might not be her real name. Megumi notes that Master Tengen said to go to colony number 2 in East Tokyo. Kinji decides he and Panda will head there, Yuji and Megumi will head to Tokyo number 1, with Kirara remaining outside. Kinji reasons that he should take on Kashimo best they’re the strongest. Panda, Kinji, Yuji, and Megumi enter the Culling Game.

Anime

My Hero Academia Season 5, Episode 25: Class 1-A reaches new heights

My Hero Academia Season 5 was a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong I still love the series, but this season was underwhelming. It’s possible being a manga reader has set my expectations too high. However, the pervious seasons were better. The final episode needs to end the season while setting up the next. My Hero Academia Season 5, Episode 25, “The High, Deep Blue Sky,” wraps up the Paranormal Liberation War Arc. Tomura Shigaraki is crowned the Grand Commander, while Hawks watches in the crowd. Before this moment, Dabi and Hawks meet. While Dabi is tight lipped about the events of Deika City, he unzips a duffel bag with the corpse of Best Jeanist. We are quickly assured that Hawks didn’t actually kill the number four hero, when Dabi notes that “even if (the body) isn’t Jeanist, Hawks “definitely killed someone.”

The skeptism from Dabi is obviously warranted because we know Hawks is a double agent, but this narrative is undercooked. I often forget it’s even going on. Regardless, Hawks has work to do. He needs to find out who is the “backer” of the Paranormal Liberation Front. Tomura meets with Doctor Ujiko, who discusses how Quirks have evolved and will eventually become too much for the human body. As generations go on, Quirks continue to merge, becoming more complex. He reintroduces the theory, Quirk Singularity. Dr. Garaki wasn’t taken serious by other, except All For One. He understood that controlling more Quirks is difficult on the body. The ignorance of the society is shocking considering it’s obvious that Quirks are getting stronger. I guess they’ll notice when someone pulls a meteor from the sky.

Class 1-A improves

The rest of the episode focuses on Class 1-A. All the members show of how they improved under the tutelage of Pro Heroes during their work studies. Izuku successfully uses his Blackwhip Quirk. This section of the episode let’s us know that even thought Tomura and the Paranormal Liberation War Arc have gotten stronger the heroes are improving as well. All Might meets with Izuku and Katsuki to discuss One For All. He’s done research into the past users, except he couldn’t find anything on the second and third users. The former user of the Blackwhip Quirk is Daigoro Banjo (Lariat). According to All Might the next Quirk Deku will learn is Nana Shimura: Float. Later, Class 1-A enjoy dinner, while, Eraser Head talks to All Might outside. He’s still adapting to being “powerless.” He’s decided he wants to live.

Anime

One Piece Chapter 1026: Momo bites Kaido, Luffy inspires, and Orochi lives.

As Onigashima heads toward the Flower Capital, Luffy and the newly matured Momonosuke fight Kaido. In One Piece Chapter 1026 “Tennozan: Turning Point,” Momo and Kiado cloud the skies creating thunderstorms. Kiado attacks with Blast Breath. At this point Momo is too frighten to do much but dodge. Luffy hammers Kaido with Gomu Gomu no Elephant Gun. Recalling his Kaido’s brutal attack on his mother, Momo bites Kaido. Luffy strikes Kaido once again.

Meanwhile, at the Treasure Repository Dome, Inuarashi and Nekomamushi revert from their Sulong forms after the clouds begin covering the moon. Perospero and Jack gloat. After biting Kaido, Luffy asks Momo if “anything in the world still feels scary?” He tells Momo to stop Onigashima. Luffy announces that he will “definitely beat Kaido.” The allied forces cheer hearing Luffy. Kaido transforms form his dragon form and he and Luffy clash with Haki. When they do they split the clouds, revealing the moon.

Nekomamushi and Inuarashi are able to return to their Sulong form. They both use Oden One-Sword Style: Grinning Cat Claw and Decapitating Dog Fleche, respectively. Perospero and Jack are both defeated. Kurozumi Orochi is a witness to their defeat. I still think Orochi has multiple lives and each head (down from nine to seven) represents one life. Unfortunate for him, he also seems to be weak. His only means of survival is to scheme. With Kaido’s betrayal, he might join the alliance.

Anime

My Hero Academia Chapter 327: Deku returns to U.A and gets much deserved rest

In the last chapter of My Hero Academia, Stain returned to ignite a fire in All Might. Feeling useless after losing his power, All Might felt he couldn’t do anything for his disciple. Hero Killer Stain challenges him to “maintain that grin and devote every fiber of his being to the people.” My Hero Academia Chapter 327, “Rest” opens with Deku and the rest of Class 1-A taking a much need bath. It’s a much need rest. Everyone’s exhausted especially Uraraka. Finally able to sit down with Deku, the class asks about One For All. Suddenly, All Might bursts in. He apologizes for failing to help Deku. He’s not an active hero anymore but he’ll fight.

Jirou plans another performance like the one they did during the Culture Festival. She hopes to life the spirits of the people that have evacuated. Elsewhere, Hawks, Endeavor, and Best Jeanist continue to patrol. Hawks mentions they have managed to gain new info from Dr. Garaki. Specifically Shigaraki’s growth and the Nomu. It will take two month’s for Tomura’s body to stabilize. They hope to make the “first move,” in a month. However, with Stain giving All Might the records from Tartarus things have changed.

Hero Killer Stain has always been a wildcard in this series. He’s a mass murder. However, he doesn’t like killing without reason. Killing Pro heroes he’s deems “unworthy.” He’s no hero, but he wants “real” heroes to prosper. Stain believes All Might and Deku are among the “true” heroes. To him any hero that “wielded power without conviction,” were sinners. His world view inspired villains like Dabi, Toga, and Spinner. With his return he could undermine All For One’s plans.