Monday, June 30, 2014

Human Cull

Human Cull is kind of a light-hearted take on a dark humor subject. The idea is that Earth is over-populated, and a little alien guy has arrived on the planet to present a solution by culling bad-mannered people. Past examples have been those that blast their stereo too loud, leave their barking dogs outside all day, and talk on cell phones in movie theaters. A few weeks ago, I noticed that certain people like to stand in the middle of escalators specifically to prevent anyone from getting past them. I sent the idea in to Alex, and he added it to the "cull list" on Monday.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Beer Festa

Amupla has been hosting events over the weekends for the last month. The most recent one was the Beer Festa, on the 21st and 22nd. I had to work part of Saturday, and it was raining fairly heavily both days. I knew that something was going on up there, but the rain didn't slack off until close to 5 PM. Fortunately, the festa ran until 8 PM, so I was able to catch some of it. The right side of the plaza had 4-5 booths selling Japanese beers, like Kirin, Asahi, and Sapporo, as well as the in-house beers from Shiroyama Hotel. It was pricey, at 500 yen ($5 USD) for a regular cup, or 700 yen for a large, but the Shiroyama stout did taste good (by 6 PM, 3 of the hotel's 4 beers were sold out). The left side of the plaza had steaks and sausages. The plates were sets at 1,200 yen or 1,400 yen for a fixed amount of steak and sausages, plus extra for sides. Since I was going to be eating dinner back at home at 7 PM, I couldn't justify buying a second dinner just to get the sausages, but they looked tempting. Maybe next year.

I have yet to see the steak and beer bike on the road, but I've seen posters for it. Supposedly, it goes up and down tram street, powered by the customers as they eat and drink.

The announcement card indicated that music was on the hour, but there weren't any band names mentioned for any of the sets. These four women sang a few songs for half an hour, then left the stage to the MC, who spent most of his time either trying to get the audience to sing a German beer song, or interviewing the beer vendors for a few minutes. The next hour, these women came back out. They sang kind of gospel-pop songs that I didn't feel like recording, so after a while I just went back home for a real dinner.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ajin, vol. 4 Review

Edit: I wrote this entry up without having read volumes 1-3 first. Two years later, I've finally gotten around to starting from the beginning, and now I have to correct my mistakes

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

Ajin, vol. 4, written by Tsunina Miura and art by Gamon Sakurai. Grade: B. (Good Afternoon, 2013-14)

Both Miura and Sakurai are relatively unknown, their only credits given on Anime News Network being for Ajin. Miura wasn't listed on volume 3, but he's back on vol. 4. He disappears again from vol. 5.

(New cast list. Kou is the kid at the top extreme left, and the guy that warns him to not trust Satoh is at the top extreme right. The one with the cane is the computer whiz, while beard and spiky hair survive the shootings to become Satoh's main henchmen. Glasses and bowl cut get killed by Tanaka.)

A group of newbies are gathered at a construction site to meet a mysterious older guy named Satoh. One of the guys (he identifies himself as simply "a firefighter") advises one of the kids in the group to duck out, but the kid, Kou Nakano, wants to stick around. Inside, Satoh tells the group that his plan is to create a homeland for the Ajin, while wiping out the humans in a major bloodbath. Nakano's partner wants out, and Nakano follows suit. Satoh seems to be willing to let them go, but Kou sees someone hiding in an air vent with a dart gun. He kicks his partner in the back of the leg, causing the dart to miss its target. Tanaka crawls out with a regular gun and starts blasting away, hitting several of the group, including Satoh. Kou and the firefighter run to the end of the hallway, and find themselves trapped several stories up with no fire escape. Satoh heals from the gunshot and hands two of the three remaining members spear guns, ordering them to capture the runaways. The third member is a guy with a bad leg, who becomes the group's computer whiz. Kou is pushed out the door, while the firefighter gets speared, roped and stuffed in a drum. Being an Ajin, he doesn't die.

(Kou and the other guy try to outrun Satoh's new assistants.)

Kou survives the fall and returns to his apartment, where his landlady sees the blood on his shirt and insists on calling an ambulance. In the apartment are agents being directed via radio by Tosaki. Tosaki's men come close to capturing Kou, but the ambulance shows up and takes him to a hospital that he can easily escape from. Kou hops a train. He watches as a kind of black blood floats down from the sky and helps his body heal.

(Kou tries to escape Tosaki's men.)

Outside the window, he sees a similar rain in the mountains in the distance. He tracks this second rain into the woods and encounters Kei. Unfortunately, Kei is with a black faceless one, referred to as a "black ghost," and the ghost attacks Kou immediately. Kou heals, and Kei decides that he doesn't need this interference. He'd stumbled onto an old couple that is senile enough to believe that he is a grandson that's come back from Tokyo. They don't watch TV news so they don't recognize him as a wanted man. It's a sweet gig that Kei doesn't want compromised. Kei attacks Kou and they battle until Kei finally succeeds in drowning Kou in a river. One of the things Kei has learned is that while an Ajin can't permanently die, it does take differing amounts of time to regenerate from various forms of "death." When Kou awakens, he finds himself trapped inside the back of a crashed truck. Kei locks the truck's doors and returns to the cabin for dinner. For some reason, black ghosts can't penetrate metal, so Kou isn't going to escape on his own.

(Kou's losing battle against the more experienced Kei.)

Back at Grant Pharma, Tosaki is under attack by other company members that want him ousted for his failures. It doesn't help that the news media is hounding the company and demanding answers regarding Kei's escape. Another guy enters the room, identified as Sokabe. Sokabe is Tosaki's junior, but in a position to replace Tosaki if necessary. Sokabe gives Tosaki an ultimatum to get information on Kei within 48 hours, so he goes to the basement of the building and confronts Ogura. He cuts off two of the researchers fingers, but the guy won't talk unless he's given a pack of Mild Seven FKs. While smoking a cigarette, Ogura says that what they'd found so far is that ghosts can be used as weapons, with their fangs and talons, but there's a limit to how often they can be summoned per day, and after about 5 minutes they dissipate again. But, the reason Satoh didn't use his ghost that much was that it was raining, which interferes with the link between the Ajin and his ghost. Additionally, ghosts don't always do what the Ajin orders. Tosaki returns to the room to give his report, but the others still want him fired. Satoh has streamed another video online from saying that the new world order will begin at 3 PM. Sokabe stands up for Tosaki in the room, but a few minutes later he visits the Diet Cabinet member, and says that Tosaki knows too much. The boss orders Tosaki silenced, while Izumi's black ghost eavesdrops nearby.

(Sokabe, top, with Izumi's black ghost. Tosaki and Izumi, bottom.)

The police and army cordon off the neighborhood around Grant Pharma to guard against Satoh's attack. Inside the corporate HQ, the company president complains about how much money they're losing because all the workers have gone home early. At an airport, probably Haneda, Satoh is going through security. A little girl notices a shopping bag moving across the ceiling, but her mother tells her to be quiet and to go through the security gate.

(Satoh and his ghost on their way through the airport to complete Satoh's first step in wiping out the humans.)

The shopping bag is carried by Satoh's invisible black ghost, who gives him the bag in the lounge area. Satoh boards the plane and it takes off. In the air, he goes into a lavatory and pulls out a cordless circular saw and nail gun. He cuts through the wall, gets to the cockpit, kills both the pilot and copilot with the nail gun, and nails the door back shut. Then, right at 3 PM, he crashes the plane into Grant Pharma's HQ building, killing the company president. When he crawls out of the wreckage, and as his body repairs itself, he comments on having had one major thrill ride.

Comments: The character designs are kind of rough, and the faces often change from panel to panel. The background art is good, though, as is the action sequences. Post 9-11, it's really not a great idea to have terrorists crashing planes into buildings, so I did cringe at that part. The story still feels a bit derivative, and I keep remembering similar scenes in Alive - The Final Evolution. But, still, it's recommended if you liked Alive.

Notes: At one point, Tanaka notices a ghost standing and talking to itself and asks what's going on. Satoh replies that Kei's ghost seemed to be autonomous and have a will of its own. He finds this fascinating, and has been experimenting with his own ghost to see what it can really do. And, Satoh uses the Microsoft flight simulator to learn enough about flying jumbo jets to be dangerous.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Space Family Carlvinson, vol. 4

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

Space Family Carlvinson, vol. 4, by Yoshitoo Asari, Grade: A

Hateshinaki Boutou (Limitless Wild Pitch)

Strong Man's son, Strong Boy, is showing off his batting skills, which leads to the introduction of a baseball tournament. Andy, the half-robot, wants to take the opportunity to sell sports gear to the two teams, but no one on the planet actually knows what the rules for baseball are and therefore aren't lining up to buy gloves and stuff. Belka tries explaining the game, then gives up. Corona is the starting pitcher for the rival team, and hits every single one of the batters with a dead ball. The game ends with Corona scoring a perfect KO over Strong Boy's team.

Otousan no Himitsu (Dad's Secret)

While sleeping on the empty husk of Noumad, Belka has a strange dream that three battle robots resembling Dad had gotten destroyed somehow, possibly by Dad himself. When she wakes up, she takes Noumad to Andy to see if he can extract Dad's memories from it (from when Noumad had tried sucking everyone's brains). At about this time, Corona falls into a well and Dad goes into full riot mode to save her. When the ruckus is over, Belka returns to Andy's shop only to find that the robot has torn Noumad to pieces and can't put it back together again.

Kowai Haishasan (The Scary Dentist)

The regular doctor is called out for a house visit so when Turbo, the Cerebellum pet squirrel, develops a toothache, the only one in the clinic to help him is Dad, and Dad is desperate to try out all the surgical equipment on his new "patient".

Fuyu no Dekigoto (It Happened in the Winter)

It's winter, and Corona and Belka notice one of the little black furballs frozen in the snow. Normally, the furballs run around with a tiny heating iron to burn people and then enjoy the heat radiating off from them. As Corona and Belka are watching, Ken, the wandering lizard, points out that the furballs like to run up a snowbank, melt the snow with the iron, and then accidentally fall into the hole and freeze into place. Somehow, all of the furballs merge into one giant unstoppable monster, and it's up to the demon Raika (Belka's archenemy) to save everyone.

Kyou ha ○shii Hinamatsuri (Today is a --up Girls Doll Festival)

Corona is playing with one of her Hina dolls when the head falls off. She tries getting Mom to buy a new one, but this fails. Dad buys the last one in stock from Andy's shop, but Strong Man steals it when it appears to be something valuable. Corona goes into a pout, so Dad tries making a replacement, with a 6-foot tall head. The chapter ends with Corona happily accepting the 30-foot tall Hina statues Dad carves in a cliff face, and Strong Boy gets heckled for playing with dolls.

Suna no Hin (The Object in the Sand)

Turbo has a dream that Dad has killed a battle robot that resembles Dad, and together they've buried it in a field. The next morning, Dad does everything to prove that it wasn't a dream and Turbo thinks he was an accomplice to murder. When the rest of the troupe actually locate the corpse, they discover that it's not dead. The black duplicate hands some kind of documentation over to Dad, which Belka hopes is proof that they know each other, but Dad shreds it before anyone can see it. Belka really wants to learn more about Dad's past, but Mom reminds the entire troupe of why they're there in the first place - to care for Corona. Dad's past is unimportant. But now, the rest of the troupe is curious and speculate over what would happen if Corona found out that Dad was a killer, a thief or worse. Each of the scenarios end with Mom and Dad gassing themselves in shame. Mom ends up talking to two of the duplicate Dads, with one claiming to not know who Dad is, and the other realizing that it's better if they just leave the planet now to avoid further complicating everyone's lives. Then, Dad plays a piece of military music on a toy piano, and the two duplicates start crying as they take off.

As a side note, Mom tells Belka that the troupe's job is to keep outsiders away from Corona, and not share their secret with anyone. These outsiders include Raika, the invaders and the Super Family.

Epilogue: Andy confronts Mom, telling her that he knows Dad's secret, that he was a Commodore of the Wesner System Independent (Independence) Air Force, along with Generals Ajean, Dowar and Chetore (Ajean is the black robot, and Dowar was the one with him in the previous chapter). As a team they were unstoppable, and racked up a body count well over the tens of thousands range. All the information is on Noumad's memory disk, which Andy leaves with Mom.

Nazo no Enban UMA (The Puzzle of the Spaceship UMA)

Nazo takes the kindergarten kids out on a fishing trip, but Corona doesn't want to fish with live bait (a box of sandworms), which Dad ends up eating anyway. She forms a brain out of flour, and Turbo corrects her to get the shape just right. The alien invaders do a good job of catching fish, with one of the invaders using a second fishing line to fillet the fish in the air so it lands on a plate as finished sashimi. At sunset, the others go home while Corona stays out and continues to try her luck. She catches something HUGE, which threatens to pull her into the water. The line breaks, and Dad rescues her while she's still in the air. Ken claims that it was an UMA, mis-defining it as Unidentified Flying Object. His explanation is that it's an unidentified mysterious animal, ala the Loch Ness Nessie. When she finally goes home, Mom asks if she caught lots of fish, Corona answers, "I got one", with Dad hanging on to the end of the line with his mouth.

Yousai Kei Matsuri (The Holding the Fortress Festival)

Strong Boy, the alien invaders and Corona stop at a shop to get ice cream (which Strong Boy buys to bribe everyone to be his friend). Strong Boy then shoots Corona in the forehead with a soft-air pistol, causing her to drop her cone on the ground. The aliens all run away, knowing what's coming next. Corona starts crying, and Dad arrives in full battle armor to kill whoever's harassing her. 15 seconds later, he forgets why he's there. Upset that the aliens turned on him, Strong Boy runs home and tells his father that Dad was bullying him. Strong Man sees this as an excuse to look good in front of his boy, and goes to teach Dad a lesson. In the next scene, Strong Man and Strong Boy are trying to take refuge in the sheriff's office, demanding that Belka save them. Dad opens full fire on the jail, slowly whittling it to the ground, while immediately forgetting why he's doing this. Belka and John resign to their fates, until Corona runs up to let Dad know dinner is ready. After the smoke clears, John asks if they should have tried leaving through the back door; Belka bops him on the head. As Strong Man and his son walk home, Strong Boy quietly asks if his father really is all that strong. To cover his embarrassment, Strong Man demolishes the next passing train, making his son happy again.

Akarui Nakama (The Cheerful Friend)

A strange robot shows up in the playground and attacks anyone that looks like they're having fun. One of the invaders suspects that it just wants to play with them, but all attempts to come up with the right game result in the robot yelling "Titan Punch" or "Titan Beam" and smashing the others into the ground. Mom arrives and invites the robot to stay the night, but this turns out to be a mistake and she doesn't get any sleep, what with all the "Titan Punch" shouting in the air. The next day, the railroad crew recognize the robot and explain that it's part of their construction team. The lead engineer then wonders why he hadn't noticed Titan missing the day before, as Dad shouts "Titan Beam" while pulverizing some rocks.

Shuyaku Soushitsu (Disappearance of the Lead Actor)

Corona wakes up one morning only to find out that the house is surrounded by a black cloud. Outside, John runs to the jail to get Belka to come out and look at the latest weirdness. There's a barrier surrounding the spaceship that Mom, Dad, Turbo and Corona live in. The barrier seems to be made of dry ice and cotton wadding, but any attempt to touch it results in massive sparking and the destruction of whatever is doing the poking. Belka tries using a truck with an electromagnet on top to punch a hole in the barrier, but all that happens is that the truck explodes. Then, there's a deep rumbling sound, followed by the emergence of a huge Typhoon (one of the giant one-eyed, multi-legged monsters on the planet is called "Typhoon"). The typhoon is headed right for the ship. It hits the barrier and is stopped. The barrier is revealed to be a giant colander covered in cotton. With the barrier up on one end, and the typhoon stuck on top of it, Corona and the rest of the family can finally get out to play. The troupe wonders where the barrier came from, while Dad quietly hides in his room, reading an article in a hobby magazine on how to make barriers out of a colander and cotton.

Yami no Koi (Voice of the Darkness)

Nazo takes the school children out for mushroom gathering in the woods. Corona uses the aliens to determine which mushrooms are edible (obviously, it's those that don't cause any of the aliens to die). Suddenly, the kids break out in mushrooms, and Nazo tries to figure out why. Even Rainbow Man is stricken with the strange disease. After several days, the kids yell that being covered in mushrooms is fun and Nazo should try them herself. Before she's forced to eat the mushrooms, they all fall off the kids at the last moment. Seems that the mushrooms on this planet have a very short growing season. Back at home, Mom surprises Corona with an all-mushroom dinner.

Manga Saiensu (Manga Science)

This is kind of a call-back joke to the Science Manga series Asari used to draw. Mom is cleaning Corona's ears with a Q-tip, and Turbo says that he'd like his ears cleaned, too. Problem is, he doesn't actually have ears. To prove everyone wrong, Turbo tries to find out where his ears are, and Corona nearly kills him by accident in trying to conduct experiments to help get him an answer. Turbo gives up and uses the Q-tip to clean out the areas between his brain folds. Corona thinks it would be faster to just use a vacuum cleaner. This causes part of Turbo's brain to unfold. Corona assumes that putting him in a washing machine will fix the problem, but now his head is like one big mochi. Corona hangs him out on a clothesline to dry. Mom sees the big sheet on the line, thinks it's a bed mattress, and uses a swatter to slap all the dust out. The narrator tells us that it takes one month for Turbo to completely heal again.

(Ken = Ken)

Comments: Frozen furballs for the win! Barriers of dry ice to stop Typhoons! Dad murders his former friends but they get better! Details at 10! Highly recommended.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tenmonkan no Hi

The banner on the left announces that the 10th of every month is "Tenmonkan Day". The fact that the banner has the mascot for the area police box on it implies that this is when the police rub elbows with the public. The main stage banner announces that the police are proud to open up a lesson room for the prevention of violence against women. The event was in the area next to the 7-11 in Tenmonkan, and featured the Temonkan police box foamhead mascot, who spent most of his time trying to hide behind a banner.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fishing Bike

Have pole, will travel.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Powered Coffee

There are some products, when you see them on the shelf, you just start wondering "Huh?" In Japan, there has long been a market for genki drinks, which are little 3-4 ounce bottles of vitamin and caffeine shots. As brands like Gatorade and Poccari Sweat started catching on, drink companies began casting out for bigger markets. More recently, we've been seeing specific energy drinks ala Red Bull. And now "enhanced" coffee - with additional caffeine and other ingredients. Powered Coffee is accompanied by posters featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis grimed up to look like old-school oil rig workers. I figured that, at 150 yen ($1.50 USD) for a 6-oz. can, I'd take the risk for the sake of the blog.

Bottom line? Snake oil. Dish-water-flavored snake oil. The stuff smells and looks like a dark roast coffee, but has virtually no flavor at all. And I didn't feel a caffeine or vitamin rush afterward. Yet another fad created to appeal to Japanese that fall for anything with the word "new" on the front.

The back of the can says:
Royal Jelly Extract: 150mg
Siberian Ginseng: 100mg
Jujube Extract: 100mg
Chinese Wolfberry Extract: 50mg

Tastes like dirty water.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Now Showing

There's a new cineplex in Tenmonkan, called Tenpara. I go to the coffee shop on the first floor of the building about once a week, and the 100 yen shop on the second floor every couple of weeks. The cineplex is on floors 3-6, but the advertising posters are all over the place. Just for amusement, I took photos of all the advertising on the second floor. We have Ana and the Snow Queen (Frozen), Doraemon, Spiderman 2, Thermae Romae II, There's Light at the End of Even the Darkest Night (Sorademo Yoru wa Akeru = 12 Years a Slave), Maleficent and Omoide no Marne- (Memories of Marne = When Marnie was There).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Virginia's Story, a Reading

I decided to try tackling another of Kory Merritt's works, No Story, No Room. This one is an excerpt entitled, Virginia's Story. I'm not happy with how Virginia's voice came out, and the 4 scrolling scenes in the middle are too short. If I can get someone to do Virginia's voice for me, I'll consider fixing all the other stuff at the same time.

youtube link

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review: Space Family Carlvinson, vol. 3

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

Space Family Carlvinson, vol. 3, by Yoshitoo Asari, Grade: A

This time, we get another set of recurring characters: some robot-looking guys that build a railroad across the planet, and the most self-absorbed family in the universe.

Yuusha no Densetsu (Legend of the Brave Guy)

Corona's pre-school class is given a reading assignment, so she goes to the library to get a book. What she finds is Nazo sensei's video game simulation book, which teleports Corona into a version of Legend of Zelda, with all of the parts incompetently portrayed by the circus troupe.

Niji Otoko ha Futatabi (Return of Rainbow Man)

Niji hides human body parts around town in order to lure Belka, Corona and the aliens into a death trap. While the trick works, none of the victims are smart enough to realize that they're supposed to become afraid of getting killed. They're rescued by Dad when he arrives to tell Corona it's time for dinner.

Fushigi Ryouri no Gyakushuu (Mysterious Recipe Counter-attack)

Dad makes dinner, which threatens to kill anyone that eats it. Only John, the dog-suit wearing spider monster considers the meal at all delicious.

Ooinaru Tabiji (The Great Journey)

A group of robots dressed like Japanese construction workers arrive to install a rail line through town, only to be thwarted when Dad insists on trying to help. The crew boss convinces Dad to sit and watch the tracks to make sure nothing happens to them. The next morning, the crew finds the entire circus troupe set up and watching the tracks, completely oblivious to what a "train" is or what the tracks are for.

Maboroshi no 12wa (笑) - Yuusei yori Ai wo Komete (The Phantom 12th Chapter (^_^) - Love Like a Wandering Star)

Various townspeople, including Corona, come down with a mysterious disease that puts them into a hospital. Mom determines the cause to be a wristwatch that is being distributed to people for free by an unknown outsider. Belka finds the purveyor's partner, who confesses everything. The two outsiders are refugees from the Crab planet. Recently, the inhabitants of the planet have been dying, and her boyfriend is desperate to find a cure. He's created the watches for getting DNA samples from people, but one side effect is that it makes the wearer sick. The male crab goes up against Dad in a battle of powersuits, and loses. The two crabs return home, while Mom suspects that the male crab is smart enough to find a cure anyway.

Ta-kun no Himitsu (Tah-kun's Secret)

Po, a member of the Cerebellum planet, has arrived on her quest to find Turbo to get him to return home. Turbo had had a fight with his parents and run away, and Po has been looking for him for 6 years. The 4-legged invading aliens and Corona think that Po is Turbo and come close to accidently drowning her in a river. When Po does find Turbo, Belka gets freaked out by having so many Cerebellums in so many close-up scenes so often. Turbo tells Po that he's found his place here on the planet as Corona's pet, so Po returns to the family's estate on their private first-class space yacht. Turbo returns to playing with Corona and the invaders, who have reenforced the steel cage that they're going to use for throwing him into the river again.

Nanika ga Michi wo Yattekita (Here to Put in Some Kind of a Road)

The rail line is completed, and the first steam train arrives, complete with stowaways. The first one is an Ultraman kind of guy that claims to be the strongest man in the universe, along with his equally obnoxious wife and two sons. They decide to take over Mom's spaceship and sponge off the troupe for a while. To show how strong he is, the guy destroys the train in one punch. From here, Belka and the others challenge Strong Guy to an arm wrestling match, but they all lose. The troupe's only hope is for Dad to win, but he's in a funk because Corona is angry at him for eating her cotton candy. She only cheers up after one of the troupe members bribes her with chocolate. The Strong Family then tries moving in with Rainbow Man in his camp in the park.

Uchuu karakita Abarenbou (Hooligans from Space)

Strong Guy wants to truly prove that he's the universe's strongest, so he destroys each new train as it arrives in town. The robot engineers take this as a challenge to make something even Strong Guy can't damage. But, before he can test it out, the train is destroyed trying to cross a bridge that isn't designed for the weight. Strong Guy makes a comment about people being too arrogant for their own good, so the troupe pummels him. The Strong family is reduced to living in the park again.

Wagana wa No-maddo (My Name is Noumad)

Various members of the troupe are suddenly collapsing, and the doctor declares that they have no brain activity. Belka and her posse discover a robot that calls itself Noumad (a pun on the Star Trek creature, and "Nou", meaning brain). Noumad wants to suck dry every brain it can find, and is defeated by the lack of useable material to work with on this planet, specifically Dad and Parka. Noumad shuts down. The doctor then restores most of the characters back to normal by reversing the pump action from Noumad, but accidentally mixes up the brains of Turbo and Parka.

Shi wo Yobu Menyu- (Menu of Death)

Ken, the insect/mechanical/lizard(?) wanderer, is hungry. He tries mooching off of Dad and John, which is a mistake because neither of them eat anything edible. Their current "delicacy" is eel, lemon, milk, raw egg, liver, garlic and yogurt all mixed together in a blender. Ken then tries to get a free meal from the two single women in the town - Sheriff Belka and Demon Raika, but Belka's cooking skills are limited to eggs - raw and hard boiled; while Raika just eats out of whatever can is in her cupboard. Desperate, Ken fries up some fish to show Dad what real food is like, and he finally gives up when Dad insists on eating the liver-eel mix.

Noroi no Tsumo (Tsumo Curse)

Andy (the half-robot) decides to learn an Earthling game to have something to teach to Corona. He picks Mahjong, but none of the rest of the troupe know the rules. Dad tries to use the tiles as dice and as rock-paper-scissors markers. Turbo tries using them for billiards, while Ken just panics at not knowing how to play the game. Nearby, Strong Guy, John and Rainbow Man pretend that they do know, and attempt to bluff the others into admitting that they don't. Finally, Strong Guy gets backed into a corner, but instead of saying that he has no idea what they're doing, he blows the table up and runs away. In the end, Corona finds the tiles and Dad teaches her the rock-paper-scissors variant.

Shi wo Yobu Denpa (TV Transmission of Death)

John is not only in charge of running the local movie theater, but also the TV station. He sets a timer to automatically run the programming before taking a nap, then oversleeps by one day. Mom yells at him, saying that a test pattern has been airing all morning, so John figures the only choice is to get the alien invaders to help him do a live broadcast of the news, various dramas, and the weather. All of which go horribly wrong. John gives up and announces that he'll run a special effects show instead, which one of the aliens takes as his cue to set off a bomb. With the studio destroyed, John tries to go to sleep again, but is told that their ratings are way up and he can't quit now.

(Tahkun = Turbo.)

Comments: I like this manga. It's funny. 3 thumbs up.