Chapter 168 - Reduced Love Fortune Telling

Title

"Reduced Love Fortune Telling" (削られた恋占い kezurareta koiuranai) is a pun on a novel by Hiroko Katsuragi called "From A May Story" (呪われた恋占いー雨月物語より norowareta koiuranai)

First published on January 28, 2009

Title Page

"White Loliita" - A Japanese bourbon.

Page 2

Removing beans from mame-maki

Refers to taking cost cutting to ludicrous extremes. Mame-maki is the act of throwing beans in order to exorcise spirits from the house, so removing the beans from this act doesn't make much sense.

Page 3

Various References

THe boxes are "Collars"; "bells"; "red noses"; "tails"; "P Hands". These are all parts to build Doraemon toys with. Likewise, many of the signs on this page are references to Doraemon. The sign at the foot of the stairs says "Katakura Setting", a reference to the current reboot (drawn by Katakura) of the Doraemon series. The boxes being wheeled around the factory say "Pockets", which were Doraemon's form of hammerspace. The factory itself is named Matsushiba, a reference to a robot-producing factory of the same name in 2112: The Birth of Doraemon. One of the factory workers here is named Shinei, a reference to Shinei Productions, which produced most of the Doraemon anime.

Signs (Panel 4)

A couple more Doraemon references. The sign on the right says "Nobu cost reduction", a reference to Ôyama Nobuyo, who voiced Doraemon from its inception in 1979 until 2005. She was replaced partly because of her increasing age, but also because of her increasing royalties paycheck (or so Kumeta implies). The sign on the left says "Our company spokesman was used for the role", a reference to TV Asahi announcer Hagino Shihoko, who took over the role of Dekisugi Hidetoshi after the voice acting change-up in 2005.

Page 4

Signs (Panel 9)

The sign above the two workers (with the four kanji) say "Personnel Cut", a reference to the large number of layoffs in the auto industry after the Great Recession of 2008. The sign between Sensei and the speech bubble says "Toyo(ta)", and the text beside the el cheapo Doraemon figure says "Dictatorship Switch", Doraemon's secret tool.

Page 5

Sign (Panel 1)

"Cut Down - Monta" - Refers to television show host Mino Monta, who has decreased the number of shows he appears in over the last few years.

Signs (Panel 2)

"Ero Note" - a catchphrase from the SZBH segment "Ikenai! Hiroshi-sensei".
"To the robots acting against their creators" - A reference to the anime "Kimi ga aruji de shitsuji ga ore de" (Kimiaru for short) In episode 12, the character Miyu, voiced by Gotô Yûko (Abiru in the SZS anime) says "I'm in despair! Robots acting against their creators have left me in despair!"

18+ Bishoujo Line

Kimiaru is adapted from an eroge.

Sign (Panel 8)

The sign above the workers is a parody of a typical industrial workplace safety poster. Instead of avoiding industrial accidents, it urges workers to avoid accidentally making child pornography.

Sign (Panel 10)

"Time Leaps Forbidden"

Page 6

Store (Panel 2)

The store is named "Pets Hanamasa", a reference to the supermarket chain Hanamasa. The signs in the window read "Meow Friend's Clean Toilet" (actual product) and "Promises to my beast", a pun on the movie "10 Promises to My Dog"

Building (Panel 7)

Some of the posters hung up here are parodies of popular pachinko machines. "Pachinko Winter Mas(turbation, says Japanese Kumetan-wiki)"; "Fester Monogatari", a parody of "Umi Monogatari" (Sea Story), and "Pachinko Rat Snake", a parody of "CR Kayama Yûzô ~ The Sea, the eleki and the young master

Page 7

Money-exchange

The reason the owner gets arrested here is that gambling is "illegal" in Japan. Most pachinko parlors skirt this rule by having the machines pay out in balls, which can be used to run the machines again, or taken by the player. Since these are kind of useless, locations spring up right across the street to exchange these balls for money, allowing pachinko hall owners and gamblers alike to skirt the law.

Signs (Panel 7)

The building is owned by "Atto Loan", and the signs say "Credit ATM" and "Fast-Borrowing Patron". Atto Loan is the name of an actual loan company, and "Fast-Borrowing Patron" is a euphemism for companies that give out high-risk loans.

"40 Pages is pretty long"

It may be long for something like a shonen manga, but shoujo manga regularly top this.

Posters (Panel 10)

"Nakayoski" and "Shugo Cha(ra) Time!", references to Nakayoshi and Shugo Chara.

"I'm Kitazaki"

Probably a reference to mangaka Taku Kitazaki, who specializes in shoujo manga. The art style is reminiscent of Yu Watase. At any rate, the manga within a manga seems to use quite a bit of screentone, which was prevalent in all manga throughout the 90s, but has seen steady decline since. Even shoujo manga, which is stereotypically screentone heavy, has seen a huge decline in its usage.

Page 9

History Books

Japan's "Modern History" starts with the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The main controversy over history books these days in Japan is how to deal with WWII, especially the Japanese military's use of "comfort women" and the treatment of Japan's colonies throughout East Asia.

Despair List

  • Removing the magazines and only releasing tankobon
    • Japanese publishers actually lose huge amounts of money on their magazines, as a 500-page magazine costs as little as 250 yen (around $2.50). However, the magazines serve as an advertisement for the much more costly tankobon collections, which serve to recoup the costs spent on printing the magazines.
  • Cutting back on tradition and using colored clothing
    • The colored belts and blue judogi used to distinguish competitors is not traditional judo attire, and is rarely used inside of Japan. (Widely used internationally, though.)
  • Plastic models that are already colored so the work needed is reduced
    • Gundam models used to come in gray plastic, with the paint job up to the modeller. These days, Bandai has moved over to colored plastics for ease of construction by the layman.
  • Fukawa Ryo stopped wearing bandanas
    • Fukawa Ryo is a Japanese comedian who used to have long hair and wore a white bandana. These days, he sports short hair and no bandana.
  • A musician ordering ramen without noodles.
    • Eccentric rock star Gackt did this once, and it turned a fistfight with the store owner.
  • "Director Kurosawa: 'The house in front of this house bothers me. Get rid of it'"
  • Biker gangs walking around instead of riding bikes in the northern country
    • The "northern country" refers to Hokkaido, where the harsh winters make it dangerous to ride bikes during the winter. To be menacing, biker groups walk around towns in gangs instead.
  • The half-holiday on Saturday (love is born)
    • Refers to old work/educational patterns in Japan, where work or school were held for 6 days of the week, with the 6th day (Saturday) being a half day. The "love is born" part comes from the fact that lovers could walk home together and spend the half-day getting familiar with one another…
  • That combo-meal store was owned by a granny…
    • Grandmothers have taken to the business of owning mall kiosks and running them part time.
  • The language that throws away kanji for rationalization
    • Refers to the Korean language, where Hangul (a simplified and more systematic version of kanji) is used in place of the much more complex Chinese kanji. Although Korean children are taught rudimentary kanji, they're never really used.
  • Getting one of the Twin Towers made by cheaper workers from another country
    • Refers to the Petronas Twin Towers. One was built by a Japanese company, the other by a Korean company.
  • The number of cels in the Hameln anime
  • Taiwan's label on globes made in China
  • Continuing to draw doujinshi, cutting down the time left for their main job
    • A lot of professional mangaka started out as amateurs or semi-professionals that drew doujinshi. Even after being picked up by a major publisher, they may continue drawing them.

Letter (Panel 8)

"Koishikawa Golden Ginza - Shopping District Upper Road - Nozomu Itoshiki - Star Child" - Koishikawa Golden Ginza isn't a real location. Star Child is the name of the distribution company for the SZS anime.

Page 9

"Isn't it for the sake of lowering fees"

Implying everyone in this series is just an actor >_>

Sign (Panel 3)

"New Work - The Wild Running Train of Fiction" - See here.

Sign (Panel 5)

"Tomo" - Reference to Kahara Tomomi, an idol hospitalized on January 17, 2009 due to a tranquilizer overdose.

The series can go on without you

Sensei didn't appear in chapters 9 and 122

CD (Panel 8)

The CD is by a band called Group MAX. It formed after the breakup of the popular idol group "Super Monkeys", and the lineup consisted of mostly members of the old group. The notable exception was Namie Amuro (the Amuro-chan mentioned in the next panel), who was the most popular member of "Super Monkeys". Despite this Group MAX still had very good sales.

TV (Panel 10)

The man on TV is Akira Takata, who manages (and is the main pitchman for) a TV shopping company Japanet Takata.

Page 11

Sign (Panel 3)

"Kimono Sanada" Refers to Sanada Asami (Matoi's voice actress), who is capable of putting on a Kimono alone, a difficult feat.

Page 13

Memo Pad

The memo pad is strategically placed for the reader to write down where the girls are this chapter. There are a couple of symbols that represent them somewhere within the chapter, and one of the bonuses for this chapter is to find all of them.

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