Mar 30, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 3, Chp 14

The chapter starts with Sachie recalling a dream . She says, "I dreamed of a boy who smiled with sorrowful eyes. My first love (hatsukoi). In this opening there is a picture of Igarashi as a little boy only Sachie still hasn't put together that this boy and Igarashi are the same.

The usual introduction is given with Sachie explaining her living situation and the oddness of Igarashi who is smiling like a prince while offering his hand. Sachie is in a lovely-dovey mood brought on my the dream of her first love love she had that morning. Her classmates are annoyed by her happiness and ask if she's in love. Sachie explains about her first love and how they went out once when she was 5-years old. Her friends are unimpressed and ask her about her current love life since she seems so close to Igarashi. Sachie, still lost in her dream comes to with Igarashi standing there very close to her. She is startled and Igarashi, not understanding her reaction, asks if she has changed yet. She thinks that Igarashi is not a bad person and then makes some excuse to leave (she just received a text message on her cell phone) because she has suddenly become very aware of Igarashi. Her heart is pounding and her face is red, but she's thinking to herself that her friend Kayo-chan doesn't have to worry because she's not in love with Igarashi.

Igarashi follows Sachie as she looks at her message. Sachie explains that she is going with her friends to the kendo tournament. Igarashi is happily wide-eyed and surprised and asks if she is really going. This time Sachie is surprised by Igarashi's reaction. She doesn't have the heart to tell him that she's going because her friends pressured her into going. Rather she tells Igarashi that she going to cheer the school on so he should do his best. Igarashi then asks for Sachie to do him the favor of making him a lunch. He's leaning in face-to-face with her as he asks and smiling sweetly. "A lunch?" Sachie thinks ... she is a little surprised but doesn't seem that enthusiastic about the request, nor does she seem to consciously comprehend the meaning behind that request.

The morning of the competition, Sachie wakes up early to make the lunch (my guess is subconsciously she understands the lunch request). She is very unhappy with her lunch making skills (although the lunch looks fine to me). Her grandfather comes down and sees her making the lunch. He says he's up early to go meet an important customer/associate and that instead of them staying in a hotel, he has invited them to stay at the house for a few days. He will be returning home with the guests in the late afternoon. Sachie has written "Do your Best" on the rice in the lunch with seaweed flakes. Her grandfather notices and then asks whether this is the weekend of Igarashi's kendo tournament. He then remarks how Igarashi never tells anybody about things like this. Sachie, then realizes that he hadn't told her either. She wonders whether he wanted it that way. Then she remembers his enthusiastic face when she said he was coming and realizes that he was just too humble to invite anybody to see him. Her grandfather then asks Sachi to help prepare for the visitors.

Off to the tournament Igarashi and Sachie go. Their journey is delayed a few times as Igarashi stops to help an old lady, a lost child, and a man who has lots his contact. Next they spot what looks like a pack of thugs trying to shake down a kid for money. Self righteous Sachie jumps into the middle of the situation and tells the punks to get a job. Igarashi with a menacing grin completes the punk vanquishing. The kid is surprised and when the punks are gone, Sachie hugs the little boy like a mother, calming him saying that it must have been scary for a little boy all alone. The boy, deadpan, says that he could have handled punks like that himself and that Sachie had gone overboard. Sachie questions whether she is hearing things (she can't believe the boy is not thanking her), and then counters the boy saying it was a one time rescue so there was no need for him to thank her. Then they do some weird pose thing (a photo perhaps???). While Sachie is bent down posing the little boy flips the back for her skirt up which pisses off both Sachie and Igarashi (he's livid) who now are smiling with pissed off squinty eyes. And then it's back off to the kendo tournament.

They arrive a the tournament a little bit late. Sachie is tired from all the action that happened just getting to the tournament. On the other hand, Igarashi doesn't seem tired at all and is kicking some ass in the tournament. Sachie is a amazed and Igarashi looks like a glowing prince as he takes off his head gear. She then notices that there are a bunch of girls cheering for Igarashi. It is now lunch time and Sachie goes to get the lunch she's prepared for Igarashi only find that it's been messed up because it was jostled in her bag. Still tries to give the lunch to Igarashi and in the process, is trampled by a mob of enthusiastic girls who are all trying to give lunches to Igarashi too. One girl goes so far as to insult Sachie, which doesn't go over well. Igarashi instead stops Sachie from leaving the scene. He comes from up behind her, places on hand on her should and with the other wraps around and takes the lunch from her lunch saying, "excuse me, but this lunch is for me." Sachie blushes and Igarashi smiles very warmly.

They sit to eat and Sachie is worried about the taste of the food even though she tried hard to prepare it. She tells Igarashi that everyone else's lunch may taste better. Igarashi tells her that it would be bad for him not to eat before the continuation of tournament in the afternoon. Sachie, then hands over the lunch with much enthusiasm. Igarashi asks if what she's cooked came from watching TV to which Sachie explains that it's her homestyle of cooking. Igarashi then explains that he has been in the care of the house since he was 5, and, in all that time no one has ever prepared a lunch for him, making this his first. Sachie counters that girls offered him lunches just now. Igarashi says that to accept them would have been troublesome. He tells Sachie not to worry because her worry because the first lunch that was made for him will taste good. Igarashi then eats while Sachie nervous sits beside him. They are outside on the lawn under a tree. She thinks back to what her grandfather said about Igarashi not telling people about things like the tournament and then thinks about all the things that Igarashi has suffered through in his childhood. Sachie notices that it's late and tells Igarashi to hurry back to the tournament. As she goes into motion, Igarashi grabs her hand and asks if she will go with him to see the upcoming fireworks presentation because he wants to thank her for the lunch. Sachie says there's no need to thank her, but Igarashi points out that she went through the trouble of waking up early to prepare the lunch. Sachie says that she will let him thank her if he wins the tournament to which Igarashi tells her to watch him. Igarashi fights well and Sachie admires his fighting form while still trying to convince herself that she's not in love.

They return home to find the lower yakuza scrambling to get ready for the guest. The guest arrives and it's the little boy Igarashi and Sachie saved from the thugs earlier in the day.

End of Chapter

Sneaking a peek ahead, it looks like it's Igarashi vs. the kid, with Igarashi getting extremely jealous. His jealousy causes him to have a couple of melt downs resulting in some behavior that is "lost in translation" -- as in it seems that over possessiveness is meant to be romantic in the manga, but in the US, Igarashi's behavior would be considered physically abusive. For us his behavior and level of jealousy is indicative of a guy who should be avoided because he will become more abusive as time goes on. I wonder how Viz will handle this. The easiest thing would be to PS the sign of abuse or to simply remove the offending image and fill in the blank space with something else. Hmmm ...

Mar 27, 2008

Manga Review: King of Cards

Main character, Minami, by extreme luck obtains a super rare card, Sahgan, for the card game "Chaos." People from all over challenge her to take the card away. At night, Sahgan visits her in dreams to give her card playing tips. This manga is basically a lame attempt at combining Yugi-oh, or whatever card battle card is popular now, with Shoujo. I flipped through most of it because it was boring card battle crap. 1/5 for a pointless manga series.

Anime Review: Gundam Seed

This is 52-episodes of Gundam soap-opera goodness. In the future, humans created super humans and then became afraid of them. Accidentally a war was started and hatred upon hatred built leading to Armageddon. Friend against friend, in gundams, fight with their princesses cheering them on. Ah, yes, then there's the tainted love of the deliciously irritating Filay. It was addicting. Watch it if you haven't already. 5/5

Manga Review: Ion

"Ion" is a 6 chapter (1 volume) manga by Arina Tanemura. She wrote this manga early in her career and it shows. The drawing style is hers but primitive and the characters and story are nowhere near as rich as "Fullmoon o Sagashite", "Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne", or "Shinshi Doumei Cross" ("The Gentleman's Alliance" in the US). As with her other stories, the main character, Ion, draws her strength by defying sadness that is rooted in the pain of missing parents. However, doesn't really deal with Ion's pain or her weakness. As for the male rivals, neither of them come close Tanemura's other male leads. Get this manga if you must complete your collection, otherwise read it at the library (I'm sure many of you will just read it at your local bookstore.) I'm sorta peeved that this manga cost $9 -- not much bang for the buck. I actually had a hard time reading the whole thing because it was it was so formulaic and, in general, overly cheerful. 2.5/5 for a mediocre manga series. Thank goodness they let her continue to publish after this one.

Tanemura's other series, "Fullmoon o Sagashite", "Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne", or "Shinshi Doumei Cross" (currently running in Ribon magazine) are EXCELLENT. So please support these manga, so we can see more from this wonderful artist.

Mar 24, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 3, Chp 13

This chapter begins with a flashback to Jin and Yukie (Sachie's mother) when they were teenagers. Jin is remembering the day Yukie left the house. That day she told him, "Bye Jin, you are always very refreshing and pure hearted." Jin's thoughts at that time are, "confined and protected, do you not need my hand anymore?" Back to Jin at the present time -- He has a stunned look on his face as Sachie flies out of the 4th story window. Igarashi is yelling "Sachie-sama!!"

On the next page we see Sachie's and Igarashi's hands as they are about to meet. They connect and they interlace their fingers, tightly curling them around one another's hand in tight bond. Together, their fall backwards is cushioned by a bush. Sachie raises her hand and gives a victory sign over Igarashi's back as Igarashi hugs her close. She completes her victory by giving Jin a cheesemo victory grin. She says to Igarashi, "you are just in time." Igarashi goes into a panic, saying, "Just in time .... NOT!!" and continues fussing about how she jumped out of a 4th story window. He then asks whether she's hurt and asks how many fingers he's holding up. She assures him that she is fine and then Igarashi hugs her again and says to Sachie, "Thank goodness you're safe..."

By this time, Jin has come down to see what's going on. Igarashi is very protective and pushes Sachie behind him. He has a very angry look on his face. "It was you, Jin-san" he says as Jin lights up a cigarette. Igarashi, looking annoyed, explains that he figured out it was Jin because his MO is the same as always. Slow as ever, it dawns on Sachie that Jin and Igarashi know each other and she wonders what kind of person Jin is. Igarashi formally introduces Sachie to Jin. Jin used to be Yukie's bodyguard. Sachie is shocked and then wonders why he did what he did if he is a member of "the family." Igarashi asks Jin what his object was and Jin tells him that he wanted to test him and then sarcastically congratulates him for passing. He then talks about how he found it hard to believe that Igarashi was given such an important role as Sachie's bodyguard. He then says to Igarashi, "In case I didn't tell you, you are not at all scared or smelly like you used to be, Hetare, but as of now, you are above your limit. The Princess was taken and and you could not protect her." "To make things worse," he continues, " in the end you had to rely of the Ojou's power. How can you possibly be a bodyguard?" Jin then stops in his tracks and looks surprised. Sachie has pulled a gun on him. She lowers the weapon and yells back, "He didn't rely on my power, we combined our power!" Igarashi is dumbfounded and wonders where Sachie got the gun from. Jin is annoyed. Sachie points the gun back at Jin and urges Igarashi to say something. Igarashi retorts, "Like I will porotect you." (I think Igarashi feels somewhat outdone by Sachie's awesome show of girl power.) Sachie, frustrated and red cheeked, desparately says to Igarashi, "I don't know this guy's definition of protection, but at the time when I was kidnapped, I believed in you, so I jumped because I knew Igarashi-san came to save me."

"Annoying, annoying, annoying" Jin thinks. Igarashi is no longer the spoiled Hetare that was always at his back. Sachie is still yelling, hurling insults at Jin as Igarashi tries to safely get control of the handgun. Jin smiles, approaches Sachie and pats her on the head. He tells Sachie that she is definitely that person's daughter.

In walks Sachie's grandfather and the rest of gang. They wonder what Jin is doing at the onsen. Jin very humbly asks for forgiveness and then informs everyone that through some circumstances the previous owner of the onsen ran away and that he is now the owner. Further more, there is a feast awaiting all of them on the veranda. At the feast, Igarashi is crowding Sachie so she can't eat and tasting her food before she eats it. He's being an ass and taunting Jin who is trying his best to make Igarashi understand that he has nothing more to worry about. Sachie wonders why Igarashi is being so protective. As Sachie is eating, Jin asks if she likes the taste of the food. Sachie remarks that something she had eaten earlier was her favorite and Jin tells her that her preference in food is like her mother's. Excited now, Sachie asks Jin what her mom was like when she was younger. Bluntly, Jin tells her that Yukie was "very manly." Sachie frustrated goes of in search of something to drink, leaving Jin and Igarashi alone together. Jin asks Igarashi if he's found his precious person yet. Igarashi replies affirmatively and flashes a warm smile as Jin reflects with his cigarette in hand.

Meanwhile, Sachie finds Azuma who got some sake, so she starts to drink with him. A little later Igarashi comes with something else for Sachie to drink and finds Sachie totally wasted. She's acting flirty towards him and slurring her speech. She holds her finger up to to Igarshi's lips to quiet him so she can drunkenly tell him not to bully her. The other yakuza find this too cute and pass out. Igarashi looks embarrassed like whatever intimacy he and Sachie share, has just been exposed. He then switches on the evil grin and apologizes. Azuma is taking pictures of Sachie in her drunken state. She then gets back to Jin, asking him in slurred words to tell her more about her mother. Igarashi, then takes control of the situation and declares that he carrying Sachie to her room. He puts Sachie on his back and as he walks away with her, Jin says that he envies Igarashi and that he should try hard to enjoy the time he has with Sachie as her protector, implying that some day they will have to part. He tells Igarashi to never let Sachie's hand go. Igarashi stops and asks Jin whether he was in love with Yukie. Jin replies, "so what if I was." Igarashi dismisses the comment with a smile and replies to the previous comment Jin made, saying that he's prepared to do what he must and then walks off. Alone in his thoughts, Jin hopes that if Igarashi can grab hold of Sachie, that they will have a different future than he had with Yukie.

As Igarashi walks back to the resort with Sachie on his back, Sachie wakes up to admire the moon. She says it looks as though she could grab it. Igarashi say something like, "No matter how you pursue it, you can't shorten the distance." Sachie get's punchy and plays with his ears. Igarashi blushes furiously. Igarashi finaly lays Sachie to rest in her bed. The narration reads something like, "Even if this person did not return my hand (feelings), at no time will I ever give up. In the background of the narration, Jin is looking at a old picture of Yukie. Igarashi is in the background of the words, "Never give up" He looks down tenderly at Sachie and strokes her cheek with the back of his knuckles. Sachie mumbles, "Igarashi ... don't hold onto everything by yourself. Believe in me." Igarashi is surprised and remembers Sachie's speech about how they used their combined power to get out the kidnapping situation. The end narration is hard for me to translate, but here's my stab at it. "How long will I dream of the moon that this hand grasps."

Mar 19, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 3, Chp 12

This chapter begins with a flashback to Igarashi's childhood. He appears to be about 5 or 6 -- sooo very cute. Someone is saying something to him that is making him sad. The person refers to Igarshi as "Hetare" I don't know what that means though. Current Igarashi thinks, "Oh yeah that's when it happened." "I do not want what I cannot have" he thinks. The person says to him, "Yeah, but when the important time comes, can you say the same thing?" Back to the scene in which the last chapter ended. Igarashi has grabbed Sachie's cellphone away from her. He is reflecting, "Can I say the same thing?" He caresses Sachie's lips with an intense look on his face. Sachie is still stunned. The situation is broken by a lost child type announcement telling Sachie and Igarashi to meet their party in the lobby.

Sachie tries to dismiss the situation saying that Igarashi did what he did because the announcement was going to be made. She tells him that she going off before him and then rushes off. When she is out of the room, she talks to her mother in her mind explaining that Igarashi is acting weird. She has accepted that Igarashi is excessively touchy-feely, but something about this time has made her uneasy and she doesn't understand why. While walking back, dwelling on the matter of Igarashi, the man from before approaches Sachie and asks her whether she is the Asagi's group princess and whether Igarashi is her bodyguard. She answers yes, and then finds herself that the end of a barrel of a handgun. Sachie has been kidnapped.

Igarashi is still in the room. He is looking at the cards Sachie brought and thinking about his desires. "I do not want what I cannot have. That is how I lived until now. Since then the strength of my wish has gotten stronger." He thinks back to Sachie's grandfather desire to find Sachie a good man outside of the yakuza. Igarashi's thoughts continue, "The thought has crossed my mind that if I were not her bodyguard, perhaps we could date normally."

Igarashi goes to the lobby to join everyone. The other yakuza ask where Sachie is if she's not with him. Igarashi starts to panic and then his cellphone rings. It's the kidnapper and he informs Igarashi that he has taken his precious princess. He tells Igarashi if he wants Sachie back, he has to find were they are hiding. Sachie has a gag over her mouth and she is wide-eyed. Igarshi is shocked, but quickly calms himself and puts on a smile. The yakuza ask about Sachie again. Igarashi covers and tells them to rest for while. They complain that they haven't eaten yet. Igarashi gives them a bullshit smile and then turns, tightly gripping the phone. The kidnapper has told him that he has 30 minutes to find them. Igarashi's face must look tortured. Out of nowhere, Azuma stops him and comes very close, face-to-face with Igarashi while holding Igarashi's face by the chin with one hand. It looks almost like Azuma is going to kiss him. Igarashi leaps back, looking completely horrified and sickened. Azuma asks why his face looks so bad. Igarashi pats him on the shoulder and says thanks. Azuma is very confused. Igarashi then takes off running. He doesn't have time to dawdle.

Meanwhile back where the kidnapper is holding Sachie, we see that she's gagged, her hands are tied behind her back and her shoes have been removed. The kidnapper's assistant tells her that if she behaves they won't have to hurt her as he unties her and removes the gag. Sachie immediately takes off once she's freed, shouting back to her captors, "Like hell I'll behave after what you've done to me!" She runs toward the door. Upon opening it, she discovers the door leads directly outside and they are four stories up. There is nowhere to run. The kidnapper coaxes her away from the door by explaining that he has no grudge against her and then offers her some food as he is sure that she is hungry. Sachie's stomach grumbles, so she grudgly eats. The kidnapper comments that Sachie is full of life, just as expected of one with Asagi blood in their veins. Sachie's curiousity is piqued. She asks what this is all about. The kidnapper says "Taking someone away." (This doesn't translate well into English, sorry). Sachie says that she doesn't have any money. The kidnapper replies that he knows. Sachie asks if it's a grudge. The kidnapper explains that his beef is not with the Asagi group, but rather he went out of his way to get Igarashi's attention. Sachie understands, but she wonders why on Earth is this guy targeting Igarashi. The kidnapper aggressively closes in on Sachie and asks whether Igarashi will really come.

Igarashi is on his way and the kidnapper is monitoring his progress with cameras. Igarashi is frantic. He has to find the key. The first room he goes to is 5011. From within the room a bunch of women dressed as geisha welcome him. One approaches and tells him that if we wants the key, he will have to find it on her body. Sachie blanches as she sees the scene on camera and tells the kidnapper that since she's known him, women have always been weak against Igarashi. As Sachie foretold, Igarashi goes into ladykiller mode and tells the geisha, "It's fine with me if you want to expose that body." The woman goes goo-goo eyed and gives Igarashi the key. The kidnapper is in utter shock, Sachie is not. Next comes a room full of dogs, reptiles, and darkness, all of which the kidnapper thinks Igarashi fears. After watching this all, Sachie comments to the kidnapper that she thinks he is really bad at this. The kidnapper snaps and starts ranting about how long ago Igarashi used to following him around while crying and that he was smelly and completely unreliable. Sachie sarcastically response, "You know quite a bit about Igarashi." The kidnapper yells back at her for her nasty attitude.

Sachie thinks about each obstacle Igarashi faced and feels proud that he's overcome his weaknesses. She's laughing very cutely as she thinks of Igarashi. The kidnapper catches her expression out of the corner of his mind and it reminds him of Sachie's Mom, Yukie.

The kidnapper reminds Sachie that there is no meaning if Igarashi arrives after the time limit. There are only 6-mins left. Igarashi is still running. There is another key and he has just about reached his limit. He pauses and gets down on his knees in pain in frustration. He thought he would never experience this much fear, regret, and horror. He feels like his chest is being crushed. He then realizes that he's been on a wild goose chase with the keys. Sachie tells the kidnapper that he's been playing dirty and the kidnapper decides to be an ass. He tells her that rules are rules and then starts the countdown. There is less that a minute left. Igarashi is running and steeling his resolve with the thought that it's meaningless if he can't be by Sachie's side. "Always near, protecting her, that is my place. WE CANNOT BE SEPARATED" he declares. 15, 14, 13-seconds left. Igarashi is frantically running. He has no idea where Sachie could be. Sachie runs to the window and sees Igarashi. She shouts down to him to stand right where he is. She opens the 4th story door, to the kidnappers shock. She says to her kidnapper, "The princess certainly can't wait, rules or nothing." Igarashi looks up. He is adorably wide eyed. The narrator says, "A strong desire was born." Next page. Sachie continues talking to the kidnapper, "A sheltered princess is so not me." She then looks forward and leaps. Her hair is floating in the breeze as she flies down. The kidnapper looks totally freaked out. The closing narration reads, "From now on, I always want to be by your side."

End of Chapter

Mar 16, 2008

Manga Review: Nightmares for Sale

Wow! Another stinker here! This manga is a series of short stories about a pawn shop that deals in cursed artifacts. The cursed artifacts are created by human hatred and desire ... sigh ... I only read two of the stories before giving up and deciding not to waste anymore of my precious life and neurons on this crap. The first story involves a girl who was bullied, who thinks that she can buy her way out of being bullied. She buys her friends rings as symbols of their friendship. Things go bad and the girl's hatred builds until she snaps and decides to bite off the ring fingers of her tormentors. Yes, it sounds cool, but it really isn't. The next short story plays like a "lite" version of the "Twilight Zone." A fashion model consumed by vanity wishes to look good in photographs. Her wish is granted and she looks good in photographs at the expense of her youth in real life. She dies after being photographed too many times. Again, it sounds cool, but it really isn't. That's as far as I got.

I would call this a horror manga series fit for 'tween girl except the manga is rife is foul language. I'm not sure what the editor was thinking. Perhaps, they were trying to get 'tweens attention by getting themselves slapped with an OT rating. Sigh ... I'm sure those 'tweens won't be disappointed. Anybody else over the age of 13, though, will be sorely disappointed. 0/5 because this manga really sucked.

Mar 14, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 3, Chp 11

This chapter begins with Sachie describing how Igarashi acts like a sparking prince to her and how her heart won't stop beating fast when he's near.

Next page: It's spring and the cherry trees are blooming. Sachie has just won a 3 day, 2 night trip to a hot spring. Of course Sachie is excited but her excitement is tempered with the realization that it's going to be tough for her to go on the trip on her own terms. Igarashi has a cheesmo smile on his face and declares that he's going because he is her caretaker. Igarashi is joined by the rest of "family" and they insist upon going as well. It's pretty much a hopeless for Sachie, so the whole family comes to the hot springs with her.

They arrive at the hot springs and there are lots of cherry trees blooming. Sachie thinks back to her childhood and watching the sakura at her neighborhood park with her mother. She's never seen sakura on such a large scale before. She's greatly charmed by the idea of watching the cherry blossoms with everybody. In the background her grandfather starts singing anka songs. It's quite embarrassing. The gangsters are moved by the old man's singing. Next comes Igarashi, who after some encouragement from the boss, does a graceful twirling dance in the falling sakura. He is wearing traditional costume and holding a fan and some bells. Azuma watches on and comments that Igarashi is a graceful one (the way he says it, though, could have double meaning, implying that because Igarashi dances so gracefully that he's a "small man"). Sachie is entranced by Igarashi and his dancing. In her eyes he is dazzling.

Later they check into their rooms. Sachie and Sachie's grandfather each have separate rooms while the rest of the family shares a single very large room. Sachie is happy to be able to sleep peacefully by herself, but she seems a little envious of the guys staying in the big group room (I guess she doesn't want to miss any of the fun).

Igarshi tells Sachie that she should go and try out the hot water bath because it will affect her body (it the "Beautiful Women's Bath). Sachie is offended, taking it as though she's not a beautiful women. Igarashi tells her not to worries since he considers her a special existence. Meanwhile Sachie's grandfather is talking to a close companion about how lively things have become since Sachie came to live with him. He worries, though, that he has made a bad choice by having his good natured and spirited granddaughter live in a yakuza household. He says he feels obligated for find a good man for Sachie (presumably not yakuza) so she can be happy. Sachie's grandfather feels that he must do this in order to face Sachie's mother in the afterlife. Igarashi overhears the conversation and looks saddened.

Back to Sachie who is stewing in the hot water bath. She is thinking of Igarashi's dance and how beautiful he was. As she is washing up, she thinks about how strange she has become toward him and how her heart beats fast and her breath becomes short just from seeing him. She thinks since seeing him dance, suddenly the scenery has become colorful and vivid. Her chest hurts ... she doesn't understand her pain. Then she gets mad again thinking about the perceived insult about the beautiful women's bath and she decides to get out since it isn't doing anything for her. Her thoughts about Igarashi soften again as she wonders when he learned to dance and thinks about how even though he is always beside her, she knows very little about him. Sachie didn't get out of the hot water fast enough and passes out. Some lady's find her.

After her bath, she joins Azuma to play ping pong. Igarashi looks on jealously (he's probably thinking about how Azuma is not yakuza). She invites Igarashi to play, but Igarashi is feeling emo and declines telling Sachie that he's not good at and that he's doing to bathe instead. One his way out, Igarashi accidentally bumps into a man with dark hair and sunglasses. Igarashi excuses himself and the man recognizes Igarashi. Igarashi finds a doorway to sulk in. He calls himself stupid and wonders why he ran away. Sachie finds him. Apparently he was sulking in the big room the lower yakuza are sharing. Sachie says that she brought cards to play with him since he's bad at ping pong. Sachie happily looks around the room remarking that the futons are all set-out and it looks like a school field trip. Somehow, Sachie manages to get to the ground on her back with Igarashi above her. He's constrained her wrists and looks like he's coming in for the attack. He begins to play with her hair.

Meanwhile the guy in the sunglasses asks the hotel clerk to show him the guest registry. He sees the Asagiri group registered and says that he has a debt to pay to them. Back to Sachie and Igarashi ... Sachie is in wide-eyed deer-in-the-headlights panic mode as Igarashi is closing in. Her cellphone is ringing, which breaks the situation. It's Azuma on the phone. Sachie clumsily explains that everybody must be looking for her. Igarashi stroking his chin, says "Azuma-san" and then takes Sachie phone out of her hand and hangs it up. He has a rather stern and menacing look on his face. Sachie narrates, "I didn't know myself that a storm was coming".

Igarashi seems a little over possessive at times. I'm not so sure that's a good thing.

Mar 9, 2008

Summary: Blackbird Volume 1, Chap 4 and 5

I don't know where to get scans from beyond chapter 3. So here's a summary of the last two chapters of volume 1.

Chapter 4:
Enter Kazunoha, a beautiful young man with blond hair that makes him stand out. Actually, we met him briefly at the end of chapter 3. He is a magic fox youkai (I'm not quite sure why he is called a "kitsune" -- perhaps a Kitsune is something specific.) He puts on a super cheery attitude and bothers Masao about eating lunch together. Kyou, in his teacher get-up (suit+tie+glasses), interrupts Kazunoha saying that Misao has to come with him because she has supplemental classes. Apparently she failed a test. Kyou and Kazunoha argue about who Misao belongs to until Misao gets angry and declares, yet again, that she has no intention of marrying a youkai. Kazunoha counters that she needs the protection of a strong youkai to keep lesser youkai from devouring her. She explains that Kyo protects her. Kyou counters Kazunoha, saying that Kazunoha is not the successor of his clan because he has an older brother. Kazunoha counters Kyou back saying that Kyou, too, isn't the successor of his clan. Rather, he asserts, both of them are seeking to marry Misao to become their clan's successor. Misao laments not knowing this about Kyou and dwells on some of her lost memories of Kyou. She thinks that they are precious memories and wonders whether it would be wrong for her to marry Kyou so he can be successor. After all, she has found her first love again.

Some time later (perhaps the next day), Misao spots a lost child on a bench crying out for his mother. Misao goes to help the child, only to discover that it's a small youkai. The little youkai claws at her inner upper thigh drawing blood. Misao wishes strongly that Kyo was there to protect her and calls out for him in her mind. Kazunoha enters the scene, kills the youkai, and then offers to heal Misao's wound. He tells her the scent of her blood drives Youkai into frenzy -- her blood makes them feel hungry and sinful. He continues on saying, "Even if we hug and kiss you, we will want your blood because it gives us power. We youkai have no self control." As he says this, Misao thinks back to the times that Kyo has licked her wounds. Kazunoha warns Misao to be careful.

Back in class, Misao's wounds are making a bloody mess. Kyou notices and is less than pleased. He heals her wounds and then scolds Misao for not calling him when the attack happened. Later in the day Misao is grumbling about being scolded when Kazunoha drops in to see what's going on. He says that it seems that she and Kyo are very close. Misao explains that she and Kyou are childhood friends. Kazunoha asks Misao if she thinks that it's a coincidence that Kyou lived next to her as child seeing as how she is the "Flower Bride."

Later in the day, Misao is at a store picking up some pre-packaged dinner when Kyou and Tarou run into her. Tarou invites Misao over to Kyou's place for dinner. Misao tries to get out of it but ends up eating dinner at Kyou's anyway. After eating, Misao tries to promptly leave. Kyou tries to be a good host and offers her leftover and asks her to stay a little longer for desserts (pears). Misao declines again and turns to leave. Kyou then grabs her wrist and pulls her close to embrace her. It's a sincere embrace full of love and worry. "Misao" he whispers into her ear. Misao blushes furiously and thinks back to Kazunoha's question about whether Kyou living next door when they were children was a coincidence. Misao, then pushes Kyou away and then starts crying about her potentially shattered memory. Kyou then says that since they were separated 10-years ago, he knew that they would meet again. He asks if she even remembers a little bit about him. Misao says thinking about the past has become difficult because she doubts his intentions. And off she goes home. Meanwhile, Kazunoha is at home thinking about how he would like the obstacle between him and Misao to disappear.

Chapter 5

Misao is spacing out in the class thinking about her past with Kyou and what Kazunoha said to her about coincidence. Kyou suspects Kazunoha has said something to Misao and gives Kazunoha a bunch of menacing looks. It's lunch and Kazunoha pulls his cheery routine again, trying to get Misao to eat lunch with him. Misao explains to Kazunoha that Kyou is not like the other youkai and protects her because he wants to. Kazunoha, then gets impatient and turns on Misao. Kyou jumps into save Misao and gets a worrisome cut across his chest. The fight gets too raucous for school, so Kyou and Kazunoha take their fight elsewhere. Misao returns to class and wonders how the fight is going.

On her way home, Misao is a little worried about Kyou. She passes by his house and sees him landing on his roof. He looks okay, but then he collapses. Misao rushes in to see what has happens. Kyou is laying injured in a pool of blood on his back patio. Misao asks what was he cut with and about Tarou's whereabouts. Kyou says that Tarou is out. Misao, worried, bites herself in order to draw blood, thinking that giving her blood will help Kyou. Kyou vehemently refuses. He suddenly sits up and slaps her hand away. He lays back down, looking tired but happy. Misao asks how she can help and wonders if he's going to die. Kyou explains that he can't die because there would be no meaning if he died (if he dies, there will be nobody to protect Misao, so she would soon die too.) He then passes out. Misao is shocked. She grabs his hand, which is now cold. She then starts to panic and memories of her childhood parting with Kyou come back to her. She calls out "Kyou-chan left," and then kisses him. Nothing happens, then she really starts freaking out, crying screaming, "open your eyes," to Kyou. Kyou then suddenly awakens, flips himself and Misao around, such that he's now on top. Misao is shocked. Kyou says "more," and then leans in for one prolonged kiss. Misao and Kyou are getting into a "good mood" when Tarou bursts into the room with secret medicine for Kyou. He says the medicine will restore Kyou to normal overnight -- and then Tarou opens his eyes and notices that he's walked into something he should not have and then promptly leaves the scene. Kyou says to Misao, "Shall we continue." The mood is broken and Misao is pissed that Kyou's life was not in any danger. Kyou reminds her that he is a strong youkai and then says that it's a good thing that Misao gained some more of her memories. He's happy that she called him Kyou-chan. He continues saying that he was happy about the kiss, because he knows that Misao would kiss only some someone she likes very much. (Misao tries to deny it, saying she was doing CPR). Back to seriousness, Kyou tells Misao that the youkai of Japan will eventually attack her in masse and that she has to be prepared for that future quickly.

There's thunder in the distance. As the scene closes, Kyou is offering Misao his hand. Misao thinks, "Long ago I would not let this hand go." "A storm is coming," Kyou says.

End of Volume 1

Mar 4, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 3, Chp 10

This chapter is basically a filler chapter. Due to a lot of slang, it was very hard to translate, so forgive me for not going into detail about it . So here is goes:

Three of the dimmerwitted yakuza find a pair of underwear in the hall. They assume it's Sachie's underwear and conspire to get out the situation. Unfortunately, they choose to hold on to the underwear and not tell anyone about them. While kicking back at a Yakari's lounge (or maybe a brothel), they fumble around and alcohol gets spilled on the undies. Meanwhile, Sachie notices a pair of her undies are missing, which sets everybody in search of a panty thief. The yakuza try to replace the underwear, but instead scare the shopkeeper at the lingerie store. Sachie and crew happen up on the guilty yakuza as they are being thrown out the store and they finally 'fess-up. The underwear they picked up, though, is not Sachie's -- they are "grown-up" panties as opposed to "high school" panties. And so everybody's off, again, to find the underwear thief. Back at home, Yukari is there in plain clothes. She says she came to deliver something and that she was present the day the yakuza found the sexy panties, which is the same day Sachie's panties went missing. Igarashi doesn't like the story and believes Yukari knows more. While the the rest of the household is trying to lure the panty thief out, Igarashi goes to question Yukari more about what she had to deliver to the boss in so much haste. Yukari says she can't tell him that, but she can tell him that Sachie's missing undies are red.

Now onto what really happened -- apparently Sachie's grandfather spotted a pair of Sachie's panties in the pond in the yard. He freaked out and asked Yukari to buy a replacement pair. Yukari came to deliver the replacement underwear. The dogs show up with the bait underwear in their mouths, implying the dogs are to blame for the missing panties and the panties in the hall. Also, during this time, a real underwear thief is caught falling for the bait.

Sigh ... I hate filler ... I burned so much time wading through this chapter ... The next chapter looks a lot better though. Thumbing through it, it seems that Igarashi gets pissed and sad when he overhears Sachie's grandfather say that he wishes to find a good guy outside of the yakuza for Sachie to settle with.

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