Dec 21, 2008

Summary: Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen Chp 5

Disclaimer: This chapter has hand written letters. I tried to translate the letters, but the characters are handwritten and without the help of furigana, many of the kanji were too messed up to make out -- like trying to make out somebody's chicken scratch. Anyhow, I'll do my best to give what I think the gist of the letters are. Fortunately, the important parts are read by the characters, so they have nice typed kanjis with furigana.

This chapter begins with Johan and Yuda waving to tourists from the balcony of their residence. Yuda is wearing a dress with a star pattern and Johan is wearing a matching shirt that looks quite tacky. The tourists think the display is very much like that of a "stupid couple." Standing on the balcony, Johan asks Yuda whether she'd like to have tea with him after they finish giving "service" to the tourists. Yuda shakes her head in disgust as they leave the balcony. Johan asks, "Are you in a bad mood again? What on Earth is the problem?"

Yuda retorts," Problem? Of course it's the shirt you decided to wear!!" She continues,"If we were going to present ourselves, is this what we should have done?. We look like a stupid couple!!."

Johan returns, "That's because later you avoid me when we are not in public. I wore this so we appear to have a good relationship. Therefore it's okay, right?"

Yuda is bright red with embarrassment as she walks quickly away from public eye. "From now on it is not necessary" she says. "Certainly they will be saying that Johan-sama and I are a couple, but ...."

Johan, trying to look cute, interrupts her mid-sentence with, "Yeah, yeah. But I am the devil even though I stopped the war. How could you possibly like me? " (Clearly he is enjoying himself)

Yuda looking very much like a child who doesn't want to admit the truth mumbles, "I don't like you because I hate you."

And Johan still lighthearted says, "Yes, yes, and when we are together your heart pounds because you hate me (*heart*)". (recall, in the last chapter, "hate" meant "love")
Suddenly, Yuda freaks and takes off running. "Crap!!" she thinks as she runs. Her face looks worried and almost sick. Johan calls after her to wait and then gives chase. All the while, Yuda tells him not to follow her. Suddenly, he has a brilliant idea and stops and runs the other way. Yuda peeks behind to see him running away and then takes off chasing him. "I don't like being near, but being avoided is worse," she thinks. Johan delighted by the result of his brilliant idea, lifts Yuda high off of her feet like she's a child and says, "This is stupid. Frantically escaping and telling me not to follow only to come and get caught." Yuda looks like the proverbial deer-in-headlight before she reacts. She wildly swings her arms as if to scratch Johan's face off and then escapes his grasps and runs off to hide behind a pilaster from which she peers from behind to keep an eye on Johan. She looks shaken and upset like a scared small animal (the mangaka has drawn her with neko mimi to shippo -- cat ears and a tail).

Johan tells her, "You are like a cat."

"Get used to the situation, already!! Didn't you tell me when we are together, your heart pounds and you can't calm down? No one else makes you agitiated and confused and I'll tell you why!" Yuda is still peeking from behind the pillaster, her eyes wide in anticipation of Johan's revelation. And then Johan, with his finger rudely pointing at her, declares, "It's because you love me!!" Yuda gives him the boo-boo-face and leaves from behind the pillaster holding her hand to her chest in relief, much to Johan's dismay. "Wait a minute. What's with that face?" He asks. "When I pointed out the truth, you were supposed to become cute. Hey ..." he says.

Yuda turns and asks, "But where did that explanation come from?" She continues, "If I love you, then I would want to be near you and understand you I think. In my case, it's the opposite." Johan counters,

"Well ... It's different for each person."

Yuda then says, "I don't understand what you mean. Well, it's time for me to study. Excuse me." and then she turns to go to her room. Johan is clueless as to what just happened.

Later, Yuda is in her room. She is supposed to be studying, but instead she is lost in thought.

"Me liking Johan-sama. I don't get it. But lately when we are together, my heart pounds more and more and I can't look him in the eye." Then she recalls her father and his multiple wive who dote upon him and compete for his attention. Her mind then moves on to a happy couple face-to-face smiling while holding hands. "Just as I thought, If I loved him, I would always want to be together and when we are together, I would be happy. So I'm not ..." her thought trails off.

Later, she is walking in the courtyard when she sees Johan recieving a briefing from his staff. To her he looks kind with soft long lashes and his face is bathed in warm sunlight. She blushes at the thought of him and thinks "I am ... not. I'm not ..." as she then proceeds to stalk him for the rest of the day, much to Johan's irritation. Tired of her antics, Johan leaves a notebook on the floor and tells her, "whatever it is you want to say, write it here and give it to me tomorrow." Yuda rushed to pick up the notebook. Could it be an exchange diary?

Later in her room at her desk, Yuda opens the notebook. "An exchange diary with Johan!!" She begins to compose her thoughts:

"Dear Johan,

Early summer's weather ..."

She stops and thinks whether this is the type of letter she should be writing. She wonders what to do because she doesn't want to write something stupid. She then banishes the thought and starts to write. Her two handmaidens look on proudly from just behind the door. They are pleased that their princess is not worried about what to write.

The next morning, Johan is in his office working. He is startled by his assist who enters to give him the exchange diary. Johan can't believe that Yuda actually wrote something and his heart beats quickly in anticipation of what she's written. Yuda, ever baffling, has written a long essay titled "About War and Peace" in the diary. The next day, Yuda is pacing her room in anticipation of Johan's reply. The handmaidens enter to deliver the notebook and Yuda's heart beats fast, too, as she opens the notebook to see what Johan has written. His response is, "Ok, I'll think about it. By the way, what did you do today?" Yuda is utterly confused. She flips through the pages and shakes the book, pages down, to see if there's more hidden somewhere. She wrote 3 pages and he only wrote 2 lines. She then gets very upset and curls up in a ball and cries on the floor. She then stops, looks at the notebook entry again and remarks to herself that he has neat handwriting. She then begins her response.

The next day, Johan reads her response. He is blushing with surprise. She writes about how she spends the morning recieving academic lessons and learning to dance and play the guitar. She asks him about his day day too and wishes him well. Johan is so delighted that he's laughing himself to tears. He replies that his days aren't decided (I think ???). He played the piano for a month and then quit and some other stuff I can't decipher. It must have something to do about fish, because in the next letter, Yuda asks what a "bass" is and writes about a small river in her home country that she's never seen. Johan replies that a bass is a fish and draws her a picture of one. He then writes that he would take her fishing so she could eat one, but it's going to rain tomorrow. Yuda thinks this is strange. "Face to face we do nothing but fight, but through this diary we have normal conversations." Her next entry begins:

"I thought I detested that we got engaged to stop the war, but lately this discussion we have been having has made me happy. We'll probably end up fighting again, but I wonder why from time to time I feel lonely. I guess I do miss Johna-sama."

She freaks out about what she has just written. "No way! But ..." and then she thinks back to Johan's declaration ("Because you love me!) "But this is utterly wrong!" she thinks. "Could the painful and nervous feeling be love?" Just then, the wind from the open window catches the paper and the page she has just written flies out the window. As she searches frantically in the hedges for the paper she thinks, "This is bad. If somebody sees this, our fake love will be revealed. I've got to find it quickly! or else the peace will break down!" Johan comes out and spots her in the hedges. He asks what she is doing. She tells him that it's nothing. She's just trying to find a lost thing. He reminds her that it's going to rain soon, but she insists that she only needs a little more time to search. He asks her why. Yuda's at a loss for words. He reassures her that the radicals have recently calmed down and that even if they are found out (with regards to the notebook) and the public believes the story, if they quit fighting, the they can explain themselves. Yuda returns with, "But! But if things go like that, then what is the meaning of our engagement?" It has started to rain. Johan beckons her to come inside and takes her by the hand to lead her out of the rain.

Inside, looking out the window, Yuda thinks," If that were the case, then getting engaged to Johan-sama wasn't necessary. We wouldn't have to pretend to be lovers. So wouldn't it be better to be found out?" She clasps the notebook close to her chest. "That way once again Johan-sama ..." And then she sees the sheet of paper caught in the bough of a tree.

The rain has cleared and Johan is out taking a stroll when he spots Yuda trying to climb a tree. He begs her to come down. She is dressed in what appears to be a night gown and is precariously swirling around a branch like it's a high bar . She tells him she can't because things may not necessarily go as he thinks. "At the very least, my father would be angered. And the angry people won't be silient! Even if we stop fighting, our engagement will be annulled (without our involvement in the decision). So ..." she says as she stretches her arms and fingers to reach the sheet of paper. She looks desperate and Johan looks on, his eyes are wide as if he is being confessed to. Yuda's hand slips and she falling towards the ground. Johan springs into action and catches her in his arms and they fall to the ground. He puts his hands to her face and holds her gaze close to his and tells her,

"It's all right. When that time comes, I will propose how ever many times until we are allowed to marry again. And if that's no good, I'll kidnap you. So, it's ok." Yuda blushes in his hands. She nods in affirmation and can't stop trembling because of those words. Johan, then says, "Thank goodness we landed together." He has the sheet of paper in hand which Yuda promptly snatches away. Of course Johan wants to know what she has written on the paper and she tells him that it's a secret. To end, Yuda narrates,

"I don't know if this feeling is love or hate but it's ok if things stay the same for a little bit longer."

And she takes off running again with Johan in pursuit. Yuda's heart is pounding, she's blushing furiously, and her are eyes are squeezed shut because she still can't look Johan in the eye.

Nov 13, 2008

Wild One (Arakure) Vol 5 is Out in the US

Wild Ones (Arakure) Volume 5 is out in the US, so go out and buy it. I will resume translation starting from Volume 6. Also out:

  • Tsukuyomi Moon Phase Vol 12
  • Love Attack Vol 4: too much crazy-female drama for me so I will not be continuing this series. I really don't like violent love triangles and the crazy girl has some serious problems that aren't dealt with well. This volume was quite a turn-off for me.
  • Chibi Vampire (Karin) Vol 11: Anju "grows up"

Nov 4, 2008

Summary: Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen Chp 4

I'm sorry it took me so long to post a summary. I had a little crisis of conscience with respect to "Kisu Yori mo Hayaku" and then got sucked into "Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen." All the while, I've been playing Warhammer Online religiously. I will get to KYMH later this week. So for now, here's a summary of "Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen" (roughly translates to "Grand Military Tactics for Absolute Peace"). Chapters 1 -3 are out there in the usual places online.

This chapter begins with Johannes and Yuda touring the city. A tour guide is narrating about how the city of Judecca has been rebuilt since the royal couple settled there 6-month ago. The is walking down the street hand-in-hand while crowds shower them with blessings. The narrator continues that extremists opposed to peace have recently increased their activities.

As usual, after they are out of public view, the lovey-dovey couple act is dropped. They quit holding hands and this time Johannes turns and walks away quickly. He loosens his tie as Yuda looks on shocked. She turns to follow him, now worried because the routine has be broken. She asks Johannes what he's rushing off to do. He replies that he has to return to work because of terrorist activities. He says he can't let the city be destroyed again. Yuda asks whether this means that he will be busy. Johannes responses, "Yes, quite busy." Yuda is embarrassed that this has affected her. She asks herself why she feels this way. She thinks, "At first I hated Johannes-sama, but now that we live together, I don't think he's as bad as I thought at first. I'm trying to compromise a bit ..."

Later on, Yuda encounters Johannes in the hall. He is dressed in his uniform. Yuda follows him around, looking very much like a child. "Johannes-sama! Johannes-sama! Have you found a way to guard the city? Are you going to the courtyard?" she asks. Johannes isn't paying her much attention as he reads through a stack of papers while walking. "Yep, I'm going now." Yuda frets that he won't look her in the eye. Frustrated, she resorts to completely childish behavior. She calls his name and then throws a paper airplane at him, hitting him squarely in the forehead. Johannes unfolds the airplane and in it, Yuda has scrawled, "Johannes is an idiot." Now she's done it and Johannes looks at her with a mischievous gleam in his eye. "He's coming!" She's anticipating his attention as she takes off running. "Who are you calling 'idiot'! Wait you shorty!" is the situation she's waiting for as she runs away, but he doesn't take the bait and instead continues walking to the courtyard. Yuda is now distressed.

Alone in her room, she sits curled into a little ball wondering why Johannes is avoiding her. She recalls that he told her, "I love you so of course I want to be near you and I want to touch you." She thinks, "Even though he said that, why? (do I run away)" as she remembers her cruel treatment towards him and then concludes, "of course, he'd avoid me. If I continue, he'll hate me ..." While confused, it seems that she's coming to a revelation about her feelings. She then vigorously shakes her head, banishing the thought. She's up again, prowling the halls in her hooded coat. "There's no way I like Johannes," she assures herself. Johannes' guards look on as Yuda paces back and forth in front of his office door. Johannes guards are amused because she's been pacing at the door for over an hour. They decide to tease her a little and ask her if she wants them to call Johannes from his office. Yuda takes off running saying that she was just passing by and not to bother.

Yuda goes out into the garden and while watering plants wonders why she can't calm down. Her handmaidens come out to the garden to tell Yuda that Johannes is looking for her and that there are guests to receive. Yuda blushes furiously. She is pleased that Johannes has called her. Johannes is already in the receiving hall when she arrives. She excuses herself and then Johannes introduce the guests, Thomas Claspel and his daughter Isabel. Thomas is the head of many national businesses. Yuda is struck by how pretty Isabel is. Johannes shares one of the threatening letters the terrorists has sent with Mr. Claspel. Mr Claspel pledges the support of his people to help quell the terrorist problem and then asks about the princess, Yuda's safety. Johannes pulls Yuda close, wrapping his arm around her shoulders, and then assures them that no trouble could happen and pledges that even if the peace fell apart it would not impact his engagement to Yuda. Isabel says in response, "The rumors are true. You two are close." Johannes replies, "She is the most important person in the world to me." Yuda blushes. There's a tinge of sadness on her face. "I need to be calm," she tells herself. "As always, it's a performance."

The greeting is now suddenly over and Johannes guides Yuda out of the room as he instructs his guards to escort the Claspels back to their mansion. As soon as they leave the room, Johannes releases Yuda and tells her that he will be away for a while. Yuda worried about the terrorists asks, "What if something happens. Should I tell our people that you won't be coming back for a while?" Johannes looks back at Yuda. He's a little surprised. He says, "What's with that response? Are you afraid you'll be lonely?" *Bingo* Yuda blushes and then avoiding his gaze retorts, "Even if you are not here, I would be quite the opposite of lonely. I'd be relieved!" Johannes response, "Oh, so not cute!" He continues, " Whatever ... All because of that blond beauty we greeted a little while ago. " Yuda fires back, "Even if you partner with that uncute woman, I'll get by here just fine. I couldn't care less if you come back!!! Stupid Johannes!!!" Johannes is knocked back on the floor by Yuda's outburst. As she leaves, Johannes asks himself, "Why does this always happen." Yuda doesn't go very far after leaving. She stops and looks around the corner at Johannes office door. She looks very sad and remorseful. "Stupid Johannes." she mutters.

Later ... Yuda is tending to the sick at a hospital. Some men at the hospital are looking at a newspaper with a picture of Johannes accompanying Isabel on the front. They discuss whether the relationship is a lie and say that it's only a matter of time before he leaves Yuda for the blond beauty. Yuda's self esteem takes a blow as she compares herself to Isabel while looking in a mirror. Her handmaidens and a messenger find her in a corner crying. The messenger requires her signature and informs her that Johannes has been invited to a party at the Claspel's mansion and that Johannes has already declined the invitation for Yuda. Yuda's handmaidens are peeved and decide that Yuda will go and show that she is prettier than Isabel.

It is the night of the party and Johannes is dressed in black and going over some papers. Isabel offers him a drink and he declines, telling her that he is still working. She asks him to dance and he cordially declines. The onlookers think that Johannes and Isabel make a nice couple and denigrate the "desert princess." They think it's best that Yuda didn't come. But then, from a car, Yuda arrives. She's dressed in form fitting mermaid dress with elegant boots, looking cute as can be with some flowers in her hair. The crowd is surprised by how beautiful Yuda is. Yuda is blushing like a maiden. Isabel is shocked and Johannes looks completely freaked out -- like his heart has just sunk into his shoes. Yuda panics because she doesn't know how to interpret Johannes' expression. Johannes, looking totally shaken, grabs Yuda by the wrist and drags her out of the room. Outside, Yuda asks what wrong. Johannes tells her that he didn't want her to come because it's dangerous. Yuda bursts into sweet tears -- she's so sad and dejected. Johannes looks even more messed up because he's just understood what happened, but is powerless to do anything about the situation. Yuda takes off running, thinking, "I knew I shouldn't have come." Her confidence shattered, she finds a place outside to hide and cry about how good Johannes and Isabel looked together.

Then she hears voices from behind the wall. A group of men is moving some large boxes. The boxes are filled with weapons and the men talk about a plot to attack to incite the Southern country so the war can resume. Yuda, finally understands the danger and decides that she needs to tell somebody about the men. As she gets up to leave, Isabel comes up from behind her and drags Yuda away. Inside, Johannes' guards enter. Johannes asks if they've found Yuda and they inform him that they have found what they are looking for and that they can begin arresting people. However, Yuda was taken into the inner part of the mansion. Johannes instructs them to act carefully, so as not to cause a ruckus that will allow the criminals to escape in the confusion or or arouse the curiosity of the public. The guards apologize about Yuda and Johannes laments that Yuda seemed so happy in her dress.

Johannes is interrupted by a servant that tells him that Mr. Claspel wishes to speak with him. He is led to room where Mr. Claspel and Isabel are keeping Yuda hostage. The situation is tense and they exchange words about how Isabel isn't Claspel's daughter and Claspel explains that the end of the war has been bad for business and job creation. He then tells Johannes that if he wishes for Yuda's safety, then he should forget about the arms deal and leave the premises. Yuda is upset and feels that this situation is all her fault. She put people in danger and, therefore, she is not qualified to be the princess. Isabel is pointing a gun to Yuda's head. Seeing that there is no hope in the situation -- Yuda believes that Johannes will sacrifice her -- she bites Isabel's arm to free herself and then heads for the the window. Johannes calls out to Yuda to wait a minute. Yuda looks back with tears in her eyes and then jumps. She is diving head first into a pool. Isabel turns to shoot Yuda in the back and Johannes violently stops her. Yuda is sinking in the water and it hurts and she thinks that she is going to die. And then then Johannes' hand appears and he pulls her out of the water. He sets her on the ground on her back and sits next to her. Freaked out he yells, "What did you intend to do?" Yuda tries to explain, "Because of me, you.." but she is interrupted. "What was your point!?" Johannes looks terrified. "Don't do anything that dangerous again!!!" he yells. Yuda is shocked. Then the guards find them and inform Johannes that they've arrested the Claspels and rounded up the terrorists. Johannes begins to walk away. He has completely lost his composure and still looks totally freaked out. Yuda pulls him by his sleeves (-- don't go ...)

Johannes turns around to see Yuda bawling. He asks her why she's crying. Yuda responds, "I hate you. Your touch disgusts me" Johannes returns, "then I won't get near you or touch you." Yuda is still crying. "Now what?" Johannes asks. Yuda says, "But when I'm with you my heart pounds and I can't calm down. I become irritated and I can't stop crying. I don't understand what this is. It's horrible. Even now I don't understand. I've had enough. Johannes-sama, I hate you so much. I hate you ..." Johannes looks at her with kind soft eyes. He's blushing now at her weird confession. "I already know," he says. "You hate me." He then picks her up and hugs her closely and tightly. Yuda thinks, "When our skin touched, it was warm." She continues, "I thought I died painfully, but I feel strange and relieved" Her arms that were awkwardly outstretched before now wrap around Johannes tightly. The chapters ends with Johannes and Yuda sitting on the ground, still hugging tightly. Johannes looks stupidly happy and Yuda's looks as though her mind has been blown. The guards remark that they've been at it for an hour and wonder if Yuda will have another "teething fever." (link culture note on "teething fever" -- see modern translations under Japan.)

**I will proofread this tomorrow. Sorry if this is totally mangled.**

Oct 24, 2008

Got Side Tracked

I'm still here. I have been reading "Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen." I'm almost through chp 4. Those of you interested in Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen, I will write up a little something for chp4 when I finish. That is an incredibly adorable series.

Oct 8, 2008

Some of my Art

I finally got around to taking pictures of my art for the “Gallery” section of my webpage. Here are some of my favorites. I haven't drawn seriously for a little over 10-yrs. Sigh ... well ... what can say... back to Warhammer ;p

Oct 7, 2008

Code Geass: The Lelouch Rebellion Season 2

Awesome! Go watch it! Watch in it's original Japanese with subtitles! My life is empty now that Lelouch is over. This is definitely one of the best TV shows EVER!

This is a continuation of Code Geass: The Lelouch Rebellion. I don't want to give much away, but I'll say the shocking moments continue as everything goes to heck very quickly. The last 5-minutes will make you cry as everyone realizes what has happened. So good!!! Watch this anime! Both seasons!

Here's what I had to say about the first season. Link.

Sep 25, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 5, Chp 23

This chapter starts with Igarashi having a dream about his childhood. He is a very cute little boy with a lonely but bright smile. He is assuring himself repeatedly that he is okay and that the situation is okay. As Igarashi awakens, Sachie narrates, "There is something I don't know about Igarashi-san." Igarashi thinks, "What is it I wished for?" It's New Years and everyone is going to Hatsumode. Igarashi and Azuma are at temple together. Azuma wishes that Sachie will acknowledge him in the coming year and then asks Igarashi what he wishes for. Igarashi, ever the smart-ass, says he wishes for Azuma's happiness because he (Igarashi) can't be happy without that happening. Azuma is touched until Igarashi actually says his prayer, "I wish for Azuma to be happy alone." This illicits shouts of "Bastard" and such from Azuma. Azuma then tells Igarashi that his first dream of the year was about Sachie and that he believes this is a good omen for "love-love" between him and Sachie. Igarashi is dilligently praying and doesn't seem to be paying too much attention to Azuma's babbling. Finally Igarashi finishes and says, "Whatever ..." to Azuma. "The only first dream of the year I care about is hers," Igarashi continues, referring to Sachie, who has just joined them. Azuma and Sachie are shocked. "So what nice dream did you have?" he sweetly asks Sachie who is trying to dodge the question by looking like she's busy praying. "Uh, well ..." she begins. "I dreamt of the boy who was my first love." "First love?" asks Azuma, who knows nothing of the story. The yakuza fill him in that Sachie's first love is a boy she met at a World Exposition 10-years ago. She and this boy promised to send each other New Years cards (so they all know, which must be entertaining to them all to watch Sachie twist in the breeze). Igarashi, clearly pleased, inches in closer to Sachie and asks what happened in the dream. Sachie is quite nervous and embarassed about the dream, so she says that she doesn't remember and then takes off running. She can't tell Igarashi that in the dream the little boy said, "since then I've always liked you," and then turned into Igarashi as he is now. Shocked at recalling the dream, she wonders why Igarashi was in it. She relieves her anxiety by blaming the dream on the necklace Igarashi gave her. She pauses on the note left with the necklace -- "Here is the necklace you wished for." But she didn't wish for anything.

It's getting cold and Igarashi comes to get Sachie to take her to an area where there's a fire so they can keep warm. Sachie is still lost in the thought about the necklace, and then decides that she'll just accept it because the more she thinks about it, the more confused she gets. So off she storms to get Igarashi some sweet sake, which causes her for feel greatly embarrassed. Next they are writing wishes for the New Year and Sachie asks Igarashi what he wrote. "Me? If I? ..." says Igarashi as he passes out in Sachie's arms. He's got a very high fever and apparently, he shouldn't have had any sake. Igarashi is feels really bad and in his mind calls out for help and then he sees Sachie's worried face. It's been a while since he had a cold. Igarashi thinks, "Don't worry, I'll be okay. I'll get well soon, so don't make that face. Smile."

Back to dreams of Igarashi's childhood. His eyes are blank even though he's smiling. He tells his mother that he will be okay alone and his mother praises him for being a good boy. "I'm okay," he says in his sleep. Sachie is by his side as he sleeps. She feels bad because she didn't realize should not have given Igarashi sake. She wonders why Igarashi is saying that he's okay in his sleep . She gets up and decides to got fix him some traditional sick-person dishes. Then Igarashi starts coughing and Sachie quickly returns to his side and holds his hand. Igarashi awakens briefly. He's in a daze and says, "Thank goodness, Mom." "Did he dream of his mother?" Sachie wonders. "Was the dream painful?" Then she thinks about an earlier conversation they had on the porch and wonders what he was deprived of as a child. "What happened? It must have been tough leaving home at 5-years old," she thinks. Then she looks at the necklace and wonders what she could do to bring Igarashi some comfort. Holding the necklace, she folds her hands and prays for power.

Back to Igarashi dream ... "What is it I wished for?" Igarashi's Mom is packing up to leave for the day. Igarashi cheerfully asks when she will be back, to which she replies that she doesn't know and that he should go to sleep instead of waiting for her. Igarashi's eyes go blank. Another day, little Igarashi is excited again because it will be parent's day at his daycare soon. His Mom says that she can't go and Igarashi replies that he will okay alone. Even though he is smiling, he looks likes he could be crying at the same time (T_T). Another day, little Igarashi is running home with a bag full of groceries in his arms. He's excited because it's his Mom's birthday and they are going make dinner and have cake. When he gets home, though, nobody is there (it looks like she gave him money for food and then disappeared while he was shopping. T_T). Then we move forward a little to Igarashi's awful relatives who don't want to take him in. "I promised ..." Moving forward a little, ... "Soon I we have say goodbye" ... a little girl is waving back at him. "C'ya" she says. "Don't forget our promise. From now on everyone will be together always" Igarashi recalls, "The promise was for me to be in that person's future. Through this I forgive my existence." Igarashi then awakens to find Sachie asleep as his bedside. She is holding the necklace he gave her.

Soon Sachie awakens and excitedly asks Igarashi if he okay and begins to feed him some of the sick-people's food that Azuma brought earlier. She is very happy that Igarashi is okay. After feeding him, she remarks that the necklace is wonderful and it's just what she wanted. She continues by saying that she's also happy that Igarashi got well quickly just as she wished for. They do some back and forth about what her wish really is and it ends with her declaring that her wish was fullfilled by her own power because year after year everyone will be together for days like Christmas and New Years. Meanwhile, Azuma is putting away laundry. He puts some clothes in Igarashi's clothes and finds an old New Years card that Sachie sent to Igarashi (yes, Azuma, Igarashi is Sachie first love and she doesn't know it). Back to Igarashi and Sachie. "So, the the effects of this necklace can't be avoid, let me put it on you," Igarashi says as puts the necklace on Sachie. Sachie looks a little surprised. The narration closes, "Together with you in the future"

Sep 24, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 5, Chp 22

Everyone is in a panic about what to do about the phone call from the class president's father, who is a police officer. They run around comically, looking very guilty. Sachie tries Tora, who looks very calm, but he's so nervous that he ends up talking into a sandal. The Sachie's grandfather gets on the phone and gives some weird polite romanticized out of era greeting, greatly embarrassing Sachie. Finally, Igarashi steps in to stop the stupidity. He tell's the class president's father to excuse the fun and that everything is okay -- goodbye. He then powers off the cellphone and asks the class president to turn his phone off during his visit. Sachie then remembers Igarashi's earlier advice to be cautious around the class president.

Back to the party, Sachie calls everyone together for the present exchange. One of the male students is eating some cookies that one of the female students had hoped to exchange with Igarashi. He says the cookies aren't very good which pisses the girl and her friends off. Sachie has two gifts and offers them up so everyone can participate. In the back of her mind, though, she is worrying about what to give Igarashi, who always bring her happiness. She wants to bring him happiness too. Cookie thief tries to stealthily throw away the rest of the cookies and is caught by Sachie who goes "yakuza" on the boy for disregarding the feelings the girl put in the cookies. Igarashi reminds Sachie to contain her temper and that she's in front of her friends. Her friends are scared and speechless. Then the class president breaks the silence by saying that Sachie truly is a princess. Sachie freaks thinking that he means "yakuza princess," but then he continues to explain that she's truly a princess because she and her household care so much about the feelings of others. Sachie is saved and everyone is at ease and happy again.

The party continues and comes to an end. As the class president is leaving, Igarashi stops him to return his cell phone. The class president says that he had a good time and that it looks like Sachie is well cared for. He then reassures Igarashi that he won't say a thing about anything. He continues by explaining that he doesn't think the group is about money. Igarashi asks, then what the class president's interest was (Igarshi is worried that the class president could be interested in Sachie) and the class president says that we was interested only in getting to know Igarashi better. He then shakes Igarashi's hands in an overly familiar manner -- cupping both of Igarashi's hands in his own -- and with a sparkly aura tells Igarashi that he admires him. As he leaves, the class president says that he hopes to follow in sempai's foodsteps. Igarashi is left feeling violated, then tinged with a little of happiness after being greatly complemented, and, ultimately, confused by what just transpired.

Back in the house, Sachie thanks the yakuza for a great party. Azuma is excited because he got Sachie's present and brags about it to Igarashi, who doesn't care all that much. Azuma is greatly disappointed by Sachie's weird present (red wrapping paper ??? -- I have no idea what she got). Meanwhile, Igarashi is walking around thinking about the day when he sees Sachie outside climbing at tree. It's very cold outside and it has begun to snow. Igarashi, worried rushes out to find out what Sachie is up to. Of course, Sachie slips out the tree and into Igarashi's waiting arms and they both fall to the ground in a quasi-embrace. Igarashi scolds her for climbing trees while it's snowing (she's bare footed too). Sachie explains that she had put a Christmas cake in the tree to decorate with snow (??? perhaps she wanted to hide it too and that's why she put it in the tree ???). "Cake?" Igarashi inquires. With downturned face, Sachie explains that she wanted to give Igarashi a present to thank him for taking care of her, but she couldn't come up anything. So instead she decided to try making him a Christmas cake. By the way, the cake is beautifully decorated, despite her saying that it was easy to make. Igarashis is suprised and asks if the cake is really for him. Sachie panics thinking that he doesn't want the cake because they've already eaten cake at the party and maybe he doesn't like sweet things, but instead Igarashi is overcome with joy and kisses her hand and then gives her a big hug. He whispers in her ear that the day was wonderful because of the party and the cake. He lets go and then politely thanks her. It's an adorable scene. Sachie thinks "The two of us together, the cold snow, and the warm feeling of his gaze was so kind and gentle." The next morning, Sachie wakes up with a present on her bed from "Santa" with a note that says, "A necklace to fullfill your wish." Sachie is again reminded about how Igarashi always brings her happiness -- "Merry Christmas."

Sep 21, 2008

Vampire Knight Chapter 43 is Out

Chapter 43 of "Vampire Knight" is out there in the ether for you all to enjoy. I was starting to get bored with this series, but the exciting and long chapter got me interested again. It looks like the story is coming to an end and it doesn't look like it's a happy ending either. Ureshiiii ... which leaves the question of how the characters will meet their end? I look forward to some "lovely" tragedy. Will Yuuki finally put the now bad-ass Zero out of his misery?

Sep 17, 2008

Rambling Blog Available

Come visit my rambling blog to read about my love affair with consumer electronics, gaming, and advertising.

Here's a link:

Sep 14, 2008

New Website is Up

The new Omari Sister Manga and Anime site is up. It's a Flash site, the fruits of taking a 20-hour course at my local University extension. Here's a link. Please excuse the cuteness and the unoriginality. I'll will add to the site and improve things as a I go along.

Tip: for those of you with smaller screen resolution than the website, in the view menu, use the zoom function to rescale your window. Because the actual artwork I did spills off the "stage" in Flash, I didn't want to publish the file to autoscale. I didn't want to show the stuff off the stage. Although, when I think about it's actually not that bad ... I'll think on it. The stuff off the stage makes it look even more like construction paper.

Sigh, ..., I'm actually thinking about scanlating something ... though, I really believe I should get the artist's permission and you folks should pay the artist for their good works ... but there's a manga I really like and I would like to share it. Taihen ne ... dou ka na? Well, I doubt the one I have in mind will make it to the US, so maybe I will do it and see if I get a cease and desist e-mail. Maybe I could actually send the author a little e-mail to ease my guilt ... Sigh ... actually, it's not the author I'm worried about, so much as any US publisher that might pick this up. But isn't that the point? To get the manga published in the US? Sigh ...well ... I'll mull it over.

Oh, with respect to Kisu Yori mo Hayaku, I started translating it last night. The first few pages are giving me a hard time because the speech is very casual. Hopefully, I'll be done by the end of the week. Also, the scanlation group doing "Arakure" is close to catching up to me, so unless they are straight up posting the Viz translation, I think I will leave that to them and choose another manga summarize. I'll do a quick check -- it appears that's what they did, so after chapter 21 they are out of material ... haha ...okay ... I'll keep posting.

Sep 9, 2008

My Fuzzyshot Blog and Other Stuff

My life is truly boring. Now you can see the extent of this. Visit: There's a link on the sidebar too.

Sigh ... I got side-tracked by "Special A". I read the chapter one or two chapters after Kei kisses Hikari in the jail. Poor Aoi gets gastritis from stress and ends up in the hospital. He gives up on trying to bring Kei to London and realizes that he, too, is in love with Hikari. It's a really good chapter.

Oh, some group has either scanned or scanlated Arakure upto chapter 19. Go find it and enjoy yourself. You also can go by the manga at your nearest bookstore :).

Sep 5, 2008

Kuroneko -- Self Teaching Adobe Illustrator

Check it out!

Here is my first Adobe Illustrator drawing! Yep! In the light of getting sacked, I'm learning new skills. I'm already pretty good with paper and pencil and brush and canvas, so now I'm learning the Adobe web design tools set so I can hopefully move more towards web-design and software -- actually I'm looking for a management position because I've been an engineer for 10-yrs. Still I have to know the tools :).

Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, I will be able to point you all to a functioning website in addition to this blog. Yep, I'm learning fast -- I'm also taking Flash :). Buwahahaha!!!

Here's version 1.o

Aug 25, 2008

The Olympics Are Over

The Olympics are over, but I've still got the fever. Yep, I'm catching up on all the events that are important to me on the Internet. NBC, in the US, did a nice thing and posted video from most of the events uncut and without commentary. It is soooo nice to watch gymnastics and diving without hearing the useless babble from the commentators. Anyhow, this is a relief because staying up past 1AM to watch the coverage was wearing me out!

Anyhow, ..., on a sorta unfortunate, but maybe fortunate note, I'm out of a job. I have the economy and cutbacks to thank. But this is the life of an engineer. The jobs ebb and flow. Anyhow, I hate interviewing. The nice thing is that this is giving me the opportunity to find a job and a work environment that will be better for me, because, to be honest, I wasn't thrilled in the job I had and I had started working for other groups in the company to relieve my boredom and to feel useful to somebody within the company. It will also be nice to finally get a new set of managers. I was under the same set of managers for nearly 9-yrs. That's an awfully long time and, to be honest, that kind of stagnation is career limiting. So wish me luck because I'm going to need it in this job market.

New stuff -- well, in the US Hino Matsuri's "Wanted" came out. It's an excellent three chapter series that first ran in LaLa DX -- go out and get it! Also released were "Skipped Beat" 14, "VB Rose" 3, "Wild Ones" 4, and "Special A" 6. LaLa 2008 volume 10 should be arriving at my door tomorrow, which means my jobless self can start translating "Kisu yori mo Hayaku" right away! (Okay, not right away -- after my morning job search ... I found 20 potential jobs today, so I'll be very busy preparing resumes and cover letters for the next few days ;p). I've also been slowly going through the most recent chapter of "Ouran Host Club". Although it was "translated" by a scanlation group, I didn't feel they captured the deeper essence of what happened. In general they got it right, and, I really shouldn't complain because Ouran is a difficult read. Regardless, I'm reading it for myself. Tamaki is having so real personal struggles. It's very sweet. Hikaru is being devil for Tamaki's sake, which is also very sweet.

Well, I'm back.

Aug 15, 2008

Blog Printing Remove

I don't know if any of you used it, but HP Blog Print has been discontinued and I've been asked to remove the widget from my blog. If you were using the service and thought that it was useful, please post a comment and I will see that it gets to HP.

Aug 11, 2008

Olympic Fever

I didn't think that it would happen, but I've got Olympic fever and I feel compelled to watch the excitement every minute I'm at home and coverage is on. So please forgive me as I succumb to the magic of the US Men's swimming team (yesterday's relay was the most exciting sports event I've seen in a while. We watched it again at work. That win by the US Men was so SWEET!!! Even my Dad was talking about it. ) and no doubt the US Men's Gymnastics's Team -- so far the Indian guy is my favorite -- I'm rooting for him whole heartedly! He sounds so sweet and deserving. Oh, and then onto diving and track and field ... sigh ... so ... Consequently, there may be silence from me until the games are over.

In the wee few minutes of time before I go to sleep (after midnight because Olympic coverage goes until then), I've been slowly translating the latest chapter of "Ouran Host Club." From what I can tell the last 10-pages or so move things along quite a bit between Haruhi and Tamaki (Tamaki gives Haruhi an otoro ring and comes mighty close to kissing her again after internalizing that his feelings for her are not familial love -- yep, I skipped to the good part) and then Haruhi gets snatched, leaving the ring on the ground. Poor Tamaki is left looking for her. I was hoping that a translation group would have put this out by now, but Ouran is a tough read so I understand why it takes so long to get the chapters out. Anyhow, if I manage to finish before something comes out, I'll post a summary. Anyhow, the chapter starts with Tamaki dreaming about his childhood when his Dad came to visit. His Dad apologizes for not being with Tamaki and his mother and tells Tamaki that they are alway number one on his mind. Then Tamaki goes to Hatsumode with the gang. He and Haruhi have a cute little conversation about eating New Years mochi and are interrupted by Hikaru. Tamaki then starts to freak out about Hikaru's confession to Haruhi and that's as far as I've gotten in detail -- 1. Hikaru confessed to Haruhi 2. Hikaru said that Tamaki is running away from some kind of trauma via the family analogy.

Jul 30, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 5, Chp 21, Part 2

It's now Christmas Day and Sachie's classmates have arrived for the party. Her classmates are in awe of the grandeur of her house -- the gate is so big. Sachie is a little embarrassed. The class president thanks her for allowing them to visit. She attempts to greet him formally and he tells her that the formality isn't necessary. And then Sachie opens the gate to find the yakuza in their formal dress (complete with the family crest) bowing deeply to welcome Sachie's guests. Sachie quickly closes the gate and explains to her guests that things aren't quite ready and then she re-enters the gate and angrily tells the yakuza that it's Christmas and that they need to change into some other clothes. The yakuza change and it's time to let the guests in again. As they are going in, Igarashi notices the sign on the door that identifies the family. He covers it from the sight and bids the students swift entry by enticing the girls with the possibility of a night of fun with him. Sachie is grateful for the Igarashi's nice save.

Inside, Azuma is serving drinks and the kids are playing the King Game with the yakuza. Everybody is having fun which pleases and relieves Sachie. While cleaning up after eating the class president volunteers to help her. He praises her cooking and she explains that she does this everyday. "But you are a princess" class president counters with a dead pan face. Yikes!!! Sachie tries to cover by saying the saying the even though she's a princess, she still has to do various things. "Oh, like a fairy tale princess," class president says and for a minute he looks like "evil Igarashi", but then his face goes very serious and he asks, "Does the Wakamura household perhaps ..." Sachie tenses up -- "oh crap what is he thinking" she wonders. "... have a bad child?" class president concludes. And in walks Raizo dressed as Santa which breaks the tense situation. Igarashi soon arrives and remarks that Raizo makes a strange Santa. In passing, Igarashi tells Sachie to be wary of the class president. Sachie wonders whether she has something to aware of about the class president.

Time for dessert. It's a Christmas cake and the yakuza mistakenly put candles on it so it looks like a birthday cake. As they are singing, one of the students says that she thinks she remembers the yakuza from the cultural festival. They were the acting troupe that came to the school. "You live with them?" she asks. "Why didn't you tell us?" she continues. For a moment Sachie's world is ending. She wants to tell everyone and she wants to introduce her family properly. She clasps her hands tightly as she decides what do. Igarashi looks on with interest and the yakuza are stunned into silence. Sachie has decided and she tells them, "Actually these people take care of me. There are ... my family." The yakuza are deeply touched, Azuma looks proud, and Igarashi ... well .. I guess he looks slightly relieved or something. All of her friends smile back warmly and the girl who spoke up says, "That's great! You have a nice family." The tension is instantly lifted and everyone looks relieved. Igarashi looks a little defeated, though -- perhaps sharing a secret with Sachie was a bond with her and now that bond of secrecy is broken. Raizo and his second in command look on proudly. Second-in-command says, "Ojou-sama is surrounded by good friends." And then they all celebrate and, I imagine, eat the cake.

In the middle of the fun, Sachie hears a familiar sound. It turns out to be class president's cell phone ring tone. It's his Dad on the line and class president explains that he has the ringtone because his Dad is a policeman (I guess the ringtone is a sound associated with police -- perhaps a siren sound???). Class president turns his phone to Sachie and the yakuza and says, "Dad would like to greet you all." Sachie and the yakuza are in great shock. "A policeman!?" they all collectively think.

-- End of Chapter --

Jul 29, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 5, Chp 21, Part 1

It's a new volume of "Arakure." I'm working my way through this so slowly -- argh, I'm even driving myself crazy by my pace. Anyhow, this chapter picks up directly after the last. Recall that Sachie's class is coming over for a Christmas party.

Sachie bursts hysterically onto the scene yelling, "Everyone get out" which the yakuza interpret to mean a raid is happening. The excited yazuka spring into action asking which group is raiding them and then Sachie quickly realizes that they got the wrong idea. The head of the low level guys comes in and assures everyone that there's no raid, but rather Sachie's classmate are coming over for a Christmas party. With a desperate look on her face she explains to them all that she fears her friends will find out the identity of her family. Igarashi and Azuma look on with mild shock. Igarashi then turns evil on her and with a wicked smiles asks, "You understand, so why did you invite them over?" Sachie is embarrassed and in tears. She couldn't bring herself, at the time, to turn down the class president's request, plus, the girls in class are excited about coming to see where Igarashi lives. Sachie retreats into her own little world. She's got a crazy smile on her face that frightens the yakuza. The yakuza decide for Sachie's sake they will figure out some way to hide their identity and they swear this on their tattoos to Sachie.

Later that night Igarashi goes to check on Sachie who is outside reflecting. He starts a conversation with. "Can't sleep?" he says. Sachie turns and he continues, "What's wrong? Everyone is going out of their way for you and you've got a sad face. " Sachie looks sad and blushes a little. She says that she feels self loathing for selfishly inviting her classmates over and then telling everyone that they had to hide. She feels bad for being so reckless. Igarashi being Igarashi put on his fake smile and replies, "If you weren't Sachie-sama then your ass would have been kicked." His comment didn't help and now she feels worse. She turns around and rests her chin on the deck railing in a heavy mope. Igarashi pats her on the head and then seriously explains that the guys are doing it for honor. Sachie says, "I can't say I understand that but if we didn't have to deceive everybody, I really would like to properly introduce everyone." Igarashi is moved by her sentiment, but at the same time he knows that being deceptive is for the best. He tells her, "That's true. I'm no stranger to being deprived so I know sometimes there are things we can't say or tell others. This is all the more true when someone is happy. That happiness has to be protected daily." Sachie looks up at him with concern and asks, "Are there things you don't want other to know?" Igarashi thinks back to his past and replies, "There are" to Sachie. Then he turns Casanova on her and says, "but I will show everything to Sachie-sama. Now which secret do you want to know?" He appears to loosen the collar of his sweatshirt in preparation to take it off. Sachie is completely taken off guard and yells, "No thank you!" She looks repulsed. "Well too bad because quite frankly you should have," Igarashi says slyly as he turns and heads inside. Sachie is very embarrassed and implores Igarashi to stop teasing her. Igarashi continues making small talk remarking that it's cold outside. Sachie wonder whether he really would have stripped and let's out, "Igarashi ... won't you get sick?" Igarashi returns to Sachie's side and completely ignoring her concern and says, "This will be everyone's first Christmas so let's look forward to it. We'll have a fun Christmas." His smile is very warm and inviting and Sachie wants to believe him, but she has her doubts but she sets to her mind to making this the best Christmas. "Hai!!!" She says enthusiastically in response.

To be continued ...

Jul 22, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 4, Chp 20

It's winter time and Christmas is coming. The yakuza are testing white powder to the horror of Sachie. It turns out that it's just flour that the yakuza are going to use to make goodies that they will sell in vendor stalls for the upcoming Christmas festivities. Meanwhile Igarashi and Azuma and lamenting over having to get dressed up for the festivities. In particular there's a kooky looking reindeer costume. Sachie teases them and Igarashi reminds her that she has to study for her exams -- he will of course be her tutor.

At school, Sachie gets through her tests thanks to Igarashi's help. She free and looking forward to winter break. Sachie's friend is excited about the Christmas party and wants to spend it with Igarashi, which doesn't please Sachie. The class president warns everyone about exceeding the budget. The girls ask Sachie what Igarashi likes and what kind of girls Igarashi likes. Sachie doesn't know. Which sends her mind thinking about presents. After school she decides to go shopping instead of going straight home. She ends up at the place where the yakuza are running the food stalls. They are all dressed in Santa Clause costumes and they welcome Sachie and her friends. Sachie begins to wonder who's who. One is super polite and offers to get her some takoyaki. He reminds her that he told her not to come and Sachie figures out that it's Igarashi. Poor Azuma is in the kooky reindeer outfit. They chat about how it sucks to be in costume and the fact that Igarashi is a pitiful Santa. While they talk, Sachi rubs her hands together and blows on them to try to warm them up. Igarashi notices and puts her hand into his pocket and then remarks that there are advantages to being in disguise. Sachie thinks that this is un-Santa like because Santa is supposed to pat your head and ask what you wish for. Igarashi gets up for a bit to tend to the customers. Sachie for some reason blurts out that she would be happy with anything that Igarashi would give her for Christmas. Igarashi doesn't hear her clearly. He comes back and asks Sachie what she wants for Christmas and she says that she wants to be together with everyone. And off she goes to do her shopping.

At a store she finds some gift (I'm not quite sure what's she's buying. It looks like wrapping paper to me). When she goes to pay for it, she discovers that her wallet is missing. Meanwhile back at the street festival one of the yakuza finds Sachie's wallet and he along with Igarashi decide to go find Sachie while she is still in the area. Sachie is back tracking to find her wallet, when she comes across across a couple of yakuza not in her family who are trying some you-knocked-me-over-now-pay-for-my-injuries scam on a well dressed old man. Sachie protests and says that the yakuza bumped into the man. The yakuza threaten her and Sachie pulls rank on them. Just as one of the thugs was about to hurt Sachie, Igarashi rushes in to the rescue with a big protective face burying hug (he's always trying to shield her eyes from violence). The man thanks Sachie and then pulls out a police badge which shocks everyone -- especially Sachie since she just bragged about being a yakuza princess. She and Igarashi get the hell out of Dodge before the policeman realizes what happened. It seems the policeman is the class president's father. On their way back Igarashi teases Sachie about her wallet and says that bad girls that don't go straight home don't get their wallets back. Sachie calls him devilish and says that she wishes the rest of her classmates could she what a meanie he really is. Igarashi says that only she gets to see this side of him which causes Sachie to blush and her heart to skip a beat.

The next day at school, the class president asks Sachie if they can have the Christmas party at her house because her mansion can accommodate all of the students and to keep within the budget. Sachie looks very nervous. The ending caption reads, "It looks like Christmas is becoming troublesome"

Jul 10, 2008

Anime Review: Vampire Knight Ep. 1 - 13

I finished watching the first season of "Vampire Knight" a little over a week ago. I think that the series is a nice companion to the manga, but it is definitely not a substitute. The anime follows the manga pretty faithfully -- a few things are omitted or the order in which they come in the story has changed, but it's nothing too upsetting. The anime also has more slapstick humor than the manga. Sometimes that annoyed me because I feel the story is at it's best when it is dark. So what's keeping me from strongly recommending this anime? Well, the anime lacks the "loveliness" of the manga. The characters are drawn sorta like those in the manga, but they lack the curly-flair and the detail of Hino's drawings. Hino draws very appealing looking males and the animators just don't have that talent. I realize that it would be very expensive to recreate the details of Hino's drawings, still, in that sense, I feel the anime is a bit soulless. One of the strongest moments in the manga is the scene in which Zero bites Kaname. In the manga, the build up to the event is violent, tense, and intense and the spread devoted to the bite was red-hot in all it's glory. The drawing is, well, "lovely" and over-the-top. The anime took a different approach and I think, in comparison to the manga, the scene fell flat.

I was hoping for a little variation in the story from the manga. From reading the forums, basically fans fall into the Kaname camp or the Zero camp. I am, of course, in the Kaname because I like bratty slightly evil characters and emo-characters like Zero cheese me off. I was hoping that in the anime, Zero would be less emo and more fierce. Rather, they've made him powerless and pitiful. Kaname is robotic in the anime. I imagine him to be seething under a calm exterior -- one of those guys with a beautifully biting tone. (forgive the bad pun) Oh well ...

As a good companion to the manga, I give the first season of the"Vampire Knight" anime 3/5. I highly recommend the manga, though, for its lovely drawings and dark and detailed story. The story comes on slowly but when a secret is revealed, it sheds light on all the past events and, for me, I felt the impact of the build-up greatly in retrospect. It's like magic. When it happened I would go back and reread the previous chapters and marvel at the little cues Hino left. The subtlety is amazing in when read in retrospect.

Jun 30, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 4, chp 17

This chapter is another filler chapter that took me FOREVER to get through because most of the dialog was very casual speech. I'll try to keep this brief since this chapter really doesn't move the story along. I have some comments to make at the end. So here it goes:

Leaving off from the last chapter, Azuma is at school sitting and his desk. He's resting his chin on his hand and he looks extremely salty. His classmates detect the strong negative vibes that are emanating from him and that wonder what his beef is. It seems that Azuma is in a bad mood because he's tired of hearing from everyone how handsome, smart and athletic Igarashi is. Azuma feels that he should be thought of highly too because he, too, is handsome, smart, and athletic -- but sorely lacking in humility. Azuma's egotistical outburst irritates his class mates. Blushing as though thinking about a royal prince, his classmates tell Azuma that he should give up because nobody can rival Igarashi. Azuma is crushed and his classmates turn away and start talking about the upcoming athletic meet. In walks Sachie which brightens Azuma's day only to have it turn gray because she just wants him to relay a message to Igarashi for her.

Later, in the boys locker room, Azuma, Igarashi, and so other guys are changing into their PE clothes. Azuma wonders what evil lurks behind Igarashi's smile. Meanwhile Igarashi is annoyed that Azuma is staring at him. Out loud Azuma says, "Actually, I wonder if he's hiding something. He really could be yakuza." This catches Igarashi off guard. He comes in close to Azuma and with a charming upward gaze says to him, "If you don't want to cause trouble to Sachie-sama, I, myself would stop taking. So ... don't cause trouble. " I guess Azuma hadn't realized he spoke out loud and says to Igarashi that it was a slip of the tongue, to which Igarashi, with that falsely sweet smiles that he delivers threats with says, "I see, well then don't let your tongue slip." The class bell rings and Azuma is left once again salty with the thought that Igarashi is perfect.

Later in the day, Azuma is back in class. He is furious and thinking about how he wants to win. Then he overhears some boys talking about Igarashi. Apparently Igarashi has enemies and they plan to interfere with him at the athletic meet. Later on the class is deciding what events to enter at the athletic meet. The class wonders what Igarashi will do. They agree that he can participate in anything other than volleyball. Azuma, upon hearing this, assumes that it means Igarashi is bad at volleyball, so he hatches a plan in his mind to be Igarashi's savior to elevate his own status and, therefore, volunteers Igarashi and himself to participate in the volleyball competition. Later back at home, Sachie brings up the fact that Igarashi, as a 1st year student, single handedly beat the third years at last year's volleyball competition. The other yakuza wistfully recall the memory and the bets they mode in association with last year's sport competitions. Azuma is mad that Igarashi is ringer. Sachie breaks the tense moment by promising to buy them meat with all the money she collected from the class if they win. Sachie smiles broadly and says that she thinks the two of them together will be invincible. Happily, Azuma grab Sachie's hands and says, "Sa-chan, I'll do my best." The sight of Azuma holding Sachie's hands upsets and saddens Igarashi. I guess he's sad that he isn't free to act the same way towards Sachie.

The day of the meet comes and Azuma acts like he doesn't know anything about volleyball. Igarashi makes up for him though. Later, the 3rd year boys are planning to sabotage Igarashi in the final match. At the water fountain, Azuma is openly criticizing Igarashi which draws the attention of the 3rd-years. They go about enticing Azuma to be a part of their scheme. Later, Igarashi is cooling off at the water fountain when Azuma approaches and asks him to follow him somewhere. Azuma has only pretended to go along with the 3rd years' plans and instead wants to side with Igarashi, but he doesn't know how to approach Igarashi yet because he knows that Igarashi would not accept "The Big Handshake." Azuma figures that siding with Igarashi would be better for his popularity than going against him, besides, he doesn't want to hurt Igarashi. And off they go ... Azuma leads Igarashi to the bushes that the 3rd-years are lying in ambush. Azuma brags that he fooled the 3rd-years and tells them that he's in league with Igarashi. Igarashi has no choice but to go along with Azuma. Azuma continues with a sick grin of his face saying that he betrayed them because he hates them and that while he understands their beef with Igarashi, he doesn't feel that there's any pride in winning through sabotage. Igarashi follows up with the threatening sweet grin by reminded the third years that they should be studying for entrance exams. The third years seem to be cowering away and Igarashi and Azuma go on their way. However a few of them are hell-bent on taking revenge for last year's 3rd year students and attack Igarashi with a wood post (by the way, this a great way to kill somebody, so I found this scene quite disturbing -- people don't get up after being hit with one of these.) "Shit!" Azuma says as he realizes what's just happened. (Though, I'm not sure whether he's worried for Igarashi or worried that Igarashi will lose it and go ape-sh*t-crazy on the boys who just assaulted him. Next page --) It appears that he's actually concerned for Igarashi's safety. Igarashi, looking fairly bruised and battered, picks himself off the ground, licks away the blood from a cut inside his mouth and, while taking hold of the wood from his assailants grip, informs him that the final round of the volleyball competition is starting soon and that they should leave for the meeting area. Igarashi continues by informing his assailant that he thinks the 3rd years are on the edge of being unsportsman-like and that it's best that they decide this dispute at the competition, as he breaks the wood post in half.

Back at the competition, Sachie is arriving to watch volleyball from having watched the basketball game. Igarashi and Azuma, now united, decide to kick some a** on the volleyball court. They, of course, win. Later, Azuma walks in on Igarashi who is bandaging himself up in the nurse's office. Azuma confirms his suspicion Igarashi was hurt and suggests that he let a doctor tend to him. Igarashi acts like nothing is wrong, which causes Azuma to grab and lift up Igarashi's shirt, revealing a bandage on Igarashi's ribs (yet again). Outside, Sachie is happy and calls up through the window to congratulate the two on their victory. Azuma yells back "Thanks, Sa-chan." Igarashi, irritated, remarks about whether it's okay for Azuma to call Sachie that. Azuma then realizes that he's not the only one who wanted to show off and is envious. He decides to take a little dig at Igarashi by saying, "It bothers you that call her 'Sa-chan.'"

And finally, they are back in class and there's a notification on the blackboard about how the 3rd years were disqualified from games involving balls and that their penalty is to clean the school grounds (or something like -- I really struggled with this one). The 3-yrs complain and Igarashi with that threatening grin asks them if they would rather do something else, to which they all eagerly agree that they will clean the school yard. The ending narration reads something like, "Who knows whether the Class President's kindness will allow them to pass their entrance exams or not."
My thoughts on this chapter:

It seems that after the last couple of chapters, the author is trying to tone down Igarashi's temper and violent tendencies. I'm not sure whether I bought it. My feeling is that if someone were to start beating me with a wood post, I would think that this person is trying to kill me, so my instinct would be obtain a weapon and fight back with the intent of injuring the person enough to stop them from hurting me. I wonder are we supposed to believe that Igarashi did not return the assault because they are on school grounds and he has an image to maintain. I imagine breaking the post in front of the boys was threat enough to stop them from doing anything further. Perhaps Igarashi believes in order to not trouble Sachie that he has to maintain his princely image at school. Sigh ... still I think a proper beat-down was in order, though.
Ugh, now that that's done, I can get around to the next chapter of "Kisu mo yori Hayaku". I already skimmed it so I can tell you that the chapter is very sweet. Anyhow, it should only take me a sitting or two to translate it. As for "Arakure," a new story arc begins with the next chapter. This arc begins at Christmas with a gift and ends with Sachie caring for Igarashi when he gets sick. There are, also, flashbacks to Igarashi's childhood. This looks like a very nice story arc and I look forward to finally being able to read it in detail.

Jun 17, 2008

100% Perfect Girl Manwha -- how low will it go?

The manhwa series "100% Perfect" girl started out as a sweet Cinderella story about an ordinary girl from Korea and generic "European" prince falling in love. That sweetness lasted for about 2 volumes and since then the story has been getting weirder and weirder in a very misanthropic way. At first this was going to be a semi-feminist rant about the way the character "Jay" is treated, but then I realized all of the characters in this manhwa are distasteful. Also, I'm pretty sure the author, "Wann," has writer's block and doesn't know what to do with the story. I'm afraid with the way things have been going -- Jay's been kidnapped 3 times and she is constantly mentally abused -- that Wann has painted himself/herself into a corner because Jay has been through situations that cannot be recovered from. If this were somewhat realistic she would have probably killed herself by now because the human mind is not built to withstand as much trauma as she's been through. She certainly can't be with Jarte because he betrayed her in the deepest manner, plus, he's just as sexually depraved as the villains in this tale. Based on other series by Wann that I've read, I wondered if it was cultural because this pattern, in milder forms, was present in other stories. Consequently, I tried to keep an open mind, but I've come to the conclusion that Wann has never been in love and that he/she simply does not like people. With this lack of experience and attitude, it's impossible to write a love story and have it ring true.

So here's what urks me about "100% Perfect Girl" and Wann in general: what the heck is with the extremely possessive feelings that all of the main male characters feel towards Jay and why it is that these men only know how to express themselves in an aggressive and violent manner towards Jay. For a story that is supposed to be a love story, there is no love in it. Most of the scenes that involve sexual activity are pretty close to what is considered "rape" in the US. Rape is never and act of love, so in reading this manwha it's very hard for me to like any of the male characters. They all come off as thuggish and cowardly -- very anti-male. And then there's poor Jay who can only be kind, get kidnapped, be nearly raped and wait for her prince to come rescue her followed by the prince, himself, attempting to force his way on her. So I wonder what Wann will do with our "hero" , "Jarte," who has once again rescued Jay, who is naked and crying on a bed after waking up with that arm's dealing guy trying to have his way with her. Will Wann let the healing begin with a hug and "let's take you to sanitarium?" Or better yet, an I'm sorry, now I will send you back home and support you for the rest of you life as penance for ruining your life? Or will Jarte try to take advantage of Jay while she's naked and mentally fragile.

I quit buying this manwha in book form during the Capelletti incident because it didn't square with my values and I don't want to encourage the US publisher of this series to continue publishing and distributing this misanthropic sh*t. I will admit to hypocrisy, though, since I still pay a quarter per chapter to read it online. I don't read this series for fun, though. I read it because I'm curious as to how low this tawdry tale will go.

May 26, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 4, Chp 19

This chapter begins with a flashback back to when Igarashi and Sachie knew each other as children. The narration reads, "We (I? -- I'm not sure) made a precious vow." And on to the yakuza household ... All the yakuza underlings are concerned about whether Igarashi will return with Sachie on the last train. Raizo assures them all that he's sure Igarashi will return with Sachie on the last train. Meanwhile back to Igarashi and Sachie. Igarashi is still holding a stunned Sachie by the wrist and caressing her hair, when the train announcer comes on announcing the next stop. That's when they realize they got on the same train that Igarashi came in and that they are traveling further away from Tokyo towards Kobe. The mood is broken and Sachie jumps up and suggests that they exit at the next stop.

At the next stop they exit. The guy at the ticket booth informs them that they were on the last train for the day. Sachie desperately asks about other options like the bus, but is informed that they are not running because of the holiday. Sachie then suggests that they head to Nagoya. Igarashi asks Sachie how much money she has. She says she has enough for transportation. Igarashi is in the same situation, so going to Nagoya would be pointless. They also can't get a hotel room because they are minors. Sachie, realizing the situation they are in, understands that they will be camping out until the first train comes in the morning. This is very upsetting to her. Igarashi is not that concerned though and calls back home to let them know the situation. The yakuza inform him that Raizo is sharpening his sword and if anything happens to Sachie, that sword will be used to remove one of his fingers. Igarashi puts on a good face for Sachie after the phone call. Sachie then realizes that it's just the two them and freaks out. Igarashi grabs her hand and leads the way. Meanwhile Sachie is thinking about how happy she is that Igarashi unexpectedly came to get her and how she does not know how to express her feelings. She's feeling ashamed of her desire for this situation to happen. While she's in deep thought, she begins to ask Igarashi a question. He then asks what he can do for her. He is smiling at her with his pleasant, but distant, fake smile. Sachie thinks back on things and thinks that on the train Igarashi seemed like a totally different person. She then says, "Nevermind" and they continue on. Suddenly Sachie remembers that they are Kobe and asks about all the different tourist traps. Igarashi tells her that they are nowhere near all that stuff. As they continue to walk, Sachie stubs her toe (she is wearing sandals) and falls into Igarashi's awaiting arms. Igarashi asks if she's okay and then apologizes for the situation saying that she must be tired and that they will find a store soon so they can rest. Meanwhile, Sachie has become self conscious of her sweatiness due to the day's walking and running. Embarrassed, by her funk, she pushes Igarashi away. Suddenly behind her, a lady from a bathhouse yells at them and asks if they want to enter before she closes up for the night.

While Sachie is cleaning up, she is worrying over why her heart is racing. Meanwhile, Igarashi is looking at the hand that was hugging her before he was pushed away. When Sachie exits, she finds that Igarashi has already left according to the bath house lady. Sachie panics and thinks that Igarashi is mad because he went out of his way to pick-up Sachie only to have her push him away. She wonders if he's become tired of her. She really wanted him to know that she is very happy to be with him now. As she leaves the bath house in a panic, she runs into Igarashi, who is returning from somewhere. Sachie is upset and in tears so Igarashi asks what's wrong, whether she feels bad, and whether she was able to bathe. He starts explaining how he found a bench when suddenly Sachie can't contain her emotions any longer and rushes head first into his chest for a hug. She explains that she got scared because he left and that she thought he came to get her because she was being selfish. She says that she thought that he couldn't care less about her. Igarashi stops her mid-sentence and yells that is not the reason he came. (Both of them, now are very emotional.) Sachie lets go and she raises her hand to her forehead in relief while still bawling. "Thank goodness," she says and continues by saying something about him loosing a finger (I'm not too sure about this part.)

Sachie then accidentally kicks over a bucket Igarashi has brought. It is a bucket full of little fireworks and sparklers. Igarashi says he bought them at a nearby convenience store to fulfill their promise. They play with them and talk about how pretty they are and so on. After they are done, Igarashi leaves Sachie on the bench while he goes to find a trash can. As he is walking off, Sachie thinks about how Igarashi's multiple faces are all him. When Igarashi comes back, Sachie starts dozing off while saying, "I ... more I want to ... "(literally, "with respect to Igarashi, more I .." -- it doesn't translate well into English. ) And then she's out, leaving Igarashi to wonder what she was trying to say. Sachie falls asleep with a big smile on her face. She is dreaming of her first love and remarking how much he seems like Igarashi. Meanwhile Igarashi is thinking about Kou and how he said he wanted Sachie. Igarashi then leans down and kisses the sleeping Sachie. In the background it reads that Sachie wants to know more about Igarashi while in the waking world Igarashi is making it clear to himself what he wants.

And so day breaks and they return home on the first train. It turns out that the yakuza waited at the train station all night for them. And then it's back to life as usual. Igarashi is, as always, the handsome, intelligent, and athletic class president who is surrounded by girl asking for help with their homework. Meanwhile Azuma is a bitter bystander and remarks about how Igarashi has entered the lion's den and dug himself a grave. The end narration says something like, "with which face shall we show" (This is a guess based on the flow of the page and the pictures. I don't know what "Higa" is and I can't find it in any of my dictionaries. I hope I'm not too far off.)

-End of Chapter-

Note: the next chapter looks like filler between story arcs. I may not do a detailed summary in favor of writing up something short since it appears that the next chapter is not pertinent to the story as a whole. The last chapter of volume 4 starts of a very cute story arc which includes Igarashi coming down with a cold and his Christmas gift to Sachie. Please look forward to it :).

May 25, 2008

Next Up ...

I guess it's back to "Arakure." The next volume of "Lala" was supposed to come out today, but I don't see it listed on Amazon Japan. There's an extra issue of "LaLa" out and I have special ordered that. Scanations of the extra "Vampire Knight" story from the special issue are out in the usual places. It looks like I'll be taking a trip to Mitsuwa to buy LaLa 7 when it comes out.

Anyway ... I also started reading "Saru Yama" ("Monkey High" in the US). The second volume came out two week early, so I won't be posting a summary. If you like that one, go out and buy the second volume. That manga continues to be cute. The story ended in "Betsucomi" a month or two ago so I know how it ends. It's a good ending :). "Houkago Houkenshitsu" ("After School Nightmare" in the US) also wrapped up in Japan recently. The US is up to volume 7. By now you should have figured out who the knight is. If not, I'll give you a hint. It's not Sou. And if you've figured out who Sou is, then you understand how deeply messed up Sou is. The big story "twist" is a really good one, so I felt very satisfied with the ending.

"Ultimate Venus" is a new manga to the US. It is by the same mangaka who did "Tenshi ja nai" and "King of the Lamp." So far "Ultimate Venus" is not as good as "Tenshi ja nai," but it doesn't suck like "King of the Lamp." I purchased volumes 2 - 4 in Japanese. They should be arriving next week.

I'm getting sad because it looks like both "Nodame Cantabile" and "The Gentlemen's Alliance" are coming to an end ... sigh ... well ... hopefully they will end well.

Ja mata :)

May 8, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 4, Chp 18

This chapter starts tense, with Igarashi and Raizo facing off. "Please left me pick-up Sachie," Igarashi requests. "Pick-up?" Raizo asks. "Yes" replies Igarashi. Raizo then tells Igarashi that there is no reason to go all the way to Oosaka if Sachie will be returning in only 3 days. He will be relieved soon. Igarashi replies that that long of a wait is no good. Igarashi is beginning to fall apart. His emotions are showing as he states that he's going and then asks whether his going is unacceptable. Raizo looks a little taken aback by Igarashi's state. There is a flashback to the recent events -- Kou's phone call and Sachie pretending everything is okay. "I promised to protect you yet I let go of your hand," he thinks. Igarashi regains his resolve and continues. "It's just that I want to settle this. May I please leave," he says.

Meanwhile Sachie is under the fireworks with Kou, but she's forgotten all about Kou. Rather she is stunned and blushing and in disbelief that Igarashi is coming to get her. She calls home to confirm it and Raizo answers the phone telling her, indeed, Igarashi is coming to pick her up.

Sachie then comes back to Earth and graciously apologizes to Kou for not being able to keep her promise of a 3-day visit. While this is happening, Igarashi is buying a train ticket while thinking about how time seemed to stretch out while he was asking if he could go. Meanwhile, Sachie is stomping off to somewhere with her cellphone in hand wondering what's with Igarashi picking her up after he had wished her a safe trip.

Back at the Yakuza house, Azuma comes to see what's going on. Raizo says, "Isn't it a good thing" Azuma worries that this may cause bad relations with the Shinome family (or so I think that what he's saying). Raizo laughs it off and says something like "when it's time it's time." Azuma then insist on going to Oosaka too, but is denied and carried off by the other Yakuza at the snap of Raizo's fingers. Raizo then looks out the window with a little knowing smile on his face.

Meanwhile Sachie is looking at a voice message alert from Igarashi and wondering whether she wants to listen to the message or not. "Is he really coming?" she thinks to herself. Meanwhile Igarashi is very unsettled as he rides the train traveling towards Sachie. He's so anxious that he can't sit down despite the train's stewardess's urging. Both Sachie and Igarashi are lost in teenage angst and longing wondering how to face each other when they finally meet.

Later, Sachie is waiting at the train station platform for Igarashi. Kou comes to meet her and Sachie tries to pretend it's no big deal that Igarashi is coming to get her. Then some obnoxious drunk guys try to hit-on Sachie. Kou does his best to try to protect her. In the middle of the fray, the guys are taken out by Igarashi who has just exited the train. With a warm smile on his face he tells Sachie that he has arrived. Kou's Dad dispatches the last of the drunkards leaving Kou and Igarashi to confront one another. Igarashi tells Kou the promise is off. Sachie jumps in to say it was her decision, but Igarashi cuts her off saying the that it was his selfishness after hoisting Sachie onto his shoulder. With her in tow, he gets back on the train. The train leaves the station and Kou's father remarks that Igarashi is more attractive and charming than Kou. As they walk off, Kou's father tells young Kou not to worry because he's a child worth boasting about.

Meanwhile Igarashi and Sachie are in the train. Igarashi sets her down of the floor, but they still remain in an embrace. Igarashi asks Sachie to forgive him for his selfish action. He continues, "I should have expressed my feelings from the start instead of deceiving you."

Back to the yakuza house where Raizo is looking at a childhood photo of Igarashi. Raizo's right hand man remarks that Igarashi has a good smile in that picture. Raizo then says that since he's taken Igarashi in, Igarashi, until now, has never made one selfish request. Raizo explains how Igarashi thought that if he let anyone see his true self that he would be hated. This was the first time that Igarashi said "please" (onegai).

Back on the train Igarashi is looking rather seriously at Sachie. His hand is stroking her ear and hair. "I wonder what is the extent of this feeling," the narration reads. Sachie is looking at Igarashi and meeting his eye. The situation is intense because they are still touching. Sachie says, "let go." Igarashi replies, "I won't left you go." They falls to floor, Igarashi is fully embracing Sachie tightly. Back at the station Kou realizes that Igarashi and Sachie got on the same train Igarashi arrived upon, so instead of returning to Tokyo, they are continuing on South to Hiroshima. Back on the train Igarashi appears to leaning in for a kiss and Sachie looks like a deer in headlights.

May 3, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 4, Chp 17

The chapter begins with a flashback to Igarashi's childhood. He is walking in a building alone and looking a little down. People in the background are talking. The things being said are, "What a weird kid" "He's always so quiet", and "What is he thinking?" Next some old guy is slapping young Igarashi around while saying, "What's with the look on your face? Who do you think you have to thank for the food you're eating?" Some more adults comment about how Igarashi's facial expression never changes. Next we see young Igarashi being introduced to Raizo. Raizo remarks that Igarashi's facial expression is not cute. Below Igarashi is introducing himself. He is smiling, but his eyes are blank and dull looking.

Back to the present. Kou is happy that the day is clear -- perfect for watching fireworks. Igarashi is rude to him and tells his to leave quickly if he's gonna leave. As Igarashi leaves the room, he crushes a soda can with his hands before throwing it into the trash. Kou wonders what's with Igarashi's attitude. Meanwhile, Sachie is looking at the bruise Igarashi made on her wrist when he restrained her and asked her not to leave with Kou. For impact, a drawing of a crush soda can is shown beside the drawing of Sachie's wrist. (This is a little awkward. Clearly Sachie was abused, but I don't know how this plays in Japan. In the US, I would say this is an alert that Igarashi is no good because he's most likely abusive and the abuse will only get worse in the future). Sachie thinks about how her wrist was crushed like a soda can and flashes back on the memory of the event. Apparently after coming on so aggressively, Igarashi let go and said it was joke. He explains that he can't go to the fireworks with her because he has kendo practice (a lie) and that it's okay for her to go to Oosaka with Kou. "Really, I don't mind," he tells her with his gentle smile and lifeless eyes that don't match. So Sachie goes ahead and tells her grandfather that she will go to Oosaka with Kou. Kou overhears and is very happy at the news. Igarashi asks if 3-days and 2-nights is too much. Kou tells him not to worry and that he will serve as Sachie's bodyguard in Igarashi's stead. Driving the knife deeper in Sachie, Igarashi gives a super-fake-smile and tells Sachie to have a good time. Raizo takes note of Igarashi's behavior.

And so Sachie, Kou, and Kou's entourage are in Oosaka at some kind of festival. Sachie is excited and wants to play carnival games. She picks a rifle shooting game and Kou thinks that this is a wonderful chance for him to show off his manliness. He assumes Sachie can't shoot. Sachie, however, has perfect aim and looks fierce while shooting. Kou is stunned and feels intimidated. They move on to some more carnival games. All the while Sachie is angrily replaying the scene with Igarashi in her mind. She cannot figure out why he seemed so serious about asking her not to go, followed by telling her he was joking, and then sending her off with well wishes. After making 3 bullseyes at a darts booth, Sachie sees a guy that looks like Igarashi from the back. For a moment she is shocked but it's some bucktoothed guy instead. Kou notices and tells Sachie to get a hold of herself because Igarashi isn't coming all the way to Oosaka.

Back in Tokyo, Igarashi is the glittering prince of the fake smiles. He has prepared a meal for the household and the other yakuza are in misery because Igarashi is only cooking vegetarian meals. They understand until Sachie comes back, that Igarashi will be acting like a nut. Igarashi's cell phone rings, and it's Kou on the other side. Kou is calling to confirm that Igarashi is indeed still in Tokyo and tells Igarashi that everything is okay. Igarashi is very annoyed, of course. And then for a moment Igarashi's composure is broken. Raizo comes along and sees Igarashi looking upset. Raizo reaches out to Igarashi telling him that he has not seen Igarashi with this expression since long ago. Igarashi turns and smiles with blank eyes and tells Raizo that he's just tired. Raizo pats his head. While Kou is calling Igarashi, Sachie is trying to call Igarashi too. Instead of getting through, she gets a busy signal. Sachie gets really sad because now she believes that Igarashi is very angry with her and has, therefore, given up on her. Tears are welling in her eyes as she waits outside the bathroom for Kou. When Kou comes back out, she regains her composure.

Kou grabs Sachie's hand and says that he's going to take her somewhere else where there are fewer people. Sachie tells Kou that he's kind and he is delighted to hear it. He then grabs Sachie and steals a hug while asking her how she feels about him. He uses "ore" for himself, the grown-up version of "I." Kou father hears this and scolds Kou for using "ore," reminding Kou that he's still a child. Kou changes to cute little kid mode and laughs it off and Sachie jumps in to rat Kou out for using "ore" all the time. Kou tells her to butt out. A little bit later, Sachie and Kou are alone. Sachie says to Kou, "Can I ask you about yourself?" Kou spouts out a bunch of stuff about his birthday and blood type and so on, but that's not was Sachie wants to know. She asks her question differently and specifically asks about the his use of "boku" and "ore." Kou is at first annoyed with the question, but then begins to clarify the matter for her. "'Boku' is the good kid and "ore" is something I decided" He says. Sachie probes further and asks why he has to be careful when using the words. Kou says, "so I can't be separated." Meanwhile, there's a cut away to Igarashi, who is walking around thinking about Kou's challenge and Sachie's shocked expression. He puts his head in his hand in frustration. "I'm miserable" he laments and then continues on with dead eyes. Back to Sachie and Kou. Sachie asks for more clarification. Kou explains that he acts cute because he wants to be liked. He says he smiles and agrees but behind the laughter he's really manipulative and not very cute. Interleaved with this are drawings of Igarashi in full emo-boy mode. Azuma is walking around with a rice cooker and bugging Igarashi about it. Meanwhile Igarashi is pouting about how he could have handled the situation with Sachie better. Azuma asks Igarashi what's with the face he's making. Suddenly, Igarashi comes to resolution with himself and tells Azuma that he's gotta run. In walks Raizo who tells the confused Azuma not to worry. Igarashi has realized that there's something more he can do. Igarashi and Sachie are now both lost in though. Igarashi's thoughts are kinda hard for me to understand, but here's my try: "If I'm going to speak, the words ... my intentions, my intentions ..." They stop and look up in the sky as the fireworks begin.

Both Sachie and Igarashi look longingly into the sky, both asking themselves what they should do and questioning why things are this way. Then Sachie's cellphone rings. It's Igarashi. Sachie answers, but in her mind she feels herself falling apart. "No good" she thinks. She makes small talk by asking Igarashi how he's doing and tells him that she doing fine. "Bear it," she thinks to herself as she says words she doesn't mean while tears are welling in her eyes. Igarashi then asks Sachie if she is now crying, which she is. Sachie is stunned and tries to make an excuse while in the background, Igarashi has said something. Igarashi repeats himself louder. "I'm leaving now."

Igarashi, full of resolve, then goes to talk to Sachi's grandfather. Raizo asks Igarashi what's up and remarks about how hard it's been on Igarashi. Igarashi then says, "I have a request. Please let me pick-up Sachie-sama." The chapter closes with, "But surely that is the real me."

Apr 20, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 4, Chp 16

Wow! I made it to volume 4! There's high drama in this volume as Igarashi needlessly worries about the intentions of a little kid towards Sachie. He definitely loses way too much cool in the next couple of chapters. So here it goes ...

The chapter starts with the words (Sachie's thoughts I guess) "If I wish to (with myself) extend my hand". Sachie is putting on an apron and Kou is happily offering to feed her a very big strawberry. While making the "Say-aah" face, Kou explains that the strawberry is a rare peach-strawberry that he has brought with him all the way from Oosaka especially for her because she will become his bride. Sachie blanches at the thought and thinks that she has no intention of becoming that brat's wife. Meanwhile, Kou is holding the strawberry on the end of a fork looking like a big eyed and innocent little kitten.

Flashback to one hour earlier to the situation that led to Sachie becoming Kou's prospective bride and Kou's invitation to Sachie to spend time in Oasaka with him as his guest and traveling companion. Sachie looks overwhelmed with shock as this is all happening too quickly. She does not give an answer while Igarashi looks on with a serious expression.

Back to the present, in which now Igarashi, doing his handsome-devil best, is offering to hand feed a cherry to Sachie. Sachie is now happily eating cherries from Igarashi and strawberries from Kou. Apparently both fruits are delicious. Later, Sachie is lying on the ground with a tummy ache from eating too many fruits. Igarashi enters the room to give her some stomach medicine. He asks her if she's okay and then begins to apologize for his earlier behavior only to be interrupted by a phone call from Kou. Igarashi, jealous again, has picked up the bowl of cherries, ready to defend his territory. Kou is at the grocery store with his bodyguards/handlers and is calling Sachie to inquire about the ingredients for hamburgers. Sachie is very pleased and says that she coming to the store to help him shop. As she is leaving Igarashi asks where she is going and why she has to help Kou. Sachie explains that Kou is impractical and will buy very expensive meat. Sachie then turns to leave, but is stopped when Igarashi grabs her hand. "I will go with you," he says. His eyes are obscured by his bangs.

At the grocery store, Sachie's fears are confirmed. Kou has already made his purchases and he's bought some very expensive meat. Sachie is highly displeased, makes a very ugly face, and then scolds Kou for his decision. Instead of getting mad himself, Kou is very pleased to be scolded and says, "Onee-chan is unexpectedly loving" as he snuggles up to her with the other women at the store looking on. Igarashi is unimpressed and grabs Kou by the back of his shirt collar, lifting him high as though lifting a kitten. Igarashi seems to be insulting Kou. ( I don't know what a "Sekuseku" is, but Igarashi says "With that Sekuseku shopping, sekuseku cooked, and after that sekuseku eating, can sekuseku return home?") He says something to the effect of "after shopping cooking, and then eating, won't it be time to return home?" To which Kou counters that yes he will leave, and when it's time to go, he will be taking Sachie with him. Which sets off a ball a lightening between Kou and Igarashi as they angrily glare at each other. Sachie then innocently asks, "Go to where? Are you serious?" Kou is infuriated and says that he's always serious. Kou then calms down and with a serious expression says, "Nee-chan said 'if you wish for my extended hand.' I am serious, I wish to take Onee-chan's hand." Igarashi then says that it's kidnapping to take somebody against their will and that Kou cannot use his childish desires forever. Kou says he understands and tells Igarashi that if Sachie consents, then Igarashi has no right to complain. Confidently Kou says, "I will get what I want with my own power. Surely the response I will get is that we will return to Oosaka together." Sachie thinks back. She did say something like that earlier, but ... flashback to an earlier conversation with Kou's father. He is inviting Sachie to go sightseeing on a 2-night, 3-day visit . Sachie questions whether this counts as Kou using his own power. Igarashi has no reply to give and is looking a bit strained.

Later on Sachie is back in her room, face down on a pillow wondering what to do about the trip to Oosaka. It's troublesome to her. Igarashi approaches her door and asks SUPER politely if he may enter her room. She lets him in while asking herself why Igarashi is being so polite. Igarashi explains that while he was cleaning/organizing the shed he found a kimono that belonged to Sachie's mother. He then asks Sachie to wear it tomorrow during the fireworks display that they promised to see together if Igarashi won the kendo tournament. Sachie is surprised at first and then very happy. She answers back that she would be happy to wear the kimono and go see the fireworks with him. Igarashi is very happy and smiles very sweetly. Kou overhears their conversation is looks saddened. Afterwards, Sachie is walking down a hall. She has a very determined look on her face and is thinking about how she will reject Kou's offer.

Next we see a conversation between Kou's father and Sachie's grandfather, Raizo. Kou's father explains that Kou never knew his mother and asks Raizo if he will do the favor of letting the Sachie spoil Kou for a little while. Sachie overhears the conversation and then realizes that she can't say no to Kou, even though she was really happy about going to the fireworks with Igarashi. Kou then approaches her and expresses how happy he is that Sachie is going to make hamburgers and that he's okay not knowing his mother because he has Sachie to look after after him. He then says that sometimes Sachie feels like a mother. While all this is going on, Sachie is feeling sorry for Kou and giving him loving hugs. Kou accepts the hugs, sinking into her bosom with closed eyes. He asks if Sachie will go with him to the fireworks festival in Oosaka. Sachie then remembers Igarashi's invitation and tells Kou that she will think about it.

A little bit later, Kou is on the phone ordering an additional train ticket for the return trip to Oosaka. Igarashi approached with a cold blank look in his eyes (very SCARY). "So this is your power?" he asks Kou. Kou explains that he used his credit card, but he doesn't have to say that to Igarashi. Kou rubs it in by continuing, "Indeed, even with that keepsake kimono you can't do anything. You can't go against me (implying the difference in their rank)." Then Kou asks, "When you aren't allowed to go, will you ask her not to go?" Kou looks quite serious. Igarashi is frozen in shock -- the kid has read the situation well. Kou then goes and grabs Sachie to tell his father that she is coming with them to Oosaka. Igarashi excuses himself from dinner to get away from the scene. Sachie follows. She wants to explain the circumstances, but Igarashi is looking at her with cold eyes. She stammers a little as she tries to explain and then Igarashi turns, grabs her by the wrist with one hand and corners her against a wall, blocking her escape with his other arm. He's taken a very agressive stance. He then says, "But it remains that you that you don't want to go, but ..." "Igarashi-san" Sachie says. "But what if I said 'don't go,' would you stay here?" Igarashi asks. The narration reads, overlayed in three parts over the scene, "If I wish to extend my hand."

End of Chapter