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."