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Reading Log

I’m now reading:

Koretto wa Shinu koto ni Shita (Collete Decides to Die) by YUKIMURA Alto (Hakusensha).

and a few others.  I may write about them more in the future.

Thank you for coming.

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With the request from visitor Kara, I am posting a deeper spoiler of Katatsumuri Zensen which is out of print and unlikely to be officially translated in the future.

Notes:
1. Katatsumuri Zensen (Literally “The Snail Front” but perhaps better to be translated like “The Snail Weather”) consists of 33 chapters. There are two preceding stories, Katatsumuri Yobigun (The Snail Candidates) and Katatsumuri Keiho (The Snail Warning), which are included in Vol. 1 of the comic serials and play the role of the actual first and the second chapters. The excerpt I posted the other day was from Katatsumuri Yobigun.
2. As you may know, Japan has a short rainy season in early summer, typically from mid-June to mid-July. During this golden season for snails, weather reports never end without mentioning the rain front.

Deeper Spoiler:
One day, Asako speaks out her feelings for Sakura-kun to no one else but Sakura himself by accident. Looking at her panic, Sakura suggests that they will pretend this love confession did not happen so she can choose the right time and the occasion later when she really wants to know his feelings for her. Sakura cannot see her as more than a good friend in reality, and Asako, who are obscurely aware of that, agrees with his suggestion. Kajiwara also abstains from stepping forward, except only sometimes hugging her or coming on to her jokingly.

So the three keep close friendship while they experience the high and the low time in their youth. When the college entrance exams and graduation from high school are just around the corner, Asako happens to know Sakura’s current feelings, which are not what Asako has dreamed of. Yet she chooses the way to inquire Sakura directly and formally whether he loves her or not.

To see her guts, Kajiwara decides his way, too. Thanks to the sincere friendship of Asako and Sakura-kun, he has been renewing the record of the days keeping his human shape. He has felt so far that he cannot go anywhere with the fear of sudden and unwilling transformation to a snail. He gathers courage to live at his relative’s in the United States and study there for a year.

One year later, Kajiwara comes back. He calls Asako to the ground fence of the high school they graduated. Asako asks the reason he chooses to meet at the ground in particular.

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Kajiwara: “Wakamori-san, the person you kept gazing at here never came out of the ground to meet you.”
Asako: “Huh, yeah.”
Kajiwara: “And the person I was gazing at in the ground did not give me even a single glance.” “Now,”

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Kajiwara: “It is the time you looked at me.”
“No, I’d say, look at me! (That’s the reason.)”

There’s one more page after this, but I will not show this here for your later pleasure ūüôā

Reading Log: August 2016

Outen no Mon (The Outen Gate) by HAIBARA Yaku.

Ongoing.  Five volumes published currently by Shinchosha.

This is a seinen¬†manga, or the comic for adult men. ¬†But don’t worry, shojo manga fans; this manga is not particularly violent nor erotic (I’d say, acceptable). ¬†It is rather a very unique and exciting mix of the political intrigue drama and the detective story, developed in nowhere but Kyoto in the ninth century!

What makes this drama more interesting is the fact that the leading characters are based on two actual people who are very famous in Japan: Sugawara no Michizane (845-903) and Ariwara no Narihira (825-880).  Michizane is famous for his extraordinary intelligence and tragic life, and Narihira is famous for his talent of verse and womanizing nature.  Although Michizane, twenty years younger than Narihira, must have known this already famous and high-ranked aristocrat at least by name, there is no fact that Narihira knew Michizane.  But in this manga, these very different characters act together to solve various mysteries and prevent intrigues.  It is as if Michizane were Holmes and Narihira were Dr. Watson.

Excerpt is from Episode 2. ¬†Just like Holmes, Michizane indicates where Narihira was in the previous night by keen observation. ¬†Narihira was in his secret lover’s place.

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Dialog from the upper right box to the bottom (not direct translation):

Narihira: What about the vine flower sap? ¬†In any aristocrats’ garden, there grow vines.

Michizane: In Kyoto, you cannot see blue vine blossoms anywhere but the premises of Lord Rokujo (Lit.: The Sixth Street). ¬†When the ground of the Capital was leveled, the soil from some different place was brought in that area. ¬†That’s why only the vine blossoms there become blue. ¬†I have no interest in what business you might have at Lord Rokujo’s, but speculating from the fact that you took the trouble to make a detour to go back to your home at Sanjo (Lit.: The Third Street), you must have been avoiding anyone’s attention.

I guess he (=the valet) scratched the hedge when he tried to hide your carriage in the back of the house. ¬†It (=his gown’s sleeve) must be washed soon. ¬†It will be harder to wash off the weed juice as time passes.

TITLE: Katatsumuri Zensen (The Snail Front)
AUTHOR:  FUJIKAWA Kayo (Kayo Fujikawa)
DATA: Completed in 2002. Seven volumes published by Hakusensha.¬† It’s very likely to be out of print now, but still easy to buy used books.

My Evaluation: B- (Very Good) C+(Good)

Kajiwara, not only good-looking but also very good in both academic and sport performance, transforms to nothing but a snail when he is under stress.¬† Asako and Sakura-kun are the only ones who share this secret at school.¬† The three are good friends, although to tell the truth they are in the love triangle.¬† Asako loves Sakura-kun, Kajiwara likes Asako, and Sakura-kun seems not aware of Asako’s feelings.

The story goes in light touch, with lots of laughable happenings because of Kajiwara’s sudden transformation.¬† But it also scoops and describes well the teens’ anxiety about their future and changing relations, thus you feel some pathos at the same time.

It is a shame that the author seems to have left from manga.

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Excerpts from Episode 1: From Upper right to Lower left:

(Asako is going to move the snail on the wall.) “Shall I speak to Sakura about your feeling?” (She drops the snail.) “Oh, I’m sorry!¬† You surprise me.¬† Are you OK?” “– I’ll tell you something interesting.¬† When we are on the sports club activity, when we find a girl watching us on the ground, we guys generally at least once think that ‘the girl may be watching me!'” “And?”
(Running Sakura stops and turns back to the place he saw Asako.¬† Meanwhile Asako and Snail-Kajiwara continues the chat.) “And some of them fall in love with the girl.”¬† “– Nonsense!”¬† “But, if I’d say I’m one of them?”¬† “What?¬† Ah!? Aagh!”
(Asako’s scream astonishes Sakura.) “That voice!”¬† (Sakura opens the door of the class room.) “Saku…”
“What. I’m back to the normal.” (Sakura goes blank¬†due to a shock.)

Used books are available at Amazon Market Place for example.

I put another post for those who are interested in a deeper spoiler.

Inheruno (Inferno)  by MATSUMOTO Tomo.
Ongoing. Three volumes published currently by Hakusensha.

A thrilling love story between real brother and sister.  The brother and sister spend apparently ordinary, non-dramatic days going to their own high schools, and both of them look outwardly very cool.  But because of the superb description of their suppressed emotion, you feel their inward agony in the heat of the Inferno.Inferno_1

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Excerpt from Episode 4:¬†From Right to Left:¬†“(Sara pleasantly talking with her mother,) Sorry, next time we’ll come together.¬† Yes, (the sea) is very beautiful…¬† Goh is fast asleep and doesn’t wake up. Yeah. We may be late to come home.¬† Don’t worry.”

I’m in the Inferno. Cannot be joyful, cannot be graceful; As if I swallowed flames, burn my heart; No exit, forever.¬† But, even so, I swear,¬†I’ll take it, I’ll take it, I’ll¬†take it.*

* I am not sure about my choice of words of the last phrases.¬† Literally,¬†sore-demo¬†ii¬†means “even so, it’s OK.” Here it must mean he accepts the situation being in the Inferno.¬† But¬†“it’s OK” sounds too light.¬† So, I have translated it as “I’ll¬†take it”.¬† And the to at the end ¬†implies another word should follow.¬† So it may go like “so I think” or¬†perhaps like¬†“so I murmur”.¬† I put it into “I swear”.¬† But it may have been too strong.¬† Alternatively, the phrase can be translated this way, as if he were confessing to the god: But, even so, I murmur, that I accept, that I accept, that I accept.

TITLE: Ayamachi Unmei-ron (The Mistaken Destiny)ayamachi-unmeiron

AUTHOR: WAKUHARA Niko

DATA: 2014, Shogakukan. 2 volumes.

My Evaluation: A (Excellent)

A romance with lots of comical flavor between Fujimiya who is outwardly a very affectionate lover and Kana who is confused by his attitudes.  The story begins when three years have passed since they broke up, and goes as they resume the relationship.  The art is cute, and the tempo of change is good.

The story refers several times to The Tale of Genji, famous Japanese classic literature written more than one thousand years ago.  I the classic, Genji, a handsome illegitimate son of the Emperor, comes across a little girl and is strongly attracted by her.  He forces his way to adopt and bring her up to his ideal woman, and then makes her his mistress named Murasaki-no-ue.  In this manga, the heroine Kana feels as if she and Fujimiya were tracing the relationship between Murasaki-no-ue and Genji.

When Genji¬†is driven¬†out of the capital¬†by his political rival, parted¬†from Murasaki-no-ue, a manor lord kindly takes care of him.¬† Genji falls in love with the lord’s graceful daughter, Akashi-no-kimi, who gives birth to his daughter.¬† After he comes back to the capital with restored honor,¬†Genji builds a large house to cohabit with both Murasaki-no-ue and Akashi-no-kimi.¬† Then, he is begged by a former emperor to marry and take care of princess Onna San-no-miya,¬†but the wife has affairs with¬†young nobleman¬†Kashiwagi.¬† Here, some side characters are purposefully named the same as those of The Tale of Genji.¬† For example, Fujimiya’s co-worker, beautiful and smart Akashi is implied to be able to become¬†Kana’s rival in love, and Fujimiya’s junior colleague Kashiwagi¬†is on the other hand implied be possibly charmed¬†by Kana.

STORY:

Kana¬†fell in love with her tutor Fujimiya when she¬†was just¬†fourteen.¬† When Fujimiya asked her out for a date, she¬†couldn’t believe her happiness.¬† They had been going out together until Fujimiya proposed to¬†Kana at her senior year at college and¬†something unexplainable in her heart refused the proposal.

Three years later, when Kana’s office is acquired by¬†another big company, Fujimiya comes in as the new manager.¬† He tells her that he has been thinking of her the whole time.¬† “This sudden reunion¬†means our destiny to be together;”¬† She is moved by his unchanging love.¬† But then, she eavesdrops the conversation between Fujimiya and his superior and knows that this acquisition and the reuion¬†are the results of Fujimiya’s plot.¬† Besides, Kana realizes all the suggestions Fujimiya had made about her academic paths and so forth¬†were¬†to lead her¬†to the wedding altar as soon as possible.¬† Is Fujimiya a passionate lover or a stalker who tries to tie and dye a young woman¬†the color he likes?

 

Above Photo: Excerpts from¬†Episode 1.¬†“You¬†planned¬†this acquisition?¬† For what?” “For my company’s benefit, of course.(Smile)”¬†(Yes,¬†of course, silly me.)¬† “But if the acquisition proposal had been rejected, I would have¬†devised another plan to meet you again. (Approaching with high step sounds,)¬† I was careless.¬† I took so much care to lead you and had not imagined a bit to be forced to leave you.”

Reading Log: August 2015

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Kigurumi Boeitai/Boueitai (The Defense Force in Animal Suits) by HOSHINO Lily

Ongoing.  Three volumes published by Kodansha.

Three low-teens¬†defend the world from¬†evil¬†outer-space invaders, with the power of their¬†“pure¬†and strong” hearts and the¬†help of their Guardians.¬†¬†The Guardians are handsome young men,¬†transforming from animal-suited characters¬†to the real figure and vice versa¬†with¬†each partner’s kiss.

While the animal characters are cute and the adventurous story a bit alike Sailor Moon seem¬†to attract the designated low-teen readers¬†of the Nakayoshi shoujo magazine, the sexy male guardians¬†may well attract more mature readers.¬† Furthermore, one¬†pair of the master and the guardian is¬†a¬†man-boy combination, which may perhaps be a drooling¬†appeal¬†for¬†“BL (boy’s love)” manga fans.

Having the defense team leader with apparent secrets, the invaders whose purpose unknown, and these charming pairs, I think I can enjoy reading this story on for a while.

The color picture below show the three teens with puppets of their guardians in hand and the three guardians in their real figure.

The¬†extracts¬†show the guardians’ transforming scene.¬† Read from upper right box on the right page to the bottom¬†box on the left page.

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