In all of my reporting about Anime Expo, I forgot one important thing. As we were wandering the dealers' hall, we came across the Manga University
booth. Like other dealers, they had their products on display, some of them with signs about the extra special quality of those books. One in particular caught my attention, that said, "Buy a book, save a cat!" I was all, "Oh, so now you're trying to guilt me into it!"
Now I was asking for it. The guy at the booth explained that the author of the book, Edo Cats
, gave them the rights to it on the condition that part of the proceeds go to cat rescue efforts in Japan. Apparently all the animal shelters and everything we have in the States are practically non-existent--a fact we were vaguely aware of from our research for Nekogahara. Readers of the series will remember that there's an island we called "the Pound," but that was a localization. They don't really have pounds in Japan. We mentioned "shobuntou," the Japanese name of the island, and the guy at the booth said yeah, that's a real thing in Japan. I got the feeling they send the cats to the island to fend for themselves. ...I'm guessing it's not as literally toxic in real life, but I didn't ask. Japan is
a pretty volcanic nation, so it could be.
Well, that broke our hearts, so naturally we bought a copy. And you'll notice that I linked to it above, so you can buy a copy, too! The guy also told us that most of the stray cats in Japan live along the river. Sometimes they'll go into neighborhoods and kind souls will try to feed them, but then the neighbors will get all upset about it. So they go live by the rivers with the homeless people, some of whom are mentally disabled, but most of whom (if this guy is to be believed) are older men who got tired of living with their wives. They'll feed the cats, and that whole idea gave me this image of an old guy who left his wife, set up camp on the river, and became the commander of a giant army of cats. I think it could make a pretty fun manga, but I'd want him to go back to his wife in the end, the jerk.
Anyway, since the book is basically an educational one about the Edo Era, we might actually refer to it while working on Nekogahara. I remember flipping through it and seeing something that had me go, "Oh, we had to do a note about that, where was it? Oh yeah, Nekogahara!" So it all comes full circle.
In other news, we finally got Akira's romantic endings in KamiAso IF, so I feel like I should report about them, but...and I'm really sorry, Akira, but I just don't think you're that interesting.
After all the outings with the brothers, you tell Akira that you'll teach him about love, so he plans a very special outing, which he totally agonizes over, but eventually Yui helps out and they go on a picnic. Akira decides to be a teacher. There was a unique twist in that instead of telling Yui that the student she's focusing on is the most likely to fail, Zeus told her that if she doesn't stop focusing on the Japanese gods, everybody else
is going to fail. So that was kind of neat, except that it led to the most tedious of love angsting ever. ...Okay, I've probably seen worse, but this is definitely the most recent. Yui got all upset because she needed to focus on the other gods, which meant she should probably spend less time with Akira, and she was so upset about it that Takeru and Tsukito even felt the need to ask her what was wrong.
...And stuff happened and they admitted that they loved each other, but it was hard because at the end of the school year, they'd have to go their separate ways. So Akira decides he has to stop causing her pain and just leaves, and she never sees him again until graduation, where Takeru assured her he would show up to come get him and Tsukito. But he never showed up, he only sneaked a flower into her dorm. Nevertheless, she found him out in the quad where the rest of those flowers bloomed, and they talked it out, and that's when she got to decide if she wanted to go home or go to Japan Mythology World with him. The main theme seemed to be that sometimes it's harder to have options, because technically she did have the choice, but either one meant sacrificing something very dear to her. But since it was all mostly in her head, it was just like, "Okay, yeah, that makes sense," and not, "Oooohhhh nooooo, the paaaaiiinn!" So it got a little old after a while.
You know the rest. If she goes home, Akira comes to find her. In this version, he tells her a fairy tale that sounds remarkably like what happened to her before her memories got wiped. I probably would have thought it was really cute if I liked Akira better as a character. I don't know what it is about him; I'm just apathetic. And if Yui goes with Akira, he spends some time being like, "Wait, are you sure?" And then they go to Japanese Mythology World and live happily ever after. Actually in the part where he was asking if she was sure, he started getting all weird about it, like, "Maybe I'll lock you up so no one else can ever see you!" and we were like, "This...does not sound like the beginning of a healthy relationship." And he was like, "Now's your chance to back out," so he was probably just testing her, but I was kind of like, "Maaaaybe you should." Maybe my problem with Akira is that he's a little Balder-like. Everybody seems to think he's all super nice and stuff, but he's actually very self-centered. In his case it's in more of a "woe is me" sort of way, which I would probably be even more annoyed with than Balder if Balder weren't such a super creeper. Akira's only a little bit of a creeper.
Today I'm thankful for the opportunity to help cats in Japan, having our own kitty to hang out with, getting to start on Melissa's story soon (he promises to be much more interesting), finishing our first draft of Nekogahara today, and getting a few chores done today.