I don't know if anybody but me cares about the state of affairs when we write reviews, but since I'm the one that matters, I'm going to write about them anyway. This review is being written on a day with an odd schedule, because we were sort of working on Say I Love You 17 and Nekogahara 2 at the same time...by which I mean we finished our second draft of Nekogahara and decided to walk far, far away from it for a while before giving it a final once-over. So we worked on Say I Love You, and we were planning to do the final readthrough for both today, but the Nekogahara schedule has been changed, so now we're not going to do that, and since today is an odd schedule anyway, what with it being a Temple Day schedule, I'm just kind of in a warp zone or something where things are a little surreal. And that all being the case, we just turned in volume 17 of Say I Love You.
I must say, this volume was a lot better than the last one. When we started work on it, I was already in a sort of apathetic mode...okay, so not necessarily apathetic, but like a, "Eh, it's all okay," sort of mode, so I wasn't really dreading working on it as we sometimes do, but after we got through the first draft, we looked back on it and thought, "Wow, that was a lot more interesting than I expected it to be."
So first we had the Natsuki stuff to deal with. I kind of feel like Hazuki-sensei pulled a fast one on us, by having that scene with Nakanishi being all, "Nope, I'm not gonna dump Asami," and juxtaposing that with Yamato hanging out with Natsuki and taking pictures of her and being all, "Something about her..." Athena says, "I mean, if any series were going to not have the main couple end up together, it would be Say I Love You, because it's about [or claims to be about] the harsh realities of life, but on the other hand, it's about Mei and Yamato, and it's called Say I Love You." That is something I think about, though. Not very frequently, because when I'm in the middle of a story, I tend to be focused on the story. But the point is, in real life you don't always end up with your first love. In fact, and I'll grant that I have no experience with this and I haven't really asked around, but I'm pretty sure people only very rarely end up with their first love. Sometimes, people break up, and they have to learn how to pick up and move on. ...I assume from watching, like, Gilmore Girls and stuff. On the other hand, when I really think about it, I don't think there's anything wrong with ending up with your first love, depending on how you do it, because I also believe that even if you're not a 100% perfect match, it's possible to work things out. And Yamato's already told Mei that she completes him, so it really would be a shame if they didn't end up together.
And Asami is still with Nakanishi, which I guess is a good thing, but I really was rooting for the pianist. And speaking of pianists, I didn't know that the ability to play the piano was a requirement for teaching preschool in Japan. Athena points out that, since Tamaki offered to teach Asami, it's possible that she took it up as a hobby or she thought it was a skill she really wanted to have in her preschool teaching. Anyway, I think it's a good idea, because kids should learn to enjoy music.
There was a lot of Megumi in this volume, which reminds me, I guess a couple did break up. But we knew they were destined to break up, because Kai is like her soul mate or whatever, and we always knew there was something wrong with that Angelo creep. It's kind of a relief that it was just that he's a player, but how sad is that, that being an adulterer is the less terrifying thing he could be? Anyway, even though he was a creeper all along, I'm glad that Megumi is able to acknowledge that she played a part in the dissolution of their relationship. I think that's something this series is really good about, is having people acknowledge their mistakes. Of course, Megumi seems to have this thing going where she'll realize she's being awful, so she'll turn over a new leaf and be better and awesome and whatever...and then she'll lose momentum and start being awful again. But this awfulness wasn't nearly as bad as her original awfulness, so she's definitely improving as a person overall. I think a lot of us can be like Megumi in that regard.
And finally there's Aiko. She's having a baby! Awwwww! Of course we all knew this was going to be the eventual result of her living with Masashi. Nakanishi's comment about "that means you're having the baby" was kind of chilling. And this is a good opportunity to talk about our views on marriage and having kids, so I'm going to do that! In the case of most manga couples, the order of marriage and kids probably doesn't matter that much, because as far as we're aware, in shojo manga, they always decide to have the baby, and they get married and have a happy family. But see, that's why there's an order to these things. The marriage vow is the parents committing to their family before any weak, helpless children come into the picture. If you have the kids first, the risk of one of the parents backing out is even stronger. Of course, these days, a marriage vow doesn't necessarily provide any extra security anyway, but the point is it's better to have the parents officially commit to the family first. And I'm having kind of a hard time articulating these thoughts, so I'll just leave it at that. I will say I'm happy for them, and for the baby.
And that leads to Yamato's declaration that he wants to start a famiy with Mei, to which we get a vague, possibly half-hearted "yeah, okay" from Mei, which is not necessarily committal. In Japanese, it was an "un", which can mean "yeah" or can mean "okay" or can mean "I acknowledge that you said something to me." So I will say that we were a little aggravated not to have any continuation of that conversation. And speaking of translation challenges, this book was fairly easy to translate, but there were about four or five lines that completely stumped us, even though they seemed very simple. Like when Asami asked Kai what it felt like to break up, and he asked, "Why should I have to talk about that now?" and it seems like it should be okay to translate it that way, because even just typing it right now was like, "What's wrong with that?" But I don't know what was wrong with it, it just didn't seem like the natural way someone would say, "Why are you being so insensitive as to ask about my breakup right now?" in English. Or like when Aiko and Masashi asked Mei and Yamato to be their witnesses, and Aiko said, "We figured with you two, we could ask with peace of mind." I'm still not too happy about the way it ended up, but ultimately, we were like, "Okay, the sentiment is that Aiko trusts Mei despite their harried beginnings." But what made it hard is that they were saying they'd have nothing to worry about if they asked Mei and Yamato, but we were like, "What is there to worry about? All they have to do is sign a paper that says, 'We acknowledge these two got married.'" I'm pretty sure you could literally pull a random person off the street and have them sign the form and it would not affect the marriage legality or the marriage relationship in any way. I mean, I get that it's the kind of thing you want to ask a close friend, and that it's an honor or something... Maybe the peace of mind came from the concept that none of their other friends or family would be able to complain about not being the ones asked... Hmmm, we didn't think of that... Still, it seems odd to say in English, "We just figured, if we asked you two to do it, there wouldn't be anything to worry about." Ah well.
And now the series is going on hiatus for a rather surprising reason. I must say, we did not see that coming. Or at least not until we got to the afterword where she said, "I don't know if I should say this..." That's where Athena was like, "You're pregnant, aren't you?" Anyway, Hazuki-sensei seems like a very caring person, so I think she'll make a good mother.
And now there's no telling when the next and final volume of this series will be released! But that's okay, because we have a lot on our plate right now, so we're actually pretty grateful for the hiatus.
As for new releases, this week we have That Wolf-Boy Is Mine! 4! It's the last volume! And it's really cute! That and the fact that it has an extra story about the cat is all I'm going to say. And tune in next week for our review of Nekogahara 2! ...I'm sorry. (That's my apology for the volume, not for the fact that that's the series we're going to review. I don't remember what we wrote about it, but I'm sure the review will be rather entertaining.)
Today I'm thankful for our YumeTwins box finally arriving, the clam chips not killing us (they tasted pretty much like normal potato chips, but there was still a psychological element of, "Ew, they flavored this with clam!"), our In/Spectre edit not killing us, the cookie we got from Pizza Hut (we've been suffering from cookie deprivation), and getting to help with our friend's musical.