And speaking of reviews, it's Review Rednesday! Tadah! This week, we bring you Corpse Party Omnibus 4! Are you afraid? Well, don't be! The series may be scary, but our reviews...actually do probably mention some gore this time. Well, let's read and find out! Spoiler level: high.
I don't know if I've ever talked about this, but one time, and I think it was while we were working on Higurashi, we stumbled upon the literary definitions of terror and horror. Terror is the anticipation of bad things happening, as in fear of the unknown. Horror is the fear, revulsion, disgust, what have you, that you feel upon actually experiencing or coming across the aftermath of the terrifying event. That being the case, I'm learning that once you get past the terror aspect of a horror work, it's really not that scary, as long as you don't spend too much time dwelling on the horror stuff, because most of the time it's really gory and just not fun to look at or imagine.
Anyway, we're more than halfway through the series, which means most of the mysteries have been explained, and our research at the Corpse Party wiki has spoiled us for the rest, so it's not that scary anymore. It's still a little extra draining, though, but that might just be because it's summer and it's hot, so everything is extra draining.
In this volume, Ayumi and Yoshiki have successfully escaped the horrors of Tenjin Elementary School, but Ayumi insists on going back to save everybody else. Yoshiki tries to convince her not to, because he's finally guaranteed her safety and all he's wanted through the whole ordeal is to protect his beloved. Awww... So he ends up telling her that he loves her, and she's in denial about it because she still likes Satoshi, and we're just over here wishing Yoshiki luck, poor guy. He'll probably get her in the end, though, because Satoshi and Naomi are obviously meant for each other. But Ayumi is determined to rescue everyone, so they both go back and creepy Sakutaro kills himself. He's freaking out because he's just realizing how codependent he is on Mayu, so to calm himself down, he decides to dwell on the misfortune of others, and look at his proud collection of corpse photos. He can't help dwelling on the one picture of the splattered corpse by the nurse's office, who happens to be Mayu, and while he's looking at the picture on his phone, he hears a voice!
That's when we got a real knock on our real door, so that was kind of fun with the timing. And I answered it and nobody was there, which was also amusing. (It was just because the delivery guy was keeping a safe distance in case we had a dog.)
Anyway, the voice was Mayu's--whether it was really Mayu or not is unclear--and it told him he was a big old meanie for digging through her guts, and that's when he figured his favorite corpse must have been Mayu. His reasoning remains unclear--either he felt bad for desecrating her corpse, or he realized he couldn't go on living without Mayu so he might as well join her in death, but in the end he jumped out a window and I guess he died, because they act like he's dead, but it couldn't have been that high off the ground, and thanks to a monologue from Scrubs we know five stories isn't enough to kill you. Maybe he jumped head first.
Ayumi manages to hear his final scream, but she doesn't get there in time to save him, and now she's all sad because she came back to save everybody and now here somebody else is dead. But then Yoshiki appears and together they stumble across a mysterious figure who points out where Satoshi and Naomi are buried under rubble. And they're alive! So now they just have to find Yuka and Yui, who was attacked pretty brutally in volume two, but her character description doesn't say she's dead so maybe there's hope after all. But first, Yuka, who's hanging out with Creepy Kizami. He decides that she's his sister now, and she's all, "Uh...no?" and he says, "Oh, in that case, I have to kill you." Then his friend who he killed in volume four, I think, shows up to save Yuka, and we're all like, "But you were dead!" His friend tries to go for the power of friendship rescue (saving Yuuya from himself, saving Yuka in the process), but gets killed for real instead. Now Yuuya's free to kill Yuka nice and slow...until Satoshi and his friends get their act together and make a proper search. Seriously, they walked right by the classroom she was in and didn't even bother looking through the window. What kind of a rescue party is that? Also, they should probably get Yuka's kidneys checked out when they get back, because man, she had been holding it for a long time.
Well, Yuuya's just far gone enough that he almost beat the party anyway, but that's when the real killer Sachiko shows up and says no, you don't get to kill them, they're mine. So she has her minion kill Yuuya and turn him into the anatomical model. This is where they really play up the horror aspect. Anyway, while Sachiko and her minion are busy with that, the party gets away and they find Yui trapped under a cabinet! She's alive!
They talk for a while and then Yui goes psycho and it turns out it was just the ghost that killed Yui disguised as Yui! She's dead!? Oh no!!! The ghost taunts them into chasing him...right to where Yui really is, and she really is alive after all. Huzzah! But she's still pretty badly injured (seriously, that attack was vicious), so they take her to the custodian's room where they end up watching the video that Satoshi found in an earlier volume. It features Naho's mentor Kou Kibiki when he first arrives in Tenjin Elementary School. Dun dun DUN!
Oh, and by the way, Sachiko hates Class 2-9 because they interfered with her mother's plans. So that's how we know that, while supposedly Sachiko created the whole dimension thing, her mother is also involved somehow.
And that's volume seven. I think we got most of our opinions on it worked into the summary, so I'm not sure we have a lot else to say. Despite Sakutaro's death and the suspense with Yuuya, this volume was pretty hopeful, what with finding four people alive and everything. We'll see if they all manage to stay alive. I'm still hoping that what happens in Tenjin Elementary School stays in Tenjin Elementary School, and once the dimension is erased, everyone who got trapped there will be alive again.
Our second review in as many days! We are on a roll!
So we just finished Corpse Party 8. This is the one where they find out what happened to occult reporter Kou Kibiki, who in a sense is the cause of the recent outbreak of people getting trapped in Tenjin Elementary School. He decided to investigate the school as research for an award winning novel, because he used to be really popular, but he hasn't been in a while, and that's been bugging him. But it wasn't entirely self-serving--he also wanted to save whatever souls he could that were trapped in the school. So he came with his cameraman assistant, and Satoshi found a video they took, and now that our heroes happen to be in a janitor's room with a TV and video player, they can watch it. They learn that Kibiki came to the school...and left it! What! It's actually possible to leave!?
So of course now the new goal is to find him and ask him how to do it. It doesn't take too long, though, because the TV turns on all by itself and shows everybody the tragic scene of their last hope being strangled to death by a shadowy monster. So much for that.
But then! Kibiki's ghost appears, and they can ask him for all the help they want. But he can't help them leave because it's complicated. See, he was the mentor to Naho Saenoki, the mysterious girl that showed up in...volume three or something. The one who seems helpful but also the opposite of helpful. Thinking back on her actions, they really are rather inconsistent, but maybe not considering that it was Ayumi that she helped the most, and she was always nice to Ayumi. She helped Satoshi, but in a mean way. Anyway, this Naho was madly in love with Kibiki, and she wanted to help him boost his book sales again, so she's the one who found out about the whole Tenjin Elementary School business and got the Sachiko charm for him to use. But! he decided it was too dangerous for her, and when he brought his cameraman he left her behind. So imagine his surprise when he was doing research inside the school, and there she was! Aaaannnd she was possessed by Sachiko, who convinced her that if she let Sensei go again, he would leave her again, which was especially unfortunate because her grip was on his neck. Turns out the shadowy monster was Naho.
To make matters worse, Naho had really strong spiritual powers, and now that Sachiko had control of her, she had control of her powers, and that means Sachiko's evil powers are stronger, and the spiritual force field keeping everybody in is so powerful that using the "reversal" technique that got Kibiki out before was no longer helpful. Yay.
But there's hope! If they can get Naho to stop being possessed by Sachiko, then Naho can get her powers back, Sachiko will be weakened, and maybe Naho can even exorcise the evil ghost and free everyone from the clutches of Tenjin Elementary School. So that was the plan, and our heroes split up to look for Naho. While Ayumi and Yoshiki are being productive, Naomi finds a secret passage that leads to the girls' bathroom where Seiko died. I don't know if this is significant, but it seemed like a pointless tangent otherwise, so I'm assuming it will come up again later.
Meanwhile, Ayumi and Yoshiki find Naho! And they learn that when Naho posted the thing about the Sachiko charm on the internet, she deliberately posted the wrong instructions so that more people would end up trapped, because if you do it right, you're not supposed to get trapped in the school. We always suspected there was something up with those instructions. One of our guesses was that you needed to include Sachiko in your head count, and that one was right! Tadah! But Sachiko made her do it, because she was already possessed by that time. And of course the only way to snap Naho out of it is to remind her how she died, which is pretty cruel and Naho understandably chooses not to believe them. Also, since they're forcing her to confront uncomfortable truths, she decides to attack. And just when Ayumi and Yoshiki are about to succumb to the evil power...Kibiki arrives! And convinces Naho that yes, she did kill him (she died right after that), but it's okay, he still loves her. And the power of her love brings her back to her senses.
Just then, the rest of the party shows up, so now is a convenient time for Naho to tell them more about Sachiko. Naho had gone to Sachiko's home to get the paper doll charm thingies so Kibiki could go to Tenjin Elementary School, and while she was there, she met a ghost...who she later learned was Sachiko. That encounter resulted in Sachiko following her around and gradually corrupting her, so it wasn't Kibiki's decision to leave her behind that caused the whole thing after all. But more importantly, we learned that Sachiko's last name is *gasp!* Shinozaki! Just like Ayumi's last name! Are they related!? (We already knew because wikis for this kind of thing do not know how to prevent spoilers.)
Anyway, Kibiki had just told the party that the ultimate source of all the Tenjin Elementary School woe was not the murders from thirty years ago, but an incident that happened 55 years ago, when the school nurse fell down the stairs (just like in the ghost story Ayumi told at the very beginning of the series!) and the principal subsequently killed himself. And he was about to tell them what that was all about when who should appear but Sachiko! She blasts Kibiki away, which of course sends Naho into a frenzy, and she tries to exorcise Sachiko, but she's not strong enough and gets blasted away as well. She did, however, manage to weaken Sachiko enough that the ghost leaves the party to lick her wounds or something.
So the party decides to go look into the 55-year-old incident on their own, but meanwhile, Ayumi is noticing how close Satoshi and Naomi are these days, and she is not too happy about that. Just then, she notices a black mark on her skin. Has she been affected by the same Darkening that took Kizami and Naho...? Dun dun DUN!
And that's where volume eight leaves off. The next two volumes are the last ones, so they'll be the last omnibus. The manga artist said that the editor was concerned about the lack of horror elements in this volume, but we were totally okay with it. Except for the fact that when there aren't scary action scenes, there's a lot more talking, which isn't so bad, but when you come to expect a certain difficulty level and then it changes to a more time-consuming one...
Anyway, much as I prefer not to deliberately put myself in stressful situations (i.e. by reading horror manga), the story is still interesting, and I like the characters. We keep admiring the fact that all the Japanese horror we read seems to focus on human relationships and pulling together as friends and stuff. Like this stuff with Ayumi at the end--she's got quite the dilemma, because on the one hand, she needs to get out Tenjin to get rid of the Darkening (at least, we hope it will get rid of it) so she doesn't go crazy and kill all her friends, but now that she's lost her slip of paper (a key element in the reversal ritual), her best chance of getting out is to succumb to her jealousy and leave Naomi in the lurch (she has Naomi's paper). But of course, the more she gives in to her jealousy, the more the Darkening can overtake her. It's like a Chinese finger trap! I think stuff like that happens in real life, too, but usually isn't as life-or-death. Anyway, the point is, sometimes the best way to prevent yourself from going crazy and killing all your friends is to just not go crazy and kill all your friends, even when it seems like you have to give in to the negativity. Wow, negativity is tricky.
And there you have it! The next Corpse Party: Blood Covered omnibus will be the last one!
As for this week's releases, we have only one, but it's a good one! Fire Force volume 3! And tune in next week, for Complex Age volume 4!
Today I'm thankful for our deadline not being today, not always translating horror manga, being able to find hope even in horror manga, having a bag of Reese's golden eggs, and taking it easy for a little while.