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Alethea & Athena
In/Spectre volume 4 
24th-May-2017 06:27 pm
So Kodansha finally posted their June releases, and it looks like we have a bunch of translations coming out! Now our time seems less spent in vain. But for today, it is Review Rednesday, and we present to you our review of In/Spectre volume 4! Spoiler level: what even is a spoiler in this series? I'll go ahead and say moderately high.

Before we wrote this review, we posted our review of volume two, and it said that one of our main thoughts about that volume was, "Ugh, stop talking!" And wouldn't you know it, we kind of felt the same way about this one! Only this one was more dialogue-y than explainy, so it wasn't quite so bad, but we were kind of rushed to finish it, which made it worse. It was nobody's fault, really, but I would be willing to take the blame, because our editor said, "How about early February?" and we said, "No problem!" and then we penciled it in for the latest part of early February (February 13), sure we would get it done earlier than that. But things came up and other things took longer than planned, and so February came along and we hadn't started on it yet because we were too busy letting ourselves get distracted with unnecessary extra work, and our editor was like, "Let's get a specific date for that translation. How about the 6th?" And it was the third, which was a Friday, and we were like, "Eh heh..." And our editor was really cool about it, and said it was okay if we could get it in a week later, but we felt really bad, so we worked like the wind! And got it in the day after his original hoped-for date. After he'd probably rearranged his schedule. Eh heh...

Aaaaanyway. I still haven't gotten to what happened in this volume. The answer is...nothing! Okay, so that's only partly true. Detective Terada died at the end of the last volume, but it was so very much at the end of the last volume that it kind of felt like maybe it would happen at the beginning of this volume, but nope, it was just that quick. This volume started with Saki being interrogated. And so now Kotoko's job of creating a rational fiction had been made astronomically more difficult, and they pretty much spend the whole volume talking about how hard it is. And about Kuro's cousin Rikka, the very special snowflake (see what we did there? because her name means snowflake! ...which you might not have known until now...so now do you see what we did there? Ha ha ha... Incidentally, although we do have conservative leanings these days, we are so over the use of "special snowflake" as a derogatory term. Like the words "literally" and "bigot." We just need to put those words away for a while until people can behave.)

Right, so about the special snowflake. (I still want to use it for comedic purposes.) I suppose technically you could say that a lot of stuff happened to her in this volume; it just feels like it doesn't count because it all happened in flashback form. And we only got to see the most key scenes; the rest of it was just narrated. At any rate, wow. What does it say about a person that she can just chop her own head off without hesitation? I mean, yeah, it's not going to kill her for good, but it's still going to hurt like nobody's business, and she has to clean up all the blood. Unless her special part-mermaid blood just kind of evaporates and doesn't leave any stains.

But more importantly, we knew it! We knew she was behind Steel Lady Nanase! (Incidentally, it was really great how Kuro revealed the truth about Rikka to Saki: "Saki-san. She's my cousin." And that's supposed to tell her everything she needs to know, and it does!) Isn't it interesting that she "suddenly" got discharged from the hospital at the beginning of the year--the same year where Karin Nanase died in January. So the question is, was Rikka released before or after Nanase's death? The fact that Karin didn't try to avoid the steel beams still says kudan powers to me. Kotoko and Kuro think Rikka just found out about the whole thing and used it to her advantage, but I still suspect she's in it deeper than that. I guess we'll find out in later volumes.

The story behind Rikka's housing situation was pretty great, too. "If I can't stay at your place, there's always the park." Bwahaha. Incidentally (I'm using that word a lot in this review...), I don't know if this will come across in the translation, but Kuro asked her if she'd found a place to stay, and she said she hadn't decided that, I kind of got the feeling that, because she used "decide" instead of "find," maybe she had orchestrated her release and not considered the need for a place to stay. But on the other hand, the verb Rikka used is used in Japanese to say things like, "No, I haven't settled on a place to live yet," so it might be nothing.

I'm still curious to know when she was fed the meat. Maybe in her case they were smart enough not to do it both at the same time. Or, since Kuro was so in love with her, maybe he chose a future where she lived. He's a cute kid, that Kuro. I still kind of marvel at his relationship with Kotoko. And when he introduced Kotoko to Rikka... Oh, man.

I'm not entirely convinced that the whole Steel Lady Nanase thing is only Rikka seeing how far she can go with her powers. I just don't think that's a good enough motive. But right now my best(?) theory is that she orchestrated this whole big to-do, and made sure it happened in Makurazaka, where Saki was working, in an attempt to get Kuro back with Saki and away from Kotoko. But if Rikka and Kotoko really are friends, that wouldn't be very nice. On the other hand, creating monsters isn't very nice, either.

Tadah! In/Spectre is a fun series.

As for this week's releases...there are actually three! And two of them are omnibuses! We have the fifth and final volume of Corpse Party, the fourth and final volume of Kingdom Hearts II (both of which had ten volumes in Japan...), and the fourteenth and not final volume of Missions of Love! I'm pretty sure there will be some strong preferences as to what reviews people would rather read, but since I don't really know what they are, we're just going to go in alphabetical order unless otherwise requested. So unless someone speaks up VERY SOON, we'll be reviewing Corpse Party next week! Check it out!

Today I'm thankful for this month's chapter of Cramer not being too difficult, getting to see a bowl of kitten, getting our Kingdom Hearts II comp copies, leftover pizza, and wildlife address labels.
25th-May-2017 11:12 pm (UTC)
Ohhh, In/Spectre! I'm far enough removed from my most recent deadline now that I can look back with some fondness again. I really get what you mean about nothing happening in the book(s) though, despite there being so much... Thank you for reminding me about Kotoko-meets-Rikka. That part was so so so great. I love Kotoko, little pill that she is :D I don't love Rikka. Terada's death made me sad :( My heart's just a little too tender for these murder mysteries... (and my mind, meanwhile is too lazy for the theorizing and investigating. but once again, it's interesting to read your theories!!)

I have no opinion on the order of reviews, because one or two weeks' wait won't make much difference for me (I read one months ago and don't have immediate plans for the others). I do think I had some things to say about KH though, so I'll hopefully remember what those things were when that one has its turn. Also I was jealous you got your comps for KH, but then I remembered it's my own fault I haven't gotten mine yet. (gotta email them my list...)

Was it a live-and-in-person bowl of kitten, or a photo/video? I must know.
26th-May-2017 02:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's so weird the way this narrative goes. But at least it's done in a way that's not boring, even though nothing is happening. I definitely understand not liking all the death in murder mysteries. Most of them kill off random strangers that you didn't get to know, but even then it gets to be annoying when they insist on killing more than one person per episode. Still, when it's a story about a homicide detective, I think I can go along with it better than other dramatic genres where they kill people for the shock value or to prove that they can be edgy (which is probably why I don't like it when they insist on killing more than one person per murder mystery).

Thanks for your input! For now, we'll continue with the alphabetical order plan.

It was a live-and-in-person bowl of kitten! We have some bowls left out on our patio so Athena can dash out, pour some food in them, and dash back inside. They get empty fairly quickly with all the cats hanging around. So yesterday at lunch time, I peeked out the window to see if the kittens were about, and one of them was just stepping into a bowl to investigate. It got settled for about a minute, but then I guess it was too curious to see what its littermates were doing in the other patio, so it got out and left. But it was super adorable.
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