We just finished Corpse Party, and due to time constraints, we want to go right on to My Monster Secret, but first we figure we ought to write this review or else the review of the end of Corpse Party might be lost forever. It's hazy enough as it is, since we were in such a rush when we turned in volume nine that we didn't write a review for that before going on to ten, and then we were about three-quarters done with volume ten and took a break to go all the way to Japan, so obviously our memories of Japan are taking up much more brain space right now. Fortunately(?), for Corpse Party we tend to write summaries of the volumes, so maybe that process will jog our memories.
So, volume nine... Where did that one even start? ...I don't know. Hold on; I'll go check.
Okay, got it. Kibiki and Naho are gone, and Satoshi and his friends have decided to go investigate the incident that predates the murder of the four children. They go to the annex, where they run into the ghost of the school's principal, who has been forced to relive the moments of his death on loop for eternity. For some reason, this ghost seems to be holding on to Sachiko's tongue, which is weird because Sachiko still has her tongue...except she also doesn't? Athena says there was a creepy picture of her in nine or ten where she doesn't have it. Or where it looks like it's been severed. I might have said this in an earlier review, but these ghosts are surprisingly articulate for not having tongues. On the other hand, my opinion is that the spirit can still have the tongue, whether or not the body does. Like those "phantom pain" things you hear about with people who had lost limbs.
Anyway, when Satoshi picks up Sachiko's tongue (it wasn't that gross; he actually just picked up the little pouch that her tongue was in), he sees Sachiko's memories of when the principal made advances on her mother (the old school nurse), and as her mother tried to get away from him, she fell down the stairs and died. And so our heroes decide to go to the nurse's office to investigate. Since Naomi has encountered the nurse's ghost before and wants no part in seeing her again, Satoshi decides to go in to see her alone, but Ayumi joins him because she...wants to, or something. Also, she's the one who's been holding on to the tongue, so it was kind of important for her to go along (or give the tongue to Satoshi). And it was a good thing, too, because when the scary ghost attacks them, she recognizes Ayumi as the mysterious Chizuru-san, whose deal has yet to be explained. But memories of Chizuru-san calm the ghost's wrath, and she transforms back into the beloved school nurse Yoshie-san.
Yoshie gives Satoshi and Ayumi the whole story about what happened. After she died, the principal was worried about his reputation, especially because there was a witness: Sachiko. So he killed Sachiko to keep her quiet, and I guess he cut her tongue out, too, maybe in case she came back as a zombie or something? I don't know, but as previously observed, the lack of a tongue has not really hindered any of these ghosts' abilities to speak, so a fat lot of good that did him. As a ghost, Yoshie was trapped in the nurse's office, where she stewed in resentment that the man who killed her and his son were both alive and well while she and her beloved daughter were dead. Eventually the principal went mad and killed himself, but now Yoshie was sad and alone, because when she was alive there were always laughing children visiting her in the nurse's office. Now they didn't come to the nurse's office anymore--Yoshie's theory was that they didn't like the new nurse, ours is that they avoided the place because it was, y'know, haunted. So to assuage Yoshie's solitude, Sachiko embarked on a plan to go around killing people and bringing them to the school. And that is how Tenjin Elementary School became a corpse party, so to speak.
Armed with this new information, as well as Yoshie's diary, which for some reason also contains spells for binding ghosts and the like, our heroes are now ready to confront Sachiko. But first Ayumi goes crazy and attacks Naomi. The Darkening is getting worse, you see. Fortunately, just in the nick of time, Kibiki's faithful assistant Taguchi-san appears on the scene, and since he used to hang out with Kou Kibiki, he knows all about what's happening, and he's able to use some holy water or something to at least press pause on Ayumi's Darkening situation. He also freaks out when he sees Naomi, which was a bit perplexing, especially because he didn't live long enough to explain why. ...Oops, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Anyway, he happens to know how to get to the basement where Sachiko's lair is, and so he leads the way. But then the sledgehammer-wielding Yoshikazu appears and the team has to split up! Taguchi distracts him while Class 2-9 heads into another room...which turns out to be a dissecting room, where Yoshikazu brings all his bodies for dissection. The purpose of the dissection remains unclear, but my guess would be it's just to add another element of horror to an already grisly series. The party doesn't have time to process, though, because Yoshikazu is already on his way back! They just barely have enough time to hide before he enters the room, dragging a couple of bodies...one of which happens to be Seiko's, which makes it infinitely more difficult for Naomi to keep herself from screaming while Yoshikazu works on the other body. She does manage to keep herself together, though, and eventually Yoshikazu finally leaves. Our heroes get up to leave and find Taguchi, but they don't have far to go, because he was the body that Yoshikazu was dissecting. Yippee.
And that's volume nine. My main reaction to it was that I was upset that Taguchi died before we figured out what his deal was with Naomi.
And then we moved on to volume ten. The party doesn't take time to mourn Taguchi's death, which is reasonable given the situation, and on they go to confront Sachiko. After that, it's pretty much just a big fight scene. They try to sneak up on Sachiko, she finds them, they fight and think they can win but then Sachiko pulls a new trick and they're losing again, and that cycle repeats a few times. At one point, Sachiko has everybody paralyzed, and she thinks it would be fun to convince Yuka that the only way her crush on her brother can have a happy ending is if she kills him, and because of all the evil magic in the air, she almost does kill him, but he's all, "It's okay, Yuka, I love you. We'll be together forever." Man, the way that guy maintains his composure. And Yuka snaps out of it, which Sachiko finds to be immensely boring and useless, so she started mocking Yuka, and that made Satoshi mad enough to break out of the paralysis, and he shows Sachiko Yoshie's journal, proving that all of Sachiko's murders aren't doing anybody any good (the journal says that Yoshie doesn't want Sachiko to kill anybody), and then Sachiko really loses it.
So we go back to the cycle of fighting until Yoshie shows up and buys Ayumi enough time to draw the magic circle and complete the exorcism. Tadah!
Then the school starts to collapse and they have to leave RIGHT NOW! So they race outside while the kid ghosts use their ghost powers to prevent the school from falling on top of them, and then Ayumi has her inner conflict about whether she's going to give Naomi back her paper scrap or use it for herself. But she defeats the Darkening and then there's a long argument about, "You take it!" "No, you take it!" "No, you take it!" "No, you take it!" until Yui says, "Seriously, guys, I'm practically dead over here. You girls just take my scrap and you can both go home." And then everybody was like, "No, not you, Sensei! We could never leave you behind!" and she was all, "Just shut up and go home!" and they were like, "*sniffle* Okay." And they all went home...or everybody who was left, anyway. And the backgrounds were all pretty and full of sunbeams because they had finally escaped the dark evil school.
But there's still one chapter left! It starts with a narration from Satoshi, explaining that they were all going back to their normal lives, except for Yuka, who was still in the hospital (Sachiko was pretty vicious to her after she failed to kill Satoshi), and Naomi, who hadn't been to school in four days. Apparently all the people who died in Tenjin Elementary School just kind of ceased to exist, and nobody had any memory of them unless they were in Tenjin Elementary School, too. Naomi was pretty broken up about that, and she wanted to prove to everybody that these people really did exist, so she stayed home all depressed for a while and then she remembered that Taguchi was filming everything, so she pulled out all his stuff, and sure enough all the pictures were ruined, just like all her own pictures of Seiko. But he did have a video recording, which Naomi had to take to the school AV room to watch, since it was on a casette and not a disc. And it just happened to be the video recording of when she killed Seiko! Dun dun DUN!
Apparently, she had been controlled by Sachiko at some point, and while that was going on, she and Sachiko and Yoshikazu all dragged Seiko into the girls' bathroom, where Sachiko ordered Naomi to put the rope around her neck that killed her. Well, now we know why Taguchi freaked out when he saw Naomi. We also thought it was weird that Ayumi had a Darkening thing going on when Naomi had much more negative emotions from the beginning. So I guess Naomi had succumbed to something like the Darkening early on, and maybe Seiko's love and/or her love for Seiko snapped her out of it. But she was still pretty negative after that. Oh well.
Anyway, she felt so guilty that she ran right up to the school roof so she could jump off and kill herself. Fortunately, Satoshi and the others saw her go, so they followed her there and Satoshi grabbed her before she fell. As she hung there, begging him to let her die, her phone started going off with text messages from none other than Seiko herself. They didn't say anything--they were just heart emoji--but that's how Naomi knew that Seiko wanted her to live. She realized that there may not be any physical proof that Seiko existed, but Naomi herself was the proof, and if she died, then Seiko really would cease to exist. And they all lived happily ever after. ...Or did they?
The final scene shows three previously unknown girls talking about this charm that will help them be together forever. They perform the charm, and sure enough, it's the Sachiko charm, and they don't do the chant the right number of times. The next time we see them, they're dead, and there's Yuki, one of the friendly child ghosts, holding a pair of bloody scissors. Ryou and Tokiko ask her to come play, and they go off laughing.
And you know, I knew it was going to have an open ending, but why do we have to have little kids be the murderers all the time? Well, because that's what makes it so creepy, silly. But still, it's just yucky. Anyway, there were definitely some unanswered questions, like who is Chizuru, and how did Sachiko create alternate dimensions, and who did the soul-binding spell to keep the ghosts there (maybe we were supposed to assume that Sachiko did it to keep all the souls of the people she killed there?), and what is the Darkening exactly, and etc. The game series is still going on, or it was as of when this last volume came out, so there's definitely a lot more information (or a lot of areas where they could expand it to have more information, anyway). Mostly I just want them to stop making little kids into murderers.
And there you have it. I have mixed feelings about Corpse Party. I like that it sort of has a theme of friendship, but there's the whole gruesome murders thing. So normally I would want to say, "It was hard, but I'm glad I did it," only I'm really not so sure. Anyway, the review was fun to read.
As for this week's releases...there was nothing! Tadah! But tune in next week, for our review of the last half of Kingdom Hearts II volume four! That's right, this volume was so long in the making that we didn't even start writing reviews for it until we worked on the second two volumes. I'm a little bummed out that we won't be able to review the whole thing, but we couldn't see the future. Oh well.
Today I'm thankful for getting to watch as two of the kittens learned their way around the top levels of the fence, tempering horror stories with humor, finishing our first draft of Missions, getting to look forward to reviewing Kingdom Hearts, and being almost done with the side project that's been hounding us (just a little).