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Alethea & Athena
First Love Monster, volume 8 
6th-Dec-2017 05:55 pm
Oh hey, it's Review Rednesday! The last couple of days have been so... Okay, we went to Disneyland and that threw everything off, as usual. It's this nasty habit of staying until almost closing time when the park is open until midnight, and then going at opening the next day at eight. This does not allow for enough sleep, and now we are having some serious fatigue problems (once again, as usual). I don't know why we keep doing this to ourselves, or if there's a way to stop it. (Okay, so I do know why we do it. It's because it's what our friend wants to do, and the reason he wants to do it that way is because that's what works for him. I don't know how to resolve that issue.) And the point is, we almost forgot, because of course when we're working through the tiredness to finish this rough draft, it turns out to be the most talkative volume of this series to date. Why, Land of the Lustrous!? WHY!?

Anyway. Since we already have a review written, we might as well take a couple of minutes to post it, because what's that compared to the hour or two of sleep we're going to lose tonight? (We might actually go to bed in favor of finishing our other thing that we were planning to edit tomorrow. Despite being told we had until the ninth, we've just been notified by a mindless program that it's apparently due at 4pm tomorrow. Sigh.) So here's our review of First Love Monster volume eight! Spoiler level: is there even anything in this series worth spoiling?

Oh my gosh, this book! It actually wasn't so bad in some ways, but in other ways it was SO bad. Like, so, so bad. So much wordplay! It's like those extra episodes were solid walls of puns. Every line, it felt like! We'd finish one and be like, "Whew, we're done," and then a line or two later our rage would be back in full force. I want to say that part of it was unfortunate timing. This was the second book in a series of three that we wanted to finish in one week, so anything that slowed progress was seen as the enemy. On the other hand, we knew it was a risk with this book, and we still finished it relatively quickly, so there's that.

Right, a summary. In this book, we meet Kanade's other cousin Meito, and they have a class trial, and it ends with *gasp!* Atsushi might be in love with Kaho. (We recently posted our review of volume 6, where we predicted that 7 would end with Kanade breaking up with Kaho and 8 would end with Atsushi kissing Kaho. Things were slightly out of order, but it was basically the same. We're going to say it was because the extra episodes throw off the rhythm.) There's also a chapter that's not an extra episode, that's basically just a flashback to the 29-year-olds searching the school for Kanade. And you know, there are some parts of it...no never mind. I feel like the concept might possibly be funny, but when I think back on it, I'm like, "...No, that just wasn't very funny." Daikoku's ringtone is just very very wrong, and not in a "so wrong it's funny" kind of way. Just a wrong way.

The extra episodes...are not very funny, either, but they're going in an intriguing direction. And by that, I mean it feels like the story is actually going somewhere for once. On the other hand, maybe not. The Hanako thing looks like it really will just go on forever, but the good news is, Hiyoshimaru-sensei says the story is reaching its climax! Huzzah!

One of the pixiv episodes clued me in to what I think it is that makes this series so unbearable for us. Kaho is carrying a big heavy load of kokeshi dolls, and Kanade says something that makes her think, "Oh! He's going to help me!" and then he doesn't. In other words, the punchline is that, "Ha! You thought this person actually cared about you. Psych!" And so we're back to a series where nobody really cares about anybody else, and ultimately that's the kind of story that we really just do not like. Athena says it makes sense, because all the characters act like they're five years old, and our Primary teaching manuals tell us that it's right at about five years old that kids learn to start paying attention to and caring about other people. But whether it makes sense or not is not the issue.

Nevertheless, there were some good things about this book, and I'm not sure if that makes me go, "Well, I guess it's not so bad," or if it makes it worse. But let's look on the bright side and talk about those things. Meito had a couple of speeches that I think were insightful, and maybe even important. First, there was the one about how no matter what you do, some people aren't going to like it, so if people don't approve of what you're doing, just think of it as you being surrounded by the people who happen to not approve. (On the other hand, it's also possible that the people don't approve because they care about you and what you're doing is harmful, like if you have diabetes and refuse to stop eating sugar. So that's important to consider, but if we're just talking about, like, neighbors that you don't talk to very often or something...)

More importantly, there was the part where Meito talks about how with grownups, if somebody does something they can't forgive, then every good thing about that person disappears. This seems to be a true fact of people, and it's an unfortunate one. So it's a little sad that Meito is so matter of fact about it that he doesn't seem to see any need to change it. And when Kouta protests, of course he gets mocked for being a virgin again, which is one of our least favorite things about this already not a favorite series. And then Kouta's all, "Don't say that in front of Kaho!" and we just think of "Maybe You Won't Die Alone," a song from Galavant that responds to a similar statement with, "Trust me--believe me--she knows." On the other hand, maybe Kaho doesn't know, but if she doesn't know by now, the way people throw that word around, she's obviously not paying attention, and that's a pretty clear sign that she's just not that into him. The whole attitude around it indicates that in this series, it really isn't about actually caring about people so much as lusting after them. But maybe that's what Meito's third speech is about--he wonders how Kanade can really love Kaho when he's never going to have sex with her. And maybe that will turn into a good message for this series! (Hope springs eternal.)

But back to transforming someone into pure evil if they do one thing you find inexcusable. I think that is an unfortunate trend in our society. I seem to remember someone saying somewhere that it's like what if your whole life were judged based on your biggest mistake? So I kind of wish this series had addressed the possibility of forgiveness, but at least I can address it here now! People can learn from their mistakes, so let's try to give them a chance!

And there you have it. This series continues to be this series. And as for this week's releases, we have Fire Force 7 and! the premiere of Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty! None of the reviewers at Anime News Network liked it, but that's only because of unmet expectations. Just don't expect anything--that's how we do it. But! if you ask us, while you can't expect certain subject matter, we think you can expect a sweet little shoujo romance with a bit of a supernatural twist.

And tune in next week, for our review of the first volume of Forbidden Scrollery! This is another one that the ANN reviewers didn't like! This time, I think it's because they don't understand the nature of video game spin-off manga. You can see how we liked it next week!

Today I'm thankful for still being alive, a large breakfast that allowed us to keep working without a break until dinner time, the cool souvenirs Gaston brought us from Disney World and the Caribbean, getting to spend time with our friend, and this extra-talkative volume not being for a generally talkative series.
7th-Dec-2017 02:45 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, the reviewer reactions at ANN to Wake Up sure were something. (it's shoujo manga. I know Kodansha manga tend to dig into real-life social issues a little more than some others, but still.)

Your last couple days sound so tiring! Get the rest you need soon please!!

Also reading your review, at the end I was reminded of a graphic novel (not manga) I recently read, because there was a a theme about forgiveness near the end of it that I thought was balanced and good. The book is called Real Friends and is written for I think a middle grade/young adult demographic? I picked it up from the comic shop because the artist LeUyen Pham was someone who I wrote to in college when we had an assignment to contact an illustrator and ask them some questions, and she responded!, and from then on I knew she was awesome. And it turns out the author (a different person, Shannon Hale) is Mormon! Anyway, if you ever have time (...) and want to spend that time reading a non-manga comic, I highly recommend it. I read it when I was exhausted and dying of a cold last week and I cried. (I probably would've cried without being sick because that's what I do when I read heartfelt comics about kids but anyway.)
7th-Dec-2017 10:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I guess they couldn't shake A Silent Voice or something. We could tell just from the setup that it was going to be more supernatural, but I guess it's our job to pick up on foreshadowing.

Thanks! We'll try!

Oh, Shannon Hale! Our dad was telling us about her just the other day! We'll have to remember that! (I already forgot the book he told us he read by her...) But we always love a good story!
7th-Dec-2017 07:41 pm (UTC)
I saw a picture of the wildfires near Disneyland, and I wondered if you two are okay. I assume you are, since you're talking about your translations and not about being driven out of your home by the fire, but I hope it's not affecting you in any way. It looks horrific.

That's too bad that you are having to spend so much time translating something that you don't enjoy. I hope your next project is more enjoyable.

I don't have much to say - I haven't been on LJ at all for a long time, but I do think of you both often. I hope your holiday season is full of love and good cheer! ♥

I hope to do a better job of keeping in touch in 2018. @_@

7th-Dec-2017 10:50 pm (UTC)
Haha, yeah, we're fine. The current fires are a little far north for us, but since the Santa Ana winds were going super strong the last few days, there was some concern that they would make it down here. We weren't too worried, though, because if nature was going to get us, we think it would have gotten us back in October, when there was a big fire in the neighboring city. They've been really bad this year, though, so we hope everyone who's been affected can put their lives back together without too much trouble. Maybe it's the universe's way of helping out with the whole living cost problem that's been going on around here.

It's good to hear from you! We occasionally see your posts on Facebook. We're glad you're doing well, and we wish you love and good cheer in your holiday season, too!
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