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Alethea & Athena
Kigurumi Guardians volume 3 
31st-Jan-2018 05:34 pm
yato
Our schedule suffered a major setback today in the form of this week's anime episode taking waaaay longer than planned. So many puns! About elephants! It's so easy to fit the Japanese word for elephant into any old sentence you want, but how about randomly inserting the word "elephant" into English sentences? It is not a talent we have mastered. So if anyone can think of an elephant pun to go with "starved to death," the help would be greatly appreciated. (But that window is only open for about two hours as of this post going up.)

But enough about that! Let's revisit some other forms of massive frustration! This week, we have a review of Kigurumi Guardians volume three to share! Gigantic spoilers ahead!


Oh my goodness, everyone, it's going to be a long wait for the next volume of this series. The preview in the Japanese volume said, "Volume four, coming next spring!" only it used the word "yotei," which means that the plan is for it to come out then, but we're not 100% committed to that. Usually the volume comes out when they plan for, so we've had no trouble translating it as just "coming [insert time here]!" but two springs have passed and still no sign of volume four! We tracked down Lily Hoshino's Twitter, and it's full of tweets about a baby, so we're pretty sure we know why she's not drawing any manga, and it's a very good reason, but it also means we might be stuck waiting until this "baby" is in kindergarten. Oh well. At least we have lots of other great manga in the meantime.

So what all happened in this volume? First we go to the choir competition, and *gasp!* Nobara's fake friends have disappeared! Not surprisingly, it turns out they wanted to sabotage the performance, but we were like, "Seriously? You think you're that important to the choir?" It's like Diamond tells Ventricosus-Phos in Land of the Lustrous: if you're not nice to people on a regular basis, they're not going to care when bad things happen to you. Nobody really cared that the girls were gone...okay, maybe they did and they only showed Nobara caring, but still, three voices in a choir, unless your choir is regularly only about eight people, is not going to make much of a difference. In fact, we've had a choir of about eight people where three people wouldn't have helped much because the people in our choir don't really sing out anyway. ...But I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they wouldn't be in a school choir, entering competitions and stuff, unless they had at least a minor ability to project.

Anyway, it turns out that Director Karin was not a shell after all, but Nobara's friends were! Dun dun DUN! I guess Lavender was really sneaky about it this time, or Nobara has just always been in denial about those girls, because I feel like she should have noticed something. And speaking of noticing something, while Hakka was keeping an eye on Karin to make sure she didn't do anything to Nobara, Lavender managed to steal the hearts of THE ENTIRE CHOIR and Satsuki couldn't report anything until the deed had been done? All we can figure is that she took them instantly as soon as the Inbetween came down, and Satsuki wasn't really in a position to do anything about it. And then it was done, and Nobara had to go fight Lavender all by herself! There was a lot of separating Guardians in this volume. It's almost like the enemy is doing it for a reason, but that's the annoying thing about this series--there are so many indications that there's some sort of reason behind everything, but we're never ever going to find out what it is, because the series will be on hiatus forever.

But back to the story, Nobara's friends were the shells, but now they're puppets! Oooohhhh nooooo!!! That really is pretty bad. I guess Hoshino-sensei deliberately made those girls horrible people so only Nobara would be really upset about it, but it's bad, you guys. They basically just gave up their free will, and they didn't really know they were doing it. Of course, that's usually how that happens, because most people don't come along and say, "Sure, I'll hand over my agency, no problem!" I do think it serves them right that they're all "special" together. They were really selfish. But I do hope that they can be changed back somehow.

Nobara didn't want to fight them, but Basilico insisted that it was the only way, and this is where things get interesting, because Basilico tells Lavender that he's not as forgiving as Ginger. (Okay, technically he said he's not as "amai," which is more like "soft" or "willing to give people the benefit of the doubt" or "overly optimistic," but in this context, we thought "forgiving" was an accurate interpretation.) And here Ginger always came across as the mean one. There are so many character dynamics that are only being hinted at! Why!? WHY!? At least we didn't even know the series existed until it was already on hiatus for two years, so that's two years fewer that we have to wait! Maybe we'll collect the rest of (what's available of) Otome Yokai Zakuro in the meantime. Then we can be dissatisfied about not getting more of that one.

But Basilico lets Nobara's friends go back with Lavender instead of killing them, so we learn that of course he's pretty forgiving after all. I only mention it because I'm sure it will be important later. Sometime, in the distant future.

And now Hakka is worried about Nobara, so she has them all go on what ends up being a quadruple date?, to cheer her up (but of course Hakka and Ginger are the only ones who are willing to say definitively that they are on a date (but she still won't say that he's her boyfriend)). The conversation between the Kigurumis while they wait for their dates(?) is another one that was really rather taunting. The worst part was when they were talking about Fennel stepping down as captain or commander or whatever it was. First of all, what? he's an officer? And second of all, who is this previous commander that Basilico apparently hates? Is it Chigaya? Or is it a woman? That's really the more important question, because we had to figure out how to avoid pronouns again, and the only clues we had to work with were the ones in this one conversation, so it was hard to figure out substitutes and I was worried that it might be a little repetitive, or that the terms we chose will turn out to be inappropriate when we finally get more information. On the bright side, with the series being on hiatus, by the time we get that information, everyone else will have forgotten about it, too. Potentially including Hoshino-sensei.

Oh no, I just thought, what if she has another kid before the first one gets to kindergarten!? No, no, families are a good thing. Japan is having a population crisis. Don't be so selfish.

And then there was the matter of Ginger's clothes. That was a fun conversation. And finally, the Guardians start thinking hey, maybe it's time we actually, like, try to learn more about this whole thing that's happening. I appreciate that Satsuki is figuring things out. The most suspicious thing is that it's obvious that the Kigurumi know a lot that they're not telling us, and the question is WHY NOT!?

Oh, and there's the other thing about Hakka feeling people's sadness. I have to say, I tend to raise an eyebrow when people describe themselves as empathic, because how can you be sure you're feeling what they're feeling, and not what you think they're feeling, or what you think you would be feeling in that situation? Let me tell you why we don't trust it. The first person we know to be repeatedly described as empathic (usually not by herself, to her credit) would yell at us to calm down and not be so angry...when our voices were raised in excitement because we were talking about something that made us happy. Talk about a wet blanket. If she was really empathic, she would have been excited with us, not assuming we were angry. So a lot of the time when we see people describe themselves or others as "empathic," we think they really mean "sensitive," or sometimes, "prone to projection." But in this case, Hakka is literally feeling other people's emotions, so I think it's legit. And then Ginger just looked down her shirt. I really don't know what to say about that. I mean, obviously the way it happened was funny, but also inappropriate, and was there really any other way for him to deal with it? Other than to, you know, take Chigaya up on his suggestion to tell her what's going on.

Anyway, they all decide to move on because they still don't want to tell anybody anything, so the story moves on with them to Satsuki. Oh my goodness, Satsuki! His story made me cry. I have a bit of a weakness for the whole dysfunctional family thing. Oh, but when he was alone in his room surrounded by plushies! It was so cute and so sad. And they were all birds, just like Fennel! So that brings up another question that may or may not ever be answered: do they get to choose their kigurumi forms based on their partner? or does the bond between them and their partner create the form automatically? Really, the question is how do they choose their partners!? Why is this all happening!? Why do they even have to be kigurumi!? Is this based on the idea that the little mascot character usually turns out to be the dreamiest guy in an otome game!? (That otome game cover with Nobara on it was adorable, by the way.) So many questions.

And now Satsuki's housekeeper is the creepiest shell we have yet to encounter. I mean, the idea of literally becoming a different person has always kind of creeped me out, but then to become someone who already exists? That's just messed up. I can't blame Kaori for having a crush on Fennel, though. That dude's hot. The sad thing about it, though, is that (and of course we're never going to find out about this, either) I'm pretty sure the reason Satsuki was out by himself that day is that he wanted to buy Kaori a birthday present. I hope they figure out a way to change her back from being a puppet, too.

But we wanted to point out a line that was super hard, because it's on our mind that translators seem to think that humor is the hardest thing to translate, and this line was not comedy at all. It was when Satsuki was talking about why he wanted to save Kaori, because she saved him. There's just so much packed into that line, and we weren't sure how to get it all in there, AND it's tricky to use the word "saved" in English, because we always feel like it needs to be "from" something. But he didn't say what that something was, and we know that it was probably loneliness, but there's so much more other stuff it could be, as well.

It's also important to talk about Di Huang or Jio or whatever his name ends up being. I'll just call him Joe. (What's not important, but may help relieve some confusion, is that his name is Jiou in the Japanese version, but since all the invader people have non-Japanese names, we didn't want to give him a Japanese name. Jiou is an herb that's usually sold under its Chinese name because of its use in Chinese herbal medicine, so we went with Di Huang, but we had a note for our editor and she might have changed it. I call him Joe because it's the easiest to type.) What's important to note about him is how he was talking to Ginger, like they're friends. I mean, we already knew that the Kigurumis are acquainted with the invaders, but until now, they seemed to not get along. Comfrey was kind of neutral, but Ginger wouldn't have liked him anyway because he was hitting on Hakka. But now we have Ginger and Joe, and they seem to be pals. SO WHAT IS GOING ON!? Also, when I was Googling jiou to get more information to help us choose an appropriate spelling, a picture came up that made me think of ginger, so suddenly I started to wonder if Ginger and Joe are related. If Otome Yokai Zakuro is anything to go by, Hoshino-sensei definitely has a thing for twins...

And then the worst thing of all happened. Harissa turned Kaori into a puppet, which thrust Satsuki into despair! Oh no!! And then! Hakka felt it! With her 100% genuine empathy! And it turned her into the feather lady! WHAT!?

The end.

WHYYYYYYYYYYY!? I mean, I know that TV shows tend to end seasons on massive cliffhangers so people will remember to watch them again when rerun season is over, but then they come back again after a few months! But the preview did say volume four was supposed to be out in spring, so probably there were unexpected (early?) developments that caused the hiatus to start sooner. All we can do is say, "Well, that was fun!" and move on with our lives.


Oh man, this series. Someday we'll get to read more. Someday... *wistful*

Anyway, time's a-wasting. We still have a fair amount of work left to finish today.

This week's releases include nothing! Again! Maybe someday something we translated will be released... *wistful* But there is a new volume of Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight out this week, and we took that one over at volume four, so you might want to make sure to stay up-to-date. And in the meantime, tune in next week for our review of the eighteenth and final volume of Say I Love You.!

Today I'm thankful for finally getting a first draft done on that anime episode, series that aren't on hiatus, the positive view that if it's on hiatus that's that much more time to not have the series end and go away forever (aw, who am I kidding? Everything is getting a sequel these days!), Page being super cute most of the day, and the knowledge that the rest of our work day won't involve nearly so much wordplay.
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