This volume seemed to take a lot of time doing not a lot of things, but that's really not true at all. It was just kind of...expositiony, I guess, so they were talking a lot and maybe not moving the story along. Which is not to say that I didn't like it, just that I don't remember much happening, even though, now that I think about it, a lot did happen. I think it's just that my brain is very full right now, so I'm having a hard time keeping it all in my head.
So! we start out with the continuation of that super scary cliffhanger at the end of the last volume. The looks on both Rutile and Phos's faces were pretty classic. And then it turned out to be a, "Just kidding!" situation, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. But Phos did ask, "I'm getting pretty bad, aren't I?" so we think that means that, even though she did remember Cinnabar, the memories were weak, temporarily forgotten, etc.
And then all the gems find out about Phos's new arms, and the reactions are HIlarious. That panel of them all hiding behind each other because they're so freaked out is the best. My favorites are the ones hiding in Sensei's robes. And of course Dia is the first one with the guts to ask about it. She's so cute. I think she looks different in this volume. Her face is rounder, and so are the ends of her hair. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I mean, it is a little cuter, I guess maybe, but I actually wasn't ever a big fan of the chubby baby thing, so I think I prefer what she looked like before. I still love her personality, though! Rutile is pretty great, too. All of her dissection tools, mwa ha ha.
Eventually Phos just lets the other gems have their way with her, and that's when Bort shows up. Dun dun DUN! (Actually, the whole "let's see what it feels like to slice it" thing was pretty great, too. And Dia's "I get to beyond-the-beyond it first!" I have to say, I'm not 100% sure that's a correct translation, but when we Googles biyo-biyo, all the major hits were for "Beyond the Beyond," which I think is a video game? And maybe some other stuff. But we figured since Dia's thing was she liked stretching the alloy because it was so amazingly long, maybe she really did mean "beyond-the-beyond," and anyway, it was funny, so we went with it. That is what really matters, after all.)
Oh, another thing! Now that all the other gems are around and stressing Phos out, she can't pretend to be Antarc anymore, because she doesn't have the time or energy anymore! And that's great for me, because we get to see more of the old Phos. It's nice to know that the new arms haven't changed her completely. I think I'm going out of order here, but the short dreams of Antarc are something I really like, because they're all about Phos convincing herself to confront her fears and do better. The other dreams (or parts of the dreams) are really trippy. This series can be pretty bizarre sometimes.
Anyway, now Bort comes along and demands that Phos team up with him. This is actually a pretty big deal as far as character psychology, but not as far as eventfulness. Why? Because event-wise, yeah, there's a scene with Phos trying to make up her mind, and a scene where Phos has to break the news to Dia, but then Phos and Bort are partners, and it's like, "Okay, so?" Oh, but poor Dia. On the other hand, it turned out to be a good thing for her and Bort to have some space, so I'm glad Dia decided to be brave, too. (That was another interesting scene. Dia was in trouble, and she starts to think, "Somebody please help!" and then she's like, "Hello? I'm a fighter, too." And she decided to take care of it herself, and she did a pretty good job of it, too. I kind of have a bad kneejerk reaction to it, because of my issues with the whole self-rescuing princess thing (it's a sad life if the only one you can rely on is yourself), but on the other hand, I love to see people realizing that you can't always expect other people to come take care of things for you. So when I think about it rationally, I think it's pretty great.)
Okay, so Phos and Bort are a team now, and then! Shiro shows up. And the whole thing was just so much fun on so many levels. This series is really great at combining drama and humor. I love Kodansha so much; they have a lot of titles like that. First the fight with Bort and Phos was cool and funny, and then there was the drama with Dia, and then there was the whole Alexandrite thing. That was pretty huge, but since I think of it as just a small part of the whole Shiro thing, it kind of fades into the background of my recollection of this book. But seriously. Doesn't it make you want your own alexandrite? It made us want alexandrite. So, since one of the sources we checked about the alexandrite effect was alexandrite.com, a site devoted to all things alexandrite, it had some stones for sale! For a mere three thousand dollars at the very least expensive. There was one that was like forty-two thousand dollars. I can't say I don't understand. A gem that changes color in different lighting is awesome enough to fetch that kind of price, especially because the people who are buying gemstones anyway are the type of people who tend to have way more money than they know what to do with. Oh man, though, I think it would be so cool to have one someday.
But oh, that panel where Bort comments on red Lex being as unhinged as ever. Oh man.
And then Lexi slices Shiro up into lots of little Shiros, and that was the best. The best best was that Bort couldn't bring himself to slice the things, but Rutile could. And then the puppy goes back together again and we learn that apparently it was Sensei's dog. Or his dog's spirit, since the lunarians are probably spirit. Maybe Sensei's dog died and that's why he decided to give up being human. I don't know, but it's pretty clear that Phos is right about him having a relationship with the lunarians. The scene with Cinnabar was pretty awesome. Incidentally, since Cinnabar had one of the little Shiros, that means there were 108 of them total. I don't know if that number...okay, so while I was typing that sentence, we both thought, "I bet that numberis significant," so we looked it up and now we have a new translation note! Tadah!
I like Cinnabar. I want him to be in it more. He's always hiding on the cover flap of the Japanese volumes, so I wonder if we'll get to see that in the English versions. Anyway, I like that he was so frank with Phos about Sensei and the lunarians. And now Phos is determined to go ask the lunarians what the deal is. I kinda get the feeling that it will end up with Phos trying to go to the moon, and somebody else coming along and being like, "Are you CRAZY!?" and then they'll be distracted with something else. But on the other hand, Phos DID go to the ocean. So I guess we'll find out.
Also, the bonus gag manga was pretty great.
Ah, that series. I miss it, partly because it doesn't usually take very long to translate. (But with the way the story has developed, that might change.) The next volume is on our schedule "when we get a free moment (rofl)."
Anyway, a translation of ours actually came out this week! What! Fire Force volume 8, on sale now! Check it out! And tune in next week, for our review of Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun 3!
Today I'm thankful for a really great episode of Mitsuboshi Colors this week, still being mostly on schedule, getting to review Land of the Lustrous, getting to watch Galavant, and the hope that one day there will be more cool fairy-tale style musicals that don't have a bunch of crude humor.