Okay, we finished this volume during a busy week, and yesterday was a dentist trip and a long day of Princess Principal, so I think the whole story has flown from my mind! Wheeeee! Hold on a sec while I get it back.
Okay, I think I'm good now. It starts with...okay Tetsu is back at the Karasawa Estate despite his deathly fear of ghosts, and it's really kind of cute how he keeps trying, but then he has to excuse himself to go freak out for a second. I really appreciate that he realizes that sure he's scared, but think about Shizu, who has to deal with actually being possessed by ghosts. Of course it doesn't help, though, because phobias are phobias, but at least he tries for like a second. I feel like the first half of this chapter is basically just for recap purposes, so let's skip ahead to when Tetsu is out in town and he hears a familiar voice. What! It's Shizu!?
Well, of course it's not Shizu Shizu, it's one of the ghosts we haven't met yet! They never really specified how many regulars there were, but they kind of implied that there were three. So we've met Harumichi and Shinobu, and now we meet Mirei, who's out on the town trying to meet guys. I'm still not 100% convinced that Mirei is female, mostly because all the other ghosts are male, and one of the guys at the IRL meeting said he was sure that Mirei was a dude who pretends to be female online. And I was like, "Well..." But on the other hand, that was in reference to Mirei's knowledge of football, which she seemed to not really care about later, so it's possible that her superfan-ness was just an act to attract dates. But anyway, Tetsu runs into her as she's trying to escape an offline meeting of online friends, and he can't help but jump in to save the day. It was very cute, actually. It's also kind of interesting that his first inclination was to claim to be her older brother. He knows that Shizu is older than he is, so is it that she acts so helpless and in need of assistance, or is it just because he's used to being the older brother since he has two sisters? It's probably not a deep psychological thing, though, as opposed to all his off-hand claims that he's a terrible person.
Well, Tetsu and Mirei are dragged to the party after all, and they finally manage to escape when Tetsu goes into a drunken rage. That's the problem with him claiming to be the older brother--they assumed he could legally drink. But the point is, now he and Mirei can talk one-on-one, and this is where he learns that he really doesn't like this new ghost. Mirei says she's living life for Shizu, since Shizu refuses to do it for herself, and Tetsu thinks that's selfish. As for me, the jury's still out, because there are still a lot of unknown factors. I do suspect that Mirei is more of the Kanato type of ghost, but more on that later. The more important part of this conversation is that Tetsu says he'll make Shizu human, thus implying that she is not human, and Mirei points out that Tetsu is scared to death of Shizu.
So! Shizu starts avoiding Tetsu, asking all the ghosts to take over whenever he shows up, and Mirei says it's Tetsu's fault because of those comments. Well, there's not a whole lot Tetsu can do about that, so he decides to learn more about his enemy(?), and does research on ghosts. That's where we get more recap, but we also get a pretty great scene of him playing MarioKart with Harumichi. "I'm going backwards!?" Harumichi is the best. I'm really hoping we get to see what all the ghosts looked like in life, because I am so curious about Harumichi. Athena says she imagines him to be a big buff guy like the boys' soccer coach in Farewell, My Dear Cramer. But he could also be a little guy like Eight in Type-0, since it stunts your growth if you start bodybuilding too early in life, or so we've heard (from Eight, among other sources). I also find myself wondering how he died, since there were hints in volume one that he was maybe in his thirties or forties. Well, any good manga series is sure to go into that stuff, right?
Anyway, after Tetsu recites his dossiers on all the ghosts, he gives us what he knows about Shizu...and realizes that it's not that much. More importantly, he also realizes that he's actually more scared of Shizu than he is of the ghosts. Incidentally, I think this series has a pretty accurate portrayal of fear. A lot of the time we are scared of things because we don't know that much about them, and Shizu makes it very hard to know anything about her, since she doesn't make any effort to find out herself. It kind of makes you wonder if she's afraid of herself, and that's why she doesn't think about who she is. But as for Tetsu, I really like that he's trying so hard to overcome his fear, and when you think about how Morino-sensei said the only thing she has in common with him is her fear of ghosts, it makes me wonder if part of her motivation for drawing this series is to help herself overcome that fear. Well, the point is, I like it.
So now Tetsu's mission is to try to find out more about Shizu. That's when he finds the ghosts' exchange notebook, and learns that gasp! the reason Shizu is avoiding him is that he's already freaking out around her, and she doesn't want to hurt him. Awwwwwwwwwwwww! So they have a heart-to-heart and he tells her that yes he's scared but he wants to hang out with her anyway so that he can overcome that fear. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! And they're going to figure out who she is and what she likes little by little.
But all of that gets put on hold when Shizu gets possessed by a new ghost. Apparently Tetsu picked it up at the hospital when he was visiting his mother. Oh yeah, that was a big(?) plot reveal--Tetsu's mother is in the hospital, in a coma. We all knew that, right? They kept flashing back to scenes with his mom, but she was never there in the present day. He did visit her in the hospital in volume one, but they specifically did not show him in her room. Anyway, he told her about Shizu, and a ghost kid thought, hey, that sounds cool, let's see if I can possess her, so he followed Tetsu to Shizu's place and mayhem ensued. I'm kind of with Tetsu on this--how can he talk about taking somebody's body like there's nothing wrong with it. That kid is a little punk, and he deserves what he gets. (Meaning unknown.) I'm glad Tetsu showed him up in the juggling contest. Gosh, I hope that wasn't confusing. Juggling actually is the legitimate soccer term--at least, we hope it is. We did the research when we were working on Cramer, and then we just did a quick vocab check when it came up here. In Japanese, it's the English word "lifting." There may have been brief talk of doing a translation note, but it would have only been a, "Should we do a note?" and then a distraction and a forgetting all about it. This is the problem with Americans having absolutely no interest in soccer.
Anyway, Kanato the ghost kid takes Shizu's body all around town, buying things without any money and insisting that Tetsu pick up the tab. I'm like, "Look, kid, I know it's not fair that you died so young, but why you gotta be a jerk about it?" People and their whole misconceptions about what they "deserve." Ugh. Meanwhile, Tetsu's desperate to figure out how to get the kid to leave, and fortunately, Shinobu's left him a long letter that covers that kind of thing, but unfortunately, the surest method to accomplish this task is basically to knock Shizu over the head. Tetsu tries some other things, but nothing works, so eventually Kanato promises to leave if Tetsu beats him at juggling, but he only did it because he thought he was the champion juggler and had no idea about Tetsu's soccer past.
Speaking of Tetsu's soccer past. Wow, there's a lot of stuff going on in this story. Why did Tetsu quit playing soccer when he obviously loves it so dearly? I'm guessing it's because something happened to his mom involving soccer and he thinks it's his fault. So he gave up soccer as pennance or something. I'm sure we'll find out later. But he hasn't banned himself from soccer altogether, so maybe it is just that he needs to earn money.
Okay, so Kanato doesn't beat Tetsu at soccer, and he's a brat and refuses to leave Shizu anyway, but then Tetsu's sister Suzu shows up, shenanigans ensue, and long story short, Tetsu learns that he can bring Shizu back with a kiss. And for the first time in this series, we see the Sleeping Beauty connection. ...Okay, I guess technically the fact that Shizu is so sleepy all the time was the first Sleeping Beauty connection, but in my mind, somehow that alone doesn't count. Maybe because of Ichiro Suzuki in Happy Cafe? I don't know.
But it's very cute how on the one hand, Tetsu is freaking out because he technically kissed Shizu, but then he has this moment of, "On the other hand, now I know how to bring her back!" And then he starts freaking out again. The final chapter in this volume was super adorable, too. Shizu was so brave, running off to find Tetsu to apologize. Tetsu tells her that when she figures out love, her heart will move on her own, so when she jumped off the bridge to save his bankbook, I was like, "Well there you go," but thinking about it, her love had already showed itself from the minute she ran out of the house. I felt like the whole situation was dealt with very well, and I always love a series where the characters make logical decisions. I mean, obviously it wasn't so logical to jump off a bridge, but then Harumichi showed up, and he's like, "Just call 911!" (you know what I mean), and Tetsu runs for help, and it was just so nice. Sometimes, I feel like I'm a little like Shizu, surprised to see that there are actually nice people in the world, but on the other hand, sometimes I'm like Tetsu, where I'm like, "Duh, it's not like the world is full of terrible people."
And this is where Tetsu realizes that Shizu really doesn't have a "self," and wonders what could happen to a person to cause them to be so apathetic about who they are. Then, significantly and ominously, we see Shizu's father for the first time. Dun dun DUN! What did he do to Shizu to make her such a nobody? We kind of get the feeling he did it from when she was a baby, like even before she could have done anything to get reprimanded about, because her name is Shizu, and he says that he needs her to be quiet (shizuka) in the outbuilding forever and ever. We thought about writing a note about that, but we were like, "Eh, it's not important." It might just be a minor coincidence (or a "writer's coincidence," where it's a coincidence in the story, but not so much in the writing), too, so we wouldn't have wanted to have a note about it and then have it turn out to be super wrong.
...And I think that covers it. The plot thickens. Dun dun DUN!
Aww, I like this series. Anyway, this week there was a release! It was Land of the Lustrous 5! Wow, that one's really coming along! We're going to have to find someplace to fit the next one in our schedule! (Not six; that one's done. I mean the next one we're on, because the releases are catching up!) Also, a volume of UQ Holder! came out this week, but as usual, we won't be reviewing it. I do sometimes wonder what we should do about simulpubs. And anime. I would like to talk about the anime we translate, too. Hmmm...
Anyway, tune in next week, for our review of Fire Force 8!
Today I'm thankful for having a working drain again, triple chocolate Layers from Hershey's, getting to look back at Wake Up Sleeping Beauty, having more fun shoujo manga to look forward to today (I mean, if we can't be done with work, at least we're working on something we really like), and dreams of getting to reread Harry Potter someday.