This is the third in a series of three reviews that got postponed due to Busyness. In fact, the busyness kind of swallowed up the whole volume. Usually we like to finish a project before moving on to the next one so we can give things our full attention, but because of weird timing last week, this one ended up being squeezed in between some other things, and since it's a pretty quick series to translate, that short amount of time is easily blurred into other things. We don't have a hard copy of the Japanese volume, either, so it's almost like it was all a dream... [ETA: We do have the hard copy now.]
So what happened in this dream. Where were we? Where am I? What's going on? ...Oh, right. Nina had lost her perfume, which means her human scent is about to be exposed, and all the loup-ga are going to hate her and tear her to pieces! Ooohhh nooo!!! (Incidentally, we've been informed that volume one maintains the incorrect luga spelling, and I don't know if that's going to change for later volumes, but I'm sticking with the French, even though it's a little harder to type.)
So while Nina's searching for her perfume, she learns that Poe has gone missing, so now she goes out to search for Poe, and while that's going on, Eva and her goons capture her. There's some taunting and exposition, and it was pretty shocking when Eva shoved Poe close enough to Nina that he could smell her and he started being scared of her, poor little guy. And then when he pushed her away! Oh no! Well, they were getting ready to...I don't even remember, but the point is Roy showed up. Athena says they were getting ready to force Poe to tell them where the perfume was. Anyway, Roy showed up, and because he's madly in love with Nina, he gives her a chance to prove to Poe and all the others that she's different than the other humans. Well, of course that's impossible, but she agrees to do it anyway, because it's her last chance to do something nice for Poe and maybe, just maybe, get at least the one loup-ga she's not afraid of to trust her.
In the meantime, I have to tell you about Roy's line here. I am...okay, I was going to make up a percentage of how sure I was that it was going to be changed by the adaptation writer, but I tried thinking about it, and I realized I really have no clue. See, we left a note indicating that a really skilled writer might want to try changing it (we would have tried harder ourselves, but we were super crunched for time and kind of dying from sleep deprivation, and we knew there was a rewriter, so we were like, "Here's your chance to prove yourself useful." (sorry; we're grumpy about rewriters)), so I wanted to say that I was like 96% sure it was going to be changed, but past experience (granted, this is about one experience from over a decade ago) has indicated that whenever we want a rewriter to change a line, they leave it exactly the way we had it, so my certainty went down, but there's still this thought that maybe the rewriter will want to prove herself? in which case the certainty could go up, but I really have no idea. And since we're also under the impression that our translation notes for Seven Seas turn out to be "for rewriters' eyes only," we think the general readership is going to be unaware of this awesomeness.
The point is, Roy's line was potentially brilliant with its double meaning. What he wanted his home to think he said was, "I'll do what I want with her" ("until the end;" that part made it annoying), but what he probably wanted Nina to hear (especially based on her whole, "Why are you looking at me like that? I thought you hated me!" thing on the next page) was, "I'm going to make her love me" ("until the end;" whatever). And the thing is, Japanese works in a way where either of those meanings could have come across, especially if you repeat the "ore ga," which Roy did, and the thing about Roy is that he's not exactly the uncertain type, so if he repeats something as if he's stuttering (which didn't make any sense until I looked at it the other way), he's probably doing it deliberately. So I'm actually really curious to see how that line turned out.
Okay, so Nina's gone off to prove that she cares about loup-ga. How? By getting those paint roses, of course! Now here's a thing that had me a little confused. So far the world-building is like, "Okay, I don't think that's actually possible, but it could be, so sure." But here's the thing about froma. Apparently the petals dissolve in water after ten minutes. So...how are they holding up in the rain, hmm? I think it might be possible that, when they're still attached to the flower, the plant releases a chemical that keeps them solid, but I really don't know how plant physiology works, so... We'll just have to say I don't know enough about it so I should just reserve judgment until I do.
Eva's determined to make Nina fail, so she goes to attack her, and this is the most interesting part! They have a battle, and Nina grows fur and claws on her hands! What! This also makes me wonder about the whole human-scent thing. I mean, if you consider her ears, tail, and fangs to be a cosmetic change, it's possible that her biology is still entirely human, and would explain why she can't retract them like Gilles and the others can (although that would be a little iffy as far as how she can feel pain in them, since there probably wouldn't be nerve endings if the changes were purely cosmetic). So now if she's actually able to make claws, you'd think just maybe her body would start emitting loup-ga instead of human pheromones by now. Oh well, this and the froma thing are just a couple examples of us being too scientific about the whole thing. Frankly, the story is interesting enough anyway that I'm willing to let it slide, but it would be nice if these things would be considered in storytelling.
And then we get a super sappy scene where Nina's like, "I'm sorry you got hurt, and if humans are trying to hurt you more, I'll turn against my own kind to defend you," which was sappy enough on its own, but then she added, "But if killing me will really help you, go ahead." What. Well, Nina's just that kind of a sap, so I totally believe it from her, and I'm also glad that it didn't immediately turn Eva to her side, because that would have been too unbelievable. Someone as adamantly hateful as Eva doesn't suddenly let it all go just because of some self-righteous goody-goody. (That's not to say I think that about Nina, just that I think Nina's speech was over the top.)
Anyway, we don't really get a reaction from Eva, because that's about when the guards finally show up, and Nina gets knocked off the cliff. Only it's even more dramatic than that--Eva was going to be knocked of the cliff, but Nina switches places with her at the last second (that makes sense, because she's trained in martial arts), and of course she's even sappier about it, all, "Make sure to give these to Poe, since I'm all dying and stuff!" But then who should rescue her but Roy Balfour himself! He's really getting all the flags now.
But the guards caught them trying to escape, and there is no forgiveness in this series, so they have to go to the dungeon. Nina's about to die of hypothermia, so Roy gets about a million more flags by going full-wolf and enveloping her in his warm, virile, furry body...oh my gosh, you guys, this is such a Harlequin romance, and she sleeps a peaceful sleep full of dreams of her uncle and
Only the truth is, he was just playing with them, and of course, he's like their favorite person. More flags. He's reminding them never to lose pride in being loup-ga, because otherwise the humans will brainwash them, since kids are easy to indoctrinate.
Meanwhile, Angelica is having a disturbing rendezvous with her "Daddy" and talking about how dangerous it would be for Nina and Roy to join forces. And Athena's thinking, "Oh, dear. If only someone had thought of that, and decided to put her in a not the same class as Roy's for crying out loud." If they'd started out by treating her well from the beginnning, obviously Nina wouldn't be thinking, "Wow, this place is terrible. We need to revolutionize!" But instead, they start out by showing her just how awful everything is. So that was bad planning on the villains' part, but maybe Gilles had a hand in that. Maybe Berger, too. Berger is an interesting character. We only see him for like three pages or less in this volume, but what he says seems very significant. (We're also like, "Nice try with the shoulderpads, but they still are far from winning the award for scariest I've ever seen." That prize belongs squarely to Qator Bashtar from Final Fantasy: Type-0. Oh my goodness, I'm scared just thinking of them. Anyone a head shorter than him... And he's a pretty tall guy. Of course, if you're more than a head shorter than him, then you're totally safe.) Apparently, he's kind of with Gilles on the whole thing, but has given up all hope. He seemed like a nice enough dude in volume two, so we'll see where that all goes.
Anyway, Gilles is getting pretty fed up with Angelica being a pet (especially one of the sex toy variety (it's not explicit, but...)). It would seem that she used to be a lot like Nina, and now she has been, according to Roy, completely brainwashed. So my theory is that she was originally in line to be Queen, so the humans made sure to brainwash her, either because she led a revolution that lost and they captured her, or because they were smart enough to do that from the get-go... There's also the possibility that her origins are the same as Nina's. Maybe she started out a human, as well. I don't know. All we know is that apparently Angelica was exactly like Nina, Gilles was in love with her, she got brainwashed, Gilles is still loyal, Nina shows up and is a lot like the old Angelica, Gilles is attracted to Nina possibly because she reminds him of the good Angelica, Angelica is jealous, Gilles is fed up, the Headmaster is having none of it, and now Gilles has to face punishment. (Athena points out what an interesting "coincidence" it is that Gilles just happened to have the exact kind of perfume that Nina needed to get along in a prison full of man-eaters.)
The point of it all is, Gilles gets a pretty serious whipping, and he goes to Nina for help, and to beg her not to change like Angelica did (only without explicitly stating the name Angelica). That's the last straw for Angelica, who decides to do something about Nina--she recruits her to the student council! Why? Because apparently the student council is just a big orgy, where they brainwash loup-ga into being loyal basically by bribing them. By buying them off, they convince these loup-ga to love the humans and hate their own kind, and if they can convince Nina to feel the same way, she will no longer be a threat. Of course, Nina will have none of it (don't you realize you have to boil the frog slowly?), so instead Angelica drugs her. Dun dun DUN!
To be continued.
So the series continues to be a dramatic fantasy Harlequin romance. Oh, I forgot to mention that Nina noticed that Roy has some kind of a birthmark type thing that *gasp!* looks just like the one on Gilles! I think I already mentioned my theory that they're brothers in the royal family. But anyway, I'm a little bit worried about what this drug is going to do to Nina. Is it going to brainwash her? Is she going to join the student council after all? It stands to reason, since no loup-ga has refused the invitation before, and surely some of them would have had similar feelings to Nina's.
I should probably also mention Dario, who was pretty great this whole volume, if a little sappy. But that whole debacle was sappy, so what are you going to do? I just really appreciate that he knew Nina well enough that, even after finding out she was human, he still knew she was a good person, and the label didn't matter to him. I think that's important.
Awww, what a great series to fill your need for fantasy shoujo fluff. And boy, this review was so much more interesting than any of the other reviews we read of this volume! I mean, yeah, the Eva stuff was good, but there's a ton of other good stuff in this volume that we totally forgot about! Also, we're hilarious. (And so modest, too... *shifty eyes*)
Seriously, though, if you're a fan of the series, at least read the review for our discussion of a very important line of Roy's. (But you might want to read the volume first, because of spoilers.)
As for this week's new releases, we have In/Spectre 7 and My Monster Secret 10! There's also A.I.C.O Incarnation, but we don't have a review of that one. When we started on it, it was unclear whether it would be a simulpub or not, and we were swamped anyway. But maybe we'll start reviewing it from volume two on.
And tune in next week, for our review of Land of the Lustrous 5!
Today I'm thankful for happy reviews to break the monotony, finally finding my iPad, reminders of the adorableness of Beasts of Abigaile (even if it is a bit Harlequinny), the yummy Reesesticks we had for a snack, and it being too warm for Page to be interested in sitting on the laptop.