Anyway, we talked about this last week, but now it is Reviewsday! So let's get right to it and present our review of Wake Up Sleeping Beauty 4! Spoilers ahead!
After a couple of weeks of nonstop work/vacation, we finally have time to get back to writing reviews! It's been a long time since we've let two whole weeks go by without writing a review, but we had to; there just wasn't any time. The problem, of course, is that there was so much between turning it in and getting to this review, that when I think about it, I'm like, "Wait, we translated that?" So what are we even supposed to be reviewing right now, anyway? Oh yes, Wake Up Sleeping Beauty. And it's funny the things that stick in your mind, because I have a flagged mental note about responding to Anime News Network's less than positive reviews of this series. I may have also addressed it on LiveJournal back when those reviews were more current. But they were all like, "Ugh, here I thought we'd get a cool story about dissociative identity disorder, but it's actually about stupid ghosts!" And we were like, "Uh, duh, it was about ghosts. You know how it started out with the other housekeeper introducing the concept of Shizu as if it were a ghost story? And remember how they made a huge frickin' deal about Tetsu being afraid of ghosts? The second her personality flipped, I was like, 'She's haunted, isn't she?'" Y'all really need to learn how to pick up on foreshadowing. Then you'll have fewer disappointed expectations.
Their other complaint was, "And so we barely get to know anything about Shizu, like she doesn't even have a personality or something," and we were like, "Uh, yeah? That was the point?" But that one's not fair for me to be all snarky about, because they really don't go into that until volume two. Except that they do have Shizu saying she doesn't know who she is on, like, the first page or somewhere significant like that.
I'm sorry, ANN reviewers. I'm tired, and that makes me snarky. Let's be a little nicer and say, "Please give it another chance! You might find out you like it after all!" And I understand wanting a story about mental disabilities, but for the main theme of the story, I really think it had to be about ghosts instead, because the point is that Shizu's main personality trait is that she's willing to give up everything she has, including her own body, for others.
Anyway. I have a volume four to review. It is volume four we're on, right? Right. Okay. Oh yeah! I like this volume! I mean, of course I like this volume; I like the whole series, but the first chapter in this volume was so cute! And then it just kept going being adorable until it got to be super dramatic!
So first Tetsu's family decides to go shopping together because Suzu insists that she is in dire need of a new yukata. Ryo is pretty unhappy about this, and we still don't know exactly what her deal is, but Chihiro's theory is that she's just being contrary to spite Tetsu. Our theory is that that may be a part of it, but maybe she also thinks that if the whole family starts being more frugal, then Tetsu can stop being such a martyr. But the point is, things are awkward because Tetsu and Ryo still haven't made up after everything that happened in volume three. At least, I think it was volume three, because that makes the most sense pacing-wise, but it feels so long ago that I kind of want to say it was in volume two. Everything feels like it was so long ago...
And then things get even more awkward when Tetsu's escape attempt leads him straight into Chihiro...who has invited Shizu out to lunch! What! Are they an item!? It's so cute how Tetsu gets worried about Shizu and Chihiro together. And they all go to buy yukata together, and it really just seems like just some unimportant thing to do, but it leads to two very important developments! First, there's Shizu, who, having no idea what she likes, had a hard time ordering lunch. So Chihiro suggested she order something Tetsu makes for her. And this was so cute, too! He's all, "Surely there's something you like," and she's all, "I like Tetsu!", and he's like, "Uh...yeah, that's not what I meant." Oh, but she's so adorable. But! then she realized that she actually has preferences! What! That's great! And now Tetsu is able to use comparisons to help Shizu figure out which yukata she likes best. Actually, I think all of us can learn from this, because I think we all have been thrown into situations where we need to choose from about a billion options and we have no idea where to begin. Well, just pick a few out at random and try to narrow it down.
But the best is yet to come! Because Chihiro talks to Ryo about her attitude, and we find out that she's convinced herself that Tetsu loves her no more forever. And Chihiro's like, "Have you met Tetsu?" Oh, it was so cute. And she's being all stubborn about not trying on any yukata, and Chihiro's like, nope, here's a yukata, go try it on. And then! then! oh, this was the best. She came out with the yukata, and if you know anything about traditional Japanese clothing, you know that you have to wear a pretty thing in your hair to go with it, but Ryo wasn't wearing the one Chihiro picked out for her, so he was like, "What's the deal?" and she was like, "I couldn't put it on myself," and the store employees were like, "Oh, here, let me..." and then! then! Tetsu was like, "I'll take that!" And it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo sweet. That part made me cry. Awwwww, they love each other so much. And they finally got to apologize to each other and confirm to each other that they really do care. (Also adorable: Chihiro pointing out that Tetsu was really sad when Ryo cut her hair short.)
So it's all very happy, because everyone is making progress toward...I don't know, just being better and stuff. And then! right at the very end, we see Tetsu's phone with an ominous text from Chihiro! It says, "Would you believe me if I said I could see ghosts?" and we were all, "AHA! I KNEW IT!! I TOTALLY CALLED IT!!!" See that foreshadowing thing we were mentioning earlier? We were pretty pleased with ourselves. I think our reaction was actually more like, "Whaaaaat, I'm totally shocked I did not ever see that coming for the last three volumes." Because we're snots like that. But we called it, right? I think we mentioned it in a previous review.
Anyway, Tetsu's terrified of ghosts, and now his friend is all, "By the way, I see dead people," and Tetsu's all, "......." But finally they run into each other at the convenience store and they're able to talk it out. This is the best, too. Tetsu's like, "I know you know this is freaking me out, so I figure you must have a reason for telling me," and Chihiro's like, "Yeah, I thought I could help you out," and Tetsu's like, "With what?" and Chihiro's like, "Your possessed girlfriend?" And oh, Tetsu, you're so silly. He's all, "You want to help Shizu? You DO like her!" And Chihiro's like, "........" Tetsu really IS bad at asking people for help.
But then they can finally team up! I'm really happy about this, because I like Chihiro. And then Tetsu asks Chihiro to draw the ghosts, so we finally get to see what they look like! ...Only we don't, because Chihiro is a terrible artist. That was kind of a bummer. But at least we sort of have a vague idea how they did their hair in life? It also proved that Chihiro wasn't bluffing about seeing ghosts. (I always knew that was why he asked Shizu, "Why would Tetsu be hanging around you of all people?") We also learn that Chihiro's in training to be a pastry chef, so he just gets to be more and more attractive.
And now that everyone has decided to do better with everything, Tetsu has decided to stop sneaking around with Shizu, and ask her mother if it's okay to take her to the summer festival (which is why people were buying yukatas to begin with). And! he's even decided that he doesn't want to be friends with Shizu just for the money; he's going to give back everything that Shizu's mother paid him. Awww, he's trying so hard to be a good friend to her. Well, Shizu's mother actually does care about the girl, and since not locking her up seems to be doing some good, she agrees. So Tetsu and Shizu go to the festival, and they do cute manga festival things. And this is where we learn that Shizu always did have a personality; it just didn't show very much because she's so self-sacrificing, as illustrated by her giving almost all her cotton candy to the greedy little kids that come begging for her snacks. (Sorry; that's the tired Primary teacher in me.) The kids aren't all selfish little brats, though! To thank Shizu for sharing her cotton candy, at least one of them shares some baby castella with her! Awww. The world isn't all full of takers after all.
The other important thing, since this is a shojo manga and what we all really want is the romance, is that Shizu asks Tetsu for a hug. Oh my goodness, this scene was so cute. I'm not sure I can do it justice, though, so you're just going to have to read the book yourself. You won't be sorry!
And then! drama strikes! Dun dun DUN!!!!!
On the way home from the festival, Tetsu and Shizu run into none other than Shizu's father. It was hinted at the end of volume two that he was the reason Shizu shut her personality away, and based on the scene with him, it's pretty easy to see why. Oh man, that guy is a...just...I don't even have the words. He has a very punchable face, is what I'm trying to say. He's kind of an interesting character, though, because there are signs that he does truly love Shizu's mother. Not more than himself, of course (I'm sorry, I do want to give you a vacation, but could you stay here for a day first to send Shizu off?), but what I'm saying is maybe there's a tiny sliver of hope for him. And that's another thing! we also learn that the reason Shinobu can't pass on (the ghosts are hardly in this volume, but Shinobu has a brief appearance) is that as he lay in bed dying, Stupidface came along and said, "By the way, I hate you forever." Because Stupidface is a stupidface, I figure the reason is pretty stupid, too, but I don't know, maybe it's almost halfway legitimate, like it's what led him to be a stupidface and he wasn't so stupid before. I guess we'll find out later.
So Shizu's father, in his special jerky way, provokes Tetsu and then lays the smackdown by revealing to Shizu that Tetsu was only in this whole thing for the money. And then he takes Shizu home, calls Tetsu's dad to get Tetsu fired, and tells Sanae (her mother) that they're just going to have to put Shizu in a hospital and by the way he's already made arrangements. And this is part of why the story had to be about ghosts instead of alternate personalities--if it really was a mental disorder, a hospital would (hopefully) be a very helpful place for Shizu to go. But since it's ghosts, and ghosts tend to hang out around hospitals, a hospital is the last place you want to send someone who gets possessed at the drop of a hat. I guess if it had been a mental disorder, they could have come up with some other place to imprison her, but then we wouldn't get the whole story with her dad and Shinobu.
Anyway, Tetsu and Sanae are both at a total loss as to what to do, so they both happen to go to the one person they always go to for advice, even though she's in a coma--Tetsu's mother. And so they run into each other, and that's how Tetsu finds out about the hospital plans, and then! he plans a daring rescue! Awww, this was so cute, too. I really feel like I shouldn't need to describe it; just read the book, you'll like it. I mean, if you like that kind of thing. But I do want to talk about how poignant it was when Shizu explained why she wasn't mad at Tetsu about the money thing. Actually, I've had similar thoughts myself: nobody wants to talk to me, maybe I should pay a therapist. But that's different than finding out that someone you thought was your friend was in it for something other than your friendship. It was so charitable of her to say she was glad he was getting something out of it, and I really like that about her, but the more I think about it, the more I'm glad she started crying. When she started crying, I thought it was that she was so charitable that she was that happy to see him, or something like that that I can't remember exactly, but Tetsu takes it to mean that, while she didn't really understand it on an intellectual level, she really was hurt, and he told her that that's okay, and it's just...it's good. I like this series.
And then they run away together, and the volume ends! Except for some extras so that we can all see the ghosts who were barely in this volume. And I just realized, we didn't talk at all about how Tetsu and Chihiro got to be friends! I loved that chapter, too! It's funny how Tetsu's bossiness turned into a good thing for Chihiro. "Whatever you do, just kick the ball to me!" "Good point, I know he's not a ghost!" Oh, and then when Tetsu said he wanted to brag to everybody that he was friends with a pastry chef and Chihiro fell out of his chair! Awwwwwwwww! This series just has so much of people being insecure about whether or not people care about them, but then showing those people genuinely caring, and that's something I really like to see in stories and in real life. So I hope you enjoy this series, too!
Oh man, what a great series! If you're not reading it yet, please do, because it's amazing.
This week's new releases include...Waiting for Spring 5! Wait, really? Hmm. No, it's actually volume seven. Gosh, get it right, Nibley. Kodansha also posted on Facebook about Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty 5, but their website and Amazon both say that's not until next week. But you know what you don't have to wait until next week for? Our review of Forbidden Scrollery 3! I think we'll be posting that on Thursday, so check it out!
Today I'm thankful for finishing our work quota, making it to the grocery store, the heat not being so bad, getting to read our review of Wake Up Sleeping Beauty 4, and Page being so cute hanging out under our desk.