Ooooohhh, Akiraaaaaaaa! This volume! My heart! Actually, I feel pretty heartless, because it only really got me the first time through. I was too focused on getting everything right the second time, and the third time, I wasn't really looking at the pictures, which are really a big part of the impact. It probably doesn't help that during the second pass, we stopped for a snack right in the middle of the most heartrending chapter. But that's life sometimes. This is the type of thing that makes me want to reread all the manga when I have the leisure to just enjoy it. Missions, Land of the Lustrous, and Noragami... Mmmm...
Anyway. I have to tell you, the title of the heartbreaking chapter was ridiculously hard to come up with, and we're still not that happy with it. It just sounds dramatic and tragic in Japanese, but in English it's just very meh, and we do not use that word lightly. I mean, it still has the drama, I guess. Goodbyes are inherently dramatic. But the Japanese word is wakare, which means "parting," and is the word generally used when referring to breakups, so you get that meaning in there, too. It's more like, "The morning they stopped being a couple," but that is far too wordy and too non-poetic. I liked the word "parting" instead of "goodbye," but it didn't mesh at all with the -ing from "morning" and we couldn't find a substitute for "morning" that we liked. So as I talk it out, once again, I convince myself that "The Morning Goodbye" isn't so bad, but I still lament my limitations in the English language.
So as for this volume. I kind of had Ema Toyama's reaction to it. Nooooooooo, Akiraaaaaaaaaaa! Oh yeah, I guess Mami and Hisame had some important stuff going on, too. So let's recap, shall we?
We start with...with...not Akira... What was it? Right! Yukina finally updates her story, and it is just sooooo romance novelly. It was kind of fun to deal with that, but we worry about that kind of thing, because we have read brief snippets from the Twilight saga, and we know that a lot of readers of that kind of thing don't care if you cross that line into too...whatever it is...but as for our own pride as writers, we didn't want to go overboard with it. I think it turned out pretty alright; the hardest part was figuring out how to deal with all the different heats. It was pretty mushy, though, oh my goodness. But it was also pretty cute.
And then Yukina infiltrates Hisame's dorms. He was kind of cute and pathetic after the whole love confession thing in the last volume, but with all the stuff with Shigure and Akira going on, it's a little hard to care about the stupid jerkface. It was really funny how Yukina was like, "I Googled it," about everything, though. And Hisame's roommates are pretty great. We did have a bit of a struggle because, when Yukina first appears at the dorms, she says "watashi" and then corrects herself to say "ore," and both of those translate to I or me, so it was like, "great..." "It'll take more than that to stop me--I mean, me!" I think we dealt with it pretty well, though. And we didn't even need a note! I mean, I think we didn't need a note. It's the kind of thing that, if we were worried about people critiquing our translation and coming along and being like, "That's not what she said!" we might have a note to clear it all up, but I think the way we dealt with it is something that even another picky translator would say, "...Yeah, okay, that's one way to deal with it." On the other hand, if there were some upstart who was just learning Japanese who came along, they might be like, "She never said anything about being a boy or a girl! It was just I!" Well, whatevs.
Hisame is pretty annoyed at Yukina's pestering, so he does the typical "why don't you show me with your body" schtick, and then she flips it around on him, so he goes into some kind of a weird trance and almost kisses her! And then we get one of the cutest Hisame tidbits, which is that he's saving his first kiss for his true love. D'awwwwww.
So now Yukina is on a mission to help Hisame clear up the confusion with Mami, and meanwhile, Mami is on a mission of her own, and that's where Akira starts to be so very endearing. I mean, we were always Akira fans (although he came close to changing that in volume 11; he was really stupid in volume 11), but oh my goodness. He goes with her to confront her mother! Awwwwww! That's so nice of him. I think he really does love her, but he's still so determined to win Yukina over that he doesn't want to admit to himself that he's had a change of heart. And I'm sure he still loves Yukina, too. That's kind of been his identity for many years now, so even if he did stop liking her, or start liking her less or anything, he wouldn't want to admit it, but I definitely think his love for her is sincere.
Oh! And speaking of love being sincere. Oh my goodness, this volume was driving us nuts! So back in volume...which volume was it again? Nine? We checked, because we were realizing that the difference between suki and rabu had come up before, and we knew we were not dealing with it the same way, but now that we're done with it and it doesn't matter anymore, I've already forgotten. Whichever volume it was (after Yukina comes to terms with her crush on her preschool teacher), we were translating suki as "being in love" and rabu as "true love." But in this one, it worked better to translate rabu as "in love" and suki as, what we would call in English, "love." And it works very well for the context, but but we did have to kind of shift terminology. The lesson we learn from this is that language is fluid and we just have to deal with it. Yeah; let's go with that. I'm getting ahead of myself though.
So Akira takes Mami to see her mother, and I kind of think Mami's mother is being ridiculous. Like it's better for Mami to have no mother at all than to have a mother like you? I thought the reason you were such a terrible mother is that you weren't there for her, so great job fixing that one. There is a way you can make it up to her, sillyface. You go back and try to be a decent mother, for crying out loud. But of course Mami's father would have a say in that; we don't know what that relationship was like. But once again, Akira was just so amazing for that whole journey. Awwwwwww, Akira.
And then came the fateful moment! Mami confessed her love to Akira! And it was so cute and so sweet. And Akira's like, "You don't have to pretend to be my girlfriend right now," and I was like, "Hello, stupid." He's so determinedly oblivious. And then she said she meant it, and he just didn't know what to do, and he was so cute and so sad. And all he wants is for Yukina to make it all better, but she has something she needs to tell him...
Ultimately, I think it's going to turn out better for everybody this way, so I'm really glad that all of this stuff is out in the open. This is an interesting thing Athena pointed out that explains why it couldn't be Yukina x Akira. Akira and Mami actually force each other to do hard things, which ultimately help them to learn and grow. Yukina and Shigure both spoil the other two and foster a relationship of codepency, which is not good for anyone.
So now Yukina has to tell Akira that she's realized she's in love (rabu now) with Shigure, so even though she really loves (suki now) Akira, it's just not going to work. And they were both so heartbroken and so sincere, and it was so beautiful the way they both wanted it to work out so badly. And then Akira said goodbye, and it was so sweet. And he continues to be awesome, and I'm also really glad that he didn't turn to the dark side.
So who even really cares what happened for the rest of the volume? Shigure comes back, and he and Yukina are still trying to figure out how to deal with their feelings and it's just so cute. And it's kind of nice to see that the whole breakup with Akira has affected Yukina the way it has. Not that I want Yukina to be so sad, but I'm glad she's not so self-centered that she can basically rip her cousin's heart out and then go off and be happy with Shigure without giving it a second thought. We kind of felt for Shigure, too, because mere moments after he learns the competition is finally gone--he doesn't even have a chance to wait for Yukina to calm down so he can be openly happy to have her--his own brother calls and freaks him out. We're also glad that, while he was stupid and jealous, it didn't take him too long to figure out that he was being stupid.
And then there's Akira again! I'm proud of him for being able to say that he wants Yukina to be happy even if it isn't with him, but I do wonder what he's talking about when he says Shigure can't be the one to make her happy. Is it the novel? Is he convinced that when Shigure finds out about the novel, he's going to dump Yukina? I like to think Shigure's love is stronger than that (and of course it is, because who are we kidding? this is shoujo manga), but it's sure to shake up the relationship.
And finally, Hisame confesses his love to Mami! What!
...But who cares, there was this super sweet bonus comic about Akira! (Sorry Hisame; you really were adorable. But you're also a stupid jerkface. I'm glad you're learning to overcome that.) Oh, but the bonus comic. And Yukina's dad! He speaks! Awwwwww, they all love each other so much. I just love that. This manga is so nice. I really enjoyed this volume. Toyama-sensei was all, "I think it might be hard to get through..." and I was like, "What are you talking about? I LOVE this stuff!" I'm kind of a sadist like that. I like the heartbreaking scenes...but mostly only when I suspect they will lead to even greater happiness in the end. But that's the thing about it--endings are happiest when they come after the hardest trials. So I look forward to seeing Akira's very happy ending.
Awwww, what a sweet volume! I love this series so much. ...And this is just another reminder of how our tastes so rarely mesh with the general populace. Oh well. At least we still get to translate this one.
As for new releases this week...it's just the one! UQ Holder! But we don't have reviews for that series, because we don't have time to review simulpubs. I think we'll keep doing two reviews a week, though, because our backlog is still pretty long. So tune in on Thursday for our review of the sixth and final volume of My Brother the Shut-In!
Today I'm thankful for making pretty good progress on work despite sabotaging ourselves by getting involved in drama, still being distanced enough from the drama that it's not too hard to stop thinking about it and focus on something else, reminders that the things that sometimes make us really upset are really very silly so we should maybe take a step back when we find ourselves getting angry, having more white chocolate peanut butter, and getting to work on Edens Zero.