Oh my goodness, this volume was quite a journey, and not just because of the story, which does get pretty intense. It was next on the list, and we were thinking we'd take it to the Disneyland Office, but the day before we worked on it we were just so doggone tired that we didn't want to worry about it. We were hoping the monthly chapter of UQ Holder! would come along, and we could translate that then start on Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty the next day, but UQ Holder! waited another day. So we were going to just say nope, too tired, and work on it at home like usual, but I don't even remember what happened. At the last minute, we decided to go to Disneyland anyway. Something about crowds and how it was likely to be the least crowded day for like six weeks.
It was a cold day, so this time we were mostly determined to stay inside, so we worked on this one at Red Rocket's Pizza Port and at the Plaza Inn, and since Farley was dying to know if they'd let us stay in the Plaza Inn and work, we went to see him but he wasn't out yet, so we pulled out the Chromebook and worked a little on a bench there. As for the Plaza Inn, since that's one of their fancier restaurants (but not the fanciest; it's cafeteria style and not table service), he figured they'd want us out if we weren't eating, and that made us Nervous. We decided if we were going to do it anyway, we might as well go with the highest difficulty level so we wouldn't have to keep trying. So we sat at a table inside, and we were very nervous when we pulled out the Chromebook. But then a cast member came by and swept the floor right next to us without saying anything, and then another cast member came along and took our plates (we bought "chocolate" cake; the Cake of Betrayal), so by then we figured we were probably fine, and we were able to focus a little more on the story. And this volume is a tear-jerker, so we were sitting there in the restaurant getting all teary eyed.
But because of bad timing on just about everything, we didn't manage to finish the translation before we decided we wanted to go home, and then we ended up staying up late to finish it. Just as I was going to bed, I checked my phone (which I had forgotten to take with me to Disneyland), and sure enough, Gaston had called. So instead of working on the edit, we went to Disneyland again. It was probably not the best idea, but at least we did get UQ Holder! done. And then, because of all our bad decisions, we missed our deadline by a day. It was kind of a bummer.
But let's talk about happier(?) things! The story! And oh my goodness, the story. We kind of expected it to have some emotional moments based on Morino-sensei's note on the cover flap, and there were elements of the emotionalness that we saw coming a mile away, but there were other elements that were definitely unexpected. I don't even know where to begin to go over it all, so I guess I'll go in chronological order.
Tetsu has taken Shizu and escaped to his grandfather's inn on the beach. Incidentally, this is where Wikipedia can be a little silly. The Japanese word is minshuku, and if you look that word up at Wikipedia, it has its own article explaining that a minshuku is a Japanese establishment like a bed and breakfast, and it describes how it works. We were going to write a note about it, so we Googled it, too, for corroboration, and the first article we read said it was basically a Japanese bed and breakfast, so we were like, "Hm." So we looked up "bed and breakfast" at Wikipedia, and the description was pretty much exactly the same as a minshuku, and we were like, "Then WHY do you list them differently!?" The only difference is probably the style of the food and decor, which really has more to do with the culture of where it is than that one is a minshuku and the other is a B&B. We were just a little annoyed because we don't like writing notes. We do like to have them, though, because it's nice to learn and to teach. But they're also extra effort, and take extra time, which is something we don't have a lot of.
Anyway. Tetsu takes Shizu to his grandfather's B&B, and his grandfather reacts pretty much just the way you'd expect. I did like his comment about how Tetsu didn't have to take so much after his parents. The important thing is that Harumichi fainted. And we never heard from him again after that! So what happened was, Tetsu had Harumichi take over to enable a faster escape from the Karasawa estate, and after that they hung out for a while. They had a heart-to-heart where we find out that Harumichi had daughters (and he died in his 30s? Man, those poor kids), and he kind of thought of Tetsu as the son he never had. And then Tetsu said, "Well, I'm kind of a stupid fakey son, but I appreciate your fatherly advice!" (I'm paraphrasing), and Harumichi was like, "Awww, I have a son..." and then he fainted! Did he find fulfillment and pass on to the next life? That's a kind of sexist unfinished business, if you ask me, but maybe it was more like he wished he could have been a parent (of any child) longer, and Shizu didn't really count because of everything. So what's going on!? Aaaaahhhhh!!!! Later, it's suggested that the spirits' time inside Shizu is getting shorter, and we don't know if that means Shizu's body/will kicks them out after a shorter period of time now that she's developing her own personality, or if they're all going to pass on. But the next volume's the last one, so I'm sure we'll find out soon.
That night, Tetsu and Shizu talk about their mothers, and this is where it starts to get emotional. While we do find out a little later that Tetsu's mother did get into the accident on the way to get him (we knew all along), fortunately, that wasn't supposed to be the shocking thing. The shocking thing came from something you don't really think about when you see all these stories about people in comas--how much does it cost to keep someone on life support? Fortunately for the Misato family, it's probably a lot cheaper in Japan than it is in the States, but it ain't free. And about one year ago, Tetsu overheard his grandfather talking to his father about how neither of them is made of money, and maybe it's about time to let her go. What!? Nooooooooo!!! That's when we started crying right there in public. I think there would have been more waterworks if we hadn't been in public, but not because of restraint so much as that it's harder to get immersed in the story when you're surrounded by crowds and ambient noise. But oh man, I did not see that coming. No wonder Tetsu's trying so hard to make money! Awwwwwww. And he loved his mom so much as a kid. All those flashbacks and everything...which made the next big twist that much more surprising, but more on that later.
Tetsu's family comes over and then the sparks really fly. Their dad is mad at Tetsu, and Ryo is mad at Tetsu and their dad and their grandfather, and Suzu is dying to know if Tetsu and Shizu eloped, and it's all just a big mess. But it ends amicably enough, thanks to a big outburst from Shizu, who is tired of hearing his grandfather say super hurtful things to Tetsu. Anyway, the secret about Tetsu's mom gets out, so finally they all decide to talk it out as a family. This family is so adorable. Toru was working hard to make sure his kids could live life without any wants and they could still keep their mom on life support, and Tetsu was working so hard to make sure his dad didn't have to work so hard and his sisters wouldn't have to go without and they could keep their mom on life support, and Ryo was ticked off at both of them for being so secretive and not asking for help because she wanted to help just as much as anybody. (We told Farley about the family's situation, and he was like, "Men are like that.") Suzu is the only one who remained blissfully ignorant of their family's plight, which, now that she knows about it, is making her feel super guilty. So she runs away!!! OOOOHHHH NOOOOOOOO!!!!
By the way, we're really sorry about the names Ryo calls the men in her family. It would have been so much easier if there hadn't been that picture of an eggplant. I mean, we possibly could have just made it confusing and if anyone remembered, they could look it up in the back (there would have been a note either way), but that's not how we roll. So it was either sound okay and be confusing, or sound really weird and at least have all the pictures make sense. Hopefully it only sounded kind of weird.
Oh, something I forgot! The one chapter was titled "Their First Fight," so we were really worried about what was going to happen between Tetsu and Shizu (sure two chapters later it was going to be "Reconciliation" (we translated the table of contents first), but still), but oh my goodness, it was the cutest thing ever. And also very heartbreaking! Shizu wanted to make Tetsu feel better after the mean things his grandfather said, and she's like, "And if your mom does die, she can possess me, and you can see her anytime!" That was another thing that made me tear up. There are just so many tragic factors involved. It was along the same lines of suggesting on Noragami that if Hiyori dies, Yato can make her his shinki.
And THAT tied into the biggest surprise of the whole volume! Apparently Tetsu's mother had been one of the spirits possessing Shizu all along!!! WHAT!!! We did manage to figure it out before the reveal. I don't remember what it was that tipped me off, but something had me thinking about when Shinobu told Tetsu that one time Shizu's mother brought a ghost home. We now know that Sanae had been visiting Akira in the hospital, so I was like, "What if...!" It might have been how motherly Mirei was to Suzu that tipped us off. But it's still hard to wrap my head around it, because Mirei was so...Mirei. I mean, thanks to some of the bonus filler manga and Tetsu's father, we do get to learn a little more about what Akira was alike before the coma, and some of it really fits. But she was so mean to Tetsu! Maybe she really didn't want him to figure it out, or maybe it was her real nature (being bad at chores, etc.) showing through because the relationship dynamic was different. It makes me want to go back and check out the scenes where she shows up, but who has time for that? I also want to check on Chihiro's drawing of her. We can be pretty sure he knew all along.
And the important thing about Akira is that now she can give Sanae the advice that Sanae has been so desperate for all this time, except that Sanae had been gradually figuring it out on her own. But the point is, now that everyone is starting to be on the same page, and Sanae knows she has support from Akira and Tetsu, she's ready to stop giving in to her fear of Shizu and invites Shizu to move back in to the main house. Surely her jerkface of a husband will understand and not lock her up in a room and ship Shizu off to a hospital, right? Wrong, of course. That guy's a real piece of work.
But one of the great things is that we get to see why he's a jerk, which is actually kind of sweet. It doesn't excuse his jerky behavior (another great thing: Tetsu saying he should have realized that his pain was no excuse to hurt others), but it helps us to remember that even people who seem like bad guys aren't just motivated by being bad guys. They have feelings just like the rest of us. And he really was doing it to help Sanae, in his own twisted way.
But let's talk about Takashi's life for a second, because what in the world? I mean, I get why Shinobu adopted him as a grandson, but I don't get why they bought him like that. There was a line about how Shinobu's son couldn't have children, so that's fine. But why did Takashi's parents sell him? Takashi said they were poor, but man, how poor were they? And what did Shinobu do to convince them to go through with it? And why didn't he just bring the whole family? And even if he couldn't bring the whole family, why couldn't they have at least told the kid before they ripped him away from everything he knew and loved? I'm glad that Shinobu eventually realized that he had hurt Takashi, but I still don't think he quite understands how stupid he was. "I'll just take the kid away from his family without warning! Who doesn't love that?" I like Shinobu, but wow, that was dumb.
And so, because Takashi's whole life was taken from him and he was forced to lead one he didn't choose, he cared maybe a little too much about Sanae. And I think he is extra apathetic toward Shizu because he didn't even get to choose her name. I mean, I definitely think there's more to his hatred of Shizu than just that Shizu was hurting Sanae, even though I do think that was part of it. I'm thinking that in the next volume, we might learn that Takashi really is the reason Shizu is so easily possessed. But we won't know until next time! So stay tuned!
PS: The bonus manga about Sanae confessing her love to him was adorable. And the one about Toru and Akira eloping was, too.
Awwww, this series. It's so good, you guys! I don't have anything else to add! But tune in next Tuesday for our review of Fruits Basket another volume 1! Woohoo!
Today I'm thankful for finally managing to get our packages sent off, being done with the first step of the cat plan, getting to reminisce about Wake Up Sleeping Beauty, kittens in boxes (one of the kittens especially loves a box we put outside), and bigger kittens in boxes (Adrien liked it, too, but it's too small for him, which makes it that much more adorable).