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Alethea & Athena
Hatsu*Haru volume 4 
3rd-Jan-2019 09:31 pm
blush
The biggest disappointment of today is that the Wotakoi anime is only eleven episodes long. What the heck? We had watched through episode nine, which actually had us wondering if we should stop altogether, because there is a certain other anime where it has a nice happy conclusion to the story arc, and if you want to continue to be a happy person you should stop watching right there, but we naively continued on and watched to the end and now we're the bitter, jaded women you see before you. (Just kidding; you know we were bitter and jaded before that, right? It was seriously soul-crushing, though. They just...it's bad.)

Anyway, we figured we had three or maybe even four episodes left (back to Wotakoi now), because a typical anime season is twelve or thirteen episodes. So we watched two episodes, and they got to the end of episode eleven and at the end they told us the title of the episode and it was the same as the series, and we were like, "That's the weirdest place to do that..." and then the credits came up, and usually our TV tells us the next episode is coming up next...but it wasn't doing that. And we were like, "What's the deal?" And then it was over!! Worst plot twist ever!!! I'm convinced that's why it only has a 7.6 out of 10. So if we want more, we're forced to resort to the manga, but it won't have all the great voices or fun opening sequences with all the little dances. Siiiiigh.

But it's Review Rursday! And maybe now we can cheer ourselves up, because today's review is for Hatsu*Haru volume four! Woohoo! Spoilers ahead!


This is the volume of manga that we started translating before Anime Expo, realized we wouldn't have time to finish it before the convention, and therefore had an entire convention between starting it and finishing it. We did have a whole first draft done, though, so we were able to tell the editor on it that we were just working on volume four and oh my gosh it's so funny. Of course, at the time we were telling him this, the only thing I remembered was that it was funny. I couldn't for the life of me recall what had happened that I thought was so hilarious. Now I can remember almost off the top of my head! It was Kai's niece and nephew, and Riko's cluelessness along with everyone's reactions to it. And that's what leads us into this volume.

Oh. my. goodness, Riko is so clueless. Like, wow. And it's kind of tragic all around, because Kai thinks it's because she'll never see him as a potential boyfriend, but we kind of think Riko just doesn't see herself as anyone's potential girlfriend. We went into that a little in a previous review, I think. I look forward to when she finally learns the truth. In the meantime, I do kiiiinda think Kai deserves to go through these hardships, after all of his selfishness and womanizing, so while I do feel sorry for him, I think it's great that he has to actually work to get what he wants now. But I will say that I worry that maybe the way we translated Kai's sorta-confession makes it just a little less obvious than maybe it should be. It was back in volume three--how were we supposed to know? Anyway, for those of you not playing along at home, Kai tells Riko that there is a guy who is in love with her. The way that works in Japanese is that he could be saying there's a guy who loves her, or he could be saying there will be a guy who loves her, it's just "non-past" tense, which means it could be future or present. But the problem is, we added an "out there," which distances Kai from the situation. Maybe our editor took it out. I don't know. But anyway, it should still be like, "And I know because I'm him," right? Ayumi did say exactly the same thing to Riko, so... I don't know. The point is, Kai wasn't 100% clear anyway.

Meanwhile, Ayumi has now been apprised of the situation and she is determined to help! We're pretty sure it's not until Tora catches her doing it that she gets invited to the Kai's Romantic Endeavors Support Group, but whenever it happened, it's awesome and hilarious.

And I was so focused on the failed love confession that I forgot what happened next. Right, the study party. I feel like I should have more to say about it...Kai failing his test so miserably was pretty funny. That was another tricky thing to translate, and maybe it was just hard because we've been so tired all the time. Like, I'm sure there's a succinct way to describe it in English, but try as we might, neither of us could come up with what it was. ...And we might not have tried all that hard, because we were in a super hurry to finish the translation. I think it makes sense, anyway. But the interesting thing about it is he got two answers right despite having all but one in the wrong box (if you look carefully at the test paper, his first two answers are the same, so that's where the shift occurred), which means he only got three wrong? ...No, it's possible, since it wasn't multiple choice, that some of the answers would have been wrong even if they were in the right box. But everyone who checked his work said he got most of them, at least, right.

Anyway, the whole study part was just an excuse to pair Riko and Kai up again, and it's also where we learn that Ayumi is super smart. And I don't have a whole lot else to say.

Oh! The Shinto vs. Buddhist thing! That was awesome. Kagura's like, "I can't go into Buddhist territory; I will be defying the will of the gods!" and Tora's like, "Uh, I don't think so. You're dad comes over all the time, in fact, there he is." Then they mentioned John-chin, and we were like, "Who's he, the local Christian priest?" and sure enough! Incidentally, we totally agree that there's nothing wrong with people of different religions hanging out. I mean, come on. And I think it's awesome that the local religious leaders all hang out together.

And the main result of the whole event is that, thanks to the secret workings of Ayumi and Takaya, Kai and Riko get some alone time together and Kai realizes he doesn't have to give up on Riko yet. Oh, but his attempts at giving up on her were funny. "I'm not gonna think about her anymore! I mean it!!!" It was also adorable how Takaya said he was too scared to get his wallet, because he wasn't scared at all, but now Kai is probably more scared than he would have been. Aww, poor Kai. Meanwhile, Ayumi told Riko she lost her phone, but we all know she didn't, because she was using it to tell Takaya to get Kai over there, which is only especially amusing when you think about how the whole search is going to go. With Kai and Takaya, Kai can be all, "I'm not finding it anywhere. Are you sure..." and Takaya, who had his wallet the whole time, can be like, "Oh, here it is!" But Ayumi had to send Riko alone, because otherwise Riko might see her with her phone. anyway, it was funnier when we were translating it.

So Riko decides that she has to apologize to whatsisface for using him to get over her crush, and this was one of the best scenes, because he was like, "So is your crush Ichinose? Well, congratulations!" and Riko's like, "What? No. And Ichinose doesn't like me." And Hatano was like, "..." Oh, poor clueless Riko. The other best was when Riko decided to ask Takaya about Kai's crush because Kai seemed down about it. ...And I was just about to retell it, like I've been retelling all the best scenes, but what's the point in that? You can just go read them! And they're amazing. This series is so good, you guys. I will say I love that Riko seems so smart about it when she's a third party, but when she's involved, she has no idea. I think that's how a lot of people are in real life, possibly myself included.

But! dun dun DUN!!! Kai sees Riko and Takaya together, and Riko is smiling! Oh no! Frankly, I don't blame him for getting the wrong idea about it. Things have pretty much always been going in the worst direction possible with him and Riko, so it's not too much of a jump in logic to assume that maybe Riko is starting to have feelings for his best friend. But I love him for the way he deals with it, because he doesn't start lashing out at people, and he's even willing to accept it, despite it being a very hard pill to swallow. He definitely cares more about Riko than himself, and I think that's very admirable.

Speaking of putting others' needs before your own--this seems to be something Takaya thinks about a lot. And Takaya, of course, remains an enigma. There are definitely some flags indicating he might have a thing for Kai, but on the other hand, we know there's the business with his sister. He also tells Riko that he's not sure he could be so interested in the child of his crush and his crush's rival, which means he's probably got some feelings of resentment for a rival. Meanwhile, he's still hanging out with Kai and doing nice things for him. BUT! we also learned from the playground flashback (which was super hilarious and heartfelt at the same time) that, despite what he says, he can put other people's pain over his own. So maybe all this talk about hard feelings really is just talk. On the other hand, now that we know his parents are divorced, it's possible that the mysterious sister is actually a stepsister, which would make the unrequited love thing a little bit more serious on that front. Only time will tell. In the meantime, he's being a super great friend.

And Kai...oh I just remembered... Okay, I was going to go into Kai faking sick and his niece and nephew being so worried that he's dying and how adorably hilarious that is, and I just remembered the first time that got brought up, and it was about umbrellas! Oh man, that was just so...so them. As soon as Kai's mother told him to take an umbrella, we knew it was going to rain, and that Riko was going to be stuck without an umbrella. Very cliche anime/manga romance development. It even happened in the French anime Miraculous. I did not foresee how it was going to turn out, though. Oh Kai, you're so stubborn. And oh Riko, you're so richigi. Those two kids, man.

Anyway, when Kai was staying home sick, we were both so happy that Takaya told Riko she should go see him. I kind of knew they would end up going together, but it didn't occur to me until Riko started talking to Kai that that was exactly how to convince him that his wrong assumption was right. Oh man, the poor guy. I love that he's so supportive in his own way. So the next day he figures that, since it's not going to work out between him and Riko, and that Takaya's guaranteed to make her happier anyway, he's just going to go back to his old life. And then Riko's upset about it, and she doesn't know why! And we ALL want to know why! ...But the volume ends! Aaaahhh, always in the worst place! But that's part of what makes this series so great.

And then we get a super adorable story about Kai growing up with his sister, and oh man it's the best. I totally wish we had come up with that game when our nephew wanted us to go out and play with the ball and bat, but maybe he was a little young for it. Now we have a great idea for the next time we're hanging out with the family! ...Unless our kids prove to be too smart for it. Still, I think it could be fun to pretend to be a baseball even if you know it's just a way for the batter to play with as little effort as possible. It's very clever, because little kids have a ton of energy, so it's a great way for them to work it off and still interact with the older, more tired people. Still, we definitely sympathized with Takaya's, "I'm so glad I'm an only child." [ETA: I can't believe I typed this last sentence after typing that Takaya's sister might be a stepsister. This is proof positive right here, you silly person.]

Anyway. I'm really eager to see what happens next! ...Oh, I forgot to mention Kai's research to get Riko to notice him. And Ayumi's attempts at getting him to tell her about his crush! Oh man, Kai and Ayumi are the best. But Kai's idea to just go with the opposite of what was on the list... Kai, Kai, Kai. The correct answer is to find a good quality that's not on the list, and try to emphasize that. But I guess part of the whole point is that he is utterly devoid of self-awareness, so he wouldn't know what his good traits are. Maybe he should have listened to his niece and nephew's report and made more bunny apples. I also want to point out that Miki and Kiyo are adorable, too. And in all honesty, I'm a little worried that this review is not entertaining enough to do justice to such a super amazing volume of manga, but why should it have to be? Just go read the book!


I think I agree with my past self that this review is not nearly as entertaining as the book it's reviewing. You'll just have to go read the volume.

And I think that's it for double reviews for a while. Next week, it will be back to Review Rednesday, and it's just as well because the next review deserves to have a week all to itself! We'll be featuring the return of the amazing Noragami! Woohoo! Oh my goodness, I'm starting to remember what happened in that volume and it's sooooo good...

Today I'm thankful for getting to go to the temple today, getting to watch all of Wotakoi even if there should have been at least one more episode, getting to look back on Hatsu*Haru, getting to look back on Noragami next week (SO EXCITED!), and having time to work out today.
Comments 
4th-Jan-2019 05:16 pm (UTC)
Ohhh man!! I’m sorry about the unexpected abrupt ending!! That would be so disappointing! I do recall that the author mentioned including an extra episode with the next manga volume, and it looks like that comes out in March... (I’m curious too, where did the anime leave off in the story? I hope it was at least a little conclusive...)

I impulsively typed that all on my phone; I’ll read and respond to the Hatsu*Haru review on my computer...
4th-Jan-2019 08:38 pm (UTC)
I mean, the series is fairly episodic and slow-building plot-wise, so it's not like it ended on a cliffhanger or anything, but it was still sad. (Let's see, episode nine with the "maybe you want to stop now" ending was the theme park date, and then Naoya met Kou, and the last episode was when Narumi went to Hirotaka's house and made him fried rice. The post-credits tag had Narumi asking everybody about their first love, so the very last thing that happens is that Naoya says that Hirotaka got to date his first love, Hirotaka gives him a death glare, and everybody but Kabakura misses the whole exchange.)
5th-Jan-2019 07:19 am (UTC)
Okay, here's my comment about the review! And I'm going to start it off-topic by reporting that I read Kiss @ Midnight 5-6 (filling in the gap) and that while the series isn't my favourite ever, reading your reviews helped me to shift my focus more to the qualities and characteristics I enjoyed, rather than fussing about the parts I didn't like as much (nothing bad, I just think the drama and characters can be silly sometimes). So, that's another reason I'm glad you write your reviews!!

In Hatsu*Haru's case, the reviews just remind me of how absolutely great the series is and why I love it so much :D

I love the addition of Ayumi to the Support Group. I love her all around, even though she should be super annoying! Instead she's hilarious. She's just got such a different energy from all the rest of the group.

Ohhh, Takaya being "scared" to find his wallet by himself... He's the best too. What a good friend he always is!!

(I'm writing this having already read about his sister, so while I guessed from her first appearance that they were step-siblings because that's just how manga goes, I was still surprised at how how it all went.)

The umbrellas!! You're right, it was so very frustratingly, endearingly them.

If you try the human-baseball game with your nephews I'll be curious to know how it goes. I'm thinking it was only Kai's special kind of stupid (and an admirable but unjustified degree of trust, considering the object) that allowed his sister to get away with it, but maybe there are more sillies in the world than I think...
5th-Jan-2019 08:24 am (UTC)
I must confess that Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight wasn't so much of a favorite series before they cast a voice actor for Kaede. I mean, we always liked it, but it wasn't our favorite thing ever...except for the fact that it's usually really easy to translate, which has been super important for us lately. And the story elements tend to be super cliched, and the "oh no, we have to be apart again" business does get old, but there is still plenty to enjoy. We're glad the reviews help! (We had a lot of fun rereading our review of when Kaede revealed his past. Oh man, those guys are dumb.)

Yes! Hatsu*Haru IS great! It, too, can be predictable and cliched, but Kai and Riko manage to make it all such a surprise nonetheless. Those kids...

As for the baseball game, I think you're right in that it only worked for Kai specifically because Kai is so stupid, but I also think that if a kid just likes to run around, he or she might be agreeable to that sort of game even knowing full well what exactly is going on. On the other hand, it's been a loooooong time since I was at an age where I liked running around. And of course, if the kid knew how the game really worked, they would probably insist on taking turns, and wouldn't fall for Sango's reason that they shouldn't have to.
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