But anyway, it's Review Rednesday, and we have a review of In/Spectre to share! Spoilers ahead!
We're chatting with a friend on Facebook right now, and since it's a holiday, it doesn't seem right to just say, "Sorry, we need to go work!" (although we really should), so instead, since it's okay to be a little distracted while writing reviews, that's what we're doing! It's good, because we have another backlog of reviews to write. So now let's see what I can remember about this volume of In/Spectre!
The main thing is that it was so full of words. Like, oh my gosh. It was ridiculous. We hadn't been to the Disneyland office in a while, and the timing was right, so we figured we'd take this series over to the park and see if we could finish a first draft. This would be an experiment in just how effective the "change of scenery" productivity boost could be, and whether or not it was really reasonable to take something as dense as In/Spectre to Disneyland. At the time, we thought we had enough wiggle room in our schedule to get away with it if the experiment failed. Well, it did fail, and we didn't have enough wiggle room after all.
One of the things that makes it so tricky with In/Spectre is that the chapters are so long. Since we don't have CDs to tell us when to stop at Disneyland, we usually let momentum carry us until the end of a chapter. And the chapters have about a bazillion pages with about a quiskillion words on them, so we end up sitting in one place for about two hours at a time. We heard Mickey and the Magical Map go through two whole performances while we worked on the second chapter from near It's a Small World.
But let's get to the actual story, shall we? First we have the chapter about the Mystery Appreciation Club, which starts out with a discussion of the current state of mystery fiction that seemed like it came straight out of the afterword from the last volume. Kotori and Manabu were super cute, though. When Kotoko asked Kotori if Manabu was exploiting a weakness of hers, her answer I think made it obvious to everyone (except Kotoko at first) that she was in love with him. But more importantly, the way Manabu stood up to Kotoko was pretty amazing. And he was so devious! "For every day you say no, I will spoil a mystery you haven't read yet." I actually really like that in a guy--the ability to use his brain to solve problems. And he loved Kotori enough to face off against Kotoko of all people. Either that, or he thought too highly of himself. That's something we've noticed in our own lives--people seem to be intimidated by us, unless they have very high opinions of themselves.
But anyway. The mystery of the Mystery Appreciation Club seemed to be super duper obvious, but I did not expect them to already be dating. I kind of got a "childhood friends" vibe from them, but now that Kotoko has pointed out that Kotori was such a beginner when it came to mysteries, it is an excellent point. I do think that, even without supernatural help, Kotoko had plenty of information to figure out all the answers, but it was so circumstantial that she might have needed help to be sure. I mean, just because I haven't thought of alternative explanations doesn't mean there aren't any. I really liked Katase-sensei's idea that Manabu's ancestor's ghost was there telling Kotoko all about him. But anyway! I just think it's so cute that he went to all that effort so he could tell everyone that he and Kotori are dating. I also think it's adorable that they hadn't been using their club room for inappropriate activities. I like it when relationships are pure.
And I think that's all I have to say about that. There was a hint that we might get to see more of the Mystery Appreciation Club in the future, and it stands to reason that Manabu would try to solve the mystery of Kotoko's kidnapping, despite what he said about not prying. That would go right along with the Invented Inference title, since she'd have to make up a story to satisfy him. Either way, I really like Manabu and Kotori, so I would be happy to see more of them.
So let's move on to the next story. Oh my goodness, this story. Like...I don't even know. At first, they introduced the idea of the Guillotine Murder, and Kojiro was all, "I just wanted to see if it worked," and we were like, "Wow, that's creepy." But then the story moved along, and despite them discoursing at length about guillotines and their uses and all manner of related disturbing subjects, it felt more like an academic thing, so there wasn't so much emotional reaction, except for the, "Oh my GOSH, would you STOP! TALKING!" So many words... So very many words... "You already said that, okay! WE KNOW! He wanted to see if it works! DO YOU HAVE TO REPEAT IT SO MANY TIMES!?" I mean, on the one hand, the repetition meant we didn't have to look up the words anymore, but on the other hand, we still had to get it to sound like natural dialogue, and frankly, I don't know if we succeeded. And you know, when people are just chatting merrily about guillotines, it's not really going to sound natural anyway, am I right? So then there was a balance, and it was just uuuuugh.
Anyway. The lucky cat...speaking of lucky cats, ugh! I mean, it's good. With stuff like this, you expect to learn a little bit about the history of the things involved, and it's nice to find out. But oh, all the research... It's okay, though. It was neat, learning a little more about lucky cats. Anyway, the stuff about juxtaposing it with unlucky places and objects was kind of an interesting concept. But also a little disturbing in its own way. "Oooh, that electric chair is so creepy, I don't want to go near it." "That's okay, I'll put a lucky cat here. Isn't that better?" "Oh, yes! It's so warm and inviting now! Let's just go have a seat!" I mean, I'm all for making the world a less scary place, but maybe there are some things that it's okay to be afraid of. So that's just one of those things that I say, "Well, if you like it, you do you. Please do not get yourself killed. Or anyone else."
But what I like about it is that it was a very unusual concept, and there are artists who have their own "thing" like that, and sometimes they are really disturbing, so at the same time it was novel and realistic. And it made for a very interesting segue into Sayoko meeting Kotoko. It was so cute, the way Kuro tried to help. And it's funny the way he talks. He introduces Kotoko as someone who calls herself his girlfriend, then makes sure to point out that it's only according to her. But he didn't have to bring it up at all. And when Kotoko asks why he didn't wake her up, he says it's because she got mad at him last time, but when he's talking to Sayoko, he says it's because he'd feel bad for her, since she'd been working so hard. He makes it really hard to get a reading on whether or not he actually cares about Kotoko, but we think that he does. And it's a good thing(?) that she doesn't really care about his opinion on the matter. It makes them an unusually (in more ways than one) good match.
One of the best things about this story was Sanshiro the Guillotine. When we finally got to see him in tsukumogami form, he was just so cute! We weren't sure if Sayoko's reasoning about the name Sanshiro being proof that the whole thing was a lie is transphobic or not ("You can't just change people's genders!"), but linguistically, it was very funny. I guess we'd have to ask Sanshiro to see if he finds it offensive. He's pretty good natured, though, so even if he was offended, I bet he'd forgive Sayoko, especially after she draws him with a lucky cat. Also, I feel like we end up translating all the things that have tsukumogami. But that might just be because we don't have time to read or watch anything else, so for all we know, there are a ton of other anime or manga with tsukumogami, and they only just got to be a major thing after we stopped reading and watching other stuff. At any rate, I agree with Kuro that Sanshiro talking about the proud work he did ten years ago was pretty disturbing. And yet, the way Sanshiro presented it, I did feel happy for him that he got to be useful. And then I think about that, and I just have to shake my head. I just can't even.
One of the other best things was when Kotoko said she couldn't tell Kuro her theory as to why Sayoko killed her father because it was too indecent for her lips to speak the words. And Kuro has this shocked look on his face. And then on the next page, he says pretty much what we had been thinking, "Your lips have standards of decency?"
I also really liked when Sayoko saw Kuro die. We were like, "Don't worry, he'll be fine." And then Kotoko showed up, and she was like, "Don't worry, he'll be fine." And Kotoko's attitude toward the whole thing was so matter-of-fact and so Kotoko. It was very nice of Sayoko to try to call an ambulance.
And I think that about covers it. I really do like this series when I look back on it. And we hope y'all are enjoying it, too! (But it's okay if you enjoy it at a nice, leisurely pace, so we don't have to race to finish the new volumes when they come out in Japan.)
Aah, this series. We definitely have a love-hate relationship with it. I'm really looking forward to the anime!
As for this week's new releases...there are none! Woohoo! (I'm not really happy about that, but woohoo just seemed like the right thing to say.) But on the bright side, that means next week's releases won't have to wait in line to be reviewed, and that means we can review the Sailor Moon Eternal Edition volume three right away! So tune in for that review next week! (Unless they delay it again, in which case, tune in for our review of Love in Focus 1!)
Today I'm thankful for finally having part of a review for Sailor Moon 6, finishing our minimum work quota today, fond reminiscence of In/Spectre, Noragami volume 20 (it's so good!), and getting to eat Girl Scout cookies at snack time.