But today is Review Rednesday, so first! we have a review of Forbidden Scrollery 7! Spoilers ahead!
The seventh and final volume of Touhou Suzunaan ~Forbidden Scrollery. I admit, I think it was a little anti-climactic, but only a little, because this series was never really trying to be epic. But in all the afterwords, ZUN kept saying, "We're getting closer to the truth!" and the truth was like, "Yeah, duh." I also felt like there was a little bit of self-congratulation when Mamizou was telling Akyu what she liked about Agatha ChrisQ's books, and she said something about the unprecedented story sense of having a series that seemed episodic but each episode affected the overall story. I'm pretty sure that's not an original concept, for one thing, and for another thing, I think Eiji Masuda pulled it off way better in My Monster Secret. Especially because we kept noticing discrepancies between the episodes.
For example! In the previous volume, Marisa is shocked! to discover that the youkai might actually be protecting the Human Village. But in this volume, she tells Kosuzu the history of Gensokyo and how the village came to be as if she's known it all along. On the other hand, it's possible that she learned the history between her discovery in the previous volume and Kosuzu asking her about it, but it kind of came across as Marisa just knowing because it's part of her business. The whole scene was also a little annoying because Kosuzu had just read a history of Gensokyo, so why does she need Marisa to tell her what it is?
And then there's Akyu, who starts out in this volume being all, "People need to learn the history of Gensokyo so they know that the youkai are a more important part of our lives than they think!" and then Kosuzu does learn the history, from a book that Akyu wrote herself, and when all this information suggests to Kosuzu that maybe the youkai aren't enemies after all, Akyu's like, "Ugh, of course they're enemies, stupid." YOU'RE THE ONE WHO PUT THE IDEA IN HER HEAD THAT THEY'RE NOT! AND YOU'RE THE ONE WHO TREATED EVERYBODY LIKE IDIOTS FOR NOT READING THE HISTORY THAT TELLS THEM THAT THEY'RE NOT! I just wanted to smack her so many times. Especially when she comes along and says, "Well that's just because there are infinite truths and you have to pick your favorite." Uuuuuuuugh, I hate the idea of relative truth. Some truth is just true no matter what. I have five fingers. I can change this fact by removing some of my fingers, but until that truly happens, I still truly have five fingers, whether you believe it or not. Athena explained it much better by saying, "It's more like there are infinite truths, and you have to figure out how the ones that are relevant to you fit together."
For example, in Akyu's version, she over-simplifies it (despite claiming there are infinite truths) by saying either youkai are evil and bad, or youkai are good friends. Both are true, but you need to pick the one where they're evil and bad. The actual truth is that sometimes youkai are evil and bad and sometimes they're good friends.
And let's go back to the reason the youkai protect the Human Village. Apparently they only exist when people are afraid of them. If that's the case, then why is Mamizou going around trying to get people to love the tanuki? And if people have known that people's fear of youkai is what keeps them alive, why are they so confused when urban legends are coming to life? I know of at least two Kodansha series that talk about how human belief causes entities to exist, and both of them make it seem much more plausible. This series just says, "That's just how it is, okay?" So there's a whole lot of the author trying to be deep and philosophical (or that's how it came across to us) and us rolling our eyes out of our heads.
Yeeeah, so we do actually like Forbidden Scrollery overall. It's just this last volume left us a little cold. But anyway, the basic summary is that Akyu gets Kosuzu to read the history of Gensokyo, Kosuzu finds out that youkai are dependent on humans, she's thrown into chaos over wondering about whether or not she should really fear them, and whether she should trust the people who fight them, and meanwhile, the guardian of Gensokyo comes along and forces Reimu to confront Kosuzu before she transforms into a youkai, because the humans who turn into youkai are the only ones that Reimu actually kills. Reimu realizes the error of her ways (never telling Kosuzu the truth behind all the strange things that happen around her), and inducts Kosuzu into the "hey, we hang out with youkai" club. And they all lived happily ever after, the end.
There was something that I did like! I think Aya is the best character, but things kind of get annoying when she shows up, because it's always talk about information, and talk about information is boring (and tends to be repetitive and full of long sentences). But! she did say something that I think is very important...and was a little contradictory about it, frankly. She was all, "You humans as a whole group tend to oversimplify into friend/enemy categories, but we youkai as a whole group like to treat people as individuals." Still, I think it's important to treat people as individuals, instead of their labels. This is a subject I'm very passionate about, but it's a little too abstract for me to talk about coherently. I think what it boils down to is that we all like to label things, which is okay, but your label doesn't define you. I think Eiji Masuda (there he is again) put it best in My Monster Secret, when he had Akane show Asahi a picture and ask him what it was a picture of. The first one he said was a picture of a mermaid. The second one he said was a picture of Youko. Then Akane asked why the first picture was "a mermaid" and the second picture was not "a vampire." The answer is that he's gotten to know Youko as an individual, and he knows that being a vampire is only part of who she is. And I think that's true of everybody. I'm a twin, but that's only part of who I am. I'm also left-handed, an anime and manga fan, white, cisgendered, heterosexual female. Not all the people who share all these labels also happen to play the piano or be LDS. There might be other people who match all of that but aren't from the United States or have green eyes. There are so many more things that make up a person than one label or another. And this is where all the infinite truths should come into play.
So at the end, I think they were trying to make us wonder if maybe Mamizou killed Kosuzu or something? Because they were being so careful not to show us Kosuzu until the big reveal at the picnic. But when they did reveal her, it almost felt like an afterthought. Most of the people at the party already knew she was alive, and the two people who didn't (and cared) weren't like, "Kosuzu, you're alive!" they were like, "Hmm, this is unexpected." Maybe that's just the problem with smart people. (There I go judging people by their labels...)
And that's it. I guess the moral of the story is honesty really is the best policy? I agree with that, so let's go with it.
Ha, ha, ha. There you have it, the end of Forbidden Scrollery. We hope you all liked it!
And we have good news! Kodansha USA updated their release schedule, and it looks like we won't be running out of reviews to post after all! But the most recent release is My Monster Secret 16, which came out yesterday! And tune in next week for our review of Love in Focus 2!
Today I'm thankful for mostly getting our work quota done today, having time for two episodes of Miraculous, the yummy pizza we ordered, finally having our very own little houseplant, and having at least one new release every week for the next month or so.