We finished work so miraculously early today that we had time to do a final draft of this volume, write a review, organize our tax info to send to our CPA, and write this review that I'm writing right now. And all before dinner time! We have not had this kind of free time in ages. It is astounding. I'm so astounded I actually am having a hard time remembering what happened off the top of my head, even though we just reread this script a couple of hours ago.
Okay! Athena's walking me through it. First she (she being Yukina) was shopping, and then she ran into Hisame, no, she ran into Mami. Then she ran into Hisame. And Mami tried to confront Hisame, and it was so cute. But of course Hisame is Hisame and nothing gets through to him because he's too busy being a stupid self-centered jerkface, so he mentions the TV thing, and Yukina takes him and they run away! And Hisame takes them to the TV studio, which I accidentally typed as "stupid" (it has been corrected, of course), which may not be entirely inaccurate...mostly just as everything is that relates to Hisame. He's just a jerk, that's all. And he thinks it's unfair that Shigure gets everything, and to be honest, I'm a little curious about why his dad thinks he's such a failure. I mean, from what I do know, it's easy to assume it's because Hisame is so self-centered and jerkfaced that he hasn't bothered doing anything worthwhile, except for writing his cell phone novel, which his father doesn't know about (and sadly, probably wouldn't care about, and it might even make him think less of Hisame).
So instead of doing the mature thing and trying to build up his own worthwhile life, Hisame comes up with an evil plot to get his revenge and take everything away from Shigure. I mean, he's just a middle school kid, so we can't really expect him to be mature, but dang, this kid has issues. I do think it's nice that Yukina understands that and that's why she doesn't just completely write him off. She's a good person.
Anyway, Hisame's plot is for Yukina to tell Shigure she loves him, they date for a week or so, and then Yukina dumps Shigure in favor of Hisame. I feel like there is so much wrong with this plan, I don't know where to begin. And it's not just wrong in that it's a horrible thing to do to someone, but there are also some logical flaws in it, too. I mean, did Hisame come up with a story for why Yukina would choose him over Shigure? I mean, he is a fiction writer, so maybe he did and it just wasn't important for the readers of Missions to know, so that detail got left out. (It's true that in a story like this, you don't want to bog it down with too many details.) But you know Shigure was going to ask questions. Meanwhile, he's telling Yukina that it would be the merciful thing to do--to crush Shigure's heart and soul with a lie, as opposed to crushing it with the truth, while the truth remains unchanged, so it would still be out there for Shigure to discover. It's almost cute how Hisame tries to spin it, though.
So while Yukina is angsting over the two terrible options she has to choose from, Shigure shows up at her house! Oh my goodness, it was the cutest thing. Since Hisame made sure Shigure and his mother had tickets to the taping, he was there to ask Yukina if she wanted to go with them! He's just the sweetest guy, it's adorable, and I love it. It makes me really happy to see people think, "Hey, I know this person who's into this stuff. Maybe they'd want a ticket, too."
But Yukina was in no frame of mind to deal with that sort of thing, so when Akira showed up she whisked him away and shut Shigure out. Aww, poor Shigure. He's gotten to be such a decent guy...but maybe he deserves a little bit more grief for the jerk he was at the beginning of the series. But this was good news for us, because the whole time Hisame was threatening to reveal her secret, we were like, "Where's Akira? He's known about it the whole time, and even let her write him as a love rival! Surely he can give her some good advice!" ...Unfortunately, we don't really get to hear his feelings on that matter, but he did give her some good advice anyway, which was to listen to her heart. Of course that's always the best advice. But also of course, when you're faced with terrible decisions like that, it can be really hard to hear what your heart is saying. (We have found ourselves in situations where it was similarly difficult to hear.)
But then Shigure came to save the day! And this was super cute, too. He threw rocks at her window! And when she was like, "Hey, quit breaking my window!" he was like, "Oh, good, that was your room." And they confirmed their trust in each other, and now Yukina knew what she was going to do.
This was the best part. She showed up in the studio in her school uniform, and at the very beginning of the interview, she threw off her mask and revealed her identity right there in front of everyone! With Shigure in the studio audience! (He was there to accompany his sickly mother.) And we always knew that was the best answer all along, because the only way to not be controlled by blackmailers all your life is to just live your life without any secrets. Not that we didn't understand her concern, of course, but it really was the only way. Shigure was bound to find out one day eventually, so it's better that he heard it from her. It may have been even better if it wasn't in front of a live TV audience--maybe somewhere a little more private, you know? But this way it's more dramatic, so it makes for better manga. And then there was a showdown where she and "Dolce" debated writing strategy. At the same time, "Dolce" seemed to be doing everything he could to make sure Shigure knew Yukina was breaking his heart, but we didn't really see much of Shigure's reaction.
Yukina left the interview early and was followed by Hisame, who was bound and determined to comfort her and take her as his own girlfriend, sure in the knowledge that Shigure was going to dump her. But of course Shigure comes along, too, and Hisame tried to be all, "Aww, I was just comforting your ex-girlfriend," but Shigure was like, "Get out of here," and he was very kakko ii about the whole thing. Hisame didn't have much choice because the TV crew came along and said, "We have a whole five minutes left! Somebody go on stage!" And we were like, "Yeah, dude. Five minutes is a long time on TV."
And then Shigure and Yukina go out to talk. And this is the part that's just a little bit frustrating, because, and I think we mentioned this before, but we were pretty sure that if Shigure knew why Yukina approached him, he would be like, "Ooohhh, that explains so much," and all of the missions and everything would finally make sense, and it would all be okay. I mean, hello, he remembered that she started out blackmailing him. Maybe he thought it was because she always had a crush on him and now was her chance to act on it? That would be pretty self-important, but he was pretty self-important at the beginning of the series... Hmmm. Still, their whole relationship was extremely academic at the beginning, so...
Well, he might have thought all that, but we didn't get to find out right away, because! before they can really talk about the issue at all, Shigure's mother passes out and they have to go back to the hospital. Shigure's stepdad is all angry at everybody, so everybody gets all angry back at him, but he's busy so there's not much confrontation there. He leaves and now we finally get Shigure and Yukina's heart to heart. And we learn! ...that Shigure doesn't know what to think. Well, that's fair. I can kind of understand that her writing about their relationship was a big invasion of privacy, but in her defense, she was really the most vulnerable, because she was writing about how she reacted to all the romantic situations. She never wrote about his inner thoughts (because she couldn't have known what they were.)
But! since he hadn't actually read the novel, he couldn't have known that. And it wasn't even the thing that bothered him the most. His concern was more logical...or emotional? Logi-motional? It makes sense, and it has to do with feelings, is what I'm saying. His big concern is that he really did fall in love with her, which meant there were a lot of moments that really meant something to him, and now he's not sure if any of them meant anything more to her than just "oh, this will make a great story!" And that's a very fair concern to have. So he asks Yukina for time to think, and all she can do is give it to him.
Meanwhile, Hisame is still bent on taking her away from Shigure, so he comes on to her again. This time, she decides to reciprocate, and is super aggressive about it. It's almost scandalous. But she was trying to make a point about physical relationships versus emotional relationships, and at least in the case of Hisame, she succeeded. And so Yupina wins the fiction-writing philosophy wars. But of course she doesn't really, because the whole point of philosophy is that nobody ever really wants to know the answer. The point is, Hisame realizes that he doesn't really like Yukina like that after all.
Back in Shigure's mother's hospital room, Mrs. Kitami finally wakes up! And I love her so much, because she's like, "Dude, we're not going to get a divorce just because you can't take over a hospital." She also confirmed that the real reason his stepdad was so angry at everyone is that he loves her a lot and he's just venting at everybody because he's worried about her. (She didn't say it in so many words, but we're pretty sure that's the case.) And the best part is that she tells Shigure to read Yukina's novel, because that's what we were thinking, too--if you actually read the thing, you'd see that she was just as affected by all those moments are you were, you stupid man. And it's a little bit funny, because what convinces him to actually read it was a memory of Hisame telling him he'll never understand Yukina. He didn't want to make Hisame right, so he decided to read it after all. And then a single tear falls down his cheek...and it's to be continued.
Dun dun DUN!!! Toyama-sensei said in the afterword that she thought the series was going to end in volume 18, and when she told her editor, her editor was like, "What!? But there's so much still to resolve!" which is pretty much exactly what we were thinking. This may be in large part because we're still such big fans of Akira, and I don't think the readers have been told what his answer to Mami was. (Or maybe we have and I forgot because obviously he said yes? I really don't remember. It was so long ago. So many books of manga in between...) But I'm also excited because Hisame has received a strange call for help from Mami, and we're convinced that Akira is involved somehow, and this is what he found that he could do to help Yukina combat the evil assassin Jack. So I'm super excited to read the last volume...but we have plenty of other things we have to translate first. Such is life.
But I didn't want to end this without mentioning the snow people, because they're just so ridiculous it's great. ...Not that I have much to say. Actually, when we were doing both our first and second drafts, I liked the little extra stories, but I was annoyed at them, because they interrupted the flow of everything. But when we did the final readthrough, I was able to just enjoy them, so that was nice. We got to learn how snow people make babies! ...At least in the land of Missions of Love side stories. But it's great. You should read them.
Oh, man, what a cute pile of fluff. I forget how much I like this series.
So the thing is, we don't have any new releases this week. But! the third volume of Saint Young Men comes out next week (digitally), so if you get it and read it the day it comes out, you can read our review of it without getting spoiled! What I'm saying is, I'm still determined to post a review next week. ...Or maybe I should wait because our release list is pretty sparse after that, too. Hrrrm. I guess I'm not that determined after all. But I'm still thinking about it! So just come prepared, and we'll see what happens.
Today I'm thankful for getting to look back on the adorableness of Missions of Love, getting to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Japanese, finishing our work quota for today, having time to watch Gorizilla, and having Snickers to look forward to.