But more importantly, it's Review Rednesday! I believe we have a volume of In/Spectre to review today. *checks* Yes! Volume 10! So here it is! Spoilers ahead!
This was an exciting volume to work on, because the anime cast had recently been announced, which meant we could finally put voices to the faces, and while we were working on it, Crunchyroll announced that the anime premiere would be happening at Anime Expo, with the voice of Kuro in attendance! Woohoo!
But oh my goodness, it killed us. We even checked and confirmed that it was significantly wordier than the previous two volumes. We didn't compare it to earlier volumes, so I don't know if this one was just The Worst, or if the previous two volumes just got our guard down. Oh man, though, the brain meltiness...
First, we have the return of Rikka! And we had a bit of a quandary with the title of this chapter, and I don't even remember what we ended up going with, but our working translation was "Rikka Returns." And we were doing our edit and thinking, "You know, she doesn't really return--she's still on the run from Kotoko and Kuro..." So we had a bit of a hard time dealing with that. Speaking of Kotoko, this is the volume where Shirodaira-sensei points out that the prose for the novel always refers to her as Iwanaga, and that all makes sense to me, but it's my own personal habit to address all characters by their given names, so that's what I'm going to stick with. It is strange, though, because there are other series where, if most other characters call someone by their surname, I'll switch over, but somehow for this one, I don't, even though it's true that so few people in the series actually call her Kotoko. Maybe it's because of the visuals after all.
Anyway, Rikka has returned, only she doesn't really do anything except get hit by a bus. That was a pretty fun page. In fact, it was among our favorites, because it had very little talking. Really, it just seemed like it was saying, "By the way, Rikka's still at large, and HAVE A NEW MYSTERY TO SOLVE!" We were glad to find that the Japanese horse-racing organization has English explanations all over their website so we could get all the right terms for things, because there ain't no way we would have ever guessed any of that stuff on our own. (I mean, of course we would have researched it to get it right, but it was all there in one easy-to-access place!) See, that's how Rikka is funding all her everything--she rigs the horse races using her kudan powers. And she gets really cheap apartments by renting ones with "a history." And that's how we found out that the word for an apartment or house that goes for cheap because it may or may not be haunted is "stigmatized property." We got it in the Japanese-English dictionary, and I was like, "That's too big a word--nobody's going to know it!" But it is the correct real estate term for it, so anybody who knows anything about real estate should know it, and that includes Mr. Apartment Manager whose name I already forgot. But his girlfriend's name is Marumi. I remember that because plus-sized girls usually have "maru" in their names, tsk tsk. (As an aside, CLAMP did the character designs for Kabukibu!!, which has a character named Maruko who's supposed to be on the plump side but looks pretty much the same as everybody.)
So Rikka's apartment was the site of not one but three whole suicides, so it was basically the cheapest home on the market. And that chapter ended up being an explanation of the non-supernatural reasons there would have been three suicides there. And we're not sure if we managed to treat the subject with enough sensitivity, because the terms kept being repeated and repeated and we also needed some variety, but we did try! We also felt like Kotoko's explanation of the third suicide was the obvious solution, so we weren't sure why it was taking Mr. Manager so long to pick up what she was putting down. But I guess that happens in mysteries sometimes.
The next chapter featured the return of Manabu and Kotori! Woohoo! Our favorite adorable couple! Actually, I really like Kotoko and Kuro, too, but somehow they end up not being in it so much. It doesn't make sense, because they're the main couple, but here we are. Manabu's uncle has gotten involved in a thing in which Kotoko will be an influential personage, so he wants to find some dirt on her. So Manabu says, "Yeeeeah, bad idea." And that's pretty much the important content of that chapter, but! we do find out why Kotoko joined the mystery club to begin with, and it's such a Kotoko-like reason. Despite Shirodaira-sensei's (and Manabu's) insistence that it's not possible for Kotoko, I think it's adorable. And also quite reasonable...although I do have to agree that... Okay, let me explain the reason first. At this point in history, Kotoko is already crushing on Kuro, and she knows that he has a girlfriend, and the two of them are already engaged. So she joins the mystery club in an attempt to help Manabu and Kotori with their love in order to build up her own good karma, in the hopes that it will help her win Kuro in the end. So I agree that it's not very nice to want a man to break up with his fiancee, and that was Kotoko's specific wish, so maybe it was just bad all around, but it's possible that, by building up her good karma, she could have found a different guy that she loved at least as much. ...Of course, he wouldn't have been as perfect for her without supernatural powers. But if Saki has that hard a time with the supernatural, it really wasn't going to be a good fit anyway.
Oh! and speaking of Kotoko and Kuro, in the Rikka chapter, we learned that Rikka's main motivation (or the one she's willing to tell people) is to get Kuro away from Kotoko. And I gotta say, Kuro seems like a pretty decent guy, and he's definitely very good looking, but he hasn't necessarily shown me enough personality to say he's worth all that fighting. I don't know. I do like him, though.
There was also a mystery that Kotoko solved about a haunted or not-haunted abandoned hospital. It really wasn't much of a mystery, either. Although, in a sense, that story is the biggest mystery of all, because we still don't know if there was really anything supernatural involved or not. With Rikka's apartment, Kotoko's reasoning that no spectres would go anywhere near an apartment with Rikka in it is very sound. In this story, they don't really give us anything to go on. So it's up to our imaginations.
And finally we learn about all this business Manabu's uncle is getting mixed up in. He had said it was already beyond murdering someone for an inheritance, and hoo boy, this is some messed up business. We're 99% sure Rikka put Otonashi up to asking Kotoko. I mean, they practically told us. But anyway, the point is, and I'm going to tell you with about 1000% fewer words, the super boss of a super hotel chain murdered his wife by hiring a fox spirit to do it. He claims that he believes there should be some sort of karmic retribution for such a thing, and now that he has cancer, he can finally die a slow, painful death, assuming his oldness doesn't kill him first. So now, even though his kids don't know their mother was murdered, he wants to prove to them that he did murder her so that he can prove to them that he's suffering for it, two decades later with a disease that might just be the result of being human. There's a strong suspicion that he really just wants to convince them that they can get supernatural help to succeed in life, or something along those lines, but right now it's just very weird. He invented a game for his kids, and Kotoko gets to be the judge to see who wins. Oh, and the other suspicion is that he's trying to provoke one of his kids into killing somebody else, like maybe Kotoko or someone. It's just all kinds of bizarre, and I don't know where it's going. But the fox spirits were pretty fun.
The main thing I remember about the whole business is that there was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much talking. Our brains were melted by the time we turned the translation in. But we got it in on time!
There was a side story, while Kotoko explained the whole thing to Kuro, where they were trying to get some pervy pens from a claw machine. The things Katase-sensei does to keep our attention while the characters talk nonstop... And, speaking of pervy things, I agree that paisley is not a sexy pattern.
Finally, there was the bonus manga, which I had to bring up, because oh my goodness, poor Kuro. I wish he could have prepared better! He had to go replant a mandrake, which resulted in several deaths on his part until he could choose a future where he destroyed both his eardrums. And I just...I guess the mermaid flesh has been proven to help him heal from cuts and things, so it's probably not just "this is a side story that has no real bearing on the plot" that lets his ears heal. It was funny but painful to see him walking around with branches sticking out of his ears. The bigger artistic license is the fact that there was a mandrake in Japan to begin with. But on the other hand, we didn't do the research (they explained what a mandrake is in the manga, and it fit what we already knew, so), so maybe mandrakes are a thing in Japan and not just imported from overseas.
Anyway. This series continues to be very difficult but a lot of fun. We hope you all enjoy(ed) this volume!
Oh man, this series. I love it, but it kills us. We just got the next volume, and it's so thick! We're very afraid. But I'm definitely looking forward to finding out where all this is going!
And! We actually have releases this week! Plural, even! Fruits Basket another volume 3, and Hatsu*Haru volume 9! They're both really great titles, so check 'em out!
And tune in next week, for our review of Fruits Basket another 3!
Today I'm thankful for finishing our weekly simulpubs before Gaston showed up yesterday, getting to watch Oblivio today, getting to go on Indiana Jones, having croissants available to grab and thus have something to eat before we left this morning, and getting to play Ring Fit Adventure.