You can read all about it starting tomorrow, though, because I missed Review Rednesday! Of course, it also turns out that the book we were going to review yesterday had been delayed. But it was delayed to this week! So hopefully you've had enough time to read it. And now here's our review of My Monster Secret 18! Spoilers ahead!
We're on a review-writing roll today! I mean, sort of. We finished work early and it's Friday, so we figure we might as well finish all the reviews for the books we translated this year, and we already did one, and then we have one more after this and we're done! Woohoo!
So this is, what, volume eighteen of My Monster Secret? *checks* Yes, volume eighteen. And it was a really good one! I didn't really care much for the first chapter, but that's not to say I didn't like it. It was cute in its own way. And I understand why Youko would have a hard time communicating what she wanted, it's just that miscommunications are one of my least favorite things. But Youko is pretty adorable. And Asahi is pretty cute in his cluelessness, too. I mean, I was about to ask why it was so hard for him to figure it out based on her claim that she wanted to drink something red, but he explains that, too, so it wasn't so bad. And I'm intrigued at the idea of acerola juice, but I don't remember what it is, only that I'm intrigued by it. (Athena says she thinks it's a kind of cherry, and that does seem to ring a bell...)
But more importantly! The next chapter focuses on Akane, and I think we finally caught a glimpse of what's lurking behind the shadows of everything, but it was cleverly disguised as a misunderstanding! Dun dun DUN! So apparently Akane fell in love with a guy a super long time ago and that's why she became a teacher? It looks like he lured her in with some kind of old Japanese confection, but I don't remember that, either, and since we only have a digital copy of the book, it would be way too much of a pain to try to find the page to confirm it. But she must have loved him for more than his desserts, or she wouldn't have stuck around so long, much less had descendants...I mean, we presume the descendants are partly his, but I guess that might be too hasty. And apparently there's someone going around by the name of Shirayuki, trying to thwart everything. Or she was trying to thwart everything, before Akane kicked her out and took over as principal of the school. Since she's probably the main villain, I don't have a whole lot of questions about her (we know she's opposed to human/nonhuman relationships, and she may or may not come try to stop Asahi and Youko, and she may or may not have been involved in whatever happened to Genjirou and Touko, but I'm sure all that will be revealed), except for why is she named after Snow White? For me, this is the biggest mystery about her. All this time, we've been focused on monsters and aliens and time travel and things, but for some reason in my mind, that's generally a separate thing from fairy tales. But now that it's come up, I guess it's not so different after all...maybe...
The important thing, though, is that Akane confronts the Box Woman. She had been the greatest mystery of the series since her very brief appearance whenever it was she appeared earlier. Who is she, and where did she come from? Akane suspected she was Shirayuki...but she was wrong! So her identity remains a mystery, and seriously, what is she doing, going around telling people that Asahi doesn't marry Youko? How can that even be possible? Did she kill Youko? ...Wait, I'm getting ahead of things. We don't really learn her identity until later.
First! We have a chapter with Yuka and Saki trying to cheer Mei up after assuming that she's still pining over Okada. We learn early on that she just has a toothache, and of course the usual sorts of hijinks ensue. It seemed like a pretty lighthearted filler chapter until Yuka and Saki went to Asahi for help, and Asahi is all, "What!? Mei is heartbroken!? But who...?" and Okada is all, "It was me! I broke your sister's heart!" And we were all, "Well, that suddenly got way more serious than I ever expected." But of course it turned out to be a big misunderstanding, and basically just resulted in Okada feeling like a complete and utter moron, poor guy. So that was kind of fun.
And then things start getting really serious. Over the last few volumes, we've had several story arcs whose names tell us that this is going to be where such-and-such character gets his or her closure. I mean, Shiho and Okada didn't exactly get their happily ever afters, and Sakurada and Akari aren't allowed to date yet, but we all pretty much know where they're going from here (I mean, Shiho's a little iffier, but we have a pretty good idea). And, except for Shiho, the arc titles always had two names, and including Shiho, they all gave us a good idea of who would be paired with whom, so I've been wondering what was going to happen with Nagisa, because there aren't any male characters to pair her with. Ryo is unattached, but he's her brother. I guess Sen is still unattached, but... We suspected Nagisa is going to end up with a guy whose last name is Momochi, because she and Yuka were so in sync in that one chapter way back when.
But anyway, her story arc is called "Aizawa Nagisa and Aizawa Nagisa." I didn't really stop to think what this could mean; I figured it would make sense when the time came, and sure enough, it did! The short version is...well, let's not jump that far ahead.
The school festival is coming up again, and this year, they're going to do a play! So the first chapter of Nagisa's arc is about how they choose what play to do, and oh my goodness, it's ridiculous. They have a choice between a creative new take on the Kaguya story that basically reveals all of Nagisa's secrets if anyone takes it seriously, a poorly written play about Youko and her Cool Beauty-ness, and Shiho's softcore(?) porn rewrite of Momotaro. Of course, boys are stupid, so they wanted to go with Momotaro (who was female in this version), but Nagisa cleverly put an end to that with a genius casting choice. You'll have to read it to find out! And since Youko's play was terrible, they ended up doing Space Kaguya. I don't know if it's worth pointing out that Princess Kaguya has long black hair, just like Akane said Shirayuki has.
And then there's a deja vu moment...well, there were a few, because, since this is Nagisa's story, there's flashes back to her relationship with Asahi before the day she rejected him. But more importantly, there's a deja vu moment when Asahi is greeted by Nagisa standing ominously at the top of the stairs! Dun dun DUN! Only it isn't Nagisa, because she's standing right next to him! What! But it IS Nagisa! The Box Woman turns out to be Nagisa from ten years in the future, come to change history. And hijinks ensue, and the story arc isn't resolved by the end of this volume.
Anyway, her first plan is to give Asahi a letter, telling him to stop hanging out with Nagisa for crying out loud. This triggers a series of events that forces Asahi to seriously consider his feelings for Nagisa...which are still a little unclear. But he does realize that Future Nagisa, and also Mikan, who gave her two cents, is right and he needs to keep his distance.
In the meantime, like Mikan, Nagisa has been given a great opportunity that requires her to leave town. There's a very sweet scene with her telling Youko about it, and Youko being a very caring and supportive friend.
Oh, and there's a nympho showdown between Future Nagisa and Shiho, which makes us wonder once again who is Nympho Icon II? I think I postulated before that it could be Nagisa instead of Shiho...I may have also theorized that it's Youko, which seems like a ridiculous theory in retrospect, but I'm not going to throw it out just yet, because this new story arc has me thinking anything could happen in the future. Future Nagisa clearly has some serious regrets, and I don't know if they're the result of Youko's death, Youko's severe injury, or otherwise turning Youko into something different than the one we all know and love. But this chapter does strongly suggest that Nagisa will be the successor to the Nympho Icon throne. And as an alien, she can just hide inside her exterior unit, and no one ever has to see her age, which would explain how it's still the same icon a whole 50 years in the future.
Well, thanks to Youko's support, Nagisa decides to take the opportunity to take command of her planet's mission to try to open up a relationship with Earth, and that reminds me! Nagisa did have a parent that went to Morobare High School with Youko's parents! It does make me wonder about Asahi... But now that I think of it, I guess in the previous generation, Touko would have been in Asahi's position, being human and stuff, and Genjirou would be Youko, which means there probably was a similar love triangle where Nagisa's own father had the same problem she did. Hmmmmmmmmmm... Maybe he was involved in whatever it was that made it so Genjirou couldn't graduate... Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
Anyway, Nagisa goes to tell Asahi her decision, and Akane lets her be Earthling-size when she does, and who else should appear (to the surprise of no one) but Future Nagisa! Dun dun DUN! She explains that, now that Nagisa has made the same bad decision she did, she's going to kill her and take her place so she can get a do-over on life. The annoying thing is we don't know what exactly went wrong. Apparently she messed up with the whole "let's be friends with Earth" thing, and the planets go to war. She comes and finds Asahi and Youko together, and...we don't know. Something terrible happened, I guess. We also discover that she had erased her memories of being in love with Asahi, and based on how she told the story about what happened, it seems like she did it before the terrible encounter. But the problem is she also erased whatever it was that made her a likable person, so now she's cold and scary again, even scarier than when people called her the Iron Lady.
And it's all very dramatic and Ooooohhh nooooo!, but that's pretty much all I can say about it. I feel like there are too many questions to fully form an opinion of what's going on. I do think that trying to go to the past to do your life over can't possibly work, because if you kill your past self, wouldn't you cease to exist? I guess that's why the stories of doppelgangers would still work, because if they knew that meeting your doppelganger meant that you were going to die, it means that the doppelganger wasn't successful at taking your place. I guess what I'm saying is I don't think Future Nagisa thought this through very well. But I'm also pretty sure it will resolve into a nice happy ending, probably involving Asahi's magical harem boy powers. I'm very curious to see how it all turns out.
Wow, I don't think I was right for about half of the predictions I make in this review. But of course I won't tell you which ones!
As for this week's releases, I'm so tired from the week and so flustered about all the constant release date changes that I would really rather not bother. But we know Sailor Moon Eternal Edition 6 is out, so we'll review that next week.
Today I'm thankful for surviving the last couple of days, the last couple of days actually being much more pleasant than my current attitude is letting on, friends who share things that bring them joy, having some fudge to look forward to, and finishing our work quota for today.