Say I Love You 8
As I mentioned in the (perhaps distant) past, this book didn't get off to a good start for us. First, there was a flier. And not just a little flier with big pictures and a headline. It was one of those fliers with a ton of text on it. Why? Because, as we should have expected from a series like this, there was a beauty contest. And the flier had to explain the whole thing and ask for votes. So at least there was only one flier and once we translated the first one, it was just a matter of copy and paste after that, but man.
Second, it featured the return of Hayakawa. I've already been over this, too, I think. Hayakawa is scum, but he's played by our beloved Yuuki Kaji, which makes us hate him even more because how dare he corrupt our beloved Kaji-kun like that? But it also makes us hate him more because we can't hate Yuuki Kaji, even if he is doing an incredible job of playing a total sleazebag.
Now, as for this beauty contest. This series seems to be kind of progressive, in that it has its great anti-bullying message, and it's all about teen sex and whatever (it's not, really; it just seems that way in volumes two and three), and then it comes along and has an event right out of the stone-age. Technically, it's not a beauty contest so much as a popularity contest, but there is a major focus on outward appearance. It's so bad, even I almost wanted to gag, and I'm usually pretty laid back about that kind of thing--if they want to have a beauty contest, let them have a beauty contest.
But then they get obsessive over it. I think mostly I took issue with the fact that anyone who made it to the finals of the contest was exempted from helping their class with other school festival activities--like they're really putting these people on a pedestal, and you don't have to work hard if you're just pretty enough. Other than that, it makes sense with the characters.
Mei, of course, spends an inordinate amount of time making sure she looks good for the contest, but in her case it makes more sense--she's never thought of herself as pretty, and she doesn't want to embarrass herself onstage. The manga actually makes an interesting point here, in that on Facebook we seem to have all these articles yelling at society for judging people on their appearance--something they have no control over. But with Mei's struggle to look good for this contest, the message seems to be that, yeah, maybe there is some control. So if you really care about that kind of thing, you can do something about it.
On the other hand, when Mei explains that she never bothered trying to look good before because she "kind of forgot she was a girl," I did have to roll my eyes a little. (Then again, I don't entirely disagree with the philosophy that one of woman's roles on the planet is to bring beauty to the earth. Still, I think there's more to that than dressing up and wearing makeup. I'm a firm believer in the "beauty lies within" philosophy.)
Another thing that I had a little bit of a problem with happened when Yamato and Daichi took Mei shopping for clothes. They handed her a bunch of revealing outfits and she said she couldn't wear those because her body didn't look good enough, thus once again implying to the world that the only reason to dress modestly is that you're ashamed of your body. As someone who likes to dress modestly, who is not ashamed of her body, I disagree wholeheartedly with that theory.
What else did I have to say about this volume? ...Not much, I guess. I'm kind of glad Mei didn't end up getting first place in the contest, because that would have been way too convenient and unrealistic. And it was nice that, even though she didn't win, she did turn out to be an inspiration to other girls. It was just like America's Next Top Model.
So...it looks like we didn't like that volume very much. I did forget to mention the new characters that got introduced, but I guess they just didn't make that big of an impression on us. But I do have a bit of Twin-translation trivia on them. It was never really clear who was talking when they were doing their whole MC thing, so for the most part, I credited just one of them as doing all the talking--I chose not to have them alternate. Why? Because that's how we are in social situations--I do most of the talking, while Athena chimes in when necessary. Like how I'm the one who does all the typing for LiveJournal.
Today I'm thankful for getting our shiny new package in the mail, Haagen Dazs artisan flavors still being on sale, Page being so cute in following us around today, being done with helping to clean the church for this week, and having grape juice.