[Hikaru] Translator Afterword

Well, it took us 10 volumes (and two side chapters), but we finally got there.

I do suppose you enjoyed this series if you are reading this afterword, even if your favorite girl did not win this great Koremitsu War.

It all started when I was searching my local bookstore for Sword Art Online 11. I did say I was quitting translating on October 10th, but I did want to take some time reading it. Aoi-chan just so happened to be lying on the left rack on that fateful day, December 23th 2012, and I picked it up, browsed through it.

………

……

By the time I realized it, 2 hours passed by the time I was done with that first volume. On that day, I snatched up the first three volumes and started reading through them that night. That was the fateful night where I felt I had to come back, for I wanted to present a different form of the ‘harem’ genre as compared to what most of us are accustomed to.

As a translator, one of my philosophies after joining Heretic (and later establishing hellping) is that if the story is good enough, I wish to share to others, for it does not belong to me and me alone (Shippai Kinshi is the notable exception since I was cleaning up Kira’s mess, and for our sanities and sanitary needs, let us not mention of this series again). Certainly, the author here is reputed for her (I assume based on the style) other series, “Bungaku Shoujo”, but I wanted to appraise series for what they are, and not simply how they fare compared to others.

As a whole, the Hikaru series is a deconstruction of the harem genre that is typical in the market. I might say that a lot of them are actually shallow (or skin-deep) because there is usually a formula for the protagonist and heroines, how certain archetypes apply to certain characters. Hikaru is not simply about that. It actually illustrates how the characters, given their personalities, would mesh with other characters (though not always for the dramatics). Like the original story based, it is a psychological breakdown of how a boy, in his desire for that one something, squandered everything else around him, and leaves behind the wreckage that is to be picked up and repaired. Of course, it also is the story of a beleaguered boy who had to be the repairman for everything…while searching for his own happiness. All the characters in the story are broken within (well to varying degrees. I guess Honoka got off lightly except for the tsundere parts on Koremitsu), but unlike broken glass, people, when interacting, can help to repair each other, which I think is the main point of the story, rather than it simply being a redux of Genji Monogatari.

Before working on this series, I took the time to do a poll back when this blog was on wordpress, and if you remember, it was a choice between Hikaru and Biblia. While that was going on, I did some research work on the characters involved in the story. Obviously, the Tale of Genji would apply since this is basically an adaptation of that story, and if you had noticed, there is a prevalence of floral themes in the story, most notably the Heliotrope. It is a challenge for me in this story since I have to use more ‘demure’ (not Magdala, mind you) language in this story as compared to the previous action series I was used to doing to fit the genre, to a point where Koremitsu’s dialogue is the easiest for me to do.

Another thing this has taught me is that I had to increase my vocabulary level, after my first editor AmbientQualia went through with such edits. I am grateful that it has forced me to raise my game as a result.

The Hikaru series in general also forced me to switch my style of translation. Typically, the translation would be similar in sentence structure to the original, that each translated phrase will be placed at their original position if possible. I do admit that I do take some liberties trying to fit the sentences this time however, a little more liberal, if you would. The reasoning behind this is that I am translating for an English audience, and that I should be presenting the story to the readers in such a manner, rather than leaving things untranslated like unless they are really specific things, like ‘yokan’. I know many of the readers here are pretty much uncomfortable with such a change from what fan translators typically do, which is to include honorifics like ‘-chan’, ‘-kun’, and such, but well, we are heretics after all.

One of the notable things is that my ‘evolved’ translation style also takes into account of the speaker’s status. My rendition of Hikaru’s text as a rich kid is meant to be left in proper text form, no contracted form, and is meant to look posh, a stark contrast to Koremitsu’s gruff demeanour, and also to reflect the social difference between them. This also means that Koremitsu, Honoka, Michiru (Class rep, until of course, the later volumes) and the normal ‘peasants’ have one way of speaking, while Hikaru, Aoi, Asai and the rest have the noble mannerism. The noble mannerism, I think, work perfectly for Asai because it makes her sound so haughty and condescending, and this is in contrast to Hikaru and Aoi, who are supposed to sound very polite.

Another note here. Hikaru’s dialogues in the original story never had the special font I had for him. The only reason why I did that is because I’m a ghos-cist. Okay, that was partly in jest; the reason is that I want to give that ‘supernatural’ feel for Hikaru, and to emphasize that yes, Hikaru is dead. It is unnecessary, I know, but I think this is part of my interpretation of the story, and I think it does help to distinguish between Hikaru and Koremitsu’s exchanges, which can be hard to read when all the Japanese honorifics are basically translated into a few words. It does say a lot that there are many different ways of saying ‘I’ in Japanese.

Starting from the 3rd volume, I started to eschew on translator notes. While I did do lots of research on the project, and if you had seen my work for the Sword Art Online series, you will realize that yes, I do put in a lot of effort on the research, sometimes even more than my actual translation like the Gundam Unicorn series. At the 3rd volume however, I started omitting them because of how busy I have been, so I do apologize (most of the stuff can be googled, so please help me cut some workload, ‘kay?)

It has been an enjoyable challenge to work on this series, and I wonder if I would get to do anything like this again. Well, there is one short story I do want to work on, a story akin to Yugao. The title is called ‘Riku and Chise’.

Volumes

First, I will like to discuss about each volume in-depth. Do be warned however that there are spoilers for the entire series in this afterword. Of course, the basic assumption is that you have finished the series.

Volume 1 – Aoi

Hikaru’s fiancee, commonly known as the ignored woman in her original story. The age difference between Aoi and Hikaru here is…only about a quarter of the original story, but Aoi is still basically estranged from her fiance, even when he is dead.

The first thing I thought about when I started on this series was to wonder, why start with Aoi? If Aoi was not Hikaru’s true beloved, why did Hikaru not choose his most beloved in the first place? Naturally, by now, you should have known that Hikaru has quite the Oedipus Complex, but when I first started this series, Asagao was yet to be released, and it took me until the next volume to realize that there are more issues, and this was the beginning of Hikaru’s flaws as a character.

In an action story, the protagonist typically starts from nothing and goes on to be much more powerful. In a harem story, the protagonist typically starts from nothing and goes on to be the lead man. Welcome to this role, Koremitsu.

When you hear of people mistaken for delinquents, you think of guys like Kodaka from Haganai, Ryuji from ToraDora!. Koremitsu goes one step further by not having a single positive interaction with anyone else prior to this story. Thus, the theme of this first story, I feel, is not simply about a First Date, but also the First Friendship, a theme that both Koremitsu and Hikaru shared as you can see from their side stories. This meant that their relationship started off with a blank slate, and Aoi just so happened to be the one thing linking them at first, especially for Koremitsu, who was shunned by pretty much everyone before the story even began. This, I feel, is what makes the progress Koremitsu gets all the more remarkable. Typically for guys, the way to make friends is typically to do the same things, like playing online games, sports, any form of similar interests. I do find it amusing that both Koremitsu and Hikaru became friends through wooing girls.

Many of you who have read the English translated manga may be wondering why there hasn’t been any update since chapter 5, where Honoka’s revealed to be the Purple Princess. I do apologize for this part. There are 15 chapters altogether, and it covers the entire volume of Aoi, though some details may be altered accordingly.

Back to the concept of the First Date, I do find it vexing that Hikaru basically made Koremitsu pay for almost the entire date, especially when he is the rich guy and Koremitsu…is only doing okay, to say the least. If Koremitsu had to go on a first date by himself, I wonder what would he have done. He clearly is not the charmer Hikaru is, does not have the eloquence, and does not have any tangibles that would have wooed anyone’s heart.

Yet Koremitsu fulfilled the tasks required without a complaint thereafter. This, I feels, reflects more of the personality Koremitsu has. Yes, he has a scary face (in that universe at least), yes, he has practically no social interaction, but deep inside, he is still an immature boy trying to act tough and react accordingly to the surroundings, and more importantly, he is a kind-hearted straightforward kind of person whose devotedness to a single cause allows him to see things others do not often see. As we see in chapter 5, he is the one who made Hikaru change his mind, who spurred Hikaru on to make amends with Aoi. This is something else I feel separate Hikaru and Koremitsu; while the former may be the fool and the latter the serious guy, it is Koremitsu who plays the role of an optimist, and Hikaru who played the role of a cynic.

Of course, what I mentioned before also does apply to Aoi. When we first saw her, she was…pretty much the spotlight stealer in a bad way. The sheltered princess really could not have forgiven Hikaru for everything he did before this, and to be honest, who can blame her? Of course, the Kübler-Ross model kicks in, and though we have yet to see her go through all of these in-story, one had to wonder what Aoi was thinking in her mind, not eating much, venting her frustrations on Hikaru and later Koremitsu. In a sense, I shudder to imagine what would have happened if Hikaru’s ghost never lingered on Earth.

In chapter 4, Hikaru mentioned about Proust’s book, titled: “In the Shadow of Young Girls in Bloom”. Now, if anyone has read this book, he or she will find this book to be akin to whatever Hikaru went through, yet in his quest to find his one true love, he could never find the flower that could satiate him. Hikaru mentioned that he never managed to read the book, but my guess is that at that point, he was at a desperation point, and this book would have reminded him of the state he was in at that point of time.

The volume started a little slow, and with quite some cliches to boot. When I first read this volume, I could not get myself mentally involved until Asai’s confrontation with Koremitsu, which really was the thing I think that challenged Koremitsu to seek better inter-personal relationships. It did leave me wanting for more, and I do find that it is a good prologue to start with.

Volume 2 – Yugao

Now, Yugao is the next volume of this series, and this is where I admit I got slightly glued to the series (given that I have the attention span of a housefly). I will discuss further regarding the characters Yu and Tojo, but in the sense, it does feel like the story of a rich kid who had everything in the world except for the girl he liked, and the girl so happened to be wooed by someone else.

Rain is the prevalent weather in the story, to reflect accurately Yu’s name, which means ‘evening rain’. As a translator, I really want to play music and imagine the story to understand how the story flows, how I should be conveying things. It is probably an aftereffect of my upbringing where I attended drama classes, but I do prefer not to read stories for their details and events, but to vividly embrace the happenings that occur, and to resurrect them in my mind. For this reason, I chose to play the piano piece by Yiruma, ‘Kiss the Rain’, which I feel accurately reflects the loneliness both Koremitsu and Yu had. Sure, I do feel that Yu’s isolation in her room for so long seems a little exaggerated (Her name Kanai is a pun of kanai, ‘in the house’), but I also do feel that by killing off emotions and shelving everything deep within, we are killing our worths as humans, for humans emote. Of course, neither Hikaru nor Yu had the guts to actually stand up to their troubles, but as much as Koremitsu can try to be the catalyst, it is character development in a sense. Even if Hikaru did mention that he could never change, he certainly showed change in this volume.

Of course, we can never forget about how the volume started off. First, there are rumors of Hikaru being murdered, and then Hikaru hinted that yes, he was really murdered. If I were to say that the events that transpired thereafter was a mood swing, well, that would certainly be an understatement, and I do make a lot of these.

In this volume, we are also confronted with the fact that yes, the reset button after a date does not occur at all. This is not ‘The World God Only Knows’, though the premise may be similar to the first phase of the aforementioned title. Whatever cheesy things Koremitsu did for Aoi and Honoka will certainly linger in their hearts, and in ours (to our amusements).

Another important issue, besides the character interactions, is how Koremitsu is trying to express himself. One of the most frustrating things in the world is to be unable to get your to be understood by others. It already is a problematic theme for most of us, but for a guy who practically had no interaction with anyone other than his family members, the events that transpired after his meeting with Hikaru would be the best thing that could happen in his life, for it broke him out of his comfort zone, and that he had to adapt accordingly.

However, he never had proper guidance in how to talk to others, and perhaps it was due to his loner days that he seemed so unfettered, so decisive when making things happen. I do find the development of Koremitsu’s ability to converse remarkable, given how little support he had (most of the support useless anyway). Honestly, the only actual lesson Hikaru would actually give him is a stupid guide on how to woo girls (in volume 5) and ends in a lot of hilarity for the readers. While it is obvious that Hikaru really cares for his friend, Hikaru himself is also flawed, and due to him being so different from everyone else, I do feel it is difficult for him to empathize with how a commoner would think, causing him to act like a bumbling teacher at times, unlike Toko Amano from the ‘Bungaku Shoujo’ series. He does give the instructions, and naturally, Koremitsu is supposed to be the messenger, but it is the earnest attitude of Koremitsu, despite what Hikaru or anyone else would think, that drives the story on and brings the happy endings (well, mostly. Volume 10 has lots of heartaches).

The other form of support would be Honoka, and even then, she did not really help Koremitsu out (though the umbrella scene was sweet). In fact, she provided more help in resolving Yu’s situation than Koremitsu’s own, without them even meeting each other. I do like how this girl is also as bumbling as Koremitsu, haha. Two tsunderes, two people trying to act cool when they’re so hopelessly immature deep within, and the end result is the primary source of comic relief in this story. She however does seem like a satellite character until much later in the story, and when I first read this volume, I felt that her character was quite a waste for this story, given that she was not one of Genji’s heroines, but an avatar of the original author herself. She does fulfill her role in the volume however, and then some at the end.

This is the story of a boy who cannot truly express himself even though he wants to, and a girl who shuts her emotions in for she chooses to.

This is, what I think, the main theme of this volume, and I had to think a lot more over this volume, wondering what sort of feelings all the characters would have. Koremitsu the healer, Hikaru the client, Yu the patient, and Honoka the love counselor (I still get a kick out of seeing Honoka whenever she has to maintain her blog).

If I have to be honest, I do think the budding romance between Koremitsu and Yu was too sudden, probably because I do have a traditional mindset of letting love develop over some time. Perhaps it was due to the medium (hey, we have only 303 pages for this volume), but I still do feel that it was abrupt. It does leave a sweet aftertaste, though I do have complaints from people that this volume was too emotional for them. which I think was the point of the volume in particular.

When the rain parts, so do the lovers. Well, we cannot anchor a ship firmly when the story is supposed to continue on, but Honoka’s confession to Koremitsu at the end certainly took my editors by surprise. The return of Aoi too was quite cute as well, but unfortunately for them, they do have to make way for the next heroine…

Volume 3 – Waka Murasaki

Ah, yes, the adaptation of the earliest loli tale in Japanese fiction. Someone, please call the police before I start murdering her (Black Bullet is my favorite series as a translator. Loli homicide is something that causes pain in many a lolicon, which I revel in.)

Now, there is pretty much a lot of funny things going on, starting with the random bits. I do have to chime in particularly that the author does seem to be quite the fujoshi herself, given the not-so-subtle fantasies in her other series ‘I’m a royal tutor in my sister’s dress’ and the parts about Konoha and Kazushi. It is striking in particular that Koremitsu actually paid more attention to the ‘delinquent’ part than the ‘gay’ part.

And now, to the start of the main course. When you look at the cover, you probably knew it was coming. While Koremitsu had no intention of carrying out the ‘Hikaru Genji’ plan on Waka Murasaki in ‘The Tale of Genji’, when little Shioriko spoke of that ‘virginity’ talk, it probably sent our readers into a frenzy here, our reactions varied accordingly (proceeds to chop up more lolis). Moral of the story, kids, never ever go anywhere alone with a stranger, you might get your ***** taken.

Of course, current society certainly would not take kindly as to a lolicon, especially one already infamous as a ‘delinquent’ as Koremitsu. If it had been Hikaru who was exposed as one, how would society respond, I wonder?

Working on this volume, I had to use lots of imaginations. A few of you readers may know that I have quite three nieces whom I give tuition to (hence the jokes of me working on Papakiki, though it’ll last till volume 18, nyoron), so my mindset when approaching this volume is, if something were to happen to them or their family, what will I do. I cannot exactly relate myself to anyone who had lost their relative at such a young age, and someone they were so dependent on before that, let alone one who had dementia, so my only option was to begin reading articles about them and such. The translation in this volume may feel somewhat bland for my liking because I do not think I am able to fully bring out the emotions that were present in the original (well, except for a few parts, notably that studio box and gravure reading scene…what were you thinking, Honoka…)

While the first two volumes did hint of it, thanks to Asa-chan, this is the volume where Koremitsu gets the nickname, the red hound. It is a well-earned nickname, not just because of how he really acts like a Rottweiler programmed to automatic, but also how no matter what happens, he will really stick his head out for others. Certainly, his devotion to his master Hikaru is truly impressive, but when he sets his sights on his prey, the girls, he typically disobeys his master and devour them whole, making them his women…somewhat.

Regarding the issue of the scandal involving Kuze, again, do remember that the volume was released 2011, and that would mean the Marine Day of 2001 latest. It is a funny thing to note that despite my laziness not to put in translator notes starting this volume, I still bothered to research on them, for intellectual purposes. The copies of the Hikaru series I had seem to alternate the reading between Kuze and Kuse, but I cannot be bothered at this point…

While Koremitsu’s family was mostly in the background, this is where they get the most prominence, which I find is really unique amongst most LNs, since most probably do not involve their families this much. It is strange seeing a broken family itself taking in a girl themselves, but the effect certainly is positive. Masakaze (grandpa) and Koharu (aunt) would typically argue against each other, and Koremitsu cannot take sides because the family is so small. A man who had his wife run away from him, an aunt who had divorced her husband (giving away the one child she bore), and a boy who had his mother run away from home (gets pretty involved as the second woman in Utsusemi, but we will get to that later), his dad dead from grief. This is pretty dysfunctional for a family, I would say. It is amazing none of them were at each other’s throat.

Back to the positive addition of Shioriko, what it meant to a character.

For Masakaze, we get to see that he is the biggest tsundere in this series (a feat given that we have Koremitsu, Honoka, Aoi and the tsundara Asai). Specifically, though he always had the mantra ‘don’t get involved with women’, he really, really thawed with Shioriko around, either because he felt he owe her grandfather, Tomohiko, a purpose for saving him from his depression, or that he was just a closet lolicon after all. Either way, he really does dote on her quite a bit.

For Koharu, I think the impact may have been bigger. After reading Utsusemi, you probably would wonder what would have happened if her son (at the same age as Shioriko), was to stay with her instead of her ex-husband. The appearance of Shioriko gave her the second chance as a mother. Though she had been trying to be one when it came to Koremitsu, it felt more like a sibling relationship than a parental bond (mentioning Mega Kangaskhan before you folks think about it). Looking at her willingness to do most of the house chores and put in such detail when it came to cooking, perhaps she was really yearning to have her child back, or a child at least beneath that crude facade of hers, and that she really put in the effort of being a housewife before she got divorced.

Now, let us compare them to Tomohiko, Shioriko’s maternal grandfather.

When we talk about ideals in this age, we talk about people who have seen their dreams ruined, their hopes dashed by the reality, their fates betrayed by the world. Here however is a man who continued to live on blissfully no matter how many times he had been betrayed, how many times others have failed him, how, despite all the misgivings he could have had, he chose to remain in his garden, tending to his flowers, and most of all, being who he was. One has to wonder whether he chose to be oblivious to what had happened to him, or whether he actually chose to remain as he was. Personally, I think it is the latter given that he did advise Masakaze back then. I think, ultimately, he made the decision that no matter how anything betrayed him, he cannot allow his own self to betray himself, his ideals, for that would be admitting defeat to all the despair that he should have fallen into a long time ago, especially when his own daughter died before he did. I do apologize if there are any readers who experienced the pain of a younger kin dying before they did, but this is a mentioned topic that shapes Shioriko’s character herself, who I think had the qualities of Waka Murasaki when Genji abducted her, with the additional jilted nature caused by all the despair of this modern world.

I cannot say for certain how difficult it may be a acclimate to being stepchildren, but since this one does have a relatively happy ending, I suppose it is much better than Shioriko being left under Kuze’s care completely, left alone, and being a Hikaru Mikado 2.0. Certainly, I think Shioriko is similar to Hikaru amongst all the girls in terms of circumstances, and it took me a while to think, but when Hikaru mentioned that Shioriko was his ‘happiness’, I suppose that is because Hikaru did see a girl who had the fortune of being able to be with her loved one, her grandfather, until his last days, and because she was happy, he was happy.

Not much to be said about Kuze himself, except that he is the first actual ‘antagonist’ of this series (no, Asa-chan does not count), and his story felt a little similar to Sadasada in Gintama (except for the murder part). Lolicons should go to prison (remember, Riko is 14…depending on your definition of a loli, ask Sako Shuntarou.)

And to conclude, the theme of the volume, I think, is kinship.

By now, you should understand that had Hikaru and Koremitsu, who actually does what Hikaru would not do, been unavailable to fix the mess, you would be reading 10 depressing stories with no happy endings in ‘When Hikaru Departed from the Earth’.

Of course, since the title is ‘When Hikaru was on the Earth’, it means that our playboy wannabe Koremitsu will have to continue the gruelling work of raising a harem. I mean, would you expect both Honoka and Aoi to take action this early? This is amazing…

Volume 4 – Oborodukiyo

“What did you do with Her Highness Aoi!?ヽ(●`口′●)ノ”

Alright, I admit, I had a seizure at that part.

Those messages were not so much messages as they were orbital bombardments from Memento Mori. Honestly, Honoka’s antics always get me. By this time, if you have read the author’s previous work ‘Book Girl'(which I highly recommend to anyone), you would have noticed the comparisons with Nanase Kotobuki (though the author would admit that she is actually trying to diversify the characters.)

This is the volume where I really thought I should just stop with the translator notes because it really is tedious for me to do so, and also, I thought I might be able to force readers to continue researching into the stuff if they want to, rather than me having to feed the readers by the spoon.

Also, this volume is also the story where things really got darker. You think raising a harem is all fun and saccharine? Well, this volume clearly shows otherwise. Not only is there a Betty and Veronica situation happening between Honoka and Aoi (with poor Yu, the first love, deported to Australia faster than the original convicts who were sent there), but now you add in an additional member who’s not only sexy, but also quite the tease, hoping to latch onto Koremitsu to escape from her own troubles. Admittedly, such fears Tsuyako had would be seemingly nothing to readers like us, but given that the premise of the story involves a ghost floating around a delinquent, hoping to train him into a protagonist with enough guts to take on an entire Dead Or Alive assortment of girls, I’m willing to let it pass through my weirdness filter. I’ll cover more on Tsuyako’s fears in her character discussion, but for now, back to the story.

The introduction of Tsuyako as another member of the delinquent’s harem will clarify that yes, Hikaru did not die a virgin. Hey, it is all but stated here.

I know we have jokes about ‘please notice me, senpai’, but we start off the volume in a reverse situation ‘please notice me, kouhai’…which led to me using Earthmind music for the latter half of this volume.

One of the key dynamics would be Tsuyako’s position as compared to the other girls. While Tsuyako knows, and accepts that she’s just one of Hikaru’s ‘concubines’ in his conquest to philander more than the number of concubines King Solomon gathered in his lifetime, this places her as a contrast to Aoi, for obvious reasons. Later on, this will get complicated when Tsuyako is placed as the contrast to Asai (do note that I am leaving out Honoka because the girl has shown no affections for Hikaru. Why would she?)

For Aoi, she was the ‘chosen’ girl by those around her, but not the one Hikaru ‘chose’ until the very end of his life. In the original Genji story, Aoi, 4 years older than Genji, was the one betrothed to the latter, and it was only when she was dying (and died) did Genji treat her earnestly. Long story short, the roles were reversed. The love Aoi had for Hikaru was unconditional, but ultimately, she has the possessive vibe, for very good reasons.

For Tsuyako, she was a ‘chosen’ girl by Hikaru, but not the one ‘chosen’ by the people around her. When you have someone making your life a living hell, there are times where you are simply going to snap, and the reactions will vary. Honestly, I’m not sure how Tsuyako managed to hold it in for so long. The love for Tsuyako was unconditional, and she knew that though Hikaru does love her back, the actual value isn’t requited (well, given that Hikaru has his own issues with his beloved…this is also based on Genji Monogatari). Knowing that, despite Tsuyako claiming that she has no issues with Hikaru philandering with other girls and so on, and then joining in on the fun with Koremitsu, I do have a feeling that Tsuyako as a character really hates being alone. Most of the reason can be thanks to that…..for a lack of a better term, twit, but one really will get the idea that Tsuyako’s actions were mostly a facade, until she got liberated, at the very least.

Let’s face it, I like this volume for how much the mood changed with the introduction of a ‘Rokujo’. If you do know the source material, Rokujo is the infamous first yandere of classical Japanese literature (there’s a lot of firsts in Genji Monogatari), so it would be interesting to see how a delinquent would handle a yandere…though I doubt anyone would have expected who the yandere would be unless you’re the type to think that a character that suddenly pops up is always suspicious (thanks Keima).

The theme for this story, I feel, is hidden depths, what may be apparent on first sight was not what it seemed to be. Just like how Tsuyako had her own troubles she chose to keep hidden, so does he-who-must-not-be-named (you-know-who) has his own issues that would not be made known until 5 volumes later. Gosh, that volume’s scary, in more ways than one. Appearances typically deceive because as humans, we put on a facade for various reasons, to not make others worry, or to hide something malicious. In this case, this proves to be the case. However, there is only so long before a facade is shed to reveal the true nature of a person, and luckily for us, we have our delinquent king deliver a punch Kamijou Touma will always be proud of.

If I had to mention which was my favorite part of the story, it was…the kiss Tsuyako had with Koremitsu, with the other two girls watching. I was feeling…sadistic seeing the stunned looks on the girls faces. Boy, did it feel satisfying.

Volume 5 – Suetsumuhana

Alright, everyone…hana, tul, set.

Okay, leaving the bad pun aside, the sudden break in mood here reflects what I felt in this volume as compared to the first four. Main symptom, of course, is the overload in harem antics, and the other girls are basically going “You’re not building any new flags with the other girls now.” The irony being that they don’t know that there is a new girl. Koremitsu, you see what you started…

To note however, all the harem antics in the volume involve Honoka…so much for the self-professed love expert. XD. It’s nice to see that she a maiden at heart though, working hard for her love, yet maintaining that tsundere presence until later on when she had to compete against Michiru for Koremitsu’s affections. It’s like the cool onee-chan bring such a klutz. How do you let yourself hey bluffed by a kid that’s about half your age?

With regards to Aoi, seeing her want to step out of her shell and start being independent, while everyone else is scared of letting her do so. It feels like the Princess being followed by everyone else, like every single adult worrying for a baby learning how to walk. Given that the exposition clearly describes Aoi as a doll, I guess this is how collectors feel about their Nendoroids. Girl just wants to learn how to be independent; you don’t have to worry about her adding salt instead of sugar…

Of course, Koremitsu just so happened to chance upon the place because he has the power of a protagonist, and the café just had to be the meeting place. You’ll notice that I had been omitting Beni till this point. That’s a reflection of her pecking order in this story when she’s supposed to be the heroine of this volume, though admittedly, she has too much self-esteem issues to actually take the initiative to approach Koremitsu.

I suppose, if Hikaru was the doing the date, he would be getting more than a slap than what Koremitsu got. It’s sad enough that the latter got slapped because he had to handle his harem, but if it were Hikaru, I guess poor Beni’s self-esteem would be worse than it was. This is a guy who had as many girls in his harem as there are pokemon in the Kalos dex, or more.

Girls that are mimosa-like are pretty common, and Beni here would be similar to how Aoi was (and way worse than Aoi in understanding commoner terms…I think she’ll fit in well in Seikain.) except for that !#/& nose. However, as a reader myself, I’ll recommend reading this for the key theme: establishing friendship.

To be brief (and blunt), I’ll say that most friendships are never equal because humans are created different. Look at the friendship between Koremitsu and Hikaru for example. The only similarity they have is that they’re lonely people. That’s it. They differ so much they it’s a wonder they’re friends. Now contrast the friendship the guys have to the friendship the girls have in this volume. Of course, what boys bond over should be different from girls, as far as my memories are concerned. Guys bonding over which girls we like…yup, nothing wrong with that.

Now that I mentioned boys friendship and unequal, let’s look at the girls. In this story, I do feel that the dynamics between Tayu and Beni is to be contrasted against Honoka and Michiru. The two girls are typically together, with Honoka as the feisty tsundere while Michiru is the subdued, reserved one. There are also similarities in other stuff like backgrounds and school standings, so compare the relationships, and do read through Michiru’s back story; it’s practically the same. However, the main difference I want to talk about is the difference between Tayu and Michiru, the supposed weaker ones in their respective friendships, and this I shall discuss further in their character discussion. Of course, I would specify the volumes 5, 8 and 10 that define the friendship between Honoka and Michiru. This is act 1, of course.

When working on this volume, the main BGM I had, especially at the end, was the classic ‘Graduation’ (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C. Obviously, nobody graduated in this volume, but the nostalgia and positive vibe I got from the song really gives me hope that the friendship between Beni and Tayu will be long lasting. There’s a first for everything you experience, and there’s always a first friend to make. That friend will always be special.

And now, the topic that’s always a hit between guys.

Wooing girls.

Looking at Koremitsu’s attempts to woo girls in the story, I look back at my own experience (yes, one. *looks away*). Koremitsu just does not have the aptitude Hikaru had, primarily because of looks. At the same time however, after my one (obviously failed) attempt to do so, I realize that it’s better to just be yourself rather than be something you’re not (Koremitsu accumulated his own harem through his own dorky personality, not by what he did in the Drama CD, and the process and results were excruciatingly amusing. (My own experience was just 15 minutes of trying to talk to a girl, and then I realized I’m too kuu and absolutely not a talker to go about doing this)

Also, to state something that’s really obvious: not everyone is Hikaru. Most of us aren’t blessed with good looks and charm that results in dating experiences most other guys can only dream of, and certainly not to the extent that one can profess to be an expert in love and actually back it up. Either Hikaru’s really oblivious to his talent, or that he was trolling Koremitsu for the fun of it. I hope it’s the latter (ah who am I bluffing. Blame the author)

On a side note, I find it amusing that the only time Koremitsu didn’t flub his lines was when Asa-chan appeared. Textbook example of a gap moe when the flashback was revealed (and I’ll always mention it if I know of this to keep trolling her over and over again. Kukuku). If Asa-chan knows of Tohko Amano’s or Shizuku’s existence…

With the drama at the end of the volume, we now turn to take on the mid-boss, Psyco Gundam-like queen of ice. Gap moe, here we come…

Volume 6 – Asagao

その恋は, 毒のように

You know, when Asa-chan was announced to be the heroine in this volume, I already knew they she’ll be part of the harem; I just want to see how she ended up being part of that harem. Welcome to the club, Asa-chan.

We see the effects of Koremitsu’s words in the previous volume, that Michiru just transformed, Cinderella style…or to put it light novel style, more drastic than Rika Shiguma removing her glasses or Yozora with that haircut. If you really think jet actions were meant to matchmake Koremitsu and Honoka, you shouldn’t be hoping too much. Then again, I do suspect that Honoka was too reliant on the ‘main girl wins’ concept after the school pool incident, and honestly, Michiru’s sudden aggressiveness made Honoka more proactive than she was. I half-expected Honoka to ask the classic Japanese wife question, but that’ll be a bad influence on Shiiko (oh who am I kidding…Shiiko was so ready to slam the ladle onto her head.)

Of course, neither these girls are the heroines, and we proceed to try and melt the ice queen at the end of summer. I got lots of comments telling me Asa-chan best girl, something I really found to be interesting…most probably, the readers are masochistic in the same way they fawn over RyuZU.

Already overworked and weary from being the last line of defense for Fujino, I suppose her going to Granny is the culmination of her desperation, but when I look at Asa-chan, I see someone who blindly does whatever she thinks others want, but due to her hastiness, she failed to understand what others really want, as in the case of her utter devotion to Hikaru. Naturally, Granny knows this, and she really didn’t wish for Asa-chan to end up like herself. This story has two heroines, Asa-chan and Granny Orime, the latter being a (highly) possible look at what Asa-chan will be in the future (assuming that Asa-chan does get married…she’ll get lots of suitors in real life, I swear)

The main conflict is about the succession rights to the Mikados lineage (Ryugamine, please…), but the actual conflict is Granny vs grandson, something you-know-who is more than willing to seize advantage of. Blood is supposed to be thicker than water, but Granny has nothing to dry out of at this point. Behind the terrifyingly aloof facades of both heroines are the lonely faces of the ones left behind by their loved ones. The key difference is that one continued to devote herself to what she thought was the right course of action, while the other had already given up on doing anything because whatever she did never ended up reciprocated.

In a sense, I do see similarities in the grandson and you-know-who. Both are born with silver spoons in their mouths, and more importantly, both are considered unfavorites for Granny and the Old Master, second to Hikaru, and the main reason why they’re unfavourites is because…it’s Hikaru (Hikaru doesn’t spare grannies in his pursuit of his harem), and they didn’t work hard to earn that recognition. Perhaps if one side actually bothered to reach out, things would have worked out better.

And this brings me to the key theme of this volume: poor communications hurt. As you may notice, neither of the heroines are really good at conveying their feelings. Like the Morning Glories, they work hard behind the scenes, but their efforts would hardly be recognised. This is most prominent in the friendship breakdown between Asa-chan and Aoi, vs that of Granny and grandson.

For the former, it can be said that instead of a friendship, the relationship was more of protectorate. The relationship was on unequal standing in the first place, and here it harks back to what I said about most friendships being unequal in the first place. (Well, don’t you have the urge to protect Aoi? Just look at her. ) Nevertheless, disputes like this are necessary so that the differences can be worked out, and the bond can be stronger as Hikaru hoped. Fortunately for me, as much as one would hope so, the relationship will never be fully repaired because of Koremitsu. (Yeah I’m sadistic, reveling in schadenfreude)

For the latter, it really does remind me of my own relationship with my own grandma (though we’re on really good terms), given how grandma’s personality is exactly like Granny in this story. When working on this story, I had the intention of using it as a tribute to her, and also to reflect on what I would do if I’m the grandson in the story. Honestly, I do feel a home without any familial love is not a real home, just a house to stay in. Some tough love is needed from time to time, and honestly, while I do think the grandson got off lightly, imagine being prone on the floor with someone stepping on your neck. That’s what my grandma will do to her kids, and what I guess Granny in this story will do, so let’s enjoy more suffering.

A special note about the calligraphy contest in this story. While we know that Koremitsu will ultimately win such contests, I was already planning what I would do if the calligraphy came into place. Lo and behold, it actually happened. To be honest, I did plan to pay for a calligrapher to do the work. It’s impossible for me to be doing this in the first place since my handwriting is incorrigible. If you haven’t realized, I’m implementing my drama upbringing into my translation; I don’t just translate the text, I try to act out the text in my own words.

The BGM for this one showdown is the Ip Man theme, or more specifically, Koremitsu’s arrival. Hearing this theme basically gives me the feeling that ‘yeah, the master is here, all the kids can just beat it’. I don’t really care that the contest was obviously a ploy on Granny’s part just to see Koremitsu’s calligraphy, I want to see the work myself. It’s like the Bruce Lee movies; you don’t really watch for the plot, you watch it to see him thrash everyone else. Same logic.

The part where Asa-chan’s innocence is revisited really had me feeling way too nostalgic for me. I remember the days where I keep breaking bones every single year because of my reckless sports playstyle (even now, things have yet to change), going about doing all the crazy stuff. I like crazy. When you look back at what you used to do, all you can do is laugh at yourself, but accept it, for it is your experience.

Finally, I’ll like to have a laugh at how it’s the one allied side male character who asks the question most of the other characters are thinking ‘what do they see in that guy’. At the start of the series, Koremitsu could have been a starring member of the FFF. 6 volumes in, and he’s pretty much high on the bounty list. With Asa-chan now part of the harem, Hikaru can finally retire feeling that Koremitsu has surpassed him.

Volume 7 – Utsusemi

When I first read through this volume, I realized that I would be dealing with the most contentious volume of this series, given what it was dealing with. Looking at the reader comments, I guess it cannot be overly stated how accurate my predictions were.

We start off with the where Asa-chan started talking about Hikaru’s biggest secret. If you have done any basic research into Genji Monogatari, you would have known Hikaru has an Oedipus complex and ended up falling for his stepmother. Of course, piecing these large pieces together, you’ll clearly understand that Hikaru fell for his stepmother. This is the part that really put the nail in the coffin, completely shattering the image of Hikaru as a pure, angelic figure that is kind to girls. (then again, given that the story is based on Genji Monogatari, this is as close as the author can get without breaking the censors completely.) I suppose most readers would have sided with Koremitsu on the issue, that Hikaru gave in to the temptation way too easily, and this really is the best retort I have seen of Koremitsu in this story.

…And just when they were about to get down to the root of the problem.

……Another issue caused by Hikaru came back to haunt Koremitsu (as if he wasn’t haunted enough)

We know it isn’t Koremitsu fault, but I suspect that if any pregnant lady is to go to him for help, the immediate response is “I’ll take responsibility.” Unfortunately, that is not what anyone should be saying in such a situation, and another ‘crime’ is added to Koremitsu’s list. What was supposed to be another woman ended up being Asa-chan, and honestly, I do like the idea of pairing Koremitsu with Asa-chan (for sadism and bemusement). One could just sense the amazement Hikaru has of Koremitsu surpassing him when Asa-chan actually said the words, “It is fine for you…to call me Asa.”

On a side note, I get the idea that Hiina is more suited to be part of the paparazzi rather than a news reporter (the British tabloids might suit her). I really wish the illustrator included a picture of Asa-chan doing that Funabori face, but not even Koremitsu’s harem can save him if Hiina chooses to go full Ranko Hata. What makes the Koremitsu X Asa-chan ship all the more alluring is that nobody actually stopped to think, ‘wait, something’s not right’. They just accepted it as it is, as if saying ‘okay, you two scary ones can duke it out on the bed, kthxbye’.

The idea of false pregnancy never did occur to me when I first read this volume. To be honest, I really hoped that there would be an actual baby involved in the story, but I do understand that as much as it feels like a cop out, involving the baby would be a distraction from the story of Koremitsu moonlighting in his escapades of hunting his harem down.

Sora is another one of those girls with low self-esteem, with the added caveat of not hoping for anything because she’s scared of her hopes being dashed. It’s a lie she believed in, but let’s face it, the only girl to actually be completely immune to Hikaru’s charms so far in the story is Honoka, and that’s only because the latter never did interact much with Hikaru himself. Any of the other typical girls would be hoping that Hikaru ends up with them, ala a standard harem story nowadays. To be blunt, I don’t like this part of the story as much as the other part, but given that the concept of ‘Utsusemi’ is that of the only woman to actually manage to successfully escape from Genji in the original, I would have been fine with the little sister not being involved in this one.

This, I feel, is the author’s interpretation of Utsusemi’s thoughts after having escaped Genji’s advances, but given that Sora has shades of Akashi in her character, I suppose the covert romantic thoughts remained in her.

Looking at how the plot went, I suppose Sora was just the setup for the mother to appear in the story (aside from being obviously the setup man…err, lady for Fujitsubo aka Fujino). This would be the most poignant part of the story, and most definitely would have struck too close to home for anyone else who was abandoned by their parents.

On a side note, in the original, Genji, frustrated that Utsusemi escaped, raped the little brother, but this is just a little trivia. If this were included, the story would have been released under a BL publisher…

And now, here’s the extremely controversial part.

The part involving the mother.

I suppose every reader really hated the mother. What kind of a mother would dump her own flesh and blood just because ‘I can’t see him as cute in any way’. Honestly, nobody knows her motivation. Maybe she had some marriage issues that was affecting her (something I actually suspect since she and Koharu were still on very good terms. Probably Masakaze’s fault), maybe she was too immature to be married, I don’t know. However, no matter the result,

I suppose every single reader was outraged when Koremitsu’s mother. Many were calling for her head, and honestly, that might be the most common reaction I would have thought of. The one scene I immediately compared this part to was that scene in ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ where Will’s dad left, and Will was all “How come he don’t want me, man!” Very poignant scene, I must say. Nobody knows the reasons why Koremitsu’s mother left him behind, saying that he wasn’t cute or anything (which, to be fair, she had the courtesy not to mention that to young Koremitsu). One can only speculate why; perhaps it was due to an unhappy marriage that left her unable to love Koremitsu as he was (given how much disdain Masakaze had for women, except Shioriko, for which I’m going to call him a lolicon), or perhaps she realized that she was too immature as a mother back then (given that she remained on good terms with Koharu even after she left, I guess it’s not really that personal of a matter). The one possibility I’ll definitely pass on is that Koremitsu was born out of rape or wedlock given the above evidence. (Masakaze would probably kill Koremitsu’s dad if it was rape, not like dad lived that much longer either).

However, speculating aside, that is not the main point of the story.

What Koremitsu did, to forgive and let go of his mother, is never going to placate any of the readers hoping for justice. Some will call for blood, some will choose to move on and ignore her to hide the pain within them.

However, the key theme, as Hiina said, “If there is a choice to be loved by others or to love others, I’ll definitely choose the latter, because I’ll be happier this way”. As Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” and this works because one, it means that one has enough (and the heart) to give others, and two, it means that one recognizes another as someone in need, thus the concern. While psychological research typically support this argument, let us bring this to the emotional aspect.

In this highly pragmatic society, the common consensus is that emotions should be cast aside. In the context of a story driven by characters however, eliminating emotions altogether would just make a dull story. To me, the opposite of love is not hatred, it’s apathy, because love is the ultimate extension of emotions, the leading man. Whether it is tainted black to became hatred, blue to become worry, or red for fiery love and passion, there is no doubt that love is the embodiment of emotions.

In my opinion, if Koremitsu were to completely ignore everything about the mother (which he couldn’t, since it’s such a severe trauma), that will be a travesty because he won’t be able to love others as well as he could have. Holding in his anger at her for all this while would not be much better because that anger is not being directed for a positive cause. Yeah sure, he can continue to live on without her, but he won’t be able to love others as much as he would like to because there will always be the worry of being twice shy, even if the readers don’t want to admit it (let’s face it, we’re all just a bunch of wannabes behind the screen, hiding our pains within). It takes two to tango, but one to reach out. This is the perfect chance for Koremitsu to learn how to let go of those that has left his life, and at the same time, reconcile with the fact that his mother’s happy, he’s happy, and they’re willing to move on. A lot of divorces end up messy because they’re unable to accept their differences and move on, but perhaps if we do take a step back and reflect, maybe there are other ways to go about this (I’m really starting to sound like Honoka here…)

On a side note, there is actually a light novel that looks into reasons why people break up. It’s called Heartbreak Detective Momose.

You will have noticed that I chose not to talk about Koremitsu’s mother with regards to resolving the issue, and that is because the main issue is not about the mother, it is about Koremitsu’s putting his past demons behind him. Many of us think that yeah, we should love those who love us, and hate those who hate us, but ultimately, who start off with all those emotions, and were those emotions interpreted correctly in the first place? As we saw in the previous volume, tough love can be erred as utter contempt. That’s why Koremitsu’s action to forgive and smile at his mother is the ‘right’ choice in this story, for if the hatred and apathy lingered on, there isn’t a proper resolution to this story that will fit in well with the theme of the story, which is to learn how to let go, but this is really exemplified in this volume. Another main theme of this volume is that no matter how isolated you may feel, you have to keep reaching out, because nothing can be settled if there is no contact.

Of course, the mother definitely felt guilty about it (what’s with repeating sorry over and over again), and looking at the kid she had with the next husband, I guess she won’t dare to do such a thing again. The issue however was that Koremitsu was to finally learn how to let go, and though it pained him, he finally learned the taste of unrequited love, though bittersweet, was still sweet in some way. While the mother’s attempts to love Koremitsu may not feel as fulfilled, Koremitsu’s successful attempt to smile at his mother will probably give her some solace that yes, her love was felt. In a sense, the mother’s demon was also exorcised.

To summarize, I don’t expect a definite feeling, because the most human thing I will expect is conflicted emotions. To let go, but can’t do so. To hate, but can’t fully hate.

Of course, what I just typed out will lead to me regretting it in Volume 9, Rokujo, but I’ll live with that.

The two Utsusemis I mentioned so far show us both perspective of the coin, Sora being the one who escaped, and Koremitsu as the one who was left behind (of course the mother is the second Utsusemi…). How they dealt with their issues was seen in this volume, but there’s still one more Utsusemi whose issues were yet to be resolved…that Utsusemi is Koharu, to her own kid.

I suppose both Koharu and the mother had the same issues bothering them. In volume 3, it was clearly stated that if Koharu really wanted her child, she would not have gone down without a fight. One has to wonder why she remained widowed, and why she chose to remain with Masakaze, of all people, when she has her own social circle to begin with. Again, the motivations remains unknown, but what matters in the end is that the boy (obviously Koharu’s son) will end up reunited with his mother, just whether the ending will be a happy one. Now all we need is for Shioriko to end up paired with the kid.

There are many things people don’t understand why they work, but ultimately, the aim is not to understand why, but how to resolve it. Stop the bleeding, and then understand why the bleeding occurred.

Speaking of which, one thing Koremitsu will learn to understand is:

Volume 8 – Hanachirusato

…What is a culture festival? Is it edible?

Cliche aside, this volume looks into Koremitsu’s issues of a lack of social circle. I mean, looking at Ryuji Takasu, you’ll think that the culture festival is some elixir for one mistaken as a delinquent all the time, which in this case, turns out right. But enough with that for now.

This is the second of the three volumes looking into the friendship between Honoka and Michiru, the first being volume 5, and the last bring volume 10. In this particular volume, it looks at the conflicted emotions Honoka had between her infatuation for Koremitsu and her desire to see Michiru do well…which of course end up as a melee a trois at the end of the volume. While volume 5 looks at the issues Michiru had, this volume looks at the issues Honoka has, get conflicted feelings.

Koremitsu was all mentally checked out, like ‘right, I’m just going to chill out on the rooftop and have Hikaru yap all day, sighs’. It is certain that this will make a terribly boring story, and a very depressing one to boot, which Koremitsu would like to do. In a sense, he really had to thank his harem for involving him in so much stuff, though I think Asa-chan abusing her authority like Suharto was an unintentional black comedy on her part. (Well, it’s like declaring to the school that she has tamed the wild dog)

I would say Shioriko is the smartest character in this series, based on her comments about Koremitsu being a herbivore and going around shouting ‘I’ll protect you!’ She’s the most savvy of them all, an apt shout out to Lady Murasaki’s sarcastic comment at Genji when the latter went out to adopt another little girl, hoping to turn the girl into another wife. It’s scary how smart and sexually aware she is…I suppose many a lolicon had a nosebleed when she whipped out that photo of her in a school swimsuit. Hikaru definitely would be torn between scolding her and raping her.

Honoka’s rattled. You can feel it. First we have Aoi-chan getting the jump by holding Koremitsu’s hand (good job, girl), and now we have Michiru bring overtly aggressive in getting Koremitsu involved (and to seed discord). For all her self-professed love expert antics, it is a painful experience she would learn from. In a sense, her predicament is like Koremitsu’s; while Honoka was worried if she should betray Michiru’s hopes and gun for Koremitsu herself, Koremitsu himself was wondering if he should feast on Aoi-chan while ignoring Hikaru. It’s obvious at this point that if Koremitsu is to choose Aoi, Hikaru will haunt him for the rest of his life. Luckily for Honoka, Michiru won’t be haunting anyone in this story.

This volume confirmed it for me that Aoi would not be chosen in the end. Even after Hikaru’s death, Koremitsu chooses to abide by the Bro code of not to be with Aoi. He at the very least did have thoughts about it, especially when Shioriko mentioned it. (That guilty look). It hurts for Aoi, but I do applaud the girl for continuing to pursue Koremitsu even after the eavesdropping. (Girl can be an amazing ninja given how she just had to eavesdrop on Asa-chan twice without the latter knowing.)

Michiru is the plain girl heroine (and the biggest pain later on). I did expect her to be the heroine of a volume somewhere from the moment she mentioned that Koremitsu was at Hikaru’s funeral (I attribute my tendencies to pick up subtleties from reading too many volumes of the Kindaichi series back in the day). Of course, bring a heroine, this obviously means that Hikaru owes her something. But what happens if nobody knows exactly what the promise is?

…ah whatever, it’ll just end up being a date anyway.

While Honoka chose to resolve her issues by running away until she was actually prodded by Michiru, I do like how Koremitsu was kept busy the entire time to actually think about his harem. Guy finally puts his ‘delinquent king’ moniker to good use by commanding his troops as Balalaika would be proud of…

In all seriousness, Koremitsu being put in a leadership position really changed him. While he was never one for subtlety, he was still a lone ranger till this point, and while Hikaru told him off with regards to the girls’ feelings, the same can be said for Koremitsu’s interactions with anything. He used to live for himself, but now that he’s in charge, he’ll have to take care of others, just as he did with the girls.

However, I’ll say that both Koremitsu and Michiru were lucky that their classmates came to help them, because it could have really turned out different. Koremitsu could have ended up as jaded as Michiru was, for as we all know, being school leaders is usually a thankless job. This is a naive, happy ending, but I don’t fault the author here.

The main theme I feel about this volume is that one has to be honesty with his feelings, based on what Honoka was going through. When the flowers scatter (chiru), all there is left is the bare truth. Certainly, while Michiru had her issues sorted (for now), all that was left was for the girls to convey their feelings. Asa-chan obviously didn’t get the note because she’s just coming up with excuses to be with Koremitsu, which is cute in its own sense.

When Honoka first delivered her confession, I had a feeling that Aoi would follow next, given her amazing tendency to eavesdrop. BGM for this scene? Jaws. It gets better when Yu announces her return…though you-know-who returns to make an appearance as antagonist…

Volume 9 – Rokujo

…and heroine!?

Alright, I’m out. Too much for me.

I had apprehensions when I first touched this volume. It was obvious you-know-who would be the damsel in this volume, but I was really hoping for more than a punch in the face this time.

It’s sad for me that the two potential ‘nice boat’ moments in the story were ruined by comedic moments, both involving the only other guy in this story. Poor guy (okay, rich guy) ends up mistaken for a lolicon and doubted by the one little sister he really dotes on (too much, in fact). For such a guy who prides himself on being cold and collected, Tojo really is another Asa-chan at heart.

Of course, we can’t talk about this volume without mentioning a few things. The first of them is the royal rumble at Koremitsu’s house (which, though revealed to be planned by Michiru, doesn’t make it any less funnier). The BGM that immediately rang in my mind was the ‘Imperial March’, and that was the moment when Hikaru was about to welcome Koremitsu to the afterlife. It was just a moment of who was to begin the murder of Julies Caesar, only to end with the feeling as et tu, Asa-chan? Good thing Mark Antony was able to make it just in time to save Koremitsu, again. The new found confidence and aggressiveness shown by the girls is really refreshing though.

If there was a reason why the culprits failed in this volume, it is that they failed to understand the bonds the characters had with each other. While you-know-who tried to break the bond between Koremitsu, Honoka and Yu, he failed to understand that Koremitsu would always believe in them. Unfortunately, the situation was a lot most complicated than it should be because good girl Honoka decides to go out on an escapade alone to be Koremitsu’s Heliotrope.

Unfortunately for Yu, her reunion with Koremitsu went awry because of you-know-who, and to top it all, she betrayed Koremitsu’s trust because of her sense of duty even though it would end up hurting her. I do like the growth she showed however because it showed that she was willing to make decisions out of her own wishes, rather than how she was when she remained turtled in her room back in volume 2…by Toutatis, when she delivered that well deserved slap, one had to ask who that girl really is, and what has she done to Yu.

It is heartening to see that the main members of Koremitsu’s harem (and Hiina) was willing to help him with whatever means they could, tog Koremitsu would have wished that they kept him in the loop. This has the feel of Yuuji bluffing Akihisa over and over again while informing others of the strategy. ‘To fool others, first fool oneself’ is the name of the game…ah who am I kidding. The girls just don’t want Koremitsu to worry for them because they know he’ll just go about shouting “I’ll protect you!”

Speaking of which, if there’s something I like about this volume, it’s that it looks into the weight of the words. Too many times, we see protagonists go about shouting stuff like “I’ll protect this city, this world, you” or stuff like that, but while it’s definitely easy to say such words, not many do understand what it means to the ones who are supposed to be protected, because they don’t understand what the ones being protected need in the first place.

Take for example, any good parent raising a child. Yes, you’ll definitely want the best for your child, and yes, you want to protect him, to be there for him as best as you can, but how do you do that? You can guide the child along, but at the same time, you need the child to personally experience growing pains, and not do everything by yourself and coddle the child too much. What Koremitsu was doing to Yu wasn’t about protecting her, it was coddling her. He basically repeated the exact same mistake Hikaru did to Yu back in volume 2, and that fractured the relationship. This is the reason why Aoi chose to be independent, and why Yu was so torn on the situation.

I got weary when I realized I had to deal with you-know-who being the boss of this volume. Honestly, while I know that pretty much every reader wants something of a comeuppance, it’s never going to happen because of 3 reasons.

First, the rich can just weasel their way out of things. Look no further than the OJ Simpson case. The rich can pay for the very best defenses, and if that doesn’t work, they can bribe their way out.

Next, the theme of learning to accept. The main theme of the volume is to learn how to set aside differences, but honestly, I don’t like this one at all because of you-know-who, that we have to accept him. Call me a bigot all you want, but I’ll show the world how battered chicken is supposed to be done if you-know-who is within 1km from me.

Finally, author’s a fujoshi. Read any of her other series, especially the ‘Dress’ series, and you’ll realize that there’s at least ten instances of girls having fujoshi moments…and even some instances of girls love, notably the last volume of the Book Girl series. Sighs.

There are another two notable moments.

First is the confession Koremitsu delivered…or so it seems. I find it amusing that Koremitsu was worried of Honoka being another Hikaru, but it’s obvious that he treated her as a potential waifu, though Honoka ended up being so short of confidence that she ends up misunderstanding his words again (facepalm)

Next, Michiru as the final antagonist. I would say that I did expect it for a while, but many obviously didn’t expect it. I’ll detail my reasoning later on, but her being the antagonist will surely have everyone asking “her issues aren’t resolved yet?’

Well, that was a 12-6 to the groin for many, and this sets up the final chapters.

Volume 10 – Fujitsubo

If you get there before I do…

After so many detours, we finally deal with the core issue, the circumstances of Hikaru’s death.

To be honest, I hoped the story would be darker and more depressing than it was, something like Book Girl and the Famished Spirit. The issue of forbidden love and Oedipus Complex is a prevalent theme in this volume, and ultimately, a reflection of Hikaru as a broken hero. For all he could get in the story, he was unable to retain the maternal love of his mother, and as a result, his romantic love for Fujino was born. While there is the issue of NTR, it’s sad that for the two male Mikados, they do realise the awkwardness of the situation.

For the head, Fujino is the replacement for the love he was never able to obtain because they mistress died. I don’t blame the guy for looking elsewhere after having to deal with Hiroka, but having Fujino is like adding to a doll collection, albeit top billing. The man knows about the love between Hikaru and Fujino, but even though he wanted to grant his blessings, he ended up being the actual father of the child. Well, it’ll be controversial to have Hikaru as the father like how Genji was…

For Hikaru, his harem was ultimately a result of him looking for the one flower to replace the Wisteria he love romantically, which in turn was a replacement of the maternal love he could not obtain. He’s a selfish fellow, that Hikaru, choosing to escape from his pain and leaving everyone behind. At the same time however, he’s doing his best to devote himself to others, even though the he was ultimately unable to get what he really want. A wretched person he was, yet one to be sympathised with, just as Genji was in his own story.

Both Hikaru and Fujino loved each other romantically, but circumstances will never allow them. This obviously was a contentious issue for many, notably Michiru. Well, since there are different types of girls out there, it would be appropriate to have a yandere involved in Hikaru’s death.

On a side note, the cover of this volume is without a doubt my favorite of the series. The conflicted look on Fujino’s face really looks like someone who needs to be saved (like Aoi), and at the same time, the junihitoe does give a regal vibe befitting of a favourite concubine.

As I had mentioned, this is the final volume involving a closer look at the friendship Honoka and Michiru had. To be honest, it’s a negative take on the issues Beni and Tayu had in volume 5, and I find that one to be too idealistic, but at the same time, I really do admire that lack of dispute, how amicable they are about it.

Even between friends, there are always going to be differences that need to be resolved (except for the above instance, and I’m looking forward to that moment). In this instance, the self-esteem issues result in Michiru’s loathing of Honoka, but a lot of these issues could have been avoided if they actually tried to talk it out.

In any case, even if Michiru were to somehow revive Hikaru, it’ll probably end up involving equivalent exchange or something like that. Too bad it never happened, but it’ll be a different story altogether.

Koremitsu ended up in a hospital, just as he did. This time, he ended up drowned just like Hikaru did, but he ends up alive. I have a nagging suspicion that if Koremitsu was to die, the one haunted by him will probably die from fright. Let the chain continue…

Yu lost. Koremitsu chose Honoka in the end, so this means Yu had to return to Australia. Being the dreamy girl, it is fitting that her exit was fleeting, but not before she was pursued by Tojo again. The thing was quite awkward to me, but well, it fits their personalities well. (That tennis outfit was really cute)

Meanwhile, dear Heliotrope, please have more confidence in yourself. You don’t have to keep wondering whether Koremitsu will requite your love. Yeah sure, he’s a blockhead, but when he makes his decision, it’s always for real. Now go on and enjoy your happiness..

And now, the final moments of the story.

Hikaru has to say goodbye.

The story is ‘When Hikaru was on the Earth’, and given that the word ‘was’ is used, you know that Hikaru will have to go. The farewell tour feels like a recap of the series whenever possible, to see how the girls are doing, and also to see that Koremitsu’s efforts were not for naught.

However, all the girls sans Honoka and Hiina are part of the harem, and bring the Bro, Koremitsu would never pick, most notably Aoi, whom ends up being the one Hikaru chose in his final quest for redemption, though it was never to pass.

Once that was done, Hikaru had no worries left, and he’ll depart. I find it a fitting punishment that for all his fears of being lonely, his departure will lead to him being one of the stars out there, unable to communicate and remain all alone as he reflects upon his life on Earth. Farewell, sweet prince.

Characters

Without further ado, I will like to discuss about the characters in the story.

Koremitsu Akagi (赤城是光, Akagi Koremitsu)

CV: Noriaki Sugiyama

Trace, on.

The 27th delinquent king, infamous for being a one man wrecking crew against other delinquents, vilified and scorned by all. Surely it’s almost impossible to make him a ladies man, no?

Challenge accepted.

How Koremitsu is at heart will never be changed, a brash, crude boy who’s kind at heart, always so transparent in his actions, a Rottweiler. Think of this series as an episode of Mr Congeniality where the rougher aspects of him are sandpapered into one who maintains his core personality, and yet at the same time, socially adaptable.

He’s a tsundere, but I don’t blame him. He had no social experience at all, and if not for Hikaru’s prodding, that oaf of his head wouldn’t be rolling anywhere.

His progress report includes the education in the charms of a woman, falling in love, responsibilities, letting go, interacting with classmates, and the crux for him, smiling.

The smile issue was the main reason I had Koremitsu tagged as a clone of Ryuji Takasu at first, only to realize that Koremitsu has more emotional baggage than anyone else because of his terrifying looks. I do find it unbelievable that he was never able to make any friends before this, but for story sake, let us ignore how gimped he is in this case, and remember that the smile is the final gift.

While he was the servant in the original story, here he’s the whipping boy. Once a slave, always a slave. Look down, look down, you’ll always be a slave. Look down, look down, you’re standing in your grave.

The voice work in the Drama CD certainly gives off that Shirou Emiya vibe, with that doofus personality really shining through when Honoka and Aoi latched into him at the end. He really sounds like he suffered a lot thanks to Hikaru, but Yorokobe, that harem…

Hikaru Mikado (帝門ヒカル, Mikado Hikaru)

CV: Yuuki Kaji

やっぱり変態さんですね?

Ah, Hikaru, Hikaru, Hikaru, our dead playboy.

In the afterword of volume 1, the author did mention that she took elements from another story. This story, I felt, was “No Longer Human” by Osamu Dazai, the same book used as the theme for the first Bungaku Shoujo series, until it was halfway through the story that I realized that it could have been ‘The Little Prince’…which the author just so happened to confirm in the last volume.. Hikaru in particular does seem akin to the protagonist of that story in some way too, the womanizing tendencies, the suicidal elements and such, but ultimately, a character is meant to be its own person.

He said that he couldn’t change, but I suppose it’s more likely that he’s afraid of change. He is a natural charmer, but his efforts in that end was ultimately to abate his loneliness, ignited by the death of his mother, and magnified by Fujino’s rejection. Koremitsu was his benefactor not just simply because of the errands fulfilled, but also another example of how to be a human. Alas, though he had learnt his lessons, it was too late for him to make amends proper as he died.

Nevertheless, his presence is both a curse, and also a blessing. He may be a bigger gigolo than Austin Powers, but the girls he met had their lives impacted, both positively and negatively. Perhaps his biggest impact however would be on Koremitsu’s life, literally creating the latter’s social life from basically nothing, and making him the final gift to the girls in his harem.

Ultimately, he vanishes just as the Little Prince did, and his ordeals of seeking the ideal woman roughly reflects that of the Prince seeking the ideal resting place. I do recommend reading this series if you want to understand more of Hikaru’s character.

For the text, I initially had plans to use formal text for nobles like Hikaru to designate their status and to contrast the gruff voice of Koremitsu. It was edited away in the earlier text, so I’m not sure if I’ll bother with editing it.

The voice actor performance reminds me of this quote: you really are a pervert, aren’t you? Exactly the same voice, and while I don’t know how the ‘rich sweet voice’ is supposed to work, I guess he got that ‘sweet’ part down.

Honoka Shikibu (式部帆夏, Shikibu Honoka)

CV: Haruka Tomatsu

I-it’s not let I’m worried about you or anything!

The only girl from the series to be voted on the most popular girl in the KonoSugoi rankings.

Well, to quote some readers for why she’s the best girl:

  1. Tsundere
  2. Dem legs
  3. Not one of Hikaru’s girls
  4. Tsurime
  5. Blonde
  6. Always there for Koremitsu
  7. Shares the same tastes as Koremitsu
  8. A klutz behind her tough exterior
  9. Perfect waifu material
  10. Primary source of comic relief

Anything else I missed?

This is as close to an author avatar you’ll get from this series; Murasaki Shikibu was the original author of the series, and Honoka in this car takes up the role of the author through her blog. Unlike the grace that was to be expected of the original author however, this one is so brash you can think of her as being a more sociable version of Koremitsu. Many have called her the successor to Nanase Kotobuki due to their similar personalities and looks (except for hair), and I’ll joke that Honoka winning was to make amends for the outrage when Tohko Amano won Konoha’s heart. (It’s not as bad as Tojo Aya losing, but well…)

Interestingly, the biggest reason why Honoka win was because she was able to fully shed that tsun personality and be honest with her feelings. Too many times have I read fiction with tsunderes winning and wonder how girls like Taiga Aisaka can be good mothers. That part of being honest resulted in Koremitsu finally understanding her, and so they kiss.

Regarding the drama CD, Tomato’s performance was the one I was most impressed by, being that tsundere yet nervous wreck whenever Koremitsu was mentioned. The meltdown she had after that delusion was priceless, followed by the panda-panties hysteria.

Aoi Saotome (早乙女葵, Saotome Aoi)

CV: Satomi Sato

Watashi kininarimasu

Here we have the fiancée, a thoroughly sheltered Princess that the text describes her as a doll. Everyone dotes on her, notably the siscon Tojo who has his own little sister fawning over him.

The original Aoi was tragic in the sense that though she was chosen to be Genji’s actual wife (at the age of 16 when he was 12), she was never loved by the latter until the moment she was dying, and even then, it was out of concern more than it was for romantic love. Of course, she died, presumably by the spirit of Rokujo haunting her, which was what I had expected to happen to Aoi in this story, but too bad. Being Aoi is suffering.

In this story, she finally ends up as the chosen one, and Hikaru was ultimately to convey this to her through his Pit Bull. Alas, they were still unable to be together, though now that she’s still alive I guess that’s good enough. She didn’t get corrupted the same way Anakin did, but she had feelings for Koremitsu partly because she find him to be a replacement for Hikaru. Alas, Koremitsu would never pick up the player option because he’s such a Bro. Being Aoi is suffering.

Aoi, I feel, has the biggest personality development in the story. Originally the rich sheltered Princess, she was spiteful, yet at the same time, heartbroken. After the stars in the sky at the theme park, she was a lot more relaxed, retaining her tsunpure personality, and becoming more sociable. After the abduction, she became more independent despite the worries of others, choosing to be more active, first with the part time job, and then later when she accompanied Koremitsu for a third of the volume. She then showed courage in her confession, and acceptance in the rejection, maturity to finally take care of Asa-chan when it was obvious the latter would be rejected. May you again meet a boy of your dreams, Aoi-chan.
.
As much as I do like the choice of voice actress, it is a pity that the story didn’t die show much of her defiant personality. The cat performance makes me wonder if Wendy will be wearing cat ears anytime soon.

Asai Saiga (斎賀朝衣, Saiga Asai)

CV: Saori Hayami

Source: me

The beloved ice queen, cold, calculative and contemptuous. She was originally a girl who utterly rejected all of Genji’s advances in the original story, but here, she probably wished she could be the lover, if not for Aoi being there before her.

As I do say however, dere Asai is a miracle of the universe, the meltdown faster than you can say Yukino melting down for Hachiman (bonus point in that Saori Hayami voiced Asai in the Drama CD before she voiced Yukino in Oregairu), and I did have to think of how to reflect that change. Well, she ends up taking over the tsunpure personality from Aoi after her story, and I wonder if Ode to Joy was played when Asa-chan said those immortal lines in volume 7, in a Kaworu finding Lilith context.

Behind the cold exterior lies a childish personality only a select few knows of. I guess she’s lucky that the biggest blackmail on her was the Santa Claus proposal Koremitsu suggested.

The original outline had Asa-chan as more of an Aila. Let’s just hope she doesn’t change into a Meltlilith. The cold voice was refreshing when I heard it, but the moment when Asa-chan made that pig voice…not even Mastercard can buy that.

Michiru Hanasato (花里みちる, Hanasato Michiru)

The best friend of Honoka, a heroine…and an antagonist.

I’ll state the reasons why I doubted her, going by volume

  1. Noted that Koremitsu was at Hikaru’s funeral, which means that she’s one of Hikaru’s girls. As we know, in detective stories, the culprit is always one of the introduced characters.
  2. Had a very unique ringtone that never rang when the first anonymous message came. Normally, all the girls should have been notified.
  3. None.
  4. Second slander is about Tsuyako. So far, two girls from Heian Academy. This is important because Beni was never targeted. (To be fair, not even Hikaru knew who she was) she also had no need to tag along with Honoka when she’s a student council representative (as an extension of her being the class representative)
  5. Sudden appearance after Honoka debacle. She said it’s a council meeting, but the text describes the school as very quiet. If it’s the student council, there’s supposed to be many more of them, and remember, Asa-chan’s so concerned with Hikaru that she probably can’t hold any meetings in school.
  6. None (well, is she trying to patch Koremitsu’s relationship with Honoka, or wreck it?)
  7. Not her, but Hiina’s honesty about her back story eliminates her completely, given that she remains on Shungo side, and has no reason to hurt anyone. Can’t be any of the other major girls who were featured, and Honoka. In a sense, volume 8 was a misdirection. The slander about Sora only works when the framer knows if Sora’s existence and pregnancy…namely the ones who gave gifts.
  8. There’s no reason to wreck your own work without a purpose. One would suspect that Michiru was trying to keep Honoka and Koremitsu apart, and only when Koremitsu finally took command was the plan foiled. Notice that it was always Koremitsu trying to contact Honoka, and not Michiru doing it even though she said she did. That would be a moment where she could have attempted to call Honoka. Her being too clingy to Koremitsu because he resembles Hikaru was a strange excuse too.
  9. Notice that all the relevant girls received messages except for Hiina, Yu and Michiru. Hiina’s out because of Shungo, and it’s expensive to send messages from overseas unless it’s LINE, and even then, the sender phone should be known, so that eliminates Yu. The sudden doubts Michiru had of Honoka contrasts heavily with Koremitsu’s belief of Honoka, and anyone would have known Honoka’s personality after a long while of being together.

Ultimately, Michiru is painfully aware of her predicament, and detests it, feeling helpless to do anything about it. In her despair, and feeling abandoned by everyone, she became Rokujo. Perhaps if she had been more honest about her feelings like Beni did, the hassle would never have happened, but alas…

Well, no matter what comeuppance one may wish upon her, the story is still about redemption. With this, a stronger bond of friendship is born. Given how she snapped after what Hikaru did at his death, I hope that you won’t begrudge her too much (oh who am I kidding)

The original story has Hanachirusato as the listener, a great friend. In this sense, she’s in the friend zone with Genji, and in this case, Koremitsu. Her name, Michiru, can be interpreted as ‘yet to scatter (clear up)’, which also reflects her true nature being muddled until the very end.

Hiina Oumi (近江ひいな, Oumi Hiina)

The messenger.

I had a thought that she would be another one in the harem, but her existence, like her body, is a tease. Despite her allegiance to only Shungo, she is still the best ally for Koremitsu with how vital her information is.

Nevertheless, her dedication to go above and beyond makes me wonder what other motives she has at times. I had doubts if she was the culprit, but it was after Shungo was introduced as her brother did I remove her from the suspect list. Now she’s just the tease.

Yu Kanai (奏井夕雨, Yū Kanai) 

She’s so dreamy.

I did note that she’s my favorite girl, but that’s because the kind of girl she is will remain unattainable to me. Nevertheless, her release from her prison made her bolder than she was, and because she changed, she was no longer the winning girl.

Guys loved her because of her demure, introverted personality, and so did I. Her family name is also a pun on ‘NEET’, or ‘shut in’, which reflects her status in volume 2. The name is actually Kana-i, but when read as ka-nai, it means ‘inside the house’. She remains timid when she returns, but when push comes to shove, this new her showed a determination second only to Honoka.

The piano piece ‘Kiss the Rain’ always plays in my mind whenever she appears, and reminds me that no matter the loneliness, the rain will have to stop.

Shungo Tojo (頭条俊吾, Shungo Tōjō)

The aloof big brother who’s actually the klutz overprotective one. Characters like him are typically the popular ones, but this guy’s more hopeless at love than anyone else. He realized his own incompetence, but in the end, he’s not the protagonist, so he didn’t get as much development as needed.

May he get a girl to marry…though at this rate, he’s going to be the lolicon.

Shioriko Wakagi (若木紫織子, Wakagi Shioriko)

The loli.

Did I mention that I have a murderous vendetta against lolis?

And boy am I so furious to know that the Xmas special for fate grand order features lolis.

Anyway, this girl puts up a facade to hide her insecurities in the same way Riley did in Inside Out. It’s a common theme, but Shioriko is wiser, more jaded…and more sexually aware. If the story of Megumi Kato is titled ‘How to raise a boring girlfriend’, then the story of Lady Murasaki should be titled ‘How to raise a loli into your waifu’.

The intelligence shown by Shiiko reflects the wisdom Lady Murasaki showed back then. She basically outwits everyone in the story. It’s nice of Koremitsu to have a harem able to fend for themselves, even the loli.

I do find it amusing however that she’s at loggerheads with Honoka, since they’re assumed to be based on the same person.

The family name Wakagi can be interpreted as ‘young tree’, and yet at the same time, a combination of ‘w’ and ‘akagi’, which reflects the relationship in the story as non-blood siblings. Let’s just hope Shiiko doesn’t become as similar to Loki as she does…or maybe I should for the evil.

Tsuyako Udate (右楯 月夜子, Udate Tsuyako)

Stupid sexy senpai

Ahem

I’ll say that amongst the heroines, she’s the one who changed the least. Since she’s always jovial unless confronted by her fears or due situations, I suppose it’s a good thing.

I do get the feeling that she would have made a move on Koremitsu if Honoka was not involved, but if she were to make her advances, you can arrange for Koremitsu to live in the morgue. Given that she was the most aggressive in pursuing Genji back in the original story, it did reflect how she changed, though her role as the confidant to Suzaku was changed to the 3rd Princess…and that one is messy to talk about.

You-know-who

No comments other than being based on Emperor Suzaku

Beni Hitachi (常陸ベニ, Hitachi Beni)

She has everything except for the nose. Well, there’s always the option of a nose job, so not a big issue down the road (but it’s her unique point, so let’s keep it steady and not turn her into a Korean pop idol where I’m having difficulty identifying one from another)

She’s a more positive version of Michiru, and at the same time, exhibits some of the innocence Aoi has, especially with regards to not knowing anything the peasants do. I suppose that innocence saved her from being vengeful.

Given her name, and her rich status, I would have hoped that the author put Beni as the heiress to the Hitachi corporation for the kick of it, but alas.

Tayu (太輔さん)

That slap

That should have gone to Hikaru.

The other Honoka, able to do everything, helpful, secretly insecure. Not much else I can say about her though. Would be funny if the two girls were the main heroines vying for Koremitsu, just like Kaoru and Niou did in the 3rd act of the original story. Nobody ends up happy except for me. Yorokobe shounen.

Orime Gonomiya (五ノ宮織女, Gonomiya Orime)

Granny.

She reminds me of my proud grandmother, willing to die rather than give up on the facade. This granny here is strict, but still yearns for a familial bond after all that she has lost. How she lost her hope to live on is something I do see in a lot of people in my line of work, but there is always a tomorrow.

Keep fighting, granny.

Sora Semigaya (蝉ヶ谷空, Semigaya Sora)

The girl without any wishes. Or I would say, the one who did not dare to dream.

When I realized this concept, my mind suddenly recalled the sci-fi ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’, but ultimately, I remember that there is no way humans don’t have any wishes of their own, for it denies the concept of human desire, which is always there. Good to see that things worked out though.

Fujino Mikado (帝門 藤乃, Mikado Fujino)

The last heroine, and the first love.

To quote:

But I do myself injustice. Even then, in those light-hearted young days, I was not deaf to the voice of sorrow, when it called upon me, to the solemn strains floating to me from beyond the tomb. I remember, a few days after I heard of Zinaïda’s death, I was present, through a peculiar, irresistible impulse, at the death of a poor old woman who lived in the same house as we. Covered with rags, lying on hard boards, with a sack under her head, she died hardly and painfully. Her whole life had been passed in the bitter struggle with daily want; she had known no joy, had not tasted the honey of happiness. One would have thought, surely she would rejoice at death, at her deliverance, her rest. But yet, as long as her decrepit body held out, as long as her breast still heaved in agony under the icy hand weighing upon it, until her last forces left her, the old woman crossed herself, and kept whispering, ‘Lord, forgive my sins’; and only with the last spark of consciousness, vanished from her eyes the look of fear, of horror of the end. And I remember that then, by the death-bed of that poor old woman, I felt aghast for Zinaïda, and longed to pray for her, for my father — and for myself.

(Taken from Adelaide ebooks)

Yep. Some of you out there may remember Tohko Amano reading First Love by Ivan Turgenev. While the situation differs a little, that is the first thing I thought of when I read about Fujino’s struggles.

Alas, not all the mysteries are to be revealed, but may Kaoru continue to lead Fujino on…and not start another Ukifune situation again.

Final thoughts

It was a fun 3 years. 3 years of working on this series (and lots of others)

Ultimately, looking at the entire series, the main theme is to learn how to let go of our doubts and go on without any regrets, and also about redemption. Looking back at the series as a whole, I’ll say that it’s a mostly pleasant read, bittersweet as a whole, migraine inducing in some instances, but ends up being what can be called a healing series. A fine interpretation of Genji Monogatari.

It isn’t a very mainstream work, and honestly, after all the hype series I did in the past, I’m grateful to have a relatively low-key work like Hikaru to do so that I can translate as a ‘hermit’, though I’m admittedly not doing a good job at this ‘hermit’ thing. (what’s with me taking sabbaticals on BT…)

For that reason, I really didn’t want to promote this series for the attention I’ll get, and I’m too lazy to upload the text onto BT. There are lots of people I want to thank, but I’m just grateful that I’m still here to do this work. Do thank the author, not me, for providing this work to you. I’m just the messenger.

Now then, off to the next main series…

5 comments

  1. Actually when I found this site, I feel happy, because so far that I know the translations group or people will always pick series with harem, transported to another world genre and some eye catching title.

    But in here I found a great Story. Not only Hikaru, but I think every story in here is really great. I think I will embarrassed to say this, but I think everything story you picked up is match with my interest. So I decided, as long this site up, as long you bring more story. If there is any completed translation, I will wait at least a month and I will make PDF and EPUB and will share it in here (of course if it still allowed). After all it will be my great collections.

    Then, thanks for your hard-work

  2. When I searched for the original Tale of Genji, I found out that he had a retainer called Koremitsu. Can’t hold my laughter when I found that because I thought Koremitsu was the only character unrelated to the tale.

  3. Ping, which bookstore is it? I’m a shut-in (sort-of) and can’t find any stores that sells LNs (most are just a few volumes of only the well known ones, mostly SAO)

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