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Blastaar
Citrus discussion 24 Oct 23:14
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Just to clarify, although the chapter strongly implies that Mei has, or will have, an arranged fiancé, nobody has explicitly said so yet, correct? Himeko's lack of response on page 7, the subtext of the cafe owner's phone call, and Mei's reticence at the end all seem to point in that direction, but at the moment there's no actual evidence that "Mei's fiancé" is anything but an assumption by Shiraho and Matsuri.

Of course, when you think about it, just because Professor Slimeball McRapey was sent on his way doesn't mean that Mei's side of the family hasn't continued to expect her to eventually marry some more suitable prospect.

And they're unlikely to look favorably on "going off to be a lesbian with my stepsister" as an alternate life plan, either. (Although it works for me.)

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joined Jul 29, 2017

I love this one too, and it's a good example of where the official translation is fine in itself, but I like the Dynasty translation far better (and thanks, Yuri Girl 1001).

In particular, the character of Hirosawa loses some of the flavor that makes me like the character so much--"squatting as though to poop" becomes just "squatting," etc. I don't have the volume at hand at the moment, but her line "You are loved, kitten-chan" in Chap. 5, and her thought balloon, "These airheads are really something else" while the kouhai squee all around her, are a couple of my favorite moments in the series, and the official translation really flattens them out.

Also, I understand that the Mom's line, "If your sempai isn't the jewel of a palaquin!" might be a little opaque to some Western readers, but changing it to, "Maybe you'll marry rich!" makes her a much less sympathetic character. The official translation does clarify some phrasing in a couple of spots, but this series is an example of one that I'll tend to re-read here even when the hard copy is sitting right there on my shelf.

(And, "Yo! Seductress!" is obviously better than "Yo! Player!" on the grounds of rhythm alone.) :-)

last edited at Oct 23, 2017 10:16AM

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joined Jul 29, 2017

I don't know why Girl Friends is so popular among men

In my case, since I mostly favorite by creator rather than by title, I was really just saying "Morinaga Milk" by listing her best-known, complete long work.

(I probably like Secret of the Princess even more, although I think that Girl Friends is less flawed and more fully developed.)

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I’ve wondered about this too, riverFlower, since there doesn’t seem to be any direct explanation of what that “something” would be.

But I have always assumed that, since immediately before that line Yuu mentions her desire to “stay by [Touko’s] side,” it was a foreshadowing of the shift from “I love you even though you don’t love me back” to “I’ll continue to love you only if you don’t love me back,” which is the weird and toxic emotional blackmail that makes this series so fundamentally unsettling.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I think it doesn't matter if she had won or lost the rock, paper, scissors match, the self-loathing would be the same.

Your reading is probably a stronger one for the story—I was going by a couple of things that happened to people I know. In one case, a person bugged someone else into doing a job they were supposed to do, and that second person got hurt pretty badly (not killed, thank what or whoever)—messed that first person up for a long time. In another case, a friend was supposed to go to a concert but had to bail because of work, and the person who did drive wrecked their car and three people were badly injured. That was more a “there but for the grace of what or whoever” thing, but the friend still felt bad and weird about it.

But I still think the story is at some pains to make clear in that scene that which kid went out was just a matter of chance—that it wasn’t literally Touko’s fault that her sister was killed. As you say, that’s sort of irrelevant to Touko’s feeling about it.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

In fact, she should have died instead.

But in that scene it's clear that the mom asks someone to go to the store, and Touko's scissors beat Mio's paper (in our family we used to flip a coin to decide which kid would run out for milk/bread).

There's definitely guilt there, but there's a subtle but significant difference in degree between "It could have just as easily been me" and "It was supposed to be me, but I refused to go."

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

^
No, that's a great way to pull together what I was trying to get at. And I don't think your citation is cheesy at all--that's what the whole story has been pointing toward, and makes me think that things will turn out a lot more happily than we've been fearing.

After all, although we've been privy to Touko's darkest moments, looking at the series as a whole, when she's not being "perfect Touko" for the public, we (along with only Yuu) have mostly seen her being cute, vulnerable, and affectionate.

(Touko's squee in reaction to the picture sent by Yuu's sister is right up there among my favorite scenes in the series.)

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Because she hates herself.

But why exactly does she hate herself, and which "self" is it that she hates?

There's what Yuu calls in Chapter 10 "your weak side and your perfect side," which together are what Touko says Yuu accepts: "all of me."

But we actually have:
1) "original Touko": shy, hiding behind her sister.
2) "perfect Touko," which she thought was an imitation of Mio Mk.2, but now has learned is not, at least not entirely.
3) "real Touko": the both sides that Yuu accepts

So does she hate herself for:
"Really" being original Touko all along but faking being Mio Mk.2
Failing to live up to being Mio Mk. 2 (and she thinks putting on the play will fix that)
"Really" being empty inside, like the girl in the play and not actually having an identity at all.
None, all, or some of the above?

She's clearly got some combo of survivor's guilt (if the rock-paper-scissors game had come out differently, she would have been the one killed) and imposter syndrome (where she feels like a fake no matter what she achieves). But it's not so clear what exactly it would take to redress that.

I'd prescribe a regular regimen of GBSs, but that's just me.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

She views as stepping in to force Touko to change as "low."

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I read that whole sequence completely differently. Sayaka acknowledges that both she and Yuu see the need for Touko to change, but Yuu was the one who had the courage to do something about it, so she's not interfering with Yuu's plan to spark a change in Touko. It would be "low" of her to side with Touko's wish to keep the old ending of the play, because she knows that the new one may well turn out to be better for Touko.

So Sayaka's annoucement of her love for Touko is the answer to Yuu's original question: "Saeki-senpai, why did you agree to use the new script?" (That's how I read it, anyway.)

Again, the new version of the play doesn't really force Touko to do anything (so it's not quite the same as enrolling someone in rehab against their will). It's just providing an opportunity to rethink the emotional/psychological box she's put herself in.

last edited at Sep 30, 2017 1:44PM

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

^
As long as we’re mentioning imagery that may or may not be significant, with this latest chapter I keep thinking of the Yuu-to-Sayaka baton relay in Chap. 14. But this feels like it goes the other way—Sayaka in some way passing something (I can’t quite say what, exactly) on to Yuu.

Maybe it’s just that the race prep is where Yuu and Sayaka make their first real connection (the chapter ends with the two of them agreeing that Touko can be a pain), and here they deepen their mutual understanding of one another.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I have a pretty high tolerance for melodrama--that's why I'm a k-drama addict. Coincidence, plot twists, over-the-top emotions--done well, they're great.

But this latest chapter has a good illustration of how this story isn't melodrama. When Yuu and Sayaka's first conversation gets randomly interrupted, a melodrama would ramp up the emotional intensity of the scene by using it as the occasion for a misunderstanding, either between the two of them or by someone (maybe Touko) overhearing them by coincidence, leading to further plot complications.

But the chapter uses it to shift to Sayaka's POV, so that we understand her answer to Yuu's question ("Saeki-senpai, why did you agree to use the new script?") as well as her attitude toward Yuu. Then later the two of them pick up the conversation again, and Sayaka asks but doesn't demand an answer to her own question ("Do you love Touko?").

So two questions asked and zero direct answers given, but the audience now has a much sharper sense of where the characters stand and how they're likely to interact going forward.

last edited at Sep 29, 2017 4:33PM

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

it's more accurate to TL it to "We talked about this before, didn't we?" based on the context of ch 14.

That was my guess (ignorant as I am of the Japanese language), because the wording echoed in both scenes is: "if that day came," a phrase which both Yuu and Sayaka think simultaneously in Chap. 14, and then each finishes the thought in their own way.

The way this series uses verbal echoes and visual callbacks to tighten the connections in the story is extremely impressive, but it kinda makes me dread the next time we see a train hurtling down the tracks.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I'm not entirely sure how the rest of the volume will play out. Will there be some catalyst prior to the play that can trigger a change in Touko's perception of her current situation?

I'm with you--after thinking through a bunch of possible paths that the story might take, at this point I'm officially "I don't know."

But I can't shake the image of a despondent Yuu (for a time, at least) huddled on her bed in the fetal position. Followed by, I hope, a happy ending subsequent to one or more GBS.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Great comments on Chap. 26 so far. Yuu and Sayaka have indeed joined forces and become "Co-stars" in Touko's big drama, but it really is the case that, as Faust says, it's just a play; Touko isn't required to make any change in herself at all. It's up to her what happens after this.

I think it's clear that Sayaka realizes that Yuu does love Touko, so much so that she's willing to help Touko's emotional growth even at the risk of losing her.

This chapter effectively clears the decks for a big finale (the performance of the play and Touko's response to it), but I almost wish there had been some plot twist or emotional puzzle for us to chew over for a month while we're waiting to find out what happens next.

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joined Jul 29, 2017

haven't the girls also become somewhat… bustier?

I dunno--Chap. 11, p. 25 demonstrates that Ayaka has always had a certain . . . amplitude.

EDIT: As Yurine double-checks first-hand in "Do Your Best, Shiramine!" Part 2 in the Internet Shorts.

last edited at Sep 27, 2017 7:33PM

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joined Jul 29, 2017

Thanks, Kobalos. I see what you're saying about the eyes in particular. I think also there is less use of dark areas and fewer dramatic high-contrast pages in general, adding to that "shinier" effect you mention. I wouldn't actuallly find much to remark on about the art if not for the sense of change from earlier chapters.

And I want Shiramine's big hair back--those flowing locks were highly expressive themselves.

I'm halfway on the side stories--they make the world seem wider than just the central couple, and they do, as Reejun says, contribute to that ensemble feel, showing that Shiramine and Yurine affect and are affected by other people.

But it's the OTP that keeps me wanting more.

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joined Jul 29, 2017

^
Nice catch--I do believe you're right. That cheery email to an opponent sounds just like Kase-san.

(I don't know if anyone caught this before either.)

last edited at Sep 26, 2017 12:06PM

Blastaar
New Game discussion 25 Sep 13:53
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I honestly don't get the point of the whole Rin + Kou thing now.

I take your point (Rin is a sweet character, and Kou isn't like anyone else in the cast), but I think it may just be the manga keeping its plot options open. Kou does need to leave in order to clear the decks for Aoba's development (otherwise Aoba just stays stuck in the middle of the hierarchy). Kou hugging Aoba doesn't imply any specific narrative developments the way an overt confession from either Kou or Rin at this point would have done.

I agree that Kou's continual obliviousness to Rin's feelings is frustrating, but then, pretty much everyone at the airport farewell agrees that Kou can be a frustrating person to deal with.

last edited at Sep 25, 2017 1:54PM

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joined Jul 29, 2017

what's with the art?

The different feel to the art was the first thing I noticed about this chapter, and while I don't exactly hate the art in itself, when I try to specify exactly what's different about it by looking at older chapters, I'm unsure what to say.

Shiramine's hair, for sure--less billowing than previously, which makes her seem physically smaller, and maybe her chin isn't as pointed as before. But beyond that, for every element of the style that I think seems different, I can find similar examples in earlier chapters.

I'd be interested in hearing what others see as specifically changing in the drawing style.

Blastaar
Kase-san discussion 22 Sep 10:09
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Got the new volume, that new page was gay.

I have to say that of the many things I like about this series, I really enjoy the moments when Kase is taken aback or embarrassed by her physical attraction to Yamada. Kase herself obviously has a conventionally "great body" (along with lots of other traits that make her an appealing character) and anyone can see that Yamada is incredibly cute (like, world-class cute), but it's Kase's POV that shows us that Yamada's also sexy, and getting more so as she matures.

The 'doing it' scenes in this one are quite well done, but for me the sexiest moments are actually the post-bed-scene head "bonks" from Kase--intimate, friendly, goofy, and seemingly very real.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I haven't gone into WDTFS in the kind of depth many folks here have done, but my impression is like yoonie0104's--the development of Seju's character, which was interesting in itself, overpowered her character's basic function in the overall story, throwing the relationships out of balance.

Seju needs to be Sungji's legitimate rival, and not simply "the toxic ex who can't let go," but the more the past relationship between Sumin and Seju is explored and validated, the less room there is for Sungji to be shown as complex (and potentially flawed). So instead of Seju being the relatively straightforward foil to illuminate Sungji's character by contrast, it ends up being the other way around.

Milton had the same problem in Paradise Lost, where Satan ended up being a lot more interesting than the angels and archangels. I'm not saying the characters in WDTFS are a direct match, but probably wouldn't object if somebody else did. :-)

Blastaar
New Game discussion 14 Sep 08:41
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joined Jul 29, 2017

If Moby Dick would have just admitted that Ahab was completely right, there would have been no problem.

Blastaar
New Game discussion 13 Sep 10:34
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I'm going to do one last Naru post, and that will be it on that issue. For me, the controversy was never about whether Naru was "a good person" or whether I liked her as a character or not, but the surprising proposition that Naru's way of working was the proper one and that her behavior and attitudes demonstrated the weaknesses of the previous Eagle Jump employees and their work habits. I believed that all the narrative cues and well-established internal values of the manga pointed directly and unmistakably the other way. (The Grand Gladiatorial Combat of Opinion-Having that took place was mostly just distracting and counterproductive.) The most recent chapters have unequivocally settled the Naru matter as far as I'm concerned. I was prepared to be surprised at the outcome, but I was . . . not surprised.

On the other hand, I've always thought of the Kou-Aoba connection as the heart of the professional side of the story, and it will be very interesting to see how our Fellowship of the Game Controller fares with the departure of their Gandalf.

Blastaar
New Game discussion 12 Sep 22:27
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joined Jul 29, 2017

UMIKO IS PERFECT.

And Hazuki knows it.

Blastaar
New Game discussion 12 Sep 22:16
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joined Jul 29, 2017

When Naru is asked, "Did you have fun making it?" and she answers with a total non-sequitur technical answer about the timer adding replay value--that was the tell right there. Then when the second problem is raised, her impulse is to just revert to the first version instead of trying to make a better game.