The Return of Couch-potato Fan of the Beast Player - Kemono no souja manga ends...

Yay, it’s time to return after… uhm, five years? Times go by… And it’s too fast… Ok, now back to the main topic.
It’s been eight years with Kemono no souja manga… Everything comes to an end… Eventually… And so here we are: with 65 chapters behind us and 11th volume to be published in April. Wasn’t a very long ride but very interesting and undoubtedly worthremembering. Unlike TV series, manga stays faithful to the original material to the very end thus even as standalone story being worth reading as a substitute for novel (less words more pictures!). Especially for non-Japanese speaking fans, who are not lucky enough to know French (two volumes published) and German (one volume published) or Korean. Though on the other hand there are still two untouched volumes of the novel. The story that takes place eleven years after the battle on Tahai Aze. The story that takes us on even more breath-taking and bitter-sweet journey with Erin and her family, friends and… enemies. Welp… maybe sometime in the future…

After reading all Uehashi Nahoko's published books I finally thought about returing to blogging about Kemono no souja since all her novels are great and I'm planning to write something about all of them! When of if finish writing about The Beast Player.

Being couch potato is no good...
Studying forever is also no good...
So... I hope to see you soon!

The Beast Player 5.5 - Wound

  Title: "Wound" (Kizu 傷)
  Chapter: 5.5
  Pages: 27
  Magazine: G.S. Sirius # 5
  Date: April 2011
   Action of this chapter takes place in the first half of the second novel. It corresponds to the 29th episode of the anime and unlike the TV series is absolutely faithful to the original text to the point of containing the same dialogues. It doesn't add any unnecessary scenes like those in serial:
 * changing brush for the bigger one with the help Nukku and Mokku.
 * getting bigger audience for combing Lilan.
 * Erin floating about aimlessly after getting bitten.

 Everything happened rather quickly and without unnecessary addiction. It's really nice to see the graphic version of the novel, but if you're familiar with the book nothing will surprise you. About the plot itself I can tell that right now we are at the very important point, because it's exactly now when Erin realizes how difficult it is to breed a wild beast and how dangerous even the smallest mistake can be. It was also the chapter when she ultimately decided her future by not giving up in her struggle to understand and to communicate with Lilan, that has been officially confirmed to be a female. At last things are getting more and more serious and I guess it is the last chapter with fourteen year-old Erin.   


  At the beginning of the autumn the students started returning to Kazalm Beast Center from summer vacation. The first ones to meet with Erin after a long break are Yuuyan and Tomura. As poor Lilan started moulting Erin came up with the idea of scrathing her with the brush used normally for horses. As she begins her "show" with her two friens watching spechless in wonder as she strokes Lilan's muzzle. Unfortunalety something goes wrong and Oujuu snaps surprised girl. As she was losing consciousness Erin started to walk in the direction of terrified Yuuyan and Tomura that are running to help her. Erin wakes up in bed with Esal by her side. The headmaster is really disappointed and tells Erin that she should have been more careful while taking care of Lilan. She orders her not to go too close to the almost adult Lilan if Erin wants to live a little longer, because any other time she can end with with not only wounded ear and arm but with carotid bitten through. As she goes on, Esal explains that in contact with the beast the most important is the awerness of who's the stronger one. And the most important point of her speech was the fact the feeling connecting living things is not affection but fear. As Erin declines saying that if she distances herself from Lilan now young beast will definitely go back to her former self and eventually die, Esal urges her to write a will in which in case of any accident involving Lilan she takes all responsibility for the outcome and if she was to lose her life the only one responsible for that will be she herself. Headmaster also gives Erin the whistle "just in case". So our dear heroine writes a will and with new experience, strong resolution and a few stitches goes back to her beloved pupil.

See you next month!         

The Beast Player: The Quest - summary and thoughts [still being updated]

Firstly, I have to thank my lovely friend, Anne, who was so wonderful to bring me the two latter volumes of The Beast Player from her voyage to Japan last year. I started my journey through the Uehashi's new world with the anime adaptation which aired between January and December 2009. Throughout the series I was very curious about the original material, so I looked for the way to get the novel. After reading the first volume for over half a year, I deciced to finish it and the second one was completely different story - it took me three days to finish it. I became so excited that I just devoured the third volume subtitled The Quest. If someone already has done the summary for the latest volumes of The Beast Player, please inform me about it :)  

  • Volume III - The Quest
  1. Voices from the Past - done.
  2. Seimiya's Daily Life
  3. The Descendants
  4. Father and Son
  5. Towards the New Path

  • Volume IV - The Final Chapter
  1. Family's Daily Life
  2. Flight in the Spring
  3. Parting
  4. Madness

Beware of heavy spoilers in the latter part!

  * Chapter One  - Voices from the Past

Current Grand Duke Shunan entrusted our now 31 year old Erin with the task to investigate the Kiba's sudden death in the certain Touda village. Accompanied by the man known as "Black Armour" Yohal -  a talented (almost legendary) Touda rider in his sixties, if I remember correctly, Erin goes there and is welcomed rather normally. Then she starts her tiring investigation, that begins with checking the gender of all dead Kibas, that surprisingly turn out to be females. She also remembered the insects that were near the Touda's corpses when they died in Ake Village almost twenty years earlier. The whole process took her a long time, because apart from Yohal and young and enthusiastic Touda caretaker Chimul, no other caretaker was eager to help her. After the exhausting day (evening?) of checking the corpses and also the gender of other alive Toudas (I'm sorry I don't remember correctly when it happened but it took her a lot of time - not only that one evening, since the number was really big - several dozen, at least thirty if I'm not wrong) she and Yohal were invited to that young man's house and spent their night there, meeting his warm family.

  The facts she discovered we'll come a little  bit later, since we get a tiny glimpse of  a current life in Kazalm Beast King's Center with Esal still being headmaster and one of Erin fellow schoolmates in the past, Tomura currently as one of the teachers. The two of them are commenting at how young Beast Kings that were born in the Center don't want to breed, despite being raised without Special Water and Soundless Whistle. Also here we get to know Erin and Ial's son - 8 year old Jeshi. The boy has the hair and eyes dark just like his father but his personality comes straight from Erin (apart the fact that his mother was rather quiet type). His quite a troublemaker, constantly worrying Esal and others, because he loves to sneak near the Beast Kings not knowing how dangerous it is. Even for him, who was practically raised among them because of Erin's work. Being caught in flagrante delicto by angry Esal he promises her that he won't come near them while they're outside, after being told that if he continues the "poor" beasts will be closed in the shed for everyone’s safety. It is also noted that the young Jeshi really misses his mother.

Meanwhile Erin working tirelessly on her investigation gets ready to the most creepy part of this task. Being accompanied only by Yohal, she begins the autopsy of the dead Kibas. The shocking revelation is that the case of Toudas death was Special Water given only to them and not fully developed eggs that started to grow inside their bodies. We also get some creepy description about the certain views and smells that was inextricable part of that process (earlier, if IRC she had the conversation with Yohal, but she didn't tell him then and after, during the autopsy about her discovery - she lied when he asked if the cause of the abnormal changes within Kiba's body was the poison. She at that time that is was because of Special Water. Taking her time to calm down she went outiside to get some fresh air and think about everything. Not that she can...

She suddenly notices that someone observes her. The one who coming out from within shadow of the trees was a woman that seemed to be in her fifties/sixties. She named herself Tsurana also revealing to be Erin's aunt from her father's side. Surprised Erin doesn't remember her at first but after a few minutes she recalls a vague memories from the time she was 5 year old - the last time she saw Tsurana. Aunt hands her over a small package (or a little later... - never mind) telling Erin to open it when she'll be by herself. Then they're having fast but rather friendly conversation about the old times. Erin gets to know a few things about her parents that she definitely wouldn't be able to discover herself, especially after so long. For example: Soyon was sixteen year old when she met a year older Asson, who died leaving his pregnant seventeen year old wife alone. Yeah, pretty nice, don't you think?... Meaning, awfully young really Soyon struggled through all this years all alone just for her daughter - at least Tsurana said that - (or not... Sorry, but that comes from the fact that she was still prepared to sacrifice their life together and her own just for some rule and obeyed the Mist People Code which resulted in her later execution). So, after counting a little bit we also come to the revelation that Erin's mother was just 27 when she died...which means that at the current point Erin is older than her mother (counting the moments from earlier when she could lose her life I'd call it quite a success). Unfortunately their conversation gets interrupted and afraid of being discovered Tsurana vanishes, leaving Erin a little confused. Finding the moment of privacy Erin opened the package and found a letter written by her aunt with some scraps of paper which later turn out to be what was left of Soyon's personal belongings. Erin's grandfather, believing that mother and daughter are dead ordered to destroy all of Soyon's books including the diary, which parts was luckily saved by Sajuu's mother and later handed over to Tsurana. Excited Erin started to read the scraps and the old memories started to return one after another. She also came across a strange term Karentarou Pare, which means "the people that remained in the valley". Soyon also wrote that she wanted to go there someday. Erin had no idea what "people" her mother was referring to.

So, finally Erin succeeded in being white hope of Chimul's family and proved the caretaker responsible for Kibas innocent (IIRC Chimul's brother's life was at stake)in that case. The revelation contained the facts that all dead Kiba were born at the same time and all of them were female, also the cause of death was undeveloped egg that started to grow because of Special Water given only to Kiba - but that real cause still wasn't revealed to the people. After happy Chimul went home to spread a good news Erin remarked to Yohal how much she wanted young and really smart Chimul to study at Kazalm - but it was practically impossible since he took care of Touda not Beast Kings. Yohal also says that checking all other Toudas in different villages would be rather difficult but is still some kind of obligation since they came that far. Erin is terrified by the idea of visiting countless other places and not knowing how much more time it could take. Just looking at her Yohal knows her opinion that's why he offers her to visit just one more village which later turns to be somewhat special among all others...

The End (for now) TBC, of course.

P.S. I'm sorry for my crappy English and if anyone had any comment feel free to use the comments below.     

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Song Portraits - "Breakaway" of Megumi Shimizu

     So, basically this is my first entry. I was wondering how to start for a long time. Not having enough spare time and motivation, I didn't write anything. But recently I came up with an idea of "song portraits". Being it a detail or some general idea it doesn't matter. I want to analyse analogies between random songs and characters, plots of various books/movies/anime. Just for fun. Also, I don't intend to write a deep and complicated essays (for my own safety ;) ), but I hope that my posts will be somehow interesting. On a side note, I'm not native English speaker, therefore my entries can contain some obvious mistakes, but I hope that they'll (my posts) be at least understandable. Hope you'll enjoy :)

Beware of spoilers in the latter part!

Here we've got Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson's song about a girl who wants to get out of her current "world" (rather popular motif within movies and literature). Small town, simple-minded (or the ones just don't understand her) people knowing almost everything about each other and always gossping - this is her clearly visible reality she wants to be freed from. This is a general overview and getting a little deeper will give us some rather subtle (and not) difference and similarities between this song and an obvious example from one of my recent favourite anime Shiki (lit. Corpse Demon). It was based on the novel of Fuyumi Ono, who was inspired by Stephen King's Salem's Lot. Similarities between two stories are easily visible but that's not the case. One of the examples could be a character called Susan Norton in King's novel and Megumi Shimizu in Ono's, respectively. Although they've got a similar dream of getting out from their hometown and going to a big city (rather capital, I guess), their personalities are utterly different. Also, I think that despite being much more annoying (at least for me), Megumi is more colorful and feisty (and got much more screentime), so I decided to focus on her. Oh, by the way, I didn't have a chance to read Ono's novel yet, so I gathered information relying on the anime adaptation. 

So, here we go. Apart from stalking a boy named Natsuno Yuuki and dreaming about being his girlfriend, Megumi is your average teenager who's keen on eccentric fashion and big city life. She hates her village and wants to get out of there. And here are some slight differences between the song's heroine and Megumi:
 "...Wanted to belong here
But something felt so wrong here..."

No, definitely not. I've never seen a scene where Megumi said something like this. It's the opposite: she always pointed how much she hated the village and it's inhabitants (especially for not having any interest in the outside world). So just the second line is true about our heroine.

"...Buildings with a hundred floors
Swinging around revolving doors..."

Wearing strange, eccentric and too colorful clothes? Wanting to be seen, becoming an idol for other teenagers like her? That's our Megumi - normal girl with an oridinary dreams? Fashion, fame and flashy things? Maybe a little too shallow and material? Who can you see? A little bit naive but strong-willed girl that is too young to undestand the new responisibilities and obstacles waiting for her if she tried to "breakaway" or selfish and shallow girl thinking only about herself and not even trying to imagine the consequences of her action? I guess that's both. All in all, Megumi's just a teenager - not a child anymore, but still a having a long way to become an adult. Still having sometimes stupid and naive dreams without any real life experience.

"...Out of the darkness and into the sun..."

Then... Which is it? Things become rather complicated when Kirishiki family moves to Kanemasa mansion in Sotoba. Megumi starts daydreaming about a noble family that came from a far away (presumably some big city) and is interested in her. Well... They later become interested in her but for "slightly" different reason. And so, here the darkness starts - shiny and sparkly Megumi is consumed by the shadows, dies and later becomes an undead vampire killing others villagers with disturbing pleasure, even her friends relatives. Did she really become so cruel or was it the only way fo her to exist after having her dreams destroyed? How much frustration did she hide? The viewers could see only her bestiality and hunger for blood. How much of that was her vampire instinct and how much her own nature? I guess she adapted to the new condition and survived pretty well casting away her conscience and dreams. Seeking redemption? No, I think she wasn't (yes, wasn't) that type of person. She never really came back to the "sunny" side (not that she had a chance to...). 

"...I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly
I'll do what it takes til' I touch the sky
And I'll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway..."

"So much for my happy ending" is what the story wants to say. Being changed she enjoyed her full rights of the vampire. Later took advantage of the chaos and tried to escape by herself revealing that she still wanted to go to the big city. But whole novel/anime getting a rather downer ending resulted in almost every character going downward. So, Megumi is one of those sad examples having their dreams bitterly crushed (literally - by a certain tractor and a stake) by the fate. Her breakaway was almost impossible from the beginning and her dream was actually a small and unimportant detail in the ocean of all troubles presented in the story. 

Well, I guess that analogy was pretty obvious and easy to analyse, but everyone has their beginning and it's just for fun as I mentioned above. See you! :)