When will this nightmare come to an end?
Jisatsu no Tame no 101 Houhou
30th of July, 2001.
During a sweltering summer’s eve, something begins to stir within Torabishi Takuji. Covered by a sweat-soaked blanket, the damp darkness pervading his room is just about enough to keep from sleeping. The ceiling stretches above him during this somewhat bizarre night. As he takes in these minute details of his surroundings, it comes to him; the ‘grey’. A bizarre noise which Takuji only started hearing recently, it distorts his world through an incomprehensible ‘zaza… zazazazaza… zazazaaaaa’..
This ‘grey’ is an alarm signaling the world’s crumbling, where all that he was once sure of becomes incomprehensible, what was real unreal. Takuji decides that he will dye his own world in this ‘grey’, in turn transcending the everyday monotony. Morning will soon come, and these idle thoughts of searching for a way to define the world – his world – shall cease.
As dawn breaks, the curtain of the worst day in Takuji’s life and the ill-fated characters that become entangled with him opens…
If you go down to the bridge today…
“You, however, sit at your window and dream of the message when evening comes.”
A story like any other, Sayonara, Utsutsu opens with childhood friends Kazuki and Saki in a will they or won’t they situation, obviously crazy about each other. However, a sense of artificiality lurks behind the homemade lunches and nervous-yet-hopeful walks home. It rises within Takuji in the depths of night, leaving profound terror in its wake. A date with Saki the following day has him shivering and gnawing at his fingertips, constantly reassuring himself that everything will be fine. Such a contrast to the clichéd setting of earlier, all the while Saki is in her own room cheerily studying.
The pair play their roles to the best of their ability despite the evident discord, until a mysterious girl named Kagami transfers into their class. Offering bizarre words about God and alienating all her classmates in the same breath, she wastes no time in calling our hero to the rooftop during lunch. According to her, he’s the savior of a world called ‘Mundus’. On gazing into her dark eyes he can find no trace of madness; of course, it occurs to him that maybe he just can’t see it. In order to reach Mundus, she takes out an instrument he never would have expected to see in his everyday life… A syringe.
In becoming the saviour and ally of justice Mundus so direly needs, something must be given up in exchange. Little does Kazuki know, that the price may be his humanity…
(Note: As this is not a formal review, I’ve written about Fraternité as is spoilering the hell out of pretty much everything. So if you wish to experience the work at some point unspoiled, I’d strongly advise not to read on.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
In which everyone’s favourite airhead effortlessly becomes a national idol, adored by all.
My love is… ‘NG’?
Sekai de Ichiban Dame na Koi
A word like ‘fate’ is an all too convenient one: it guides people to meet, coaxing them to open up their hearts to one another only to toy around with them. Such are the morose thoughts a man holds as he’s on the verge of freezing to death one wintery night. The subject of corruption within the firm he once worked for, it’s no surprise that he’s also left without a sense of purpose or self – until, a goddess who may as well have descended from the heavens themselves offers him a warm drink and a lifeline. Her name is Hinosaka Honoka, a landlady at Hinosaka Terrace House. Feelings the warmth of the drink in his hand and the warmth of her words spreading through his body, the man knows that the word ‘fate’ is convenient. Honestly, he does. After all, humans live on a larger scale than to be governed by some unscientific higher power. He knows that, but… For such a meeting to occur when it did, he can’t help but feel that it may indeed be what one could call ‘fate’.
The man’s name is Yoshimura Osamu. Unemployed, divorced, and pushing thirty
Winter passes, and his feelings thaw. Our poor excuse for a hero shows up at Hinosaka Terrace House in his best suit with a bouquet of roses, holding every intention of wooing his savior. But it’s not Honoka who answers the door – a scowling girl forty cms below him does. Instead of getting the warm welcome he expected, the girl slaps him and demands that he return her mother. On a spring day where the cherry blossom petals fall, the rose petals which were once part of his bouquet are carried along with them. As it turns out, Honoka has mysteriously disappeared leaving the daughter to take care of the battered boarding house and its rent-evading residents all by herself.
The girl’s name is Hinosaka Mitoko. An overworked high school student about to enter her final year.
And so begins the world’s most unacceptable love…
If you happen to move to a new city and someone encourages you to join a ~friendship club~ right off the bat, here’s a friendly tip: don’t.