[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

That would be a fun coincidence, indeed! :joy_cat: Unfortunately, I’m not that person.
Anyways, hello fellow German! :wave:

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So the long shot missed :innocent: Nevertheless 頑張って!

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I have made a Bookmeter account, which is nice, because it is Japanese-focused. (I also have Goodreads, which I haven’t read more for a while - later, I realize there are values in reading in my native language as well.)

Bookmeter app for Android isn’t available in my region - has to use an APK (which I have an app that manage APK’s updates). I just need it, as Bookwalker wants me to review on Bookmeter.

I should hurry to write reviews after finishing a book, for the sake of momentum.

ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 第2部 モノクロ版 isn’t on Bookmeter, though - maybe because it is a less popular monochrome version? (And page numbers / number of chapters are different from colored version as well.) - There might be Kindle / physical version under the same title, just not linked from Bookwalker.

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Their mobile website works pretty well I’ve found, which is at least something. And by well I mean it’s as user friendly and aesthetically pleasing as the desktop site. :upside_down_face:

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Bookmeter pretty much has anything that exists on Amazon in physical form. It tends to have digital versions as well, but it’s less guaranteed (and personally I always select the physical version anyway because the count for the number of readers is more accurate). If there’s a physical version of the book you’re reading you can search Bookmeter by the ISBN, but if it’s digital only you may be out of luck.

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Well, found it by searching the title. Just not as convenient as clicking a link from Bookwalker app.

I might just do it for the sake of tracking / reviews, though.

I finished playing 龍が如く極2
I’ve played a great many games in the series before, including Lost Judgment not long ago so I was a little unenthusiastic when it came up next in my backlog system - but still played it since it would be worth it to at long last cap off having played (in some form or another) all the numbered 7 (and I could never really say no to 龍が如く).
It’s about as familiar as a game can get at this point to me, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit! This one I think suffers a lot less than Kiwami 1 did at being caught between the PS2 original it’s a remake of and the tone of the later games that the series grown into - but it does get hit with that a bit still, mainly in that Kiryu is presented a lot more like a straightforward action protagonist, complete with romance, when later games shifted him more into a “ludicrously powerful single dad” role that suits him a lot better I think.
I enjoyed most getting a relatively large amount of time in Osaka, and interacting with Majima at his most friendly, complete with his very silly kensetsu. Goda is also a nice memorable villain (and seeing him gave me fond memories of running around as him with a chaingun arm in Dead Souls), and among the sillier plot beats I got a real kick out of Osaka Castle splitting open to reveal a second, secret castle full of ninjas and tigers.
Since I was feeling a little anxious to get through it, I didn’t do quite as much side stuff as I would have otherwise (sorry urinal minigame), but I didn’t avoid them. One side story I remember liking was the one where Kiryu is roped into doing voiceover for a BL game… The most language-focused minigame was the gravure photoshoot one - but I think even to native speakers there would be trial and error? And also directing FMV models as Kiryu is… weird.
After finishing the main story, I played the Majima bonus story (which was a nice short little coda to his story in 0 + further explanation for why he has a kensetsu) and dabbled a bit more with the Clan Creator… purely because it has pro wrestlers in it, specifically Tatsumi Fujinami, Genichiro Tenryu, Riki Choshu, Keiji Mutoh, and Masahiro Chono, all (then) NJPW wrestlers whose heyday was before my time but loom large enough I recognized all of them, and it was fun to hear their cameo performances. Tenryu I think fit the best in look and voice, and could have fit right in with the face capture villains in the series’ main stories (if his performance were a little less wooden anyway…) while on the other hand Mutoh is too famous and… Mutoh-like to be anyone else! (and that forehead is unmistakably an old pro wrestler’s…)
… and the minigame itself is kinda fun, like a little strategy/tower defense kind of thing. The wrestlers were allllmost enough to motivate me through the whole thing… but I think not quite, and I’ll watch the remaining cutscenes on youtube (I might have been more motivated if you saw the wrestlers actually fight more… I wouldn’t say no to like, an unlockable dragon suplex or shining wizard or something as a heat action but I’m not holding out hope). I did see a funny minigame with them about getting lunch with the wrestlers and trying to understand what they’re saying? Maybe I should have seen it through after all!

One thing I was very struck by playing the game is… it’s only been 2 years since I played 龍が如く7, when I felt very much like I was punching above my weight class language-wise, and was looking up multiple words every sentence, practically.
And yet here I would often realize I didn’t have my phone with me and then not bother to go get it, because who needs it? I was barely looking anything up throughout. That’s one mark of progress I very much would have thought would take longer to grow into - although I suppose it’s largely thanks to how many of these specific games I’ve played making the situations all familiar…
Still, cool to notice! Although in a bittersweet way it does make me pine for the excitement of those times with 7 that I suppose I’ll never have again when understanding any sentence at all felt like a huge victory…

manga report

  • アビスアジュールの罪人 (1)
    This is a quick Harta catch-up! I started reading the magazine just barely after this one started. It was really interesting to read the first couple chapters though - they set a lot of groundwork I hadn’t gotten setting up the mermaids’ world and the personalities of the central characters.
    Anyway - this is a mermaid manga! If you want to read about mermaids, definitely check it out! I am neutral on mermaids, so I think this is neat and executed well but it’s not a personal favorite. I like the art and the ocean life but kinda think the human guy who gets pulled into the romance by coincidence is maybe a bit of a goober.
  • ことり文書 (1)
    Another quick Harta catch-up, this one’s about a little rich girl who’s neglected by her parents, and her growing bond with the butler-type person who acts as her surrogate guardian figure.
    It’s nice! I think the central character dynamic is well-done. Another one where it’s not specifically my thing but I do think it’s executed well.
  • 山を渡る -三多摩大岳部録- (1-4)
    This is a less quick Harta catch-up! It’s a mountain climbing manga. I personally don’t have any particular interest in mountain climbing - and while my favorite hobby/special interest type manga sell me on a topic I don’t care about at all, this one doesn’t quite hit that mark for me. But I’m not really sure why, since again - I think it’s well-executed for what it is. One neat thing about it is I get the impression all the mountains and hikes are totally real, so if you ARE interested in climbing mountains in Japan, definitely check it out!
  • 波よ聞いてくれ (3)
    At this point this series could go in basically any direction and I wouldn’t be too surprised - it continues to be a lot weirder than I expected from the first volume. It’s also very funny a lot of the time - like the punchline to the whole 陰陽師/ghost arc or when she describes herself like this:
    image
    The protagonist Minare is definitely a person of chaos, and it sells both her problems and charisma well. I plan to read more, but I think I’ll move it off of the main slot, since it’s rather マイペース and one that demands I take it pretty slowly to follow the dialogue, and I don’t think having it as the main thing I was reading was helping that to speed up. Great for particular moods!
  • SUPERMAN vs 飯 (1-2)
    This one’s pretty fun! It’s about Superman getting into Japanese food - particularly from chain restaurants. I think it actually represents Superman really well! It presents him as a good-hearted, shy, regular person who happens to be able to fly across the world instantly - the kind of person who would gravitate to eating out alone at restaurants he hasn’t been to before - which I think is the right, pleasant take for that character and fits moreso than a lot of more action-oriented storylines do. Also he says スーパー a whole lot of course and makes jokes like ビックリプトン when he gets surprised so that’s a plus in my book.
    The villains that (very rarely pop up) and the supporting cast take some inspiration from the recent movies (and there’s joke references to the 70s movies), which is a little jarring to me whose Superman knowledge basically stops at 1970, but I mean it makes sense why a tie-in would relate to the most recent movies. Still… I can’t help but think Mr. Mxyzptlk, the Bottle City of Kandor, Krypto the Super-Dog, Clark’s fleet of super robot doubles… all these would fit in a lot better with the pleasant goofy tone of this series, just saying!
    I recognize a lot of the brand stand-ins that Clark eats at here mainly from 龍が如く. I found that it’s definitely one to reading BEFORE walking to the nearest konbini equivalent, not in the evening. It defiitely got me hungry…
  • 極東事変 (1-3)
    Another Harta catch-up! This one is set just after WW2, in an alternate history where Unit 731 developed a technology to turn humans into extremely difficult to kill ‘variants’ as a super weapon, with a ragtag group of GHQ protagonists tasked with tracking down and eliminating the remnants, while Unit 731 affiliated antagonists attempt to foment revolution against the occupying forces.
    It’s definitely a very interesting, politically charged setting, although I don’t know enough about the time period to know just how much it pulls from real events (but it seems like a lot). And that all is the backdrop for a pretty fun rollicking action adventure - a lot of good stark sound effects and 1940s cars and explosions and gunplay. I think it’s cool! The “variant” concept isn’t hugely interesting to me, but the historical aspect elevates it a lot, and it’s done a good job I think at setting up a memorable cast. I’ll be curious to see where it goes.

… And with that (and with the help of various other series ending)… I’ve caught up with 100% of the currently running ongoing series in Harta! I think that’s really cool!
Looking at the current list of series, I’d say the numbers run up something very roughly like this:

Number of series I’m very much into! I actively look forward to new chapters! → 4
Number of series I like quite a bit! These are often a highlight! → 12
Number of series I like pretty well! I feel like they add to the magazine! → 21
Number of series I’m not personally into… but I don’t hate 'em or anything → 1
Number of series I actively dislike → 0

Which I feel like is a very good rate indeed? And with all that plus 読切 and the prospect of new debuts and endings… it’s nice to look forward to the 14th of (almost) every month!

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Now I’m really curious about this backlog system of yours :eyes: I have a strange fascination with how people deal with their backlogs and ‘system’ sounds intense.

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backlog system

Sure! I don’t know how intense it is, but I started doing it a couple years ago mainly as a way to have a channel to process like, that aimless “I want to play video game X, or maybe Y, or ooh what’s Z” energy that accumulates while bored at work or something.

When there’s a bunch of roughly related media I want to consume - I throw it together into a group of five (that in my arbitrary jargon for it I call a “gang of five”), giving it an order (usally random). And the idea is, those are like queues where if I wonder what to check out next, I can start with whatever’s next up in a gang of five.
Then when I decide I’m done with something, I cross it off and then something else is next up in that queue.

So for example, a gang of five I put together back when reading a book in Japanese was a novel concept looks now like:

GANG OF FIVE #25 BOOK #2 AUF JAPANISCH
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu
Kino’s Journey
No. 6
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Digital Devil Story

or this much more recently put together one of manga I don’t really know anything about but got for free on bookwalker and they seem like they might be interesting looks like:

GANG OF FIVE #292 BOOK #98 BOOKWALKER DELVING - INTRIGUING FREEBIES?
スキップとローファー
傘寿まり子
ハコヅメ~交番女子の逆襲~
Parasyte
へうげもの

The idea being that it’s easy to throw together a gang of five, so anytime I feel like I’m pining “ah I should check out XYZ…” and not actually doing it, I can throw it in a gang of five and then concretely it’s clear where I should start with that stuff, and 4 other things are off the table but still feel like I’ll get to them in due course so choice paralysis is reduced a lot.

At first I thought I would be able to naturally pull from the tops of the queues as I felt like it, but I found that I do want some kind of like, next set thing, so what I took to doing was I’ll pick the next thing to read or watch or whatever (in jargon an ‘ordained’) by a roughly weighted random draw. The way I do that is very low tech but oddly ceremonious… the gang of fives are just in a google doc, so what I’ll do is - say I want to roll a new ordained for a book in Japanese, right? I’ll just ctrl-F for ‘book’ and go through all the book-related gangs of five with a spreadsheet open, writing down the next thing in each relevant queue a number of times proportional to how much I feel like it right now (generally 1-5 times). I usually also add an automatic +5 to whatever the first queue is (to feel like I’ll make progress on the older stuff) and a bonus +5 to whatever I most would want at the time. Then I get a random number from random.org to pick which of the resulting cells in the spreadsheet is the new ordained.
I feel like I should probably write a program or something to do this for me, or at least retain the spreadsheet so I don’t have to go back through every time… but I dunno, the process is weirdly sort of fun? And I kinda like that it reminds me of what all is even in the queues and is at least slightly responsive to my whims at the time.

Anyway at this point I think I have 8 ordaineds - I just keep track of them in my head - related to books in English and Japanese, manga, movies in English and Japanese, games in English and Japanese, and TV.
For example, when I said in the manga review I’d move 波よ聞いてくれ off of the main slot, what I really meant was it was the manga ordained and I rolled a new one (it came up Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable from a gang of five of stuff I wanted to pick back up again from when I was reading them in English).

It’s not about restrictions – I can still read or watch whatever I feel like whenever, the gangs of five just provide natural channels to flow through, a bit of arbitrary structure added to what would otherwise be a totally messy backlog, and the ordaineds are just there to make sure the less exciting stuff still gets picked off and dealt with eventually, and since it’s nice to have a main thing that’s extra encouraged to spend time with. I find I’ll quite often read something from other queues in addition to the ordained, but will only rarely stray from a queue ordering.

Anyway, I’ve been surprisingly really happy with the system since I started it (past attempts at a system were not so successful) I do feel like it helped, particularly with the pandemic, to reduce (albeit not entirely eliminate) those unpleasant periods when you have tons you want to read and do want to read but just don’t since you don’t know what it is you feel like reading.
Some other misc. benefits I think are:

  1. It’s fun to cross stuff off
  2. gives at least a little bit of context and ‘story’ to why I would pick something off a shelf
  3. encourages closure - more likely to say ‘ok I’m done’ and make peace with that than leave something indefinitely as unfinished business forever

In the same way learning Japanese has been great because it gave an excuse where spending a lot of time reading and whatnot was clearly good because it was learning, somehow crossing stuff off lists makes it feel important in a similar kind of way so it encourages spending a lot of time quietly consuming media, which is either a good thing or a bad thing I’m not really sure.

On the negative side, the queues do accumulate… and it seems like it priotizes a bit stuff you were interested in in the past - like a lot of the early queues still remaining are ones that I probably wouldn’t put together with so much enthusiasm today, and I go back and forth on if that’s a good thing because I’ll get closure on some of that stuff (eventually) or a bad thing since it would be better to indulge current interests. The system trundles along but it does so very slowly… And it kind of works by convincing myself I’ll eventually get to everything that’s in a queue. So presumably at some point the amount of stuff in queues will exceed the amount of stuff I could reasonable get to in a remaining lifetime and I wonder what’ll happen then… perhaps the goal posts can be shifted to “well I’ll surely get to everything in any single one of these queues!” The daunting breadth of the full scope of the queues plus the manageable specific depth of five is an interesting sleight of hand in that way…

Anyway, that’s pretty much it! Feels pretty silly to talk about (especially because of the weird jargon), but really I suppose it’s just 1. put stuff in queues 2. pick from those queues.

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re: backlog

Thanks for writing such a detailed explanation! I’m sure some people will think we are crazy but I love when people have very specific systems like this. I’m always coming up with ways to try to balance my different hobbies and keep in check my different backlogs so this was really interesting. And I get what you say about doing the choosing ‘manually’: it’s just part of the fun!

I definitely struggle with choice paralysis sometimes, especially when I have free time after being busy for a while and suddenly I can do all of the things I’ve been thinking about doing but I don’t know where to start. Now I’m going to think about this and see if I can apply any of the concepts to my stuff. Totally stealing the “roughly weighted random draw” for something at some point P:

And I can confirm that crossing off stuff is just the best.

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Well, I am done bingeing ダンジョン飯 1-10 and とんがり帽子 1-8 (managed to find volumes 6-8 yesterday; I also read volumes 6-8 yesterday, so I’m glad I’m not buying those new).
The unexpected part, though, is that I have now 30+ unread novels. :upside_down_face:

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So how were they? particularly ダンジョン飯 :eyes:

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Both series were pretty good.
With respect to ダンジョン飯, I did like the attention to details in general,
especially in terms of making the magical/physical laws consistent, especially in terms of having a stable 魔物 ecosystem, the circulation of magic through the dungeon, etc. There were other fun details, like when ライオス is learning magic, his pronunciation of elven words is rounded, while that of マルシル is sharp and angular. The cooking also makes sense, which could be expected, considering it’s a major point of the series, thus one that received the most efforts, I guess.
On top of マルシル, I also grew to like チルチャック and カブルー. I’m okay with イヅツミ, … elf dude with half ears ( google tells me his name is ミスルン), and シスル (whose name I remember because 死する… like he makes (un)deads, kinda? At least, it works as a mnemonic). If we are talking about mnemonics, イヅツミ is “Is’s me [Mario]!” (like, a typo’d “It’s me!”), so I always ended up (sub)vocalizing her name with a fake Italian accent. The others are just as bad.
I didn’t care much for the other characters, but I didn’t hate them either, so that’s still a net positive in my book.
In terms of plot, I was disappointed to see that the second half still has basically the same goal as the first one. We didn’t update the MacGuffin (just slightly increased the stakes). Also, I didn’t like the introduction of 悪魔 either, as it breaks the “physical laws” introduced beforehand. We are close enough to the end that it doesn’t affect me much anymore, though :sweat_smile:

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So, that’s kinda old news, but I remembered some discussion of an official unofficial novel (series?) based on this game (basically one of the authors who just wanted a different plot and wrote it instead?). I remember it had a slightly different name? And we talked about it in this thread, but I can’t find it for the life of me.

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I think you’re maybe thinking of this advanced book club nominee?

The one I know I talked about a little in the thread is the original book the game was based on ( デジタル・デビル・ストーリー), while the description of that nominee (that I don’t know much about myself) is more along the lines of what you’re describing. (and it’s related to the same overarching series of games)

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Aaah thank you. Yes, that’s the one I meant. Not surprised I couldn’t find it here then :sweat_smile:

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So far things are going pretty good. Its been 11 days and I’ve made the most progress in my listening that I ever have while still averaging a book almost every 2 days. I’ll be going back for a bit longer but just finished reading something I wanted to post about before I forget.

二番目3…

This book can truly only be described as unholy. I thought the second book was bad, but it just got so much worse. It just came out a this last week and I don’t know if anyone here has picked up the series and read it, but if you have here are my thoughts. I will avoid describing things in detail so I don’t get banned or anything, but even so this might not be for the faint of heart.

Tales of a man who has stared into the abyss (proceed with caution)

Man, I really thought the last volume was rough with hayasaka going through her mental breakdown and stuff. Not to mention the dog part was kinda offputting, but that was just me.

I did not realize how easy the author was going on us.

The start of this volume with him talking with tachibana on the phone while in bed with hayasaka had me thinking it would be like dorodoro like normal. Even when they all three went to the love hotel honestly, it wasn’t that bad because I mean, it was consensual. The whole thing was consensual and, while unconventional, it had some degree of order to it. I legitimately thought they might be able to make something work.

AND THEN I GOT TO CHAPTER 22. What in the ever living FUCK.

Yanagi senpai reallllly just threw a goddamn wrench in things. Like when hayasaka and MC were in the window at the goddamn soccer place doing that for tachibana to see. I was like ok shit is gonna start crumbling. But man, I didn’t expect it to crumble like THAT. That scene where she is walking back with MC and just fucking begging for him to start beating her, like what like helllllll. AND THAT WASN’T EVEN THE WORST PART. Like god im gagging thinking about that next part. THE SMELL. THE WETNESS. He said she basically emptied her stomach right, and that takes time. This man let her walk up to him, unbutton his coat, and vomit inside his shit for a prolonged period of time. Like bruh.

And you know what, the next chapter managed to get worse. The elementary schooler thing? what the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Like ok the whole nail thing wasn’t that bad if I’m being honest, but I actually gagged with the toothbrush thing. Like if it was just the one time on accident thats one thing, but the fact that she liked it and he kept doing it was just unpleasant. Like and then the thing with the shower head on top of that???

Not to mention the current mental state of tachibana when he did those things to her really just…Yeah thats a big fucking grey area.

And honestly, I wish he just would have stopped there. He just had to say this at the very end

このあと俺がひかりちゃん(小学生)にした愛にあふれたしん的なこうについて、ここでは多くを語ることはできない。
いずれにせよ、最高だった。

What in gods name could be so bad that you can’t write it. Lord knows we’ve basically seen everything at this point. Like that shit in the bathroom with hayasaka? Holy crap bro.

Honestly, though, I just thought this whole time while reading this book…and I know this will be a possibly unpopular opinion…but like bro just put tachibana out of her misery. Like you have mentally fucked her beyond repair and literally given her debilitating emotional trauma that will likely prevent her from ever having a normal relationship with a guy for the rest of her life. Just put the final nail in the coffin at this point. You’d be doing her a favor at this point.

And then that ending, aaaaa. Man, I love hayasaka and shes definitely my favorite, but I feel for her so hard man. Like, I cant even imagine the levels of sadness shes going through after seeing them on the platform, but I don’t like seeing her do something so desperate. The kyoto trip literally had the chance to be the end. I was thinking it would have been really solid if that was actually the end between them and thats the direction it seemed like it was going. Tachibana going for yanagi also seemed like a possibility. But I’ll be honest, tachibana got me too a little bit. Like when she was laying there crying at night looking at the pictures, yeah thats rough. And I mean, its not like theres any problem now if they do get together apart from the fact that the other 2 will be sad…but man I reaaalllly dont want hayasaka to be sad. Shes just too great. Major props to her for taking a stand and basically making mc stop being shitty.

All around, definitely the most disgusting and dirty work I have ever consumed in my life, I’d say.

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I have no particular interest in reading this series, but I’ve really enjoyed reading your writeups on it, haha. Truly taking one for the team.

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Managed to squeeze myself into the table :smile_cat:

My original goal for the year was 12 books, but thanks to a productive Tadoku session in March, I am already up to 10 books. So I am going for a revised goal of 20 books, with more of a focus on LN level (and above!) stuff from now on.

Even if I managed 20, I think I’d still have a pile (well a digital pile) of unread books to go through.

Almost finished ボッコちゃん by 新一星, which is pretty well known and a good step up from his easier short-short books. Then it will be back to ようこそ実力至上主義の教室へ

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I read the second book of this and I don’t think anything went the way I expected it too. After the first book ended with one of the mcs(Hoshi) seeing the other(Umi) kiss the slightly older woman(compared to the high school age mcs, she’s in her early twenties), I was thinking that’d be used for drama but instead it turns out they notice she’s there almost immediately afterwards and Hoshi confesses and gets rejected pretty early in the book after the older woman(Chiki/Shio, her real name is the latter but she told the girl that’s in love with her the first of those names) makes it so all three of them awkwardly hang out.

Then Hoshi ends up meeting Chiki/Shio a couple of times, and is at first more aware of how Chiki/Shio is being a bit manipulative compared to Umi and is more annoyed with her at first, but eventually ends up falling for her as well while also blaming herself for falling in love with her other crush’s girlfriend. Everything is set up for a final scene that seems to be the opposite of the first book, with Umi seeing Hoshi and Chiki/Shio together instead of Hoshi seeing the other two. Though, that’s where Umi’s mom enters the scene and the book ends with the reveal that Chiki/Shio is actually Umi’s older sister but her mom hadn’t told her about the fact that she even had an older sister in the first place(it seems like the so far rather mysterious Chiki/Shio did know this all along though).

So in hindsight I guess Hoshi was probably actually attracted to the similarities to her “original” crush Umi and didn’t just randomly fall in love with two totally unrelated people she met in a row. And in terms of final pairing I guess it seems like Hoshi/Umi is probably the likeliest, since Shio’s weirdness and the fact that she’s Umi’s older sister makes it feel that she wouldn’t really be able to be in a stable relationship with either of the other two, as well as the first two books ending with Shio(known as Chiki at the time)/Umi and Shio/Hoshi, so the third and final book ending with Umi/Hoshi would be the only possible remaining pair of two of the three.

While the relationship’s between characters took some strange turns, overall the book was very nicely written and the characters felt pretty believable, so I actually quite liked it :slight_smile: (though it was the 16th book I read by the same author so in a way it’s not very surprising that I enjoyed it)

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