I read the preview for 冒険少年, which is a short-story collection by Adachi Mitsuru. Of course, the preview’s only 11 pg long, and 7 of them are the cover and table of contents and whatnot, leaving only 4 pg for the actual story, so. Who knows if I’ll actually wanna get it or not! I also read the preview for しろくまにっき. It seems really gentle/warm. I ended up adding it and しろさめ’s other manga to my wishlist.
Whyyy do I keep jumping around, I haven’t even finished either of the two manga I’ve got started yet. Anyway, I was in the mood for fantasy, so I read 竜の小塔, the first story in 竜のかわいい七つの子: Seven Little Sons of the Dragon by 九井諒子. It was really good; I liked it. There were a lot of unknown words and kanji I had to look up though, and not even necessarily fantasy-related ones.
The Mountain Country and the Sea Country are on the brink of war, each determined to take back the other for themselves and make it one big country again, but they’re at a standstill because a dragon has made her nest over the only road connecting them; if anyone passes underneath, they’ll be killed. A man from the Sea Country, Sanan, is able to traverse it safely and bargains with the Mountain Country to let him carry supplies between the two until the hatchling leaves the nest and the war begins, because their countries rely on trade between them, but as things stand now, that’s come to a halt. (MC man: “What? Mountain potatoes can grow anywhere!” / Sanan: “The sea air damages the leaves, so they do not grow well in my country.” // SC man: “What? Salt is cheap!” / Sanan: “It’s valuable over there.”) From the very beginning, the people from both countries are shown to be just that: people. To the point where, when Sanan is dining with the MC soldiers on one of his runs, they forget that he’s a SC man and bemoan that they can’t wait for the war to begin—their blades have grown dull! But Sanan, of course, does not forget that, if it weren’t for the dragon and her nest, he could not be here like this right now; if it weren’t for the dragon and her nest, these same men treating him as one of their own would kill him with no hesitation. Finally the day comes where the hatchling is ready to leave the nest, and both armies amass on either side of the tower, prepared to charge once they’ve taken flight and their mother leaves with them. However, the hatchling takes a tumble, and everyone worries for them, fearing them dead or good as, and when they manage to fly off, everyone on both sides is so happy, everyone wearing the same smiles, that the war gets called off. They can’t fight people they’ve come to realize are just like them.
There’s also a side plot where Sanan and Yuruka (the daughter of one of the leaders of the Mountain Country, the same leader he bargained with) fall in love, but little time is spent on it. In fact, I’m not sure when she fell in love with him. From the beginning she didn’t trust, much less like, him simply because he hails from the Sea Country, and they don’t really spend much time together. Sanan, on the other hand, never viewed her poorly, so it’s more believable on his end. I suppose it must have been when the story first switched to Sanan’s POV, as it started out from Yuruka’s, and during his latest trip back to his country, she found herself worrying about him and his safety (while no doubt telling herself that’s foolish, and if he doesn’t return it’s likely that he just decided not to and that he never intended to hold up his end of the bargain and return with more goods for them this time and she was right not to trust him), and when he does return and gives her his necklace in lieu of a souvenir (which she didn’t want anyway!) she starts acting tsundere-like. But, well, this is only about 50 pg long and it’s not primarily a romance, so sensei had to fit it in there somehow. They had potential at least, so I can’t say I’m that dissatisfied. And then Yuruka starts the story wanting to visit the sea once they’ve won the war, but she ends it telling Sanan that she wants to visit the sea with him.
Well, saying that, I did go and read act 6 and the 描き下ろし ボーイミーツエトセトラ of ボーイミーツマリア, finishing the story! I love this book so much. I’m actually kinda sad I’ve finished it (even though I’m definitely gonna be rereading it a bunch). I’m sad we’ll never get any more.
"I did not sign up for this shit," says mom friend of local dumbass
Apparently this dumbass doesn’t even know what ホモ means, which is probably why he was unfazed when it got added to his nickname. He comes to realize that a guy liking another guy is considered “weird,” that being different (like a guy dressing as a gal) is “weird,” and this is the kind of world that Arima’s been living in all this time. (He still seems unbothered by whether he’s gay or not and by others thinking him weird, but he understands Arima’s situation a little better now.)
We learn that the man who’d saved Arima from that teacher was Taiga’s dad, on a detour through the park on his way to visit his wife in the hospital. He gives Arima a flower from the bouquet he brought when he starts crying and sits with him until the police arrive. He knows he hasn’t been a good person lately and has hurt the people he loves—he’d gotten the bouquet intending to apologize to his wife—which is probably why he never tells Taiga the reason he was too late that day and continues to let him think whatever he likes of him. That, and he likely knows that Taiga wouldn’t believe him anyway and would think he’s just making excuses. Not back then, and not now, either. Though, at the current point in the story, they seem to get along pretty well again (though that could just be Taiga’s good mood surrounding the upcoming play; plus, just because you can get along with someone doesn’t mean you don’t dislike them, especially when it’s someone you have to be around every day).
Ahhh and he’d put his hand atop Arima’s head and told him, “大丈夫。大丈夫,” the way Taiga put his arm around Arima’s shoulders last chapter and told him, “大丈夫。大丈夫.” Like father, like son. When they meet after the play the next day, Arima recognizes him (Taiga’s dad also seems to recognize him from that day but dismisses it since he thought the kid he’d saved was a girl and this kid is a boy), but Taiga never learns the truth about why his dad was late that day. I hope he does, in the future.
“‘Yuu the guy’ or ‘Yuu the girl’… You can just be Yuu.” (Or something to that effect, with a play on ‘actor’ and ‘actress,’ as Arima had just used those words on the previous page, and the kanji for his given name being common to both of them.) This moment, right here, is I believe where Arima decides it’s all right to let himself fall for Taiga: Taiga will love and accept him no matter who he is (and even if he never figures it out).
That expression!! (Also, that prince costume really suits Taiga.)
lol he kissed him all confident-like, and now he’s blushing just as much as Taiga
In the 描き下ろし, Taiga’s first date with Arima is fast approaching, and he’s come up with the perfect plan (in a notebook he’s titled “有馬とオレ ドキ♡ドキ デート 計画” lol) and he recruits Fukumaru and Tetsu to help him refine it. His plan involves himself being a cool, suave, perfect boyfriend and Arima being a shy, blushing girlfriend. And a whole lot of him putting his arm around Arima’s shoulders. His friends, however, are like, “I wonder if Arima will show up as a guy or a gal, though…” and, sure enough, the next day (and Taiga’s had them come along but keep some distance lmao), Arima shows up dressed more masculine than he usually does because he wants to be a cool, suave, perfect boyfriend to impress Taiga. And Taiga ends up being the one blushing with Arima’s arm around his shoulder lol. Tetsu and Fukumaru end up showing themselves when Taiga’s forgotten part 2 of his plan and very
discreetly obviously calls out to them for it. Arima drags Tetsu off, wanting to know what kind of thing Taiga would be happy to receive from him and what kind of expensive restaurant he should take him to and how to grow a beard and how to get taller, and Tetsu’s just like, What did I get myself into. Poor Tetsu is just in a constant state of “Why do I have to deal with these idiots, I wanna go home,” huh. Except now it’s not just one idiot he’s gotta deal with, it’s two. The curse of being the mom friend, I suppose lol
Oh my gosh, after Tetsu and Fukumaru tell them to not overthink things and dump them, they go to see the タイガー仮面 movie in the theater, and afterwards when he’s telling Taiga what he thought of it, Arima unconsciously stops talking about タイガー partway through and starts talking about 大河 instead. They both realize it at the same time and die of embarrassment lol
Some vocab of note:
鉄槌を下す (てっついをくだす) [expression, サ五] to crack down on (e.g. crime, corruption, etc.); to deal a crushing blow to; to bring down the hammer on. In this case, it was 正義の鉄槌をくだす, to bring down the hammer of justice (on those barbaric Sea Country people).
頂戴 (ちょうだい) [expression, female language] please; please do for me
からがら [adverb] barely
孵る (かえる) [ラ五, intransitive] to hatch
取引 (とりひき) [noun, する verb] transactions; dealings; business. These no-okurigana words that look like they should use on’yomi but use kun’yomi sure can be tricky. I hope it gets easier to recognize them.
気を緩める (きをゆるめる) [expression, 一] to relax one’s efforts; to let up; to let one’s guard down
訳アリ (わけあり) [expression, な-adjective] having special circumstances (e.g. problems, issues, advantages, flaws, defects, etc.); imperfect (merchandise); with defects