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Sinnesspiel ([personal profile] sinnesspiel) wrote2015-07-27 10:13 am

Shiki Novel Translations 3.13.1

The phone rang as Seishin returned to the temple office after finishing performing the Buddhist services. Having a premonition of what that phone call would convey, he decided not to answer it. Mitsuo picked it up and after a bit of back and forth came to Seishin with the phone in hand. 
"It seems like the young madame of the Ozaki's has died."

Is that so, was all Seishin replied with. 

"I'd caught wind of rumors that she wasn't doing well but to think it was that bad," Mitsuo said to nobody in particular, continuing on. "Gohei-san has just done two families, so it seems that the Tamo's Sadaichi-san will fill in for us. He will be coming over directly to meet with you."


Just as Mitsuo said, Sadaichi had hurried directly over, putting together all of the arrangements for the funeral. This was in spite of just having had a funeral for his own household the day before.

The vigil would be tonight, the burial the next day, and given Toshio's tastes it didn't need to be a big funeral service, it was decided. 

"After all, things what they are, you guys at the temple are short handed too, so we'll handle it internally and you guys don't have to go to any special trouble, he said," Ikebe said seeming grateful for Toshio's consideration. "To be honest, he really saved us. Even if he did tell us to make it big, we don't have Sumi-san anymore and Tsurumi-san is apparently sick too now."

Seishin nodded. When he found the time he had tried calling Sumi's home and asking how he was. He supposed he'd be told that Sumi had died but contrary to his expectations he was only told that Sumi wasn't there. Sumi had suddenly said he wanted to go on a trip, and that he left without any written notice. He thought that it was likely to be a trip he wouldn't return from, but Seishin couldn't exactly state that to them. 

At any rate, since he had contacted Sumi's household, he had asked whether Sumi's father or older brother could assist as officiating monks. The rather flippant way the word "Again?" came out again made him aware of how isolated the village was from the outside world. In the village the word "again" had already become forbidden. With the two from Sumi's place and Ikebe, with Seishin altogether the temple had four people. The temple was short handed but indeed if the family involved were the Ozakis; no matter how much they were told to keep it simple they couldn't have fewer people than that attending. 

"It feels like it's been a long time coming," Tamo Sadaichi sighed. "Really, I get the feeling that there are fewer families that haven't had a funeral."

Saying that he looked fleetingly to Seishin. It was a look that seemed to be imploring him about something, but Seishin could not answer the unspoken question. 

The one who conveyed news of her death to Ritsuko was Hashiguchi Yasuyo. 

"The Young Madame? She's passed away now."

Ritsuko couldn't find her words. Yesterday she had been told that her condition was grave enough that they were closed for the day so she had been prepared. Even so, hearing that she had in fact died weighed on her heart. 

"Tonight's the vigil, tomorrow's the funeral. Today and tomorrow it seems like the hospital will be closed."

"Yes...... Of course."

Ritsuko picked out her clothing and left the house. She had to go to help. But indeed thinking of what to say to Toshio weighed heavily on her mind. Maybe he had felt guilty about overlooking the initial symptoms, for he had been providing constant care to her. But what good as it? Looking back on it, despite providing more vigilant care than to any other patient, it ultimately meant that even Toshio couldn't do anything against this disease.


That thought secretly seized her heart. Was this really a mere epidemic? She had a feeling she already knew the answer to that but she didn't want to accept that, no matter what. 

Traveling the quite familiar road, the hospital came into view. When she reached the hospital, she went through the side gate to the entryway of the main household. How many years had it been since she had come here? Things were already being set up in the entryway for the funeral. 

Ritsuko was a bit surprised to see Tamo Sadaichi amongst the gathered people, seeming to be directing them. The Tamo's place had just had a funeral the night before. 

(But...... Tokujiro-san isn't here anymore, so......)

Monzen's mourning crew caretaker was on the death register. She had thought that Takemura Gouhei would fill in as the next in line for caretaker but old man Gouhei who was not used to the task had already just managed two in a row recently. Perhaps they had no choice but to have Sadaichi fill in. She wasn't aware of the sigh that she leaked out. She couldn't avoid thinking of this as a sign of how dire the distress of the village was. 

Giving her greetings to the gathered people she went into the entryway. Mutou and Yasuyo were already In the spacious entryway hall. When asked where Toshio was, Yasuyo shook her head. 

"He's asleep."

"He's.... sleeping?"

Yasuyo smiled faintly. "He must be utterly exhausted. You should have seen how terrible he looked when I first came and saw him. So I'd told him to please sleep, myself" Yasuoyo said before lowering her voice. "It might not be the most appropriate time for it, but at last there are no pressing medical exams or patients whose conditions need to be watched over for the time being. That almost never happens, you know, so if he doesn't rest now, then..."

"That's true."

"Now the head Madame, she's in the tatami room."

Ritsuko nodded and headed towards the tatami room. Ozaki Takae was already in place beside the altar, holding herself back. Ritsuko had said conciliatory words, but Takae was disinterested in them. Rather, she was clearly in a foul mood. 

"I am sure this must be a very hard time for you..."

Takae brushed off Ritsuko's cliched lines with a sigh. "If only she had at least left behind a child. I don't know what is going through the heads of today's youth, but she was so caught up in herself that it was as if she just didn't have time for children."


"And Toshio too, there was no need for him to go to such lengths, but he's soft on people, that boy. And when we were bound to be so busy with the vigil and the funeral, I certainly hope he isn't on the verge of collapse himself, but."

Troubled as to how to respond, Ritsuko gave a vague nod. Giving only the stock lines of mourning, she quickly retreated towards the entryway. Having imagined about how the exchange must have went, Mutou gave her a wry smile and told her that Yasuyo had gone to the kitchen, and so Ritsuko headed to the dining room. Yasuyo was wearing an apron she had taken from the kitchen and making preparations for tea. 

"Good work enduring it," Yasuyo said with a wry smile. "---Well, there is no doubt about it that the doctor's condition is more worrisome right now."

"That's true." As Ritsuko gathered up an apron herself, she showed a vague smile. "It looks like the funeral is being kept as simple as possible. Though with that said, since it is the Ozakis, the temple can't take it easy even so."

"That's why the madame's in such a foul mood, isn't it?" Kiyomi joined in with a small voice, tinged with a laugh. Kiyomi was making a dour face. Looking at that face, Ritsuko had thought that she was imitating Takae but it seemed that was not the reason that Kiyomi was making such a sullen expression. "Yasuyo-chan, Ricchan, don't bother in here."

Eh, Ritsuko said tilting her head.

"Because they're having the the neighborhood female helpers tend to the kitchen. They said that they wanted us to do other preparations," Kiyomi said, sitting down in the dining room. "Sadaichi-san was begged.  Please have the neighbors tend to that part. They said they didn't want the nurses to have any hand in the cooking."

"That's...... not a problem, but why?"

"The epidemic," Kiyomi murmured quietly. "There are rumors of a terrible disease spreading around. The neighbors are saying things like wondering if we should be touching things that people will be putting in their mouths."

Ritsuko was at a loss for words. Yasuyo too could only say "My," and nothing more. 

Indeed, though, Ritsuko thought. The nurses were on the very front lines against any "terrible disease." If this were an ordinary epidemic, there would be a chance of direct infection, and there would be the possibility that the nurses themselves were already carriers. It wasn't as if she couldn't understand the uneasiness they must have held. 

As they all sat in a well kept silence, Satoko arrived. Yasuyo called out to her while taking off her apron. "Thanks for working today. ---How'd it go? Did Yuki-chan call back?"

No, Satoko said with a dark expression. Yuki was still missing, with all details still unknown. 

"I tried calling her family too, but she hasn't contacted them either."

"I see...... That's worrisome, isn't it?"

Yasuyo let out a deep sigh. Ritsuko too secretly let out a breath. Really---sighing was all they could do. Telling Satoko about the situation, they didn't bother with the kitchen and went again towards the entryway. While avoiding the unpleasant stares of the people gathered there, they were directed by a very apologetic Tamo Sadaichi towards the reception parlor. 

"I'm very sorry about this. If you could, handle the account books and the office work."

Yasuyo nodded. Sadaichi sighed. 

"......Really though, just what is going on in this village? We just had a funeral last night at my place, didn't we? With all this, we're being hit hard all over again."

"Oh my, Sadaichi-san, your family too?"

That's right, Sadaichi said with a sad smile. "Though it isn't like I don't understand caution about the houses who've had a death. The Maruyasus and the contractors said the same thing. Especially with the contractors having one after another, the head clerk Takeda from there said that there were families that gave him dirty looks just for coming and going through there."

Yasuyo breathed a sigh. "There's no hope for this world, is there?"

"......... Not that avoiding anybody would do any good against this, though." Sadaichi said off to himself. When Ritsuko and the others tilted their heads, he must have realized the words that had slipped out; he gave an uncomfortable, awkward smile. 

"No, I just mean, when you get old you start to think strangely, to misunderstand some things. So as it is, I get to thinking like that. Thinking, is this really an epidemic, things like that. It feels like it's something more---like it's something else."

"Something else?"

"What that something else is supposed to be, now that I don't know," Sadaichi laughed off. He said he didn't know, but Sadaichi seemed like he had something specific on his mind. 

And Ritsuko had that same thought in mind. Somebody who looked like Yasumori Nao. The memory itself had worn away to seem more like a dream but it had still stuck with her. 

As they collectively sighed, Takae's voice rang out.

"My, all of you, what do you think you are doing, taking it easy in here?" Takae peered into the open doorway into the parlor room, scowling. "If the lot of you can't take the initiative, that will be quite the problem. The neighbors wouldn't know their way around our kitchen. Yasuyo-san, go and direct them, why don't you!"

Well, that's, Yasuyo said looking to Sadaichi. Sadaichi tried to explain the situation to Takae. Takae interrupted him.

"As for the office work, isn't that what Mutou-san is for? That is his specialty, so please leave that to him. Yasuyo-san, I will have you go to the kitchen. I won't have the women of the neighborhood tampering in the kitchen as they please. And in the first place, if the lot of you don't do the brunt of the work, do you know how that will look to the outside? You aren't guests here after all!"

"But we aren't exactly servants either." It was Satoko who spoke. Takae narrowed her eyes at that. 

"It seems you are forgetting who pays your salaries."

"Indeed, I do receive a salary from the doctor. But that is payment for my services as a nurse at the hospital, I'm not some servant of the Ozaki family."

"Sato-chan," Kiyomi quietly rebuked. She could see Takae's expression shift. 

"Really, Toshio is too easy on people! Taking such precious care of rebellious nurses like these. If I were the master of the house, I would see to it that you resign immediately, myself."

"I wouldn't mind so much. There are plenty of hospitals in need of nurses."

"What's this? The mouth on you! We've taken care of you up until today. If that is how you feel, then quit and go off to wherever else you like, why don't you?"

"I may just do that," Satoko carelessly thew back. "......Yuuki-chan went missing, and the doctor isn't even worried. If that's how it is, then I am starting to feel like I don't care anymore either."

"Sato-chan," Kiyomi again scolded. Satoko looked up to Kiyomi, tears brimming. 

"But we don't know where she went? It's been this long and she hasn't called, isn't it obvious that something's happened? An accident, or something worse. But the doctor just said 'Is that right?' and never even asked what came of it!"

Kiyomi wordlessly placed a hand on Satoko's back. 

"That's, I know, I understand that the doctor is troubled with what happened with the young madame. She is his wife, I'm sure 
that he was worried, that he had a lot on his mind? But Yuuki-chan has been working here through all of this too. Things looked hard on the doctor, so she said let's move here, she gave up her days off and kept coming in, and yet he... ---And still, he...!"

Ritsuko rubbed Satoko's back as she covered her face and sobbed. She understood Satoko's worries, she understood them painfully well.

Takae gave Ritsuko and the others who comforted her a grim glower. "Did you think for even an instant that the wife of the director and a nurse would be treated with the same level of importance? But then again, you do seem to be a child who can't understand the order of such things."

Saying that, Takae turned back. Sadaichi looked with bewilderment between where Takae had been and where the sobbing Satoko were. 


(Anonymous) 2015-08-05 05:05 am (UTC)(link)
It's a much needed rest. (Though I gotta wonder if aside from the exhaustion of tending to a corpse getting to him it's also because of Seishin's attitude letting him down, again)

I also like that Seishin having his ugly side revealed to Toshio doesn't stop him from doing things he's most comfortable and suited doing. I think he's pretty ashamed since Toshio really rubbed it onto his face about what kind of person he actually is, but even if Toshio's expectation has been restricting him, Seishin is putting a limit to that, and it's in a way good for him (even if it's not good for the villagers). He's rather highly conscious about image, so I'm kinda afraid. Part of it is probably because of Sunako's 'influence' tho.

Generally though, even if he's been restricted by Toshio's expectation just like he's been with his parents' and the villagers' overall, I think he overall has a healthier relationship with Toshio in that he's not actually that afraid to act as himself compared with other villagers and his parents. He also isn't just blindly following Toshio's commands or anything -- he isn't Toshio's puppet, like you said. He instead asserts his opinions a lot when he thinks he's right about them, and some in turn make Toshio reflect on them. He's just as active in their relationship just like Toshio is, and he can be as influential to Toshio just like how Toshio is influential to him. If he works to meet Toshio's expectations, part of it is because he truly wants to, both for Toshio (helping him) and the villagers (though a bigger part of his heart probably wants to screw it all). If they weren't born in Sotoba, or if they weren't born an Ozaki or Muroi, I think their relationship could even be healthier and better. I have lots of respect for their relationship, considering they're two opposite people and they could come this far.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] airlynx 2015-08-09 10:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I wonder if part of the reason that Seishin isn't so (outwardly, maybe inwardly) swayed by Toshio's words is because he already knew these things about himself all along; hearing them from someone else turned them into fact rather than speculation. Don't you think that Seishin benefits from these deep discussions with other people? Sunako cracked his personality pretty well, and he's more comfortable with himself after this. Now Toshio has as well, and that leads him to be more comfortable with his decision to join the Kirishikis, probably.

Yeah, it would be a mistake to say that Toshio is the better character just because he's more outwardly impressive, so to speak. They're both very complex characters who choose different ways to live their lives and view the world differently; that alone doesn't make one of them a superior character to the other. It's also really original how rather than having the two foil characters be enemies, Ono made them best friends, and explored what kind of conflicts it would cause to have two such different personalities be around each other and have affection for each other.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-08-10 09:44 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- I love the part where he refused to pick up the phone because ke knew it was Toshio telling them about Kyouko's death. He's so childish.

He definitely knows. There are people who are concerned about image and not liking to be seen in a negative light by people however, who would really rather people not knowing about them but are generally okay with these parts themselves, so I worried a bit. If Seishin is anything like this, he could very well get swayed and ended up just catering to Toshio even if that's not what he wants. Generally, I think the reason as to why he's not so swayed is because he's used to act more like himself around Toshio, compared to around other people, and yeah, those discussions with Sunako. No matter how much Seishin wants to just hide, he also still has the drive to live as himself no matter what, the good and bad.

I think that depends on the readers' taste. What kind of character do you like? Then again, even when people can agree that a certain character is well narrated as a character, they may not be so impressed with them personally. That's fine. I'm personally really intrigued by Seishin, and it's in my desire to understand him, but there are parts of him I'm also not very impressed with. He's not a grand character, but he's interestingly human, and his flaws and faults are what make him intriguing to me. There's also Toshio; he has great work ethic, but I dislike his rude mouth and self-destructive habits. There are parts of him I'm not impressed with, but others I highly admire. I also admire Natsuno, but I think he could learn to not be that cold towards others. Good that he doesn't expect people to put him on a pedestal though. Depending on the perspective too; what may seem bad about them could be good and admirable if we switch perspectives. If you try to put yourself in Toshio's place, Seishin instantly becomes very much annoying. But if you put yourself in Seishin's, you'll try to empathize with what he does, and that Toshio's expectation seems annoying (as a person who's not very duty-oriented and can be individualistic, it's slightly easier for me to put myself in Seishin's place). Natsuno versus his parents; and even Sunako. Sunako is bad for the villagers, but not so much for the Shikis, probably.

Oh, Toshio and Seishin's relationship is definitely my favorite thing from the whole series. They may not seem that great, but considering I've never been that close with anyone who's not family (and that being in exclusive friendship with only one person will feel different in my opinion compared to being equally close with more than one person, and the latter is what I personally know how it feels) they seem really amazing to me. They do have faults, but I'm equally intrigued by those faults as well as admiring their good qualities. Saddened, but intrigued all the same.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] airlynx 2015-08-16 06:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, it's really a mark of a good character if you disagree with part of them. If you can relate to a character and like ALL of their traits, that probably means the character is a Mary Sue. It's also unique how the reader can really relate to a lot of characters in Shiki (except maybe Atsushi), so they're more attached to them. Similarly, it's also easier to write characters that you can relate to, especially if you're writing from their POV; I wonder if Ono could relate to other characters too? This is a thought I have often: what does she think about her characters? Who's her favorite? Least favorite? Ughhh, why can't the woman give more interviews lol.

Seeing a relationship go south is really sad; I think Seishin and Toshio drifting apart is the saddest thing in Shiki for me. Second place would most likely be Kanami's mom coming back to her? It's also frustrating reading about the two confronting their differences and not being able to deal with them. I believe that communication is the key to a good friendship, but despite all their late night bedroom talks, Seishin and Toshio have never really had that, have they? People say that it's easier to be friends with someone you have a lot in common with, but it's also good if you're very different. With the right communication, the two people can learn more about each other and see things from a point of view they never knew existed. I wish that Toshio could see how suffocating life in Sotoba is (like Seishin), and that Seishin could feel how good it is to be involved in the community (like Toshio).

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-08-18 03:20 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- if it's Mary/Gary Sue, chances are I'm not going to be much sympathetic with them. I tend to sympathize more with antagonistic characters or characters with lots of flaws -- but when they get too immoral or destructive, I also hate it. Lol.

I now know most of Ono's works (though 3 are manga adaptation) and what stands out to me is no two characters are identical in personality. She indeed brings up the theme of "I don't fit in this place" quite a few times (Shiki, Demon Child, Twelve Kingdoms) which makes a big part of character arc, but they're all people with distinct personality. I find it amazing, though that's probably not a weird thing. I mean, if it's Seishin, all his protagonists end up just like him. Well, guess every author has their own style.

Ugh. Even if their separation is pretty much destined and necessary, that doesn't mean I'm absolutely, 100 percent, thrilled with it. They might not come to hate one another... but that also doesn't mean it's completely on nice terms. Are they sad and bitter about it? Do they regret it? Well, Seishin is the one who leaves, so he's probably more prepared mentally about it. I remember him telling Sunako to just give up lest Toshio kills her or something along the line (he probably thinks Toshio is invincible or something) and thinking that the villagers are coming to kill him, and chief upon them is Toshio (if I read it right). He doesn't seem to be much sad or anything. Toshio on the other hand is probably more bitter about it, since all of this is so unexpected, and while part of him saw it coming I think he still feels betrayed somehow.

As sad as I'm about it, part of me thinks that if their differences are so irreconcilable... then so be it. No can do about it. They aren't able to see things the other's way, so why must they? They will only hurt themselves further and the other if they keep being together, because they have differing principles, wishes and visions. Better they move on soon, if it hurts so much. If Toshio isn't Seishin, he won't understand that living in Sotoba is suffocating, and if Seishin isn't Toshio he won't be able to feel involved in the community. They don't understand. No amount of wishes will keep them from going separate ways, and in their case, it's really necessary I think it's cruel to keep it from happening. This part of me is cold and cynical...

Well. Enough of that. I wanna share something with you, fellow Ghost Hunt fan (I don't know if you've read these beforehand or not, tho...):

Translation of Akumu no Sumu Ie (GH sequel) novel:

The top three posts in this page are about Gene and Naru's daily life in the UK (well, technically top two ones):

Re: 8D

[personal profile] airlynx 2015-08-23 11:09 pm (UTC)(link)

Definitely, mostly all of my favorite characters are antagonists! Shiki is a big outlier, since Ozaki is my favorite character, and he's one of the protagonists, whereas I don't sympathize with any of the Shiki except maybe Kanami's mom.

I have so much respect for Ono for exactly that reason (well, I respect her for a lot of reasons of course...) because creating characters is so difficult. Characters are supposed to be people, and people are complicated. A lot of media fails with this because they try to base a whole character off of one aspect; but that's so unrealistic, characters are contradictory, have hidden sides, have unique desires...being able to craft such a complicated personality, and then be able to express it well in media is A lot of media has a few good characters, and flat side characters. And for Ono to be able to have mostly all (although there are probably exceptions, I can't think of any off the top of my head) good characters Respect!

I also think it's really sad. Oddly though, whenever I think of 'future' scenarios I never feel like Toshio or Seishin are really heartbroken over being separated from each other. Maybe it's because they already feel like there's nothing more they can do and they're just so different they've given up trying and don't think trying will do any good anyway. Seishin, like you said, is the one leaving, so he's okay with it. I think for him being able to start a new life for himself is more important than Ozaki. And Ozaki would probably regret being separated from Seishin, but would just see it as something that happened and not dwell on it. A person like him would definitely have work to do after the village is destroyed, so I can't see him unemployed, drinking away his sorrows in a small motel room lol. He didn't seem particularly shaken after the initial shock of Seishin driving out of Kanemasa, and just seemed to accept it like "yeah, that's just the kind of guy he is". And at the very end where he's in the back of the truck getting away from Sotoba, his last thoughts aren't about Seishin. So I think they're going to be okay....but we might not be //sobs/.

O M G, how did you find these?! Thank you so much for sharing!! I read all of the Ghost Hunt translations except for 1/2 of the last novel that wasn't translated on BakaTsuki (and I couldn't find a translation anywhere else...), I actually reread them just this summer. I'm excited to start the sequel novels now ;----;! You've made me a very happy camper.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-08-24 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- I also like Toshio, though part of it is because he isn't the kind of shounen protagonist who's all heroic complete with noble visions and methods. I think he's not so much heroic as only wanting to defend the place he was born in, the place that has been left in his care as a leader. If the whole Shiki ordeal happens in elsewhere place, I think he won't be this worked up. Still concerned, but not as worked up. I just don't like the kind of protagonists who are all good and can do no wrong. I don't exactly side with either humans or Shikis, because in my mind they're all mostly the same and it's just the matter of which side you're invested in, I don't really care whatever reasons -- though since I've always liked Seishin more, I'm obviously invested in his safety and future and thus looks out for him which extends a bit into the Shikis as the side he chooses to go with. But I like the scenes where Toshio is on the move. They're so satisfying to watch, ahah. When I choose to sympathize with Seishin, I see Toshio and co as the enemies, when I choose to sympathize with Toshio, it's the Shikis. When it's Sunako, it's the villagers. I usually side with certain characters first before moving onto the larger groups, really.

Same, I soooo respect her for her ability of going into multiple heads with multiple personalities rather perfectly. It's something that's totally hard to do. One of the reasons I love to read her works (well, mostly manga adaptations though) is because I love how her characters are so diverse in personality. Not to mention that her works are usually rather different in theme. It's like going on an adventure, and her works are guaranteed to engage me. I also learn so much from them.

I definitely cannot see Toshio doing nothing, but I also have a feeling that just because he is okay on the outside, he might not totally be inside. He's not exactly selfless, but he's self sacrificing -- and I somehow has the feeling that he actually wants to chase after Seishin if not for the situations (including the fact that he definitely acknowledges Seishin's own desire to just follow his own self). I got the feeling after I caught a few tiny spoilers from the novel that just left me feeling like... gosh, this guy REALLY sets Seishin apart from other people, doesn't he? Not that I'm saying he's the emotional kind, since he's not, totally not, but I think the whole ordeal affected him deeper than it seems. About his last thoughts in the back of the truck; I really wonder about that. He certainly doesn't mention Seishin's name, but... well, it's in the tiny spoiler you asked in the other reply.

You're welcomee 8DDD coincidentally, it's someone I know who translated Akumu no Sumu Ie. It's still ongoing, but she said she was going to continue it, so don't worry! She also likes Shiki, and has probably read the translations here, though as far as I know she hasn't commented once. I think she's more of a GH fan than Shiki fan. She was also the one who pointed me out to the kagedreams link. Glad that I can be helpful!

Re: 8D

[personal profile] airlynx 2015-09-26 04:07 pm (UTC)(link)

I feel the same about Ozaki being satisfying to watch! The way you put it struck a chord. I like how in the first half of the series, he doesn't know what is going on so obviously he doesn't take any big action, but as soon as he gets a lead that he thinks is right, he jumps on it immediately. He doesn't half-ass it because he thinks the idea of vampires seems unlikely, he doesn't hesitate because he doesn't quite know what to do about it. It's an attitude that I'd want to emulate. If I was in his place, I'd have likely not messed with the vampires when I first found out and instead tried to think of a foolproof plan first, and then probably missed my chance. But the way Ozaki did it, he messed with them enough to know enough about them to finish them off once an opportunity presented itself. Haha, I'm such a big Ozaki fan! But going back to his motivation, it is really unique and really, as you pointed out, unlike a typical shounen protagonist. His drive to save the village comes more from a responsibility than thinking that the vampires are unnatural/immoral/should not exist, etc. In fact, he doesn't really treat them as 'vampires' throughout the work, does he? If the vampires were instead a group of humans in a crime ring terrorizing Sotoba, his approach to them would be about the same. Except he wouldn't be looking to kill the crime ring so much as to lock them up--but for him, I think it's more of 'stopping' the crime than killing or jailing the culprit. If they were humans, the way to stop them would be to jail them. Since they're not, and the only way to stop them is to kill them, then that's what he'll do. It's a good contrast how Ozaki sees the Shiki as 'them', as a group, whereas Seishin sees them as individuals. And Ozaki sees the villagers as individuals, while Seishin sees them as a group.

I feel like a common theme throughout Ono's works is that they're first and foremost stories about people and their struggles--with themselves, with their friends, and with their environment. Any plot or setting that she has is of secondary importance, although they're still without exception awesome. Even Ghost Hunt, which is the most mundane of the three works of hers that I know (Shiki, GH, and 12 Kingdoms), and doesn't delve as deep into characters, appealed to me because it was so hard science-y compared to most other ghost stories. Instead of 'ooh, a ghost, let us use a Ouija board to communicate with it and let it pass on peacefully to the other side', it talks about real-life research into paranormal phenomena and explains the mechanics behind spoon-bending and Naru and Lin's status as onmyoji. So it would follow that the part I didn't like about it was toward the end, when Mai started saving the day just by using her unusually strong and conveniently appearing spirit powers, rather than the characters all saving the day by using their respective strengths and logicking through the case. I'm not sure what Ono was going with there toward the end.

The ordeal had to have affected Ozaki definitely. But it can't only be because of Seishin. Let's not forget that he lost Kyoko (a wife that he didn't have a romantic relationship with but maybe at least a partnership. And my personal headcanon is that Kyoko did like him romantically, but never acted on it. My only evidence is how when she first arrives and Ozaki taunts his mother, telling her to do her duty and have another son before leaving, Kyoko is shown waving at him with a lingering LOOK before Takae starts going off on her. It's an anime-only moment, but...anyway.), and he also lost his mother (a woman who's been around him raising him since he was a kid, even if he resented her. I doubt he wanted her actually dead), and a lot of the patients he's worked with throughout the years, curing them and helping them only to have them die. I honestly don't know how he would cope with that, but he would probably just not think about it too much, maybe keeping himself busy so he doesn't have to. Unlike Seishin, who I think would actively sit down and think about Sotoba, however.

I appreciate it!

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-09-27 04:41 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- Yeah, it's just like when he said in a chapter I believe that if the Shiki were a group of humans, he could just report them to the authorities or use a legal system on them. But they're not humans. They're outside the judicial system as existing currently, but they definitely have to be stopped immediately. So Toshio takes the matter into his own hands. If he were anyone else, I think he would revel in the idea that he can judge them however he wants and doesn't need to be judged back for it, since the Shiki aren't protected by the law. (No law that includes them, even) I believe a lot of people will find some kind of perverted pleasure in torturing the Shiki as shown in the animanga. But Toshio, fortunately, isn't this kind of person. As much as I cannot forgive him for what he did to Kyouko, he didn't do that for some kind of sick pleasure. Everything he does is to protect the village, and he seeks no personal benefit from it.

His impulsiveness can be a source of frustration even to him because his desire to do things often prevents him from forming a good plan for it first, but people who tend to be impulsive tend to accomplish more than people who are not, I believe (this is speaking from a person who isn't impulsive and often hesitant). However, I think people who are too impulsive also tend to screw things up more than people who aren't.

I'd say that the actually strong one is Gene, because if not for him guiding Mai her still budding powers will not prove as useful. Speaking about Gene, I'm a bit suspicious about his actual desires/motives. I cannot exactly get over the fact that Mai calls him 'Naru' multiple times to his face (doesn't she?) and he doesn't even try to correct her. Like, if he corrects her immediately and just explains things to her and asks her to relay it to Naru things will be much easier. It isn't like Mai won't listen and Naru won't immediately believe (Naru does believe her immediately when she told him in the manga). That he doesn't do that has to imply that he has hidden motives, probably. Isn't he lonely that his own brother doesn't even know that he still lingers? Isn't he lonely that the only human that knows about him is Mai? Even if Naru can no longer reach him and so does he, Naru can still reach him via Mai and him via her too? Like, Gene observes the whole group, which includes Naru and Lin -- but cannot reach them, it has to drive him mad. But when he does reach Mai, he lets her be misled, and in turn isolating himself further. I'm not saying that he has an evil motive, but it's probably not very pure either, just like how everyone generally is.

Well, undoubtedly a lot of things affect Toshio. I think even if emotionally/sentimentally Seishin is more important than other people in his life, he still won't sacrifice justice/responsibilities for him. I think that's just how he is. I'm kinda afraid that after the whole ordeal, when all his sacrifices didn't come into fruition, he turns depressive because it has just dawned on him on how much he's lost. He won't show it, but that doesn't mean he's just fine is how I picture he is. Speaking about Seishin, I think he'll probably just be done with the whole thing. Which means that he'll potentially be scarier. I think an indifferent person has a potential to be scarier than a person raging with rage and hatred. That's why the opposite of love is indifference/apathy and not hatred I imagine.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] airlynx 2015-11-05 05:05 am (UTC)(link)

Another thing I really like about Ozaki is that he really doesn't do anything for profit, or 'personal benefit' like you said. Although through his skill he's managed to become one of the respected village heads and he's the ringleader in the Shiki extermination, it's not because he's always striving to get to the top like one would think. At least, that's not the vibe that I get from him. It's not about being a leader, it's about getting the job done.

I think it's interesting that despite conforming more to the system than Seishin, Ozaki is actually more quick to abandon his beliefs and take alternate action. Like, as soon as Ozaki got the idea that the infectious disease is vampires, he instantly went from thinking in terms of science to thinking in terms of myths and legends (although his approach to getting the Shiki was still very systematical--scientific method ftw). Also, it was (relatively) easy for him to get past his society's teachings that murder is wrong and stake the vampires anyway. Granted, he didn't see them as human so to him it's not murder, but they look human and they act human (Kyoko did). What I'm trying to say is that it's easy for him to abandon the way of thinking he grew up with in favor of another one that fit the circumstances.

Whereas Seishin, although rejecting the system, clings to the idea of murder being wrong and initially doesn't buy Ozaki's idea of there being vampires. His agreeing to stay up with Ozaki and watch Setsuko indicates his deep friendship and trust in Ozaki more than anything else. I mean, if my doctor friend asked me to stay up in a dark, creepy clinic with him all night, I'd do it because it would be fun to bring a video camera with and film a homemade horror movie, Paranormal Activity-style (can you imagine the Wakas doing that?). However, Seishin's obviously not there for fun. Although he rejects the system more actively than Ozaki, he clings to it more tightly once circumstances start deviating their paths from the system.

To be honest...I don't know enough about Gene's character in general. I mean, I know that every time "Naru" appeared in Mai's dreams it was actually Gene, but I haven't gotten to the part where he's actively discussed. I just read the part of the LN that takes place by the lake where Gene drowned, but not even the whole of that novel. Now that you mention it though, Gene does seem shady in not correcting Mai, although I could think of a few reasons why that is. Perhaps he didn't want to confuse her when there were more important things at hand (most of the time when he appeared, she was in some sort of danger, right? Not the best time to reveal the fact that he's Naru's twin). Or maybe he thought she was a good match for his brother and wanted her to start thinking of Naru in "that way"--the first time Mai started having romantic feelings toward Naru was after Gene appeared to her for the first time, if I recall correctly. So theoretically, by smiling in Mai's dream, having her think that it's Naru smiling, he's showing her that Naru can make that expression too and that he's not as cold as he seems. That's right, Gene is the captain of the NaruxMai ship.

...Yeah, I could imagine an indifferent Ozaki. Very well, actually. I can imagine him getting a job in another hospital acting like nothing happened in Sotoba besides a fire. Since he can't change anything, there's no use dwelling on it, right? I feel like that was also his attitude toward Sotoba. Like Seishin, he also likely found it suffocating and frustrating and lonely, but he couldn't change a whole village system that's been in place for generations, so why worry about it? Even so, I know that bottling up your feelings over time just makes anything worse, no matter what your personality, so in this case Ozaki's skill of being able to act like something's not a big deal would work against him.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-11-06 02:38 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- were Toshio not a leader, would he be this active in exterminating Shiki? Would he be just as controlling? Considering his character, that's pretty likely. Not very sure because I don't understand him as much as I do Seishin. The way it's now though, I still kinda think that the reason he's this active is partly because of his responsibilities as a leader. Other reasons would probably because he's one of the few people who know about the true nature of what's happening and thus he just have to do something.

I think Toshio is just someone who's unlikely to adopt an idea if it hasn't been proven yet/things which have unclear basis. I'm not so sure that he's that quick in abandoning his (grounded) beliefs for other ideas, since he did spent the whole first book (of two monster volumes books) being so wrapped up in all his medical knowledge and unable to consider ideas outside it until he went a bit mad. "This is an illness, so the solution must be a medical one!" The thing is, he searched and searched and he was still unable to find the way out. He must be bummed out. That was only when he started to actually see all the movings and quitting jobs as truly weird, and started to consider them. I think he just accepted the whole vampire idea so easily because... he was so bummed out from being unable to find the way out. He was at the stage where he was pretty much "any solution is fine as long as it makes sense to the whole situation. Anything to consider so I can start doing things that give significant results!!!" Even if he didn't show it. I think him accepting the very-much-not-grounded idea like the existence of vampires so easily was so much unlike him that even Seishin thought 'there was something wrong with him'. Seishin pretty much treated him like he'd gone insane the first time he heard it. Even the man didn't actually believe in okiagari (his village's own legend) since he was young. I think those two guys are actually pretty conservative people. Yes, even Seishin.

I find it amusing that when Seishin found something weird from all the moving and quitting Toshio rejected the idea in favor of common sense, but when Toshio proposed the idea of vampires Seishin was the one who tried to balance it out with common sense. There really exist sides of them that try to complement one another/balance one another out, but guess it only goes so far lol.

I only read GH manga, so I think it'll be less detailed than the novels. Actually, I also don't know about him well enough to understand his motives (and I probably missed/forgot some details about him), but I think not only that he has a bit of stange motives, his relationship with Naru also isn't probably as close as it seems. Dunno. Their dynamic is a bit mysterious...

As looking indifferent as Toshio would probably strive to be, I don't think he'll manage to be as indifferent as Seishin will be about the whole thing. We have seen Seishin post-Sotoba in the prolog and... he does seem like he's gone mad. That his going mad is shown by him turning ultra cold and apathetic like a tundra is so much like him, I figure. The angry Seishin manages to creep even Toshio out, so the truly going mad him will throw Toshio off balance I imagine. But deep down I think Toshio will realize that this is just the kind of guy Seishin is. I wonder when they meet post-Shiki. Seishin will probably pretend he doesn't even know Toshio and that Toshio is not significant.

I want to share another GH translation; this one is also from the short story collection doujinshi Ono wrote wayyyy back. Naru and Gene's past and real family are explained here.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] airlynx 2015-11-26 07:40 pm (UTC)(link)

Even if Toshio were not the leader, he'd still contribute. He doesn't only kill the Shiki because it's his village, but because he doesn't see them as human and he has a strong moral code indicating the murder of humans to be wrong. As the village doctor, it's his responsibility to keep anything from killing the villagers: infection, disease, wounds, etc. This includes villagers killing other villagers. So even if the role of a doctor wasn't also the role of the leader, I think he'd still behave the same way since he's a natural leader. If he wasn't a doctor at all, though, what he'd do then is a more interesting thought. Toshio the Regular Villager would probably still investigate it. I can imagine him finding out that someone is sick (let's say one of his neighbors) and then going out at night and hiding in a bush somewhere by the sick person's house to watch the entrance. After a while he'd see a dead family member of the afflicted person go in.

I remember Sinnesspiel saying that the reason Ozaki was more open to the idea of vampires than Seishin is because as a doctor, he had simply exhausted all other options, which fits well with what you're saying here. For me, it appeared that Ozaki hadn't considered thinking outside the medical box until Natsuno planted the idea. He only started seeing the movings and disappearances as significant when they were evidence to support his theory of it being vampires whereas before when he had been thinking in terms of 'diseases', there's no disease that makes one want to move so he didn't consider them as serious. Although, even if Ozaki had thought they were somehow connected to the epidemic I doubt he would have deduced that it's vampires by himself because there's no vampire lore that shows that vampires make people move away. In other words, if you're already on the idea of vampires it's not hard to deduce that that led to the disappearances and moving away, but if you're not on the idea yet it would be hard to make the connection. So going back to Ozaki embracing the idea of vampires in the first place, at the time the logic leap from 'infectious disease' to 'vampires' was common sense; all the other theories have been exhausted, so moving onto the next one.

Now I'm curious about what you're saying with Seishin going off the deep end post-Shiki; why do you think that? I thought that after the end when he finally leaves Sotoba with Sunako, he's finally at peace.

Thanks for the link! Can't wait to read...there's precious few details about Naru in the canon GH, makes me sad! D;

severia: I like this one because it looks solemn but dramatic (Makishima1)

Re: 8D

[personal profile] severia 2015-11-29 12:32 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- Me here. Decided to make an account because I wanted to play with the icons, probably among other things.

I really admire Toshio for not succumbing to killing the villagers when they're still humans, unlike many others. That really speaks of his strong moral code. I agree, though -- Toshio would likely behave the same way even if he weren't Sotoba's leader, only that he'd probably meet more difficulties for lack of authority. Usually, though, being the only doctor in the area will give you a certain kind of authority, so if he were still Sotoba's doctor he'd probably use that to some extent. Even Toshio would find that having a certain authority is useful. He's a systematical person overall, so if he were an ordinary villager I assume his approach to things would still be systematical, only with a distinct lack of medicine.

I think it's not that he sees the disappearances and movings as significant because they support the vampire theory, but that he sees the vampire theory as significant because it supports the disappearances and movings (among other things). Chapter 2.10.7 showed that before Natsuno came to him and planted the idea in his mind, he'd already come around to really seeing the disappearances and movings as weird, and that "it was possible that it wasn't just a disease". Even if he still shrugged it off because he sounded like the ridiculous one here, though he still couldn't get it out of his mind. Natsuno just offered the final piece to complete the puzzle, from what I see. The other theories didn't support what happened; but this one theory looked like it could, so he was willing to give it a try I think.

I said 'gone mad' because... he looks too apathetic post-Shiki that I think it's pretty pathological. Also, I think he becomes a totally different person from how he initially was that it'd probably look like he's gone mad somehow especially from the view of people who personally know him. As far as feeling at peace goes, I don't really think there'll be much of it, because in my opinion : 1) in the animanga (since we haven't known how it's in the novel yet) his last telling of his novel as far as I remember is the older brother screaming for his younger brother to come back after he vanished, when he finally remembered that the name he'd shouted was actually his own name. That "the older brother and the younger brother are the same person, and that he's the one killing as well as the one being killed." It rather showed that he was pretty shocked in this discovery and nothing showed afterwards. The general state of his feelings at this stage is pretty depressing I think, so that probably reflects his feelings at the end of Shiki. 2) Death is the general theme of Shiki, and loss would mean death too. Everyone experiences loss -- whether it's relationship, family members, life, even Sotoba and its system. I think it'd fit that Seishin would experience loss too, a loss that's life-changing and leaves a hole in his heart that cannot really be filled anymore, just like everyone else.

3) I agree that at the end of Shiki he finally becomes tranquil, but I mostly think he reaches tranquility by going numb instead of being truly at peace. What came into my mind is not really "I've found the answer and I've finally been released from the system I hate, which is what I want." (<-- that's what I think when I see the word 'peace') but more about "So... this is it. This is really the answer. I've actually sort of known this all along but I was in denial, but I cannot deny it anymore can't I? This is... actually horrible. I don't really want this. But no matter what I do or want, this is the fact and it wouldn't change. I can't do anything about it anymore, so I'll go numb instead."

I think Seishin is quite curious in that he hates the system, and probably wants it disappear but hasn't envisioned what it would be like without it. He's not someone who wants to tear the system down and change it with another, more ideal one. While he indeed has a certain ideal, he doesn't know how to make it into reality and thus ends up isolating it. His overall approach to the system instead is to roll with it, despite how dissatisfying it is, while forging his hate but cannot do anything about it because he cannot envision something different that could be applied. Deep down, a radical change actually freaks him out and that even if an order is imperfect it would be better than no order at all. He lacks vision and most importantly, he lacks any real want or effort to make a change, despite how much he hates his reality.

I do think that, deep down, he actually loves the system. It's not just an inherent need of it, but it's also love. So he probably becomes that bitter and hurt when something he loves 'refuses' him, when what he wants is to be truly integrated into the system and contribute to it (as his own self). Even if he thinks it could be better, even if he hates it so much he wants it disappear, the system has always been a part of him thus losing it would be the same as losing a significant part of himself, is what I think. It's like what he said: "He's the one killing, he's also the one being killed." his attempt to extricate himself from the system results in the death of a cherished part of him.

Of course, there's a flaw in #1; it's also possible that Seishin hasn't finished his novel yet, and since his novel's storyline corresponds his own experiences in a chronological manner, it could be that he has indeed achieved peace at the end but obviously his novel hasn't reached that point yet then. There are likely more holes in my argument, please feel free to poke and prod at them.

You're very welcome!! 8D
Edited 2015-12-02 13:18 (UTC)
airlynx: (tamadontchawantsome)

Re: 8D

[personal profile] airlynx 2016-01-02 04:06 am (UTC)(link)
Welcome to DW! Icons are fun for sure.

Ozaki not killing bitten villagers also shows that he's, well, down-to-Earth, not succumbing to paranoia as easily as the other villagers. You could say that one of the reasons why the villagers went ape is because they didn't know all the facts, only cause and effect. (Cause: Shiki; Effect: Dead family members) They don't know how their bodies work or anything about the transformation whereas Ozaki does. He never explicitly said that individuals who are bitten are still alive and pro-human; and why should the villagers pity them anyway, seeing as the Shiki later manipulated many of them to shoot people (poor Tamo) in the head. In light of this, you can't really blame the villagers *as much* for killing people who had just been bitten, too. Ozaki has some responsibility for that since he riled up a murderous mob without giving them information about who they're really fighting.

I like and can agree with the idea that Seishin won't be happy with his jinrou self, finally away from Sotoba and with Sunako. He's too complicated for it to be that easy. This is speculation and I doubt the novel even hints at anything like this, but I feel like one of the important things towards the end was how Sunako and Seishin "exchanged" situations.

Like, during the memorable Ohkawa scene, the usually assertive Sunako is filled with self-doubt and the normally self-doubting Seishin is assertive in escaping with her. Sunako also helps put Seishin's story about the two brothers in a clearer perspective while Seishin helps Sunako overcome her self-identification as a sinner whom God hates.

But throughout the story, Seishin never saw what the Shiki were doing as *wrong*, but as ways of survival. All of the Shiki, including Sunako, feel that guilt to some extent. It would only be natural that jinrou!Seishin would feel that guilt too, finally. If Shiki is all about seeing one another's perspectives, maybe he'd look at what he's doing and finally understand the hatred Ozaki had for the Shiki way of life, and the shame that the Shiki such as Tohru and Sunako feel in feeding off of humans.

And that's another question: would Seishin prey on humans when he doesn't technically need to, as a jinrou? If so, would it be without abandon or only when he can't stand the thirst anymore?

I like the way you describe Seishin's complicated relationship with the system. I also wanna add that with the numbness he can also get a sense of "was it worth it?" which we also see in Ozaki more clearly: at the end, he's killed the vampires but his whole life in Sotoba is now gone forever. You can almost hear him thinking 'was it worth it?' (I think so, since either way his Sotoba life would have disappeared.)

I'll reply to our other chain soon! Sorry for my sporadic correspondence, it's been a tough semester, my very first in college :3
severia: (Seishin2)

Re: 8D

[personal profile] severia 2016-01-04 11:31 pm (UTC)(link)
There's that, too. You're probably right. Part of me still thinks that just like the Shikis who take perverse joys in taking human lives now that they're used to it and have drilled it into their mind that they're not evil in doing that, using a reasoning of 'gotta survive!' (like they have some privilege) to kill villagers they hate or just to be plain assholes in general (what came to mind when watching the anime, specifically Atsushi, or he's probably a special case), a lot of the villagers will succumb to the similar fate. It seems fitting with the theme of Shiki, in my opinion. But it also comes from the feeling that the villagers don't need to do that. Calm down a bit and consult Toshio, or tie those humans up first. It's horrible. Afterwards they even kill the humans who don't have any tie whatsoever to the Shikis, like what Ohkawa and co do to the temple folks. Well, it's partially Seishin's fault, but they don't even listen to Miwako and the others and just slaughter them...

But then again I really tend to see things as black or white, right or wrong. When things get too gray-ish (actually? Everything is gray) I get too confused. (There's a danger to this too -- When I get too confused, my mind then resorts to just 'shuts it all down'. Sometimes I really feel Seishin's both black-and-white views and nihilistic views)

Ahaha... if it isn't obvious already I happened to romanticize his whole relationship with the system. Probably because his arc also made me realize what I myself also hold dear. Now though, I feel almost bad in romanticizing it, after I read the new Seishin chapter and finally grasped the full brunt of the situation. I predicted he'd be numb, but I didn't think that it would get to that 'level'.

I really love that chapter. It helped me clarifying parts I was still unsure about. I think it serves as a prediction of how things will unfold in the end, which means that likely Seishin really knows the consequence/aftermath of his own decision.

But it then really dawned on me that his situation is a total trainwreck. The kind of issue that's probably really unhealthy. So, basically he feels that he's not able to fit in --> he thinks the world must not accept him and hates him --> he gets too anguished --> until he reaches a breaking point --> he separates himself from the system for real, creating a total despair to settle matters. Abandoning everything that makes him him, which is the same as killing himself.

Muroi Seishin will die, along with his turning into a Jinrou.

Afterwards? I think he'll basically live the life of a corpse, or like the older brother who lives in a desolate, lawless land. Why bother to feel or do things like humans when he's not a human himself? Why bother to live as humans when he's not a human himself? He'll probably not feel guilt or anything, he'll not bother at all. He'll probably even murder anyone on sight and he'll still not care, because he's dead.

He'll probably be the only character who died without being physically dead.

Thank you!

(Anonymous) 2015-08-13 04:52 am (UTC)(link)
I just started reading this translation a month and a half ago and I finally got to here and I just wanted thank you for all the hard work your putting into this translation. I appreciate it so much. Again thank you!