Narutaru: After the Carnage
Volume 6 (7 in the American edition) is a veritable apocalypse. The only saving grace I could find it in was the fact that Shiina didn’t go through with killing her murderous friend Hiroko at the end, but had to see Hoshimaru do it. Which I think in Shiina’s case does NOT amount to the same thing.
The most significant large-scale event in the volume is the fact that the secret of these creatures has been fully exposed to the world. I have yet to start reading the next volume, but I cannot see how one can avoid the conclusion that everything has fundamentally changed. Not only are the monsters exposed, but it has to be obvious to law enforcement and others that the Motoki company and Shiina’s primary school are somehow involved in these happenings.
The most significant small-scale event in the volume has got to be the “snapping” of Akira Sakura. The girl went from troubled to severely disturbed to downright lethal in this volume. I’ll be very curious to see how Shiina handles this new Akira, and what Akira expects to do from now on. I’m guessing Akira thinks Naozumi Sudo, the super cool cold-blooded fellow, has got all the solutions so she might knock on his door next…
A couple of interesting details:
Goka Elementary School
We learn in this volume that Shiina’s school is called Goka (maybe this was stated earlier but I missed it). Anyway, Goka is a rather unusual name for a school. The characters (五瓜) literally mean “Five” and “Japanese quinces”. Japanese quinces are shrubs with pretty red flowers. More importantly, “goka” is used in Japanese heraldry to denote a particular crest pattern in five sections. The example below is from Nobunaga Oda’s heraldic crest, which is the most famous of the designs with a “goka”:
By the way, the word “goka” doesn’t refer to the five-petaled flower in the picture. That flower is called Karahana, or Chinese-style flower. The “goka” is actually the “wall” in five sections that surrounds the flower. If you have a hard time picturing how that resembles a Japanese quince I don’t blame you. It’s highly likely the design originally had nothing to do with Japanese quinces. Click [here] for a good discussion of the whole issue.
Anyway, I wrote earlier about Satomi Ozawa’s school Banda Gakuen, and how “banda” was a very poetic term meaning “ten thousand branches” that was strongly associated with military valor. Isn’t it interesting how Shiina’ school has a numbered botanical name as well (literally “five Japanese quinces”), and one associated with Nobunaga, one of the most powerful (and certainly the cruelest) of the warlords of the Warring States Era?
Whether Shiina will grow up to be a Nobunaga is another question 🙂
Father and Daughter, Again
Ever since I started reading this, I’ve felt like one of the consistent themes of the manga is the development of the relationship between Shiina and her Dad. Part and parcel of this development is Mr. Tamai’s awareness that his daughter is becoming a woman, and a certain attraction he feels for her as a woman. It’s all very subtle, and maybe I’m just imagining things, but I have written of how the American edition preempted its readers from even conjecturing about these feelings by dressing up Shiina when the Japanese has her running around naked in Dad’s daydream (Mr. Tamai is reminiscing about he used to have baths together with Shiina).
In this volume we have a scene where a naked Shina comes out of the shower and talks to her Dad, who has just gotten off the phone with her friend Hiroko’s father. The American edition once again dresses her up. The interesting thing is that Dad shows no perturbation of any sort, so maybe my interpretation is wrong after all…
UPDATE: Reading ahead, they somehow covered up this latest monster attack! I’m a bit disgusted at this silliness…