May 1, 2013

Akai Ito [Chapter 7]

[Free talk: I’ll be using the guys’ names instead of their surnames in the summary from now on. Hinase will be Sho. Kirigaya Kiritani will be Ren. Hehe, I made a mistake with Ren’s surname ^^;]

Cover page: “Sho slightly hits Chihiro’s head and says ‘Men’ [<- helmet in kendo so it is like she got hit on the head]. In terms of feelings, I already totally lost to you. ..I basically cannot say out these words.” While Chihiro runs off, she thinks that Sho has definitely noticed her feelings. She obviously do not want him to notice her feelings but saying those kind of words [earlier] was clearly like venting out her anger on him (when he doesn’t even deserve it). She felt disappointed with herself since she was obviously very happy that he saved her. She stops running and thinks that she obviously like him-- When Rino comes back, Chihiro is no longer at the shoe lockers. She notices that Chihiro had left her shoes in the locker. She tried contacting Chihiro on the cellphone but there is no answer. She wonders if Chihiro went to the toilet. While Rino tries to look for Chihiro, she spots a couple of guys tossing more kendo uniforms on the sink. The guys tell Ren that their senpai said that he also wash these. The other guys are talking that those Kagamido [鏡道] brothers are bullying Ren again, and those guys are obviously also first year students so how come their senpai aren’t saying anything about it. One of the guys says that didn’t they know that those two siblings are the younger brothers of the team captain. The two asks if that is true, then that no wonder.. Continuing to wash the clothes, Ren says okay. The Kagamido brothers start taunting Ren about his fans crying to see Ren doing laundry and how about they help him with that. With a smile, Ren tells them that there’s no need. Since they don’t have a manager, it is inevitable that first year students would do this. “Anyway, guys,who wanted to help but has no enthusiasm, are very much of a hindrance.” This irritates the Kagamido brothers. Black [hair] brother asks what did he just say. Ren just tells them that the captain will quickly come back so he thinks that it is better for them to leave early. Black brother angrily says that Ren would even order them about. White [hair] brother calms the other and says that things might be far from good so before their older brother comes back, they should leave. Preparing to leave, black brother tsks and says that this side [about Ren’s] hanging around with Sou, it is enough to infuriate him. While Ren continues to wash the clothes, he is surprised when Rino asks him if he is going to wash all of those. Rino says that would be quite tiring so how about giving her some and she’ll help him out. Ren suddenly looks stunned that he quickly holds up his hand from her. After Ren is surprised by what he did, he just says that this is his job and he cannot bother other people about it. Embarrassed Rino says is that so. She stands up and apologizes for being meddlesome. Preparing to leave, she wishes him good luck with his club activity. Ren quietly sits and thinks that he only didn’t want her to notice that he reeks of sweat. While sad Rino is walking at the hallway, Chihiro finds her and asks where she went. Rino apologizes and says that she failed in that again. Chihiro is puzzled. Rino asks where Chihiro went because when she came and she’s not around. Aghast Chihiro says that it is nothing, just a little incident. The two girls simultaneously sigh in depression. Flustered Chihiro wonders what kind of expression she would use to face Sho tomorrow.
At school, Chihiro glances at Sho who is happily talking with some girls. She thinks that from his facial expression, it seems that nothing has happened so could it be that she’s the only one who is thinking about yesterday’s incident. Flustered, Chihiro looks away. And just then, Sho glances at her to watch her walk away. After school dismissal, Chihiro tells Rino that the teacher asked her to help him out so she’ll be going to the faculty room. Rino says that she’ll just go somewhere and pass the time. Chihiro teases her that she can go to the kendo club. Rino is embarrassed. While walking at the outer hallway, Chihiro thinks that she didn’t see Sho eye to eye today but then, she is also avoiding him. She wonders if after they got all involved with each other and everything, it will just end like this. Just like that time with Nanjou, wherein it ended before anything happened. Then, she sees Sho walking. She quickly hides behind a tree and wonders what the heck she is doing. She glances from the branches and realizes that Sho is looking at the kendo dojo. Notcing that Sho is going to turn around, Chihiro quickly hides and shapes her arms with the tree.. “I’m a tree.” When Sho is looking at the dojo again, Chihiro peeks out and watches him again. She wonders if Sho always goes there and just like the time when she saw him before, he always gazes at the kendo dojo with a trace of loneliness. “Actually, he really wants to join the club, right? Because the Hinase at that time in the gym looked so happy.. I know. Except from looking at him like this, there’s nothing I can do..” She is surprised when someone says, “Isn’t that Hinase?” She quickly hides and sees two guys [the Kagamido brothers]. She starts to wonder where she has seen those two before because just seeing them makes her angry. She finally realizes that those two are the guys who caused trouble with Hinata in last year’s assembly. She couldn’t believe that they are now in the same high school and what could they be planning to do with Hinase. When she hears the bell ringing, she remembers that she has to go to the faculty room. Preparing to leave, she wonders what to do for even if she is concerned, she must go. “Those two wouldn’t be doing anything, right?” As she leaves, the brothers head towards Sho who is standing at the corner. Sho is holding a paper regarding his application to enter the kendo club. He wonders if it is time to do so. Suddenly, the paper is snatched by black brother and says that Sho wants to join the club. White brother tells Sho that it has been long time no see. After a pause, Sho says what, he wondered who it is, but it turns out the guys who really like him last summer and they are his fans. The brothers exclaim in disbelief. White brother says that Sho really infuriates them. Black brother says that they never forget what he did and don’t think that it will be easy for him to enter the club. Sho says ya, ya, he also doesn’t have any special desire to join so they can relax. Black brother exclaims what he meant by that, as if the two of them are afraid of him. He calls out to Sho who is starting to walk away. Suddenly, Sho grabs black brother’s collar and says that even for a moment, he also hasn’t forgotten what they did. Sho lets go of him and bids them goodbye. After walking away some distance, Sho berates himself for being an idiot.
At the faculty room, the teacher thanks Chihiro for her help and says that she can go ahead. As Chihiro rushes out of the room, the teacher warns her to be careful or else, she’ll slip if she is in a hurry like that. While tensely walking at the corridor, Chihiro wonders if Hinase is alright and it would be good if he didn’t get into any trouble. Then, she bumps into someone. White brother scolds her to be careful for that hurts. Chihiro apologizes then she recognizes that it is the Kagamido brothers. She notices a piece of paper on the floor. She picks it up and it is the Sho’s application form to get into the kendo club. Black brother quickly grabs the paper from her. And, he quickly leaves with white brother who tells him to hurry. Chihiro thinks that it is Sho’s application to go in the kendo club but then, why is it with those two guys. She wanted to get it back but she stops and decides not to because she already apologized to that senpai from the kendo club yesterday and it made Sho unhappy. “If I do more unnecessary things, it is possible that he’ll hate me more.. but..” She recalls Hinata saying that it is because of last summer’s competition and Sho isn’t at fault. Chihiro looks somewhat determined. Soon, everyone is tired after a kendo drill at the dojo. A senpai says that after a 5 minute break, everyone will do a quick paced swinging of the sword 1000 times but Ren will do it 1500 times. Ren is surprised by this. The Kagamido brothers are saying that senpai is cool and luckily their older brother isn’t around. This is their payback at Ren for answering back at them yesterday. The senpai calls out to Ren to reply. Ren says, okay. While Ren and others are practicing, Sho watches them outside and wonders why they are so strict only with Ren. Sho looks flustered. Later on, Ren walks at the corridor carrying some clothes [probably for laundry]. He spots Chihiro who is waiting at the corner. She comes out and apologizes to him for asking him about something when he is quite tired after just finishing club activity. The next day in class, Chihiro sadly glances at Sho who is happily talking with his friend about a manga. Flashback: Chihiro asked Ren what happened to Sho after the summer big competition because it has something to do with her. Ren told her that he wasn’t there when it happened but from their other teammates, he learned that those two from Sanjou [山城] got involved with Sho and did something to him so Sho fought back. But after the competition, those two guys wantonly publicly declare that it was Sho who one-sidedly attacked first and this raised a tempest in school. Flashback 2: The teacher asked Sho how come he hit the students from the other school. He told Sho to tell him the reason because if he kept silent, how would he [teacher] know what happened. Sho lied by saying that it is all his fault and he only got irritated and hit them. Hinata asked how come Sho didn’t tell them about what happened to him. That it is because those two got him that this disturbance had happened and it is strange that only Sho is made as the bad guy here. Sho told him that it is alright because they are already in third year and he is going to leave soon but Hinata and others still have many other competitions to participate in. End flashback 2.
Ren said that Sho thought that doing that would settle the problem but Sanjou Junior High won’t easily give up. As punishment, the principal ordered the kendo club’s activities suspended for half a year in regards to that incident. Sho is stunned to see this notice. Ren and others went to the teacher to beg but they were told if they [kendo members] think that just by informing them about it, it will be settled. The teachers won’t listen to their pleas. “I think that Hinase ought to feel that he is the one to blame for this incident so after going to high school, he hasn’t joined the club.” Chihiro said that she thinks that the current Sho ought to really want to join. Ren told her that even if this is the school that Sho’s mother wants him to get in, and until now, Sho himself also really yearns for it. Chihiro asked Ren if he didn’t tell Sho something like let’s practice kendo together to get him to join the club. Ren asked why, for it has no meaning if Sho himself didn’t say that he wanted to join. While walking home, Chihiro thought about what Ren said that Sho has to have a desire to enter the club or else, it is meaningless to do something. But, that kendo entrance application form has a lot of folds on it that has been formed earlier on, so Sho must have been thinking of it for a long time before. One side longing for kendo [dojo], and at the other side, unceasingly hesitating.. Chihiro looked determined. End flashback. At the corridor, Chihiro calls out to the Kagamido brothers. She holds out her hand and shouts, “Give it back!” Black brother asks who this person is and what does she wants them to give back. White brother exclaims that it is that annoying girl from last year. Chihiro says that they ought to have it, give back Sho’s application form. After looking surprised, the brothers look at each other and smile. Black brother scolds her for being stupid for who would always have that thing around and he threw it away earlier on. Looking away, Chihiro sighs and says as expected. As the brothers turn to leave, black brother says that is boring, and don’t call them over for such a nonsense thing. Biting her lip, Chihiro calls out and says that she’ll change how she says it. “Please promise me.. that you guys would absolutely not hinder Hinase’s entry to the club! Please..” Black brother says who cares about her and why would they listen to her. White brother asks if this girl likes Sho. Chihiro blushes. Black brother smiles and says so that’s it. White brother also smiles and says that this is interesting so speak up. Flustered Chihiro thinks that she knows..that everything she said is of no avail but.. “I don’t want to see Hinase to have that kind of [sad] expression again.” She glares at them that black brother asks Chihiro what it is. White brother comments that the people around Sho are infuriating people. Black brother says that they still haven’t answered her. He tells Chihiro that they can agree to that and she only has to be the manager of the kendo club. This surprises Chihiro. Chihiro asks if she did, would they really respect the agreement that they promise her that they won’t hinder Sho. Black brother says, yes. Chihiro says okay, she agrees to be the manager. Narration: “It is possible that I’m doing unnecessary things again and provoking Hinase to anger.. ..but, even if that is so, I still like Hinase.” Blurb: “Entering, into the vicious atmosphere of the kendo club..”
Comment: I find what Chihiro is doing quite admirable. She is willing to do this, be put in a difficult situation by these guys who have a known history of bullying, just for someone she likes. She isn’t even going steady or anything with Sho and she thinks that it is an unrequited love. There is even a high chance of it not being appreciated based on what happened last time. With that kind of attitude, it makes me wonder what Chihiro is capable of doing for Sho if they become lovers. As for Sho’s situation, I guess he must be regretting that he didn’t tell the whole truth to the teacher. He must be also thinking that he’ll be the only one punished. Since he is hesitating about going in the kendo club, I guess he plans to keep on punishing himself about what happened but then, his love for kendo makes him want to move on from that incident. The thing is I think what happened might have stained Sho’s reputation so even if he gets in the club, he might still have ‘troublemaker’ attached to him. That will make it easy for his ‘enemies’ to make life difficult for him. Actually, not just for him but those related to him. It seems that Sho and Ren are a bit different in dealing with bullies. For Ren, he would just accept what they want to keep the peace as much as possible. Of course, Ren isn’t exactly very timid for he can talk back a bit with a smile. For Sho, he would instantly retaliate which irks the bullies to want revenge. It is hard to say which one is the better way of dealing with it since the end result seems to be the same. I do tend to dislike bullying themes but with this mangaka, I can hope that those bullies will get just what they deserve just like in her previous series. Also, making things hard for Ren might be good for him in the long run since he would be ‘better trained’ than others. Too bad for him, his reaction with Rino might make her think that he isn’t interested in her. Scans by 深雪组.

Quote of the day:
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. ~ Charles Dickens