April 26, 2016

Kono Oto Tomare [Chapter 45]


Narration: “Private Himesaka Girls Academy’s koto club. There are a total of 36 members of third year senpai-s who retired until now. It is a super strong prestigious school that possesses the record of playing in the Nationals for 10 consecutive years...

...It can be said that in Kanagawa, they are without rival. Kanagawa’s unmovable absolute king. For us, this is inevitable. This is our absolute glory. Always until that day.”

Flashback: At the competition, it was announced that in Kanagawa, the outstanding school goes to Hakuto High School. The Himesaka girls are shocked. Watching someone from Hakuto holding up the trophy, Kazusa couldn’t believe it, it’s a lie for Himesaka lost.
In a room as everyone sat in seiza form, the club president asked everyone what they thought of today’s results. Wakaba raised her hand and said that honestly speaking, she doesn’t think that they are lacking compared to Hakuto even if Hakuto’s performance is also very outstanding. “It is just that their chosen piece is more suitable for the judges’ taste.”

The president asked if others have any other thoughts. Someone said that indeed, until now, Hakuto doesn’t have any achievements that it gives one have this kind of coincidence feeling about it. Yae said that she doesn’t think so. She said that they’ve lost and she thinks that they should confront and accept this result.
“Losing is not at all a coincidence and we definitely had gone lax somewhere. Because WE ARE HIMESAKA so we cannot lose. Victory is inevitable. It is because of this so we have slacked off.” The club president says yes, she also has the same feeling.

“Our Himesaka’s victory had become inevitable. But, that ‘inevitable’ must be paid by a corresponding hard work. We should re-examine our practice and attitude. –Besides, honestly speaking, we third years also want to get revenge on Hakuto during the Nationals preliminaries but after next week’s Tokyo performance, we are going to retire...

...So, I’ll leave it to you second years. It won’t be easy to participate in the Nationals CONTINUOUSLY FOR 11 YEARS. This burden is very heavy but you guys can definitely do it.” Everyone said, “..yes!!”
As the president told them to re-asses their attitude, Fumi noticed Kazusa looking glum. While walking home, Fumi asked Kazusa if she is still depressed over the shock of defeat so she is listless the whole day today. Kazusa said no, even if their lost is a fact and indeed it is a huge shock but compared to that, she basically didn’t properly listen to Hakuto’s performance.

Fumi said that’s right, after Tokize’s performance, where did she immediately go to-- Kazusa said that she went to complain to THAT GUY from Tokize. “Complain about the performance.. Satowa-chan has been snatched away so I felt particularly frustrated. I especially cannot accept it. Whether it is Tokize or Hakuto, I’ve totally despise them but..”
She recalled Chika saying that compared to the first time he heard Satowa’s timbre, he likes her current timbre. She also recalled the announcement of Hakuto winning. Kazusa bit her lips when she recalled Yae saying that it is because they are Himesaka so they cannot lose and winning is inevitable so because of that, they’ve slacked off.

Kazusa called out to Fumi. On the verge of tears, Kazusa said that she felt that she [Kazusa] was specially...awful.” Fumi [karate] chopped Kazusa’s head and told her not to display such a loser expression!!

While Kazusa is shocked by that, Fumi sternly said that isn’t it very good that ‘right now’ she is able to find out about this thing and it can be considered as luck. “Like this, we can be in a complete mode to go and confront the preliminaries. This time, we’ll absolutely not lose...
...*put arm around Kazusa* Okay, pull yourself together! Starting tomorrow, we still have to continue on working hard to practice!! Our senpai-s had accumulated a 10 year record of performance in the Nationals. How can we allow that to stop in our generation.” Wiping her tear, Kazusa said, ya.

The next day, Yae [current president] called out to everyone that they’ll be handing out the musical score of the piece that they’ll play during the National preliminaries. It is some 1973 piece. Kazusa asked ‘Three Adaptations’?

A girl asked Kazusa if she knows this piece. Kazusa said yes even if she hasn’t played it but this piece, she remembers that indeed-- Then, everyone is shocked upon seeing the complicated musical score. There are so many pressed fingered tones and all of it is sixteenth notes.
Isn’t the plucking at the latter half a bit too much and there’s too many tuning. Someone asked afterwards, how many people are going to perform this as an ensemble. Everyone started to look flustered yet fired up. The adviser said that everyone should already have the musical score.

The first and second’s sound division arrangement will be posted in advance so they go and confirm it by themselves [as to who’ll play in what division]. Afterwards, she has a suggestion. Before, ALL OF THE MEMBERS will play DURING THE PRELIMINARIES. It is only when performing in the Nationals when they’ll have a selection through election system to choose the top 25 performers.

But if they don’t come up with any changes, they’ll definitely not be able to smoothly win next time. She believed that everyone also knows clearly that will already be the end of Himesaka’s era of being champions. “Thus, I consider the preliminary stage and Nationals as the same. Through selection, we’ll decide the performing members!”
Everyone looked tense. She informed them that it won’t be the top 25 but rather, considering the second sound division, the balance has changed into 24. “Of course, the selection will be based on strength and it also has nothing to do with year level...

...This is for members that will charge into the Nationals. –how about it? If anyone has any objection, then say it out.” Yae raised her hand and said that she approves for she absolutely want to participate in the Nationals and selection is a must. Wakaba also approved of it. The others were a bit hesitant but they think that they have to do it.
The adviser said that since there is no objection then they’ll do things according to that method. “The selection will be one month before the preliminaries! Then, let’s start today’s practice! Okay, go prepare!” A girl looked nervous as she looked at the music score.

Another girl jumped on her and called out, Hozumi, how come she looked quite pale. Hozumi said that she felt that the piece is a bit difficult and all of it is complex pressing [notes], and besides, the selection will eliminate 12 people.

The girl exclaimed what’s with that demoralizing talk that she’s saying and there’s still time. “You’ll just have to go all out in practice! This is our last chance to advance to the Nationals as second year students! Let us climb the stage together.” Hozumi smiled and said yes.
Narration: “Altogether, Himesaka’s everyday practice is 4½ hours. After each club activity, they’ll definitely have a meeting wherein they’ll share to everyone the things that concern them in order to improve the ‘common’ [/collaboration] awareness. For Himesaka, ‘common’ is the ultimate beauty. It is the highest assessment.”

In her room, while listening to music, Kazusa thought that as a whole, it is falling apart especially the pressing notes that aren’t coordinated. “Actually, it is too awful. Like this, we’ll definitely lose to Hakuto. Also, what’s up with listening to Hakuto’s performance!! *hugged her pillow and jumped on the bed* I cannot help but think that it is a totally ‘correct’ performance!!...
..Also.. I don’t know why but whether it is my head or even ears, I couldn’t forget it. Tokize’s performance made my heart in a complete mess then it is scattered to allow it to develop into a semi-finished product. But, I totally has no way [of forgetting?]--.. *sat up* Ah- this is really no good. It is useless to be always quite bothered by the other schools!! Himesaka won’t lose again. Won’t lose again. Absolutely.”

During a meeting, Kazusa proposed that they should increase their practice time. Wakaba asked what she is talking about when their practice time is already enough. Kazusa asked what, she wasn’t able to totally play it yet. Wakaba said that she had already totally remembered the musical score. Kazusa replied that her technique is still very crude, isn’t it so? Irked Wakaba said what did she say, and she’s acting as if she’s so amazing.
Kazusa said that she’ll definitely go to the Nationals and for that, she’ll do everything that she can do now right now. Sitting behind the two, Hozumi told the two not to be so anxious. “Everyone wants to go to the Nationals. Let’s talk about this again, okay.”

While Kazusa called out to Hozumi, Wakaba is scowling. Later on, Kazusa had forgotten her musical score so she’s returning to the club room to get it. She overheard Wakaba complaining to the others that Kazusa infuriates her.

“Even if I don’t know what’s about her being an ojousama at home but no matter when, she’ll use that kind of despising look as if she is some big shot. Always praising that ‘Satowa’ from another school that it gives a feeling that it is better to go to that side. She is definitely despising our side, right?” Kazusa looked tense over this.
Just then, Hozumi asked is that so but she thinks that Kazusa is only working hard as much as she could and she really wanted to participate in the Nationals. “She only said it somewhat bluntly, that’s all. It is definitely like that.”

Wakaba said that she is also seriously considering going in the Nationals as her goal. Hozumi exclaimed but of course and she understands! “But, both you and Kazusa are first years yet so skillful. *smiled* The two of you are doing it in order to participate in the Nationals. I think that it is quite unfortunate if you guys were to have a dispute.”

After a pause, Wakaba thanked Hozumi’s concern. Hozumi wanted to call out to Wakaba when she turns but Hozumi’s friend said that’s enough, don’t mind her. Kazusa also left.
Soon, they practiced more. The adviser keep on making them repeat it since it is so messy. “Pay attention to the beat! Don’t play it so fused together! Ah- no good-stop, stop! First sound division! Play it one by one!”

As they play, the adviser scolded Hozumi for the pressed tone isn’t enough since that is just a half note! “Not enough! Do it one more time!” [<- basically, Hozumi cannot play it fast enough] At the toilet, Wakaba’s friend said that Hozumi is lectured again.

Wakaba said that honestly, Hozumi’s playing isn’t good. Kazusa went in the toilet and asked if Wakaba always say bad things behind other people’s back. “If you have time, then go and practice some more, how about it?”
Wakaba asked, “Ha? How about you quit randomly saying bad things about others? I’m only just honestly saying things, okay.” The two glared at each other then, turned away with a hump. Soon, after practice, Kazusa noticed that Hozumi is still sitting in front of her koto.

She went to Hozumi to ask if she is still going to practice. Kazusa smiled and said yes, for look, she played awful compared to everyone and she totally couldn’t play the pressed notes. Kazusa commented that Hozumi’s left hand fingers have very deep marks.

Hozumi said that is the same with Kazusa. Kazusa exclaimed that it is a lot more than hers. Hozumi laughed and said that only her fingers became experienced and it’s so embarrassing. “Strength must also increase. I’ll do my best!”
Kazusa said about that, can she also practice together with her. This surprised Hozumi who said, “Of course!” Soon, more training, more disputes between Wakaba and Kazusa, more practice for Hozumi and more meetings.

During one practice, the adviser looked at Hozumi playing. She thinks that Hozumi had progressed a lot and she must have practiced a lot but--.. She noticed Hozumi’s unsteady hand. Afterwards, one month before the competition, the adviser said that like she said in the very beginning.

Today, they are going to select the participating members for the preliminaries. She’ll call out one from first sound division and one from the second sound division to form groups of two then they’ll play the first movement’s second page...
...Those who were called are to come forward. She called out first division’s Yae and second division’s Jun. They go in front and play. The adviser evaluated the performances. Next, it is first division’s Hozumi and second division’s Rui. Rui patted Hozumi’s back and told her to relax.

Hozumi said yes. Hozumi thought that it will be alright for compared to anyone else, she always strived hard to practice the koto. “I can assert that even in the club, I definitely practiced hard compared to anyone. So, it will definitely be okay--” The adviser watched the performance.

On the second day, everyone is nervous for those who’ll be chosen will be announced today. Standing beside Wakaba, Kazusa said that she looks quite relaxed. Wakaba said of course, she is one hundred percent sure that she’ll be chosen unlike her.
This made Kazusa face-off with Wakaba. Fumi commented that lately, those two’s relationship is quite good. Someone asked what part of that is good? Hozumi is very nervous. The adviser said then, she’ll start announcing the people who’ll play in the preliminaries.

She warned that before the official competition, she’ll be stricter with the ones she called so they better be mentally prepared. She’ll start calling from the second year. She called out the names.

Hozumi wondered if all the second years will be chosen. To her shock, the adviser didn’t call her name and said next, the first years! Rui called out to the adviser and shouted that only Hozumi wasn’t called among the second years!
The adviser said that even if it is regrettable but this time, Hozumi won’t be participating. “Her hands are very skilled and she worked really hard to practice but no matter what, the pressed notes aren’t stable and that is the reason for it.”

Rui protested how can that be..but how can only Hozumi be excluded out! “For us second years, this is the last prelimina--” Hozumi told Rui to forget it, this is inevitable because from the start, it was mentioned that it has nothing to do with year level but rather, in accordance to strength.

Hozumi smiled and said that she already gave it her all so there is nothing very regrettable about it. On the verge of tears, Rui can only mutter Hozumi’s name. Kazusa also felt sad over Hozumi.
Soon, everyone is leaving. Rui asked Hozumi if she isn’t going home yet. Hozumi smiled and said, yes, she’ll leave later on. Rui said is that so, then see you tomorrow. Hozumi smiled and said, yes. Soon, Hozumi quietly looked at her koto.

She recalled the teacher saying that it is regrettable for this time, Hozumi won’t be participating. Hozumi quietly laughed and muttered that of all the second years, only one didn’t get chosen..it’s really sucks to death. A tear formed on her eye. She wiped it away. Soon, her tears started to keep on falling down.

Hozumi recalled Rui saying that this is their last opportunity as second years to advance in the nationals and they climb on stage together. Hozumi is already sobbing. Upon seeing this, Kazusa also felt like crying. She is about to go to Hozumi but Wakaba stopped her and started pulling her away. At the hallway, Kazusa shouted that hurts and let her go.

Wakaba asked if she is an idiot, for if she were to go and talk with Hozumi right now, it will cause their senpai to become more miserable. “Because senpai couldn’t play well so she wasn’t chosen. *this surprised Kazusa* It is a fact that senpai wasn’t able to pass through this selection.”
Kazusa retorted how can she say it that way.. Wakaba continued, “So, we definitely have to advance to the Nationals. *Kazusa looked surprised* If we who were chosen were able to smoothly get the ticket to get into the Nationals, then, there will still be a selection before the Nationals...

...Then, there is still one more chance. Right now, the thing we can do for senpai is only to ascend into the Nationals. Isn’t that right?” Kazusa said that she thought that she hated Hozumi. Turning to leave, Wakaba said that even if she said that Hozumi didn’t play well but she didn’t say that she hated her. “The only one I hate is you.”

Kazusa called out to Wakaba and shouted, “I also hate you! But this time, I approve of your suggestion. We will absolutely get the ticket to the Nationals!!” Wakaba smiled. Narration: “Cannot let it end here. *Hozumi sobbing* We will open the path to proceed towards the next stage. *Kazusa and Wakaba facing the same direction* Definitely.” End flashback.

As all the Himesaka girls are ready to play on stage, it is announced, “Third [to play], Private Himesaka Academy’s ‘Three Adaptations’.” Chika and others look tense. Hozumi and the others are nervous, too. Dong-- They start to play.
Comment: This chapter let us know what is the drive of the Himesaka. Actually, they have a lot in stake. There is that 10 years record of participating in the Nationals. That is a reputation they want to protect at all cost.

Then, they must win for Hozumi, too. I mean, if they lost, the others would start to think that perhaps, it would be better to at least let Hozumi play for the last time. I feel for Hozumi. It does seem to be a contrast with Tokize.

There are weak players but no one gets left behind in Tokize. With a lot of practice, they somehow managed to play in an acceptable way. With a reputation to protect, Himesaka cannot afford to let weak players play especially since they have recently lost to an unknown school.

In a way, they seem to be more for the ‘common good’ that it is okay to sacrifice a few to advance. It is very realistic and brutal just like real life. Tokize is more on the idealistic. But of course, Tokize isn’t focused on difficult pieces, technique and other formal stuff but rather, their timbre as a whole which moved people to the point that one couldn’t forget about it as Kazusa acknowledges.

Just like real life, in Himesaka, even if you’re nice, always smiling and worked really hard, if you do not reach the desired level, it’s over. It is one thing to be not chosen but to be the only one not chosen in one’s year level. That would really feel awful but somehow, Hozumi managed to pull herself together and cheer for her school.

Just when I thought Kazusa is just a typical annoying girl, she showed a different side of herself here. She realized her faults. She can actually be nice and helpful. Even if she can disagree with someone and attack others weakness to get what she wants, she can also accept a good suggestion when it is given. She didn’t reject Wakaba’s suggestion even if she hates her. That means, she can push her ego aside and re-assess what she can do.

It makes me think that what drives Hakuto to want to win this will also be portrayed. It assume that the mangaka will make us want to feel that any of the three groups deserves to win for their goals and of course, those who didn’t win...get ready to take out the handkerchief? ^^; Scans by 二次元秘店

Quote of the day:
Be too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated. ~ Author Unknown

36 comments:

  1. Appreciate the work you put into this one. A nice side-story to flesh out everyone's motivations but I'm really looking forward to getting back into the action next chapter :D

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    1. Thanks, Krimzon ^-^

      Yup, me too ^^

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  2. I think this pretty much confirms that Himesaka's going to lose. 10 years is a nicer number to end on than 11 :P

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  3. Was going to post on Namaiki, but after a very long and tiring day - besides the fact that I find Shizuka too unnecessary right now, lol - I guess it must have be here, in KoT, the series that get me more emotional and it really hit too close to home with some chars. This, for example, I've been in both polar situations, beeing the only younger one to be chosen and be the only one to be left. Man, the feels.

    Himesaka is one hell of a school, this club is serious as hell for simply highschoolers. It takes the teens out of the most of them to put them into the later twenties or so. I like it, but find it much too real and brutal, like you said. And like you said, it was quite good to see the other sides's side of the story. It takes us readers to view things in all pov's and realize the world doesn't spin for just one group/person. Loved Kazusa and though didn't agree with Wakaba - it reminds of FT, sorry, lol - I can see why she didn't want to 'confort' the one left behind, but if were me, I'd much rather feel the warmth of a compassionate hug than the sharp pain of loneliness a failure. It's one helluva feel, I tell ya.

    Anyways, thanks Kat, you do god's work here, you just don't know how it makes a difference for us. Thank you, really.

    BTW, I think you'd be funny - though cruel - not to have any of the big fav three to win, lol.

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    1. Hehe, I see, Fê. As for Shizuka, perhaps, it is for his closure?

      I agree. Same here.

      Yup. I guess it is because of the their pride and they have to be 'together' that prevents them to be not as vicious as I would imagine it. I mean, the competition between them is already very fierce that it is amazing that they only resort to 'talk behind the back' rather than other forms of 'bullying'.

      Indeed. It makes the story more well-rounded.

      I agree. I was going to mention that but suddenly wondered if for others, they prefer to be alone in those times. I do see Wakaba's point of being comforted by the chosen might not sit well. Of course, it depends on the person. Hozumi seems to be the type who'll mask her feelings with a smile when in front of others. So, having a good cry alone might be good.

      Thanks ^-^

      Lol..that crossed my mind.



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    2. Nah, I don't think I have the patience for that anymore. Thought his 'closure' went with his 'victory' that made him go oh, I'm so full o'myself righ'now that I'll just press and pressure that shy girl who happens to have a ultra jealous boyfriend that used to be a close friend o'mine... That does it for me, lol.

      I'm pretty impressed myself in not seeing any kind of bullying aside the backtalk, I mean, the she said he said - in this case only she said, lol - has in all kinds of ambients. It happened to me while I was in sick leave, people saying I was in some paradisiac beach 'cause the heat and all, when in truth I was running from doctor to doctor to find what's wrong with me. And that place are supposed to be full of adults and mature people, not to mention educators as well.

      I guess the way is managed tells what it needs to be told, right? That counselor and the president chick and pretty awesome in conveying meaning to the words they say and what needs to be done so everybody wins as a whole, or loses if not.

      Yea, I'll agree to that, different people don't always react to the same reaction. I myself would prefer having someone, though I didn't when I needed, I happened to be there when my friend hit rock bottom and can say it did wonders to him and I didn't even need to do or say anything, just be there, lol. Sometimes his wife get jealous of me, and I am one helluva ugly guy, lol.

      Wow, and I managed to screw up writing you'd instead of it'd, lol. Lucky that you're smart and understood anyway. I guess I wouldn't mind if that two kid school managed to win or get fair than the fav ones. I kinda like them.

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    3. Lol..true, and I actually thought we won't see him again after that. So, I wonder if the mangaka doesn't want to leave a bad impression about Shizuka so there is a continuation.

      Really? Hm..was it deliberate? Well, those kind of talk/politics do happen. For me, at school before, I have a feeling that they do that about me/others but I guess I was too oblivious/don't care at that time. ^^;; Is that good or is that bad? =P

      Yup..and I can pretty much feel the drive, passion for it especially in last chapter's pep talk. We are number one always so we should win, etc.

      Hehe..is that so. Good point, sometimes, just being there can already make a huge difference.

      =) I got a bit confused though at first reading ^^; Which two kid? The short guy? The two aren't in this competition. They are from a different prefecture. If you mean the new group in this competition, I actually don't want them to win. ^^;

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    4. Yea, maybe that's it, but then again, he went all I'll make you regret choosing that guy. Though Yuki herself didn't quite understand, or if did, she hid pretty well, and that kinda attitude doesn't seem to try and 'rendeem' him at all, not in my eyes at least. Hope you're right tough. Nevertheless, I guess I'll be putting Namaiki in a short hold for a while, I'm not really in the mood for this. If it were to focus only on Sho and Yuki trying their best to be suitable to each other I'll read it, but right, they already have too much to worry, Shizuka beeing there doesn't really add anything to the whole in my pov. Maybe I'm wrong, hope I am, actually, lol.

      Yea, pretty well deliberate, but I guess it's in our nature as humans, sometimes we do that and don't even notice. Tough it's pretty obvious when someone is doing with mean intentions That was the case in my job, they literally thought I was travelling around and such, while I'm barelly able to get out of my bed... Not really mad with them, but it's pretty sad to see 'grown up' acting that way.

      Yea, in my highschool days, the one to give speeches were me - 'cause they thought I'll be good since I have this crazy image of an ogre and all. Didn't do it in the end. It must come for someone who really cares and really work hard for that, I'm quite impressed on how realistc this chapter is. Not that the others weren't, but this one, even being a 'side story', is too good to be true, lol.

      Yea, it totally skip my mind they weren't going. I could blame the remedies, but I won't, I've been prety much beaten this days and not able to rationale very well, so, my bad. I'll just say that if our gang wins, I'll be happy, but at the same time, would feel kinda let down. You just don't start learning a difficult instrument one day and in less than a year already are winning competions and awards, even more so if the whole group are not filled with only geniuses. It'd take some time for all of them to get there, but I don't know, maybe the mangaka will deliver 'cause it's the last time for Takezou - wich is just some secondary character by now, lol.

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    5. True. And, he'll probably reflect again later on about what he said. ^^; He is basically sourgraping. You know, to nurse the ego/pride one will tend to say that. Of course, that is kind of okay since one will tend to improve oneself afterwards.

      I see. Well, no need for force yourself if you don't feel like reading it. RL is already giving you stress..no need to add more to that =P

      Ah..well, maybe someone is spreading the gossip and well, there are gullible so.. Though I guess they want to 'taint' your reputation or jealous like..lucky of him to have a vacation in some paradise island. ^^; Ya..

      Yup. In a way, it would be interesting to be in that kind of group even if it is intense. The adrenaline rush and everything. Hehe, something even like a sports group. Win or lose, it will make a nice memory later on ^^

      True...so I'm thinking that they might just go for the consolation prize. And, it also depends on what is the criteria for judging..does the technicality have a huge % or the audience impact, timbre, etc. Skill and technically is Himesaka's specialty, it seems.

      Actually, I'm wondering if the series will continue after Takezou and others graduate. If it isn't, they have to get in the Nationals.

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    6. I say I'll put on hold, but I bet one or two more chaps and I'll be reading again, with or without Shizuka to annoy the hell out of me, lol.

      Nah, don't really care why nor who is spreading those things 'bout me. I did say one time, in front of everyone, that I'd much rather be lying to all of'em and be chilling on some natural paradise than being sick from work and sick of work, lol. Gotta see the director's face, lol.

      The adrenaline rush I know all to well, it does wonders, but it can be a two edged sword, I tell ya.

      Yea, don't think it's the same judges from when Satowa performed Tenkyu, but that magazine guy was concerned 'bout them, probably they're not too reliable or something.

      Now that you mentioned, yea, it wouldn't be reallistic, but the plot kinda forces them to win, whether it ends right after the graduation or not 'cause they won't have another chance at the national's, and though Takezou feels like a secondary char. he still is the main one, at least in the summary, lol.

      Guess they advance to the nationals, but don't win there. It'd take to much effort to make it believable, which this series kinda are without really trying.

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    7. Hehe..I see.

      Uh-oh..was the director spreading gossip? =P

      Yup. I guess the other edge is losing?

      Maybe. I'm thinking that one of them might be important later on. I don't recall that there was a special mention about the judges before.

      True..iirc, the story starts with him. And, iirc, he is the one in the 2nd volume cover. About having another chance in the Nationals, it will depend on the new members. ^^

      Well, perhaps. I'm leaning more on the consolation prize. ^^; I guess it will depend on how much better they are now compared before and to the others. I'm thinking like that competition between Satowa and Akira. Akira played a very difficult piece yet Satowa's performance had impact and moved the audience that they will think that Satowa should be the first placer. And that piece is 'easy' enough for Chika and others to convincingly play well.

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    8. No, no. I spoke in a meeting, while everyon else was there too, didn't mind them, lol.

      I don't recall either, just remember the guy concerned about them.

      The story goes well enough without him, which is kinda sad for a protagonist, lol. But I guess it's intentional, he is described as one who works hard, but is never noticed, so maybe his time will eventually come. And it must come so we can see him and Hiro going out without timeskips, lol.

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    9. I see ^^

      Lol..true, in a way, he just blends too much that he doesn't make that much impact which is indeed is his personality/presence. =P And, well, it makes sense since that is probably one of the reasons why he is being bullied at the start.

      Yup ^^

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    10. And I can't help but wonder if the series would/could continue without him being constantly there. I mean, after his graduation, I'd imagine his role would be just to show ocasionally from here and there and that's it. Can't picture that myself, despite all we've being saying about him feeling more like a sec. char. than a mc.

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    11. Yup, he will definitely appear occasionally if it continues after his graduation but then, I suddenly recalled that he is still in second year. ^^;

      The reason that they have to go to the Nationals now is because they will be 'forced to retire' when the prelims are going to happen. So, that means, they can still perform for that music festival earlier.

      True..it won't be the same anymore.

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    12. I see you're tempting me with so much Namaiki's summaries in a short time, huh? Guess I'll be reading those sooner than later, much sooner than I had expected, lol.

      Yea, now that you said, I remembered, they're not graduating, it's just the competition's schedule that are 'strange' for lack of a better word. So, this is their last chance to perform at nationals together, though we still have at least a year to gradution. Good call, it totally slipped my mind.

      And, despite the obvious ones, ChikaxSato and TakeHiro, do you have any other ship? I, for an insane reason, ship Chika's aunt with his friend Tetsu(?) and ship Akira with their counselor, lol.

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    13. Lol..not really. For some reason, the Chinese scanlator released that one earlier than usual. ^^; And, it goes on a break until June so take your time.

      Yup. It is indeed a strange set-up.

      I would expect Akira with their adviser. Chika's aunt and friend..possible..=P It will be an interesting pair.

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    14. Since we almost mid may, it won't look too long of a wait, but she sure deserved that break. I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that she pratically didn't have a break in her late pregnancy nor a long one even after giving birth. That's one helluva scary woman, and a really devoted author at boot, too.

      I'll take my time, but like I said, I was bound to come back regardless, Namaiki IS one of my fav series atm, so, even with Shizuka annoying me to no end, as of yet, I can ignore him and appreciate the awkwardness of our couple.

      Normally, this kind of competitions would take place at the end of schooldays, right? Like World Cup and Olympics...

      Where I live is right in between school days, but here is different from the rest of the world, for some reason, lol.

      Yea, I meant Suzuka(?) and Akira. Always forget his name, lol. Yea, the age gap and the contrasts are pretty much over the top, though she doesn't look that much older. But don't think it'd happen. A background char dating a main's older relative? I've seen before, but it's pretty rare and it was more like a joke ending than a serious take, and it was only in the very end of the series. There's too much social issues to go about that, but I can't help it but like it, lol.

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    15. That's right. I guess she probably rather go for 'hit the iron while it is hot'.

      Seems like it. Since the series started, there was no Nationals [competitions] and they are around autumn now, I presume. Since in basketball like Winter Cup, third years can still play on December. I would assume that the koto competition would probably be Jan-Mar. Hence, the third years would really have a difficult time playing during those times so they tend to retire already. Hm..maybe even April?

      True..and I'm wondering..is it because it is koto competition rather than say..sports? Are they aiming for a certain season?

      Yup, it's pretty rare. It depends on the mangaka..does everyone have to be paired off with someone?

      Have you already read AoT? It turns out there is a tiny hope after all though that 'fight' is quite intense. ^^

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    16. One helluva of a woman, I tell ya, lol.

      Yea, I guess that being an 'elitist' kinda of thing, koto's competitions, even more so a national one, must aim for a schedule which it gets all the shine it can. I remember when I was in some kinda classical music thing, they were pretty strict and all events were when all the atention would be upon them and only them, seeing how koto is 'more than classical' and an instrument that the calls the image of Japan and it's culture and all, I'd think yes, they aim for a certain season where it won't have any other meaningful event to 'oushine' their own.

      If someone who plays koto isn't even allowed to listen to any other kind of music without being looked down, they must be much more strict than any other thing I've seen.

      I, for one, don't mind if some chars end up alone. Specially if they didn't even click with someone else before in the entire series. The thing is, I really think the aunt and friend do click, lol. Not so much for Akira and Suzuka(?)

      Yea, Levi is a beast! Though I'm kinda dissapointed with the author for not making him kill the ape right now and then, as he'd done with any other enemie. Perhaps they had planned on habing someone titanize and eating the ape before, so I'll just overlook this, lol. And Armin, godam*, don't go triggering death flags like that, you lil' genius, you!

      Really, I'm concerned now more than ever. Don't want an epilogue with Eren and Mikasa contempling the ocean with their baby named Armin, they must be together, all three of them! Or at least, Mikasa and Armin, no one cares much 'bout Eren but those two, lol.

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    17. Yup ^^

      Indeed. It does have that 'elitist' feeling to it. That's very interesting. ^^

      That's right.

      Yup, they do click though currently, I'm not going to cross the line yet on it being romantic..it is possible..with the teasing. =P True, unless there are more interactions rather than just someone has to be paired off.

      Ya..though the survivor seems to be far away from Levi. ^^; Didn't realize that Levi has a huge amount of stamina after that. I guess it is also adrenaline due to the promise.

      Really..there was a death flag? Ah..the ocean thing, right?

      Lol..that would be a typical ending. I guess it depends on what kind of ending the mangaka has decided on. If it is a horror flick-type of ending, then, that scenario won't happen but rather a 'everything is futile'/ you cannot stop the creatures/ghosts/etc. In this case, 'cannot stop the attack of the titan'.

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    18. Koto is a scary thing, when portrayed like that, huh? When I see that grandmother and others elitists acting like that I wonder how can that be? Though I know all too well that's pretty normal, even more so if it's about something the whole world view as a cult/symbolic culture of your country/identity. It scares me, for real, lol.

      Yea, like I said, their interactions are good, they do pretty well together, their dynamics don't look forced - though Tetsuo has it hard when she drives - so if some other feelings were to arise it wouldn't feel out of place, for me, due to how well they sinc with each other. Though, there's the social issues to work and so, I myself don't think it'll happen, but, you know shippers, right? lol.

      Levi should've just killed the ape without any kind of 'foreplay'. I reckon he wanted to inflict pain and humiliation, as punishment, hell, when he said: 'you don't see to be having so much fun anymore' I almost choke on how hard I laughed, but even so, the author pulled that talk too much and the prey get out alive - only that it wasn't the villain talking now. Or was it? The ape's monologue seemed to allude to something more than just 'revenge'.

      Yea, the ocean and the I think I won't get to see it. Don't do that, Armin, just don't!

      From that interview, I guess he's going to a not so bittersweet ending, where most of the beloved chars are alive - and well - and most of the issues are resolved, but with the feeling that too much was lost. Like a pyrrhic victory, they won at a much greater cost. That's the feeling I'm getting from the last chaps.

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    19. True..though I think it is more on tradition and reputation like with Satowa or Kazusa whose family revolves around koto. Hm..makes me think of the 'old rich' with all their rules, breeding, etc. So, those 'newbies' who don't go through 'formal training' among other things tend to be looked down on.

      Of course here, things are starting to change. It is 'breaking' the status quo. It goes to explain Himesaka's shock of being defeated by an unknown school. Hm..somehow, that's good for the judges are 'fair' and have no favoritism of that sort.

      Yup ^^

      I'm actually puzzled by that. Why do they need to get someone become a titan to eat the beast. It would think that they are a bit greedy and wanted to get the beast's powers. What do you think? Apparently, he isn't inclined to use it on himself. And, I do think he is more useful as a human than a titan.

      Also, can human-titans be killed while they are in human form?

      Which part of the monologue? Lol, I forgot. I only remember him telling them titans to eat up Levi or something.

      I see..perhaps something like that though somehow, I'm kind of expecting a major shocking twist for the ending much like what I mentioned above. =P Maybe something like those things in the book like ocean and stuff no longer exists.

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    20. Yea, I'm sorta poor on words these last days, so saying 'elitists' may sound derrogative, tradicionalists are a better choice, even more so when koto IS a tradional instrument and part of Japan's history. Well, even so, I myself wouldn't do well in this environment - too much like Chika, without the good looks and the heart of gold, lol.

      Yea, and Himesaka losing to a 'nobody' spiced things up in their world. If it was around here, the news would be spreading like wildfire. Guess it's a good thing that Koto's community are kinda restricted to a few - 'else it'd be a huge uproar and I doubt it anyone in their teens would be able to cope. Hell, Akira couldn't cope, here brother too - though his case is different. And, you see, I don't know why I'm talking about those things, really, lol.

      I was/am just trying to justify why Levi didn't finish off the ape right there, instead, had to talk like every villain does before the hero escapes his clutches. I mean, there was no reason for him to act that way, despite all the loses. Levi were/is the kinda soldier to do his duty first and foremost, than he goes in depression/frustration mode with his kinky to clean things,lol.

      I guess they can, if they explode or cut the head off, there's no regenaration time, despite Reiner willing to prove me wrong with this statement, lol.

      Yea, when he said that it's a shame the king took/erase all humanity's memories and how this had doomed them all to the same mistake of the past.

      Really? I can't imagine anything that darker. I can see things looking dark, like I said, they won, but lost to much for a not so good reward beyond staying alive.

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    21. Hehe..yup.

      Lol..I get your point. I can only think of an analogy of it being like sports. A huge well-trained famous team being defeating an 'unknown'.

      Lol..good point. That is such a classic thing.. going blah-blah then the other party manages to escape thanks to giving him/his allies time to escape/free him. How could he stop the 'carnage' at that point and didn't finish the job? And, we can just say, it's for the plot.

      Ya..and for the 'boss', beast titan seems to be easier to finish off than those two.

      Ah, that part. As I mentioned, it makes me think that there is a potential major twist in the end. Something like, it turns out that 'we are the bad guys' of some sort and everything we were doing is futile. Much like what beast titan is hinting on. It is as if the 'king' and everyone inside are the bad guys.

      I would think that it can be a clash of opinions/beliefs. Perhaps, the king wants to hinder the inevitable so did all that. And, it probably helped his cause if he stole that power..the one Eren has.

      Well, we'll know all that after the battle. ^^ If they survive...

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    22. It's a good analogy, I can think like a great NBA team losing in a rather humiliating style to some unknown team from somewhere without any tradition in basket - though I myself am not a fan of basket, could only fit this here, seeing how proud north americans are 'bout it.

      Yea, that's what prevented me of fulling enjoying this chap. Levi was in a trance and suddenly, stop so he can mock ape titan? He was never this type of char, if were Jean, Ymir or even Annie, I could believe - though neither of those I mentioned did any thing similar, I could see them doing 'cause their personality.

      It'd be a good twist, if the author manage well. Imagine Armin and Eren upon discovering the truth? That the people inside the wall were the ones who ruined the world AND created the titans - seeing how the wall is made of them. Could you see? Can't see Mikasa reacting to it, though, all that matters to her is Eren, lol. Can't say it'd be original, but I'm sure as hell it'd shine some light in the series - for me, the mangaka are going way too hard for the impact the audience thing, so, putting some cinic irony at a possible bittersweet ending would be good.

      Like, there's not really a bad guy, but all humanity and it's contradiction that makes it for a villain in this series, though if this were the case I'd scream my lungs out saying he got this idea from Claymore and Berserk, lol.

      I'm not convinced yet if Erwin bit the dust, I mean, he's to die, but don't think he was 'one shotted'like the other guys.

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    23. True..maybe something like in the Olympics? Or international competition like World Cup? ^^

      Ya..it was wow..then stopped midway and everything turned around -> back to square one. ^^; Oh well..maybe the impending doom has to continue or forcefully make Eren save the day at the last moment =P ..again so that he'll be of use.

      Hm..I actually think that the king probably has that power to control/stole it then called the super tall titans to make the wall. I'm not inclined to think that they created the titans. I would assume that they actually oppose it/reality hence built a small city of where there are no 'titans' within and live in ignorant bliss as long as they can.

      Perhaps the king and his clan don't want to lose the 'control' over humans/something to have some sense of power or domination. From how things are, it give me the feeling of 'it's futile to resist the inevitable'.

      It would be shocking for the two and probably all if they knew of it. True, regarding Mikasa. Sorry, what exactly is 'impact the audience'. Shock and awe-type? Yup..though just wondering..since this is super popular and it has spawned some side stories, do you think there will be a sequel? Like life outside with whoever is left in the cast?

      But there is a 'bad guy' in Claymore..ah..the guys who 'invented' the island and made that experiment though I guess they got away with it. Unless you mean..what's her name..the one Teresa defeated in the end. Yes, she isn't really a 'bad guy'.

      Ah..is that so. I would assume he is dead after that 'shower' though it wasn't exactly in 'blazing glory' to actually take down one titan but as fodder. But then, I guess it would be nice if he's alive and get the serum instead of some random guy.

      Hm..earlier, it really does seem to hint that he had some trump card. ^^;

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    24. Yea, I'd think so. Tradition can be a pain, thinking how one has to 'maintain' it and the other tries hard to change it, don't know why, but it just hit me that this is that kind of world they live, and it scares me, lol.

      Oh, but we're forcing Eren to save the day again, alright, and he doesn't even has a say in it, Armin's taking of it right now, raising his own death flag and whatnot. I really wish if anyone of those three had to day it'd be Eren, I don't think I can manage Armin dying, though seeing Mikasa suffering 'cause Eren died would be hard on me too, so I don't know anymore, let's kill some Reiner and some Berthold a hundred times over so I can think clearly, lol.

      You know, this talk reminded me of the awful live action, where the world was destroyed by humans and one org have take bio-whatever to a next degree and created the titans and so on. That was literally the only saving point of LA, lol.

      And that prompts me to Annie's view of mankind and her cynicism to the point of being the most cold hearted char in the manga, to me, of course. Wish we could have some more flashback of her and her father.

      I think so too, regarding the king, the fake king and all, it's clear that they wanted to hold power and didn't want anyone else having a take on it, they even had the Arckeman clan almost extinguished 'cause they were the only ones able to make a stand/pose a threat.

      There's a lot of material already, I mean, there's a manga about Levi and Erwin, another about Levi, one about the time the gears weren't invented yet, a ps4 game is incoming and that's because I lost track of it all when I heard there were also some light novels about Shingeki, so, if we're talking about the original mangaka making a sequel, I'd have to say I don't think so. He'd risk too much and he's already having trouble to resolve SnK as it is without having death threats from hardcore fans - though I wouldn't call those who do that fans. But it's likely that the publishers keep doing some extras and spin offs, much like what happened to Fate.

      Yea, what I meant to say was that in Claymore and Berserk, I'd put HxH here too, the villain are the greed mankind has it in it's core. Be it for power, land, knowledge whatever, it's always that who creates monsters of men in general. Of course, we have someone posing as a villain/antagonist, but ultimately, it's just one more poor soul caught in the system the world works - and SnK seems to be taking this path, albeit rather forcefully, but alas, I talk too much, good lord!

      Erwin had a stone pierce/go through his stomach, I don't know if that's insta kill, but he's to die, maybe the guy who survived manage to find him?

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    25. Yup.

      Lol..true. In a way, I hope for some ironic thing for the two because of how they 'killed' Marco.

      Hehe..is that so. Hm..seems like planet of the apes of some sort.

      True..but I seem to have heard of a spin off manga about Annie. Though, after reading a couple of spin offs, it doesn't seem 'canon'.

      Ah..there are death threats? Haven't been reading anime/manga news. The one I heard to have death threats before was the mangaka of Kuroro Basketball..something. True, squeezing out all the profit that they can from it. Still..aren't those with Fate considered 'sequels'?

      I see. Something in general that causes 'monsters of men' due to their own fault.

      Oh..that's right. After checking again, that was his only injury. For some reason, I thought he was one of those guys who got their heads pierced through by the rubble. ^^;;

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    26. That was something great, though cruel. I guess I said before, it made Annie shine while it cast a very dark shadow on Reiner and Berthold. I think, and I speak only for me, ofc, that it's because how the author had portrayed them before, he took his time making Annie a good antagonist with her arc, but the other two, it's just like that, the two. Little disappointed to tell the truth, I expected them to be more developted, and now that their time to shine it makes me to want puch them to no end or just skip to the end already, lol.

      Didn't know Annie had one spin too. Is it in manga or light novel form? True, couldn't take any of the Levi's seriously, nor the past arc, though they pretty much are cannon, it just doesn't feel like it completes the main story.

      For him I don't know, just spoke in general, seeing like one author had it 'cause the main char. wasn't virgin anymore and these kind of things are, unfortunately, pretty common. And the mangaka already told in interview that he's concerned and had to change so he wouldn't disappoint the fans, it's a shame, really.

      No, hell no, lol! The only sequel Fate has it's the Ataraxia visual novel and it's prequel light novel Zero. The others are extra and spin offs full of fanservices. Though Illya's manga is pretty good, it's still just extra. I, as a fan, can't take much more of it and am just praying for Heaven Feels to get an anime adaptation, a good one, lol.

      Yea, but it's pretty hard to find a series that make it completely abstract thing, without turning one character into it's personification. I guess that's why I love Clay and Berserk so much, and HxH, though I don't really love it, it's pretty dam* good.

      Irl, that would be insta kill for sure, but in manga, and in SnK, I don't know. What kills one char doesn't kill other, so we'll just have to wait, lol.

      And I'll try to refrain from walltexts, even more so when I'm sleep deprived, I swear, lol.

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    27. Hehe..is that so. True..those two aren't exactly likeable.

      After checking it, it is a novel turned into a manga. I first saw it here:
      http://readms.com/r/attack_on_titan/080/3344/3

      It is an advertisement with Annie on the cover so I assumed that it is about her..but it seems to be about Mikasa, too. That's right. I read the Levi one..seems off and the ending is..wha--? I read a bit of the prequel about how the weapons are made but after a few chapters, I stopped reading..^^;

      For real? Because the main character isn't a virgin anymore? Wait..is the main character a girl? I'm thinking that it is like some idol who cannot have boyfriends. True..I think usually, mangaka will change the story/ending for the readers/editors.

      So, unlimited blade works isn't a sequel? I thought that and Heaven Feels are sequels ^^;;

      I see ^^

      Indeed...or at least, we can only be sure if there's a corpse.

      Hehe...take care of yourself ^^

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  4. Thanks for your hard work Kat. I for one can't wait to see the next performance. And everyone's reaction to Satowa's piece. I'm sure Kazusa will be paying attention and will be amazed on how the piece is so different. I wonder if the judges are the same from that infamous performance? Keeping my fingers crossed for Takezou and the gang!

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    1. Thanks for reading ^-^

      Yup ^^

      I would assume that they are different since they were specifically introduced in this arc and Satowa didn't mention it/recognize them..yet.

      Yup ^^

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    2. You know, I'd love it if they made an anime of this already.

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