LN Reading Program — June 21

(pictured: Kagerou Daze)

(pictured: Kagerou Daze)

For the second week of this summer reading program, we will discuss the second act of Kagerou Daze (volume 1) and Mimizuku and the King of Night. For Kagerou Daze, you need to have read the chapters titled “Kagerou Daze II” and “Kisaragi Attention” (ending at page 101). Meanwhile for Mimizuku, you need to have read chapters 4, 5, and 6.

If you have read further ahead, please refrain from spoiling anything past the points in the stories mentioned above. (Also, obviously, if you’ve experienced a manga or anime adaptation in the past, don’t reveal what happens next.)

Kagerou Daze

The second story of this volume follows Momo, a girl who attracts the attention of everyone around her. At this point it’s made clear the series will involve supernatural elements, presumably via the cast of teen misfits Momo ends up meeting in the second half of the story. Overall I found the story a cute one, though it largely seems meant to serve as setup.

Discussion Points

I think it’s interesting to compare the first two stories of Kagerou Daze, since the two viewpoint characters are siblings who live very separate lives–and yet those lives hold more in common than either would probably expect. Though Shintaro keeps to his room while Momo has the eyes of all of Japan on her, neither of them seem to have any friends, and struggle to connect with others in a meaningful way. (Also, they both really like soda.) One point that stood out to me was that both characters find it difficult to carry a conversation–which can be surprising in Momo’s case, given how she’s made it big as an artist, idol, and TV star.

Of course, it should be noted that Momo didn’t really want to be any of those things… How much of her life would you say has been dictated by her condition(?) that causes everyone to praise and adore her? And how do you feel the story weighs in on the subject of success in life vs. personal happiness? Do you expect Momo will ever return to her popular vocation in any form? I suppose it remains to be seen if the Mekakushi gang will actually be able to “cure” her, which will obviously affect where she goes from here.

My favorite scene of this story though was probably the dialogue between Momo and her teacher, which in a way reminded me much of the banter between Shintaro and Ene. Though the masses at large can only see Momo as a figure of fame and glamour, her teacher at least is able to look past all that and treat her like a regular student.

(Kagerou Daze art by Shidu)

(Kagerou Daze art by Shidu)

Mimizuku and the King of Night

This week’s reading gave us background information on Mimizuku and Fukurou, but their time together was brought to a halt once the Holy Knight arrived with a team of magicians. What followed was an interesting series of events at the castle, which served nicely for a change of setting as well as a change in tone and atmosphere. I’m quite curious to see where the story will go from here, and what will ultimately become of both Mimizuku and Fukurou.

Discussion Points

Why do you feel Fukurou did nothing to fight off the ambush in chapter four, and what prompted him to seal away all of Mimizuku’s memories? I think there are a number of things to read in his decisions there, though it’s likely more will be expounded upon in the final chapters to come. (My take on the matter is that Fukurou felt Mimizuku would be happier with a life among fellow humans, and was willing to fall for her sake.)

Mimizuku’s time in the castle has been marked by her ignorance of all that has transpired in the monster forest and in the village she grew up in previously. But despite her case of forced amnesia, she still feels drawn to the moon and seems to recognize something is amiss. Does Mimizuku yearn to return to the world of monsters, deep down? Her days at the castle have been blissful, but is this actually an artificial happiness?

“If Mimizuku’s memories return…” Ann Duke said gently, “she may not be the same Mimizuku that we know now.”

“Huh…?” Claudius looked up, slightly taken aback.

“A person’s memory is the one definite substance of their character. The Mimizuku whose memories have returned may be a completely different person from the Mimizuku we know now…”

How much would you say Mimizuku’s personality has changed following her memory loss? How much is a person defined by her life experiences? At the conclusion of this weeks’ readings, Mimizuku regained her memories, all the dark events of her life returning at once and forcing her to vomit profusely in reaction. Do you expect her personality to shift back to how it was before? (Kind of… unhinged?) I can see that her time with everyone at the castle would have enough of an effect on her that we could see “a third Mimizuku” result from the aftermath. It’s an interesting take on character development, and I look forward to seeing how it all pans out.

I feel it’s worth comparing Mimizuku’s interactions with Fukurou and her interactions with the young boy Prince Claudius. Fukurou was once a prince himself, and the fate of both Fukurou and Claudius appears to have been entirely outside of their control (i.e. society’s rejection of Fukurou; Claudius’s inability to move his arms and legs). Both were locked away in a castle tower, and both had little to no interaction with others until Mimizuku enters their lives. In what ways has she affected each of them?

What do you expect will happen next in this story? Do you expect a happy or tragic ending? To me, it seems unlikely that things can work out favorably for everyone involved, and the story has done well to create some degree of attachment with each of the major characters involved in this situation.

———

As mentioned before, feel free to discuss any point you would like to bring up about either (or both) of these two books. General impressions, predictions for how the stories will play out, some compare/contrast between the two books, or any random observations and things you’d like to analyze are all fair game.

3 responses to “LN Reading Program — June 21

  1. The way they described soda in this scene was like I feel like drinking soda after a long summer day, described in a way that made me want a soda as I read it.

    I hear through podcasts about a lot of comedians who get off stage and can barely speak a word to the fans who come up to them. They are just in a mode when they are on stage and a conversation is a completely different thing. I think people just have different modes in different types of social situations. So, yes, I can see why Momo would be unable to have a conversation despite being an idol.

    I think Momo is like a lot of people who become popular, Rush drummer/lyricist Neil Peart* being a big example. They just wanted to make a living doing something creative and end up being unable to have a normal life. I’m sure some of them like the attention but many do not want to have people coming up to them on a busy day asking for an autograph or saying how much they liked them in that drama.

    (*Side note: watch the documentary “Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage” if you’re a Rush fan and/or want to know about a popular musician who wants nothing to do with being in the limelight. The chapter where they discuss this in detail begins at (1:01:43) and is on Netflix.)

    When I saw the scene with Momo and her teacher in the anime for the first time I laughed so much. Her reasoning for the answers on her test were just so funny and were a little different from what was in the LN. The answers given in the anime made her seem like much more of a manga otaku iirc.

    • Thanks for the comment! It definitely seems reasonable that Momo, like many other performers, is able to act in a way that differs from her “base personality,” as it were.
      Momo’s situation is especially tricky because she is young and still in school, and it seems her studies have suffered at least in part from the fact all her free time is taken by her job. High school days can be very packed–especially in Japan–and I feel there’s some commentary in that regard to be had here in Kagerou Daze as well.
      I will have to check out the corresponding episodes of the Mekakucity anime with this volume. I recall watching at least the first episode back when it aired. The art style was quite interesting, but I didn’t have time to keep up with the show. (Which turned out okay with me, since the LNs were later announced for English release.)

  2. I will definitely jump in on this! This sounds extremely fun! I just need to get Kagerou Daze, and it just so happens the opportunity presents itself tomorrow!

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