Valentinusu no Okurimono (Valentine’s Gift Part 1)
Ta-da! The “Cliff Notes” for the fifth Maria-sama ga Miteru novel have arrived. :-) You can find all the notes I took on the first four books on past Okazu:
Notes on the First Novel: Maria-sama ga Miteru.
Notes on the Second Novel: Kibara Kakumei
Notes on the Third Novel(Part 1): Ibara no Mori.
Notes on the Third Novel(Part 2): Shiroki Hanabira.
Notes on the Fourth Novel (Part 1): Rosa Canina
Notes on the Fourth Novel (Part 2): Nakaniyo
These notes assume you are familiar with the story and has spoilers galore. If you haven’t watched it, then do – it will help to understand what I’m talking about. :-)
I want to start with the very, very end of the book � the author’s notes, in fact – because I really wanted to share this. Sean Gaffney once commented that “Saying Sei is your favorite character is like saying the sky is blue.” I was talking to my friend Masako-san, (who arrived at my hotel in Tokyo toting Soeur Audition, the latest Marimite novel, lol) and she said that she likes Sei best, too. Just for the record.
Well, in the author’s notes, Konno Oyuki mentions that she got a lot of letters asking if she had any intention of sending Sei off to school in Italy, assumably to follow Shizuka, with whom she “might have become good friends.” (So, that pretty much confirms my belief that Shizuka was coming on pretty darn strong!) In any case, Konno-sensei says, no way! She plans on Sei going to school at Lillian University because she loves her best and can’t let her go. LOL So there you go. Sei is *everyone’s* favorite character. (I can even tell you why…. She is not just a happy-go-lucky lesbian; she’s also the most complex character of the bunch, shifting from goofy dirty-old-man mode to insightful and deep thoughts in mere seconds. The most subtle thinker of all the characters. The second deepest thinker, btw, is Yoshino. I’ll talk about that later in part 2.)
Okay, and with that somewhat bloated intro � here we go with the Notes:
Because the fifth novel has not yet been made into a manga (except in small part) and I have not had time to rewatch the anime, there may be bits that I comment on that *are* in the anime. I’ve ceased to think of these write-ups as just “here’s the differences” but more of a “here’s the salient points” � just like cliff notes, in fact. You’ll have to excuse me, I was a Comparative Literature major in college and
I cannot help myself. ;-) That having been said, there *are* some differences � notably the entire end of the Yellow Rose family situation. I will elaborate on this as we get to it.
For the record � 10 pages of notes…again.
1) As she ponders the expense of Valentine’s Day chocolates, Yumi thinks how, even though she goes to a rich girl’s school, there’s a HUGE difference between herself and Sachiko’s world.
2) I don’t think anyone else has ever commented on this…in a school with uniforms right out of the turn of the 20th century, the students wear gym uniforms and play sports that are exceptionally unladylike. Just struck me as odd. :-)
3) In this novel, we see the third-year Rosas all manage their soeur all at once, for the first time. We’ve seen little of Eriko or Sei managing their soeur, but when they do, it’s a doozy! Each one of the Rosas has a completely different technique, which is entirely based on the personality of their little sisters. Youko, having been accused of meddling by Sachiko, invokes the one thing Sachiko is helpless in front of � Yumi’s happy, smiling face. Eriko simply overbears poor, henpecked Rei and *totally* disses Yoshino. Sei just tells Shimako to “gambatte” and Shimako caves. LOL Yumi thinks that Sei should have said that when Shimako was running for the Yamayurikai. Shimako caves in so quickly, obviously, because as an one-sama Sei doesn’t ever ask her to do anything, or ever get in her way of doing something. With such an onee-sama, how could Shimako resist a direct request?
4) When asked by Yumi for advice, Tsutako suggests that Yumi make chocolates but, if Sachiko is in a bad mood on Valentine’s Day, not giving them to her. Instead she can share with Tsutako, later. LOL
Yumi briefly considers asking Tsu to be there for mental support when she braves Sachiko’s wrath to give her the chocolates (remember, Yumi thinks Sachiko hates V-Day chocolates,) but decides she doesn’t want her rejection by Sachiko documented.
5) Rei gives Yumi the recipe for the chocolate by pretending that it is something she wants Yumi to deliver to Yoshino.
6) When Shimako sees the recipe, Yumi has a sudden realization that, although Shimako is an en bouton, she’s really only a first-year and still responsible for such things as serving the upperclassmen tea and cleaning. All of a sudden Yumi realizes how terribly busy Shimako must be, with the environmental committee and the Yamayurikai.
7) Yumi meets Shizuka in the music room. Shizuka comments that all of her, Shizuka’s, classmates are jealous of Yumi because she is close to Sachiko and should be able to find the red card easiest. But…the real prize, the half-day date, hadn’t been announced at that time, so everyone is just assuming that the prize is a card or chocolate from Sachiko.
Initially, Shizuka isn’t terribly interested in the treasure hunt. She jokes about setting up a crystal ball booth and selling potential hiding places. But she does suggest to Yumi that she, Yumi, should think about where *she* might hid the card, if it were her, which might lead to realizing where Sachiko would hide it.
While talking to Shizuka, Yumi comes up with the idea to give chocolates to the older girl and also has a brief thought of making chocolates for Sei.
8) Shizuka explains to Yumi that, even as a first-year, Sachiko received many presents of chocolate from her own age group and even some of the older students, which might explain why she doesn’t like them, Shizuka suggests that it was a very lonely experience for Sachiko.
Shizuka also tells Yumi that Sachiko is kind *because* she rejected all of the chocolates last year.
9) Sei finds Yumi in the Rose Mansion, and leads her out with a really odd discussion of how Yumi looked very self-satisfied and how she was like a kid who visits a lot of temples and shrines to pray for something. Yumi listens, but is pretty much confused by it all. Sei seems to ramble on about depending on one’s preferences, bathing in cold water and then eating a hot meal is nice. Sei is not rambling, of course � she’s trying to tell Yumi a few important things, in her own
way. One, that she had been seen going to everyone for advice (visiting shrines and temples) and two, that depending of the circumstances something that sounds bad, might be good (Sachiko’s dislike of Valentine’s Day chocolates.)
Shimako shows up and Yumi is much relieved to end the conversation which confused her.
10) We get to see that Shimako really *does* understand Sei. Sei turns to her soeur and says only, “Success” and Shimako understands immediately and congratulates her. Yumi follows up with an extended train of thought that gets her to the right conclusion � that RG has passed her university exam.
11) After the fight with Sachiko, Yumi goes to the greenhouse and tells the Rosa Chinensis plant how much she loves Sachiko and yearns to be with her, but she’s sure that Sachiko hates her now.
12)Sei finds Yumi in the greenhouse. (Interestingly, throughout the novel Sei keeps being described as a “shadow.”) She apologizes to Yumi for walking out, leaving Yumi and Sachiko in the middle of a fight. She says it seemed like the thing to do at the time, but afterwards, it left her with a nasty taste in her mouth.
RG goes on to say that the fight reminded her of “back then” and tells Yumi that, although she doesn’t realize it, she is very much like Sachiko. They both keep close counsel, unlike say, Yoshino, who doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind. Youko had had to actually train Sachiko to speak up…. Sei mentions, causally, how Sachiko has still left the Kashiwagi affair unsettled, because of her dislike of speaking up. Sei goes on to tell Yumi that Youko and Sachiko had almost the exact same fight last year, in October. Because she, Sei, was preoccupied with someone else, she wasn’t paying attention to them much and didn’t know what set it off, but she was an eyewitness to the fight.
Yumi realizes that what Sachiko had probably been most angry with, was the reflection of her past self in Yumi, unable to speak up.
Sei excuses herself with, “Well, I’m going back. I dislike this greenhouse.” Shadows of Shiori, assumably.
13) At this point, even Yumi realizes how much Sei is acting like her onee-sama and throws herself at Sei to get a hug. She mentally apologizes to Shimako for “borrowing an arm” and wraps Sei’s arm around herself.
Yumi asks Sei if she, Sei, and Shimako are anything alike. Sei responds with “a little”. She goes on to say that she was a real pain as a first-year, while Shimako is much her superior. But she understands Shimako, which is why she doesn’t want to be interfering.
14) As they leave the greenhouse, Sei sets herself up for the nasty chocolate joke, by going on and on about how handmade chocolates by Yumi would be really good. They get on the bus together and Sei goes off on a monologue about chocolates and coffee, how she likes chocolates where the sweetness has been curbed, especially with liquor centers. Then she asks Yumi to make her chocolates and starts to chant, “Chocolate, chocolate” in her “oyaji mode” voice until other people on the bus start to stare. LOL
End Part 1.