Maria-sama ga Miteru Seventh Novel, Itoshiki Toshitsuki, First Half (Part 1)

September 30th, 2005

Itoshiki Saigestu (The Loving Times) First Half
Part 1

As Onna! is right around the corner(!) and for the next week I’ll be pretty erratic at updating, here’s something nice and chewy for you from the Yuricon Mailing List. Feel free to join the list and read the notes from the 8th novel, as well!

There was a fair amount cut out of this book for the anime, but also a lot of stuff that was done straight. The stuff that was cut out was mostly insightful chitchat that, while fascinating, I can totally understand why it was cut.

***

The opening scene has Eriko and Sei running into each other in the hall (not literally) and Eriko mistaking the lyrics of a song for something else. When they part, she’s left with lingering thoughts of love.

Rosa Foetida – Full Speed Ahead

1) Minako, newspaper club president and tabloid editor-in-training, does not want to just report news – she wants to make it. As in make it up. Currently, she’s frustrated because she’s trying to discover where the Rosas are planning to go to college. The en bouton aren’t saying and the en bouton petite soeur are clueless. Minako gives us her opinions on the latter: Yoshino is suspicious by nature and doesn’t care about anything other than “Rei-chan.” Yumi is a terrible liar, so she really doesn’t know anything.

Minako overhears three of the newspaper club members wondering why the Roses took exams at all. (And within this scene is, ironically, annoyed at Mami for questioning them like she, Mami, is researching an article.)

The three first-years discuss the main criteria for going to a school other than Lillian – the desire to be in a coeducational institution. Minako thinks that this doesn’t apply to Rosa Gigantea or Rosa Chinensis – neither of them would particularly care whether their school had guys or not – but Rosa Foetida would definitely be going somewhere else, because going to school with guys would be “an interesting experience”.

Minako, it turns out, is also marginally jealous of Mami’s knowledge and comprehension – she’s constantly calling Mami her “not cute” soeur. Minako also remembers being much quieter and cuter as a first-year. She’s sure that Mami is after a big scoop to surpass her; Minako sees the soeur relationship like that of a teacher and student that are locked in an eternal rivalry. Minako burns with a competitive fury.

2) Club member A says that she saw Rosa Foetida at an amusement park on Saturday.

(The first years are labeled by the narrator, “Club Member A”, “B” and “C”, respectively, with a little note that they did have names and Minako certainly knew them, but for our purposes A, B, and C would suffice. ^_^)

Minako assumes that Eriko was there with the rest of the Yellow Rose family, because as she’s graduating soon, it was natural to spend time with your soeur.

(In this scene we get some foreshadowing that Mami will be significantly worse than Minako as a newspaper club president…she’s a tough character with a steel-trap mind, and she rules Minako with an iron fist.)

“A” says that Eriko was with a guy. Scandal! Never before has a Rose, especially, allowed the taint of having a lover before graduation. And Eriko and the guy, who looks 25-26 had their arms around each other! (Eriko’s 18 in this novel.)

Club members B and C had seen her holding hands at a museum and a high-end restaurant with 2 other older men. B had been at the museum with her mother – they had received free tickets because her father had done work for an art client; C was at the restaurant for a family party.

3) The second scene of the body of the novel is our Tsutako scene, as always. Tsutako tells Yumi all of the above in a dead-on impression of the girls’ voice. She had been in the Photography clubroom and as the Newspaper club had talked they had become more animated – and loud – so she heard them clearly. Yumi thinks Tsu ought to be in the drama club with her talent for voices.

Tsutako gives Yumi the photos she took, pretty much to pass the burden on to Yumi.

4) On the way up the Rose Mansion stairs, Yumi worries that if she steps on a weak spot in the stairs, she’ll fall and get hurt or die, and someone might find the photos in her pocket…only, she’d be dead, so it won’t matter what they think – to her, at least.

5) Yumi meets Yoshino in the Rose Mansion and mentions offhandedly that she would like to talk to Eriko. Yoshino suggests calling her, something Yumi never even considered. Yoshino suggests doing it *now* and Yumi thinks that a desperate attraction to anything interesting must be a Yellow Rose trait. (Yet another hint that Eriko and Yoshino are more alike than anyone realizes.) Yumi is surprised that Yoshino knows Eriko’s home phone number by heart. (And why don’t any of these girls have cell phones? I can see them being not allowed on campus, but at home? EVERY Japanese girl has a cell phone!)

Eriko’s mother says that she doesn’t know when Eriko is coming home. Yumi thinks that its odd for a mother to not know, especially on a school night. Yumi posits that maybe Eriko’s grandmother is terminally ill and Eriko is out visiting her. After Yoshino shoots that theory down, Yumi reminds herself mentally to not kill off other people’s grandmothers so easily. ^_^

6) The next scene is one gigantic set-up and is done completely straight in the anime: We see Eriko at a hotel, pouring over a filled social calendar, meeting an older man, thanking him for the clothes. In the novel, we get the added detail that he had the clothes sent to the hotel, where she picked them up and changed into them. Eriko muses that he likes fur (the sweater has a fur collar) and that he has spent a months’ wages on her so far. And, sigh, another night away from home…

7) Yumi tells Yoshino hypothetically about “a girl” who is seen with many men, and Yoshino suggests that its “assisted dating”. To be sure she’s getting the words right, Yumi writes down the kanji. Sachiko walks in, sees the paper and grimaces, stating that she really hates the term Enjyou Kousai, because its just a gilded term for prostitution. Yumi is, quite naturally, utterly shocked to hear Sachiko use the word “prostitution.”

8) A scene you never expect in a Marimite novel: The second-years then begin discussing adultery. Sachiko, again naturally, hates it and likens it to prostitution as well. The first-years, including Shimako, are gobsmacked by this conversation, and can only sit and listen with big eyes as Sachiko and Rei have such an “adult” conversation.

9) Yumi, when questioned as to why she had that word written down at all, lies about it, and Sachiko reaches out and taps her gently on the head with a “you goofball” -type comment. She then comments that Sei is right, Yumi’s face really does change all the time at which Yumi thinks that her face is reflecting her thoughts that this is more sexual harassment by that dirty old man (oyaji – remember this term… It comes back later) of a student.

10) Yumi (who has been trying to find someone to consult about the matter of the photos,) thinks of speaking to Sei. She sees Sei in her mind as someone who is bright from having thrown off the darkness of a murky mist.

11) When Yumi greets Sei, Sei comments that her “gokigenyou” sounds like Yumi needs a favor. Yumi says that Sachiko sent her home early, because everyone was busy with other things today.

Sei throws her arms around Yumi. She understands, she says, Yumi’s lonely. Well, she’ll stand in for Sachiko, and hold Yumi’s soft body, she doesn’t mind…

Yumi starts to think that she is a little lonely because they Yamayurikai didn’t get together, but…!

12) Sei asks Yumi if she called her name a few moments ago. Yumi says no, but Sei thought she heard Yumi’s voice. Yumi realizes that Sei was talking about the very moment Yumi *thought* about consulting Sei.

13) The first-years call the cat “Lunch”, the second-years call it “Meri-chan” and the third years call it “Goronta”. Yumi had never seen any one be able to get within a meter of the cat without it running away, but Sei picks it up and pets it. (Goronta means something like “Purr-y”. Yumi thinks it a rude name for the cat.)

14) This section is long and was almost completely cut up in the anime.

Sei tells Yumi that humans have violated the natural order of the wild, and created an inferior ecosystem as a result. She explains that Goronta, as a kitten, was being attacked by crows in the back of the school when she found him. She saved the cat, sneaking food to him and “believed in him” which is why he lets her close. Sei says that Shimako told her that it was cruel thing to do, that it has made the cat dependent upon her.

Sei had considered taking the cat home, but felt that the school was its home now.

Throughout this conversation, there is the sense that Sei is talking about the cat and Yumi at the same time as she speaks. At the conclusion of this speech, she turns to Yumi and offers her cat food. So, yeah.

Sei ends with the thought that Shimako is wrong, that Goronta (or, indeed, Yumi) would be fine – that he is a wolf that has found his “pack.”

15) Sei then segues into a discussion of Shimako as a wolf that has not found her pack. (Foreshaaaaaaadoooowiiinnnggg!) Sei tells Yumi that she, Yumi, had a fairly easy time of it at Lillian and found her pack relatively easily, so she wouldn’t understand Shimako’s feelings. (Yumi thinks that it’s not that easy being the dull, clumsy little sister of a beautiful, intelligent princess onee-sama, and that’s
she’s pretty much a failure.)

Sei asks Yumi if Yumi worries constantly about what it is to be a human and a woman.

Yumi says, no, I’m Japanese because I was born here, I’m a girl and this is a girls’ school.

But, Sei says, what if you were thrown into an English boys’ school.

Yumi panics, because her English is bad.

Canada, then, or France, Sei attempts to focus Yumi on the point…

Yumi says that she’d be uncomfortable around the other students, and her heart would pound. And Sei says, “Right. That’s what its like for Shimako right now.”

Then Yumi begins to understand that Sei is protecting Shimako the same way she did the cat and is worried about leaving for that reason too.

Sei says that Lillian hurt her, but also saved her and that she has come to love Lillian. That friends have the power to heal. (Konno- sensei! Please put down that foreshadowing club! We get it! We get it!!!)

16) Eriko is thinking to herself that, in a field of chestnut horses, a white horse stands out. Or in a plate of sweets a rice cracker stands out. So it stands to reason that, in a life full of wealthy men, in her mind, a poor one stands out.

When Yumi and Eriko meet up (which was slightly altered in the anime to make Eriko a bit flakier, but was otherwise accurate) Eriko might as well have been speaking Greek for all Yumi can understand her. ^_^

(This is a little joke on my part, since “Hypsilodon” – the dinosaur Eriko mentions – is obviously a Greek word.)

17) Tsutako gives Yumi two more pictures of Eriko with men – one old enough to be her father, and one scruffy-looking guy at the zoo. Tsu is doing two things by doing this – she’s passing the responsibility to Yumi, but she’s also protecting Eriko. Her assignment had been to collect pictures as proof for the newspaper article. And, although, she *has* gotten the proof, she doesn’t want to give the pictures to
Minako.

They head to the Rose Mansion, where Yumi is going to figure out what to do about the photos, when Rosa Chinensis catches up with them. Tsutako tries to escape, but Youko grabs her by the collar and pulls her back. Tsutako immediately responds with, “How radiantly lovely you look today, Rosa Chinensis…”

Youko controls Yumi and Tsutako so well, that even Yumi feels that she’s just been given a glimpse of the Youko that can control Sachiko.

18) Youko looks at the pictures and tells Tsutako and Yumi that now she understands what’s been bothering Eriko the last few days – she’s lovesick.

19) We see Minako, who has overheard Yumi and Eriko’s conversation, in the newspaper office typing. She had, it turns out, wanted to be a novelist before she became a journalist, and this is a great opportunity. She writes a short story called “The Yellow Rose” about Shimai Rieko, a girl who is working part-time at an escort club.

“Shimai” is a brutal pun. The character for “shima” looks not entirely unlike that for “tori”. So “Shimai” would read “Torii” for people reading quickly and who were used to Eriko’s family name. “Rieko” is, of course, the characters for “e” “ri” and “ko” slightly rearranged. Hence Shimai Rieko would be the thinnest possible veil on the true protagonist…even without the “Yellow Rose” of the title.

In the Rose Mansion, everyone is admiring Minako’s photoshopping skills for the cover. Sachiko asks what all this is about and Sei and Yoshino explain the technique behind the picture – not at all what Sachiko was talking about. Sachiko’s temper starts to rise and Youko begins to pull her leg to see how long it will take before she explodes.

This was hysterical, btw…as she carefully gives Sachiko just enough info to make her nuts, Youko is also talking to Sei over her shoulder, and Yumi is “tick-tocking” the time bomb in her head as she watches Sachiko approaching breaking point.

Sachiko demands to know what’s going on and Youko explains that Eriko been going on dates with various older men every night. She them summarizes the plot of the story:

Right before graduation, Shimai Rieko, “The Yellow Rose” is suffering from ennui and an empty heart, where “a cold wind blows.” She takes a part time job at a dating club, and goes out with Mr. A, a baseball player, on an all night drive. Then Mr. B, a surgeon, takes her to an art museum and Mr. C, a gourmet, takes her to a fine restaurant. But Shimai Rieko realizes that changing men like they are clothes is
futile. Her heart is still empty. She is discovered on a date by Mr. D, a teacher at her school, who takes her home and scolds her gently. She returns to normal student life, but looks for Mr. D. On the day to her graduation, she decides to propose to him.

Yumi was, ultimately, the catalyst to Sachiko’s explosion, figuring that it ought to be her who bears the brunt. Sachiko explodes (Yumi’s mind: tick, tick, tick…boom!) because she thinks everyone else knew but her. When she finds out that no one else did, she is immediately fine.

They hear Eriko being called to the principal’s office (not really, but you know what I mean, the “Student Counseling Room” or whatever) and they decide to all go.

20) In the hallway outside the Counselor’s Office, Minako is eavesdropping. She had seen four men and Eriko walk by into the Counselor’s Office, and three of them match the characters in her story. She thinks out loud, “There’s A, B and C – why no D?” To which Youko, who has come up immediately behind her, answers, “Because you
made him up.”

Minako is trapped. She goes in with the Yamayurikai members. The nun says they can all come in on one condition – only one spokesperson can talk. Youko is clearly that person.

21) Yes, one of the guys IS in a football uniform (and yes – it is specifically American football). The point is that all of Eriko’s brothers were interrupted mid-activity by their father. (And, obviously, it is meant to be ironic that Minako’s made-up characters were so amazingly close to the actuality. Including, eventually, the assumably made up Teacher D.)

22) Cut out of the anime and what a shame: When Yamanobe-sensei is brought in by Tsutako, Minako sees him and blurts out, “Does he make umbrellas?” That totally made me laugh.

23) When Eriko proposes, Sei (who has already broken the “don’t speak” rule several times) immediately offers a bet to Youko that Yamanobe loses. Youko won’t take the bet – she says that he’ll suffer a crushing defeat.

24) Yamanobe-sensei is, among all the other reasons to not marry Eriko, still grieving over a wife who died about a year ago.

25) This entire scene is played as a sitcom, with Yumi helpfully supplying background noises and music in her mind for us. When Yamanobe-sensei declines the marriage offer, she thinks that, if it *were* a comedy, everyone would face-fault now.

26) Eriko’s father accuses Yamanobe of hitting on a young girl nearly half his age. Eriko replies that Yamanobe was too busy watching the elephant to be paying attention to her. Dad immediately yells at Yamanobe – “You were ignoring my beautiful daughter to watch an elephant? What’s wrong with you?” lol

27) When everyone decides for Yamanobe that he’d better date Eriko, Sei says that is he doesn’t she’ll just cling harder. “Snapping Turtle Eriko, we call her.”

Yumi thinks that they’d call Sei “Full of Lies Sei”.

28) Sei walks over to the desk, writes out Eriko’s phone number and hands it to Yamanobe when it’s been settled that he *will* date her.

End of Part 1 of Part One

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