It’s been a while since I talked about GUNJO (羣青), hasn’t it? The first volume was brutal and awful and wonderful and the second volume was, as I keep saying, like eating the most delicious razor blades ever.
And now, as the story approaches an end, I want to talk about it once more. Now, while it’s still in that Schroedinger’s Cat phase of not being over, but already ended. (It has to be ended, or nearly so, just because of the publishing schedule of magazines.)
As I read each new chapter, I find myself scanning the faces of the woman who was abused and despised by everyone ever who was supposed to have loved and cared for her and the only person who ever actually did, wondering how this series could end without them both dead, wondering if they will ever be free, wondering if they will ever smile again, wondering if I’m as or more pathetic than they to even think that they might.
Look at the scan above. (I left in all the ghost images from the pages in front and behind this tableau, because this is what the pages look like when I read the chapters in the magazine.)
“Hey!” says the brunette, who Japanese fans call Megane-san because she wore glasses.
“…Mm?” says the blonde, called “Sensei” by Japanese fans because she was a vet, before she became a criminal.
There they are, facing each other down, having survived so much together and yet not together at all. The brunette gets angriest when the blonde shows her any kindness, the blonde gets angriest when the brunette becomes self-deprecating. Neither can let each other go….neither wants to be left alone….neither wants to be with the other. They are suspended in a relationship so intimate that they loathe each other for it, but when they think about it a little, they don’t dislike each other at all.
Where can this series go? I have absolutely no idea. I sit around sometimes and try to predict the end. Will Megane-san give herself up, and let Sensei return to what’s left of her life? Or maybe they will die in a freak accident, solving the entire problem? Or maybe they will be free, after all, the police haven’t caught up to them yet….maybe they can escape…and then I slap myself for being a fool.
You don’t know what the brunette says next. I don’t know what will happen next. Like every chapter of GUNJO, this one keeps us suspended on a knife bridge, spikes on one side, swords on the other. This moment is not a breath of fresh air – it’s the moment before the breath is punched out of us.
GUNJO has been the hardest thing I have ever read in my life. I love it to the point of incoherence. It’s long moved past being about a lesbian, and I don’t even know what it’s about anymore…other than life and death.
However it ends, no matter how much it hurts (and it will, of that I have no doubt,) I’ll still consider this one of the greatest stories I have ever read in any language. Thank you Nakamura-sensei. Thank you for GUNJO.
要約:これまで読んできたあらゆる言語の作品の中で、最も優れた物語のひとつ (要約/翻訳 |小松さん)