Please Save My Earth 8

October 9, 2011

Saki Hiwatari – Viz – 2004 – 21 volumes

I think one of my favorite things about this volume (and probably the series) is probably Shion’s personality here. We’re given all these reasons to sympathize with Shion. He’s a war orphan, which is something he gets teased about mercilessly no matter his age. He’s having values forced on him that are contrary to what he’s experienced in order to survive. His loved ones died. And yet, Hiwatari writes his personality so that it’s near-impossible to sympathize with him. His contrariness towards the Lians is understandable, but there’s no real good reason for his attitude towards Gyokuran other than his hard life. Hard life or not, a rotten personality is what it is.

The same is true for Rin, too. He’s very Jekyll and Hyde, in that his ultimate goal at the moment appears to be somewhat altruistic, and he obviously has a soft spot towards Alice. But every time you find yourself warming up to him, he does something rotten, or reminds you that yes, he really is a selfish, terrible person. He may fit into some of the usual overbearing, terrible boyfriend stereotypes, but Hiwatari almost overrides that by constantly reminding you that a lot of what he does isn’t something to overlook.

So the flashback starts this volume, and I was a little surprised to see that it went all the way back to Shion’s childhood. I was also happy to see that it skipped ahead to his high school years pretty quickly, because Shion’s childhood is really depressing. He’s only just starting to meet the other characters at the end of this volume, but it’s interesting to see that Shukaido is a terrified confidante even in the past. I wondered if the Rin/Haru thing was almost a kind of friendship in the present, even though Haru was being forced through terrible means on his end, but it’s interesting that Shukaido is listening to Shion spill out his rotten guts without protest in the past. I wonder how that will eventually go.

And the only other comment I have is that I didn’t see that terrifying cat-man coming. I have no idea why that was even in there. It made me want to sleep with the light on.

But more disturbing than that are the author commentary columns in this volume. I had started giving up on these since Hiwatari has switched to commentary on anime and music (plus, it seems like there’s more than usual in this series). But in this volume, she uses the author talks to make her case about how Please Save My Earth is a work of fiction. She said the letters she’d been getting from readers… were from people who thought they were the characters, or had similar powers, or that reading the comic helped them to remember a similar past life for them. Apparently, she kept silent for so long because she thought they were just adolescents with passing interests, and that it was obvious Please Save My Earth wasn’t real. But her fans started to scare her.

I love that the series inspires that degree of devotion in people. That’s crazy.

One Response to “Please Save My Earth 8”

  1. I can’t disagree about the rotten personality thing, but after his childhood flashbacks (including the one with the cat-man :), I can see why he might have issues with attachment disorder. I think the psychology rings true. (And there’ve been studies done about kids living in wartime who are also separated from their caretakers and the resulting high instances of PTSD.) It totally make sense to me that he lashes out: he doesn’t want to be close to anyone because everyone he’s ever really been close to has left in one way or another. Why bother? And the nicer the people are, the less you want to be close to them because it hurts even more when they leave you. It may not even be conscious, and the only counseling he’s ever received was from the nuns and other people who just talk about the will of blah blah blah, and he kind of hates that for quite logical reasons.

    I loved the crazy fan stuff, too. At first it made me laugh, but then I realized it was apparently a serious problem. Whoa.

    I found the whole cat-man saga more sad than scary. The cat was definitely a bit creepy, though; I will give you that . . .

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