Please Save My Earth 9
October 9, 2011
Saki Hiwatari – Viz – 2005 – 21 volumes
…and after I fell for the good mix of sympathy and evil in Shion last volume, this volume goes back to making me feel bad for him. I shouldn’t, because he’s a bad person. Among the bad things he does, he tells Mokuren off simply because he realizes that nobody has done it to her face before, seeing as how she’s a Kiche Sarjalian and a kind of national treasure. He also tells Gyokuran off simply for being concerned for him, and can’t help himself when it comes to tormenting him.
On the other hand, as the volume continues, it becomes clear he’s simply the kind of person who can’t be happy. He admits it himself at one point, and he’s constantly comparing himself to Gyokuran and what Shion perceives are the countless blessings Gyokuran takes for granted, or the completely opposite existence Mokuren has led. He also can’t figure out why he can’t grow closer to women, and has trouble when it comes time to meet their families.
And to see him compare himself to everyone else and constantly come up short is heartbreaking. There’s an amazing scene along these lines when the crew first meets Mokuren. As she’s listing off her reasons for being there, each half page is dedicated to Mokuren, the other half to Shion’s exact opposite motivation and lifestyle. There’s no real good solution in the story to this problem, and it is what makes Shion so bitter and mistrustful of others.
Hilariously, he’s also the only one on the general crew who appears to not be there for research purposes. He’s an engineer, and seems to be tasked with keeping the outdated technology on the base running. He’s on call to everyone else’s repair whims. It is pretty funny to see everyone bossing Shion around.
We only see the beginning of the Shion/Mokuren relationship. Neither really seems to have an opinion of the other outside the fact Shion hates everybody, but it’s getting started. And Shion is right in that Mokuren has encountered very few blunt, rude people like himself, but she seems to take Shion’s behavior in stride. Or is taking what he says literally, since the incident at the very end of the volume can be read as Mokuren blowing off steam after Shion’s bad-tempered dressing-down.
Hiwatari talks about the response to her last set of author notes declaring PSME a work of fiction. She reprints some of the reader letters. It’s a little sad, but very interesting.
Also a little sad is the fact that the giant cat-man aliens make another appearance. Somehow, the new one melts Shion’s heart. He carries around an enormous bottle for it to suck from. Watching it do this is both repulsive and cute, and I’m not sure how that works. Reading about this cat and the Lian in the only letter Shion will ever get was a pretty powerful scene, though. Hiwatari really knows how to twist the knife.