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Notes on the 10th Maria-sama ga Miteru novel, Part 1

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  • atheniag
    Rainy Blue This novel is split into three sections, each following one of the three second-years of the Yamayurikai. All three stories happen simultaneously,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2005
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      Rainy Blue

      This novel is split into three sections, each following one of the
      three second-years of the Yamayurikai. All three stories happen
      simultaneously, something that was not, I think, communicated well in
      the anime. The weather is not only symbolic, it's how you know *when*
      you are in the stories. Several of the scenes are seen through various
      eyes: the scene where the 2nd-years are all walking to the Rose
      Mansion and sigh, we see from Shimako's and Yoshino's viewpoint; the
      scene where Yumi and Yoshino share a moment at the shoe lockers are
      also in each of their sections. These are also indications that the
      stories are happening simultaneously and give you a frame of
      references for "when" we are in any given story.

      The anime did a fair job of each of the stories; the best of the three
      was Shimako's. None of the key scenes were cut, but you did lose all
      of the characters' thought processes, which make everyone – especially
      Yoshino and Sachiko – seem more heartless and/or capricious than they
      do in the novel. I also have to fault the animators for this – they
      did an abysmal job on the facial expressions. In one case in the
      novel, Sachiko is quite serious when talking to Touko and in the anime
      they have her smiling. It makes the essential meaning of the scene
      change completely. And puts more of the blame for the whole blowup on
      Sachiko, when it's at least 40% Yumi's fault. (45% Sachiko, %5 Touko.)


      Touko isn't evil. She *is* a brat, but again, the animators made her
      seem more like she was an active participant in Yumi's misery – and
      they gave her evil eyebrows, which make her seem suspicious. In fact,
      she's quite boring, and utterly oblivious of any damage she causes,
      like most drama queens. She does have one very awkward habit of not
      being audible when she walks, so she suddenly *appears* on the scene
      with no warning, usually when someone has mentioned her, which also
      makes her seem scheming when she really isn't.

      These three stories can be summarized thusly: Shimako feels too much;
      Yoshino talks too much; Yumi doesn't *do* enough.

      11 pages of notes, but I have a new notebook, so whether that would
      have been more or less in the old system, I don't know. J



      Part 1 - Drops of the Rosary

      The season is early summer. Shimako wonders why, during the season in
      which they change winter for summer uniforms doesn't she feel lighter?
      We get an internal discussion of the fact that the winter and summer
      uniforms are functionally the same – not heavier/lighter material,
      just shorter sleeves.

      Even though it's not raining, Shimako feels in her heart as if it will
      never be clear again.

      From the Rose Mansion they can hear the folk song club singing. (One
      day, I'm going to list all the clubs we're heard about…)

      Sachiko, trying to convince Shimako to take Noriko as a soeur already,
      says "please take your time choosing a soeur, but do it before summer
      vacation." (Shimako thinks that Sachiko is becoming more Youko-like,
      which isn't surprising as she admired her onee-sama so much.)

      Rei comments, but you didn't choose until the school festival (She's
      *nothing* like her predecessor…) Rei uses "nobinobi" – rattling around
      unattached, to which Sachiko takes issue.

      Sachiko insists that she didn't know of Yumi's existence until the
      second term, and since *someone* had just rejected her offer, it was a
      bitter experience. At this point in the novel, Sachiko points at her
      cup, which is empty and Shimako (obviously the "someone" in question)
      fills it without comment.

      Rei then calmly points out that it took Sei a long time to decide, so
      maybe it's a White Rose tradition.

      ***

      This scene was truncated slightly in the anime which lost several
      things – most notably Shimako's feelings and Touko's creepy ability to
      appear suddenly:

      Noriko is described in the novels as looking like an Ichimatsu doll.
      You've seen them. They have dark hair medium length cut bluntly across
      the bangs and back…look it up on Google image search.

      Shimako asks Noriko to go home with her and Noriko gets all happy (So
      cute!) She says she has nothing to do other than running around
      avoiding Touko. Shimako envies Noriko's spontaneity – she was a little
      worried about Noriko adapting to Lillian student life, but she seems
      to be doing fine. Shimako feels thankful that Noriko is so capable of
      relating to everyone normally – but in a corner of her own heart, she
      still feels lonely.

      As she's standing there thinking about Noriko (waiting for Noriko to
      get her bag from the classroom) Shimako says out loud "Touko, she
      said" and Touko is suddenly *there* with no noise or warning. Shimako
      thinks that she doesn't dislike Touko – which even she finds strange.
      lol

      Touko complains that Noriko won't join a club (if you remember, we
      learned that in middle school, joining a club is mandatory. It stands
      to reason that some girls would internalize that through high school,
      as well. I imagine that that's why the administration make it
      mandatory. Touko says that it's horrid that Noriko won't, if not join
      theater club, then at least *some* club! Noriko whirls on her and says
      "which one of us is being horrid? Don't involve Rosa Gigantea in this.
      " And she calls Touko – "Touko", which is obviously against the rules.
      Noriko follows this up with a poke to Touko's forehead. Watching
      Noriko throughout this, Shimako feels her chest tighten a little, in a
      good way. (Mine too – I am now officially a Noriko fan. LOL)

      Noriko tells Shimako that's she's just not interested in a club – she
      tells Shimako about being recruited by the bible club and Shimako has
      to smile at the idea.

      Shimako thinks how similar they are, like polar opposites. She says,
      quoting her own onee-sama, that Noriko should consider a club, because
      high school life is so short and should be more than just studying.

      Touko insists that Noriko should join anything: koto, tennis, ping-
      pong, handicrafts,. She becomes very impassioned, raising her fist in
      the air.

      Shimako tells Noriko that she can wait and see. She and Noriko start
      to walk off. They walk in silence for a while. Noriko jokes that she
      was considering starting a club for Buddha statue viewing, but then
      says that she doesn't want to join any clubs, in case she ends up
      assisting the Yamayurikai.

      ***

      Three days after this conversation, Noriko visits the Rose Mansion for
      the first time. For Noriko's benefit, Rei takes off the day from kendo
      club and during the lunch break Yumi and Yoshino drop by the Rose
      Mansion and clean really well.

      When Noriko arrives, Sachiko has her smile on the highest setting,
      inviting Noriko to sit for tea. When Noriko refuses Sachiko's offer,
      Shimako is dizzied by her bluntness.

      Rei takes control of the conversation by insisting that Noriko be a
      guest for the day, thus avoiding Sachiko having a fit. Rei seats
      herself between Noriko and Sachiko. Shimako notes how skillful she is
      in handling the situation.

      Noriko drinks her tea black, Yumi w/ cream and sugar, Yoshino 2
      dollops of cream until its beige. lol

      Shimako sits there, her mouth totally dry, but drinking tea doesn't
      help, she's so nervous.

      When Noriko is asked about her family, (Noriko has a little sister,
      btw) Shimako thinks she looks a little dubious (like, "why are they
      asking that?" when it's kind of normal at Lillian to ask such things)
      so she answers for Noriko. Shimako is completely overwrought by now,
      worrying that "the Inquisition" will upset Noriko, but when Noriko
      seems at ease when she answers, she relaxes a little. Shimako catches
      herself thinking, "this is part of the process" then wonders "the
      process" of what?

      Shimako thinks of her smile like papier mache – it never moves, and is
      very fragile.

      ***

      Our Tsutako scene was truncated in the anime:

      Tsutako calls Noriko Shimako's "reflecting board" – she makes Shimako
      glitter. Tsu says that today Shimako doesn't shine and says that she
      (Shimako) can confide in her (Tsutako).

      Shimako tells Tsu that she really can't explain why she's down – she
      doesn't have words for it. She doesn't feel that she can ask Yumi or
      Yoshino about it. She notes that Noriko was in the council room with
      her, but that she, Shimako, didn't glitter.

      Shimako confides that she feels clumsy. Tsutako tells Shimako that the
      others don't quite understand her, so they seem like they are trying
      too hard with Noriko. Tsutako goes on to say that as a cameraman, she
      sees into people's hearts – then she admits that she doesn't like
      having pictures taken of herself. She wants to take pictures of
      Yoshino, Yumi and Shimako, not to be in them.

      Shimako asks Tsutako why she told her that, and Tsutako admits that it
      just slipped out – and asks her not to tell Yumi or Yoshino. As
      Tsutako turns away, Shimako, in her mind, snaps a picture of her and
      thinks that she makes a great photographic subject.


      ***

      Cut scene:

      Shimako is walking with Yoshino and Yumi to the Rose Mansion. The
      first-years are greeting them as they walk – it's a pleasant scene,
      Shimako thinks. But she's not satisfied, because Noriko is not with
      her. But, then, she also doesn't want Noriko to have to be part of
      this.

      The first-years surround them, because they are popular, of course.
      Shimako finds a little pleasure in the whole situation, especially
      watching Yumi and Yoshino greet the younger students. Even though none
      of them has the poise Rei and Sachiko have, they all handle it well.
      As they part from the first-years, Shimako can hear them mention that
      all three of them look upset.

      Shimako asks Yumi and Yoshino what the matter is – they seem extra
      quiet today. Yumi turns to Yoshino and agrees, saying that Yoshino has
      hardly said a word. Yoshino shoots back that the same applies to Yumi,
      and her face is gloomy. They all deny being unhappy and fall quiet
      again.

      As they get outside into the school grounds, they simultaneously heave
      a sigh. Yumi asks, "What?"

      Yoshino replies, "What what? You did it too."

      Shimako asks what's worrying them and Yoshino responds that it's not
      worth consulting a person who was just sighing themselves. To which
      Shimako replies that there are different kinds of heavy sighs.

      Everyone falls silent, no one budges.

      Shimako thinks, Yoshino's sigh was about Rei, Yumi's was about
      Sachiko. One can't help but think about those who are important to
      one.

      They get the Rose Mansion and stand in a line, looking up the stairs.

      "Guess we ought to go up."

      "Yup."

      Nothing.

      Yumi and Yoshino do start up, but Shimako sees Goronta run by and
      breaks. She feels as if her feet are moving by their own will as she
      runs off.

      ***

      In the scene where Shimako sees the university, she doesn't cry, but
      she does desperately wish to see Sei. She sums up her problem thusly:
      Sei graduated, Noriko arrived. Noriko can fill the emptiness in her
      heart, but she hasn't really discussed it with Noriko – or the others
      in the Yamayurikai.

      (It's fairly obvious to anyone that the Yamayurikai members would love
      to have Noriko join them, but we have to allow Shimako her moment of
      irrational angst.)

      Classes have started already, but she stays there, in the far corner
      of the school property, wishing she could be with someone. Not be
      called "Rosa Gigantea", but just stay by someone's side. She starts
      walking and comes to a cross-road. Go back to the Rose Mansion or to
      Noriko's classroom? Wishing she had a more relaxed personality, but
      noting that it's not easy to change, Shimako chooses to head back to
      her own class.

      ***

      When Sachiko scolds Noriko about calling Shimako "Shimako-san" Shimako
      immediately feels guilty because she knows Sachiko's right – she was
      totally laissez-faire about the issue.

      Noriko completely realizes that Sachiko is scolding her because she
      cares. She instantly realizes that Sachiko is the kind of person to
      ignore everyone unless she actually gives a damn about them. When she
      catches up to Shimako she says this, and Shimako confirms it. She's
      surprised that Noriko noticed so quickly that it's just Sachiko's way.

      I absolutely *loved* the bit where Noriko offers to "borrow" the
      rosary, to take the burden from Shimako, because it weighs heavily on
      her but to Noriko, it means nothing and will be light to carry.

      Shimako thinks of Noriko as a guide with a candelabrum leading her
      through the maze of her feelings.

      When she holds out the rosary, Shimako can see the water dripping off
      the beads – they look like drops of water themselves, hence the title
      of the section, "Drops of the Rosary". The sun breaks through the
      clouds, even as it rains, shining light on them in a particularly
      cheesy s/fx. lol

      "Although the rain fell, inside Shimako's heart was clear weather."
      Awwww...
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