God, I wish I had the Japanese tankoubon for writing this review of Kojima Lalako’s Yume Yume Shinjuu. Alas, I only have the Chinese scans to refer to so I won’t drop any names in case I get them wrong. Chinese hanzi and Japanese kanji are rather different. But the cute little hero of the story should be Jyou (讓).
I was preparing another post and was on Google search the whole day yesterday. One thing lead to another, I ended up catching up with series I’ve yet to read and ones I’ve started reading.
Anyway, I read the first two chapters of Yume Yume Shinjuu back in 2011. Back then I thought, “Oh, another Lalako fluff.” So I stopped following it entirely. But man, was I wrong.
In fact, I should put a warning here for those who has yet to read the book. Don’t read this review because the revelation of the plot is the whole point of reading this book! Not the porn!
Just like Amemori Gigi’s Crystal Pales, my reaction when I was reading this was like “Fluff, yeah, fluff…Oh, love triangle!…Fluff?…LOVE SQUARE?!….Non-con?!…OH! Revenge!…Love pentagon?!…n-no, cannibalism, WTF?…Not possible!!”
Before I go on with the long summary, I must confessed that I am so bloody confused with this story, I can’t even blame the Chinese translations for this. The character’s background, even after it’s all revealed, is just so damn vague! Only good things are the surprise angst and cannibalism bit. And I’m not the only one so thinks so, too. :) Have fun interpreting this story. I’ll just literary type what I see instead.
*Note: Will change those silly names once I get the tankoubon! m(_ _)m For now, please forgive the silliness.
Story goes like this. By stroke of luck, MC (main character, Jyou/Joe) meets his childhood friend whose name I can’t figure out right now so let’s call him Osananajimi no.1. They end up seeing each other even though MC doesn’t remember anything from his past when he was living near the shrine.
Of course, protective little bro who’s secretly in love with MC is suspicious of Osananajimi no.1 who came out out of nowhere.
Osananajimi no.1 and MC’s relationship progresses really quickly and the former has been dropping suspicious hints to MC and readers that something ominous happened in the past. MC also experiences flashback of his past.
Meanwhile, little bro starts to feel threatened and jealous by the appearance of Osananajimi no.1. He confesses to the sleeping MC that they’re not related (big secret there, huh :D?).
Then, in comes the appearance of Mr. Baito, a friend of no.1 from work who’s secretly infatuated with no.1, even though he’s quite supportive of the latter’s relationship with MC. He seems to know about Osananajimi no.1’s past, too.
Rhe outburst of his not-so-hate in front of his father got him punished with a slap on the face. But MC’s attempts to comfort little bro by splashing (more like rubbing) water on his face with a bright smile made little bro realise MC wasn’t so bad after all.
Soon they started spending time playing together and little bro slowly fell in love with MC.
Back in the present, little bro starts operation break up. Thinking MC was forced into the relationship with no way out, he takes matters into his own hands. When MC’s out cold with fever, little bro calls Osananjimi no.1 and hides the phone away.
Once Osananajimi no.1 leaves the room, Mr. Baito confesses to himself that he doesn’t want to look for parental relationship like that, that he wishes to be Osananajimi no.1’s dog.
Fate smiles upon Osananajimi no.1 when he bumps into MC. MC tells him that he lost his phone. He’s sure he last placed it at home but even with the help of his family, he couldn’t find it. With a smile on his face, no.1 tells MC that he doesn’t mind. But he adds that the phone was the only thing that tied them together.
Thus, Osananajimi no.1 leads MC to a place he rented just for them (very suspicious). They talk about their past and when no.1 asks MC if he remembered anything about the fire in the old shrine, MC confesses that he can’t recall anything about it.
Being the typical uke, MC gets flustered and “love making” begins. They start to talk about little bro and Osananajimi no.1 gets jealous. He asks MC whether he had sex with little bro before. When he realises that they’ve yet to do it, no.1 sighs and laments about how useless little bro is.
MC becomes insecure and asks Osananajimi no.1 if he’s making love with MC because he likes him. His replies, “Sure, you’re so cute. Ever since long ago, I’ve always wanted you to be mine. I can’t stop myself anymore.”
Then comes the appearance of Osananajimi no.2, no.1’s beloved brother! The plot thickens and gets even more confusing.
Out cold, MC remembers his best friend from his childhood, Osananajimi no.2. But when he wakes up, he finds himself chained to the room.
Little bro worries about MC who’s been away for three days. He goes to Osananajimi no.1’s work place to find out from Mr. Baito that he took leave. He then inquires about no.1’s whereabouts but Mr. Baito just wouldn’t spill. Little bro informs Mr. Baito of his plans to go to the police because he suspects MC has been kidnapped.
MC couldn’t believe his words and hits Osananajimi no.1. He doesn’t understand why no.1’s doing something illegal like that. Osananajimi no.1 slips out:
Are you afraid? Afraid to be locked up like this? If it’s a child, it’s even more terrifying right?
So dark, so cold.
Even if he wanted to escape, it was impossible. But in actual fact, it’s very possible to escape. As long as one wishes to do so, he could have left any time he wanted. Yet he didn’t.
Do you know why?
Because you asked him to “stay here” and you made a promise with him.
That day, you tossed Osananajimi no.2 aside and escaped on your own.
But how could you have forgotten about that?
MC, you’re the one who killed Osananajimi no.2.
Cut to the past when MC first meets Osananajimi no.2. At first MC thought no.2 used magic to make a clone of himself because he saw Osananajimi no.1 the other day. Of course, no.2 told him that he was just his twin brother and his brother’s too weak to leave the house. Naturally, they became good friends.
Osananajimi no.2 carried the same smell as his mother and remembered he promised his mother he wouldn’t tell anybody about the kids in a photograph she showed him.
And that he must never forget them.
Creepy Osananajimi no.1 receives a call from Mr. Baito that little bro’s nosing around for his whereabouts. He then reveals that he’s been observing MC since long ago and knows that soon, MC will remember everything.
Change of scene. Mr. Baito and little bro meets up. Mr Baito asked which would little bro choose if he’s forced to see someone; a. who he loves to death, or b. who he hates to death. Mr Baito’s pretty sure even Osananajimi no.1 doesn’t know the answer himself.
Little bro’s confused about Osananajimi no.1’s motif, if he claims to love MC. Mr. Baito mentions that, to Osananajimi no.1, no.2 who died was the last of his family. Compared to someone who doesn’t have a single relative like Mr. Baito himself, surely little bro understands no.1 better.
But little bro insists that even so, no.1 shouldn’t hurt MC and he’s just too cruel. Mr. Baito to refute his claims of Osananajimi no.1’s cruelty by revealing the man’s gentle side to little bro.
He used to be an actor. At first, things were going great for him but not long after, he became unusable to the industry. Yet he’s adamant to carry on because he thought that’s the only way to live. So every night after work, he would forcefully stick around sugar daddies.
Little bro apologises for running his mouth like that. He never wanted to hurt Mr. Baito but he just brushes off his apologies. He says that little bro’s frankness which borderlines stupidity would probably hurt Osananajimi no.1 instead. No.1 knows that little bro has been trying his hardest to see MC as his family but ended up feeling so much more than brotherly love for him.
Mr. Baito feels that it’s such a painful experience to go through. He wants to be Osananajimi no.1’s family, too. So he could shower him with love and affection.
Finally, comes the confusing bit. Back in the past yet again, Osananajimi no.1 warned no.2 not to meet MC again. Because of MC’s mother who…did something I really don’t know or something happened to her ’cause of MC.
But things had escalated to such point that it didn’t matter anymore. Even if he had to betray their father, he’d still want to love MC.
MC wakes up from his memories and finally, I do mean FINALLY, remembers everything. He even leaves us with some extremely bizarre lines:
Osananajimi no.1, I’m back.
How nostalgic. The smell of lily magnolias.
Osananahimi no.1, no.2’s twin brother.
And probably, the last of my family. Even if it’s destiny from the very start, I still love you. I have to leave
Goodbye, Osananajimi no.1.
To a place where god (kami) don’t exist.
And he does something stupid which we’ll never know what it is.
Back to the past again, the narration talks about a being who’s always starving. So the Osananajimi brothers would lead people into the forest, cover their tracks and let it eat everything but the bones.
In present times, MC’s miracle survival (of whatever he did) and recovery stumps doctors in the hospital. Osananajimi no.1 visits him and asks why did he go there alone.
MC doesn’t want Osananajimi no.2 to wait anymore, he’s been waiting for so long. So he wanted to greet no.2 and his father (or their, seriously, incest at work here). He was the one who opened the door at the shrine.
Those mysterious death–his teacher who reprimanded him, kids who threw rocks at him–MC knew it was his fault. He was afraid but felt he should take responsibility. So he planned to go back to the shrine.
Osananajimi no.2 followed him, to protect him. Thinking that things would be fine as long as no.2 is with him, they left for the shrine in the middle of the night.
Weird noises could be heard echoing through the dark corridor. No.2 assured MC that it’s nothing to be afraid of, just the sound of stomach growling. In fact, MC should know that person, too. No.2 thought that if that man saw MC, he would change but he didn’t. That man always worried about MC, so worried that he wants to guard him forever. He wanted to stay with his beloved son, so much that he would betray what’s left of his profession and duties to god for him/them.
Cradling the remains of no.2, the man who was called father wept in agony. He then set himself on fire. MC just stood there and stared at the scene as it happened.
MC wanted to see father again, to try to understand himself better. Even after being burnt so badly, he could still move. Was he even human?
Everybody willingly shed their humanity to protect someone like him, the real perpetrator. Because of him, father couldn’t regain his humanity, no.2 got eaten, no.1 was left all alone… He knows it’s impossible for Osananajimi no.1 to forgive him for what he had done, for letting no.1 live in darkness. Even after all that, being able to be with no.1, MC is happy. He never wanted them to be unhappy and apologises nonstop to no.1.
No.1 gave up on revenge long ago, since the first time he laid eyes on the man his brother laid his life for and father who became a monster to protect. He remembers no.2 telling him that he’d definitely fall for MC and made him promise to protect him. He had already fallen in love.
Just like that, everything’s over, revenge and evil plot wise anyway.
And if you think it ends like that, nope. MC has to be sentimental and asks Osananajimi no.1 to get out of this vicious cycle while he still can. He will end up like father being unable to survive without eating humans. He doesn’t want no.1 to go through all that.
Before he disappears, MC meets little bro one last time and they have a tearful farewell. Little bro will always be MC’s younger brother and MC’s forever proud of him.
After giving his statement about MC’s disappearance to the police, little bro bumps into Mr. Baito who was packing up Osananajimi no.1’s things. They end up comforting each other’s lost love.
Finally, it ends with a scene of MC, who’s crying, and Osananajimi no.1 waiting for the train in the snow.
Epilogue happens in the future, in 2100 back at the place where it all started. Kids are daring each other to go into the plot of land where the shrine used to stand as a test of bravery. One unfortunate kid drew the shortest stick, so to speak. So he ventures into the deserted forest and meets our heroes at the graveyard. Not long later, as he’s about to leave, he turns back to tell them that officials are grazing the forest for development, they’re gone.
And this is really the end. Unless tankoubon version comes with an extra or two.
I’m extremely curious about what others think of this because the story just leaves me going “what the fuck?!” and I’m still so confused. Here’s what I understood. MC opened a Pandora box which made everybody go insane to love and protect him. His mother smells like the Osananajimi brothers. Father may or may not be related to MC. So probably Osananajimi brothers and MC have the same mother but different fathers? Whatever it is, MC probably ended up being like father. I entertained the idea that they could have killed themselves too but the kid didn’t even die in the first fire incident which killed father.
This is kinda like Christopher Nolan’s Inception. I’m probably just thinking too much but Kojima Lalako tends to not write things in a clea-cut way. I remember how much of a pain was translating her Magi DJ, Tengoku no Kuchi no Naka because I was stuck with either giving literal translations or rephrase things the way I understood the context, which is how I usually do so. But to do that, when the story-telling is so vague, it’s like I’m imparting my interpretation to the readers. And Yume Yume Shinjuu is almost like that.
Do I like this? Well, my sadist side likes it for the blood, my masochist side loves how much brain juice I’m churning out to understand the plot. :D
PS: One day I’ll write about Fukai Youki’s Haretaru Aozora. One word to describe this manga? Disturbing. You’ve survived my utterly long post filled with grammatical errors and rigid story-telling. Thus, you have my eternal gratitude. :D