There ensues… more travel scenes, because the airport is on a different island to the actual island the characters are going to. I assume this was based on an actual island, but would it have killed the author to have taken some artistic license?

Anyway, we meet another Ushiromiya.

First view of Ushiromiya Jessica, who has blonde hair and is wearing a blue-grey suit and red tie with a one winged eagle on the sleeve. She is winking and saying “Kyahaha, don’t gimme that, it’s embarassing hearing that every year!”

There ensues another lengthy discussion of how tall she’s gotten.

An interesting tidbit about gender norms:

Excerpt from a Grimoire screen: “In Japanese, men and women traditionally (or perhaps stereotypically) speak differently, and this difference is much larger than what you find in English. Jessica’s speech is masculine, blunt, casual and assertive. In Japanese, this is quite evident in a majority of her lines, using assertive and traditionally pale particles like ぜ (ze), and casual, slangy contractions.”

That must a frustrating can of worms for Japanese trans women.

Battler, classy guy that he is, immediately comments on his cousin’s boobs and then asks to ‘rub them’. What the fuck dude, protagonist sympathy disintegrating. Jessica responds by arm wrestling him (and losing to illustrate blah blah it’s been six years he’s stronk now) and talking about his dick.

I don’t know if this is a case of ‘this is an unusually open family’ or ‘my culture is way more uptight about talking about sexual stuff in a family context than others such as Japan’ or ‘the anime/VN subculture has different attitudes to stuff’ or what?

Anyway we’re introduced to our first non-Ushiromiya in a while:

First view of Kumasawa Chiyo, standing in front of a boat. She is an old woman in a white smock over a dark grey robe, with grey hair and a kind expression. She is saying “What have we here… ooh! Battler-san, how big you’ve grown…!”

She is ‘one of the servants’ (presumably of Kinzo), and she starts teasing Battler about the boobs thing in the most… like she invites Battler to rub her boobs??? that’s a thing that happens in this game?

Anyway then Rudolf and Eva are nasty to her for being old.

Then: more teasing in various directions, we have a conversation about boats and more about Battler’s fear of various forms of transport. The entire family exposits to Battler about boat modifications. Then a sailing scene with an intense amount of screen shaking, Battler sexually harasses his cousin some more and she isn’t as intensely creeped out as I would be, idek. Plot please.

Oh and the final members of the family are Krauss and Natsui I think? May have written that down wrong.

It’s revealed Battler has been distancing himself from the Ushiromiyas since his mother died, living with his maternal grandparents and using their name after his dad cheated on his mum (I think).

And at last we reach the island, Rokkenjima, a fictional island in the Izu Archipelago. And only the Ushiromiyas go there, since the ‘Ushiromiya head house’ owns the entire island.

Battler acknowledges - if it wasn’t apparent from the fact that most of them are CEOs and dress in extremely fancy suits - that this family is extremely rich (as the translators put it, rolling in dough). There’s this concept of ‘head’ and ‘branch’ families which doesn’t really have an analogue over here I guess, but all parts are rich as hell.

Battler kind of petulantly tells you not to hate him for being born into a rich family. He complains about people being ‘prejudiced against you because you’re rich and refusing to judge you by your merits’ and honestly, please just shut the fuck up you bourgeois prick!

Fortunately he does, and we face the mystery of the missing torii. Which was, Kumasawa says, ominously destroyed by a lightning bolt. Something is evidently afoot.

Maria is particularly perturbed, and says there is a disaster coming. They assume she’s perturbed by the dark clouds of the approaching typhoon.

Everyone tells Maria there’s nothing to be afraid of if they’re all together. No doubt this is going to prove bitterly ironic.

We get a cultural note about different ways of saying ‘I’ in Japanese. This is a very informative game…

First view of Gohda Toshiro, wearing a smart tuxedo. He has a double chin and an obsequious expression. He is saying “Welcome home, Milady.”

Along comes a new character, because this game clearly didn’t have enough characters yet.

We get a semi-title drop as Battler realises he can’t hear any seagulls crying. (I guess the cry as in ‘make a bird noise’ and cry as in ‘shed tears and sob’ are coincident in Japanese too?). More kid interaction. It’s kind of sweet but there’s a weird habit of spelling stuff out multiple times like… e.g. Battler narrates ‘George is good with kids’ and then another character will comment on how George is good with kids.

They make their way to the guest house with a little bit more sniping at each other. There’s a conversation with Maria about a withered rose that’s probably going to be Very Symbolic.

Then this person, Kanon, turns up.

First view of Kanon, a young feminine-looking boy with shoulder-length black hair including a fairly long fringe. Kanon wears a long black shirt with tails but no buttons, a lilac cravat, and a maroon beret. He has a large white collar with the One Winged Eagle.

This kid… is… super trans???

A screenshot of the characters screen with a more complete view of Kanon. Text reads: “Kanon (嘉音)/A young servant. Performs his duties silently and diligently, but due to his unsociable nature, he is not so highly regarded as a servant./There are several other servants with the ‘on’ (音) character in their pseudonyms. He and Shannon just happened to be the ones on duty that day.”

Like OK, bishonen is a thing and declaring a real person to be trans is like, not cool, but I intend to interpret Kanon as a trans girl because, well, the death of the author and all that. Especially since all the dialogue is about being taciturn and shy. “I can’t [give more of a greeting]…….because we……are furniture.” I mean wow like that’s definitely a thing for so many trans women. Also I think they have a cis woman voice actor if only due to the age of the character (16)?

Gohda saying “Kanon-san, could you perhaps be a little more courteous? A smiling face is also the duty of a servant.”

emotional-labour-in-service-work.png

Kanon and Battler in frame. Kanon, looking downcast, is saying “…B-Battler-sama… That’s not necessary. I’ll take care of everything, so…”

What a strange coincidence that the cues that make me think ‘trans girl’ are about self-negation and service work and shame.

So I think my browser is on the edge of crashing because Tumblr is an unstable piece of shit website (what does it say that the latest graphically intensive computer games are more stable than what’s basically a text editor?), so let’s pick this up in the next post.