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.
There ensues another lengthy discussion of how tall she’s gotten.
An interesting tidbit about gender norms:
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:
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…
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.
This kid… is… super trans???
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)?
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.