Monday, April 9, 2007

Translucent Silver Hair (Page 9)

//Panel 1//
You…come back tomorrow…
//Panel 2//
“Come back tomorrow…” And he’s the same age as me…
But as if he was a hundred years older…staring at me…with those cold, blue eyes…
//Panel 3//
Mother's Voice:
Charles…you ought to come home earlier.
We all worry about you!
//Panel 4//
Master Charles, is it true you were playing with the girl from the old mansion on the outskirts of town?
//Panel 5//
That's none of your business. I won't have it if you say anything to Mother!
But still! That’s a strange household…Not even a single window open, did you know?
//Panel 6//
As if something bad was going on there…the whole house is dead quiet.
Ah, did you hear? There is talk about someone walking down the road…!
//Panel 7//
Everyone walks down the road.
But in the middle of the night!
The priest saw it from his window…
A very tall man in a cloak…
At least, it couldn’t be anyone from this town…

In Panel 1 Edgar says to Charles "きみ…また 明日ね." Fourteen year olds don't typically address each other as "kimi". This second person pronoun has variety of uses, but it is often used by much older people when someone in the superior position speaks to someone inferior. "また 明日ね" would normally mean "see you tomorrow", but Edgar in this instance is trying to get rid of Charles. It comes across as very condescending, so I decided to translate it as above. Charles thought to himself that Edgar sounded a hundred years older than he, which, we would later learn, is the case.

If you live forever like Edgar and Marybel do, how does that affect your personality? In this story, it seems like Marybel remains at age 13 mentally as well, but Edgar appears much older than his physical age of 14. Matt Thorn asks in his paper "Adolescent Liminality in the Manga of Hagio Moto": "Hashimoto does not tell us why Edgar and Alan are fourteen. Why not ten? Why not seventeen? Why, for that matter, are so many heroes and heroines in Japanese manga between the ages of thirteen and sixteen?" He explains the significance of the ages of the characters. I think he makes a very good point.

In other impressions, note the suddenly faint outlines of the roses in Panel 2, once Edgar has intruded and spoiled the sweet time Charles and Marybel had been having.

Another interesting building perspective in Panel 3, perhaps emphasizing the house's statuesque proportions (and further reinforcing that Charles's family is wealthy?).

I happen to love the round-eyed, gossipy maid as a character. You get the impression that she's been frightening Charles all his young life with her tales, and only now he is finally getting old enough to rationally counter her melodramatic outbursts.

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