One box was the latest ZeroSum, one was my wide-han Five Box Stories, and one was the Nemuki Ima Ichiko selections.
The first is the first and the second confirms my impression that Ima should not be read in bunko. So much energy is spent trying to read the dialogue that I have no leisure left to understand it- and Ima's dialogue needs a *lot* of decipering. I realized this when I reread my wide-han version of the mmh first is it? Akama story, the one about Akira's prof and his suitcase and the big trunk with the seals on it, that had me utterly confused when I read it in bunko. 'My friend and I used to play these games together' Akama says about Ritsu's grandfather, 'but they were life and death serious. The loser had to pay.' So, like, who's this pal of Akama's in the big trunk then? Can't be Kagyuu, isn't Aoarashi, what gives? Reading in wide-han, comes a sudden realization: unreliable narrator. Akama is playing games all happy together as ever. Kagyuu, forced to play Akama's games, uses them to at least confine nasty friends of Akama's under seal. Possibly he's hoping to confine Akama as well. I think there's a story that mentions in passing why Akama suddenly comes back. But for that I need wide-han.
Another question I never got the answer to: when did Ritsu realize his father was Aoarashi? He seems to know it at whatever age he is in the journey in the snow story, in vol 3 or 4. But that one also confuses me a bit because I read it in bunko.
I was thinking of just ordering 4 in French. But then I sat down and compared the translation and the original of one story, and, um, no. Too much gets lost. Shou ga nai, I'll order 3 and 4 from the always-excellent (to date) amazon.jp.
The Nemuki selection is nice to have, what with seals and bookmarks and stuff like that, but the comments are indeed only a few lines about each story. The story about Ritsu and the youkai behind the screen was inspired by a story in Mary Poppins where the children secretly follow Mary Poppins out after they've been put to bed. If *you* can see the connection, go you. There's that confusing (again) one about the trilobyte man and the thing in Ritsu's eye, the grandfather story about his first meeting with Akama and the grandmother story about her first meeting with the grandfather. There's one of my own favourites, where little Ritsu goes off to have tea with his grandfather's friends, and a new story involving a woman who's lost her memory. Immensely confusing- what else is new?- but with a scene at the end where spirit boats come floating down the river at o-Bon. As it happens to be the spirit river as well, if you can catch the little boat with its light that person's spirit will come back. Ritsu sees his father's boat and reaches out for it, but just afterwards he sees the one with his grandfather's name on it. He hesitates, and both boats slip out of his grasp.
(Later he thinks 'My father won't come back at o-Bon. No one lights the signal fire for him because no one knows he's dead.' But Aoarashi is standing at the door with a baseball bat. 'What are you doing?' 'Waiting to see if he shows up. If he does I'm sending him away. I don't *want* to give this body back.' I discover that the theme that gets stated explicitly in 14- the more youkai live among humans the more like them they get- was first mentioned in that trunk story, Ritsu thinking about Akama. 'Some youkai just prey on people as fodder but then there are ones like him who're like that because they've lived among us for so long.' IOW Akama plays his sadistic little games because he's like a human. Oy.)