Takahiro, You Idiot

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 6

YKK-6

I ran into an unexpected problem with the book I planned to review today. But of course, since you do not know what review was intended, you should be perfectly happy to read a review of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book six. At least I hope you will be.

Dancing Alone:

Alone by herself in ruins, Alpha expresses herself in dance.

Comments:

And what pretty ruins they are.

Eyes of Stars, Eyes of People:

As Ojisan and Alpha share a moment of melancholy over their dismal sales, Room Monitor Alpha—the A7M1 prototype of the A7 series and so Alpha’s older sister—watches from her perspective aboard the ever-flying Taapon aircraft.

Comments:

Finally! Conversations between people who know what’s going on a global scale!

“But then you know, there’s no certain way of finding out.”

Ashinano, you tease.

Room Monitor Alpha seems to think things are getting better, though. Or at least that the available information (which is oddly incomplete … are they not even talking to people on the ground?) does not contradict that hopeful interpretation.

Everyone’s Ships:

Despite considerable reluctance on her part, Matsuki finally meets Alpha, whom Matsuki regards as her romantic rival for the stupendously oblivious Takahiro. Matsuki bluntly confronts Alpha, only to discover Alpha’s perspective on the romantic triangle is an unexpected one.

Comments:

YES, TAKAHIRO. GO OFF TO THE BATHROOM AND LEAVE THE TWO WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE TO COMPARE NOTES. THAT CAN ONLY END WELL.

Record:

Searching for clues to her model’s past, Kokone finds a treasure trove in a children’s library.

Comments:

I never noticed this before, but there is no evidence that this world has anything like the internet. The earliest instalments of YKK came out in 1994, so it isn’t that the net didn’t exist then (though it was far from being as widespread and well-used as it is now). I’m guessing that the author decided not to introduce any tech elements that weren’t there at the start. We can retcon this by deciding that Alpha’s world lost the net for some unexplained reason. Yet one more unexplained detail among many.

Record JJ:

An LP may preserve clues to the history of the A7 series. Pity it is a completely obsolete format….

Comments:

Curse you, relentless march of progress! And here’s a fist shake for the totally useless caretaker Kokone encounters at the old school.

Record JJJ:

While Ojisan and his friend admire the glow of submerged but functioning streetlights from sea level, Alpha opts for a loftier perspective.

Comments:

Those are some durable streetlights.

Hot Sand:

Alpha, Takahiro, and Matsuki enjoy a day at the beach. Alpha’s plan for the day is complicated by an unexamined assumption, but she adapts quickly and everyone has fun.

Comments:

Why aren’t the kids in the habit of swimming? It isn’t that they don’t know how to swim. Or that there are no open bodies of water near them. Very odd.

Water Clock:

Matsuki’s determination to put her new swimming suit to good use leads to another meeting with the Misago. Takahiro finds out that time never stands still.

Comments:

Matsuki is not carried out to sea to drown. Just in case any of you are worried about that. But the story makes it clear Time the Hunter is stalking both her and Takahiro.

Mountain Tunnel:

As Alpha swelters in coastal heat, Ayase takes a long, cold walk through a ten-kilometre-long tunnel that stretches from one side of the mountains to the other. A long cold walk using a flashlight whose batteries are nowhere near as fully charged as they need to be.

Comments:

Who opens a cafe five kilometres into a long tunnel? But given Alpha and Ojisan’s poorly located establishments, clearly business acumen is a lost art in this declining age.

The owner’s hint that a lot of the people who use the tunnel don’t survive to the exit is not exactly reassuring.

Nightbird:

Prompted by a gift from Kokone, Alpha experiments with adding a novel substance to dairy in an effort to overcome her lactose intolerance: alcohol!

Comments:

Alpha dreamed of flying. I don’t think she flew but since she woke up outside, not at the table where she was napping, I think she did something while blotto.

Sensei’s Mark:

In a flashback, Sensei recalls how, despite Ojisan’s flood of unrequested commentary, she placed on her motorbike a symbol of her choosing.

Comments:

“It’s kind of pretentiously abstract, isn’t it? Or maybe kind of … sullen or something? This isn’t the kind of dead and dry design you’d expect a schoolgirl to make, is it?”

Ojisan seems to have discovered negging. On an unrelated note, as far as I can tell he spends most, if not all, of his life a bachelor.

Musashino Correspondence:

An exchange of letters delights both Kokone and Alpha.

Comments:

Coming as I do from a nation whose post office is both subpar and doomed, I am impressed by the reliability of the Japanese post office in the face of rising sea levels and a general decline in infrastructure.

General comments:

More info re Alpha’s world … but of course, not enough to say what exactly happened back when Sensei and Ojisan were young adults. Or what exactly robots like Room Monitor Alpha and her associates have planned for the world. I must admit that I do not expect that my questions will ever be answered. Oh, well. At least the characters are enjoying their little moments.


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