Ch. 27 Summary — Sudou takes Akira and Shiina fishing. Shiina and Akira catch fish and release them. Sudou tells Akira that she enjoys playing with life.
Ch. 28 Summary — Shiina meets Jun, a girl with a dragon child, and they see a dolphin Otohime together. Shiina meets Shouko at the hospital, Jun’s childhood friend, who watches over their mutual friend Kyouji who is in a coma. Shouko declares she wants to have Kyouji’s baby. Jun appears to tell Shouko that she’s a bitch. It turns out Jun was Kyouji, using his dragon child to take form. Kyouji becomes a dragon. Later Shiina takes Shouko to see Jun flying through the sky. (This was a long chapter. Half a volume.)
Toying with Life
In Chapter 27, Sudou tells Akira that she enjoyed playing with the lives of the fish and making them suffer. Therefore she should have fun and make all of humanity suffer. I’m simplifying things slightly but that’s essentially the gist of his argument. Not a very convincing one. But hey, he’s a stupid kid.
Speaking of how he’s a stupid kid, the finishing trip explains a lot about Sudou. He tells Shiina and Akira to read a book, and thinks they can learn everything about fishing from that. He doesn’t even try finishing himself. Shiina, on the other hand, asks the fisherman how to fish, learns how to do it, and makes some new friends. Sudou wants a world in which everyone criticizes and thinks for themselves. Yet is he even one of these people himself? He thinks he knows everything already without having experienced it himself, and thinks that other people have nothing to offer. He lacks desire, and doesn’t explore new things, even limiting himself to a simple meal of rice and pickled vegetables. Yet he thinks he knows everything about the world and is ready to rebuild it from scratch.
In Ch. 28, “Jun” refers to the dragon children as 念土 (nen-do, translated as “mind clay” in the official translation). Having never met another person with one, he chooses this name as he can meld the dragon child into whatever shape his mind imagines. As the reader has already surmised, Shiina’s relationship with Hoshimaru is very unusual.
We also learn that the ultimate fate of the dragon children and their bearers is to merge into a dragon, an otohime (乙姫), or virgin princess. Kyouji phrases this as becoming one with the whole. He says that the dragon children can take on any shape, but regardless of their shape they are only empty shells as they do not have a soul.
Kyouji claims that the dragons can only remain dragons because they don’t intervene in the human world. Yet the first Otohime dragon intervened to save Shiina’s life, and this is dolphin Otohime (she is quite cute by the way) kisses Shiina. If we go back to our earlier interpretation of Ch. 2, this fits in well with Shiina’s identification with Otohime’s sister who was left behind on the land to care for Otohime’s child. From this perspective, intervening with Shiina is not the same as intervening in the world at large.
I’d like to draw attention to one more aspect of the scene with Otohime. Notice how her and Hoshimaru’s eyes meet. This is very deliberate. We even get two panels dedicate to showing it:
I’m not entirely sure what to make of it yet. Hopefully this will make more sense as we read on.
I have to say, Kyouji’s story was very confusing. The first time we met Jun, I thought she was a boy. Then it turned out she was actually a girl. And then it turned out she was actually the dragon child of a boy disguised as a girl. It was a bit hard to follow exactly what was going on.
Although we learn more about the dragons through the perspective of Kyouji, the more interesting part of this story is Kyouko’s. She hated Kyouji, but as soon as he was taken away from her, she wanted to have his child. This is not the typical reaction of a teenager, but it is an essential theme in Narutaru.
Where else has this cropped up before? First, with Shiina, who maintains that she never wants to ever have a child. Then with Satomi, who said that women who pop out babies are scum. Then, with Norio, who wants to have a child but cannot and makes dragon children instead. And finally with Takeo who impregnates women like mad. Now we have a girl who wants to have a specific person’s child, but only after he is taken away from her. All of them feel differently about giving birth. They do so or refuse to do so for different reasons. Yet unlike the dragon children, the thing that is created is not simply an empty shell, but has a soul…
Ch. 28 was really long. This series has very unusual chapter end points. Kitoh seems to have more liberty with this the manga authors usually do.
Awww Shiina. So adorable. When I was her age I said the same thing.
It’s also really cute how Shiina tells her dad to go home without her and Kyouko is worried for him. Poor dad. 🙁
Shiina continues to be a pro sky skateboarder. So awesome. I want a Hoshimaru.
This was my favorite panel from these chapters. The stars overhead, the bright water, and Shiina and Jun are pure black silhouettes. Beautiful.