One-line chapter summaries
1: Parcel wrongly picked up turns out to be client.
2: Girl raises killer cat. (Also Ao’s sad backstory..)
3: Revenge on the dead.
Embalmer International Magazine ranked them “Hottest Interfaith Funeral Home!”
4: More behind Ao’s family’s murder than it seems. AKA brainwashed sister.
5: The plot thickens.
6: Everything is moving towards the confrontation/fugutaiten.
Well. I felt a little silly typing that out, but this entire volume was pretty much one arc. There were a lot of heavy concepts introduced in this volume, which revolves around Ao’s backstory.
When she was eight years old, Ao witnessed the aftermath of the brutal murder of three of five members of her family. Many years on, the convicted murderer is sentenced to death. Around the same time, word of a ‘revenge ceremony’ comes around, and she is approached by her sister to participate in the one involving the murderer of her parents and little sister.
MVP: Ao. Even in the face of what is probably one of her deepest traumas, and also what might have led her to develop a penchant for looking at pictures of bodies, she remained calm. I thought the killer was a little too quick to confess, though. (“What are you trying to say…? // That I killed your mother and sister? That I cut your father open? Well, I did.”) ^^” I guess they’d decided the arc/volume had gone on long enough!
Tidbit: The death penalty is mentioned right at the start of the volume with little fanfare. Coming from Singapore, I have to admit that I pretty much had a somewhat-blasé reaction. The death penalty is legal there, and also carried out by hanging. In other parts of the world (including the part I currently reside in), though, capital punishment is a hot topic, and there are many people for and against it. To be honest, it’s not really something I want to go into.
Far more dubious is the idea of this particular fugutaiten (不倶戴天) ceremony – Raising a murderer just to kill them again as a form of revenge or closure to the victims. From the translator’s/editor’s notes,
Fugutaiten means having to take revenge against another even if it means one’s own death. The kanji literally mean that one person cannot live under the same heavens if the other is to stay alive.
Is it right? Is that a good way of dealing with grief? The writer leaves this open-ended, with the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (i.e. Sasaki Ao) declining a merger with Nire, which will (it is presumed) continue on its business. Condemned or approved, it is certaining a chilling ceremony to consider.
As an aside, Yata raises in this volume the fact that everyone thinks he’s a ventriloquist. While I do believe he’s channeling an alien, it’s true that his general depiction is very similar to that of what few ventriloquist acts I’ve seen. (Humble, quiet, likable ventriloquist and rude, brash, noisy puppet.) After having recently watched Her Master’s Voice, I have a newfound respect for the art of ventriloquism. With the amount of swearing Kereellis does, though, I sometimes wonder how it sounds in Japanese..^^”