Jiraishin, Vol.2, part 1
commentaries and translation by Sasha Twen
Note: I'm doing this from the German edition of Takahashi's manga, published by Carlsen Comics, which is split into two issues. The publisher has obviously released the second volume first because it takes places in Germany, hoping to reach a wider audience. The translation sounds very good to me, although I cannot vouch for its accuracy. I doubt anything is censored though - Carlsen is a publisher that aims exclusively at an adult audience, and since the material was not translated from any prior US printing, it's probably very close to the source.
Mixx-Zine, which is currently printing the first volume of Jiraishin, has announced that it will NOT do Vol.2 due to its explicit scenes of sex and drug use. I've chosen to do the commentaries because of this fact. I've also added some explainations about the cultural details featured in the manga (hey, I'm German, and I was surprised how accurate the whole thing was. No doubt Takahashi visited Germany prior to drawing this volume, or it springs from Mainkas rendition of his homeland). I hope that you'll find some of the notes interesting.
If anyone is interested, the German ISBN for the manga is 3-551-71885-7. It costs DM 29,90.
On to the show...
TEXT IN CAPITALS is commentary from the manga itself.
<text in brackets> is a thought bubble
* precedes my own comments
part 1: Twin sisters
Scenario: Matz Mainka
Art: Tsutomu Takahashi
* The ink wash renditions on the first few pages are stills from Hamburg's
* industrial harbour district, located in the North of Germany shortly before
* the river Elbe flows into the North Sea. It is one of the largest inland
* ports in the world.
* The last inkwash is one of Alexander's face. The following is printed onto
* the same page:
"I still remember that moment, when I was born into this world. I struggled through a long, dark tunnel. But at the end... there was only darkness."
A woman looks at the skyline through a large hotel window:
"This is Tokio, my home town."
"But now, now nothing matters anymore..."
"I just want to get away from you."
"You are a monster!"
"You shall suffer for the rest of your life."
The woman turns around. We can now see that she is sickingly emacitated.
"And just so you know it: I never loved you!"
The man behind her clenches his hands. The woman runs toward the window as it grabs for her, and throws herself off the skyscraper.
Later, Kyouya stands beside the splattered corpse, watching it silently, not bearing any emotion (is anyone really surprised? :-). Police officers are hectically surveying the scene.
porter: "Yes, that's the woman from room 1012."
Yamaki: "Was anyone with her?"
porter: "Y-yes. I... Yes, someone was..."
Kyouya lifts one of the dead woman's arms. The veins are strewn with needle punctures. Kyouya rides the elevator up to her room and pulls out his gun. He crashes through the door to find a caucasian man standing in front of the shattered window, clad only in his bathrobe.
Kyouya (putting away his gun): "Show me your passport!"
(This is INDEED spoken in English!)
Man: "Well lookey here, you can speak English...!"
"English's not really my mother tongue, but I don't like your pronounciation nevertheless. Your accent is not exactly becoming."
He turns around. He's got a white blonde military crewcut and one of his eyes is strangely crooked. It serves more to make his face interesting, rather than ugly or appalling. If this is possible, it's even colder than Kyouya's. ;-)
"Especially your "R"..."
Kyouya: <His eyes have different colours...!>
Later that day, at the police office:
Yamaki: "The man's name is Alexander von der Huehnen, 32 years old."
"He's a business man who runs a firm specialising in foreign trade in Hamburg, Germany."
"He came to Japan the day before yesterday for four days only. He will fly back home tomorrow."
"The name of the deceased is Natsumi Satou, 28. She's an orphan, but she's got a twin sister."
"Her name is Harumi Fujita. She's married and currently living in Sendai."
*Sendai is a quarter of Tokio. The names of Harumi and Natsumi mean "beauty of spring" and "beauty of summer", respectively.*
"The victim went to Germany three years ago to study at the university of Hamburg, and has prolonged her visa every year since."
Kyouya is listening lost in thought.
"Also, she was a strong heroine addict. Stronger than her body could stand."
Narita: "What was the man doing when she jumped?"
Yamaki: "He says he was under the shower."
Narita: "Could it have been homicide?"
"She falls in love with a man that she got to know in Germany and becomes lethally addicted to heroine. With death close by, she longs to see Japan one last time... and in her mental confusion, commits suicide."
"What do you think of this, Kyouya?"
Kyouya is smirking, a rare sight (and, may I say, positively se-xy! ;-).
"Well, I think we only have one day left..."
An officer enters: "Excuse me, but the family is here."
Narita: "We'll be there shortly."
Kyouya and Narita leave the briefing, and find a highly pregnant Harumi waiting with her husband.
Narita: "This has to be especially hard for a pregnant woman..."
Husband: "Yes, she's in her seventh month."
Harumi: "Natsumi and me were identical twins. I understood everthing she ever thought, so well that it hurt sometimes."
"One thing I know for sure - Natsumi was not the type who commits suicide like that."
Narita: "When did you last talk with your sister?"
Harumi shows a foto of her sister in a dark baggy dress, hiding her physical state. She is quite a beautiful, exotic woman.
"This was the last postcard I got from her."
Kyouya reads the card. We can see part of the writing: How are you? The days I go to class... It is terrible... How about... All the best, Natsumi.
Narita: "Do you know someone called Alexander von der Huehnen?"
Harumi: "No, I've never heard of him."
Narita: "Did you know about your sister coming to Japan?"
Harumi: "No, I had no idea..."
Narita: "I've got more bad news for you. Your sister was a heroine addict."
Harumi (shocked sensless): "He... HEROINE!"
That evening, Kyouya visits the hotel once more. He is waiting outside the elevator, when von der Huehnen exits. He gives him a surprised look, but nevertheless invites him into the lounge.
Kyouya: "There are three more men living in this hotel who came with the same flight as you. One is sitting at the bar... and two others over there. Are these your bodyguards?"
Alex (amused): "Let me propose a toast to you!"
"Have you ever killed someone? ECSTASY. You also belong to that breed of people who know that exquisite feeling to have killed somebody, don't you?"
"But you keep justifying yourself: "Sometimes, criminals just have to be eliminated."
Kyouya: "Sounds like you've got a very high IQ."
Alex: "I just have a good memory. From the moment of my birth, I can remember everything up until now."
Kyouya lights himself a cigarette, smiling slightly.
Kyouya: "What were the first words after your birth that you can remember?"
Alex: Pfff... Do you honestly find a man, who doesn't shed a tear for the death of his woman that peculiar?"
Kyouya: "No. I can emphasize with that..."
Alex: "Because you are the same, aren't you?"
Kyouya takes the challenge, and, his eyes never leaving von Huehnen's, flips over his drink so that it comes crashing down onto the table, splinters flying everywhere. He takes up one of the shards, drops it into von Huehnen's glass, and stirs it thoroughly with his cocktail mixer. Von Huehnen watches warily. The glass is filled to the brink with tiny splinters.
Kyouya: "If you drink that, there's no way past the hospital. Shall we make a little bet?" Kyouya pulls out a genuine German 5 DM coin. "If I drink it, you fly back to Hamburg. If you drink it, you go to the hospital in Tokio. Heads or tails?"
Von der Huehnen flashes a grin that is not entirely sane. "Heads."
Kyouya brings the coin spinning, waiting for it to fall back onto the table. The bodyguards are watching, not daring to move.
* The words printed on the side of the coin are "Einigkeit, Recht, Freiheit"
* (Unity, justice, liberty), the first three words of the German national
* anthem. The eagle on the back is the German heraldic animal.
A hand slams down onto the coin before it can come to a stop. Harumi is standing there, a terrified look on her face.
"Please, stop this foolishness!"
Von der Huehnen is furious.
Harumi (to Alex): "Please, tell me why Natsumi started using drugs!"
Her husband is behind her: "Please. Tell her."
Harumi: "Even if the police doesn't get you - I won't let you escape!"
Von der Huehnen gets up: "So, you're Natsumi's twin sister, eh?"
He looks her straight in the eye. Upright, he is nearly a head taller than her.
"But yeees... you are beautiful indeed." He touches her belly. "And you're going to get a baby."
He bends down to talk to the embryo: "Hey, I'll tell you the first words I heard after my birth. "You are an unwanted child."
Harumi is shocked, and stares into space as von der Huehnen leaves with his men.
"He, Natsumi... come to Germany, will you?"
Harumi is furious. Suddenly, the baby kicks her hard and she topples over.
Husband: "Harumi! What's with you?"
Harumi: "The baby!!! AAAAAHHHH!!!"
The kicking is so loud it can be heard through the lounge...
The other day, at the hospital...
Kyouya is visiting the couple, the devastated husband sits huddled on a chair. Harumi is staring out the window, still in shock.
Harumi: "What about that man?"
Kyouya: "He is not in Japan anymore."
Harumi: "You are a detective, are you not? What about your duty? Your duty is to arrest criminals, isn't it! Do you know what he said to my child? He said: "You're an unwanted child." AND THEN MY CHILD DIED!!!"
Kyouya cannot think of anything to say.
"I don't know how you call that, but I call it murder!"
Husband: "Please, go now."
Harumi: "He's responsible for the death of my child... and you are powerless."
Kyouya leaves, not looking back. Harumi's eyes are blank and lifeless, but filled with grim determination.
"I'm going to Hamburg to find out why Natsumi died."