The Sunlit Garden Where It Began pt. 2 actually was released on April 3rd. It is not April 30th. Whoops.
Story: Picking up from where part one left off, Kieli is with Ephraim in the past. Kieli’s body in the ‘present’ is found and returned to the camp. Harvey realizes that her spirit is gone and leaves Corporal to protect her from the stray spirits wanting to enter her spirit-less body and goes in search of Kieli. A long the way he finds the three who attacked Kieli and tries to kill them but is interrupted by Joachim and he starts to fight. They in turn get attacked by stuff from the theme park. Meanwhile, Kieli finds out that Ephraim, Joachim and the kids have been reliving the same day over and over (hence the repetition in the previous book and this one of Ephraim in the classroom and his monologue about deja vu). Ephraim tries to help Kieli return to the present and they find out he already knew he died in the war. Eventually, Kieli does return as a ghost and meets Harvey after he and Joachim take care of the possessed dolls from the theme park and Joachim ditches him. Christoph ends up at the theme park after hurting his brother and being spotted by regular people and slowly loses control of himself. Harvey tries to calm him down but Christoph is ultimately killed by Joachim who is possessed by the Joachim of the past.
I left out a bit but that’s a basic summary of the main plot points in this novel. I have to consider volume six one of my favourites because it doesn’t deviate or have any side stories or spirit of the week mishaps like the previous novels. Kieli and Harvey didn’t split up either but by the next volume, yeah, they probably will. It also seemed to me that the children as well as young/separate Ephraim and Joachim didn’t really get the rest they deserved. Was the day going to stop repeating? Kieli knew they hadn’t gone to rest, she was hoping they’d see the fireworks, after all.
This volume was also really action packed (as Kabei notes). It’s one of the times I wish for an adaption because stuff like that would be a lot easier to follow, visually. There were also a lot of times that were (unintentionally?) comical. Joachim and Harvey being back to back badasses and taking care of all the dolls, getting ready to walk away and then ‘oshi- we forgot the big one’ along with Kieli waking up on Bearfoot’s lap, gazing at him and then freaking out about Harvey (pushing him to the ground and stepping on him in the process) were the two most notable ones. It was nice after the serious tone that volume four had (and still lingers, I guess).
Characters: Harvey isn’t as standoffish as he usually is. It was interesting seeing him attack the three ruthlessly as if he lacked humanity (and was sickened with himself later as a result) while fueled because of his concern and feeling for Kieli. It was an odd disconnect though not unusual for him. Joachim actually got to do more, I guess. He’s still kind of a jerk but he really is kind of interesting so it’ll be disappointing if he doesn’t show up for awhile again. Though there are only three volumes left so I guess he really can’t stay away that long.
Art: I actually have something more to say about the art than I usually do! Included with this volume was a short manga chapter. I’ll get it out of the way by saying I still like Teshirogi’s art better (and I always feel like such a traitor for admitting that). That out of the way I was really, really surprised to see it. The actual story takes place in volume two or three (three since two was mostly boat/sand, right?) since Kieli still has her short boy hair and Harvey still has his arm and both eyes. It shows an out of character Kieli and Harvey which is cute, I guess. It was nice to see Taue get to do a little more than the usual static shots included in the novel. ‘Gotcha~’ Kieli was really cute too.
Overall: As I said, one of my favourite volumes thus far. I think this is the calm before the storm and everything is going to hit the fan after this. I’ve accepted there probably won’t be a really satisfactory ending here so I’m just going to do my best to not be super butthurt about it when I do read volume nine next year. It was nice seeing Harvey and Kieli work toward reaching each other and it was different from volume five where they didn’t really communicate. There was also Harvey’s promise and their kiss being interrupted by Nana (asdfdg) that makes me hope there is some chance for them to remain together but what is the likelihood of that, really? So, despite everything that happened in this volume and the one before it, everything ended up okay. I expect the next volume to be a lot more angsty (over Christoph?) and possibly filled with drama as things start to fall into place for the finale but it’ll likely be more spirit of the week adventures, revelation and plot at the end and us cursing Yukako Kabei until April again.
Story: 8/10 (action far outweighed actual plot substance)
Characters: 9/10 (everybody was awesome even though it was hard to feel for the runts)
Art: 6/10 (consistent and plain as usual, manga was a nice treat)
Fang’s Rating: 9/10
It goes without saying and there was no problem last time but please refrain from posting any major spoilers for the remaining volumes. Comments with spoilers will be deleted, regardless of their validity. Positing links with spoilers is fine but try to mark that the site may contain such.