Kieli: The Dead Sleep Eternally in the Wilderness pt 2 (Series Final Impressions)

It’s here. It’s finally here. After about four long years, our journey with Kieli and Harvey comes to an end.

Since this is the final volume in the series, expect a lot of spoilers in this post.

Beforehand and many months ago I had read some of the reviews on amazon.jp (causiously, since it would be a shame if I got spoiled while waiting for the very last volume) and most of them said they had cried while reading this volume. I wasn’t sure if that was because of the content or because the series was over.

I can safely say now that it was a mixture of the two.

Continuing from the last volume, Joachim is dead and our trio is trapped by monsters. Eventually they meet up with Julius and continue their search for Beatrix. Bea, however, has been consumed by the final boss Undying failure who is actually Jude. Harvey vows to kill Jude but passes out. Kieli fears that he’s dead before the ghost girl in white helps her enter ‘his world’.

In ‘Harvey’s world’ she encounters him as a child trying fruitlessly to fix the world that is crumbling around them but only becoming more and more damaged in the process. They go on to meet Jude, who in Harvey’s eyes (up until he became a monster and Bea died) was an all around OK guy. After that, they catch a train so they can reach the End of the World. A younger Beatrix and Joachim join them on the train and they pass by various things from Harvey’s memories but mostly stuff from his journey with Kieli.

Just before they reach the end of the world, Beatrix and Joachim get off the train at the spot in the Sand Ocean where all things go to die or rest. That was the first really emotional scene but oh don’t worry, the really sad stuff hasn’t even happened yet.

They finally reach the end of the world and, again, Harvey tries his hardest to stop the world from crumbling and falling apart by using the parts of himself that break off to seal the cracks forming in the world. Bea had told Kieli the only reason he survived so long is because of her so she vows to always support him and be there for him. Together, they stop the world from ending.

They wake up  and Harvey seems OK (as OK as he can be at this point, anyways). They try to go after Jude again but Harvey is injured again. For a second time, Kieli tries to speak directly to Jude. This time Jude remembers her as a baby with Setsuri. She tells him all about her life and her adventure with Harvey and in exchange he shows her that her mother had truly loved her and had more or less forgiven her father.

After this the Jude monster sacrifices himself to destroy all the other failure Undyings. In the process Kieli is hurt by falling debris and before she is ready to pass on, helps various people around the church like Julius, Sigri and Harvey as well as anybody else. Just as she is about depart, she is told Harvey still needs her and she returns to her body and lives.

With the church and capital warping to something else, the two struggle to find their way. Eventually they end up in the tundra and taken in by a small group. The group is lead by the very first original Undyings who did not want to fight and instead started a life in the mountains.

While Harvey and Kieli rest in their village, a couple of the kids there steal the Corporal. Harvey sets off to find him despite his even worsened condition. Eventually he does find the radio, stolen as a prank, but with his vision nearly gone Harvey is unable to leave the maze the kids lead them into. With this, the Corporal passes on.

After that, Harvey starts acting weirder and weirder. Eventually he dreams about the other Undying children, Bea and Joachim, and that they want him to join him. Harvey asks for a little more time with Kieli before he passes on. Very shortly after waking up from that, he tells Kieli he doesn’t want to go to sleep since he’s worried about the dreams he’ll have. Kieli says she’ll stay with him so he doesn’t have any bad dreams and he says his final words, that he was glad to have met her.

He doesn’t die though. In the epilogue, Kieli lives in Easterbury in the old house (as they had dreamed about) and planning to open her shop (as she had dreamed about). Harvey is there too but he’s not really… Harvey. He’s alive but he isn’t really alive. He doesn’t respond or speak to her or do anything at all, really. Still, Kieli seems happy enough just because he’s there. Though she doesn’t really know if he will die soon or if he will ever get better, she still believes he can hear her.

Kieli decides they’ll bring the Corporal’s radio to the mines where he can truly rest, just as they had intended in the very first novel. Kieli repeats Harvey’s last words to herself but there’s an added bit about how thankfully he is to have lived in the same time as her, and to have met people that helped her and just how much he loved the world.

And that’s it.

I couldn’t find any scans of the wonderful kiss scene so have some cute cosplayers instead

I had to flip the last page several times because I couldn’t believe it ended on such a note. At first I was conflicted but eventually I was OK with it. When Corporal passed on for real and then there was the scene with Harvey telling Kieli he was happy to have met her, along with the line “Those were his final words” I prepared for the worst. That Kieli was going to live on alone. Despite the whole last novel stating over and over how they needed each other to survive.

At least with this, we can believe that Harvey eventually gets better. Just like the boy version of him in his ‘world’ was stoic and unresponsive while his body tried desperately to repair itself, maybe that would be the same for him? And just one day Kieli would wake up and he’d talk to her again and they could have life they dreamt of.

Or maybe “Those were his final words” were really his final words and he died in that mine. After all, originally Harvey had intended to die in those mines as well. I feels like a lot of evidence pointing at that. I don’t know how devious and calculating Yukako Kabei is either because the chapter where they bring the Corporal to the mines (and first volume of the series) is The Dead Sleep in the Wilderness while the last volume (and the epilogue is also named The Dead Sleep Eternally in the Wilderness). I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed that.

So I guess it’s kinda up to you on what you want to believe happens? I immediately assumed he died but I would have liked to have been wrong. I knew it was probably impossible for them to have a completely happy ending but it still kind of stings.

The Corporal’s passing on was the saddest scene for me. Because no matter what happened through the series, it was almost a sure thing he would do so at the end. And he was probably my favourite character. Not to mention Kieli wasn’t even there. I think that was the saddest thing. That she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. Though I’m sure he knew everything she had to say to him.

I was a bit shocked when I flipped through volume one and saw the artwork in it. Like, I was floored. The first volume art is so much different. It’s much sharper and bolder and the style is completely different. I gotta say I like the earlier artwork better. It looks a bit shoujo-er but it has more character. The newer stuff is a bit blander.

I couldn’t find any scans. I tried. I really did.

Still, I liked the colour spread of Kieli and Harvey sitting by the Quee. Kieli is super cute in a ponytail and I wish that would have happened more often. There’s also an image of them finally sharing a kiss so that was nice too.

I had to listen to Owaranai Melody wo Utaidashimashita while I was writing this because it was just too perfect. Go lookie at the lyrics. Too. Perfect. Also I just finished Kaminai and there were a lot of similarities between the two and I just really love that ED. It’s actually a bit funny since I mixed the two up and thought “well Harvey wished to god to stay with Kieli and he got his wish but with a catch” and was then a little freaked out because it worked in the context of Kaminai but also seemed to sum up what happened at the end.

So, those foreboding reviews were right. I teared up during the final goodbyes to some characters and I cried when I turned the last page and realized it was over. I loved this series and I’m so happy I had the chance to read it. I would have never read it on my own (heck, in the four years since I started it I’ve never once seen it in stores) so winning it was a beautiful stroke of luck. I’m so happy Yen Press gave me a chance to read this and just for bringing it over and sticking with it. I don’t know why they did but thanks anyways.

This is the first light novel series I’ve had a chance to finish and eagerly awaiting each volume was always one of the highlights of my year. Sure, the art wasn’t the flashiest and the writing was sometimes tiring but I loved it all the same.

It’s unlikely we’ll ever see an adaption of this (since the novel first published around ten years ago now) so it looks like this is where our journey ends.


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