Friday, October 23, 2015

Area 51, vol. 10 review

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Area 51, vol. 10, by Masato Hisa. Grade: A

(To celebrate the release of book 10, there's a special color page with each of the old Council of 10 Gods holding copies of the various volumes. Son Goku is trying to eat his copy, and Odin is holding his upside down.)

(Borarin recovers from St. Germain's surprise attack, but it's ok. She promises to turn off the cameras before killing everyone in the building. She then tells "all the good children watching" to not travel through time to blow stuff up.)

H40) I was there... At that Summer.
The story starts out with Borarin, a Glasya-Lobolas (one of the 72 demons described in the Lesser Key of Solomon), introducing herself as member 25 of the SLM72 pop idol group (a play on AKB42). She's in the TV studio today to talk with St. Germain about his ability to travel through time. Germain is miffed at having to address a dog in a sailor suit outfit, and Borarin goes demonic, easily pummeling him to a pulp. St. Germain then explains (using Doraemon as example of how time doesn't work) that space-time starts out as having infinite possibilities, but when an observer (like him, or us when we reach some event point) witnesses an event, then all of the other possibilities shut down, and only that one path through time remains. So, no, it's not possible to go back in time and change an event, such as killing Hitler before WW II starts, because that's an "anchor" that can't change anymore. Additionally, it's not possible to go back to stop yourself from making a decision, because you can't have multiples of the same object occupying the same time together. He then says, "Take that CD, for example," which causes Borarin to start telling her audience that SLM72 has a new single out, "Sell Us Your Pure Soul". St. Germain warps out to grab that CD from yesterday, and when he returns with it a few seconds later, the version Borarin is holding explodes and vaporizes her upper body. Germain insults her for attacking him and warps out again. Borarin slowly rematerializes her body, as the floor director begs her to remain calm. She replies that everything's ok. Before massacring everyone in the building, she'll turn the cameras off. The TV staff bolts for the doors.

(Nemori has perfect copies of everyone she's ever met trapped inside her head.)

Back at McCoy's office, the psychic's form materializes from the bullet scar in Nemori's forehead, and the original version of the guy blows up in a massive fireball. St. Germain says that that's probably going to be what happens to Area 51 tomorrow. Keiron adds that when he had treated Nemori when she was shot, he'd gotten an idea of what was going on. The Satori was building a full image of her target in her head when she prepared to sing for them. Normally, she'd release that energy after the song was over, but the part of her brain that handled that was destroyed by the bullet. So now, she has copies of everyone in Area 51 that she's ever met, and no way of bleeding off those copies anymore. And the stress is almost beyond her abilities to cope with it. Soon, her thoughts are going to get out and people all over the city are going to blow up, which is why Germain had tried to kill her, to stop that from taking place, but her talent for reading thoughts is too much for him. McCoy asks why he doesn't go back to the concert to stop the shooter, and he answers that he'd been in the audience watching her that day. He can't prevent that "future" anymore. The group goes down from the street back to the office, and the place is filled with hair. Nemori "overheard" their conversations and is protecting herself again.

(Nemori wants to protect herself from the outside world.)

H41) Take Me to the Shore.
McCoy calls in Felix, and the Army's best weapons are useless against the satori. The only remaining option is to evacuate Area 51 and nuke it from space - anyone that can't fly or swim is placed on the flight deck of the Thomas J. Whitmore (named after the President in Independence Day). McCoy runs into Keiron, who initially blames her for causing all of this. Then he apologizes. When he was younger, he was absolutely fascinated with satori in all forms, but there was very little in the literature about them, and it was almost impossible to find them in the wild. When he had Nemori on the operating table to remove the bullet, he'd thought, "If she was dead, I'd be able take brain samples to research". That's when she disappeared. He knows that she'd read his thoughts and he really wishes he could make it up to her. McCoy notices that her doctor is carrying his research notes with him on the aircraft carrier, and she asks how strongly he believes that his work is accurate, and he eventually says that it's probably as perfect as it's going to get. She writes a note and has Keiron give it to St. Germain exactly at 11 AM. She then gets Kishirou to use his kappa powers to propel them over the ocean back to Area 51, leaving him at the beach. Germain reads the note and flicks out. Keiron looks at it more closely. Beyond the "Jump to my office 520 minutes before now" message, she uses very polite language to show that she respects his position as a member of royalty to make this request. McCoy gets to her office, where Nemori has withdrawn from her hair barrier. McCoy raises Pike and aims at Nemori's head, while thinking "I am not going to shoot. I definitely won't shoot."

(St. Germain: "I thought you said you weren't going to shoot her." McCoy: "It's not me, it's you.")

H42) Sing For Me.
Nemori repeats outloud everything that McCoy thinks, and right now, she's hoping that Germain does what he's supposed to. He warps into her office as the vampire Bibi has McCoy chained down on her desk. They have their shootout and Bibi gets dusted. Germain is angry at being used, and warps to the office in "real time". Suddenly Pike shoots Nemori in the head, and the Satori crumples to the ground. Germain is shocked, but McCoy shows that her finger isn't on the trigger. Instead, she'd taken some of the dust from Bibi that Germain had scrapped off his shoe onto the floor next to her desk and put it in one of her cartridges (Pike complains that it tasted awful). Because Germain warped in with the same dust now on the bottom of his shoe, the "current time" dust exploded, firing the bullet. She then asks Germain to warp back to "then" to wipe the dust off. Germain comments that when he'd left, she'd still been chained up, but later she'd gotten out on her own. How'd she do that? McCoy answers that it's a business secret. She calls Felix on the phone and lets him know that the situation is under control. Keiron and two medics are flown in on an attack chopper and they stabilize Nemori before taking her to the hospital for surgery. As Germain prepares to warp out to wipe off his shoe, he asks McCoy what he should tell "that woman". She says "Just say, 'Beware 3:10 PM'."

McCoy had also told St. Germain that she'd looked at Keiron's hand drawings of Nemori's brain and identified the portion that contains memories. She figured that if the memories were gone, the threat to Area 51 would also disappear. Later, she's at the beach with Keiron, watching Nemori playing around the waves. Keiron says that the satori's memory only lasts 18 hours. She'll forget this sunset by tomorrow. McCoy replies that this is still better than being dead. She notices the satori staring at her, but she's smiling. McCoy thinks "Please sing for me", which Nemori is happy to do.

(The lone survivor of Area 51 faces the enemy clone army.)

H43) This Is a Proverb In This Planet.
Got a little gag story to lighten the mood. A weird female creature from a weird planet, in the city of Area 51, has a problem. 2 weeks ago, a cat-like monster showed up and started killing half of the population. The monster turned the victims into clones of itself. In the second week, the other half of the population was wiped out. Now, she's surrounded by hundreds of copies of this monster, and she's the only survivor left. She threatens them with a variation of Pike, and the monsters respond by pointing their guns at her. She asks if they have any interest in the nature of this city, or what is going on around them. They say, "Nope, why?" "No curiosity at all?" "Nope." The female shoots 10 holes into the street, and the lead monster says, "And?" But, some of the other monsters are looking up and they see the sky rushing down to crush them. The camera pulls back to reveal the top of McCoy's head, which she's scratching with one hand. Kishirou and Pike give her a hard time for never taking a shower. She says that she's had a bath already, and they answer back that falling in the river isn't the same as washing yourself. She looks at one fingernail. In an extreme close-up, the weird female is sitting on the edge of the nail, narrating, "On this planet, we have a proverb - 'Koukishin neko wo korosu' (curiosity killed the cat)."


H44) You Must Be a Person Who Brings a Pack of Uno to a Trip.
Amaterasu is trying to play video games from a make-shift version of her room which is currently set up in the back of McCoy's truck. Seems that Amaterasu is a goddess of pure energy, but to exist on Earth she needs a human body. Some thousands of years ago she made up a list of attractive dying women, and found one whose body she wanted to possess. She did do this thing, but unfortunately every year she has to retreat to a secret onsen spot in Area 51 to renew this body and sleep for one night. She's vulnerable during this time, and she doesn't want the other Japanese gods to know what she's doing, so she's tasked McCoy to be her bodyguard. At the onsen, a withered old woman is waiting for them, and Amaterasu says that the only one that can care for her is this woman, because of their "daughter-mother" bond. McCoy jumps into the onsen, where a beautiful woman is relaxing. Later, McCoy encounters an ugly Frankenstein creature that introduces itself as Hinokaguzuchi, the Japanese goddess of fire (there's nothing in Japanese on the net about her). Hinokaguzuchi and McCoy get into a savage ping pong game, as the fire goddess talks more about Amaterasu's history at this onsen. (The ending of the game is left unclear.)

(Amaterasu takes her once-a-year recharging nap.)

Afterward, McCoy calls Kishirou to see if the other Japanese gods had given him a rough time for her running off with their Sun goddess, and the kappa says, "Yes, it was hell". Part of their desperation comes from a rumor that an Egyptian god has come to Area 51 to kill her. McCoy returns to the onsen, where the beautiful woman is relaxing again. The conversation quickly turns to assassinations, and the woman asks what gave her away. The answer is that she claimed to be Japanese, but she's wearing a towel while sitting in the water. A real Japanese would be naked; wearing a towel is something that is only shown on TV. The woman drops the disguise, revealing herself to be a mummy. They get into a fist fight to keep from waking up Amaterasu during her sleep. The next morning, Amaterasu is heading to the truck and she encounters McCoy, whose face is swollen, black and blue. The goddess tells the old woman that she'll be back again next year, but the woman says that this is the last time they'll be together because her body won't last any longer. Amaterasu says, "Then, oyasumi" (have a good rest). The old woman replies back, "Oyasumi, mother". McCoy remembers the picture of the parents of the woman whose body the goddess claimed, and the father had been holding an infant in his arms. (Up to this point, everyone's wording implied that this relationship was between Amaterasu and the body's mother, not between Amaterasu and the body's baby). Amaterasu leaves without looking back.

Note that the title is a reference to McCoy's inability to deal with holiday travels. Amaterasu and Pike both tell her "You're the kind of person that brings an UNO deck on a vacation trip.

("Who dares mess with a Count of the royal court!!? Oh, it's a Rex. No problem, the ancient past always was a savage place.")

Short Story 7) Down With the King's Reign.
We get a repeat of the scene where McCoy comments that while St. Germain can travel through time, he can't travel through space simultaneously. So, how did he get off the aircraft carrier to reach Area 51, since there was no carrier at that location 9 hours earlier? The answer is, he warped back in time, fell into the ocean and almost drowned under the weight of his machine gun. He then had to travel back to when there was something to walk on, going a few million years ago, and falling from another great height to the ground (he demands to know where the ground gets off smashing into him through the force of gravity like that). He tries walking to where he expects McCoy's office to be, and gets attacked by something. He looks up to see a T-Rex a few inches from his nose. He grins evilly, adjusting his machine gun and saying, "Well, it's the Cretaceous period. It's SUPPOSED to be a savage time". The narrator ends the story asking if it's ok for "subordinates to dominate their superiors". Possibly, this is an indication that St. Germain is what killed the dinosaurs.

Summary: Love this volume. Absolutely love it. The artwork with Nemori is great, I enjoyed the dandruff story, and the ping pong game with the fire goddess was a lot of fun. St. Germain's difficulties with gravity are hilarious. Highly recommended.

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