Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Anniversary Release: The Night the Stars Fall

Okay, this probably isn't the big release you were expecting for our second anniversary, but it does mark the first chapter we've done that was scanned by us. I got the Burai na Kaze Tetsu collection some time ago from Wright of HappyScans!, so I recently scanned it and wanted to do this One-Shot for our anniversary. I found it to be very moving, so much so that it nearly made me cry. If you're in the mood for a FKMT tragedy, you've come to the right place!

But before that, I'm also going to release our Forum as a bonus for this anniversary, where you can talk it up about this chapter and others without having your discussions lost to the public eye when we release new chapters, as happens with the blog comments. It's still something of a work in progress, so if you have anything you think would improve it, drop it in the Suggestions forum!

In other news, I went to Sakuracon with Crump Biggums last weekend, but I didn't meet anyone who reads our scanlations, which was a minor bummer. But I suppose it's just as well, since my Akagi cosplay malfunctioned and I ended up looking like a nearsighted mad scientist when I had my wig on. Biggums dressed as Yasuoka on the second day to much greater success. There's been talk of having another Mahjong Room next year, so if there is, you better believe we'll be showing up again!

Now, then, on to the Oneshot. This is gonna be a long blog post, but this chapter really made me think, so I have a lot to say about it. If you don't read the blog post, please read the last paragraph, as I have an addition to make to the content of the chapter.

Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?rjrr32jxn1a228p

"I was suddenly struck with the realization that my dad's face... was the face of a normal human being."

I've read this chapter a number of times now, first in japanese, again while translating, and again while quality checking, and now another time while rereading it, and every time it gets to me. I know it's not as devastating a tragedy as some of FKMT's other works (I won't say which ones in fear of spoilers, but those who've read them should know exactly what I'm referencing), but then we only had 28 pages to get to know the characters, so with that in mind it does a damn good job of presenting the tragedy. The last page is also particularly heartbreaking.

Before I jump in, though, I'd like to say a few words about the stylization I chose for the dialogue. Everyone in the story talks in a heavy country dialect like Nakai from Akagi, but I thought it would be too distracting if I had everyone using "ain't" and cutting off parts of words like in a Southern US accent. So I went somewhere in between, having the only words ending in "ing" be cut off (like somethin' and sayin') and having the kids call their dad "Pa". I think that still might've been a bit too much stylization, but I did still want it to have a country feel to it.

But that aside, this story is actually really well put together if you dig below the surface a bit. "Pa" is really not a sympathetic character at all in the first half of the story; all we see of him is how much he drinks and his abuse towards his children. But the narration doesn't talk about him in a negative light; Present-Day Hideichi doesn't try to cast blame on his father in any way. We clearly see that, at least when he's drunk, his dad is very much abusive, splashing Sake in his eldest son's face and kicking up the dinner table when he's mad, but the narration just lays on the facts.

I can see the scene that follows being a bit controversial, what with the kids talking about killing their own father, but you have to step into their shoes and realize that they're just a bunch of dumb kids. Hideichi is the only one who actually references death through "Killing" their father; everyone else avoids the idea of their dad actually dying through use of terms like "Going away" "never waking up", and "Going through with it". They don't really understand "Death", and all the way through the scene they continuously state that they're not being serious. I remember thinking stupid things like that when I was their age, not really understanding the consequences of what I was planning to do.

Hideichi flipping his coin was also an interesting aspect of this story. You can tell that he's prone to rash behavior, and that once he's in a mindset it's hard to get him out of it. Having him flipping a coin to decide whether or not to kill his father served to show that not even he was really willing to just do it; he had to leave it up to the gods of fate to take the blame off his hands. In the end, though, I doubt he really would have been able to go through with killing his dad because of the result of a coin toss.

But all of this just serves to add to the irony when they find their dad passed out just beyond the Torii. They immediately forget about everything they were saying before, and call for an ambulance straight away. It's kind of a "be careful what you wish for" story, combined with the idea that, no matter how bad the circumstances, the love between a father and his children is unbreakable.

Hideichi's psychoanalysis of his dad was also quite touching; it's unfortunate that he never understood just how much his father cared about him until he was gone. His dad was by no means the ideal parent, but even still, he clearly loved his children very much, and that much, at least, is invaluable. Overall, a worthy addition to the FKMT lineup, and a good start to the Burai na Kaze Tetsu collection, if you ask me.

Finally, this chapter is dedicated to Kazuhiko's friend, Dakota Francis, who passed away a very short time ago. The dedication on the last page of the chapter was written by Kazuhiko himself, and I encourage you all to read it. I didn't know him personally, but my heart goes out to him for having his life tragically cut short by an incurable disease. May he rest in peace.


  1. I smirked when I read the page where the kids discovered their father and called the ambulance, and never felt a thing through the rest of the story. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised and...something, of my reaction. It was a well-written one shot as expected of Fukumoto, and normally, I'd tear up from something like this, but this time I wasn't...I don't know...

    Maybe I just read this at the wrong moment.

    Thank you for this one-shot, and condolences to Kazuhiko.

  2. i wonder what the definition of a normal human could be... but i will have to waith for some free time to read this.

    on other news, a forum... i can hardly read the mangas when they just come out... now a forum lurking is the name of the game i guess.

    1. well finally read this, what a touching story, a guy devastated by frustration tries to escape on alcohol but is detained by his kids... until eventually he dies. i give it a 10.

      sorry about your friend.

      on a side note, does that mean that the face of a normal human being is that of one that was pushed by frustration and the harshness of the world? does that means suffering is a elemental part of living as a human? then by that evil and sin aren't really "bad"? yeah we could see happiness is appreciated better after harshness has been experienced, and difficulty can allow us to find ways to get out of those dark place, in that sense ignorance is no bliss.

      i think i will post this on the forum too, just because yes.

  3. Great oneshot, kudos for forum and sorry about your friend, may he rest in peace.

  4. Gotta point out that the link in the Important links box is linking to another forum aaand it wouldn't be bad if the new forum had a tab for itself (amongst IRC, MhjngKrazy branch etc)

    1. Yeah, that's our new forum? It links right to fkmtkrazy.forumotion.com for me. And it's too crowded at the top of the page already, I'd have to go down a line to add another tab.

    2. Oh, the link in the post is /forum, so the layout confused me when I went via linkbox, sorry my bad.

  5. wow i never expected it to be so touching
    Now the title page seems sad than when i first saw it
    May your friend rest in peace.

  6. The one-shot was great, thanks for sharing. About Francis, well I got a similar story and it happened relatively recent too.
    Be proud Kazuhiko, you probably had a great friend in him.

  7. I've read so many of your releases that it's hard to believe that you're just two. Keep it going, guys, and condolences for Dakota Francis.

    1. P.S.: When I say two I mean two years old.