Soul Catcher(S) 1
The Childhood Friend's Siren
Whew, first chapters are always such a doozy... anyway, I might pick this up, though translations would probably come later than my current two weeklies.
Student: I hear the concert band's doing a performance in the auditorium at 3!
Student: It's a special program for the cultural festival, too!
Meien Festival time table
Day 1 | It's on tomorrow, too!
9:30 Schoolwide Assembly
Auditorium | Gymnasium
Play | Singing contest
"Romi★Juli" | N-7 Grand Prix
(left) Amidst the thriving culture festival, a single boy is deep in thought...
Girl: According to senpai,
Girl: their music's so good it really moves your heart!
(left of girl) I'm looking forward to it!
Box: There is no "moving your heart"...
Box: As if something like that were possible.
(bottom left) New serialization #1!!
(top) Jump into an unknown world!! Open the door!! Full speed ahead into the first new serialization!!
(yellow text, right) Capturing hearts!
(yellow text, left) Stirring up souls!!
Opus 1: The Childhood Friend's Siren | A brilliant comeback from the creator of "LIGHT WING"!! | Shinkai Hideo
Lead color and 54 pages!!
(left, yellow text) Brilliantly depicting what both "music and the heart" truly mean!!
(left, black outline) Hyper-visual instrumental graffiti!!!
(bottom left) The manga continues on page 23!!
Box: "Cold-hearted", "hard-hearted", "closing your heart", "corrupted heart"
Student: There's an escape game over in Class 2-3.
Student: They're selling doujinshi at the manga club.
Box: Start reading from the 3 pages of opening color!!
Student: There's a stamp rally going on!
Box: Everyone says that "using idioms is a good way of describing things you can't see."
Box: I don't think that at all, though...
Black box: After all,
Box: I truly
Box: am able to see them like that.
Student: Whatcha doing? Weren't you going to look after the shop?
Kamine: No... I...
Oomura: Are you doing anything else?
Oomura: Aren't you headed this way?
Kamine: That's... um...
Box: I just can't deal with the class rep when his "heart" is focused on me like that...
Box: Has he already decided that anyone who's apathetic toward this must be a troublemaker...?
Box: I'd like nothing better than to get out of here quickly.
Boy: Heey, you're free after this, right, Sasai?
Boy: How about we go check out the booths together?
Box: That's a lost cause, Yamaichi.
Sasai: Sooorry. My cousin's coming today, sooo
Sasai: I've gotta show him around~
Box: Sasai's heart is completely closed off.
Box: And watching that hurt Yasuda, too.
Box: I want to get in between them and tell them how they really feel, so things will go smoothly.
Box: In the past, I'd thought I'd be able to.
Box: For starters, no one would believe that I "can see" such things,
Box: and people will snap if their true feelings are exposed.
(right) An illustration of how things would undoubtedly be.
Sasai: M...my cousin really is coming! Mind your own business!
Yasuda: What do you know... about getting hurt?!
Box: Things never go well where the heart's concerned.
Yama: You liaaar!! Sasai's supposed to be interested in me!
Box: Even though it's been half a year since I entered high school, nothing has changed.
Box: I don't involve myself with other people.
???: Just hurry up and do it!!
Girl: You're seriously useless!!
Girl: If you've got time to apologize, then move!! Did you reflect on what you did?!
Girl: I can't hear you!!
Box: Damn... I saw something unpleasant.
Box: Stop already...! If you keep piling on the pressure like that,
Box: his glass heart
Box: will break!!
Box: Being doubted is hard enough on its own, so of course something like this would be painful!!
Box: If his heart's smashed to pieces, it's bound to leave a scar!!
Girl: This is why I told you to come to practice!! You made a fool of yourself!!
Boy: Shut up!! It's all 'cause your material was boring to begin with!!
Box: Even if you harden your heart and get angry, it will cause the other party to do the same...
Box: That's what gives rise to misunderstandings!!
Box: If you leave your heart closed like that, you'll even destroy your friendship...!!
(right) And yet, I can't do a thing about it.
Box: Would I, who don't know the circumstances, settle things by stepping in?
Box: I would just be adding fuel to the fire.
Box: It was like that with my dad, too.
Box: A close friend cheated him out of his money.
Box: The man's heart was pitch-black, but even though I stopped him, dad got angry and refused to listen to me.
Box: He said "we've been close since we were children. Don't badmouth him."
Box: You just can't change people's hearts.
(left) What's the point in my being able to see these things.
Box: Viewing such revolting things without a way to change them...
Box: I can't take it anymore.
Box: I begging you, somebody gouge out my eyes...!!
Box: I have to get away... somewhere without any hearts...
Box: There probably aren't any on the rooftop...
Box: Someone's there...
Box: Putting on a solo performance?
Box: Do it somewhere else.
Box: instrument is that...?
Kamine: don't really know about that sorta thing, but
Kamine: It's got
Kamine: a good sound to it.
Box: What was that...
Box: I'm sure that just now... the sound...
Box: The guy on the other side... of this door...
Box: just what... were they doing?
Box: ...This guy...
Kamine: ...Hey, just now...
Boy: Damn! I'm going to be late!
Kamine: W-wait a second!
Boy: Sorry, I'm in a hurry!
Kamine: That sound you made... it's...
Boy: If you want to listen,
Boy: come to the auditorium.
Box: concert band, huh...
Box: Not interested...
Box: And there's tons of people here, too...
Box: So then why...
Box: did I end up coming here...
Box: It's as if I was drawn by something...
Box: A strong "something"
Box: on my heart.
Kamine: Th...the air
Kamine: is vibrating!!
Kamine: Vibrations are pulsing down to the very pit of my stomach!!
Kamine: The music is rocking the entire ro--
(Kamine): No, that's not it.
Kamine: You're kidding, right?!
Kamine: No way...!!
Kamine: Something like this!!
Kamine: It's impossible!!
Kamine: The music is...!!
Kamine: Stirring up
Kamine: people's hearts!!
Kamine: Healing wounded hearts,
Kamine: opening those that have been closed,
(Kamine): It's... it's as if this sound
(Kamine): is literally
(Kamine): reaching out!!
Kamine: It's grabbing everyone's hearts
Kamine: and affecting them directly!!
Kamine: Is this the intensity of a live performance?! ...No... this "sound" has one point of origin.
(above door heart) Welcome~
(right of shield heart) I don't need that anymore.
Kamine: These "musical hands" are actually just one... it looks like its power is being amplified to reach the entire crowd!!
Kamine: And I
Kamine: exactly who
Kamine: that "nucleus" is...!!
Box: The sound of his music
Box: grabs hold of people's hearts!!!
Girl: Tokisaka-kun! You were great today!
Girl: On that solo!
Girl: Just what you'd expect from the prodigy who performed alongside the Berlin Orchestra during junior high!
Girl: Even the pros give you rave reviews, calling your music "a natural sound which appeals to the five senses"!
Toki: Nah... I'm not really...
Girl: I can see why the band's advisor has such high expectations for you!
Girl: I'm like, totally looking forward to next year's music competition!!
(left) Kyahahahaha! She said "like, totally"!
Girl: Your performance... was super duper cool!
Girl: You're a 1st year, right?! That's amazing!!
Girl: Do you use LINE or twitter or anything like that?!
Girl: If it's alright with you, could we... exchange contact info?!
Girl: He's got even more fans now.
Girl: And please shake my hand!
(above girls) Kyaaa!
Girls: Ah! Mine too!
Toki: S-shake your hand?!
(hand sfx) Grab
Girls: Wh...what's with you, all of a sudden?! Gross!! You're awful!! Get away from him!!
(around right girl group) HISSSSSSS
(sfx everywhere else) Whisper whisper
Right arrow box: Hostile
Top arrow box: Curious
Left arrow box: Wary
Box: I didn't want to do anything because I knew it would turn out like this.
Box: I wanna get out of here...
Box: But just now... I had a feeling that I couldn't let this guy leave.
Box: Changing people's hearts... In all my 16 years, I'd thought it to be utterly impossible, but
Box: his music was able to!!
Kamine: That... sound of yours that's like a hand grabbing your heart.
Kamine: How do you do it?
Toki: A heart-grabbing... hand?! What are you talking about?!
Box: He doesn't know about it?
Box: He isn't "someone who can see them", like me...
Box: He does it unconsciously.
Box: He isn't even aware of when someone is moved by him.
Box: ...then what was that...?
Girl: Must be a real hardcore fan. He's trying to tell you that he was enraptured by your music!
Girl: There really isn't a single person unmoved by Tokisaka-kun's performance, huh?
Box: It was undeniably an incredible "sound", but
Box: Even though the public performance captured tons of hearts all at once,
Box: it didn't do the same for me.
Box: There'd been something different when I'd heard the same sound on the rooftop...
Box: Since he's unable to recognize "people who are unmoved", I'm sure that
(right, star) You can only read Shinkai Hideo-sensei's manga in Weekly Shounen Jump!!
Kamine: it's a sound that can't reach everyone...
Toki: Hey... what did you just say?!
Kamine: Ah! No, well...
Box: Oh crap, did I make him mad?!
Kamine: people have different tastes, so it's not like you can help it...
Toki: How do you know that?!
Toki: There really are people like that! Even though I want my performance to reach them, it never does!!
Toki: What made you think that?!
Toki: Did you see through the limits of my performance?!
Box: You captured the vast majority of people's hearts, you know?! There's no need to worry about it.
Kamine: I... can't see anything like that!
Box: What the heck...? There's something that's been bothering me since I saw him on the rooftop.
Kamine: Even though you can capture and move people's hearts with your music,
Kamine: your own heart
Kamine: is so troubled that it looks like
Kamine: it's going to fall apart any second.
Toki: Senpai, excuse me. I'm going to leave early.
Kamine: Kamine... Shouta.
Toki: I'm Tokisaka Hibiki.
Toki: The place I'm headed next...
Toki: How about you come with me?
Toki: I've come to visit.
(Kamine sfx) Badump
Box: This girl... She's...
Box: Her heart is...
Box: Sunk so deep into melancholy that I can't even see it.
Box: She's in utter despair.
Toki: What's the matter, Kamine? You're soaked in sweat.
Toki: This girl is Takizawa Momoko.
Toki: We're neighbors and childhood friends.
Toki: I've got another song for you today, Moko.
Box: Tokisaka's music, which captures hearts...
Box: only skims along the top of the water,
Box: and doesn't reach her at all...
Toki: Thank you... for listening.
Toki: --Moko's had a beautiful voice since she was little,
Toki: and is an incredibly good singer, too!
Toki: I play accompaniment for her songs on my sax! We have a lot of fun~
Kamine: Why play sax instead of singing?
Toki: That's because!! The sax is an instrument that
Toki: needs breath to make music, just like a person's voice!!
Toki: A wind instrument's pitch, tone and tune completely vary depending on the player.
(note: both brass and woodwinds are categorized as "wind instruments")
Toki: They're instruments that "create sound" when you blow the "breath of life" into them!
Toki: In particular, the saxophone created by Adolphe Sax releases a sound that combines brass, woodwinds, strings and the human voice!!
Toki: A gathering of 50-100 wind instruments performing together is what makes a concert band!!
Toki: And the sax serves to unify all those tones!!
Toki: Awesome, isn't it?!
Toki: I think that's why it moves people!!
Toki: Moko worked hard on her goal to be a vocalist, so
Toki: I figured I'd set an example as her elder and did the same.
Toki: I worked to become good enough to stand on equal ground with her beautiful voice...
Toki: ...and yet
Toki: One day, her voice
Toki: suddenly wouldn't come out.
Toki: Whether it was due to overuse or stress... even though she had surgery and continued rehab,
Toki: her voice didn't return at all.
Toki: The agony of being unable to sing.
Toki: The heartbreak of an unachievable dream.
Toki: The anxiety of not knowing whether her old, beautiful voice would ever return
Toki: disheartened her so much that she lost the will to "try and fix it."
Toki: Both she and the doctors had no interest in curing her, so there wasn't anything that could be done... that's why I thought that I'd save Moko with my performance.
Toki: I've become more skilled for her sake, so she'll come to "want to sing alongside my sax"...
Toki: But no matter how good I get,
Toki: even though my performances move hundreds of thousands of people,
Toki: there's no meaning in a sound that can't reach the one person
Toki: I want it to reach most!!!
Box: This... is the anguish that's tearing Tokisaka's heart apart...!!
Toki: I just... can't take it anymore.
Toki: I'd already decided... if today was a failure,
Toki: then I would give up both music and the sax.
Toki: ...Everyone around makes a fuss over me, but you were the first to say I was "troubled."
Toki: Did it look like I was churning my wheels and getting nowhere?
Box: Nothing good comes of getting involved in matters of the heart...
Box: They're far too heavy.
Box: I've only escaped to avoid seeing things like this.
Box: That's what I've always done... it was all I could ever do, because
Box: I was utterly powerless!!
Box: But even so...
Box: This is
Box: the only time
(Kamine): I can't just
(Kamine): run away.
Kamine: Don't quit, Tokisaka.
Kamine: I'll be troubled if you do.
Toki: Why would...? This has nothing to do with you.
Kamine: That girl
Kamine: is just like me.
Kamine: With no meaning in her life,
Kamine: she's sinking to the bottom of a deep, dark sea of despair.
Kamine: Still, as if clinging to the final bastion of hope left,
Kamine: she's calling for your music to save her.
Toki: What do you know about Moko!!
Toki: How am I supposed to save her when I don't even understand people's feelings!!
Toki: Don't talk crazy!!
Box: That's a natural reaction.
Box: If the state of their heart is revealed, people snap... but
Kamine: Your music captures people's hearts anyway!!
Kamine: That's why I said it!!!
Kamine: Being moved by your music
Kamine: and seeing your music change people's hearts...
Kamine: It was the first time in my life that I'd thought
Kamine: "If I can see something like this,
Kamine: then maybe there was some point in my having been born
Kamine: with such incredibly worthless eyes"...!!
Kamine: If I, who can see that girl's one and only SOS, just walk away
Kamine: and you throw away your music,
Kamine: her heart will remain at the bottom of the sea for her entire life!!
Kamine: And your heart will remain torn apart like this for all of yours!!
Kamine: And then I'll...
Kamine: lose all meaning again...!!
(Toki): ...What is he even saying? Stuff about heart conditions... and eyes and the sea... I don't understand any of it...
(Toki): ...But he could tell that I was troubled when no one else could, even though we'd only just met...
Kamine: Just once more would be enough.
Kamine: Won't you play your sax in front of her tomorrow?
Kamine: I can't change things, but...
Kamine: This is the first time in my life I've ever said something like this, too:
Kamine: I want to at least face that girl's heart without looking away.
(Toki): If... this guy...
(Toki): can discern something about Moko's condition, then...
Box: I said something like that yesterday, but
Box: looking at her heart is really tough...
Toki: this is the score for the piece I'll be playing today.
Toki: It's a song we always performed together in our sessions, so...
Kamine: I can't read sheet music, so just keep it.
Kamine: I don't know the song, either...
Toki: Ah... I see.
(Toki): I'd thought it was possible yesterday, but
(Toki): I just really can't believe it after all.
(Toki): Being able to "see" the heart...
Box: He's capturing all the hearts around us, and yet
Box: he's not reaching that girl's heart at all.
Box: His music can't reach the depths of her heart.
Box: Strangely enough,
Box: it isn't reaching mine, either.
Box: It's the same as during the culture festival...
Box: If she had come to the culture festival, the music probably wouldn't have captured her heart, either...
Box: Then why did... what I heard on the rooftop have such an effect on me...?
Box: Why was he playing on the rooftop in the first place...?
Box: That's not relevant! I've gotta keep a close eye on her heart!
Box: There goes my habit of immediately running away again.
Box: Hold on.
Box: Running away?
(Kamine): I have to get away... somewhere without any hearts...
(Kamine): There probably aren't any... on the rooftop...
(Girl): I can see why the band's advisor has such high expectations for you!
(Toki): I'd set an example as her elder...
(Toki): I worked to become good enough...
Box: ...Could that
Box: be the difference?
Kamine: keep playing, but listen for a sec.
Kamine: Your sound right now... seems like it's kinda waving back and forth...
Kamine: it was the same during the culture festival, too.
Kamine: But the sound I heard on the rooftop was the only one that was... straightforward is probably the best way to put it.
Kamine: Are you doing something differently?
(Toki): Waving, straightforward... what the heck are you talking about!
(Toki): Whenever and wherever, I always play it the same...
Moko: Say, you're thinking about unnecessary things, aren't you?
Moko: You're treating me like a kid and worrying too much!
Moko: I hate music like that that's clouded over with distractions!!
Moko: Don't think about anything else, just play it straight-out!
Moko: That's the kind of sound I like best.
(Toki): ...I hadn't realized it at all... the faculty advisor's expectations and my thinking about Moko... were only piling on the pressure?!
(Toki): I definitely... went to the rooftop, where there weren't any people,
(Toki): because I'd wanted to let my mind go blank...
(Toki): With "wind instruments", the difference in emotion is clear, but...
(Toki): For a complete amateur to have noticed that... haha.
sfx bubble: Thump
Kamine: You've got it, Tokisaka...!!
Kamine: Don't think, just play!!
Kamine: Pierce straight through,
Kamine: into the depths!!
Box: It worked!!
(Toki): Moko is
(Toki): It's just as he said...
(Toki): Can he really see them?!
(Toki): ...People's hearts!!
Kamine: It's not over yet, Tokisaka!!
Kamine: Don't slack off now!!
Kamine: A rocky mountain frozen over with ice has appeared!! We must have sunk down to the very bottom of the sea!!
Kamine: The sadness that's been hidden all this time has only come to the surface!!
Kamine: Next, start up a fire!!
Kamine: Melt the ice!!
(Toki): Even though I'm performing, telling me to start a fire... am I supposed to improvise?!
(Toki) --No, wait!?
(Toki): Could he mean "con passione",
(Toki): telling me to play the bridge "with emotion"?!!
(Toki): Is it
(Toki): possible that he...
Box: This is Tokisaka's music... amazing!!
Kamine: But be careful. That... wasn't a rocky mountain at all!
Kamine: It's a mountain of rubble from a sunken ship!! Her heart is probably underneath it!!
Kamine: You have to remove it "carefully, one bit at a time" or it'll collapse and crush her heart!!
(Toki): What's going on?! How does he know
(Toki): that I'm bad at the refrain and tend to play it sloppily!!
Kamine: Not there!! Higher than that!! From above!!
(Toki): Even so, what he's saying is so confusing that it's impossible to tell what he means!!
(Toki): But there's improvement!!
(Toki): This song is one I've performed with Moko countless times!!
(Toki): Moreover, Kamine can't read sheet music!!
(Toki): And yet, when I play according to Kamine's instructions, the performance gradually improves!!
(Toki): He perceives everything flawlessly, from the player's mentality to the song's composition!!
(Toki): It's just as if...
(Toki): Forgive me, Moko... I'm going to save you, but thanks to Kamine,
(Toki): I've remembered something important!
(Toki): This is
(Toki): the sound of my music!!
(Toki): I've gotten it back!! I'll never lose it again!!
(Toki): So please, come back to us...!!
(Toki): What... this is...
(Toki): an orchestra?!
(Toki): I can see it as clear as day!!
(Toki): A vision of the future!!
(Toki): A future where I
(Toki): play a sax solo on a world stage!!
(Toki): Kamine, I want you to see this, too.
(Toki): I can even see
(Toki): your future clearly.
Box: The sea!! It's returning to the way it was before!! She's going to sink beneath it again!!
Kamine: This is the final stretch, Tokisakaaa!! Use... your music!!
Kamine: Her heart!!
Kamine: And pull her back out!!!
(Toki): My music?! You're wrong!!
(Toki): The one who has brought me to this point
(Toki): is you!!!
(Toki): This is our
sfx bubble: Gasp
sfx bubble: Gasp
(Toki): The song's over... I was so engrossed in it that I hadn't even noticed.
(Toki): What about Moko...!
Toki: Moko...?! Your...
Toki: voice... came back.
Moko: I'm... gonna work hard...
Moko: I really do...
Moko: want to sing after all...!!
Toki: You found your voice.
Toki: It's... going to be alright.
Toki: Moko's working hard at rehab!
Toki: She's doing really well.
Kamine: That's good.
Toki: Reaching Moko's heart through music was impossible by myself.
Toki: It's all thanks to your "eyes"!
Toki: Why don't you
Toki: do concert band with me?
Toki: I don't know who is moved by my music.
Toki: You can become my "eyes"!! I want you to discover people my music can't reach and guide me!!
Toki: I'm certain that you
Toki: were born with those "eyes" to enable this sound
Toki: to reach everyone's hearts, and to make music!!!
Box: Music...? People's hearts... me...?
Box: ...It would be inconsiderate to ever tell him this, but...
Box: ...why... was it that...
Box: Tokisaka was working so desperately for that girl's sake... and yet, I...
Box: was practically
Box: shaking with joy...!!
Kamine: ...Your music was what captured people's hearts.
Kamine: All I did was give you the details of their hearts' status,
Kamine: so it's not like I'm really needed.
Toki: It was probably around a month ago.
Toki: The west Kanto "concert band competition" was held... and I went out for it.
Toki: If we won a gold prize and placed high enough, we could go on to the regional competition.
Toki: I'd already been thinking about giving up music, so
Toki: Considering it the end of my career, I went in there and gave it my all.
Toki: We ended up with a "useless gold."
Toki: Even though we were among those who were awarded a gold prize, we weren't able to break into the top spots
The 19th West Kanto Concert Band Competition
[High School Division, Class A] Ranking Results
(table, top row): Award | Group Name | Prefecture
(table, row 1): (Rep) Gold | Tenrai Private High School | Gunma
(table, row 2): (Rep) Gold | Nanshin Private High School | Saita
(table, row 3): (Rep) Gold | Shichien Municipal High School | Niiga
(table, row 4): Gold | Meien Prefectural High School | Gunma
(table, row 5): Silver | Hakoyama Municipal High School | Yamanashi
Toki: and couldn't go to the regional competition.*
(below panel) ※ Since the number of representatives is pre-determined, there are cases where bands don't go onto the next level of competition despite receiving a gold prize.
Toki: ...Over the past few years...our band has always gotten a "useless gold"...
Toki: It's as if there's some sort of giant wall holding everyone back...
Toki: Exactly like how my worrying about Moko made me lose sight of my own music...!!
Toki: I can't do this on my own...! We need you!
Toki: What if the other band members also have things hidden in their hearts stopping them from giving their all!
Toki: What if they're experiencing the same thing that happened to me!
Toki: You'll become the concert band's savior!!
Toki: I'll capture people's hearts through my performance!!
Toki: Please direct the course of my music... and!
Toki: Become the conductor who will...
Toki: lead us as a unified concert band!!
(left) The "opening" note rings out!!
If we won a gold prize and placed high enough / a useless gold - This took a bit of digging around (David Hebert's book Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools was incredibly helpful in that regard), but the music competition referenced divides the final scores into three groups using gold, silver and bronze as rankings. Evidently, groups also receive a placement within said gold/silver/bronze rankings. Only bands that receive a gold prize can go onto the next level of competition (the regionals), and there are only a certain number of regional spots available. In this case, that means only the top 3 bands in the gold ranking. The "useless gold" (ダメ金, dame-kin) refers to a band that wins a gold prize but doesn't place high enough within the gold winners to go onto the regionals.
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