By now, it should be well established that I am in love with the incredible amount of over-the-top drama Keiko Takemiya has managed to cram into her classic series Kaze to Ki no Uta. I love every angsty minute of every angsty page as Serge and Gilbert struggle with their unbelievably traumatic pasts, the homophobic and racist society around them, and their own self-hatred. Basically, I love that this is pretty much what being a teenager is like. Everything! Is! Life! Or! Death! (Or was that just me?)
So in the spirit of a new look at my love for this series, I decided to live blog my reading of Book Eight. Come, see these classic pages in a new way: through my eyes! And in the spirit of classic TV sitcoms, this live blog was prerecorded in front of a live audience (mostly my sister) because I don’t actually have several hours in the middle of a work day to sit and read manga and hang out online to ramble about it. But in the spirit of actually live live blogs, I’ll be posting bits and pieces every few minutes and hanging out on Twitter, so really, it’ll be just like a non-prerecorded live blog.
And warning: As with my other posts on this series, there are spoilers in these bits and pieces. Click through if you dare!
So Book Eight begins with the boys returning to boarding school after the summer of love (and also terror because you know, it is still Kaze to Ki no Uta). Let’s see what happens to them this year!
p10 O noes! Serge and Gilbert are no longer roomies! And Serge gets into a fight over it! We’re off to a bad start. The world is trying to tear these lovers apart.
p25 Gilbert jumping on the horse into Auguste’s vortex of evil is amazeballs.
p31 Seriously. What is wrong with everyone at this school?
p45 Pascal tells Serge not to be gay and uses magnet poles as a demo. I’m not sure I buy his thinking that human sexuality is a matter of opposite poles attracting.
p50 Pascal’s sis Patricia is giving Gilbert a run for his money.
p52 Gilbert alone in a crowd! Always alone! Betrayed by Serge for a girl!
p57 But Serge is thinking about Gilbert on his date with the girl.
p66 Naturally Pat takes this chance to confide in Gilbert about her feelings for Serge.
p68 Gilbert puts on a big show of laughing off the idea that he is Serge’s bestie. He’s not fooling anyone.
p69 And now Serge alone in a crowd, another reminder of the many ways he and Gilbert are meant for each other.
p74 Sebastian is still totes in love with Serge for some reason.
p76 Serge tenderly apologizes to Gilbert and yet again I draw parallels with abusive relationship patterns.
p77-81 Gilbert in tormented inner dialogue. Angoisse! Serge has made him aware of Auguste’s true nature and now he’s run off with that girl when all Gilbert wants is to sex someone up.
p82 Shocking revelation! Auguste is engaged!!! Dum dum duuuuuuummmmm! And to a little girl! The man never fails to get grosser.
p84 Serge races off to read the letter he just happened to get that very day. The little girl marrying Auguste is his childhood sweetheart Angeline. Damn.
p86 I love how she always uses the weather to reflect character emotions. The storm around Serge and his inner turmoil are hilariously contrasted by the kid in the window yelling, “Hey Serge! Your soup’s getting cold!”
p89 Serge imagines angelic Gilbert returning to the arms of evil Auguste. Love this panel.
p92 Why are Pascal and the gang all rough lines in the last panel? They look like ghosts.
p96 Serge makes his dramatic escape to chase after Gilbert and keep him out of evil Auguste’s clutches!
p97 But before he can go after Gilbert, he must talk with Carl or their friendship will be OVER!
p98 Carl is surprisingly understanding, given his puritanical nature.
p100 Great movement in these panels. I love the shot of the horse’s legs.
p101 Serge falls asleep in the carriage and fears he has missed Gilbert, but of course like every other bit of perfect timing in this series, he just happens to come upon Gilbert at the very moment he wakes up.
p105 Big kiss! Serge takes the lead. Silence as Gilbert releases the newspaper with the news of Auguste’s engagement, the symbolic release of the hold of Auguste in his heart. Now he only has eyes for Serge!
p107 Aaw, so sweet sleeping together in the sunbeam. It all worked out for the best. Oh wait, I still have 200 pages and two more books to read.
p117 Wow. Kids are mean. One boy says to Gilbert: “Just being in the same group as you makes me want to throw up.”
p118 Gilbert interrupts Serge’s study group by throwing chocolate vine at their feet. I didn’t know there even was such a thing. Kaze, you are always teaching me!
p122 She has taken the gloves off with Auguste! And I didn’t think she was wearing any before. But the representations of him in this book are all actually demonic, and Gilbert is always an angel with him. Maybe because these images are through Serge’s eyes and he views Auguste as pure evil after the events of the last book. And you know, rightly so.
p125 Ha ha! Gilbert is actually clutching his head he is in such turmoil.
p127 This lunatic carved the mother of Jebus into a tree. To pray to.
p130 The lunatic is kicking up shit between Serge and Gilbert. He tells Gilbert the truth about Auguste’s marriage and Gilbert’s world crumbles as he realizes Serge lied to him.
p135 It’s on! Gilbert throws a book at Serge, hits him in the head!
p137 But Serge doesn’t think he was lying. He really believes the marriage won’t happen. He’s so deluded. Of course it will. It is guaranteed to make Serge and Gilbert unhappy, so therefore it has to happen. I think Takemiya used that as her motto writing this series.
p139 Disembodied evil Auguste!
p144 Dang. They are really having it out. Serge snaps when Gilbert sneers that Breau is better, and Serge realizes that Gilbert wants him to sex him. Even though Gilbert *knows* what happened to Serge (evil Auguste).
p152 Aaw. Cuddle monkeys.
p156 Jesus. Gilbert fucked Serge up pretty bad.
p159 The classic calendar pages flying away to show the days passing.
p162 And Gilbert is back to his old slutty ways.
p168 Uh oh! Serge stumbles upon a drunk-looking Breau in the greenhouse.
p169 And Gilbert is hiding and watching the whole thing!
p170 Gilbert casually tosses his hair and invites Serge to hang out. So onto a horse they get! That is how they did back then.
p172 And in the secluded abandoned building, Serge makes his move!
p174 That passionate kiss is not bringing them back together, though. They both have troubled faces as the chapter ends.
New chapter starts with a bang! After telling Gilbert how beautiful he is and how he can’t stand seeing Gilbert with all those boys, Serge confesses his own love for Gilbert!
p179 If Takemiya was ever subtle, she has thrown all that out the window now. Gilbert responds to Serge’s confession with “……it’s a sin.” Oh these star-crossed lovers!
p180 And then it’s five pages of them getting it on!
p190 And then Serge gets back to being Serge, and fusses about them missing dinner. Sure, life-changing sexual/emotional experience, but what about supper!!
p197 Gilbert is a changed man! As proven by the fact that he actually smiled at Long Hair. (The lunatic from before. What is this guy’s name again? Rosemarine’s friend.)
p198 And then a great montage of Gilbert having his shit together at school. All he needed was for Serge to do him. Aaw.
p203 New boyfriend syndrome steals Serge from his friends and they are not happy about it. And in panel four, Carl appears to be wrestling an alligator.
p207 Hm, I don’t think the word “scat” was around back in the days of the frilly shirts.
p208 Ooh, Gilbert becomes Serge’s muse!
p210 What the hell is this fire horse thing?
p211 But you knew their idyllic times had to end. Shadowy (literally!) doings afoot! Looks like Auguste is not done in the battle for Gilbert and is going through Rosemarine to have another student take over where Breau left off.
p216 And while Serge is being fêted by his teacher for writing his first song, Gilbert is getting stoned (in the Biblical sense. So far no drugs in this story. Just lots of sex and drinking) in the woods by Breau’s would-be successor. This guy’s way meaner than Breau.
p218 Wow. This is really sinister and dark. The new evil threatens to take out Serge’s eyes with his slingshot if Gilbert doesn’t sex him whenever he wants. I have to say again the drama just never stops with Takemiya.
p223 Gilbert tries to make out like getting raped by evil dudes is just him back to his old ways. Serge: “You betrayed me!” The shadows on his face here are perfect.
p225 Noodly philosophical interjection from the ghost of Serge’s dad.
p236 Serge reconnects with his friends by hammering some stuff together. And throwing nails at them. These kids have weird hobbies.
p237 Meanwhile, Gilbert is in a dark place both literally and figuratively. Driving off Serge is not enough for evil dude (whose name is Adam we finally learn). Turns out Adam’s orders are to do whatever he wants to Gilbert so that Gilbert wants to go home, i.e. back to Auguste, that sick bastard. And what Adam wants is to be really, really mean.
p239 Seriously. There are some dark scenes in this book.
p244 Sebastian finally has the chance to win Serge’s love after so long in the shadows.
p247 But Gilbert blows it off: “Serge still loves me.” Pascal is gobsmacked. Seriously. Great face.
p248 And now I know Long Hair’s names is Jules. I’m sure we learned it before, but it’s been such a long time since we saw him that I forgot.
p249 Rosemarine pretends outrage at the things Auguste is ordering him to do. But he’s always hated Gilbert, hasn’t he?
p250 Every time anyone is sleepy or worn out, it’s “anemia”. Was this really the go-to problem or is it her own personal catchall?
p253 Serge confesses to Carl that he slept with Gilbert. Carl is so shocked he emits lightning.
p254 And is driven to drink violently. He is practically knocking himself out with that bottle.
p258 Carl overhears the baddies casually chatting about how they threatened Serge so they could ruin Gilbert. What will he do with this info?! He thinks Serge and Gilbert doing it is a sin, but Serge is his friend.
p266 Serge and Gilbert have it out about Gilbert sleeping with those guys, but Gilbert can’t tell Serge the truth.
p268 So I guess Gilbert meanly laughing coldly and telling Serge that it’s ridiculous to think he ever loved him is part of the plan to protect him from Adam? Too cruel though.
p269 O noes! Here comes evil Adam!
p272 But Serge rides safely off after telling Gilbert to never talk to him again. And tears drip down Gilbert face. Poor Gilbert. Poor Serge. They are trapped by their pasts.
p276 But time to get back to the fact that Carl knows Gilbert is with Adam to protect Serge. What to do, what to do. If he says nothing, Serge will stay all smiles like he is now.
p278 Shocking reminder: it was Carl who put Serge in Gilbert’s room in the first place! Their forbidden love is all his fault!
p280 Gilbert has turned into a total creeper, sniffing Serge’s clothes when Serge is not in their room.
p284 Long Hair (why can’t I remember his name?) rescues Gilbert naked in the forest traumatized after another afternoon with Adam.
p289 Gilbert begs Long Hair for help saying he’ll do anything, so of course Long Hair takes that as an invite to get it on.
p292 Of course, Piano Teacher sees that it is love that has caused Serge to grow like this. How does everyone understand everyone’s feelings like this when no one ever talks about feelings (except for dramatic confessions of love)? This comes right after Long Hair has taken a couple pages to ponder how Gilbert loves Serge from the bottom of his soul.
p295 Carl meets Serge on his way to get out of sharing a room with Gilbert. He has to tell him the truth! (There’s also the question of why no one seems to think they could tell a teacher or someone that Adam is a monster and a rapist. I mean, I know that principal guy or whoever was sleeping with Gilbert or something, but Watts and the piano teacher seem like good guys and the kids trust them with other stuff.)
p296 Shattered glass as Serge learns that Gilbert never betrayed him.
p298 And now Serge is outraged that he was laughing and having fun when Gilbert was suffering all this time.
p299 “If I had only believed in him!”
p300 Naturally, Serge finds Gilbert half-naked, picking flowers in a meadow.
p303 But Gilbert runs away from apologetic Serge and now the baddies have him. O noes!
p305 What really cracks me up in all this Adam drama is that he’s threatening everyone with a slingshot. I know they can be dangerous, but it’s so not menacing. This is Dennis the Menace level of menacing.
Also, it’s been awhile since anyone made a racial slur about Serge. Way to bring it, super villain Adam!
p306 Ooh, Serge gets a slinged shot right in the gut. Ow. And then they proceed to beat the crap out of him. Again, the beating by four big guys seems much more threatening than the slingshot.
p308–9 The spread here of Serge getting clobbered is laid out so well.
p312 So Gilbert being Gilbert, rather than run in and get someone to come help, he throws a rock through Watts’s window to get them to come out.
p315 Finally, someone’s talking some sense! Carl urges completely battered Serge to tell Watts the deal. And Pascal points out that if he does the relationship between Serge and Gilbert will come out, and they’ll be in super trouble. I guess that is a good reason not to say anything. It’s for love.
p317 Anemia rears its head again. Watts tries to get Serge to tell him who beat him like this, but of course, Serge keeps his mouth shut because he thinks he deserved it for not believing in Gilbert. Dang.
p320 And we end on a note that guarantees the drama will continue unabated and unashamed in the next two books. I’m betting the Adam thing gets cleared up middle of the next book to set up for the super showdown with Auguste, and the inevitable running away together of Serge and Gilbert that have to happen in Book Ten.