The time has come for chapter nine of Leo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai! As an odd numbered chapter it’s published in Rutile, even if the cover page claims it to be chapter eight. That’s an unfortunate mistake!
The chapter begins with Leo standing outside the sarakobanwhen a child approaches him. Leo asks the young boy if he’s lost, what his name is and if he’s hungry, but the child remains silent. Then the boy barges through into the koban where Mabu’s sitting at a desk. The child hands over a plate calling it a lost item and then he runs away leaving both Leo and Mabu thoroughly confused.
Leo’s trying to make sense of what just happened. The boy called the plate a lost item, lost as in it was left on the ground. Can there be a connection between this plate and the one Sara came riding in on? No, Leo’s been through a similar situation before, finding plates on the ground, and they belonged to a shop. Mabu also chimes in and wonders if the owner will ever show up?
Some time passes and we see the boy come back. Once again he runs inside the koban, leaves a plate on the desk and runs away without saying a word. And then he does it again!
Then we need to take a moment to appreciate Leo getting ready for the day, brushing his teeth and Mabu sitting at the desk reading a newspaper. How cute and domestic!
Anyway, Mabu says that the kid has been doing this everyday, long enough for him to have lost count of the number of plates they’ve received. They continue to question what’s up with all the plates. Mabu suggests a yokai’s behind them, but according to Leo it’s rather the work of a ghost.
They start arguing about which one it is. Mabu imagines a yokai that piles plates and Leo thinks it’s a ghost because there’s a Japanese ghost story that involves a spirit counting plates to find one missing (Bancho Sarayashiki). However Mabu points out that in this case the plates are increasing so doesn’t add up with the lore. While Leo has to admit that, he also points out that there’s no meaning in a yokai that piles plates. Mabu replies that it’s nonsense to try to find any meaning with yokai!
The discussions returns to whether or not the plates are related to Sara and Leo comes up with a horrible scenario: Once they receive enough plates, Sara will get spirited away! Mabu has to calm him down saying it’s just a made-up story.
The following day Leo and Mabu get a visit from the mother of the boy, who brought him there to apologize for playing a prank on them. Another simple and mundane answer to a mysterious and bizarre situation.
There are only two chapters left before the anime (hopefully) starts airing. I wonder if the story’s about to wrap up in any clear way or if we’ll get two fairly independent chapters similar to this one?