REO TO MABU: FUTARI WA SARAZANMAI – CHAPTER 11

We’ve reached the last chapter of Reo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai! This month it’s published in Rutile, although the tankobon was published on the same day so I got it instead (yay for saving space and money). In reality, however I’m checking out the e-book version because it’s easier. 

It’s been a long ride (almost an entire year!) so it’s both sad and rewarding to see it come to an end. Please enjoy the conclusion of the series!

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The cover for chapter eleven is baby Sara looking cute as ever!

The chapter begins where we were left off last time with a grown up version of Sara appearing in front of Reo and Mabu.

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Reo and Mabu are panicking. This person is Sara? Their Sara? Mabu checks the baby bed Sara was lying on and sees that it’s empty. What’s going on? Where is she and what happened to her?

Reo asks grown up Sara if she’s the one who was riding the plate which she confirms. Did several months and years pass for her? Why can’t Reo remember what she was like graduating from kindergarten, during sports day or during the school entrance and graduation ceremony? Mabu imagines what she looked like growing up and collapses while muttering “dad” and “Sara”. He broke down.

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Sara’s starting to feel awkward so Reo apologizes to her and asks her to come inside. Then he commands Mabu to get inside as well. They’ll think about it all later.

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It’s a bit awkward again… Reo’s apologetic how they’ve really done it now that they can’t remember her growing up. He tells her that her dads are really sorry for it (HER DADS!!!!!). Sara says that she always wanted the three of them to be together, but that they can’t be together anymore. Mabu asks her where she’ll go to, but Sara replies that she can’t tell them. Then she thanks Reo-papa and Mabu-papa for everything up until now.

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I REPEAT, SHE THEN THANKS REO PAPA AND MABU PAPA FOR EVERYTHING!!!!!

Sara stands up and sprinkles something sparkly on Reo and Mabu. 

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After the daze the cops look at each other and proceed to ask Sara who she is. These expressions are killing me…

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Then suddenly this happens, Sara flies up or something and says goodbye.

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Next up Sara’s floating over a river. There are a couple of mysterious figures in the background.

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Reo comments on the man in glasses, isn’t that the person who visited them earlier in his pajamas? (Also, please note the crown and royal looking cape on the second figure, could it be Keppi who’s the self proclaimed ruler of the kappa kingdom?)

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Sara waves them goodbye and they wave her back. Then Sara and her company disappears in a cloud of glitter.

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On the next page we see Reo and Mabu suddenly wake up. A dream? Since when have they’ve been dreaming? Has everything that happened today been a dream? Or could they have been dreaming for even longer?

Then there’s a sound – it’s Sara who’s now lying awake between the two of them. Reo picks her up and sees that she has a runny nose. At first he’s scared she’s about to catch a cold, but then his expression changes. At least it wasn’t a dream that they got her. Mabu agrees and the manga ends with the image of the trio happy together!

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Look how cute that is!!!! The manga got a happy ending after all, even if this dream business is extremely suspect and will most likely be brought up in the anime again in a less innocent light.

As a bonus there’s still one last image of Reo and Mabu with a text from Misaki Saito thanking the readers. I love how intimate it is!

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And that was Reo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai, the spin-off manga to Kunihiko Ikuhara’s new original anime Sarazanmai. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! I’ve certainly loved getting the manga each month and writing these summaries for it, sharing it with others so that everyone else can fall in love with it too. I could definitely do something similar in the future as well with some other series.

Next you can look forward to an actual scanlation of Reo to Mabu that we are working on right now!!

Thank you for reading!

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Asakusa in Reo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai

Sarazanmai and its spin-off manga Reo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai both take place in Asakusa, a district in the Taito special ward in Tokyo, Japan. Asakusa is located in the North-Eastern parts of central Tokyo, next to the Sumida River which separates it from the Sumida special ward in the East.

Asakusa is most famous for the Senso-ji Buddhist temple and for being a former entertainment district (Shinjuku took over after WWII). It’s the home of many restaurants and kitchen & food related establishments and has a more traditional Japanese atmosphere than the rest of Tokyo.

Sumida is most famous for Tokyo Sky Tree and Asahi Beer Tower. Tokyo Sky Tree is a broadcast, restaurant, and observation tower. With a height of 634 meters it’s the tallest tower (and second tallest structure) in the world. Asahi Beer Hall is one of the buildings of the Asahi Breweries headquarters. It’s famous for the huge golden structure at the top which is meant to resemble a flame, but is often jokingly referred to as a turd.

Here’s a map of Asakusa and Sumida with a focus on the temple area. I’ve marked the most notable locations that we can spot in the promotional material and manga.

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Identified locations in the manga

The first panel in the first chapter of the manga features a view that’s easy to recognize thanks to the giant chef’s head on the top of the building.

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The building in question is Niimi Yoshokkiten (Niimi Western-style Tableware Shop), a kitchen tool department store. It’s located at the south of Kappabashi Dogu Gai (Kappabashi Kitchenware Town); a 800 meter long shopping street with over 170 shops specializing in kitchen & tableware.

This is also the location for Reo and Mabu’s Sarakoban, the “plate/dish” neighbourhood police station that they work at. In real life the station is located on the street across the chef’s head (under the teacups, white building with blue details), but here it looks like Reo and Mabu are standing in front of their koban right under the head.

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Exterior shots of the koban, like this one from chapter nine compared to google street view images confirms the placement for it. I’m not sure if it’s simply an artistic choice or if something required the change (laws, regulations, the fact that it’s a sarakoban and not a regular koban).

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Here’s another panoramic view of the area from chapter seven.

We see Reo and Mabu visit Kappabashi street in chapter three, when they take part in a summer festival lottery and win a scrubbing sponge. Unfortunately the manga doesn’t show us any locations that I’m able to recognize or look up, only a couple generic looking storefronts.

In chapter two Reo and Mabu go look for Sara’s parents around the temple area and we’re shown the famous Kaminarimon Gate, Nakamise-dori Street and the Main Hall of the Senso-ji Temple.

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The Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) is the first of the two entrance gates to the Senso-ji Temple. Its main features are the large red paper lantern, a statue of the God of Thunder on the left and the God of Wind on the right.

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Following Kaminarimon is Nakamise-dori (Nakamise Street) which leads up to the second gate and the temple. Nakamise-dori is 250 meters long with around 90 shops on either side selling snacks and souvenirs.

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Reo and Mabu visit Nakamise-dori several times throughout the manga. It’s depicted again in chapter four when Mabu is on the search for Ningyou-yaki(Baked Doll) cakes and in chapter eight when Mabu was visiting the temple before encountering another handbag thief.

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The Senso-ji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple. It’s the oldest and most famous temple in Tokyo, built around the year 600. It’s dedicated to Kannon.

Apart from chapter two we see the Main Hall in chapter eight when Mabu visits it to pray for good health and being able to keep Sara.

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In chapter eight we also get to see the second entrance gate, the HozomonGate, viewed from the Main Hall. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture from the right angle, but you can still easily see and recognize the different structures, like the tree large lanterns and the two waraji (straw rope) sandals on either side of it that are there to provide healthy feet and safe travels for the visitors.

Chapter six takes place entirely at the Azuma Bridge, crossing the Sumida River. The river passes through several wards and has a total of 26 bridges crossing over it. The two we are shown the most are the red Azuma Bridge and the blue Komagata Bridge.

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This photo is taken in Asakusa, by the Azuma Bridge looking over at Tokyo Sky Tree and Asahi Beer Tower

Azuma Bridge is iconic for Asakuza. It was originally built in 1774, but has been rebuilt several times over the years with the current one being from 1931. The red colour matches that of the Senso-ji Temple. It’s a popular spot for photos thanks to the great view of Tokyo Sky Tree and Asahi Beer Hall, as well as to the nearby park where cherry blossom trees bloom during spring. There’s a boat stop right next to the bridge which is popular among tourists.

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Here’s Komagata Bridge viewed from Azuma Bridge. Komagata Bridge was built in 1927 to replace a ferry and it’s another popular spot for photos.

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In chapter seven Reo visits the Taito City Office. It’s located about 800 meters west from the Sarakoban (and did not fit not on the first map). If you live in Japan you have to visit your local City Office to register various “life updates”, such as every time you move, when you get married, have children etc.

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Here you can see where the City Office/Hall is located and refresh your memory of where some of the other major locations are.

Huge thanks to @leafpool121 for letting me use their photos. I’ve also used my own and had to turn to google for a few. Asakusa is a nice neighborhood, although it’s very busy with tourists and other visitors, it’s worth a visit if you ever get the chance to go to Tokyo. Especially now that you can follow the footsteps of Reo and Mabu!

What’s going on and how will Leo to Mabu continue?

I’m trying to guess and imagine what the next chapter will be like, but I see so many possibilities it’s difficult to follow one path to the end.

To begin with I’m super happy Sara’s there to say goodbye to Leo and Mabu. Actual goodbyes are so important. I’m also glad they’re not aggressively forced to part ways, at least not seemingly so.

However there still seems to be someone or something forcing Sara to leave. She might have some kappa-related responsibilities to attend to, assuming she is a kappa-like life form. Maybe she was never supposed to stay with them for any longer than this. I can see a lot of rules and restrictions involving the magic that made her a baby, made her grow up, made her human. Very typical fairy tale stuff of being able to do x thing for y amount of time when z conditions apply.

I wonder if she was an actual baby that needed care and time to grow up, if it’s something typical for her species(?) or if that just happened because she transformed into a human for the first time. I wonder if the whole thing was some sort of experiment, like how humans would react to her, or if it could’ve had something to do with helping her powers emerge and grow? Could it have been a punishment? Or was it something she wanted to experience?

Could she be half-human half-kappa? The kappa mythology includes kappa raping and even impregnating women, maybe someone gave birth to her and abandoned her on a plate on the street, not wanting to deal with her?

I hope that she’ll be able to explain some things to Leo and Mabu and that they’re able to have an actual talk instead of her disappearing right away so that the rest of the chapter will be Leo and Mabu trying to find any traces of her.

I’m not sure at what point she grew up and sneaked out of the kouban, since Leo and Mabu were standing in front of it the whole time, but I’m also not sure if it’s super relevant. There’s also the possibility that the person who appeared in front of them is not really Sara and that the baby’s still inside, but that’s probably not the case.

I wonder how Leo and Mabu will react to her leaving? I’m sure they’ll try to stop her, or maybe they don’t really get that it’s actually her until it’s too late? Will this goodbye give them any closure, or will it leave them devastated?

I wonder what their relationship will be like in the anime, since now we know they’re all still aware of each other, unless someone manipulates their memories or something happens and they forget and lose the memories they once had.

It’s also a bit weird how she has to leave them now, but she’s still present in the anime. Are they still able to meet? When she says she has to go, does she only mean she has to leave their sarakouban and their cozy homelife and not Asakusa in general? Or maybe she’s been gone and has only recently returned. She’s already wearing her idol gear though… How does time flow for her?

I hope we’ll get a heartfelt goodbye and maybe a promise that they’ll meet again. That would be the ideal good, warm, fluffy way to end the manga. The tagline for Rutile is “Boys’ Cute and Sweet Magazine” so it can’t be too sad and cruel. In addition manga’s supposed to stand on its own as well, the ending can’t leave too many loose threads hanging or too many questions unanswered, waiting for the anime to continue the story. At least since the manga’s been published first as a spin-off story, rather than an extra later on I’d say it should work like that, someone else might disagree though. While I think it would be kinda cool to end the manga with some huge mindfuckery never to be explained or expanded on in manga format, it seems like a bad move in general.