Mahoraba Notebook

Beware of Spoilers


This document is a continuation for a blog entry [link].

Communal Living

Narutakisou (the complex) is set up for what was known in Soviet Russia as "communal" living. I called it an "apparment complex", but it was a mistake. Residents do not live in appartments there, but in rooms. The kitchen and sanitation facilities are shared. So, the closest American equivalent would be a house owner taking in roomates to offset his expenses.

Such social arrangement in real life is always a source of tension. Russian model was especially bad, because the property's owner was the government. The government agent responsible did not live in the same segment. Peeing in someone's else soup was commonplace. Murder happened too. Narutakisou ostensibly survives because of the dedication of tennants and because the owner is present, but still, it's unclear just how this microcosm managed to hold itself together for 70+ years.

All in all, a strange setting for a "heartwarming" story, if we think about it. Better not.


Saki Akasaka is the biggest and deepest person of all Kozue's alts by far. For evidence, see ep.8 where Saki shows her caring side. Also, Saki played a huge part in recovery of Kozue by insisting that Shiratori told the story. This creates a significant imbalance among alts. Saki can be a whole person, the others cannot.

In Shiratori's place I would seriously consider letting her in on the secret of her identity. I think she could handle it, perhaps even better than Kozue herself. Playing her for fool is unfair to her.

I am very intrigued by Saki's destiny. Tamami wanted to destroy all alts for a good reason, but it would be a great pity if something like that happened. It would be much better if at least Saki were able to merge with Kozue.

I think and hope that it should be possible if Kozue gathers herself together in the sufficient degree. It is clear that at the bare minimum she is snooping at her surroundings when alts are in control (this is how the story and prince's appeal got to her).

Unfortunately, it seems that Shiratori is happy to sustain the status quo, despite the fact that Kozue nearly disappeared after her collapse. Obviously, the fact that he managed to save her gives him confidence in his future ability to do it again. I reckon it's very shortsighted of him.

The biggest problem with my approach would be what to do with other alts. But one way or the other, putting head in the sand is not a solution. Just imagine what is going to happen if Kozue gets ready to deliver and then transforms into Chiyuri, or worse yet, Nanako.

The Drawing Contest

At certain point, Shiratori and his fellow students draw the same thing, so the results reflect each artist's personality. I do not remember when I laughed so hard the last time, bursting into tears and straining my gut. And looking at the contest entries, it does not look like anything special.

Drawing-S Drawing-C-greenh
Drawing-B-megane Drawing-A-blond

What is so comedic about it? I think the key is, the creators worked on it by raising the level of the comedy gradually. It started well in advance, and I think I laughed for the first time when the blonde guy striked the pose and made his pronouncement (and I have to say, Kimura-sensei had way more class with his "これはこれで!"/"korewa korede!"). Entires were also presented in the order of increasing absurdity.

Plot Justification Issues

As I mentioned before, the plot is holey. However, some leaps of faith the creators requested from viewers were much bigger than others. Kozue is 16 years old at the time of the story. If her parents died years ago, just how exactly was she allowed to live on her own? I had to close my eyes firmly and say: this is not real, it's some Magical Japan of Planet Gmuu. The problem is, if you make the world too different from our own, you have to develop it and make it internally consistent. Otherwise, it cannot stand by itself.

Someday's Dreamers has the same problem, in a way. The power of government is so extraordinary in it, that I have to ask just how exactly does it not collapse into a totalitarian dictatorship?

I can imagine liberal-minded parents letting Tamami live by herself, since she is extraordinarily capable. She is, essentially, a functional adult (and more), only without official papers. By the way, given her willingness and resource, I'm sure she could forge them or buy them if she only wanted. So, we can bypass her. Kozue is a problem though.


Tachibana is the distilled power of meido in its purest form.


I did not find the idea attractive, and considered meido otaku perverts. After seeing Tachibana in action, I can understand the appeal. Alas, she is an inconsequential background character. We do not know anything about her: where she comes from, who her parents were, whom she loves or hates, nothing. I cannot understand just how the creators decided to create all the filler when they could developed on existing characters instead. And it's not as if they did not understand the concept. They gave the chance to Sayoko-san, for example. Well, Sayoko is a tennant, and Tachibana isn't, so yeah yeah yeah, I understand how it was justified officially.

The glass was the best. She's not just a robot executing orders.

Shiba's Letter

The Letter

I am always on the lookut for Japanese text, and this is a treasure. It does not seem overly complicated. And already I discover something. For example, the ending phrase spells the so very common "kiotskete". The verb is "tsukeru", and "ki" is the spirit, not the verb's stem. I had no idea.

Here's the retyped text for online lookups:



セツ ゆき
降った ふった(ふる) fall(s)
寒さ さむさ
巌? 厳しい いかめしい
監督 かんとく (film) director
今度 こんど
無名 むめい obscurity, anonymity
新人 しんじん
起用 きようAppointment, employment
ビックリしたか! Was surprised!
短編 たんぺん(tampen) short story
認める したためる write, draw up
お前 おまえ
目指す めざす aim at; spot or eye someone
返事 へんじ reply

So, it's quite simple and easy to read. But that bastard Shiba! Calling his woman "omae"?


- scale: resolves all :: resolves nothing
Haibane Renmei
Azumanga Daioh
Banner of the Stars
Mahoraba -- continues for a limited time (residents leave)
Tenchi Muyo OVA -- continues indefinitely
Fruits Basket
? Dai-Guard, Chobits, Someday's Dreamers


By all rights, Megumi Momono is not my kind of girl. She is a drunk, free-roller with no compass. I don't fall for the glasses or piano skillz. However, her affection for her man earns her a few points in my book. We do not know if she would be able to translate it into a strong real-life relationship, and realistically speaking she probably can't, but we are spared the mess in these series. And it's hard to resist her risque charm.


The initial entry doubts if Mahoraba is actually a harem at all. Jason of AOMM makes a good point about it: the harem in Mahoraba is constructed from Kozue's alts. Seen in that light, everything falls into place, including Shiratori winning over them. It's obvious in retrospect, but did not occur to me.

But if so, it's a harem where the guy gets all the girls, and not just one. Sneaky!

Kozue is crazy

(added 20061210)

A cynical look at the story is: Kozue is crazy and Shiratori gets to live with it (so, wacky hijinks ensue). A sane person would immediately seek an escape, but perverted sense of honour, youthful nearsightedness, and plain love conspire to doom him. Just is the case with communal living, having a crazy woman is not a happy lot in the real life. Mahoraba, however, takes a sunny, heartful, optimistic outlook at it.

If we talk about Kozue's condition, I see a connection with Den Beste's apocryphic interpretation of Bottle Fairy. Analogy is striking indeed, although colours do not match exactly (e.g. Kozue is blue, whereas the real girl of the fairies has no intrinsic color).

But if we establish the analogy, we can re-interpret the same premise. Den Beste's view is dark and depressing, but Mahoraba's is different. Bottle fairies will try again some day, and so applying the Mahoraba's outlook, while we don't know if they'll succeed, it is worth trying, and looking forward to.

And hopefuly they'll have someone more decisive by their side than Shiratori.


(added 2007/05/26)

I just cannot understand this.

Situation 1 has happened, but Situation 2 is somehow impossible. Why? Aren't they identical? True, the sexes of the parents are reversed, but how does that figure? In Russia, if anything, the child would've been bonded to the mother stronger than to the father. A possible difference is, Mrs. X and Mr. Kurosake might have married on their own, whereas Sayoko and Mr. Y's marriage would be arranged. But again, how does it affect things?

The Occult Lab's President

Blogger Mohammad mentions in comments: "I was actually a big fan of the occult club president because she was the only one who can win against her [Tamami]". It's very strange, but he's right. Not only The President looked very strong in the big battle, but also she grabbed Tamami by her tresses... and got away with it.

Don't know what to make out of it, but a curious bit of trivia.