You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Friday, November 4, 2011


By the 8th volume it should come as no surprise that these kids just can't get a break. The maniacal cafeteria worker is back and taking charge. He sends Sho and his friends into the desert to dig a well -- yeah, sure. He abandons them in the pit. But they find a crack in the wall that leads them into the ruins of the Tokyo subway system. There they learn, through a convenient, ritual showing of an educational film for the mutant insect creatures who populate the underground, that Japan in the the late 20th century -- Umezu wrote these stories in the 1970's -- had so despoiled the land that women began giving birth to mutant babies, hence the insect creatures, and massive earthquakes buried their civilization. This is another lesson in eco-awareness from the country that gave us Godzilla Vs. the Smog Monster.

In a typical twist for Umezu, at the end of the installment the enormous spring of fresh water the kids discovers turns into an active volcano. Damn! Only two more installments to wind this thing up.

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