Behind the Scenes!! Volume 6

When I talked about the previous volume in this series, which came out last year, I was about ready for it to end. (Volume 7, the last, is due out later this year.) I enjoyed Behind the Scenes!! volume 6 more than I did volume 5, but I think the length is about right, with no need to extend further.

One thing that helped was re-reading 5 before diving into 6. Although I couldn’t tell you the detailed differences between the characters, spending more time with them gave me more hooks into distinguishing the cast and a fighting chance in keeping up with their motivations.

And that’s a big help, because the series has moved away from supporting film productions with makeup, special effects, and sets. The chapters now have a passing connection to some kind of crafting, at best. For example, in the first two-part story, the team is putting together a Christmas puppet show for kids, but it’s more about relationships than how to make something.

Ranmaru, the original “new guy” in the group, is now firmly part of the team. He’s got a crush on Ruka, who is interested in Goda, the genius leader. Meanwhile, Ranmaru’s cousin, the intense high schooler Soh, is coping with her feelings for spacy Izumi. At least Ranmaru and Soh can bond over their crushes, neither of whom are exactly attainable. Izumi has amnesia in his background, while Ruka has to return to her family’s control after she graduates, which includes an arranged marriage.

The message of this volume, as carried by these couples, then becomes one of acceptance. “I can’t do anything about it,” is what they tell themselves when faced with unpleasant situations. They enjoy what they can about their lives while refusing to beat themselves up over what they can’t change. Yet there’s hope for stories to work out differently, represented by a crazy ending to a classic fable.

Behind the Scenes!! Volume 6

There is some movie-related content, as a new film club member is insanely demanding in an attempt to make up for his lack of leadership as a director. That leads into a previously unrevealed part of Goda’s past, looking back in order to move forward.

The art is lightly sketchy at times, making the book require attention to follow exactly which character is saying what. I can tell the girls apart, because there’s the high schooler with long dark hair, the princess with long light hair, and the zombie makeup fiend with short hair, but beyond the leader of the group, the other three guys sometimes confuse me.

Just as a passing subject, many of the group members like horror films, and they talk about the appeal of the genre. Since I hate it, I found this insight particularly informative, giving me a new perspective on what others may find in these kinds of movies. Says one, “Fear and beauty are intertwined! Horror has aesthetics, imagination, and fetishism!”

(This was followed by author Bisco Hatori putting in a sidebar her interest in “old masterpiece” movies, which turned out to include Silence of the Lambs and Psycho. Old movies to me are 30-40 years older than that. But this book is less and less about those craft skills, anyway.)

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