|Type:||Normal, serious stories. 30 pages.|
This is a "Blackmage Only Book" - finally! I've seen enough stories that focus on Zidane and Kuja, and Garnet and Zidane, and even Zidane and Vivi, but this is the first that concentrates just on the Black Mages. There's plenty of room for fic in that area. What happened in the Black Mage Village after the game ended? The Mages are all dead men walking, Vivi's lifespan is unknown, and there's all those Genomes running around. (I've written some short stories about this myself. They're in the main part of The Vivisection.)
The two stories here are about the ends of people's lives. The first is about Vivi and Mr. 288, both of whom now have visible faces. (So do the other Black Mages who make a cameo in one panel.) Mr. 288's health seems to be deteriorating, though he's trying not to show it. He and Vivi talk quite a lot, and Vivi seems to be keeping watch over him. At the end Mr. 288, who looks tired but cheerful, calls Vivi over to where he is sitting against a tree and gives Vivi a "gift" - his hat. He then says "Iikatta. Boku wa 'happy end' da" ("It was good. My life has a happy ending," more or less.) and passes on.
The second story is shorter, but similar to the first. Mikoto - who is now a young woman - sees Vivi in bed. His hat (actually, the one Mr. 288 gave him) is stuck on one of the bedposts. Mikoto realizes this, and gets teary eyed. Vivi asks why she's crying. He dies the same way Mr. 288 did, calmly and after saying that it was a happy ending. At the end we see Mikoto herding around a cheerful gaggle of Vivi clones - all of whom are wearing regular straw hats.
I don't like the theme of Vivi dying, but it's handled well in this doujinshi, with dignity as opposed to maudlin wallowing. Judging from Mikoto's age, Vivi at least lasted some years, even if he never grew. One thing that strikes me about this doujinshi, plot elements aside, is the way the Black Mages are portrayed visually. They have dark skin, straight dark hair, and fine features. To me, and to the people I've shown this to, they appear to be East Indian. One friend said that Mr. 288 looks like A. Mukherjee, a former coworker.
I think that Black Mages should have their hats glued to their heads. It seems that any time one takes off his hat for any purpose other than a gag, it's a sign of death. If the hat is ever given away or stuck on a bedpost, then it's definitely all over.
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