If anyone asks me what my favorite manga is, I automatically respond "Please Save My Earth" even though I'm less excited about it now than I am for, say, Akatsuki no Yona. And yes, I did translate the whole sequel and there were parts of it I loved, but I gradually lost a lot of interest in it because I feel like the story has strayed so much, and beat some things like a dead horse which I think were perfectly fine--and potent--left just as the way they are in the original.
If there's one thing I had, it's a sappy, overly drawn-out ending. If there's one I thing I hate more, it's sequels that suck all the meaning out of something that already had a perfectly good ending. That's exactly what Boku-Tsuki (the sequel) did to Boku-Chikyuu (the original) in a lot of ways, but I stuck with it, considering it a seperate work in some ways because Hiwatari's style--in both story and art, especially art--has changed so much.
But then she suddenly decided to conclude Boku-Tsuki and start Boku-Uta, the third series in the PSME series. Or rather, a sequel to the sequel which started serialization almost immediately after the previous sequel ended, and which showed no dramatic shift in style (only, as far as I expected, a few shifts in story about a 4-year time skip, but still the main character and worrisomely meandering story approach).
"Great," I thought sarcastically, after having been relieved to see Boku-Tsuki come to a conclusion after it squeezed whatever emotion it could out of what was left potent in the original. "Now we get a few extra years distance to go back and be nostalgic all over again." Now that I've typed this sentence, I see that was bugged me about the last arc of Boku-Tsuki was that, with a few notable exceptions, it didn't progress or go forward with the original plot elements introduced in Boku-Tsuki which made it a unique work. Instead, it was revisiting and revisiting and revisiting things that should have been left in the original. A big theme in PSME is "nostalgia," a sense of longing for that which one can no longer reach, like people we knew in the distant past. What Boku-Tsuki did by bringing in long-gone characters was take away the sense of longing, and making the nostalgia theme all but hollow.
I wasn't excited about Boku-Chikyuu. I took a peak at a chapter several months ago while I was in a bookstore with open monthly magazines, and at first glance it looked once again like it was relying on old drama and plugging in some mysterious, new and important character. She seemed to know too much about the "secret" past of the original cast, so my first instinct was to hate her for being some "new" character from "the past" (even though they're getting further and further from their past now--it's been almost 37 years since they were first reincarnated). But today I saw the first volume at the bookstore with a special fanbook attached, and I figured, "eh, why not, I'm so loyal that I want to add everything to my PSME collection anyway" and bought it.
I feel like I'm meeting old friends. ^___^ (Plus, Arina Tanemura apparently is a huge fan (like so many other of my old favorite mangaka are too) and drew some adoooooorable fanart in the fanbook, eeeeeeeeee, now THAT feels nostalgic on two levels.)
It's already taking some new, refreshing approaches. The disconcord between Ren and Kachiko as they grow up, and the earthly (?) origins of the mysterious girl, which actually fits along elements introduced in Boku-Tsuki and played a big role in them, and a new set of powers for Ren. Yeah, sure, I'm skeptical about how some of these plot items will work out (oh please, PLEASE don't have any special meaning for that stupid outfit Henruka wears), but if there's one thing about Hiwatari's work is that so long as you're willing to suspend some disbelief, she'll give you a complicate plot with intricacies you are unlike to encounter elsewhere, with a very multidimensional cast. I already feel myself wanting to give the mysterious Henruka a chance.
And Ren! He's growing up to be more Alice-like than Rin-clone (as we saw in the hints in the Boku-Tsuki concluding arc), and I really like these new challenges he's facing. He's in a not outright bad, but believably lonely situation, and he's handling it as maturely as he can and I'm so proud of him.
Also happy to see Jinpachi and Daisuke having AGENCY again. XD They got so pushed aside in Boku-Tsuki, I missed them! Myself of 10 years ago could never imagine me saying this, but I WANT MORE HARUHIKO!!!
But anyway. I'm happy. And they put a trivia quiz at the end of the volume which I scored high on (but frustratingly not as high as I hoped XD) and which made me laugh.
Yeah, Hana to Yume, you keep milking PSME for all it's worth, but fine. I will keep following and collecting, as the original means that much to me. <3