Ah, the Rockstown’s Arc. The part of the story that takes Candy to an inconspicuous, sleepy, little town, somewhere in the Midwest, as one of the most gripping storylines in the manga unravels. It sets both Albertfans and Terryfans with hopeful expectations but ends up leaving them completely bereft, gaping in a state of bewilderment. Wondering. How will it all end?
I’ve lost count on how many times I re-read the Rockstown’s chapter; I remember I had done quite a thorough analysis when I was writing Ninety Days. Though I must say in those instances my perception had pretty much remained the same. In the most recent round of reading, however, I found myself flooded with different feels as I discovered ‘new’ things, which made the experience rather umm…. tempestuous.
To put it simply, here’s how I describe the chapter:
Candy constantly pines, Terry finally grows up, and Albert stops being the Wise One for once.
Eh? Uhm… What??!!!
No really. That’s the gist of the Rockstown’s Arc. And you’ll see why soon.
Regardless of their OTP preference, reading this particular storyline, most readers will reach the conclusion: it’s the end of Candy and Terry. True. The arc provides complete closure between them, in such an unambiguous, clear-cut, semi-tragic way that it banishes any chance for a possible reunion. It’s the final nail in the coffin.
Aside from that, astute readers will also notice that the narrative reveals Candy’s true feelings, something that have been kept neutral and vague for the most part (while the majority of the readers can readily perceive Albert’s burgeoning (somewhat non fraternal) feelings toward Candy from his words and gestures). It clearly shows not only that Candy has moved on from Terry but also the change in Candy’s feeling, as she realizes, once more, that love ends and begins again, just as it happened with Anthony, and then Terry, and finally now it’s happening again with Albert.
General readers will stop here and move on to the next chapter, or to other things, to real life. BUT…
There’s a small group of self-proclaimed seasoned readers like me, who stubbornly refuse to put the book down, relentlessly fishing for clues and subtexts, probing deeper and reading between the lines, scrutinizing and analyzing every nuanced details. Oh admit it. You’re probably one too if you’re reading this post 😉
Before I continue, I do want to remind you that I don’t like to sugar coat things and prefer to say them as they are. And I tend to analyze from all the possible angles, which may evolve into a radical inference that’s not easily accepted. Because of this I won’t be surprised if you find yourself in disagreement with me. That’s fine. We all have our own preferences and ways of thinking and thus can all have differing opinions.
Nevertheless, the translations I did in this post were based on the original Japanese texts of the manga. I tried to preserve the meaning and tone to the best of my ability, presenting them in such a way so that they don’t read awkward in English. And in no way did I make any attempt to tamper with the original story.
With the ‘disclaimer’ part out of the way, you’re free to proceed…