Year 2199, Japan.
A city inhabited by people, and a wall separating it from a land that could never be recognized as a country: the “other side of the wall”. Living there was a 17-year-old girl, Matsuri, passing the days in the landscape buried by trash, searching for her father who had abandoned her.
On yet another of those days, she finds a man buried in a trash pile near the wall. The man, calling himself “Aizen”, barrages her with questions regarding the “key”. Little would they know that this encounter would change the lives of all…
Matsuri: …Ah, it was a dream.
“Then let yourself get filthy”
As if gnawing at the iron,
We drowned in the city of rubble
Even if I were to hold my breath
my scars drenched in distrust won’t dry
No matter how many times I mop it up
I end up clawing and struggling
My dampened wounds
only ever end up bleeding out
Would even a flower in a mound of dirt
be able to bloom, I wonder?
Whose feet are those
that trample on and crush my dreams?
Even if we, knowing nothing
of the meaning of “freedom”
were to destroy it and meet
what we lack is a precious fatal wound to us
“Then let yourself get filthy”
As if gnawing at the iron,
We drowned in the city of rubble
Matsuri: Too expensive!
Matsuri: Last month the price of that bag would have gotten me three boxes of potatoes. Have you been trying to pull one over me lately?
Man: I mean, I get where you’re coming from, but I’ve been going through a lot these days…
Man: There’s been a lot more people at the river now, and there’s never enough stuff for all of us…
Matsuri: Fine, then take whatever you like and gimme three of the potatoes and lemme have some sugar as a bonus.
Man: Sugar, eh?
Man: Well, I could get you some beans…
Matsuri: You should know by now I hate vegetables.
Man: Ah, you always have a lot of stuff1, it’s always a huge help. They’re all just kids, but they’ll be real happy.
Matsuri: If it’s stuff you want, you could just go get it from the wall yourself.
Matsuri: You could get as much of this trash as you like.
Man: You can’t just up and go there every time you happen to feel like treasure hunting.
Man: We all value our own lives a bit too much for that, you know.
Matsuri: …And that’s why nobody ever does anything.
Boy 1: Nooooooo!
Boy 1: I don’t wanna go!
Boy 2: Come on, let go of that!
Boy 2: They just fixed that last week! You’re gonna make it fall!
Boy 1: Noooooooooooooo!!
Boy 2: Ow!
Matsuri: What’re you making him cry about?
Boy 2: Matsuri! Look, see…
Boy 2: We’re supposed to be on wall duty, right? But he’s being all, like…
Boy 1: I-I heard about it…yesterday…
Boy 1: Three days ago, the slums at the north gate were attacked…
Boy 1: They said it was by them2…
Boy 1: A-And that was three days ago, right? So by now they’re probably already here…
Boy 1: If they catch us while we’re on our way to the wall…
Matsuri: So you’re planning on ditching, even with them here?
Boy 1: …!
Matsuri: You’re planning on waiting around until they just decide to go home, and then what are you gonna do when they come back next week?
Matsuri: You keep on neglecting the wall like that, at some point there won’t be any stuff there anymore.
Matsuri: And if there isn’t any more stuff, you won’t be able to buy any more food. You know what’ll happen to us then, right?
Boy 1: …
Matsuri: …Fine. I’ll head to the wall myself, so you don’t have to.
Matsuri: If you hate it that much, I can’t convince you to get some guts in only a few seconds.
Boy 1: …S-Sorry, Matsuri…
Matsuri: Although I am kinda worried about you guys…
Matsuri: …because I have no idea how you guys are gonna survive if something happens to me.
Boys: Matsuri, are you gonna…?!
Matsuri: I said if.
Matsuri: But I’m not gonna deny that there is a possibility.
Matsuri: So you’d better hurry up and grow a spine.
Matsuri: In the end the only person you can ever rely on is yourself, so you’d better take charge of your own life.
Matsuri: ‘Cause when the time comes, you’re gonna want to be able to trust yourself.
Man: I fixed it.
Boy: So how is it?
Matsuri: Fits perfectly. Thanks, ol’ man.
Man: So you’re going back to the wall again.
Matsuri: Well, nobody else is gonna do it, so not like there’s much of a choice.
Man: Guess not, eh.
Man: Although, not that it’s good for people to be ditching, either.
Man: You’re really looking out for them, eh?
Man: Well, in the end, I feel like even if nobody went for a week, we’ve still got more than enough stuff to last us there.
Man: There’s another reason you’ve been wanting to go to the wall these days, isn’t there?
Man: It’s not a safe place there, and naturally nobody really wants to be the one to go…
Man: …so what’s up?
Matsuri: These days, I’ve been having dreams about him.
Matsuri: I have these dreams, and I really start to hate being stuck here.
Matsuri: I hate the fact he threw me away and left me to be like trash.
Matsuri: And every time I think about that, I get antsy about sitting here and doing nothing.
Matsuri: It’s not like I hate anyone here, and it’s not even like I hate my life here in particular. Everything here is just how it is.
Matsuri: I’d probably have been fine with all of this, if it turns out he didn’t actually intend to throw me away.
Matsuri: But right now, I have a hard time believing that.
Matsuri: He abandoned me.
Matsuri: …Besides, there’s all sorts of trash coming out of the wall.
Matsuri: Might get mixed up with something that’s trying to go within the walls, you know?
Matsuri: …I don’t want to let any clues slip out of my hands. As much as I can.
Man: You still haven’t given up on getting into the walls?
Matsuri: Of course not.
Matsuri: Anyone who’s been “thrown out” like me wouldn’t think of me as trash.
Matsuri: But…there’s still something I want to do.
Matsuri: Well, you don’t have to worry about me. I’ll be back before the fog sets in.
Boy: Are you seriously trying to get into the walls?!
Matsuri: Y-You startled me…
Boy: Haven’t you heard anything about them?
Boy: Don’t you get it? That’s not a safe place to be in.
Matsuri: I don’t care whether the inside of the walls are safe or not.
Matsuri: Didn’t you hear me? There’s something I want to do in there.
Boy: …But…it’s impossible.
Boy: We can’t get into the walls.
Matsuri: Like I don’t know that already.
Matsuri: So what am I gonna do about that…?
Matsuri: I just really don’t want to be “abandoned trash” here anymore…
Matsuri: It’s an impossible dream, but it’s something I gotta keep chasing.
Matsuri: I mean, why not try?
[Label: “Black beans”]
Matsuri: Is he even alive?
Matsuri: The hell was up with that all of a sudden?!
Man: …? That’s weird.
Matsuri: You’re the weird one!
Man: You happen to know anything about my key?
Man: …? Hey, you…
Matsuri: Get away from me, you pervert!
Man: …By “pervert”, do you mean me?
Matsuri: Well, I don’t see anyone else here!
Matsuri: You can’t just touch a girl your age without permission!
Matsuri: A-Anyway! You’re standing, so clearly you’re fine!
Matsuri: I’ve got something I need to be doing!
Matsuri: So you can just take care of yourself from here!
Matsuri: Stop following me…
Man: What were you doing back there?
Matsuri: Isn’t it obvious? I was going through trash.
Matsuri: Yeah. Like you don’t know what that is?
Matsuri: There’s a country within those walls.
Matsuri: This is the pile where they throw out all their stuff.
Matsuri: Effectively, this place is their trash can.
Matsuri: So I come here and scrounge for stuff we can use…
Matsuri: …Hey, how long are you gonna keep following around? You got something you want from me?
Man: …Ah, right.
Man: Do you happen to remember seeing a black key around here?
Matsuri: What, that?
Matsuri: Sorry, but I don’t kn…
Matsuri: …anything about that.
Man: The way you’re answering makes me think you really do know something, don’t you?
Matsuri: I-I really don’t know! Sorry to disappoint you about your key, but –
Man: Liar! Spit out everything you know about it! All of it! Right now!
Matsuri: Gyaaaaaah! I told you not to touch me!
Matsuri: I don’t know a thing about your key! Get away from me! I’m gonna start yelling!
Man: Shut up! You’re already causing a scene!
Matsuri: The hell was up with that pervert dude on the floor?
Matsuri: And he kept asking me weird stuff…
Matsuri: If I hadn’t found him, he could have ended up dead!
Matsuri: A black key, huh…
Matsuri: …I was so desperate to get rid of him, I ended up taking the wrong route…
Matsuri: I should hurry up and get home.
Shooter 1: Missed.
Shooter 2: Loser!
Shooter 1: Stop moving!
Matsuri: Those guns…those were definitely them.
Matsuri: Did they really manage to make it over here? Dammit…
Matsuri: …Am I gonna end up dying here?
Man: Stop running away.
Matsuri: Shhhh! Keep it quiet!
Man: Shut up, dummy.
Matsuri: Look, you formerly collapsed pervert, it’s dangerous here! You’ve gotta get away from –
Man: Wow, you’re gonna call me that? Rude.
Shooter 1: What’s with that dude in the black coat?
Shooter 2: Isn’t he another one of them?
Shooter 3: Hurry up and shoot before they’re gone.
Shooter 1: …
Shooter 2: Oh God, we’ve gotta ru–
Matsuri: T-The hell are…
Man: …The name’s Aizen.
Aizen: Other than that…
Aizen: Oh, right.
Aizen: I came from the other side of that wall.
- The word “stuff” (モノ) is perpetually put in quotation marks, implying some kind of significance.
- What shows up here is the coined word “hedabito” (隔人), meaning something along the lines of “the ones we’re separated from”. “Outsiders” didn’t really work here because technically Matsuri et al. are the ones who are outside, so I abused my ability to use italics to emphasize the feeling of alienation.