What is the best effort a stray yukkuri can do to survive in the city ? If Marisa can say from what she knows, it's "stay low". Yes, that would be it.
Finding food and home, while important, mostly depend on luck than skill, so effort is not so relevant.
Avoiding "accidents" is not done by doing things to avoid, instead it's by not doing unnecessary moves.
Staying low is the most effective thing a yukkuri can call "effort" to stay alive. Because of that, city yukkuri doesn't have the culture to do greeting, and not like they need to.
Even then, food is important. Marisa lost her wife Reimu because of her inability. In her last moment, Reimu sacrificed herself doing Please Eat Up. Eating Reimu is the most traumatic moment for Marisa, especially when she ate Reimu's paste core.
Afterward, probably her luck got better. Marisa can at least find enough food to keep her alive.
A human greeted Marisa, something she ignored because she thought she's hallucinating. Human don't bother talking to yukkuri either, so it must be imagination.
But it's not. The human stopped Marisa.
Marisa instinctively jumps back and tried running to the corner. Most yukkuri can shake off most human except the experienced with this.
When again she's stopped, Marisa gave up and silently accept her fate. She expected pain, but instead the human asked for cooperation. Although not completely understanding what he said, Marisa agreed.
Here's the deal. Mister Human want to attach a camera to Marisa to record the life of stray yukkuri. Marisa only need to wear camera on her hat and walk around as usual. But instead of focusing on hunting, he asked Marisa to follow the stray she found and observe them.
As compensation, he will provide Marisa with shelter in his yard and provide two meals a day. Marisa don't have to worry about hunting food and can concentrate on hunting video to bring back.
Marisa is quite smart, so she can understand enough about the magic of camera. Basically, anything Mister Camera see can be replayed again in Mister Computer for Mister Human to see.
Also Mister Human seems to be doing this just for fun, a sick kind of fun because what Mister Human enjoyed is all tragedy in Marisa's eyes.
Marisa is not pet, Marisa understand that the relationship is purely professional. Marisa bring video, Mister give food. If Mister is bored then Marisa will be thrown away. With that in mind, although Mister is quite lean and told Marisa she can make mistake, Marisa tried her best to make variation so Mister is not bored. She's troubled if she lost the shelter and food source.
Mister himself does provide Marisa with nutrition and even gave Marisa a bottle cap amount of orange juice before going every morning. Thanks to that Marisa is much stronger than the average malnutritioned strays. He want Marisa to be fit to chase story for him to far places of the city.
He also don't want the camera to get damaged. That thing is expensive and this attaching camera to yukkuri is a gray zone that could be made illegal by law in few years.
This is also why he choose Marisa, because he saw Marisa to be smart enough do the job and strong enough to face watching tragedy of her kind without running away.
Marisa go to hunt as usual every morning, but as instructed by Mister, when she met a stray, Marisa should look and follow the stray. She can talk if she wants to, but best would be to stay out and unintrusive.
The strays are usually too focused in their own hunt to realize they are being watched. But even those who do ignored Marisa as long as they are not disturbed. Strays don't have that much strength and time to waste for pointless fighting.
After a few days of the usual recording, the first big news Marisa bring back is about a family's death.
Marisa found a dying Marisa hunting for her family. From the condition, this yukkuri must have not been able to secure enough food for days. That's why she went closer to the main street human passed through and found sweets sweets placed right in the middle.
All the more experienced strays know, stay away from something too good to be true. Sweets sweets like this are usually poisoned trap by Mister Human. Only newbie or desperate yukkuri like that would fall to the trap.
Stray Marisa think and take the chance. She and her family got nothing to lose. Rather than die in suffering, it's better if they eat the best sweets sweets and then take it easy forever.
This is a misunderstanding by stray yukkuri. They learn about the poison by simple observation. A stray found sweets sweets, eat it with their family, and after some time never again seen, their neighbours found the family dead in their sleep.
Unfortunately yukkuri doesn't go far enough to check the cause of death. This poison is not to make them die peacefully. Human don't like yukkuri vomiting and splattering their paste or making noise when dying, so the poison is made to harden their paste.
For human, it can be compared as having all your blood frozen. Having all your muscle turned into bones and broken as you struggled in panic to move. All while unable to do anything but shivers. Can't even make a sound, let alone committing suicide by Please Eat Up. It's an unimaginable pain that last long, all contained inside their paste.
The next day, Mister asked Marisa to go to the park and meet with "The Sage".
Marisa know the park, it's the place where yukkuri and human often have contact with each others and thus there's a lot of "accidents" that involved human.
She also know about "Sage". This is Patchouli type's version of "Single Mother", an excuse they made to pity themselves even though they are not that smart to start with.
But on her way, Marisa found something she doesn't want to, an orphan little Marisa.
It's her job, so Marisa approached the orphan to talk. Instead of an interview, what she get is just the orphan talking about her misfortune and keep asking for someone to let her take it easy.
Marisa knows, other yukkuri has ignored this little one to the point that the orphan believed other yukkuri can't see her. Nobody can see her and nobody will help her. That's why she's too excited to know Marisa can see her. This will be her saviour.
Little Marisa's father died, and her mother do Please Eat Up, something that touched Marisa's sensitive part. Ever since eating Reimu, not only trauma, Marisa also feel like a part of Reimu became herself. The 'da ze' habit she used to have now became inconsistent and having the child call her "auntie" made her really uncomfortable because Marisa know she wants to be a father.
Yukkuri doesn't have something that can be called gender. Either they are addressed as "male" or "female" is purely on whoever called which first. The orphan called Marisa "auntie" first, so they continue with Marisa as a "female".
Marisa also knows that stray orphan die twice. When they lost their parents, they are already dead because they can't survive and nobody would care. Then they literally die after starving.
While Marisa is annoyed by the orphan's selfishness to demand others taking care of her, she understand it's not the child's fault. It's the parent's fault to not give her the understanding about reality.
What Marisa took personally is when that orphan offered the remains of her mother to Marisa so Marisa will find better food for her. Yes, the mother who sacrificed her life for that Little One.
Marisa hopped backward, away from the child. She have to do so to keep recording as that orphan chased her from behind. It's painful to see how the child keep on screaming and chasing until the weak body gave up.
Then Marisa jump to the corner and continue her job today which is to meet the Sage. She avoided street, world of human, and took the back alley, city of the strays.
Park, in a glance is a nice place. The soft soil and grass are heaven for yukkuri feet compared to the hard asphalt road.
It's weekday so there's not many human and yukkuri can go outside with their family. A Reimyu happily jumps on the grass, saying how the park is an easy place. Reimyu's mom doesn't seem to agree though.
While human and yukkuri seems to already reach mutual agreement, that human won't bother with yukkuri as long as they are not looking for trouble, the Little Humans are different.
They are unpredictable and enjoy hurting yukkuri for no reason. That's why yukkuri have to be careful because Human also likes to bring their Little Ones to this park.
Moreover, there's also a regular extermination. This is what keep the population of yukkuri here in check. Despite so, yukkuri of the city keep coming, lured by the promise of comfortable place and abundant food.
The Sage live in a building, Mister Human called it a storage house.
Marisa's first impression of the unusually clean stray Patchouli is uneasiness. There's something strange about this Patchouli she just can't get into words until she starts talking.
Patchouli told Marisa it's not every day she got a visit from a pet. Marisa is surprised on how this Patchouli can know Marisa had a relationship with Mister Human.
Patchouli also understand Mister Camera better than Marisa does.
Yes... this Patchouli's mannerism sounds like Human.
Patchouli decided to just tell story about herself. Like Marisa, she also has a relationship with human. During the day Patchouli stayed here. Then her owner, a vet and lecturer in university, picked her up in the night.
Like Marisa, Patchouli is something between pet and stray. Her owner likes to listen to Patchouli's life story.
In the past, Patchouli is just one of the stupid "Sage". Then she became much smarter by killing many of her own kind.
In another time, she taught that Mister Mould can be healed by licking, causing pandemic across the park's yukkuri population.
The worst is when, with her half-assed knowledge, she found the date of an extermination and instead of evacuating her kind, she gathered them to fight back.
Everyone got taken away.
Through such failures Patchouli understand. All the thing she thought of with all her knowledge ends up badly.
But she's no longer sad now. Patchouli realized that yukkuri will die anyway so lets make their life useful to Patchouli.
Marisa is about to run away. Yukkuri killer...
But Patchouli told Marisa to not be worried. She doesn't kill them, not with her own hands.
Patchouli's idea now is, rather than trying to keep yukkuri alive, it's much better to make yukkuri able to accept death as something normal.
Be it giving up on life or an enlightment, this is what Patchouli reached through her experience.
She taught the yukkuri to just ignore troubles such as mould infected yukkuri or orphans. Other yukkuri happily obliged because they can get away from problem.
Then when extermination is announced... Patchouli hides herself. Marisa asked why she doesn't save the other yukkuri, but of course that's impossible. If Patchouli told them and they panicked, human will hear yukkuri learning about extermination from the "Sage" and look for her house.
But after four exterminations, Patchouli can sleep comfortably through the time when she knows her kind are getting slaughtered.
There's so many yukkuri, the peoples from Factory doesn't bother looking for this "Sage" at all.
Then, the fateful day came when a Human showed up. He asked if Patchouli want to be a pet. Patchouli has already accepted death too, so she just answer the human's questions even as she thought it's a trap.
But now, Patchouli has a gold badge. Her owner is a vet, so he gave her a badge illegally. But after that Patchouli passed through test fair and square, so her badge is genuine.
Marisa is envious, but right now her question is why a gold badge yukkuri would be in a place like this.
This storage house is Patchouli's home. There's a plastic door for yukkuri to visit, and there's an invisible wall that separate Patchouli, keeping her safe.
Strangely, nobody seems to recognize Patchouli when she's with her owner. Marisa don't say it, but she feels Patchouli's words as cynical. No stray would look straight at a pet. They will compare themselves with the pet and it will only bring more uneasiness.
All newcomer will greet the Sage, and they will also report on what happened, especially when yukkuri caused trouble with human.
Patchouli is entrusted with the duty to check the yukkuri population. She asked Marisa back, aren't there many yukkuri living in this park ?
In three days, there will be extermination. Patchouli will call them.
Marisa laughed. Now she knows, this Sage is not yukkuri's ally, she's with the human. Patchouli will call the Factory when yukkuri population became too many for the park. This explained all the uneasiness Marisa felt.
Patchouli doesn't like being treated like a killer though. She reminded Marisa that Marisa is no different. Has Marisa ever see stray getting any happiness ? Both of them are having it easy by siding with human at cost of their own kind. Marisa know that and can't say anything in return.
After Patchouli's self introduction, she give Marisa chance to give question.
Is the extermination absolute ?
Well, they said three more days, that's what Patchouli knows.
What happened after that ?
Patchouli will become a real estate king. That's a joke for Mister who will watch the video.
Can stray be happy ?
Interview is finished and both gave their best regards to each other's boss.
While Mister is shocked and joyed, Marisa is depressed. So stray have no hope ? But the most scary thing is because Marisa realized, her easy life also wont last forever.
Sometime, Marisa want to take video of strays to be envied about. But she know that kind of video is worthless for Mister. Human don't want to just see yet another yukkuri beggar or runaway victim. They want to see the dark world of despair only a yukkuri can see.
Then Marisa heard a voice. One is happy, one is screaming. Best case is parent punishing their scum children. Worse case is a scum hurting koyukkuri for pleasure. Worst case is Marisa getting involved.
But what awaits her is even worse. She saw a koyukkuri standing on small pool of water on the asphalt. Her braid is stuck between two stones that kept her from running away even in the danger of her legs being melted. All of this is done by that big Reimu.
Marisa has seen cruel act by yukkuri for entertainment, but this is too much. What this Reimu did can be said to be closer to how a human would torture yukkuri.
Reimu watch as the little Marisa struggle between running away from water and the pain from her almost tearing braid. To make it more interesting, Reimu then took Marisa's hat and threatened to beat and stab the hat.
In desperation, Little Marisa's eyes saw Marisa, something the cameraman doesn't want. Now it means trouble.
Worse though, the Little Marisa called her mother. It took a while to realize that this is the orphan Marisa met before.
Unexpected by Marisa again, Reimu doesn't yell at her. That's the standard behaviour of scum, they yell to take control of the conversation. She asked what Marisa is doing there because if Marisa actually want to save the child, she would have attacked Reimu already.
Reimu also admit she's too stupid to understand Marisa's explanation about recording yukkuri life. But lets get one thing straight: will Marisa disturb Reimu ?
Because Marisa will just observe, Reimu continued with her play.
Since Reimu is annoyed the Little Marisa ignored her, she stabbed the hostaged hat with nail and tore it apart. Panicked, Little Marisa forget about the pain and pulled so strong her braid are torn off. Sad story, Little Marisa's feet are already too damaged by water.
Reimu end the play by forcing Little Marisa to drink water. Unlike human and animal, yukkuri died in drowning not because they can't breath. Yukkuri died from having the water melting their paste core.
After all is over, Reimu look at Marisa.
Marisa is also curious, so she asked for an interview. How Reimu calmly smile and agreed to it made Marisa even more scared of the madness Reimu has in her.
Why did Reimu do this ?
Because it's fun. Reimu know other yukkuri won't be able to comprehend her idea, but it's really fun.
Is Reimu always been like this ?
Of course not. Until she grew into an adult, Reimu is (probably) normal, although without any happiness like Marisa already know best.
After looking for the word, Marisa found it. What's the direct cause ?
As adult, life is difficult. Reimu already think it's better to just die than live in suffering. Then she saw a human kicking yukkuri and having fun. Yes, why not torture yukkuri ? It looks fun. Reimu choose orphans because they can't fight back and quick to trust her.
At first it's just beating, but then she adds up more and more. Lock them without anything to eat, or keep them with poo poo. She even offered Marisa to try because she want to do play she can't do alone.
Marisa thought, life is hard without any purpose. Reimu now has found her purpose in life, which is to "play". It's the thing that support her life as a stray yukkuri.
Reimu used to try her best when she got a Little One, but that child is gone. Probably, Marisa thought, this loneliness is the main reason instead of human.
Now, Marisa see her not as a psychopath, but as someone to be sympathized with. Marisa also almost have her heart broken from grief when she lost her wife.
The day is getting late, so both parted. Marisa turned back one more time to hear Reimu said she want to meet her own Little One.
But Marisa's sympathy is frozen when Reimu continued, how fun would it be if she can play with her own Little One.
That last video is well received by Mister's friends in the internet.
This time, he came with an offer to Marisa, to work for her permanently. He likes Marisa's works and would be disappointed if Marisa left, but business.
Marisa can be his pet, in the condition that Marisa throw away that Little One in her hat.
After all, one of the requirement he has is a yukkuri who has no child.
It's a shocking revelation. Mister also didn't realize it at first. Marisa always taught her little Marisa to be quiet no matter what. Little Marisa even don't let out a voice when they first meet with Mister.
But he realized koyukkuri voice that can't be from Marisa during the recording of family dead from eating poisoned cookies. He would have let it go if the video is not so good that he kept replaying it.
Then he also realize the hat shaking before something terrible is happening. He guessed it must be a code between the father and child to avoid seeing cruel things.
Marisa can throw away the child, and continue life as cameraman as is. Maybe she can even get a badge.
Or she can take all the food she can and get out of Mister's house. She's fired.
After her work, Marisa knows very well they can't survive. Stray don't need a lot of food, that will just bring trouble from wild animal or bad yukkuri. What they need is a secured hunting ground and safe home.
Marisa know this is all recorded. She took the offer.
Marisa then sent her child to the park. She will entrust the child to the Park's Sage and bring food everyday. Little Marisa asked to walk on her own when they are close to Patchouli's place. She cried at first, but now she decided to be strong. This is the koyukkuri who went around the town and watch the horrible unfortunate life of stray, she can understand it's only slow suffering and death waiting for both of them outside.
So, after all is said and done, little one gave a smile that brought up Marisa's fear.
"Please eat up!"
Marisa wailed, and it's all recorded.