Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 13

“It really was a day like any other
We had breakfast together in the morning.
The three of us went to school.
Our parents went to work.
We smiled by the door and waved.
But they never came back.
That was the last time we were together as a family.”

ajthefourth: The above quote was said by Shouma Takakura following his personal description, accompanied by flashbacks, of the day that he and Kanba discovered that his parents were highly sought-after criminals, accused of executing and possibly masterminding a horrifying terrorist attack.  If you would, please compare that to the quote below:

“The night before…the family was saying over dinner, ‘My, how lucky we are.  All together, having a good time’ …a modest share of happiness.  Destroyed the very next day…”

-T.A.  from Underground- The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche

In our eighth post on this series, I remarked that perhaps one of the directions that the series was going in was to address the 1995 Tokyo Sarin Gas Attacks in an indirect way, by linking various characters’ relationships to the attacks in order to paint the picture of a far larger social commentary.  Then, no one knew how directly the series would reference the attacks.  Ringo’s sister Momoka as one of the casualties, Shouma/Kanba’s birth as the trigger with their parents as the perpetrators, they’re all very closely related to what happened on March 20th, 1995.

Aiding the series immensely in its commentary is its excellent character development.  It’s easy to say that we would not care nearly as much about the specter of terrorist attacks in Mawaru Penguindrum, gristly or no, if we didn’t first care about what happens to Shouma, Kanba, and Ringo, not to mention the periphery characters of Himari, Sanetoshi, Masako, Tabuki, and Yuri.  All of these people in some way were touched by one horrifying event and it’s through their development, or refusal to develop and remain victims, much like Shouma in this latest episode, that we can begin to feel the after-effects of such a devastating event.

Recently, I’ve been reading the book Underground- The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche that was organized by contemporary author Haruki Murakami, who also penned the short story Super Frog Saves Tokyo from After the Quake, a collection of short stories about the 1995 Kobe Earthquake.  Super Frog Saves Tokyo is referenced heavily in the library scenes in Penguindrum, and is most notably the book that Himari is searching for when she descends into the library (for reasons that have yet to be revealed.  Perhaps they never will be).  Both books deal with the uncertainty and difficulty returning to an “ordinary life” following a widespread national trauma; however, the main difference between the two is that, while After the Quake deals in abstraction, philosophy, and fantasy, Underground (which was also seen briefly in Penguindrum episode nine, when Himari is searching through the stacks herself) is a collection of interviews from survivors of the gas attacks, which weave a narrative through real-life recollections of witnesses, family members, and of course, the survivors themselves.

In addition to weaving a fascinating story with allusions to fairy tales, philosophical concepts, works of art, and humorous penguin antics, Mawaru Penguindrum is also doing a good job of creating lively characters to live through what is seemingly a larger social commentary.  This somewhat reflects Murakami’s own admission as to why he so pursued the gas attack survivors in order to write Underground.  “I had a hunch that we needed to see the true picture of all of the survivors, whether they were severely traumatized or not, in order to better grasp the whole incident.” he writes in his preface.  The implications are fascinating when one considers that they could possibly be witnessing Ikuhara’s own commentary to the Japanese response to the attacks.

To close out this section, I’ll leave you with a quote from H.S., one of the gas attack survivors who spent three days in a coma before somewhat miraculously returning to life.  It ties very nicely into the somewhat garish nature of the Tokyo Sky Metro’s 10th Anniversary Celebration in this episode of Penguindrum.

“I believe we must have a full debate to satisfy everyone, and use it as a test case of where responsibility lies with incidents of this sort.  We must give serious thought to how we can make good such crimes and how any retribution is to be decided… Furthermore, in order to prevent the recurrence of such a terrible incident, there needs to be a public debate about how we as a nation deal with such crises… The most important thing for Japan at this point is to pursue a new spiritual wholeness.  I can’t see any future for Japan if we blindly persist with today’s materialistic pursuits.”

-H.S. from Underground- The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche

"However, there is something we must never forget. What we have lost may or may not have been restored. Systemic advancement toward convenience must not continue. Our actions must reflect our humanity. We must never again repeat such a tragedy."

vucubcaquix:

“I love the word ‘fate’.
You know how they talk about ‘fated encounters’?
Just one single encounter can change your entire life.
Such special encounters are not coincidences.
They’re definitely… fate.”

-Ringo Oginome

Ringo is such a fascinating character in the context of this show’s setting. I once wrote about how determined she was to enact her fate, her destiny, and that it played into the conflict between the Existentialism of the brothers and their perception of an uncaring Deterministic universe. They are both casualties in a sense of the same event, however the children of the perpetrators grew to despise the causality wrought about by the action, and the younger sister of a victim grew to love the relationships she forged as a result of that event.

She sees meaning in her encounters, there is a purpose to knowing and becoming familiar with those around her. She is enacting a Teleological argument.

Teleology concerns itself with the idea of there being final causes inherent in nature. It was accepted amongst the old philosophers that there is design and purpose in human actions, coming from the Greek word telos which means “end, purpose”. Something is teleological when it is for the sake of an end which is either inherent in itself or assigned to it by something external like humans.

The Teleogical argument is used by Christians to argue for the existence of God, because the existence of order and direction in nature denote a purpose to it being so. Order and direction means that there is meaning inherent to the events of the world, thus there must be a deity present that is enacting the grand narrative of the universe. Even if terrible things happen, it’s all right, because it happens for a reason. Given my description of Ringo as a kind of believer and the diary as her scripture, I don’t believe it’s a stretch to see her employ the same kind of religious affectations here to reaffirm her beliefs and allegiances to the idea of fate and destiny as being ones of benevolence.

Penguindrum is a show concerned with fate, inherent meaning in the world, and the conflict with the views of ones who see meaninglessness in everything. This episode was a poetic reminder that reestablished the core themes that were introduced in the very first episode, and all done in an incredibly poignant manner.

"No, I'm sure it happened for a reason. There is a meaning, however sad or painful it may be. Nothing in this world is pointless."

ajthefourth:  The above quote is said by Tabuki in response to Ringo’s fervent wish that she had never discovered the truth about Shouma’s parents.  It could be said that Ringo’s ideas of fate, in fact, come from her relationship with Tabuki, as the idea of fate is seemingly how he has, to some extent, been able to move on from the attacks and the death of Momoka.  In the above scene, which calls to mind episode six, Tabuki reaffirms these ideas for Ringo, which she then reiterates to herself on the train, surrounded by the slogan “It takes three years to grow peaches and chestnuts, eight years for persimmons.” localized as “Rome wasn’t built in a day” it hints to the fact that it takes a while to produce something meaningful or great.

It has taken a while, but Ringo has seemingly come to terms with her life and is ready to move on in a new direction.  As my partner alluded to above, this is all done without the abandoning of her belief in fate.  This change in her life, and renewed self-awareness can be attributed to none other than Shouma, the boy who believes that it is impossible for anyone to care about him because of his parents’ atrocities.  Ringo’s questioning of Tabuki in regards to his attitude towards Shouma and Kanba would suggest that she is also having a hard time accepting Shouma’s birthright.  However, the text message to her father would suggest that she has decided that life is too meaningful to hold such grudges (again, this is all done in tandem with her continuing her faith in the idea of fate, although she is no longer trying to become her sister).  Hopefully, the series will show how their friendship progresses from this point on.  It’s no secret that Shouma is my personal favorite character, and the romantic in me would love to see Shouma come to terms with himself through Ringo’s meddling, much like her own personal realization would appear to have begun when he stopped her from raping Tabuki, telling her that he “couldn’t leave her alone.”  I am a bit wary for Ringo now.  Once a character like hers reaches such a catharsis, it’s usually a sign that said character will be moving on soon.  Himari’s death was more of a plot device for me, despite the fact that she was shown as an innocent victim, where Ringo is a far more real and emotional character.  In spite of these death flags, I certainly hope that she doesn’t leave us soon.

As an aside, it’s interesting to note that Ringo and Tabuki’s encounters often have a purple hue to them, as does the peach imagery on Tabuki and Yuri’s apartment, as well as the peach imagery surrounding the Oginome apartment.  Momoka’s hair, if we’re going by this episode and her funeral picture, is a purple color, as are her eyes if they do, as Sanetoshi hints at in his monologue, see the world exactly as he does.  Momoka has been a specter over their interactions since the beginning of the series.

"Because the moment I saw her, I knew we were never meant to be, yes, she refused to side with me."

vucubcaquix: Momoka’s specter looms large in the Hole in the Sky Library, as Sanetoshi speaks aloud about the loneliness he harbors as he is simultaneously able to hear the voices all over the world. This power, this authority, that he claims to have enables him to feel as though he knows and understands what is best for the world. He alone claims to have the long form perspective to see the grand narrative of the universe. But as he explains this to an entity or entities present, he speaks of how lonely this makes him feel. The audience is to assume that the girl in question who is able to see the world and listen to the music in the same way as he, is the same girl who was the sole victim on the Marunouchi line. But this is what brings him the most sadness, since this very special girl, also rejects his ideas and vision for the narrative of the world.

This is language that is reminiscent of an alienated deity, yet I am reticent to assign the role of the Goddess to him since the Goddess is primarily concerned with enacting punishment for those who defy fate. After all, punishment has to be the most unjust, right? After all, it would be no fun if the punishment ended here, right?

That is the capricious Goddess’s whims according to Shouma’s allegory. What gives me pause when conflating the role of the Goddess to Sanetoshi, is the fact that he is more concerned with the ramifications of Himari’s resurrection on the concept of fate itself, and whether or not it is indeed the law that governs the universe.

That sounds like a power struggle to me.

Who Sanetoshi addresses in his monologue in the middle of the episode is confusing. There were at times where I felt that he was addressing the audience and their questions such as the rationale behind his resurrecting Himari, and explaining his love for a girl who saw the same world as he did which the audience is to presume is Momoka since her presence is made known to us simultaneously. But there’s a sudden change in the direction of his speech as we suddenly learn that he was addressing two discrete beings at the same time. Who are these two beings? Are they the rabbits who accompany him as he sets about his duties in the world? Or is at least one of them indeed the veil that he bestows upon the bride of fate? Would that make the other being the veil bestowed upon Mario Natsume? There are a lot of visual implications to denote that Momoka has indeed resurrected and is present in the world, but that her consciousness, her essence, is inextricably tied to that of the veil that was bestowed upon Himari. That raises a lot of interesting implications, and one wonders if someone else’s essence is within the veil of the penguin prince.

ajthefourth: At their parting in episode nine, Sanetoshi tells Himari that she will learn whose bride she is at the destination of fate, and that she should know the place.  We had been thinking all this time that Himari was far more conscious of her actions as the Princess than the series initially had let on.  However, what if it was not some otherworldly princess character that Himari was channeling, but Momoka?

Sanetoshi says that, immediately upon meeting Momoka, he knew that they were never meant to be.  This could be the reason for his delving into whether fate controls the Mawaru Penguindrum universe.  It also ties in to why Himari (with the Penguinhat on) was so clear and assertive in her spurning of Sanetoshi’s kiss before being returned to the “real world.”  As for the child broiler scene and her fated groom, Wabisabi had already addressed that the silhouette of young Tabuki is reminiscent of Himari’s fated one that she shares an apple with (not to mention that her shoes in that scene match Momoka’s red/pink shoes in the library).  Momoka and Tabuki, Himari and Mario.  It will certainly be interesting to see where the series goes with these tangled red strings.

vucubcaquix: This all leaves us with the single dangling thread that is Yuri. We asserted in last week’s post that Yuri was both the reincarnation of Momoka and a possible identity for the Goddess. Her being Momoka’s reincarnation doesn’t seem as tenable as it once was despite my adamant insistence. However, the possibility of her being the Goddess is still there. The Goddess is beautiful, otherworldly, and concerned with the punishment of those who defy their fates. There have been no overt signs as to how she reacts to those who would defy her, but Yuri does have a very controlling and domineering presence in Tabuki’s life.

Yuri is beautiful and otherworldly, and the name she bears, 時籠 Tokikage, hints at the nature underneath that polished surface. A fate, a destiny that is unchanging. A “time cage.”

23 Comments

Filed under Colloquia, Episodics, Mawaru Penguindrum

23 responses to “Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 13

  1. I agree with you about the goddess’ identity. I can’t see Sanetoshi as the goddess, she seems more like fate herself.

    Not sure about the rabbits either. I thought it was significant that the rabbits agreed with the goddess that the punishment wasn’t enough “fun”. With Sanetoshi as the goddess, that would make sense. But Sanetoshi appears to be opposing fate with his drugs.

    And Ringo’s going to die? NOOOOOOO!!!! I refuse to believe it. Fate would never be so cruel. Destiny!!!!

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Honestly, Sanetoshi is appearing to be far more of an ambiguous character than I had expected, and I wonder what his connection to the Goddess is. Seemingly he opposes her, especially since he has the rabbits, two stewards to tempt people into accepting Sanetoshi’s requests, and seemingly breaking the taboo of the Goddess. He is apparently enforcing the rules, but slyly attempting to push the boundaries at the same time, through his manipulations of others. It’s fascinating to watch him.

      You addressed this in your blog a bit with Kanba’s Scorpion’s Soul; however, I can’t help but wonder what Kanba’s eventual punishment will be. Presumably, the Goddess rescinded the punishment because it would be “no fun if it ended there,” but, at the same time, isn’t Kanba committing another kind of taboo by wheeling and dealing for Himari’s life? It seems like more punishment will be heaped onto the brothers before this is all said and done.

      I loved that the rabbits appeared as “rabbit apples” in Masako’s room. Fantastic. Thanks for the comment, as always! ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: Well, what I said to Ephemeral Dreamer right below can easily stand in for my thoughts here regarding the Goddess’s identity. So instead, here you go:

  2. You know, in human color psychology, purple is associated with royalty and nobility. This kind of makes sense given the scenes with Ringo and Tabuki being princess and prince in Ringo’s imagination. Plus, Tabuki has always felt like a prince to me for some reason.

    Your idea about the goddess’s identity makes a lot more sense. A bit of shame that I didn’t catch that before publishing my own post (I thought the goddess referred to Sanetoshi). :/

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      vucubcaquix: Thanks for the contrubution on color psych. It’s true about the connection to royalty. I think it has something to do with the fact that in ancient civillizations purple dye was among the most luxurious dyes and thus reserved for the nobility and no one else. I think the Phoenecians were one of the first to cultivate it.

      The status of the Goddess is still up for debate honestly. I lean towards the Goddess not being Sanetoshi, but honestly the presence and allegiance of the dark bunnies is what makes the whole thing problematic. Oh well, if either of us is wrong we’ll just have to own up to it right?

      ajthefourth: Hnnn…Tabuki as a prince, eh?

      Tabuki to me, is a character that seems eternally sad for some reason (probably because he is unable to fully move on from Momoka’s death). If he is a prince, then he is one imprisoned by his storybook, as the imagery of a caged bird continues to follow him everywhere. His accounts of why he decided to treat the Takakura siblings as he did sounded surprisingly mature…and yet…I can’t shake the feeling that the reason why Tabuki is able to sound so mature is due to the fact that most of his emotions are frozen in time. He’s been unable to feel anything strongly since Momoka’s death, so what should treating Shouma and Kanba as normal in spite of their parents matter?

      Something tells me that there’s a lot more about Tabuki that remains to be seen…

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Neriya

    I find it hard to reconcile the identities of Momoka and the Princess. Sanetoshi says the girl was the “same kind of person as him”. Princess also comes across as a detached, otherworldly observer. Tabuki says that Momoka changed the way he saw the world, which would seem to emphasise that her view of the world was special in some way, but he gives a very positive impression of Momoka which fits with the image of her happily rushing around in the library. A far cry from the cynical, abusive Princess.

    Sanetoshi says “she refused to side with me”, and “she rejected me”. Are those really terms applicable to dealing with a young child, or something to dwell for so long over if so? Whereas Princess is ideologically opposed to his views. Sanetoshi dislikes the concept of fate, and questions its existence. But Princess strongly believes in it “I come from the direction of your fate”, “You who will never amount to anything” etc.

    It seems more likely to me that Momoka was reincarnated as Himari, and “the curse from 16 years ago”, the Takakura’s punishment being to raise someone they killed themselves, just to see her die again because of circumstances outside their control (though they were absent for the payoff of that punishment…). There’s also the imagery of Momoka wearing the the hat, then the hat alone, and Sanetoshi telling it to “return to her side”.

    But in any case, what does that make Mario? A victim from one of the other lines, and his parents the perpetrators of that bombing? The 2nd veil an entity similar to Princess who Sanetoshi tells to find the penguindrum at the same time in that address? One who did share his beliefs, hence why he’s sharing more information with Natsume?

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Hnn…

      Yes, the Princess is outwardly harsh, but she also is bestowing upon the siblings and Ringo a means out of the fated path that currently awaits them. We had presumed up until this point that the fact that the Princess was coming from the destination of the twins and Himari’s fate, was that, in order to enact this fate, they needed to obtain the Penguindrum for her. Seemingly, after her lines in the previous episode immediately prior to her collapse, and Sanetoshi’s hints in the library, the Penguindrum is actually something that may allow them to actively defy their fated destination. Cynical? Yes. Abusive? Certainly. However, through it all, she apparently wants them to succeed, not for herself, but for their own, and Himari’s, lives.

      Also, if Momoka is in fact a personage like Sanetoshi, then she would not necessarily be human, but something else. Her being represented as a child would be equivalent to her being represented as a hat, what would matter in both cases would be the powers and intelligence of the being inside.

      Ah, yes, yes! What about Mario? I’m also wildly curious about his existence, especially since Sanetoshi says that Masako has already paid the price for his life. What was the price? What is her punishment? Seemingly, he is manipulating Masako as well. My thoughts as to why she is privy to more information is that she has already paid a greater price.

      Excellent thoughts as always. Thank you!

      vucubcaquix: Momoka may be a young child, but she was ten years old at the time of her death which I do feel is old enough to have concrete opinions on certain things. I know I was definitely an opinionated little bugger when I was in fifth grade.

      As for the “Destination of Fate”, both the Princess and Sanetoshi claim to be from there which led to my belief that it’s potentially an alternate name for the Library Annex that Sanetoshi dwells in, but that’s pure speculation on my part and it could instead represent something that’s far more abstract like the concept of death. After all, that’s everyone’s eventual fate isn’t it?

      Himari being the direct reincarnation of Momoka is a bit strange to me, but I’m having a hard time explaining why that is. I think it has something to do with the fact that I feel as though the siblings were removed from anything that had to do with the terrorist attacks, and that they were only really wrapped up in fate’s designs once Mary’s Tree began to wither. That was what caused Mary to seek out the ashes, which called the attention of the Goddess, which caused her to mete out her justice on the siblings. The children were already of a certain age I feel before fate began to spin their lives in certain directions.

  4. Mad Chemist

    One thing I found fascinating about the repetition of Shouma and Ringo’s speeches on fate wasn’t just the different things they said about each character but the ways that they said these things. Ringo’s speech hasn’t changed at all, but the meaning is completely different; she isn’t trapped in Project M and sacrificing herself to become Momoka, and genuinely seems to accept that everything will eventually work out for the better because of the affect that meeting Himari and Shouma had on her life. The meaning of Shouma’s speech, on the other hand, hasn’t expanded; the show has simply pulled back the curtain, and what once looked like he and Kanba were raging against fate simply for killing Himari seems a lot more like them resigning themselves up to fate and to the idea that their lives are worthless because of the sins of their parents. Additionally, it seems like the two brothers are almost chaining themselves down to their fates, as they and Himari live in the same house they always have, simply painted up a bit to hide their parents’ existence. Kanba also refused the idea of splitting the family up even though being adopted may have given the siblings a chance to start over without the stigma of their parents’ sins holding them back socially. The two of them may be in an even deeper hole than Ringo ever was and trying to avoid escaping their rut in different ways; Shouma is happy and willing to help others but doesn’t try to pull himself away from his guilt, and Kanba seems determined to get out of it by dying and possibly do something of worth with his death, as you mentioned last week with the Scorpion’s soul.

    I also hope that Ringo doesn’t die! Admittedly she’s my one of my favorite characters in the show and I’d be sad to see her go, but I also really want to see her help Shouma pull himself out of the darkness just like how he helped her. Now that the show has really defined Ringo and the brothers as foils in their outlooks on fate I hope that we’ll see more of their interactions about fate, guilt and the life it’s chained Shouma and Kanba to as the show goes on.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth I absolutely love your take on the two speeches.

      Shouma’s speech has become even more interesting to me since it mirrors this one from an Aum Shinrikyo member who was interviewed for Underground:

      “Well, things like inborn talent, family background. No matter what the situation, people are bright, people who can run fast can run fast. And people who are weak never see the light of day. There’s an element of fate that I thought was too unfair.”

      The member goes on to say that Aum teachings and leader Asahara’s books explained this with kharma; if one was evil in a previous life, they would suffer punishment in their next, if one was good in a previous life, they would be rewarded. Sounds awfully familiar, much like our Goddess, no?

      If there’s anyone who can pull Shouma out of his guilt, I believe it’s Ringo. Just as his words were somehow able to reach her, I hope that her words will be able to reach him. They’re two very damaged people, and I’m not looking for a romantic relationship between the two as much as I am a friendship where they are each willing to accept one another’s personality quirks/flaws, or overwhelming sense of guilt.

      I’m also curious to see how this could potentially be a set-up for a showdown between Kanba and Shouma, especially if Shouma manages to acquire some self-worth, there are also still the consequences of Kanba’s actions in this episode to think about. When they are sitting by Himari’s bedside towards the end, the penguins seem to have reverted back to their old selves; however, Shouma and Kanba are a bit awkward around each other (especially when Shouma mentions what a nice doctor Himari had) and Himari herself is passed out. We saw this once before in episode ten, when Shouma woke up in the hospital. The three had seemingly reverted back to their old selves, with the exception of the cloud of suspicion on Himari (from revelations in episode nine). Now both Himari and Kanba have things hanging over their heads and Shouma is seemingly the only one out of the loop.

      It’s an interesting set-up, for sure, and to throw their ideas of fate and guilt into the mix make it all the more so. Thanks for the comment.

      vucubcaquix: Hmm, very excellent observations on your part. I love the way you described the differences in the tone of all of the variations on the speeches on fate.

      It’s something my partner and I discussed for a moment, and we don’t exactly see eye to eye on this, but hearing you describe the different tones that the speeches take made me wonder if the the show itself seems to be taking a different stance as a whole with regards to the inherent meaningful and meaninglessness of things. I wondered if the show was taking a tack towards giving the suffering that the characters experience some kind of context that is imbued with a meaning that they themselves cannot see or if it will stay with something more existential in nature.

      The reason I feel so, is that I once thought that the show leaned toward an existential attitude because the character that adhered so strongly to the existence and profundity of fate was at first a caricature, then a dangerously deranged force. Whereas the characters that seemed to have suffered at the hands of fate have been portrayed in mostly positive and sympathetic lights. But as of this episode, Ringo’s speech came from a character that has come to certain realizations about the world and herself and seems to be full of forgiveness for everyone involved. The effect of it is, is that her words are imbued with a sense of sincerity that can’t possibly come from the mouth of the once delusional girl who thought that becoming her sister would mend her home.

      That sincerity has never been attached to a monologue on fate that had positive connotations before this moment, and I feel it speaks volumes.

  5. I loved this episode it was great to see a bit more of Sanetoshi, but I can’t help but think he will come back for some type of payment from Kanba even thou he already gave Himari half of his life already. They did make a good point that there needs to be some sort of punishment for someone, I have a feeling it will probably be Kanba’s soul or his life.

    I am with you Vuc! I like Ringo she is lots of fun to watch and agreed with AJ Shouma is another favorite of mine, I always root for him! I do enjoy how everyone is somehow connected, yes through a tragic event but I guess that gives all the characters something in common.

    Sanetoshi always reminds me of Kyubeu ahaha well not 100% the same but THOSE EYES O_O…

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: I absolutely love Sanetoshi’s character. Even monologuing to himself he manages to command a presence and capture the audience’s attention. In spite of the fact that he’s simply walking through scenery, he still manages to be fascinating. Also, I love that his catchphrase is seemingly, “Da yo ne?”

      Nooo…now every time I look at Sanetoshi I’m going to think, “Want to make a contract with me?” What have you done!? ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: You know, honestly some characters interest me a little more than others, but I can’t really pick a favorite. It’s like picking a favorite child! You may secretly have a favorite, but in the interest of sparing everyone’s feelings you keep that to yourself.

      But yeah, that payment… I wonder what it could be honestly. Sanetoshi pointed to Kanba’s heart, so does that mean he’s giving up his life for Himari? I wonder how Himari would feel about that…

  6. dm00

    I am very pleased to see Ringo apparently healing with this episode.

    With the introduction of Sanetoshi, this series is really beginning to feel like a Murakami novel (like Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world (the inspiration for Haibane Renmei) or The wind-up bird chronicle): alternating between a magical realism and reality with magic in it.

    This series inspired me to pick up [i]Underground[/i], also. One of the things that has struck me about many of the interviews in that book is the role of fate: for many of the victims, their presence on those trains was unusual — they missed their regular bus, so took a later train; they usually work elsewhere but had to attend a meeting downtown that day; they usually ride a different train, but wanted to get in to work earlier than usual that day because they were returning from a vacation trip. Even some of the victims who were sticking to their regular routines (“I always get on the third car…”) were the victims of happenstance — because the perpetrator moved from the first car to the third car by chance. A fated meeting.

    • Yeah, there’s one line in particular that I almost included in this entry:

      “But I do feel it was Fate. Usually I don’t go in through the first door nearest the front. I always use the second, which would have put me downwind of the sarin. But that day, and that day only I took the first door for no special reason. Pure chance. In my life until now I never once felt blessed by the hand of Fate…then something like this comes along.”

      Honestly, what surprised me the most about the survivors’ recollections was that the majority of them didn’t bear an overwhelming hatred to Aum. They seemed to support the death penalty due to the appearance of fairness more than anything else, and instead, called for society to look in on itself to what caused people to do such things. It’s very interesting.

      Good to see another Underground reader around here! Thanks for the comment!

  7. dm00

    PS., I am wondering if the fact that we see Momoka running across darkened railroad tracks, added to the fact that her body wasn’t found, is a way of confirming to us that she ran away from the event in the confusion.

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