「 銀色の希望」 (Giniro no Kibō)
Suddenly! Tears! Existential crisis! I’m not actually sure where all this is coming from; I’ll chalk it up to the recent shock of murders, and that Dr Magata continues to haunt Moe’s dreams, which really can’t be healthy for anybody. I think the key lesson of Subete ga F ni Naru will be that an obsession with Magata Shiki is doomed to end badly; more on that later. For now, Souhei is ends up having to act as the sensible adult of the two simply by default, even though most of his emotional stability is actually just a tobacco dependency. Moe, in comparison, spends most of the episode being extraordinarily rude, quite insensitive, and generally faux pas with a plate of cookies. But, to be slightly Doylist, somebody is needed to play this obnoxious role, or else we’d never be able to dig up all the information about the dark past of the Magata clan. Why do you exist, Moe? To advance the plot!
The butler, in the dining room, with the wrench
We learn much, especially about the co-tenants of Shiki’s mind. Turns out she did have a twin, but it was a fraternal brother, and he lives inside her head now (did someone mention Kara no Kyoukai last week? Yeah). And there’s the doll, Magata Michiru, also assimilated into the hive mind; you may recall that Michiru is also the name of last week’s robot. The only one who couldn’t ‘escape’. Curious. There’s plenty of material for speculation here, but for me the greater mystery is starting to be Moe, because there seems to be a significant backstory to her mood and her actions. Subete ga F ni Naru is doing a great deal to juxtapose Moe and Shiki, but to what end? What trauma is buried in her past? How did her parents die? I suspect if we figure out one of these characters, we’ll figure out the other.
The sighs of the Nietzsche wannabe
Less straightforward than The Mystery of the Dead Parents is the extended dialogue between Moe and Souhei in the second half of the episode. Not only do emotions run high during the entire exchange, making it reflection of the values of our two leads, they also talk about some fairly abstract, existential issues about identity, the Singularity, human nature, and mental development. There’s quite a bit to unpack, lots of ideas without any real conclusiveness, not helped by the fact that Souhei likes to be oblique and generally non-commital. To extrapolate, he has a bit of a nihilistic streak, but not enough to simply drop everything (including, I assume, a nice and tenured academic position) and go wild (is it cowardice?). And Moe is his opposite, impulsive and prone to draw snap conclusions (is it brash naiveté?). We’ve seen these traits from either of them before (hurrah for consistent characterisation), but when they come into conflict they are thrown into the sharpest relief.
For those of you who have found Souhei and Moe ‘unlikeable’ so far, I’m beginning to think that there may be a point behind it. Both are ugly humans in their own special ways, with an emphasis on their various vices and weaknesses. As is often the case with real people; we are judgmental creatures, and negatives leave the strongest impressions. But compare Shiki, whom the two have distinct opinions about. Now, I consider Magata Shiki mostly as a crazy sociopath. But is what we’ve seen of her so grotesque, so chilling, that she, so to speak, breaks the scale? Is her mind so completely alien to sensible people like you and I that she becomes ‘pure’, a singular being in and of herself? Is this the ubermensch, someone who sheep like us, bound by social norms, cannot understand and can only either follow or scorn? And if you mix Souhei and Moe together, would they not make something like Magata Shiki?
Looking ahead ~ the cult of Magata Shiki
I said for last episode that I’d be disappointed if nobody died in the weekly intermission and, yes, I wag my finger with disapproval at you, Subete ga F ni Naru. But thankfully, while the stakes weren’t raised there, we can always count on tension to rise from the usual sources: young Shiki gets even creepier! Just a normal girl? No, she’s befriended by cats; she’s a witch! And like Shakespeare’s witches, she has the tragic hero, our Macbeth, under her thrall, whispering dark truths. Or, more accurately, perhaps she is Lady Macbeth. ‘Don’t you deserve more? You can have more. You just need to take it. Any less is weakness.’
The murder mystery is interesting enough, but I do think more compelling is the darkness of Magata Shiki, and the fall of her ‘uncle’. It invokes horror and pity in the way that tragedy does. I don’t exactly look forward to gazing deeper into the abyss prepared for that poor man next week but, of course, I can’t tear my eyes away.
Well I guess I’ve watched the most interesting episode of this mystery series…
Though I’m getting annoyed with abrupt flashbacks.
Because I had enough of those flashbacks disturbing the flow of the timeline of the current plot taking place. It’s been like that from the premier episode, and I would like for the scriptwriter to stop writing these kind of flashbacks. Never have I ever seen so many abrupt flashbacks in the anime world.
Looks like I’m the ‘Show With Too Many Flashbacks’ blogger this season. Concrete Revolutio does the same thing.
Sorry if I insulted you.
In truth, every anime show needs to have some flashbacks (but not in an abrupt way).
So it’s good to see you blogging each episode with some deep insights about the characters’ way of living in this world whether it’s real or virtual.
Which makes me wondering…
Are you involved with philosophical studies? Because the way you write this episode reflects you as a philosophy student before.
I’ll still be impressed on the way you write even if that isn’t true.
No offense taken in the slightest. I’m just pointing out that abrupt flashbacks may not be that uncommon in anime.
I was never a formal student of philosophy; I’m sure a real philosopher can go into much more depth than the shallow discussions I present.
The flashbacks are fine as long as they are resolved and being done for a purpose. If they’re just being included to be “artistic” then I’ll have to agree with you.
>] “But is what we’ve seen of her so grotesque, so chilling, that she, so to speak, breaks the scale? Is her mind so completely alien to sensible people like you and I that she becomes ‘pure’, a singular being in and of herself? Is this the ubermensch, someone who sheep like us, bound by social norms, cannot understand and can only either follow or scorn?”
“When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you. – Friedrich Nietzsche
That, right there, perfectly encompasses the disgusting character that is Magata Shiki.
Magata Shiki doesn’t merit enough feeling from me to love her or hate her. I simply find her existence as a character utterly revolting.
It’s a strange sensation, to be sure, and I rightly can’t remember the last time I’ve ever felt like this. I mentioned in my very first comment on Subete that characters like Souhei and Shiki come across as dead to me, and to that I stand, but that doesn’t quite do Shiki appropriate justice. Particularly with respect to this episode, whenever I watched her, it just felt like she was always trying to draw you in to her, like a vacuum of despair and emptiness that corrupts everyone around her.
Make no mistake, her purity is the single most terrifying thing about her. She has no inner foundation with which to fall back on her to keep her in line, hence why she can seduce her uncle and have her parents killed without so much as batting an eye.
I almost don’t even want to watch the next episode just so I don’t have to see her anymore. Oh, what the hell am I talking about? Of course I’m going to see how this proverbial train wreck plays itself out.
Ah, so you consider her a monster, then? Interesting. But, for the sake of the argument, if she’s so ‘revolting’ that it becomes hard to watch her, would that not mean you fall on the ‘hate’ side?
Not at all, because to hate someone, you have to have a certain amount of emotional investment in them to begin with. I have no such thing with Shiki. As I said in my very first comment on Subete, I feel like she’s dead inside, so what incentive is there for me to make any investment in a character like that? There isn’t any.
That being said however, none of that is an impediment towards my finding her character revolting. Magata Shiki’s actions; the way she thinks, how she behaves towards others, and especially how callously she goes about her life are all things I find reprehensible. They speak to me of a life consumed by despair, one that I absolutely will never acknowledge as a life well lived.
If it helps, think of it as my having no particular feelings towards Shiki herself, rather it’s her actions and her life as a whole that I have a problem with.
Finally, I don’t think of Magata Shiki as a monster. I don’t dismiss her that easily. She’s very much a human being, simply one that lived an empty shell of a life, IMO, and one that never knew what it meant to really be alive.
I didn’t mean ‘monster’ as anything dismissive; after all, Nietzsche’s warning about the abyss was for those who hunt monsters. If anything, the abyss implies unfathomable depth.
Funny about how you feel that Shiki is dead inside. She’s full of dead people inside, what with all the ones she’s emulating in her brain. I know that’s not what you meant, and I don’t fully share the same opinion about her character, but it amused me all the same.
Also loosely equating a child’s mind with multiple personality disorder is pretty ignorant for someone as intelligent as Souhei. To me, not only is that intellectually pretentious, it’s also very reductive. It’s ironic that he calls out Moe for making leaps in logic.
Wait, when did he do this? Nobody’s ever said that Shiki has a disorder.
He was making an analogy that children have multiple personality disorder, and that it’s humanity’s natural state, before they end up conforming to the adult world and losing their freedom, so through syllogism, that was his basis for Dr. Magata being pure and free. Quite a big leap of logic on Souhei’s part.
I really don’t think multiple personality disorder works like that. Souhei merely posits that, like Shiki, children do not have a set personality, which makes Shiki’s many faces (not a disorder, as far as I can tell) more true to how humans should be.
We seem to be saying the same thing based on Souhei’s comments, and I think we’re both agreed that that’s not how MPD works.
My thoughts are also similar to yours, children do not have a formed personality, but this is where out opinions diverge. Souhei’s theorizing is a leap of logic to say that Dr. Magata is closer to human’s natural state since it’s a stunted and damaged version of a child’s state of mind. Equating having different faces to a child’s unformed mind is rather reductive on his part (or rather the writer’s). Adults are more likely to have different faces, or masks, in comparison to a child.
It’s also more natural to have personality form itself after childhood, regardless of society’s hand in forming it, then to have a warped or stunted version of who you were as a child, which is more likely the case for Dr. Magata, so his analogy is inaccurate, that she’s closer to human’s natural state.
Fair enough, though Souhei’s not saying that Shiki’s stunted or damaged at all.
No, that’s what I’m saying/what most psychiatrist would likely conclude.
Sorry, didn’t mean to reply to you, was supposed to be a new thread.
Although hazy, that posturing and those clothes, the man following Moe could be Souhei?
I usually don’t mind characters like Nishinosono, because I like characters that don’t beat around the bush, but she’s rather uncouth for someone brought up affluently and with such (supposedly) high intellect.
Not to mention, tendencies for aggression/violence.
Could be a direct result of that affluent upbringing. Kind of spoilt, perhaps. And, in her defence, obsessing over Magata Shiki will make anyone a worse person.
Agreed, affluence doesn’t necessarily mean a good up bringing these days. Especially since her parents died when she was younger, all sorts of factors may contribute to her lack of certain social nuances.
And there’s also the fact that children of the wealthy may often display selfishness since they’ve grown up in such circumstances where they usually get what they want and depending on the parents, are brought up without any course corrections.
I had the understanding that she came from old money, not new money. Unlike what pop-dramas and films present frequently, those that are aristocratic in social standing as well as wealth are usually taught to behave a certain way.
Although, even with that aside, her behavior is still rash for someone who’s supposed to be so well-read and intelligent.
Well, her parents are dead, so ehhhh upbringing.
Looks like the knife used to kill Shiki’s parents is the same one that the director was killed with. Interesting.
Pure evil. Ahahahahahaha.
Magata Shiki is nothing compared to Griffith. If you want to see evil, read Berserk.
Ah, but isn’t Souhei’s point about Magata Shiki that she’s Beyond Good and Evil?
Ah, more Nietzsche, eh?
Well, to be clear, I half agree, half disagree with Souhei’s implication. I agree in the sense that Shiki acts as if she’s beyond the moral boundaries of good and evil, but that’s in large part due to the fact that she has no moral foundation on which to differentiate the two in the first place. All Magata Shiki cares about is herself.
I disagree in the sense in that even if she acts that way, she’s most certainly not beyond the consequences that inhabit the moral ends of good and evil that exist in others.
What I don’t understand is why people find her creepy. She has conversations with parts of herself. So what? I do it all the time.
Even if you’re fine with Shiki emulating dead people in her head (far beyond just talking to herself), she was a thirteen year old girl who seduced her married uncle and then tempts him to murder. I’m not okay with that.
See some of my later quotes. Magata Shiki is a relatively happy and ordinary person compared to some of the literature I’ve read. The world of the Second Apocalypse series makes Westeroes, the setting of the Song of Ice and Fire, a sort of idyllic happy-land by comparison.
So I finally succumbed and watched the live action series. Moe is so much more likable there. Spoiled, but spoiled sweet.
But dear lord, Magata Shiki is terrifying in both incarnations. Both chillingly indifferent to the world around them, but with a different brand of sociopathic madness stapled to that inevitable god complex. I had inklings of sympathy towards her in the live action, but this one just sends shudders up my spine. Somehow, she bears a resemblance to the ariminally asymptomatic brains of Sibyl System or more specifically, how she “feels displaced and deviant within the structure of society itself.”
I might drop this soon (because it’s hazardous to my mental health! Terribad), but rest assured, I will be back for your insightful recaps.
This episode was ok. It didn’t feel like it went anywhere, or furthered the mystery except through flashbacks and exposition. it was really just two present day scenes of people sitting in rooms talking exposition.
Moe came off as very pushy towards the director’s wife, maybe a touch unrealistically, since she didn’t bother heeding what Souhei was saying, but the bigger problem with that scene was it was very exposition-y, just to have the wife give out information without any realistic pushback (considering her husband was just murdered).
And do these people know anything about the rules of a crime scene! Fetching that bag from the helicopter may be tampering with evidence!
and no one seems realistically worried that there’s a murderer roaming about.
The conversation with Moe and Souhei struck me as odd. With Moe getting visibly upset, Souhei continues delving. I don’t really think what he did was inappropriate in any way, but Moe, because she was becoming upset, and was unable to think about any logical connections that Souhei was bringing up, made quite the assumptions.
This episode definitely added more characterization to them, add far more depth than the initial episodes.
The first thing I thought of when Magata Shiki gave that guy the knife was Seihai-kun “Here’s a friendship strengthening tool!”. This sort of undermined the impact…
Hypothesis: the director locked up Shiki’s sister in the room for 15 years. And the real Magata Shiki took the place of her sister. Since the only way of communicating with Shiki was through video cam and through the program that she made herself, NO ONE KNEW of the switch.
Then the director went in and cut up Shiki’s sister and put her on the trolley. And after that Shiki killed the director.
Ohohohohohohohohohohoho. Personally I don’t think Magata Shiki is actually dead.
Dude just slept with a 13-year-old girl. What the hell.
Please, let’s not be charitable about this. This is a thirteen-year old girl who has not only seduced her married uncle, but coaxed him into become a pedophile and committing incest all in one sweep. And as if that weren’t enough, now she’s coercing him into committing murder, but not just any random murder, oh no. She wants him to murder his own family, both of whom likely have absolutely no idea what’s coming their way and, as far as we can see, have done absolutely nothing to deserve such a gruesome fate.
I mean, really, what words can do justice to all that?
So far as I can tell from the story told by the director’s wife, it might have been the uncle that killed Shiki’s parents. Yeah Shiki confessed. Sort of. Or maybe not. She claimed that the murderer was a doll, and one interpretation is that she herself is that doll. But following the same logic that a human who succumbs totally to outside manipulation is effectively a doll (“puppet” might be a better translation), the flashbacks have shown us that Shiki totally manipulated her uncle. So maybe she views him as a doll.
I had thought that Shiki was sent to the lab for confinement some time after the murder. But the room where the dinner+murder happened is the bookcase room inside the lab, right? Does that mean that Shiki never left the lab after the murder?
There was a trial, so she should have at least gone to that, unless they did it over a camera as well, which would be a bit unorthodox.
The problem is the director, whom Shiki seduced, is also the one in charge of her jail. Between the two of them it would be easy to do a good old switch-aroo. Lock someone else in the room, chain them to a room or something, and NO ONE ELSE WOULD KNOW for the 15 years she was supposedly there. Those interviews of Shiki on web cam? They made a replica of the room somewhere else.
The reason Shiki’s room is so clean is a day or two before everyone arrived on the island the director went in, killed the person, cut her up, cleaned it up and removed all of the evidence, and placed the body on the trolley. Then he went away and he picked up Shiki’s sister, when in reality he picked up the real Shiki.
“Between the two of them it would be easy to do a good old switch-aroo. Lock someone else in the room, chain them to a room or something, and NO ONE ELSE WOULD KNOW for the 15 years she was supposedly there.”
Why put anyone in the room at all? If you are faking the video feed, all you need is the robot capable of putting food scraps down the waste disposal and returning the empty plates via the dumbwaiter. That turns the puzzle from “how do you clean up the blood and get rid of the body parts?” into “how do you get the dolled-up dead torso into the room so it can be discovered?”.
The problem is the dolled up torso needs to be “fresh” and “smelly” otherwise it won’t work. A dead body would quickly decompose into bones. Much easier to leave a living body in the room until it’s ready to be dismembered.
Also: no arms = no fingers, and thus no fingerprints. Unless they have Shiki’s DNA on file (which most likely they don’t) there’s no way to confirm the dead body on the trolley is her.
How do they keep the person alive and fed? They have a robot who can open doors and pick up things and remove trash….
Makes me wonder: what else can that robot do?
Shiki Magata’s motivation for all of this? She wanted to see if she could get away with the perfect chain of murders because: why not?
We will never understand the motives behind the unreasonable acts she has done to her parents and her uncle…
Though one thing’s for sure is that her ideal world of being the one and only Magata Shiki is to be absolute as she’s a really brilliant genius that’s close to God. That’s what I’ve learned from the live-action one. So no matter how she’s younger and less authorized than her parents, she is willing to kill her parents for the sake of…being her own self (if I’m not mistaken).
To me, that’s creepier than what Freddie Kruger or Chucky or any creepy villain of horror films does.
If you want creepy, read the Second Apocalypse series by Bakker. Here are some quotes:
Love is lust made meaningful. Hope is hunger made human.
… the ends of the earth shall be wracked by the howls of the wicked, and the idols shall be cast down and shattered, stone against stone. And the demons of the idolaters shall hold open their mouths, like starving lepers, for no man living will answer their outrageous hunger. —16:4:22 THE WITNESS OF FANE
Though you lose your soul, you shall win the world.
And they forged counterfeits from our frame, creatures vile and obscene, who hungered only for violent congress. These beasts they loosed upon the land, where they multiplied, no matter how fierce the Ishroi who hunted them. And soon Men clamored at our gates, begging sanctuary, for they could not contend with the creatures. “They wear your face,” the penitents cried. “This calamity is your issue.” But we were wroth, and turned them away, saying, “These are not our Sons. And you are not our Brothers.” -Isûphiryas
More quotes from the Second Apocalypse series (if you want good old fashioned beyond Biblical levels of creepiness).
The surviving heathens were strung from trees, and in the evening light they hanged, like drowned men floating up from the deeps. And though years passed, none dared touch them. They sagged from the nails that fixed them, collapsed into heaps at the trunks. And to anyone who listened, the bones would whisper a revelation…the secret of battle. Indomitable conviction. Unconquerable belief.
“I know nothing of your Afterlife. I know nothing of your Gods or their greed for glory. But I do know this: In days to come, widows shall curse me as they weep! Field shall go to seed! Sons and daughters shall be sold into slavery! Fathers shall die desolate, knowing that their line is extinct. This night, I shall carve my mark into the Nansurium, and thousands shall cry out for want of my mercy!”
Creepy children (and this one isn’t even the creepiest):
“He would look into my eyes and say impossible things… hateful things.”
“How do you mean?”
“He told me once I punished mother not to avenge my slavery, but because… because…”
“Because I was broken inside,” she said her lips set in a grim and brittle line. “That I had suffered so much so long that kindness had become the only cruelty I could not endure- kindness! – and so suffering would be all I… all I would ever know…”
She trailed, turned her face away to swat at the tears clotting her eyes.
“So I told him,” she continued avoiding Achamanian’s gaze. “I told him that I had never known kindness because everything- everything! I had been given had been just another way to take- to steal! ‘You cannot stroke a beaten dog’, he replied, ‘because it sees only the raised hand….’ A beaten dog! Can you believe it? What kind of little boy calls his grown sister a beaten dog?”
A Dunyain, the old Wizard thought in unspoken reply.
She must have glimpsed something of the sorrow in his eyes: the outrage in her expression, which had been helpless in the face of memory, turned in sudden fury upon him.
“You pity me?” she cried, as if her pain was something with its own outrage and volition. “Pity?”
“Don’t, Mimara. Don’t do this…”
“Do what? What??”
“Make Inriltas true.”
This smacked the fury from her expression. She stared at him speechless, her body jerking as her legs carried her thoughtlessly forward, her eyes wide with a kind of desolate horror.
Not to diminish the characterisation (full disclosure: I never got into Prince of Nothing), but this boy they talk about in your quoted text sounds simply like a jackass.
That’s because Mimara left before he went into puberty.
Also, Inriltas isn’t the worst:
The Shrial Knight watched with eyes that could only blink.
A young boy with shaggy blond hair played alone on the parapet before him. When he stepped out of the shadow his mane flashed near-white in the sun. But he was filthy otherwise, as though he had only animal wilderness to rear him.
“So what happens with the Ordeal?” the boy said, speaking to someone the Knight could not see.
“War,” the boy replied as if answering his own question. “but not just any war….”
The boy did a whimsical cartwheel, his limbs arcing with acrobatic precision. he grinned at his unearned expertise.
“Father told me. In his own words, he said, ‘This is how it will happen, Kel.”
The Shrial knight tried to scream.
“Well, mostly in his words. Some of my words too.”
He paused as if listening to an inaudible answer.
“Secret words- he even said so. Words that no one- no one- can hear.”
He walked like an acrobat following a rope, heel to toe, heel to toe. Despite his diminutive frame, he seemed to tower above the ink pool of his shadow.
“No. He never told me to kill anyone. But then, why would he have to? The words were secret…”
For the first time the boy turned to look at the watching Knight.
Of course he would expect me to kill anyone listening.”
The boy skipped toward the paralyzed man, careful to avoid the pooling blood. He paused to peer down at him, hands on knees. His woolly head blotted out the sun’s glare.
At last he addressed the Knight directly. You heard everything, didn’t you?”
He leaned low before his face, reached into his eye – almost.
Again, the Shrial Knight tried to scream- but his eyes could only blink.
Somehow, impossibly, the boy pulled a silver skewer from beneath his left eye, as if the Knight’s head was a sheath. He dandled the thing against his face, left bird-tracks of blood high on the cheek.
“That was supposed to be secret…”
And the little boy grinned, an angel with the face of a demon.
Inriltas might be deranged and lunatic, but no one, NO ONE who’s read the books likes Kelmomas. He makes Magata Shiki appear happy and normal.
He scuttled and he scuttled, stealing glimpses through white slits, catching conversations on drafts. And after a time the darkness became what seemed real, and the illuminated world became naught but a congregation of impotent phantoms. He would exult, revel in the joy that is secrecy and deceit.
But no matter how hard-hard-hard he tried, he could only hold on to the fun for so long. Sometimes it would slip away drip by drip, boredom accumulating like knotted hair in a brush. He would bump around feeling hollow, doing his best to battle his stinging eyes and quivering lips…
And he would cry like a little boy for real…
He had overheard enough to know that his mother had not been captured- and there was a time when he had wandered the labyrinth looking for some sign of her.
The realization that she was nowhere within the Palace was hard in coming.
How? How could she abandon him? After all his work, his toil, isolating her from distractions, infiltrating her, possessing her= making her love…
How could she leave without her little-boy?
Some nights, he even dared creep into her bed. He would breathe through her pillows and his head would spin for her scent… Mommy.
She was missing… He could not think this without gasping in terror, so he thought it rarely…
But he did not grow lonely- not for real real. Even though he was but one, isolate boy, he was not alone. Sammi was with with him- the secret Samarmas- and they played as they always played
But they knew, with a cunning not so different from that of mundane children, that he who covets his brothers’ power also covets his things. They knew that sooner or later Uncle Holy would take up residence in their Palace, thinking it his own. Sooner or later he would sleep…
And for all the alacrity of his senses, for all the profundity of his Strength, the Holy Shriah of the Thousand Temples would eventually err in his assumptions and fall to their childish knife.
They were as much Dunyain as he. And they had time.
All they were missing was meat.