Episode 5

Episode 6

「鍵 / 裏技」 (Kagi / Urawaza)
“Locks / Back Door”

So much to unravel in two episodes. There’s a lot of unpacking to do so here we go.

The first thing I want to address are peaks, valleys, locks, images, and backdoors. As it so happens, not every person with the ability to see into someone’s memories can create an image. Images are the visual creations each of them makes so they can navigate people’s memories easily. I assume images are used so you can differentiate between yourself and the memory you’re experiencing. It’s a rare ability and very sought out by the people at the helm of the Company. Now peaks are regarded as a space in your subconscious that needs to be protected, especially from other crushers. Valleys are abysses holding a person’s deepest fears and weaknesses. Because these mind readers exist in this world together, they use ‘locks’ to protect their peaks from one another. Should a peak ever be exposed, that person could easily get crushed (become a vegetable) because it makes up the consciousness. Now a backdoor…that’s a new and interesting concept. Tsukasa explains it as his very own technique. He left a little piece of his image (the visual he uses to navigate into people’s minds) in Hayashi’s peak way back when. And with that, he was able to enter Hayashi’s peak without searching for it or looking for his lock. It’s a nifty little trick and it comes in handy later on.

Am I getting too technical? Time to look at the relationships between pets and their handlers then.

Some pets are more powerful than other essentially (in regards to abilities not ranking). Satoru and Hiroki, for example, are both extremely strong pets but they were raised differently.

It seems Satoru was deeply cared for by Hayashi, who taught him everything he knew about the Company. From the history of the Grand Master’s slaying to the various ways he can escape the ‘lookouts.’ It’s no wonder Satoru is continuing his work as a Company pet diligently awaiting for Hayashi’s return. Meanwhile, Hiroki, cared for by Tsukasa, is raised in a different manner. He’s extremely co-dependent and his abilities are unchecked. He’s the true representation of a ‘pet’, just as the Company’s CEO told Tsukasa in his valley. When you train a pet right, they are a pitiable creature, always awaiting their master’s return, even if they’ve been forgotten. They would die waiting. Had Tsukasa not returned, Hiroki would probably have lost all sense of purpose.

There’s a stark difference between Tsukasa’s teachings and Hayashi’s. One is taught to think and move independently from the pack, whereas the other is taught to obey every command.

However, Satoru is still young and naive. Even though he’s been equipped with the appropriate tools to survive this world, he’s susceptible to people. Jin is a good example. True he’s calculating and observant of her intentions, however, he is completely taken by her charms and looks. I wonder what he’ll do with the Company’s proposal to ‘promote’ him to becoming an employee.

Jin ‘s role within the Company is not extremely clear with the exception that she’s part of the head of the family. Right now, it seems she’s doing the grunt work which is why she went to Satoru. But her innocent 24-year-old self has a pretty sinister ‘hobby.’ These babies she speaks of look a lot like crushed children… She dresses them like dolls and feeds them to keep them alive. Although we’ve only seen one, Jin and her cousin refer to ‘making more babies’ implying that they’ve created many before.

Now the most interesting thing within these two episodes is the story between Tsukasa and Hayashi. Tsukasa was Hayashi’s apprentice before Satoru came along. And for a long time, after Hayashi was ordered to watch over Satoru, Tsukasa pined over Hayashi hoping he would return to his side. But that never happened and until now, Tsukasa’s held a strong grudge towards his former teacher. Tsukasa takes Hayashi into the woods and away from Satoru. And it’s here that the two come face to face and finally discuss the issues surrounding their relationship. In the beginning, Hayashi’s concern is about Satoru, until he realizes Tsukasa wishes to harm him. He uses his image of the ‘wind’ to get into Tsukasa’s memories. This results in failed attempts at changing his painful memories, enraging Tsukasa further.

One thing I am confused about is that Hayashi went out of his way to get into Tsukasa’s peak. However, once Tsukasa used the ‘backdoor’ (the puddle) to link their two peaks, Hayashi was concerned with Tsukasa being crushed. Did he not intend to crush him himself when he got into his peak? Why show concern for the boy at the brink of losing his own mind?

There are still lots of things up in the air here, but I can’t help but zone in on Hayashi. What will happen with him now that he’s been crushed? Will Satoru be strong enough to carry him out of this state as Hiroki did for Tsukasa? Actually, will Satoru ever get the chance to see Hayashi? If it ever comes to light that the mentor he’s been waiting for has now been crushed, what will happen to Tsukasa? Satoru is pretty strong I hear but we’ve yet to see his work like we have Hiroki’s or Tsukasa’s.

Well, onto the next. If you can’t tell, I’m fully invested.

4 Comments

  1. I’m with you, I think Hayashi is the closest thing to a sympathetic character this story had. But a lot of my readers seem to strongly disagree.

    As for why Hayashi was concerned, my take is that he didn’t intend to crush Tsukasa – he intended to alter his memories so Tsukasa would agree to come with he and Satoru when they took off. Sort of like what Hiroki and Tsusaka did to Kenji.

    1. Your guess is the same as mine; I doubt Hayashi could easily crush a prior apprentice. More likely he was trying to “save” Tsukasa which understandably enraged him. Tsukasa likely wouldn’t have been as emotional if Hayashi just wanted to crush him.

      As for Hayashi’s survival, I guess the question here is if the story is more about Hayashi or Satoru? I expect the story is more Satoru’s. Hayashi seems like a decent person who clearly regrets the evil he contributed to but Satoru has the potential to improve further unburdened by that sort of guilt.

      Danny

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