Is it okay to hate Mirai now? Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 04

tokyo magnitude 8 04 yuuki mirai keeps throwing her phone away
Yes, really. I don’t want to justify how she was with Yuuki. I don’t want to make excuses for her citing the indignities she suffered throughout the day. I don’t want to make the same arguments about her being a kid in the beginnings of a most awkward adolescence. I don’t want to even make the structural excuse of her role to contrast the good in the other characters, and allow Yuuki and Mari demonstrate their powers: to be beatifically child-like, and to be the most responsible of adults, respectively (these characters would need a person to play off with).
So I give everyone permission (not like anybody really needs one from me) to go ahead and hate Mirai.

Only I won’t join you.

Why do I love Macross? Is it because it’s the best anime ever made? No, not at all. The best kinds of shows don’t really need me to love and champion them. They kind of speak for themselves. I don’t mind it that not a lot of people write about Legend of the Galactic Heroes the same way usagijen minds how not a lot of people write about Skip Beat [->]. Even if LotGH isn’t really for everyone, it’s very difficult to dismiss it as an inferior work in relation to other shows.

And so Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, this episode is dominated by the distasteful behavior of its lead. While this doesn’t really make me consider it less of a show, it’s worth considering. Mari isn’t an anti-hero that has a powerful charisma, like a Lelough Lamperouge or a Yagami Light. Her immaturity and lack of good sense isn’t compensated for by attractive features or character design like how Ranka Lee gets by.

In short, Mirai needs my compassion. The other characters (from other shows) I mentioned make a play for my admiration and they win it to varying degrees, but what Mirai gets from me is a compassion that I imagine Mari would give. This isn’t a statement that she deserves compassion, only that she needs it and it just so happens that I’m willing to give it.

tokyo magnitude 8 04 mirai struggling to keep her shit together

But enough about me. Consider the indignities a young girl can suffer in a day:

The discomfort of holding in one’s shit.
Rudeness of adults and the inability to stand up for one’self after being cut into in line.
Having to use a paper toilet when shit happens.
Running out of one’s preferred food.
Mud on your food ration packet.
  • The discomfort of holding in one’s shit in public.
  • Rudeness of adults and the inability to stand up for one’self after being cut into in line (while desperately holding in one’s shit).
  • Having to use a paper toilet when the shit does happen (in public).
  • Running out of one’s preferred food (cup ramen).
  • Having such food you couldn’t get spilled on you.
  • Diarrhea-colored mud on your food ration packet.
  • Having your toes trampled on by strangers’ muddy shoes.

That is one shitty day, and it’s far from over. At some point during that multiple-string combo of indignities Mirai gets a view of body bags stacked, and loaded into a truck. I wonder if these deaths give her a sense of perspective towards her indignities. She’s suffered these small privations, now knowing that she hasn’t paid the price others have. She still has the rest of her life to live.

tokyo magnitude 8 04 body bags

But she did get a sense of perspective. However, it showed up differently than I hoped. She then became afraid that she would be alone because her parents may be in body bags somewhere. And what does she do with the perspective she gained? She couldn’t really lash out at the world anymore (it already broke), so she took it out on her favorite thing: her mobile phone.

While Mari was asking around, getting their bearings so to speak, Yuuki was trying to make conversation with his sister.

It’s quite interesting to note how Yuuki asks for support: he gives it first, even if indirectly, by cheerful talk.

Yuuki is concerned about the plant they planted in school. This is a rather heavyhanded contrast to Mirai’s self-centeredness. But Yuuki may just be afraid to ask about what he really wants to know: if their parents are inside some bodybags in places unkowable to them.

She throws her phone away, Yuuki gives it back. She throws it away again. Yuuki gives it back, then she throws it away without looking… And THEN, Mirai blames everything on Yuuki. Way out of line; Yuuki could only respond in tears,

I just wanted to see it. I wanted to see the bridge. You said they wouldn’t take us anywhere even though it’s summer, so I thought I’d go to see the bridge with you.

There’s a place in hell for people who can be cruel to such good-heartedness from such a sweet little boy. Does Mirai know what she’s doing? Yuuki runs away in tears. I can’t even tell what’s going on with Mirai at this point, but she does end up looking for him and almost loses Mari in the process.

We see Yuuki, wandering towards the Tokyo Tower, and as an aftershock hits my heart breaks just a bit seeing Mirai’s phone in his hand. This just kills me.

Mirai catches up to him, taking his hand to tell him they can find their way back. But even Yuuki knows what his sister lashed out to him with: that they don’t know if their house is still standing even if they do know their way back. This was why he wanted to go up the Tokyo Tower, so he could see.

Wouldn’t you also feel better if you knew it was? [okay]

And then the cat’s out of the bag. They’re afraid that their mom and dad are already dead, and they couldn’t stop crying now, wailing it all out and attracting concerned strangers the way Mirai’s grim ‘I’m not a such a child that I’d need the indulgence of an adult’ act never could. While Mirai was rather trampled on by adults during her litany of indignities, the kind of adults who showed concern here are much older, senior citizens perhaps.

And as if by magic, they cried themselves out of their abject despondence and misery. Yuuki’s indestructible again and even Mirai is genki and optimistic. It’s amazing what a good cry can do. I don’t think I shall underestimate it.

tokyo magnitude 8 04 tokyo tower falls mirai yuuki

Then the Tokyo Tower falls. The show makes the statement, “Tokyo’s really broken now.” Yuuki will no longer be able to climb it and use it as a vantage point to assess the damage on their house.

Debris would’ve killed Mirai, but Yuuki saves her, knocking her out of the way of falling chunks of Tokyo Tower. AND BY APPEARING AS IF HE’S DEAD LYING STILL FACE DOWN IN THE DEBRIS, HE THEN TROLLS HER for great justice. It’s a cruel, cruel thing to do. I can’t say that she didn’t have it coming.

tokyo magnitude 8 04 yuuki playing possumJUST AS PLANNED

Their eventual reunion with Mari, where we see her treat Yuuki’s cuts and bruises forcibly tells me how much of a difference it makes when there’s no adult to supervise these kids. They really could’ve gotten themselves killed, with their fear and nerves and lack of adult sense. I leave this episode disappointed in Mirai, for being even more like herself than usual, and for being the story when something as amazing as the Tokyo Tower falling happened. Then again, the great thing about Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 isn’t how the world just broke, but rather how a contingent family lives through this, their broken and still breaking world.

It’s anti-climactic, but let us go back to Mirai’s shitty morning. Mari suspected that Mirai’s upset stomach (indigestion) was caused by the cake they had the previous day. otou-san in his work on Mirai as a character noted the symbolism behind the sliced cake her mother bought for her own birthday represented the fragmentation of the Onosawa family, while I note that Mari’s birthday cake for her daughter is round (though an imperfect circle, ruined by the earthquake!) represents Mari’s family being held together by love. Mirai ate from that cake, and I noted in episode o2 that she wasn’t ready to be treated like she was a good sister, as a good person; she now clearly shows (via symbolism) how she isn’t ready for the kind of love and familial togetherness represented by the round cake that wasn’t really meant for her, only given due to the generosity of Mirai; the cake she failed to digest.

Further Reading

The case for Mirai (otou-san 2009/07/29)

Mirai eats round cake [->]

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in analysis, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Is it okay to hate Mirai now? Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 04

  1. usagijen says:

    Then again, the great thing about Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 isn’t how the world just broke, but rather how a contingent family lives through this, their broken and still breaking world.

    Agreed. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is most likely sending us the positive message that even if the world breaks (like what happened here), what matters most is that we remain intact, that peace and contentment is found within and external forces can only affect you if you allow yourself to. Also, Mirai would have to look inside and get to know herself first before she can really grow up. Not knowing who you are is tantamount to having a skewed sense of vision like that of Mirai — hating the world just because, hating other people because of how they treat you when in fact you’re not really living up to how you want to be treated, not knowing what you really want and end up being discontented with almost everything.

    • ghostlightning says:

      I had thought the sight of bodybags would leave a powerful enough impression. It didn’t quite work the way I expected it would, after all their concern is survival and death images only triggered their worry about their parents.

      It’s not discussed enough how Mari is making all of this work somehow. She’s a single mother of what seems to be a very young child. She’s now responsible for two older kids with a much wider variance in behavior. This is what I mean when I say that the family in the story is ‘contingent.’

      I think she’s doing a great job, never letting Mirai’s behavior get to her, and at the same time being there for our young wet-blanket.

  2. Captain Arepa says:

    Shit happens.

    • sadakups says:

      Exactly. Episode 4 can be retitled by that. Really, Mirai literally and figuratively had a very shitty day. She’s really having so much baggage in the last few days that I personally cannot blame her for lashing out at her younger brother for her misfortunes.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Shit is a good metaphor for indignity. It’s the most intimate kind of ‘dirty’ to human beings. We take shits, and it’s undignified that we are responsible for such.

      Consider the design of the modern toilet, and how it ‘flushes away’ the shit as if it was never there, in an instant!

      The less we have to deal with our feces, the happier we are.

      So, let us look at Mirai’s outbursts at Yuuki as wasteful, non-productive emotion. These are the emotional equivalents of feces. She’s dumping her shit on Yuuki, and that’s the part of the indignity that he puts up with being around her.

      It takes a lot to faze him. Every time Mirai throws her shit around (her mobile), he’d gladly pick it up for her.

      So it’s really awful of Mirai to blame everything on him like that. Yuuki says even he knows that even if they find their way home, their house may not even be standing. And he’s in grade school. So I think even Mirai should know how unfair it is to blame Yuuki for anything, ANYTHING.

  3. ScrambledEggs says:

    Wow! I always enjoy reading your posts. Rather than simply recounting “this is what happened, and this is how I feel about it”, you manage to bring out a lot of stuff I would never have thought of or noticed on my own.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Thank you. I think the comments section offers even more stuff. Viewers sometimes show up here and share things I wouldn’t even imagine. Comments are the best so thank you for sharing yours ^_^

  4. sadakups says:

    “Yuuki trolls Mirai for great justice.” Lol.

    • ghostlightning says:

      It was a cold, cold move. I didn’t blame Mirai for hitting Yuuki repeatedly afterward.

      But yeah, I lol’d.

    • I don’t think Yuuki did that just to mess with her. The poor kid probably got a fucking concussion from all that concrete pelting his head…hence the dazed, mellow look on his face when he came to.

      • ghostlightning says:

        It would be like how Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character milked his injury for maximum drama in the football field in Jerry Maguire.

        He didn’t plan ALL of that, just taking opportunity and good-natured, but cold and cruel messing with his sister.

  5. X10A_Freedom says:

    Tokyo Tower is probably the most overrated thing represented by anime. I didn’t find it particularly tall, or pretty. I didn’t even bother paying up to go up – the Government Buildings at Shinjuki does the job for free!

    I’m not sure whether Yuuki trolled her or not. It could go either way, something which we’ll never know. It does take a bit to catch your breath after a dive like that afterall.

    Mirai’s indignity, shitty day and the inferiority complex (or rather, “want” to be treated as an adult) throughout the day, while unknowingly having childish fears was so well presented we could hate, yet totally understand her thought processes at the same time.

    The round cake and the “rejection” of it is very interesting and something I didn’t think of – but it could indeed be a hidden symbolism.

    P.s. Did you get Mirai and Mari’s names muddled up on your post? :P

    • ghostlightning says:

      Lol I might have! I’m not the most thorough of editors, so I’ll scan the post again for corrections.

      It’s a city centerpiece and landmark I suppose, and I never equated it to a cultural object like say, The Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower.

      In the Philippines we have nothing of neither. I think it would be rather nice if we had a building that’s associated with our city or country as opposed to a corporation.

      You like caek too? I’m rather pleased with myself in making this conjecture ^_^

    • usagijen says:

      I find it sad that people would find Tokyo Tower overrated. Dear sir, back when it was built it was the symbol of hope for a new future. People might not really see it that way now, but if people still see it as something beautiful, that just means they retain their sense of wonder for it, even if other people aren’t the least bit awed by it now :(

  6. Seinime says:

    It’s truly hard going by after a natural disaster strikes since everything around you is affected; I had a similar experience except not of such magnitude.

    People hating Mirai need to look at both sides of the board and see that although she might have had a shitty day and a shitty personality, there really isn’t a few words to describe whats going on her head. That’s why I agree that she needs all the compassion and love she can get to recover.

    • ghostlightning says:

      It’s the least I can do, really. I don’t know if I can be like Mari in a situation like this, still willing to assist strangers despite already shouldering unasked-for but gladly borne responsibility for the Onosawa kids.

      For all I know I could be one of those inconsiderate steppers of toes and cutters of lines if put in such a predicament and put through such indignities.

  7. baka~ says:

    I seriously liked how you explained the symbolism behind the cake and how it relates to mirai’s inexperience when it comes to family relationships and i guess, even the explanation of shit in this episode made clear of how things were reflected between mirai and yuuki (but mostly for mirai’s attitude).

    True enough, mirai is really a detestable character but i guess the reason why i hate her is because i have similar weaknesses with her and understand what she’s pissed about. her desire for a stronger bond with her family yet her realization of her inability to do so, her resort to blog her woes and worries in her phone, serving as her emotional anesthetic, the worries of her brother being passed on to her, perhaps, continuously disrupting her belief that their parents are alright. if there’s anything that this series produced in the span of 4 episodes that made an impact to me, it would be mirai as a detestable character yet an exemplary model of human frailty

    • ghostlightning says:

      if there’s anything that this series produced in the span of 4 episodes that made an impact to me, it would be mirai as a detestable character yet an exemplary model of human frailty

      Yes, this.

      It’s good to be reminded of our frailties too, and not only through the portrayal of flawed heroes. The flawed ordinary: Mirai, is a riveting study.

  8. omisyth says:

    OSHI- YUUKI’S THE MASTERMIND OF THE SHOW. He probably made Tokyo Tower fall for the lulz.

  9. Pingback: The Scrumptious Anime Blog | Tokyo Tower is Not Overrated, You Are

  10. ans says:

    Ugh. Didn’t like this episode. Too much of the action hinges on a character who can’t manage to communicate anything effectively and generally has less sense than your average person. She couldn’t say she needed to go to the bathroom? Why not? How many times has Mirai run away from Mari already, even after being told to wait up and seeing the consequences of being separated? Extreme stupidity, no learning from mistakes – might stop watching if it continues this way much longer.

    One other thing that bothers me is the binary behavior pattern for all the surrounding characters – they’re either total assholes or they’re innocent and kind. What about people who are jerks at first, but check themselves? What about folks who are polite on the surface but get selfish when push-comes-to-shove?

    Okay sry /rant.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Hehe no problem, in a show like this you will only meet these nameless characters once; and it will be a snapshot of their behavior. You are only shown 1 moment in their lives, contextualized in probably one of the worst days of their lives. It is to be expected that a binary portrayal occurs.

      What’s more important is how you make conclusions based on a snapshot. Is this enough to render judgment? Would you send the guy who cut in line to “asshole hell” for all eternity just for that?

      Or Mirai for that matter.

      But I do get from your comment that you’re more interested in judging this episode as a piece of entertainment and not the individuals in it. I think we can expect consistent behavior throughout the episodes because people don’t miraculously change overnight, no matter how strong the epiphany. And being more slice of life than an action show, we are shown the minutiae of the anguish – as opposed to say, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann being able to show Simon’s angst for a moment then shove him in a corner while showing more action or at least different characters interact.

      I don’t know your tastes well enough whether to recommend that you keep watching the show. But personally I find all of it riveting, even the painful cringe-worthy #MiraiFAIL parts.

  11. Jayars says:

    One thing that I’ve learned over the years:

    Usually when someone says that they hate a person, it’s usually because they share some similar (often negative) qualities with the person they hate.

    This hate occurs because seeing these negative qualities in someone else reminds them of their own shortcomings and fears. And by using words like “Hate”, “Despise”, or any words/phrases like that, they can avoid having to come to terms with (or in some cases, recalling) their own problems.

    Hence, assuming what I’ve said above is right (I call it an assumption, because this is based on my own observations. But I’m pretty sure this is psychology 101 material), and based on the comments/article that I’ve read, I can conclude that I’ve spotted some people who:

    1. keep things to themselves, and have poor-to-mediocre social skills (like verbal communication)
    2. tries to keep their cool, but easily blow their top and pushes blame around, and later regrets it

    As for the episode itself, I thought Mirai’s development was interesting. We get to see more of her “tragic heroin” development (feeling sorry for one’s self), how she deals with her stress, and finally, how she can no longer maintain her “strong” image, and have a brief mental breakdown. The reconciliation of her and her brother after that was equally interesting/believable (seen that, done that).

    Can’t wait for the next ep.

    • ghostlightning says:

      You observations are good, and I’m glad you shared them.

      We distrust the strange and unfamiliar, but our strongest feelings are reserved for the intimate. We can only intensely feel for things we know very well, and to hate behavior like Mirai’s is to acknowledge indirectly that it hits very close to home. If the behavior isn’t part of themselves, they see it in a loved one, or someone very close to them that they have issues with.

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  13. thekungfukid says:

    I have a theory on all the Mirai hate. I think people hate Mirai because they’ve been spoiled on the sugar coated Moe versions of little girls. Mirai acts like a real middle schooler which I think is a breath of fresh air. And I was totally oblivious to the whole cake symbolism. Very clever….

    http://catgirlcagefight.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/tokyo-magnitude-8-0/

    • ghostlightning says:

      Thanks!

      She isn’t sugary, that’s for certain. However, Mari in the show, and many of the commenters here (as well as myself and otou-san who wrote the post on ‘The case for Mirai’) are actually quite moe for her.

      This is to say that there is a felt need to protect and support her. I think Mari even finds her cute the same way most of us probably don’t.

  14. TheBigN says:

    thekungfukid: I don’t think that’s a main reason for why people dislike Mirai. Her realism definitely factors into it, but while I don’t think that this is also a main factor for people disliking Mirai, I think there’s also a lot of people wondering why she isn’t being grateful for all the things that have happened to her so far. Or at least hasn’t really outwardly showed any thanks for acts of kindness, or appreciating when Yuuki tries to cheer her up/Mari offers her a helping hand. Would we be thankful about surviving something that like what Mirai and co have been going through? For most of us, of course. Would we act the same why that Mirai is? Who knows?

    • ghostlightning says:

      Yes I think it’s very important to state the probable limits of relating. Since the situations Mirai is in are hypothetical extremes for us viewers, I find it problematic to relate to the people harshly judging her.

  15. jpmeyer says:

    Mirai’s behavior highlights the difference between making realistic characters and the idea of cinematic “realism”. We’re used to watching a “fake” version of realism so that when characters actually act “real” (this is much more noticeable in things like improvised scenes in movies) it feels off. What sort of “noteworthy” characteristics do most teenagers have? Acting moody and self-centered is par for the course for a 13 year old.

    Furthermore, there’s the common complaint about really real realism of “why bother watching this if it’s no different than my real life?” The difference here is that while the characters are very much what you would see every day in real life, the situation is not.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Is it related to the concept of “the uncanny valley?”

      I’m not really familiar with it, but what you’re saying sounds like my impression of the concept.

      • jpmeyer says:

        No, it’s more about how “realism” is like a form of acting with an emphasis on providing psychological underpinnings for characters’ actions, eschewing stagey dialogue, that sort of thing.

        To put this sort of thing another way, look at some 13 year old’s Myspace page. Not exactly the kind of person most people would want to see a movie about. Yet, we have tons of “teen” movies and TV shows.

        • ghostlightning says:

          Right right. Nobody wants to see a girl like that, but there’s a staggering amount of them. At most a character that ‘realistic’ would probably a catch-all joke side character where all the tropes are piled on, and this would be in a comedy.

          tj han in a comment on an earlier post I made (ep 02) said that these girls would actually list a whole bunch of fake hobbies and interests, whereas they probably did nothing interesting at all.

  16. Pingback: Epic Win Blog » Anyone Who Doesn’t Appreciate Tokyo Tower

  17. biankita says:

    for some reason… i was on yuuki’s side on this episode. the show offers lessons in apathy. however, mirai is an annoying example of apathy – most apathetic people only care about looking after themselves. she can’t even do that.

    she lost yuuki the first time (during the quake itself) then she chases him off a second time. so a third time is still needed before she learns her lesson? she lacks learning and development. of course, there’s the act of god against the act of mirai thing. yes, yuuki is annoying question machine, but she even answers questions that are not addressed to yuuki which only speak to how insecure she really is. she’s apathetic because she thinks there is someone who really needs her more than she needs him.

    and i’m still amazed that mari still hasn’t abandoned her based on her behavior – or at least, tell her to get with the program or fend for yourself. promises bah! in a situation like that unless i have familial or emotional attachment to someone, it’s every person for him/herself. mari has no obligations to her (i’m not delving into mari’s psyche on her reason for helping). i think an episode without her kindly onee-chan should be in order. personally, if i was 13 and had a mari on a situation like that, i’ll cling to her with no end and listen to every damn word she has to say because this person is my meal ticket while i hinder her journey home to her own kid.

    and no, i don’t think people who live through disasters and live to see the ugly, destroyed world it left behind will find themselves fortunate or grateful. i’ll despair about how on earth am i expected to pick up the pieces now. people who are grateful to be alive at times like those are most like activated by their defense mechanism to give them the will to move.

    • ghostlightning says:

      My feelings for Yuuki have been very clear since I started blogging this show, and Mirai’s treatment of him is quite terrible.

      As far as the other things you mentioned, those are your values and while I disagree with them, I thank you for sharing them here. Mari is a good person, and I would like to think I can be like her when the time comes.

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