I’m sorry to disappoint anyone who reads this blog for fanboying or analysis. It’s not going to happen for Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 this week. Not only did it refuse to ultimately clarify the situation regarding a certain robot otaku’s welfare, it remained well within its adopted narrative device (should the worst indeed has come to pass about referenced character). The suggestion of death is very strong, but it isn’t conclusive. This, this, this, is very cruel.
And I’m retarded for cruel stories right now.
How cruel? By remaining inconclusive, by withdholding the confirmation (no matter how heavy the suggestions weigh on my mind), I’m not allowed to grieve… FOR ANOTHER WEEK. For all of you who came to (or would come to) the party late with this show, you have denied yourself a powerful experience. This cannot, I repeat, CANNOT be replicated via marathoning at one’s leisure. Once you know the show is just there in your hard drive, DVD, or what not — you’re already cheating yourself of the experience without even meaning to do so.
I know this because I marathoned Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji in two days last week, and given it’s cliffhanger-rich nature, I just had to know what happens next. Had I seen the show during its run, I would have acutely felt the intense emotions hanging onto the resolution of the different gambles. And given the uneven number of episodes devoted to the resolution of each gamble, I just never knew when the pain was going to end. But it did in 25 episodes or so.
Now I know the end is near, for Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. There’s a conceptual finish line for the narrative of Mirai’s broken world. But it’s still almost a month away. There are many days I’m still going to be nursing this anguish. After investing all this emotion on these characters, after thoughtfully considering the minutiae of their behaviors, they’ve become rather dear to me as fictional characters go. I don’t think I’m going to be forgetting this summer soon.
But why so much anguish, beyond the obvious? Well, maybe I can do some analysis after all. Otou-san identified the Onosawa’s individulally sliced, and different flavored birthday cakes a metaphor for the fractured nature or circumstances of that family. They are whole and complete in a nuclear way, but their behavior unto each other and the dynamics of their relationship provide a subtly inferred dysfunction. There’ s not a lot of warmth in that family, EXCEPT FROM YUUKI.
In episode two, Mari’s family provides a contrast: incomplete, a collection of women from three generations — something underscored rather powerfully this episode. In their incompletion they manifest a wholeness, a manner of health in terms of functional relationships and genuine warmth represented then (in episode two) by the round cake, meant to celebrate Hina-chan’s birthday. Mirai and Mari are the mirrors to each other, coming from different places in life; but showing each other facets of it.
The round cake that they ate, in that first night of would-be privation, represents the wholeness of the Kusakabe family. The act of sharing Mari does, represents what Mirai can learn: if even Mari in her hodgepodge collection of girls of different generations can be a family, she could make her own — with all its parts perfectly waiting, work.
THE CAKE, IS A LIE.
There’s no family in Mirai’s future (I’m pleased by this bilingual/translational accident of a pun), at least, not with the family she starts the story with. Why, BECAUSE YUUKI IS DEAD. Yuuki, who as a narrative device has always been the trigger for Mirai to behave better, to think beyond herself, is dead. And the show won’t let me mourn, because I never got to ID the body myself (at least not through Mirai’s eyes).
The show made a big deal about identifying the casualties. It came up horrifyingly for Mari twice. It was the device for suspense in the episode, and I think it’s rather clever and effective. Good stuff, really; because it’s also the hand that grabs my hair from behind the head and rubs my face down the asphalt of uncertainty regarding Yuuki’s death.
We have suggestions, big heavy ones. But no conclusion. The matter itself is the narrative-as-villain that throws us over a cliff, stomping on our fingers clutching on the ledge of closure.
Otou-san and his cake (of inauthenticity! lies!) (otou-san 2009/07/29)
Mirai’s bowels reject the cake. THIS TOO, WAS A SIGN [->]
If you know what a Lost Snail is, then you might see a familiar face just like I did [->]