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10 December 2010 @ 11:39 pm
Tokyo Babylon re-reading: Vol 4  
Sorry, I'm late, I know... but it's still Friday here, so I'm not overly late I hope...

Okay, as of now in my country is Friday so you can start the re-reading and, once you're done, comment about it here.
Remember to put a spoiler warning if you're going to discuss anything that's about other manga or that happens post this two stories and try to be as talktive as you can!
It won't be that much fun if we all comment with a 'CLAMP did a nice work on this...' ^_-
(Rules and info about where to find the TB material are here)

Quick summary of what we're going to re-read if you want to spoil yourself

Vol 4: Crime

Subaru tries to help a woman dealing with the loss of her own daughter but things don't go as he planned...

Vol 4: Save

Subaru investigates on a weird cult, a girl is a victim of bullism and Seishiro got a job!

Also a question... we all know what's going to happen in Vol. 5... so do we want to interrupt the re-reading to interval it with the re-watching of the TB OAVs or everyone prefers to go on with the re-reading? Let me know about it!
ruthruthk on December 11th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
Good idea about the AVS
ruthruthk on December 11th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
I mean OAV! What's wrong with my spelling?!
(no subject) - jjblue1 on December 20th, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
rose_erato: foreverlove seisubrose_erato on December 11th, 2010 08:59 am (UTC)
I think it's a good idea to re-watch the ovas and discuss them before going on to volume 5.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 20th, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
Okay, the OAV will be next!
hell, hello, hellodyhellody on December 12th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)

Crime is my favourite story of the whole TB serie, it's also from my POV the saddest.

The moral dilemma Subaru has to face with that case is also what makes it all the more poignant.
Being such an honest and right personae, he is confronted to a case in which he has to lie in order to protect a woman from herself. But then he feels bad for concealing the truth to that woman on the ground that it was hurting his own moral values.

To saddest part is that Crime shows us an issue where all the options are bad and there is no good solution. So, Subaru has to choose the one that will do the lesser ill. So both way, there will be suffering involved and Subaru ends up with his (un)fair share of it.

What is also interesting with this story is the final scene where Seishirou keeps Subaru home and try to comfort him about what he did.

Is it only me or is Seishirou way to comfort Subaru rather strange?

I also have one question as to why Seishirou is breaking a mirror at the end of the scene. Is it a way to warn the audience about what's going to happen in vol 7 (when Seishirou compares breaking bones to breaking glass)?
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 03:05 am (UTC)
It's also one of my fave and yes, I agree on it being very sad!
I don't think he felt bad for lying merely due to the fact he hurt his moral values though. He also hurt Mai, tricked the woman and kept hidden from her the truth. Now we all think what Subaru did was the right choice but CLAMP likes to rant about happiness being different for everyone so they're probably trying to deliver the message Subaru doesn't know if what he did will give Mai's mother happiness or it would have been better for her and Mai to have her know the truth and try to avenge her daughter, despite the risk the Sakanagi.
Sure, Subaru said he did it for his own self sactisfaction but I think it means because he thought that was the best choice for the woman but afterward he wasn't so sure.
After all we don't know what the woman did after. Maybe she drowned herself because she still can't live without Mai. Okay, maybe no, we don't know.
The 'happy ending' CLAMP gave to Subaru, giving him Seishiro's eye, didn't really made him happy and he's living mostly out of duty to keep Seishiro's eye alive...
Mai's mother doesn't have Mai's eye to keep alive (always keep an eye around... you'll never know when it can turn useful...)

Yes, Subaru's role in crime was rather cruel. There was no a really right solution. Poor kid.

I also think Seishiro's way of conforting Subaru is weird... but Seishiro always had a weird way to comfort Subaru. But well he probably was never comforted and, not being able to get in tune with other people's pain, he likely doesn't know how to comfort them...
I hadn't thought at this explanation for the mirror. I've my theory of course (which I placed below) but I really wish CLAMP had explaied that scene.
rose_erato: foreverlove seisubrose_erato on December 17th, 2010 07:10 am (UTC)
One of the things that I found interesting about this volume is Subaru thinking about what Seishirou really is like and if he could be the Sakurazukamori. We see him then thinking there is no way Seishirou could be something so terrible. I think he truly and full heartly believe this or he wouldn't have suffered such a blow later on. Something else I think should be meantioned is that we never seen Subaru ask Seishirou if he was the Sakurazukamori as Hokuto has done. I wonder if Subaru is subconciously too scared to find out if it was true. Though I do have to say that I enjoyed it that Subaru thinks about Seishirou. Something else that's interesting is that Seishirou shows concern for Subaru even when he isn't prestent. Seishirou hoped Subaru wouldn't get caught in the rain. I wonder if he made an unconcious slip up and actually is concerned for Subaru's well-being or is he taking the bet seriously enough to behave as if he truly does love Subaru. Another thing to note is that Subaru shows up at Seishirou's place to tell Seishirou he's not up to having dinner that night and I wonder why he simply didn't call him. This makes me think that this shows how much Subaru really does love Seishirou and wants to be around his comfortable presence although obviously Subaru doesn't realize that.
I also wonder about Seishirou breaking the mirror after Subaru fell asleep. Is he destroying the image of the kind vet that Subaru has come to know? Or does the broken mirror signify that he doesn't have the bet under control in a way he likes to think he has?
By the time SAVE A comes around it's February and somehow I think CLAMP wanted fans to get an idea of the timeline (we've seen previously in volume 2 that it was November). It's also here that we learn that Subaru wants to be a zoo keeper. That career choice is absolutely Subaru. I love seeing Subau and Hokuto, children of a well respected and powerful family, having such simple dreams. I think it also shows Subaru's desire to live a normal life.
One of my favorite scenes in this volume is where Subaru is talking to his grandmother and there's a beautiful two-page artwork of Subaru surrounded by sakura blossoms. It's also here that continues to surprise me that his grandmother doesn't tell Subaru the whole truth behind his gloves. She said that she did a fire prediction on him and it said that the sakura is planning to steal him away. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think that's a pretty good time for her to come clean. I was also struck by the way the predication was worded, "planning to steal you away." Steal away sounds pretty ominous. Does this mean to steal him away physically or to steal his life? I'm sure these predications are never clear cut, but really, his grandmother should've taken more precaution.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 03:20 am (UTC)
I guess Subaru's instinct warned Subaru about Seishiro being more than he looked but Subaru refused to believe it. Maybe to him Seishiro was a bit what he was for Hashimoto. Someone who listens and seems to understand and care for you but that's not part of your family. Someone you can rely on and take as a model. He has a work that causes him pain, takes from him a lot of time and that he doesn't really want. He can't go to school regularly and he's not shown having friends although he's friendly. Maybe he has them but not the time to be with them. He's too sensitive, his parents aren't aroun he's forced to wear gloves he has powers that make him not normal, his grandmother worries more about his job than him... Seishiro to him must look like a gift from above.
Also Subaru is honest. He likely doesn't want to suspect Seishiro of not being honest... although he asked grandmother if all the people called Sakurazuka are related to the Sakurazukamori so he suspected of him... and maybe he felt even guilty about it.

And yes, having Subaru wondering about Seishiro is still good.

Yes, Seishiro worries for Subaru, although I don't know if it's care or practical worry.
Maybe a bit of both? Behaving as if he truly love Subaru while he's not around would be weird especially in regard to worrying. You can't fake feeling worry, you can fake being worried but in that case there should be something prompting you to pretend to be worried.
Uhm... I'm not sure it makes sense.
My guess is he cme to realize that Subaru can't kill him, ergo he can't love Subaru, ergo the existence of the kind vet is pointless, ergo he did all that he did for nothing. think Seishiro wanted to lose and have the beautiful experience of dying in his loved one's arms. I also think Seishiro has some serious issues.
I think it's a little early than Ferbuary since the bet should end in February and we need some time for the events of Vol 5 and 6 to take place. Maybe we're in January?
Subaru and Sakura blossoms are always LOVE!
I also think grandma should have told him the truth. I found stupid she didn't.
About her prediction I've an essay linked below so I won't repeat all I said in it here...
(no subject) - rose_erato on December 28th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rose_erato on December 29th, 2010 05:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on December 31st, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rose_erato on January 1st, 2011 08:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on January 1st, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rose_erato on January 2nd, 2011 04:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on January 5th, 2011 04:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
CherriRinicherririni_chan on December 17th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC)
Well, firstly Subaru is so pure, he worries about everyone and everything, the start of this volume is another reminder of that. It also kinda show's how Hokuto really worries for him...This volume kind of shows us Subaru trying very hard to be perfect. I know that seems like a strange thing to say, however when he confronts that woman he's trying his best to do what is 'right' in a very complicated situation. I'm not even sure If there was a 'right' thing to do at all. As for Seishirou being worried about him.. I kind of doubt it. As much as my inner-Sei/Su-fangirl would like to think that he really is worried, my better judgement tells me that it's just Seishirou filling the role which he's decided to play, if you get what I'm saying. It's Also pretty obvious that Subaru really appreciates Seishirou just being there for him... (oh, by the way, who else likes to see Seishirou hold Subaru like that.. hopefully not just me...^^) Sei-chan Also does a REALLY good job of trying to cheer Subaru up. So good that it's actually teribly creepy. That man always know the right things to say o.0. I'm Also guessing that breaking the mirror signifies him 'taking off his mask' or something, since his whole aura changes when he does it.

By the way, anyone else feel deeply sorry for Hashimoto? Moving right along... I love how Subaru refuses to give up on his dreams. he wants to be a zoo keeper so badly, despite the fact that the chances are...well... you know.. And, Hokuto bringing up that Seishirou is part of THAT clan, just sends chills down my spine. every time I see Subaru think that there is no way Seishirou could be the Sakurazukamori I'm reminded of just how soft an innocent he is, It's almost as if he couldn't get his mind around something so terrible. His grandmothes vision also raises so many questions... The cherryblossoms are planning to steal him away. Huh. If someone told me that, I'd be a bit more careful. I guess Subaru's purity is a big factor here, because he simply does not see it coming. I doubt he could even begin to comprehend that kind of evil.. (Oh, Su-chan! *sobs*). In save B We get to see Subaru actually MAD at someone. ..That's pretty rare, and of course it's because he cares deeply about what happened to that girl. And then Seishirou makes his entrance. He's scary as hell, and he seems devoid of any emotion when he kills her.. And then we get to the interesting part. Seishirou is VERY all-over Subaru. I can guess what he's thinking and I don't think it's good. There's something going on there... but I’d say It's more like another word beginning with 'l' than love, if you get me... I find it so strange how Subaru doesn't find it strange that he can't remember what happened to him the next day. He's so trusting.. But I don't think Hokuto is.

Oh, and i think we should watch the OVA's next ^^
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
Yes, Subaru's very kind. I'm not sure he's trying to be perfect, more that he's trying to do the right thing for that woman (he's not trying to impress her or someone else by being perfect, he honestly wants to be helpful... hum... not sure thisis clear...).
I also don't think there was a right thing to do.
I get what you say about Seishiro but I don't think it would be logical to play a ro there's no one to see it. It's like with the penguins. I think is worry is genuine although it's not necessary care. For example if Subaru gets wet he might catch a cold and this can be unpleasant to deal with (coughs, sneezes and running nose arent' that charming to look at/be around). But it can also be genuine. In X it's implied he had Subaru to kill him because he loved him. He can't have fallen in loe in X since he saw him only twice, and the second time was the time in which Subaru killed him. He must have fallen in love in TB but maybe he didn't realize it.
I bet everyone loved Seishiro hugging Subaru like that and Subaru apprecciate having Seishiro just for him. That poor boy needs to be hugged daily!
I'm not sure he does a good job in cheering him up. There were better things to say and Subaru isn't cheered up. But at least he doesn't feel alone and that's something.

Hum... if he were to break mirrors every time he takes off the mask he'll spend a fortune in mirrors... I think when he breaks the mirror he also break the msk but that's not the reason why he broke the mirror.

Yes, I feel very sorry for her. She doesn't deserve what it had happened to her.
Honestly if someone told me blossoms are trying to steal me I'll send him to a terapist but I guess grandma/grandma's prophecy was trying to be cryptic... ^_- Just joking but I think grandma should have explained herself better.
Well, CLAMP likes to mke the scene suggestive but more likely Seishiro's only pinning him.
Well, it's not Subaru doesn't remember as if he were to have a hole in his memory, more likely Subaru has a feeling he went there but, since he found himself in his bed, he though he had dreamed it. That's the logical conclusion and it can hapen you've such realistic dreams you think they're true. Also Seishiro likely erased part of his memory, which can help him being confused over it. Hokuto's more suspicious so she refused this explanation but really, if the twins weren't dealing with the Sakurazukamori, it would be very logical.
(no subject) - cherririni_chan on January 4th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on January 5th, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
rose_erato: blushing subarurose_erato on December 23rd, 2010 06:04 am (UTC)
Subaru gains himself another admirerer in Kuniko Hashimoto and really, it's not hard to understand why! Subaru again proves himself to be such a gentle and kind soul. But we also get to see another side of Subaru that is rarely seen and that's him becoming angry. I think it takes alot for him to feel and show anger and Nagi-sensei pushed the right buttons for him. Somehow I think Seishirou enjoyed seeing that side of him since it's so rare for Subaru to get mad. Subaru is obviously an engima to Seishirou and I think that Seishirou may have an interest in understanding him. Well, at least he would if he wasn't so focused on the bet.
I found Seishirou trying to pull Subaru's gloves off to be disturbingly erotic. He fondles Subaru's cheek, lips and neck so intimately that it's hard to believe that they aren't lovers. There's a possesivness to the way Seishirou handles Subaru and I think it's clear that there's more than just a bet going on for Seishirou.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 03:41 am (UTC)
I fear Subaru was the only one who was kind to Hashimoto... poor girl...
yes, I also think Seishiro is interested in seeing Subaru angry and he's trying to figure him out. Well, the bet is rather important for Seishiro. To us it seems a stupid play but to him it must have been his chance to have a beautiful death...

Yes, CLAMP handled the scene in such a way even if it'al is still very suggestive. Seishiro is a very 'I like to touch Subaru' person but maybe this is due having been molested by Setsuka. In the sidestory we see he also touches her quite a bit. He can't relate to people emotionally so a fair compensation is trying to relate with them through touch. But he doesn't act like this with anyone else (look at how he 'touches' Nagi... basically he turns her with his shoe as if he didn't want to dirty his hands...) so I think Subaru's special for him.
(no subject) - rose_erato on December 28th, 2010 04:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
Part 1
Warning: Spoilers for TB and X...
In case you haven’t noticed I’ll mention that now Seishiro took Hokuto’s place on the posters included in the volumes. This will go on until the end. Yes, I know it was also done due to what the posters of Vol 7 have to represent but I think it also means Seishiro’s slowly growing in importance for Subaru.
Tokyo Babylon Vol. 4 – Crime
Interesting enough we get an explanation of what Crime means. It kind of reminds me of ‘X’, when we got dual explanations about what the titles meant.
Anyway, back to the story. The guys go to a Mc Donald. It seems ordinary but, after the last CLAMP series had them going in fictional places to eat (usually the Duklyon), it feels weird to see them going to a real, existing place. Anyway, typical TB interaction ensues.
I couldn’t help to notice how Hokuto and Seishirou end up talking about money related issues (how’s expensive to have a family grave) but maybe that’s just me. After all, that too is a social issue. Random moment to point out that Seishiro resting his kin on his hand is cute. :P
Subaru goes on feeling guilty because a temple is being destroyed and Hokuto tries to cheer him up (I love Hokuto when she tries to cheer up Subaru)… and please, notice how Subaru this time isn’t embarrassed by Hokuto talking about Seishiro’s love for him.
It’s a development, don’t you think?
Anyway Subaru goes on talking about how he has to do extra school work and how he’s going to do it even if it’s a holiday day (if I think Subaru’s work is going to get completely soaked I feel rather sad).
We are also being informed Hokuto’s going to have a romantic date (poor Kakyou… -_- I fear she’s not going to have it with him…) and that if Hokuto isn’t around to check on Subaru he’ll forget eating. Of course it might be this is another plan of Hokuto to give Seishiro a chance to make a move. He’ll catch it and invites Subaru to eat his home cooked food. Subaru’s adorably embarrassed and tries to turn down the invitation but Hokuto sells him to Seishiro.
It’s rather cute because this time Subaru seems to wish to accept but being too shy to do so… he’s blushing so red…
Anyway, Yasukuni time. Subaru begins to wonder about Seishiro… and it was time we get Subaru thinking at Seishiro. He seems to like Seishiro but not to take seriously his words of love. And, despite everything, he consider Seishiro might not be how he looks. Personally I think it’s good to see Subaru wondering about Seishiro. It shows he’s starting to grow more interested about him.
Trouble time.
A woman is trying to summon an Inugami to avenge her daughter. Subaru’s trying to stop her fearing the consequences this might have.
Time to draw parallels here.
The most obvious. Subaru’s situation soon will be rather similar to the one of that woman.
The less obvious. Seishiro does for work what that woman wanted to do for revenge.
Let’s deal with the most obvious first.
Maybe it’s an Italian thing but here we’re used to think the love a mother feel for her daughter should be bigger of the love a brother feels for his sister so, even if it’s unfair to compare grief (it’s a personal thing, after all) I don’t really like it when people try to place on the same plan the mother’s loss and Subaru’s loss. At the same time it’s not like Subaru was luckier because the cause of his loss was much more painful than the one of the mother’s.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
Part 2
The mother lost her daughter due to a random stranger’s madness. She can freely hate him for this, put on him the whole blame of her loss (I tend to put on her part of the blame because she could have carried the kid at school but I’ve heard it’s normal in Japan to send a kindergarten at school alone so she wasn’t doing anything wrong… here, as of now, you would have social services come running at you for leaving your child unsupervised…).
Subaru lost his sister due to a person he knew well, trusted and loved (in CLAMP style Seishiro is likely his most important person) and that ended up killing his sister due to the fact he ‘got interested’ in Subaru and that Subaru went within. So it’s much easier for Subaru to find hard hating Seishiro and placing the whole blame on Seishiro. If you add to this the fact Subaru had already proved in this and other stories he easily feel responsible for things over which he has no involvement at all, you get how much harder is Subaru’s situation.
Mai’s mother is planning to kill a stranger, Subaru, who also will say he will kill Seishiro, will have to kill a person he knows, for which he had felt a STRONG emotional attachment, and for which he will still feel love despite everything.
In fact the purpose of the two in killing the murderers is different. Mai’s mother wants to avenge her daughter, Subaru wants to erase Seishiro from his heart (he’ll say so in ‘X’).
Let’s go on. When Hokuto describes Seishiro’s job, although TB imply the Sumeragi don’t approve it, she didn’t strongly oppose to it saying it too protects Japan and placing it on the same plan of the Sumeragi’s one. I always had the feeling that, although the Sumeragi didn’t like it, the Sakurazukamori had been given by someone ‘licence to kill’ (call him 00Sakurazukamori7) so Seishiro’s job has a certain ‘legality’ and therefore he’s ‘allowed’ to kill in order to protect Japan or in order to keep his identity killed.
This would further differentiate Seishiro from Mai’s murderer. One is a madman who killed an innocent little girl for no good reason at all, the other is someone who’s somehow allowed to do what he did. CLAMP will however try to reinforce the parallel showing us Seishiro too killed a child. In the TB1999 drama cd however they had him kill some more children but will add an explanation for his actions. Whose children had powers that would become dangerous in the future. So technically Seishiro had a reason (I’ll let for another moment the discussion about how it’s right or wrong to kill someone just because that person, in the future, might become dangerous, make a crime and so on…)
A better parallel was done in the first OAV, where Kazami lost her brother as well. The OAV however didn’t say Kazami and Nagumo had a relation, or that she personally knew him so her attempt on getting revenge on him is something more easy and natural than it would be for Subaru. Also, although WE know Nagumo was responsible for her brother’s death, she can’t say she knows for sure. She looks more like someone who wants to place the blame on Nagumo without proofs he’d been the culprit. In addition she has no additional guilt to deal with, she’s not even remotely involved in her brother’s death so, again, the parallel isn’t perfect… though CLAMP likes making parallel between Sei&SU situation and the other characters… look also Fuma and Kamui where finally Subaru will meet someone else who doesn’t want to kill… although Kamui might justify his wish not to kill Fuma telling himself Fuma is possessed, a thing Subaru can’t do in regard to Seishiro.
Really, Subaru has the worst luck.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
Part 3
Anyway please notice Subaru will never say to Mai’s mother killing that man is wrong but that using an Inugami is DANGEROUS and that killing that man would make Mai’s mother unhappy. He will never take that man’s defense, invoking his right to live or saying he acted like that because he was sick and needed to be cured or something like that. He will avoid the issue of the man completely. His concern will be for Mai’s mother. It would be dangerous for her to use an Inugami, it would be bad for her to pursue revenge, doing something like that could hurt her in the long run (no, I don’t think Subaru finds right to kill people but it’s interesting how, at the moment, he’s worried only for Mai’s mother not for the person she might kill. Even later, when he’ll speak with Seishiro, he’ll say he did it to protect Mai’s mother).
Now you can say it’s hypocritical from him since he also will try the same but maybe it’s not as much as you think exactly due to this mother.
Subaru honestly though the child wouldn’t wish his mother to ruin her life and learned instead the child wanted revenge despite this. I don’t think the child is evil for this. She’s a preschooler, murdered too young to understand right and wrong or the consequences her actions can have. That man had hurt her and she wants him to be hurt as well. It’s typical of children and in Japanese tradition, is also typical of people that had been murdered and is wandering around as ghosts. But Subaru might have thought Hokuto too might have shared that child’s thoughts. She might have wanted him to avenge her. Maybe, if he had found Hokuto and had had a chance to speak with her, he would have felt better (or maybe the fact he did in TB 1999 didn’t help at all… it all depends if you deem that movie as canon).
Also, in the end Subaru will not be pursuing revenge. He’s very much alone, too damaged to manage to go on by himself, from here he develops twist wishes that, he believes, will give him relief from pain if not happiness.
CLAMP also didn’t tell us if Mai’s mother stopped pursuing revenge and started to live a happy life after Subaru’s lie. She too could have gone and kill herself (the poor woman really looked mad with grief).
But let’s move to the other parallel.
Mai’s mother and Seishiro.
They both want to kill/kill using a spell. Both their targets can be considered people who deserves it/will come to deserve it.
Subaru however will do anything he can to stop Mai’s mother to commit a murder, going so far as lying to her, even though he deems it wrong and it causes him pain.
Personally I don’t think Subaru did it wrong. Killing that man probably wouldn’t have helped Mai (I guess as exorcism would have been more useful for her) and, as Subaru said, it’s unlikely it would have helped Mai’s mother to find peace. His lie didn’t necessary helped her, but might have given her a chance, the strength to try and go on.
Anyway, now we move to Seishiro and his comforting strategy. Okay, so actually the part on picking Subaru up, making him change and giving him something warm to drink is good. His words aren’t terribly comforting in the beginning (The easiest thing would have been to side with Subaru’s actions from the start. Doing nothing or telling the truth would have only hurt that woman. Lying, although wrong, might have helped her. There were no good choices but Subaru had picked up the lesser of the evil). Anyway Seishiro’s words might be the truth from a cold analyzing point but it’s like he’s trying to test from Subaru’s reaction what he should say him. In the end he manages more or less to find the right words claiming even if Subaru might have done the wrong thing he thinks Subaru was right, he would side with him and chase away who would say otherwise.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
Part 4
Skipping the fact I love how he pushed Subaru to lie on him it’s interesting how he covers Subaru’s eyes. He might have done it to help Subaru to fall asleep but in this sort of cases generally visual contact helps more.
Anyway before falling asleep Subaru thanks Seishiro.
Seishiro leaves him (after placing him on the bed and covering him) and, as soon as he’s out he sees himself in a mirror and smashes it.
Now, skipping the fact that breaking a mirror in my country means 7 years of troubles, why to break the mirror? It’s a waste of money, it’s an act that could be hard to explain to Subaru once he’ll wake up (‘Oh, Seishiro-san, I’ve noticed your mirror is broken…’ ‘Oh yes, Subaru-kun, my fist incidentally slipped full force against it…’ ‘…’) and it can lead to potential injuries.
Psychologically speaking you do so when you’re strongly upset with what you see in it, in short usually you can’t bear the sign of yourself since generally is yourself you see in the mirror (unless you’re having hallucinations or seeing yourself you’re reminded of someone that looks a lot like you).
Now why should Seishiro being unable to bear the sight of himself?
One of fandom’s fave explanations is that he was showing his ‘nice’ face and he couldn’t bear the sight of it. In fact, as soon as he breaks the mirror he does an evil expression, says an evil thing and only misses the Evil Laugh Of Hell that Disney villains are required to use as part of their role. Then, since he’s evidently a masochist, despite loathing to the point he can’t stand it the mummery he’s playing, he resumes it because he believes he has to keep honest with his word. No, not really since he was about to break it with no problem in the same volume. Maybe he just likes to whip himself after spending a day being nice with Subaru. Hum… no, this doesn’t seem like him.
Okay, so, if we assume he doesn’t go around his house breaking a mirror each time he played nice with Subaru then what disturbed him so? Also he rambles due to how things are going he’s going to win the bet… and winning normally is a joyous thing but do you go around breaking mirrors when you’re happy? If you does surely you’ve odd hobbies but well…
Anyway back to the upsetting factor.
What Subaru might have done so unusual that persuaded Seishiro he’s going to win? He didn’t say it in Vol 3 when Subaru tried to help the girls… actually back then he seemed set in continuing the bet… so what had happened that’s so special this time?
Let’s go back to Subaru’s day. There were two parallels that could be drawn that went to Seishiro.
One is the parallel with the child’s murderer. One is the parallel with the child’s mother.
Seishiro is a murder that killed kids like Mai’s murderer. Seishiro however kills people that will become dangers for Japan (if Mai’s mother’s actions were punitive his are preventive).
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
Part 5
Subaru lied to the mother and hated himself for this, in order to stop her to commit murder. Differently from the OAV where there were no proofs that Nagumo was the killer, we know Mai’s killer is the real culprit and that if left unsupervised he could kill again. In short Subaru lied to stop the mother from carrying out what to her must have looked like private justice.
Seishiro has proved himself to be a supporter of the ‘an eye for an eye’ theory, if you can forgive me the pun in Vol 3, he has no problem lying and, well, he kills people for a reason that’s debatable (okay, in many CLAMP manga future predictions are LAW but still you can feel it’s wrong to kill a kid because someone said he’ll grow up to become the wizard version of Hitler).
And now let’s go back to the bet. In the case Subaru’s going to lose he’ll get killed. If Subaru wins, Seishiro will love him and Seishiro will be killed by the one he loves but… can a boy who finds wrong to kill the mad murder of a little girl and his crying like there’s no tomorrow just because he said a lie that saved a mad with grief mother from abusing of magic powers (and risking ending up like the girls in Call) kill him?
It doesn’t look like it’ll be very likely, does it? Ergo, if Subaru can’t kill him, he can’t be the one Seishiro will love therefore Seishiro will win the bet.
So again, why to smash a mirror?
TB will later ramble about the possibility of Seishiro doing what he does because he’s lonely (I’ve discussed this for Vol 2 also) and maybe, although he’s not anxious of being killed as his mother was, he’s not really looking forward to living a long life (in fact he will purposely trigger a curse that will kill him. He’ll blame Hokuto for it but well, it’s like holding a gun someone else load, knowing the bullets are in, aiming it at your head and shooting. You know you’re going to get killed, saying someone else loaded the gun is no excuse. Also you don’t get yourself killed when you can live a long, satisfying existence just to mess up another guy. Fake your death maybe but getting killed is a bit too extreme. You either might sacrifice or want to die but don’t do this ‘to pass time’).
So maybe Seishiro WANTED to love Subaru and to be killed by him, he simply believed himself unable to love and Subaru unable to kill which is why he might hate to see what he sees.
It’s, of course, just a theory that joins the huge number of theories about why Seishiro broke the mirror because kindly, CLAMP DIDN’T BOTHER EXPLAINING WHY HE DID SO.
Tokyo Babylon Vol. 4 – Save
I kind of hate ‘Save’. Of all the stories in TB this denounces something that’s rather likely TB readers will come across as victims, bullies or witnesses. However, differently by all the other stories, there’s no punishment for the bullies nor serious blaming for their actions. In the end CLAMP seems to embrace the ‘if you don’t want to be bullied become strongest’ theory and that’s it. However, when Hashimoto tries to defend herself she get stabbed and loses her eye. So it’s not like reacting works either.
CLAMP do not gives ‘punishment’ to the bullied girl who ends up wounded for reacting(/overreacting if you prefer… although I’ll like to point out she was one against many) to provocation and no one will blame/punish the bullies. We don’t hear they got kicked out by school, suspended, being subjected to public blame, something. For all we know they might have gotten away with what they did. Subaru, in his speech, justifies Hashimoto for not forgiving them but do not call them scum (though Subaru never express judgment against the people who wronged someone else. He doesn’t judge those bullying girls nor Mai’s killer, nor Mitsuki’s rapists, the man who used Akie and so on. He’s always focused on the victim, not on the culprit.).
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
Part 6
Basically the blame is moved on Hashimoto. If she had been strong this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe. Maybe not. We all have our weakness. She’s introverted. And for their own admission, their classmates are beating her because it’s ‘fun’. If she wasn’t their target they would likely find another. It’s like saying ‘if there weren’t weak people then there wouldn’t be bullies so it’s due to the weak people if there are bullies’. Oh poor bullies they’re forced by the weak people to mistreat them to have fun! If not they would never do it.
Okay, so without weak people the bullies wouldn’t have an easy life in finding a target but there’s ALWAYS someone who’s weaker than you so it’s impossible to erase weak people from the Earth.
So, even if her being stronger would MAYBE stop her from being bullied it wouldn’t solve the problem, merely move it on someone who’s weaker (also actually, having someone’s help/support, might have helped Hashimoto either to get stronger or not to be the target of bullying anymore. Bullies are weak guys who try to show they’re stronger forcing you to submit to them. If all of sudden they aren’t anymore against one person but more, they’ll let go of their target. Also having someone’s support might help you becoming stronger… CLAMP rambles much about loneliness but here go and say ‘Handle this alone, it’s wrong to wait/wish for help’).
I would have preferred CLAMP had discussed also about society responsibilities then about how the victim has to solve by herself her own problems. And no, I’m not saying the victim doesn’t have to do something, just that she’s not the only one responsible and that I find bullies and witnesses as well as adults who should educate them should be accounted responsible for this.
Oh well, moving on and back on their main characters.
Again we see how much Subaru has to work. He basically got no sleep and how hard is for him to attend at school. Oddly enough his dream has however been switched from being a veterinarian to becoming a zookeeper. Anyway Subaru is cute as he flushes and says he hadn’t given up on his dream yet.
Also extremely cute is how Hokuto hugs him when he can’t go to school. Interesting how Subaru doesn’t hug her back. He lean against her and smile, clear signs he enjoy her hug, but he doesn’t wrap his arms around her. He never does apart from the time in which he cries in her arms because Seishiro had lost his eye, which, I guess, makes this moment and the one in which he hugged Seishiro when the man was about to die even more special. Oh yes, Subaru hugged other people but it was to comfort them, not just… to hug them.
Also Subaru’s expression as he is forced to realize he can’t go to school is so sad even if he’s smiling it melts my heart. Like his speech when he says he’ll keep on doing the family job although he wants to do something else and let us know he’ll hope he’ll get the chance to do it. The whole is even sadder if you think how things will end up for him.
Anyway Subaru goes to his job appointment… and met his grandmother (it’s rather fun how he hadn’t noticed her even when she was nearly standing right in front of him…).
Now I’m sure Subaru’s grandmother loves him, maybe even more than she loves Hokuto (just look at how she smiles at him when she looks at him)… but the woman is so cold she’s scary. She’s in Tokyo. She doesn’t tell Subaru but first go seeing people for job. Now let’s hope she’ll made it because she knew Subaru worked till late the day before and wanted to let him rest. What about Hokuto? Couldn’t she have phoned Hokuto and told her since she was in Tokyo she wanted to see her? Maybe telling her she would have little time to dedicate to her but still… that she would be happy to see her.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
Part 7
No way. We won’t see Hokuto and her grandmother interacting. The woman will worry for her when she’ll disappear and cry when she’ll learn she’s dead but… that’s all. Hokuto will talk about her grandmother, ask Subaru how she is and note she never seems to get old (and that she would kill Subaru should she know of his relation with Seishiro) but again… that’s all. The two of them won’t even grief together for what will happened to Subaru.
Anyway, back to grandmother and Subaru. She hadn’t called him to come get her and let’s assume she wanted to surprise him so that’s why she hadn’t told him she was there.
Anyway I still find wrong her reply. He says ‘had I know you were here I would have gotten to get you’ and she says something like ‘since I was in Tokyo I thought I would talk with your next customer about the job he has to entrust you so I could tell you about it’ in short ‘job is more important than spending time together’. Okay, so maybe she might have also been checking how the job was but, being Subaru the most powerful Onmyouji they have, it’s unlikely the job would have been entrusted to another Onmyouji and later she don’t really make it sound as it’ll be a difficult job, just an investigation. Okay, so maybe she might have been worried about it being Sakurazukamori related due to her dream but this is not said and, anyway, she has Subaru take the job anyway. But I’m going ahead. She says Subaru she had another reason for being there but… let’s talk about work FIRST. Sure, considering the other reason is your grandson might end up being kidnapped/killed by the Sakurazukamori it’s more important to talk about job first.
The hell with job, if I were in the place I would have given the job to someone else and carried Subaru home for a while. But, evidently, although she vaguely warn him about looming danger, she’s not worried enough to do something against it.
I don’t really get her warning and I doubt Subaru will get it any better. He doesn’t know he’s marked and therefore a target for the Sakurazukamori, he has no idea why he must not remove his gloves and being told Sakura would kidnap him/deceive him/snatch away his heart must not look very useful to him. Really, I find rather pointless to give him such a vague warning.
It’s like Mafia has its eyes on your grandson but you don’t want to scare him so you’ll tell him ‘you know my predictions are always true, don’t you? Well, I saw a plant deceiving and kidnapping you so be careful!’
Geez, that’s reassuring and useful! He won’t even know from whom he’ll have to guard his back and surely he’ll be worried!
And now I’ll point you to my old essay for a more in deep study on Subaru’s grandmother’s words. Anyway it’s funny about how she rants about feeling guilty for having left him alone ‘that time’ and keep on doing this anyway.
I’ve talked before about the bullying but I guess it would be also worth mentioning Hashimoto’s parents are doing a poor job in checking over their daughter. She must come home often with bruises and dirty clothes and they don’t worry? And now she’s out late and they don’t worry? -_-
Anyway Nagi shows up and play her role of nice lady. Actually she feels more like she’s manipulating Hashimoto (and I wouldn’t have followed a complete stranger in a building the middle of the night but well…). And now we get to see Nandarou and then Seishiro in full Sakurazukamori mode.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
Part 8
And damn, he looks good. I wonder what would Subaru say if he were to look more often like this… (have an insane moment in which it’s Seishiro who gets snatched away/kidnapped by Subaru)
Also we learn Seishiro can already jump over buildings… otherwise it would have been really fun to see him reaching that place with human means…
Let’s skip forward. Subaru meets Kuniko. She doesn’t really look friendly at first but well, when you’re daily bullied you don’t feel like being friendly to a random stranger. Also I think it’s wrong to entrust investigations to Subaru. We’re talking of the teen that couldn’t come up with the idea to call the party line phone number in Vol 3, nor could guess the prank girls were amateur. He’s a powerful Onmyouji but as a detective he sucks. Maybe it would have been more useful if grandma had remained there to help him since she knew he could have also be in danger but no, let’s her return to Kyoto…
Meanwhile Hokuto shows up at Seishiro’s, scaring the hell out of a cat, because she has decided to cook for him. Seishiro reminds her that, if she’s not around, Subaru will start reading and forget eating (it’s a miracle how Subaru survived without Hokuto…) but she inform him he’s working… at the MS institute. And Seishiro loses his poker face and looks shocked. Why is beyond me. Sure they’re working at the same place, so? He should have known it could happen. Also what if Hokuto had turned?
As a random info we’re confirmed Seishiro’s home is right over his clinic.
Back to Subaru, Nagi charms everyone apart from Subaru and Hashimoto. Yes, it must be magic because her words weren’t particularly heart touching, or maybe it’s just I’ve heard it many times. Anyway Hashimoto keeps on not trusting poor Subaru. Meanwhile since Nagi had failed charming Subaru and Hashimoto she calls them. She tells many pretty words but in the end she fails to listen/help Hashimoto, who gives up in explaining herself. Hum, I’d like to know why Nagi’s powers don’t work on her.
Time goes by and Subaru meets Hashimoto just after she had been bullied again. She tries to keep him at distance but Subaru, being Subaru, is so sweet she ends up trusting him and telling him her whole story.
Two cents about all this ‘being Hashimoto’s fault’.
Bullying starts when someone wants to show he’s powerful to others and therefore chooses a target that seems weaker and ‘attacks him/her’ (verbally/physically it doesn’t make much difference). Now, if the chosen target manages to push him off he’ll be left quiet. If the chosen target however gives the wrong answer, an answer that gives to the bully the idea he can rule over him, the bullying will continue and escalate and it’ll be hell to stop later, in fact, the best solution suggested, is to remove the bully or the bullied from the place to stop the bullying.
Evidently Hashimoto gave to the bullies the wrong answer, letting them think they had power over her. What’s the right answer though? Hell if somebody knows. It really vary from the bully’s psychology. From beating him up, to ignoring him, to making fun of him, to being polite, everything can work or can not. Bullies don’t come with instruction books about how to deal with them. Of course if you’ve a lot of friends around you the bully might prefer a target that has not so much support from other people. Hashimoto however was introverted and, evidently, she didn’t guess the right answer. From here to say it was her fault… well, it’s cruel. She doesn’t love herself enough? If you end up being bullied, you end up hating yourself for not being able to stop it. She’s getting beaten up, insulted and targeted with cruel jokes plus she’s blamed by adults. Even assuming she previously liked herself, it’s easy she’ll change her mind.
There’s who get traumatized rather badly by bullying so I HATE TO SEE IT HANDLED THIS WAY!
End of the rant, back to TB. Subaru offers her words that comfort her… or better he offers her acknowledgement of her pain. It’s the start of Hashimoto’s crush for him, whom he doesn’t notice but well, he likely doesn’t get he has done something ‘special’ for her.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
Part 9
Some say Seishiro later bullied Subaru. It’s not quite right because bullying is a constant cycle. There’s too much time going on between their meetings for it to be called bullying.
Seishiro is a bastard to Subaru the first time. The second and the third he’s just his enemy. Subaru attacked first and the second time it was Subaru that went to Seishiro not the other way around.
The fact that Seishiro is a jerk and is stronger than Subaru isn’t enough to label it as bullying though the man is still a monster to him. Just not a bully. Call him another type of jerk.
Okay so Seishiro and Hokuto are cooking at Subaru’s but… Subaru leaves due to work which gives me the feeling Seishiro and Hokuto aren’t there for him. Seishiro doesn’t even volunteer to carry him. Though Seishiro has a cute sad face when Subaru close the door (and Subaru isn’t looking mind you), so cute that Hokuto, who noticed, feels like patting his head… which is fun because he must lower himself quite a bit to allow her to do so.
Then we get Seishiro asking her if she is really fine with him trying to seduce Subaru. Why is Seishiro asking her now? The bet is almost ended and so far she had always supported him with Subaru around and without him around… either he thinks she’s lying or… what? She agrees then we get the threatening scene which surprises Seishiro. While I like to see Hokuto so protective and I understand her and the scene is cool, I think taking into consideration Subaru, her plan is full of fail. Subaru wouldn’t want this, the manga is pretty clear about this. However, considering Hokuto’s behavior, it’s possible to assume Subaru thought his sister wanted to be avenged. The ending with the burning cookies is rather fun!
Meanwhile things for Hashimoto ends up rather bad. She keeps on being bullied and, when she finally reacts, she end up being seriously wounded. As said before I don’t like this solution. I found CLAMP were unnecessarily cruel with her as they will be with Subaru.
Subaru gets informed of this by Nagi (by the way we get informed he’s a CLAMP student).
I find wrong how she feels the need to share this info with a boy that barely knew Hashimoto but let’s move over. What Nagi said isn’t completely wrong even if, she too, feels the need to put the blame on Hashimoto. If Hashimoto hadn’t reacted it’s possible the girls wouldn’t have done what they did… at least not in that moment. In the future, well, that’s another matter.
Subaru gets angry for the first time. He complains she has no right to judge Hashimoto nor to dismiss her pain. It’s interesting because Subaru too is a supporter of ‘forgive and forget’ and not of ‘an eye for an eye’ (and, as a child, he let others beat up to protect a dog without reacting) but, evidently, he can understand also how people might feel the need to avenge themselves or fight back. As said before he never judge who committed a crime, he always tried to talk the victim into forgetting or forgiving but didn’t judge the criminal.
Seishiro feels the need to show up in that moment to agree with Subaru. Now at this point I’d like to point out it’s not Subaru who’d showed up on Seishiro’s job but vice versa. Seishiro could have waited.
Anyway here there’s another really poorly drawn scene. Seishiro walks past Subaru. He’s wearing his glasses and Subaru ends up being behind him. Seishiro stretches his left hand and without looking where Subaru is, manages to place it in front of Subaru’s face causing him to faint. Subaru starts falling back. Seishiro uses his left hand to remove his glasses then… he’s shown supporting Subaru with his left arm. BUT BY NOW SUBARU SHOULD HAVE FALLEN ON THE FLOOR!