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16 January 2011 @ 07:01 pm
Tokyo Babylon re-reading: Vol 7  
Re-reading Time! So let's start it startng 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 7: End

Self explicative isn't it? -_-

Annex: Secret

A flashback in which we see Seishiro's point of view about something...

Annex: Start

A flashforward in which we see how's Subaru is doing...

And I guess that's the end unless someone's interested in trying to re-watch the TB1999 movie and the drama (yes, I know, there are no subs for the movie, that's depressing... -_-)
rose_erato: stalkerseisubrose_erato on January 23rd, 2011 05:11 am (UTC)
The colored artwork inside the 7th volume is just incredible sad since we see Subaru and Seishirou, but all there is for Hokuto is the jacket left draped over the steel bar.
As heartbreaking as these scenes are they're visually stunning as well. I like the dreamy atmosphere coupled with the horrific reality Subaru's going through. Subaru is very emotionally fragile and to discover that the man he's in love with betrayed him is just earth shattering for him. Poor Subaru wants to believe it's all a dream and tries to convince himself and Seishirou that it has to be that. Unfortunately for Subaru, reality seemed to hit hard when Seishirou informed him that he was the one to murder the little girl at his feet.

Okay, that's it for now. I'm still trying to form out more of my thoughts on this volume :)
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 20th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
I agree. That's a rather sad poster... -_-
Well, tis is probably the best drawn TB volume we have and the one that pays most attention to Subaru's emptions. Subaru's very expressive in all his emotions here, it's hard not to emphatize with him. He's completely transparent (only that idiot of Seishiro fails to understand him... -_-)
rose_erato: foreverlove seisubrose_erato on February 4th, 2011 04:34 am (UTC)
Seishirou kissing Subaru's hands, both in the past and present, is disturbingly erotic. It's his kisses that carved the Sakurazukamori symbol onto Subaru's hands. Is this always the way for Seishirou to mark his intended victims? Somehow I think it's only Subaru he did that to. Seishirou was clearly drawn to Subaru from the moment he saw him and I have to wonder if that drawal was of potential romantic nature or was he simply fascinated. Something must've clicked in Seishirou and he realized that if he could fall in love with anyone it would be this boy. It's disturbing to think that Seishirou could have a potential romantic interest in a 9-year old child, but then it probably wasn't quite that. Seishirou let him go because he wanted to wait til Subaru got older before he began the bet and try to seduce Subaru. I wonder if there has always been something deep inside Seishirou that wants to fall in love. Growing up being trained to be emotionaless, Seishirou probably was fascinated by the concept of love and wonder what it was like to be in love. I think this may be partly due to his mother and what we know about her in X.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 21st, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, from a western perspective they are (I'd like to know if it's the same in Japan...)
Well, I doubt so. I think when Seishiro wants to kill he kills, he doesn't bother to mark someone just so he can track him down... especially considering Subaru fainted when Seishiro marked him. This would make the prey vulnerable for a killing so... why to postpone?
I to think something should have clicked in Seishiro... (likely love, CLAMP seems fond of love at first sight between soulmates...) although I doubt he fully realized it. I guess he thought he was merely intrigued...
At the same time, although Seishiro said he wanted to seduce Subaru, I think he more tried to keep the behaviour of someone whom, he believed, was in love.
Which is why I guess he never pushes Subaru too hard.
He never seemed to think he had managed to seduce Subaru, not even when he behaved like a vet and Hokuto told him Subaru viewed him as special so, I think, that wasn't his plan.
In short he didn't care about Subaru's reactions to his actions, which, funny enough, caused him to fail and also shows how little he knew about love.
Subaru, in fact, searched actively for Seishiro's attention, although he didn't get his hopes up about Seishiro loving him.
Seishiro instead was more trying to experience what it meant to be in love... acting as such. Which isn't the best way to fall in love (it can work... but I would have chosen another...).
(no subject) - rose_erato on February 22nd, 2011 08:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on February 22nd, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rose_erato on February 23rd, 2011 05:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on February 24th, 2011 01:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
maylene_autumn: Three FireLordsmaylene_autumn on February 14th, 2011 06:50 am (UTC)
I'm EXTREMELY late to the party, but I thought I would post my thoughts on the last volume at least.

I have a very love-hate relationship with this particular volume because of what happens. It's still heartbreaking to see Subaru realize that he's in love with Seishirou and then have the man he loves--whom he was about to profess his love to--break him (literally and figuratively). I love though that while Seishirou his breaking Subaru's heart by revealing their first meeting and bet, he's also somewhat tender. The embracing and holding Subaru's hand.

I felt really sorry for Hokuto, but I'm also kinda disappointed that she didn't see what her death would do to Subaru. She wanted him to live, but what Subaru does later on, I don't know if one could call that living. Then there's the twins' grandma--who while seemed a little distant, proved in this chapter that she does indeed love her grandchildren. I suppose when she received the phone call telling her Hokuto died...it kinda broke my heart to see her break down in tears and drop the phone. (It doesn't help that I just reread some of X and every scene Obaa-chan seems to be in has her crying.) However it is her overprotectiveness that kinda allows for all of this to happen since she could have just explained to Subaru why he had to wear gloves.

Then there's also the chapter where we see Seishirou and an unconscious Subaru, after what happened in volume 4. He kept mentioning the bet, and yet it also felt like he was contradicting himself. He said that he was gonna win, and yet the way he held Subaru and the way he said he was going to take "[his] beloved Subaru" home just felt like he was in denial about falling for Subaru.

The Annex chapter was interesting, but it gave me more questions. Did Seishirou really do the things he did because he was lonely? Or because he's such a sore loser?

I have to agree with rose erato though. There was something really sensual in how Seishirou kissed Subaru's hands to mark him.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 21st, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
Well, you aren't as late as me! Don't worry about it!
Yes, it's kind of odd how Seishiro's gentle with him. If he really deemed Subaru an 'object'... well, when you're about to rip a paper you don't cradle it gently against you first, do you?

I fear Hokuto was mad with grief at the moment. Not the best justification because her actions ruined Subaru even more but I don't think she was thinking straight...
Obaachan failed although she never meant to. She thought she knew better, she thought her way was the right one and didn't realize she forced Subaru on a path that depressed him and that left him exposed to Seishiro quite a lot. I also fear she's responsible for teaching Hokuto that spell so she felt even worse when Hokuto died.
Note that in X she's always: 'please, don't search for that man...' she might know what this would cause but, AGAIN, she's not warning Subaru...

I think Seishiro really didn't understand himself either and therefore didn't realize what he was doing. The fact he was lonely, more in an 'unable to connect' way than in 'I'm all alone' way, didn't help him to relate correctly with others. He didn't realize he loved Subaru (in fact in the monologue in the drama cd he'll insist he's unchanged) and maybe, since he had no idea what being in love meant, he couldn't realize. Maybe he had idealized the thing, though who's in love turns magically into a pure and generous person... when that's not necessary true...
rose_erato: foreverlove seisubrose_erato on February 15th, 2011 05:23 am (UTC)
What always struck me about the scenes when Seishirou is torturing Subaru is that it seems like he's delaying killing Subaru. He asks Subaru why he doesn't fight back and that he probably could break free of the spell if he tried. It's like he's trying to encourage Subaru not to die. Seishirou doesn't realize this of course. I think he's in too much denial to realize he's in love with Subaru.
maylene_autumn: Animaniacsmaylene_autumn on February 16th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
*nods* I agree. You bring up good points. If he really was determined to kill Subaru, he would have just done it. We've seen him do his job without second thoughts. And the fact that Subaru is the 13th Head of the Sumeragi Clan should make him even more determined.

Also, what I found interesting was that Subaru had been catatonic for awhile, and Lady Sumeragi probably wouldn't be in any condition to defend her grandson (especially near the time she was crippled) and Seishirou left him alone. He definitely kept track of Subaru though b'cuz when Hokuto confronts him--he tells her how he broke his promise (of taking Subaru far away) when Subaru's in his room. This is the VIZ translation of X vol 16 so I may be getting it wrong.

There's also the opportunity of killing Subaru when Lady Sumeragi first broke the illusion.
(no subject) - rose_erato on February 17th, 2011 04:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maylene_autumn on February 17th, 2011 06:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - maylene_autumn on February 19th, 2011 05:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - jjblue1 on February 21st, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - rose_erato on February 22nd, 2011 08:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on February 22nd, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rose_erato on February 23rd, 2011 05:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on February 24th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on February 21st, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 18th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
PART 1 - End
Warning: Spoilers for TB and X...
So CLAMP said they inserted the posters just to reach this moment. I find it kind of sad, don’t you?
Also… hardest re-reading to do and even harder to write down. Subaru! I’m so sad for you!
Tokyo Babylon Vol. 7 – End
Okay, the title is rather explicative, isn’t it?
So, as anticipated in the previous volume and with a perfect timing Seishiro announces the end of the bet. Incidentally, in volume 6 when he says ‘it’s time to settle our bet, Sumeragi Subaru-kun’ the ‘-kun’ was written in hiragana as it happened in all TB, while, when this quote is repeated in vol 7, it’s written in kanji. A typo? Maybe but differently from ‘Tokyo Babylon’ in ‘X’ they will always write kun in kanji when Seishiro will say ‘Subaru-kun’… but not when another character uses ‘-kun’ with him. I wonder if there’s a meaning for that but my knowledge of Japanese is too low (I tend to think the ‘-kun’ with kanji is more ‘respectful’, ‘professional’ but I might be wrong)
Anyway is it just me or Seishiro takes the longest way to explain things to Subaru?
First he shows to Subaru what he had dreamt then, bit by bit, he fills in the whole story, repeating the same flashback with some small additions NINE TIMES! I mean, NINE TIMES! Talk about taking the long way…
As a result he breaks Subaru’s hearth though I wonder if he were trying to go for grades to affect him the less as possible, or better, to get him angry as Nagi did without getting him comatose as he instead did. Anyway ChibiSubaru is love, TeenSeishiro is also love and heartbroken Subaru breaks my heart.
Another interesting thing is how in this volume CLAMP completely demolished Seishiro. We already knew he was the Sakurazukamori and we already saw him killing but Nagi Kuniko’s death didn’t touch us much. She was unlikable and she was killed rather quietly. Here CLAMP shows us Seishiro has just killed a child, a little girl, stabbing her with his arm through her chest and then tossing her away as if she were trash.
We don’t know and we can’t picture what the poor thing did wrong (in the drama cd ‘Tokyo Babylon 1999’ Seishiro will have to kill other children and it’ll be hinted he had to do so because they had powers and, in the future, they would become dangerous… think of Seishiro as of a member the Precrime of ‘Minority Report’ only when he put people to sleep it’s an eternal sleep) and we’re bound to be impressed in a definitely not positive way. After this we’ll have him breaking Subaru’s heart in the worst possible way, getting Subaru’s grandmother on a wheelchair, killing Hokuto (on her request) and, dulcis in fundo, he’ll also confess he was using the pets in his hospital to redirect the Sakanagi.
CLAMP warned us Seishiro wasn’t that great of a person (he was Sakurazukamori, he killed people, he had a hidden agenda, he drove to madness the partyline girls, he might have caused the journalists to know what Yuya’s mom did) but it’s now his true nature hit readers like a slap in the face. We’re shown his worst side to the point in the end even Subaru will consider killing him.
Yet, we miss some details. When TeenSeishiro meets ChildSubaru the first thing he does isn’t killing him but causing him to faint. Yet, he doesn’t let him fall. He even cleaned his cheeks and wonders what he should do with him. As far as I’m involved he was already hooked with Subaru who, once awake, chats happily with him (yes, I fear Subaru’s hooked too… -_-).
rose_erato: blushing subarurose_erato on February 18th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC)
Re: PART 1 - End
I didn't know that's the reason why CLAMP had those posters inserted for! Thanks for the little tidbit :)

ChibiSubaru and TeenSeishirou were so adorable looking and yes, they are love. It's interesting that TeenSeishirou caused little Subaru to faint and not simply kill him. I agree that he was hooked onto Subaru immediately. Of course Subaru was hooked on him as well ^_^ It's fascinating that TeenSeishirou tells ChibiSubaru that he would try his hardest to fall in love with him. That's rather an odd thing to say to a nine-year old child. Seishirou must've realized somethng back then about Subaru!

Seishirou's true nature was a shock. Readers knew that he was the Sakurazukamori, but I think because of his vet persona no one thought he was capable of the cruelity he displayed in the final volume.
Re: PART 1 - End - jjblue1 on February 21st, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: PART 1 - End - rose_erato on February 22nd, 2011 08:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: PART 1 - End - jjblue1 on February 23rd, 2011 12:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 18th, 2011 01:51 am (UTC)
Part 2 - End
Also, when Subaru asks why he’s still alive Seishiro says ‘that’s because I made a bet with you’ and with his hand clings his jacket. It’s a bit of an odd gesture because it generally expresses feeling a painful emotion.
Subaru tries to refuse all Seishiro is telling him. I guess it’s like his world is falling apart. In fact he seems to faint in CLAMP typical fail fashion (He couldn’t have fallen like that. If you faint, your legs bent, you don’t just fall backward. Plus right being him there was Seishiro. If Seishiro had moved away to let him begin fainting and then moved closer again to catch him it’s a rather ridicule action… -_-). Interesting enough how Subaru faints but then he’s awake and standing again a second after. Anyway… Seishiro kissing little Subaru’s hands and then nuzzling against teen Subaru’s hand is always hot. Maybe it’s because kissing hands here has a certain meaning but still… Seishiro’s ‘ Subaru’s hands’-obsession is hot.
Also, please note that when grandmother reached little Subaru the Sakura tree behind him disappear. That Sakura tree wasn’t real, it was an illusion like the one Subaru is seeing right then or the one that will trap him on Rainbow Bridge. Unless you’re going to think the Sakura magically teleported if the Sakura was real it should have stayed where it was and making it ‘disappear’ wouldn’t have managed to conceal its location.
The spirits in it? Maybe they were merely spirits around the child and, since at first Subaru could see only the tree he thought they were spirits haunting the tree (maybe the kid had a power she was misusing and that was causing her to be targeted… Subaru apparently ‘felt’ something when he was rather far… either Seishiro thought to take a nap on an illusory Sakura tree while holding a corpse or whatever Subaru felt was ‘there’ before Seishiro killed the little girl). Note that Subaru looked up but, the first time, he didn’t saw Seishiro. It’s only when blood drops on him he can see though the illusion.
Also note how Subaru’s grandmother is happy she had found him and how little Subaru is still awake although he looks a little bit out of it… hadn’t he fainted when Seishiro had kissed his hands? Or had he woken up and then remained there all that time? And if that’s the case Seishiro had been checking on his since his illusion of a tree disappears only when grandmother reaches Subaru…
Also it’s kind of sad when Subaru points out he had been told to never remove his gloves. I get the feeling he felt as if there was something wrong with his hands, thought he couldn’t get what it was.
Something else that’s interesting is how Seishiro points out he immediately recognized Subaru… despite the gloves. I wonder if he just immediately recognized Subaru… then checked the gloves. Evidently he either had marked only Subaru (otherwise it would be hard to figure out who Subaru is among many marked preys considering he didn’t see him for 7 years) or somehow Subaru remained impressed in his mind (he will immediately recognize him in X too).
Either way Subaru is special to him ALREADY. Or, at least, different from the other people.
Another interesting point. Seishiro wonders who would win among them if they were to fight which seems to imply he didn’t expect Subaru to drop comatose. In fact, in his own way, he gives him time. He didn’t just kill him immediately like he did with Nagi and explained himself and his role to him and only when Subaru still doesn’t react he hurts him physically. It’s like he wants to make him angry as Nagi did. He hadn’t considered he’s not Nagi though and all he’s doing is not getting Subaru angry but hurting and shocking him further. He even try to kick in Subaru’s inexistent self surviving instinct… however since, as I said, Subaru’s self preservation instinct is inexistent, it’s not like Seishiro can accomplish something (basically, the more he does to get a reaction from Subaru, the more Subaru gets unresponsive… also, who has an observant spirit might notice Fuma will beat Subaru up exactly in the same way.
rose_erato: blushing subarurose_erato on February 18th, 2011 05:35 am (UTC)
Re: Part 2 - End
Seishirou kissing and cradling Subaru's hands was disturbingly hot. Seishirou's gestures towards Subaru has often been sexual, just as we will see in X. Seishirou is drawn to Subaru and a part of it is romantic/sexual attraction. Well, to me it is.

I did notice that the tree was disappearing as Subaru's grandmother found him. She was in shock and horror when she saw that and saw his hands. I have to wonder if the tree we saw in volume 1 was an illusion as well. Seishirou may have been playing a little trick on Subaru.

It's very painful and heartbreaking to see Subaru's heart and world shattering and he was all ready starting to break down. I also found his refusal to believe what Seishirou was saying to be heartbreaking as well. He deperately tried to cling to the lie.
Re: Part 2 - End - jjblue1 on February 21st, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 2 - End - rose_erato on February 22nd, 2011 08:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 2 - End - jjblue1 on February 23rd, 2011 12:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 2 - End - rose_erato on February 23rd, 2011 05:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 2 - End - jjblue1 on February 24th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 18th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
Part 3 - End
Since Fuma does only what the others wishes I don’t think this means Subaru wanted to be beaten up. I think his mind is hooked still to that moment, a moment in which, after having his heart broken, he likely wished Seishiro would take his eye in revenge (or he wanted to give him his eye in expiation) and then kill him… as if this could somehow fix things between them… or at least put an end to Subaru’s suffering).
Now… there’s another interesting bit. Seishiro said he made the bet with Subaru because he is unable to feel something for a living being… which makes him a good Sakurazukamori (and keeps him in safe from being killed). His action doesn’t have much sense (why should he try to acquire an ability that would be of no use for his work?) unless he wanted to feel something for someone else for personal reasons.
However, feeling something for him is kind of like a death sentence so he should be more prone to try to avoid it then trying to check if he can make it. Unless he wants to die… or has no attachment to life (which will be a thing Setsuka will imply in the drama cd). I really doubt his ‘sense of duty’ would push him to go and try to develop feelings for someone merely because he wanted a heir. His bet looks more like he’s testing fate since he has no idea if he’ll meet Subaru again (Subaru could have left for America or died somewhere before meeting him… or Seishiro might have died in a car incident or something… there’s no insurance whatsoever they would met again).
Anyway… since showing Subaru how despicable of a person Seishiro is or hurting him do not get any reaction Seishiro declares he will kill him now. He traps him and then… he kills him? No, he wastes time asking WHY Subaru doesn’t react and explaining him people betraying people is an ordinary occurrence in Tokyo… (Seishiro always have a charming opinion on the world… if you listen to him he rarely says something nice about it… no wonder it’ll turn out he’s a Dragon of Earth). He goes on explaining things to Subaru, how he doesn’t hate him but doesn’t love him either. He just… doesn’t care (it’ would be funny if it wasn’t so dramatic… basically he’s telling him ‘it’s nothing personal, Subaru-kun, but after using you as a test subject to see if I could love you, I discovered I can’t and now I’ve to kill you. No bad feelings, all right?’ -_- Yeah, Seishiro. None whatsoever. The drama is it’s exactly like that. Subaru wouldn’t think Seishiro is wrong in mistreating him. It’s obviously Subaru’s fault. Seishiro, poor thing, is absolutely not at fault. Yeah, sure. Why someone doesn’t send Subaru by a therapist?).
Anyway, grandmother realizes something is wrong (how? Was she connected to Subaru’s gloves’ spell?) And Seishiro… kills Subaru? No wait, first sends his Shiki to face grandma’s shiki then… kill him? No wait, let him explain some more to Subaru, caress his cheeks, tell him he’s going to kill him (didn’t he said that already?) and then… give grandmother the time to break his spell. Not for free of course, because grandmother will end up on a wheelchair but still after wasting HALF VOLUME in flashbacks, explanations, discussions and beating, he let Subaru go. Well, where’s the problem, Subaru has a broken arm, he’s marked, he’ll end up in some sort of coma, the second stronger member of the Sumeragi is on a wheelchair, there are no bodyguards to protect him so Seishiro can really kill him when he wants to only… he doesn’t. Subaru will stay alive and will stay alive and will stay alive. The hospital will send him at home when his arm isn’t plastered, just bandaged (no idea if they decided plastering wasn’t necessary…), Subaru will stay there the time for Seishiro to realize he’s no eating (I think she wouldn’t have been so desperate if this hadn’t been going on by a while… at least, I guess she would have been desperate but, in the beginning she likely though he would get over it and only when she realized he wouldn’t she did what she did…), a month will be gone with Subaru in coma and Seishiro WON’T KILL HIM! Not at all!
It’s a tradition for the Sakurazukamori to kill who knows his identity, a duty. And he doesn’t do it. He’d been saying he would and yet… he doesn’t do it.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 18th, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
Part 4 - End
Subaru, of course, will later take it in the worst way possible but really, but that’s not the moment to discuss about it.
Seishiro simply didn’t want to kill him. One might say ‘it’s because like this Subaru is like a dead person’… but he won’t do it later either. There’s Hokuto’s spell? Yeah, sure, there’s Hokuto’s spell. Because Seishiro is forced to kill Subaru only the way he killed Hokuto, isn’t he? He has no other option… he is a killer who never learnt how to stab, strangulate, shot or things like that and that has only ONE killing spell. Somehow, if that’s the truth, my opinion of the Sakurazukamori as powerful killer kind of get declassed.
Anyway Hokuto doesn’t figure Seishiro isn’t planning to kill Subaru and so she makes her move. She’s desperate and it’s rather sad to see her in such conditions but I don’t really like her motivations.
Sure, she had acted because she thought she was doing something for Subaru, that Subaru needed to wish for something so much he would become selfish about it, think at his wish first and at the others after. That’s true Subaru was too selfless, too easy to self sacrifice, but she had failed to understand getting Subaru to cling on something wouldn’t necessarily make him more attached to life… he would just put as priority the thing he’s attached at compared to everything else and be selfless over it.
He put as priority Seishiro so, when the man loses his eye, he begins to wish it had been him to lose his eye, and when Seishiro will betray him, he’ll wish to get Seishiro’s recognition as human being by having Seishiro ending his existence. He’ll put this into priority, no matter what others think or say but it won’t give him happiness nor would have insured he would live. Actually, in other circumstances, it would have made easier for him to die.
I think if a stranger had done to him what Seishiro had done to him it would have been easier for Subaru to react, not to be broken, to get enraged and fight back.
Giving to a person who had never hold anything particularly dear the only thing he’ll hold dear more than everything might be rather dangerous. It’s like an overdose, Subaru will get completely obsessed over Seishiro, unable to let him go, unable to recover from what had been done to him. It didn’t help Hokuto died and his grandmother wasn’t exactly close to him.
Hokuto acted in the belief being attached on something would be good for Subaru and made an huge mess of valuation. She’s young, it’s a mistake she could end up doing… though really, not only she had undervalued how attached Subaru would get to Seishiro (we’ll see how shocked she is at seeing Subaru so desperate… in fact she starts to get worried even when Seishiro forgives Subaru) but she knew Seishiro was dangerous. She suspect him to be the Sakurazukamori and also an hypocrite, she knows he smells of blood and has dangerous eyes and that when Seishiro is around weird things might happen. Seishiro is also older and Subaru is too naïve and innocent for his own good. Really, even if likely he’s the only one at whom Subaru could get attached I would think twice before entrusting my overly sensitive brother to him. If things were to go wrong this could have lead at best to Seishiro dumping Subaru, or maybe using him for sex or even forcing him to have sex with him and she knew being betrayed would have destroyed Subaru.
Anyway, although she realize the mistake she has done, she’s going to do another. It’s pretty obvious for Subaru living is now a form of torture and Seishiro would be merciful if he were to put him out of his misery but Hokuto doesn’t want Subaru to die and here there’s her second error of valuation. She thinks if she were to put Seishiro in the impossibility to kill Subaru things would work out.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 18th, 2011 01:54 am (UTC)
Part 5 - End
Okay, so she can’t know about Setsuka’s prophecy but still… first: if the spell works only with Seishiro using the same technique, Seishiro might use another. You have another killing technique, don’t you, Seishiro? Second: working things out with your sister’s murder? Even if it were possible because Subaru is unhealthily obsessed with Seishiro… well, I don’t think things would be pretty. In addition to the lies, the betrayal, the beating, a grandmother on a wheelchair, a murdering attempt and Seishiro’s job there would also be a dead sister in between them. All those over mentioned things are quite a lot to overcome… I don’t really think Hokuto needs to add another. Sure, maybe she didn’t though Subaru would find out she died like that if he were to wake up but surely she should have thought he would notice she was missing. Considering the state he was, although being abandoned by your sister isn’t like having her killed by the one you love, still isn’t a big cheer up. Third: she knew Subaru. She HAD TO KNOW he would take on himself the blame for her death. Really, not the best plan. She knows she can’t be happy with Subaru in that state… how can she think he would be happy with her dead? Forth: although we’ll discover it only in ‘X’… what she was thinking forcing Subaru to turn into Seishiro’s killer? One matter was ‘try to kill Subaru and you’ll get heart attack and die’ another is ‘try to kill Subaru and you’ll get your heart smashed by Subaru’s hand and die’. Sure, she thinks Seishiro won’t put it on use. After all Seishiro agreed to kill her knowing she was planning something… which should imply he too was planning something, really Hokuto-chan you should have thought at that… but this isn’t insurance good enough he wouldn’t kill Subaru. Spells can be dispelled, and Seishiro might have used other means to kill Subaru. Really, one of the saddest things about Hokuto’s death is her death made the situation worse in any possible way… and if Fuma or CLAMP dare to tell again any of the expressions Subaru has on his face after Seishiro’s death are ‘his happy face’ I’ll personally sign them up for a psychiatric hospital. Those are the farthest thing from Subaru’s happy face…
Anyway… Subaru was in some sort of coma at his home (and I wonder how did they fed him). It’s nice his grandmother is with him but maybe it was smarter to move him in Tokyo. Anyway, for mysterious reasons, Subaru sees Hokuto’s death. Later we’ll see he knows much more about it, it’s unclear if he knows it because he saw it in that moment and CLAMP only showed us a bit of it and a more extended version later or if his Onmyouji’s abilities helped him to have some sort of postcognition dream (by the way, CLAMP used the same scene they used in Vol 6… and they did the same with some flashback during Subaru and Seishiro’s meeting in Seishiro’s illusion… were you feeling not in the mood for drawing CLAMP?). Still, Subaru wakes up. At the same time someone phones to grandma to tell her Hokuto is dead. We’ve no idea who’s this person. It might be Seishiro. It might be someone who found her body. We don’t get the details because Subaru knows already anyway. I doubt it’s Seishiro, though or Subaru would have picked up the phone and given him a piece of his mind. The phone fell and someone was still speaking, although it’s not written what he was saying. Subaru would have heard and recognized Seishiro’s voice.
maylene_autumn: John and Shayeramaylene_autumn on February 19th, 2011 05:57 am (UTC)
You know, you bring up VERY good points that totally went over my head. For example, Hokuto IS (or was) Subaru's sister--she should have known how Subaru would take her death and yet she went with it anyway. It makes me wonder WHAT she was thinking. And while I've always liked Hokuto, she did push Subaru with Seishirou even when things got really bad. Frankly, it's a little alarming.

I think the lies, betrayal, murdered sister, crippled grandmother, being beaten up is why CLAMP couldn't give them a happy ending. That is too much for a relationship to handle, and CLAMP knows that Sei/Sub is a very unhealthy relationship so maybe that's why their ending is bittersweet.

I loved your input and I wish I had a lot more to say rather than just, "I agree" but I can't help it. It's pretty much that, and I love how you're thorough--I can't wait for whatever else you've got to say.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 21st, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
As said in another reply I think Hokuto was mad with grief when Subaru went comatose... and also that she put herself in a situation she didn't know how to handle. She was young and she thought she knew better but actually she didn't. She wasn't completely wrong in wanting Subaru to cling on something... but she hadn't taken into consideration what this would entrail or how dangerous it would be for him to attach to something as dangerous as Seishiro. She knew Seishiro was dangerous but she insisted in having this optimisitic view that everything would well in the end. Even the spell she used... she thought he wouldn't use it or another. There's to say Hokuto is young but really, she played with fire and not only she got burned but burned her whole house and family.

Maybe she was less naive than Subaru but still naive enough...

More than an unhealthy relationship it's the environment they're in that's unhealthy.
We tend to think Seishiro could have done differently but we forget from the Sakurazukamori's point of view what he did was 'kind'.
TB implied the Sakurazukamori's job was to protected Japan, not to kill for money or sadism and stated clearly that the Sakurazukamori had to kill who were to know his identity (probably for his own protection, the same way he can't say his birthday).
So Seishiro should have killed Subaru when he was 9... but gave him a chance.
He should have immediately killed him when he decided he had lost... but gave him time and then, in the end, didn't kill him.
He should have killed grandmother for interfering and maybe for finding catching sight of him... but let her go and it's only Sakanagi that put her on a wheelchair.
He should have killed Hokuto before she went and offered herself... but let her live until Hokuto decided to ask him to kill her.
Basically, he neglected his duty and his own security in Subaru, Hokuto and grandmother's advantage.
Now, of course, we want more, we think he should have dropped his job and his duty and fall in love with Subaru and live happily with him instead than doin horrible things he did.
First, he had no idea he's in love with Subaru and, since he has no idea, he doesn't see why he should do this.
Second there's to say he's sure, if he were to fall in love with Subaru, Subaru would kill him, therefore he won't have a happy ending as we would call it anyway.

Subaru seems to know Seishiro has... unpleasant duties. In fact he says Seishiro should have killed him, if he were Sakurazukamori. He knows it's some sort of crime to know who the Sakurazukamori is.
What stop the two of them from fixing their problems aren't the horrible things that had happened between the two of them. Subaru's the kind of person who's capable to forgive them (okay, I won't forgive but Subaru's different).
The problem is more that they can't communicate and that they're both suicidal and sure the other feels nothing. Until the last moment they will both be alone. Only in the end they'll manage to tell each other the truth about themselves but, by then, it's too late to make up and restart again (in TRC despite what clone Shaoran did he and Sakura will manage to clear things up and have another chance, although in another life... definitely he was luckier than Seishiro or Subaru).

If Seishiro hadn't been Sakurazukamori, or if the two of them hadn't met while Seishiro was working or if there hadn't been Setsuka's prophecy in between maybe things would have gone better. Instead the two of them were both foreordained to kill or be killed.
CLAMP purposely build up for them a cage from which they couldn't escape even if Hokuto and grandmother hadn't gotten in between.
It didn't help they added in the mix the end of the world and placed them on opposite sides...
(no subject) - maylene_autumn on February 22nd, 2011 04:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jjblue1 on February 23rd, 2011 01:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maylene_autumn on February 24th, 2011 01:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - maylene_autumn on March 25th, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 20th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Part 6 - End
It’s rather sad how Subaru clenches his fist when his grandmother confirms Seishiro killed Hokuto. He seemed cold as he said ‘he killed her, didn’t he?’ but in that gesture we’ll see his raw pain. Subaru is desperate and decides to kill Seishiro. Just Seishiro. He wants to focus only on this… which won’t help because it’ll mean he’ll keep on focusing on him. Later we’ll learn he hoped with erasing Seishiro from existence he hoped to erase him from his heart… only it didn’t quite work. I wonder if, in going so close to kill Subaru, Seishiro was trying to do the same. Anyway, as Subaru says he’ll kill Seishiro we see Seishiro turning and smiling, as if he had heard him. It’s interesting. Some can think it’s a mocking smile but, more likely, Seishiro got what he wanted. To have Subaru ready to fight him and therefore, find out who of the two would kill the other in a more active way. However he’ll keep away from Subaru from now on (unless you consider TB1999 canon). Okay, technically it’s likely because they’ve to move into ‘X’ but still it might be because he wanted Subaru to grow stronger. Maybe he thought everything went the way he did because Subaru wasn’t strong enough to have a fair match with him… or maybe he too needed some time to figure things out. He had an interesting expression in the flashback in ‘X’, when he killed Hokuto…
Oh, and I can’t remember if I mentioned how the bet was kind of self defeating because come on, making such bet with one person and not with anyone else already imply that person is special.
Following parts will come later…
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 20th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
Part 7 - Secret
Tokyo Babylon Vol. 7 – Secret
Secret is rather short as a story. If I’m not wrong it was printed at the same time and in the same magazine with ‘Start’ so maybe that’s why CLAMP had to keep it short. You can consider it an extra because it adds details to the ‘Save’ story that was in Vol. 4. It basically tells us what happened after Seishiro decided he wouldn’t end the bet that day (somehow Seishiro always seems to find rather hard to find a good moment to end the bet… even in ‘X’ he’ll postponed. Really, Hokuto-chan, I don’t think you had to worry about him killing Subaru…). Anyway, note how Seishiro can’t help but keep on touching Subaru, keep on talking to him, explaining himself to him even when Subaru isn’t awake.
It’s not just physical wish for Subaru or there wouldn’t be explanations, just touching. It’s like he’s searching a contact, only he obviously couldn’t find it because Subaru is unconscious. He wonders about Subaru, tries to understand him. He labels him a martyr and not a masochist as many fans think him to be. Subaru doesn’t find pleasure at being in pain, it’s more as if he finds it’s his duty to suffer, as if he never believes he’s doing enough to help others.
Then we move to the dead dog. Seishiro is being rather cynic about it. The dog was weak, he had to die for first. He needed a shield from Sakanagi, the dog had to be sacrificed. That’s why he’s a vet, to use the weak pets he gets as sacrificial shadows for himself. They’ll die to let him survive. Basically, they get the role Kamui’s mom and all the Kagenie had for politicians. Or the one of all the animals used as test experiments or of the ones killed for their fur or meat. But, when we see the dead puppy we don’t think at that. That dog doesn’t look like a lab rat or some animal many of us won’t feel too empathic about like a spider or a snake (who can be used as pet by some but that others find absolutely disgusting). He’s a small dog and we can assume he’s a puppy (maybe he’s not, maybe he’s just an old dog of small size and with only few days of life ahead of himself) and we think he’s cute and maybe compare to the one we have and think at how sorry his master will be finding he died.
Killing it seems horribly cruel but Seishiro doesn’t think at such. To him using the doggie was just practical, a good way to protect himself. Couldn’t he use the Sumeragi’s technique to shield himself, you might wonder?
If you pay close attention to Vol. 3 and to the ‘End’ story in this volume you’ll see the Sumeragi use mirrors to shield themselves. The Sakanagi hits their mirror image, usually cracking the mirror. It harms no one but it doesn’t work so well because, evidently, it doesn’t take the full blow. Grandmother’s mirror will crack but she will end up on a wheelchair. In Vol 3 Subaru’s mirror won’t crack at first (note how Seishiro glanced at it) and we’ll see it’s his rosary that break (evidently it too is another protection). The second time the mirror will shatter completely but Subaru will be so worn out he’ll faint (although we can’t say if it’s due to the spell or the Sakanagi).
Seishiro’s killing spells must be very dangerous, the Sakanagi for it must be very powerful. I’m not sure a mirror would keep him out of harm way. Also, he probably wouldn’t want to risk harm when he can sacrifice another person’s pet who, being already weak/ill/injured/old, might be destined to die anyway. It’s a cynical way of seeing things but it’s probably one many in his place would use.
Kusanagi would also like to point out how we sacrifice trees to build houses or other things. Nobody apart from him and few others think at it but trees too are living beings and we kill it without a second though. Think at it. All your manga collection exist due to people killing trees. Do you feel guilty? If the answer is no Seishiro thinks exactly the same about the puppies.
We can complain pets have a master who’ll feel sad if they die (it’s not necessarily true, the puppy might have been abandoned and carried to Seishiro by someone who found him) but I guess this won’t change much things. With or without a master the pet’s life will end.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 20th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
Part 8 - Secret
Seishiro has no doubts he’s doing the smart thing, though he knows he’s also doing something people wouldn’t approve. In fact here (like he did in Vol 5) he wonder about how Subaru would react if he were to know. Which wouldn’t be really important if he didn’t care about Subaru (note he wouldn’t wonder about how Hokuto will react or how the rest of the world will react… it’s all Subaru, Subaru, Subaru).
In Vol 5 he implied he believed Subaru would grow angry with him, here he toys with the idea Subaru might continue to be kind with him THE SAME WAY HE IS WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD evidently implying Subaru’s kindness toward him would be merely because Subaru’s kind and not because Seishiro is special to him. There’s no one to hear him so he has no reason to lie about it. He really thinks Subaru feels nothing toward him. He doesn’t realize at all his constant saying to Subaru ‘I love you’ and being kind to him had caused Subaru to develop feelings for him. It’s likely Seishiro’s biggest error to fail to take into consideration Subaru’s feelings, or better how Subaru’s feelings would evolve. Since he’s fairly sure people can’t change (he said this about himself but he will say this also in more general terms in the drama cd) he doesn’t even realize or worries he can affect Subaru.
He’s sure also nothing has changed inside himself, that Subaru is nothing special to him, that Subaru is exactly like the dog that just died. To prove his point he even dirty Subaru with some of the dog’s blood to make visually stronger the comparison. Again, since he’s alone, he can’t be willingly lying. It’s his whole behaviour that speaks otherwise. He keeps on touching Subaru gently, on pulling him close, on talking with him even if Subaru can’t reply. To use Seishiro’s most infamous example, you won’t do this with a glass cup… unless you’ve problems much more serious than the ones Seishiro have.
Come on, picture the scene:
‘Dear glass cup, I don’t like you’ *rubs cheeks against glass cup* ‘actually I’m totally indifferent to you’ *nuzzle against glass cup* ‘by the way would you get angry at me if you were capable to hear me?’ *dirty glass cup with blood* ‘No idea but it’s too early to break you so now I’ll lovingly put you in your shelve, my beloved glass cup…’
Really, how much normal this would be? -_-
Seishiro must find some sort of interest, some sort of feeling for Subaru. Is it just physical attraction? It might be attraction although, after seeing how Fuma handles Kamui, I finds Seishiro’s way much more tame and gentle. Sure, in TB there’s the age difference that might stop him (or CLAMP from representing it) but in ‘X’ Seishiro’s way to handle Subaru is still gentle. He has a thing for his hands, that’s for sure, and he still likes to hold him, to touch his cheek… but he doesn’t quite rub against him the way Fuma does with Kamui, nor licks him or bites him (also, although he too physically hurt Subaru, he didn’t hurt him as bad as Fuma did with Kamui…).
His way to cling to Subaru imply more the wish to possess him than the wish to have sex with him (or maybe Seishiro’s just the time who likes to snuggle).
Why Seishiro doesn’t realize he has some sort of interest for Subaru? Oh, he knows he has a fascination for Subaru, when the bet ended he admitted he was intrigued by Subaru’s pure heart… but he can’t realize there’s more. In ‘X’ Fuma will try to make him realize he sees Subaru differently from the others - Seishiro complains because Subaru smokes but he didn’t care about offering cigarettes to Fuma – and if you looks at Seishiro’s expression after Fuma pointed it out you see a veiled suspect dawned on him that maybe Fuma had hit a nerve (it should have dawned on him when he decided to make silent vigil in front of Subaru’s hospital while it was raining and without having an umbrella or a coat… really Seishiro, how much oblivious can you be?).
Anyway going on. Seishiro keeps on wondering about Subaru. His attention fall on the horoscope he got in Vol. 3 and he fails to note that Hokuto is rooting for him and not for Subaru as he seems to think. Basically he hadn’t noticed Hokuto too is fond of him. Her own way.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 20th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
Part 9 - Secret
Anyway he goes on about how the two of them had lied about the data given to make the horoscope. It makes them both liar yet he wonders about why Subaru had only half lied, revealing him his true birth date (yes, he wonders about Subaru a lot and doesn’t even notice it). In case you’ve forgotten/not noticed, back in Vol 3 it was Seishiro that asked Subaru his birth date, while the lady asked him his birthplace. He told the truth to Seishiro… but managed to lie to the lady, though he was a bit nervous about it. Note however he had already said to Kazue in Vol 1 that his birthplace was Tokyo, and back then he hadn’t been nervous at all. He was probably used to say it. Likely he was also used to say another birth date. What had changed?
Instinctively he had told the truth to Seishiro about his birthday, maybe, deep down, he wanted to tell him the truth, he wanted to open up to him but, when another person asked him, he had gone back to using a lie. But Seishiro was still around and would have heard his lie. That’s maybe why he hesitated.
Grandmother, as Seishiro assumed, had taught him to lie but Subaru, in that moment didn’t want to lie. Not to Seishiro. Seishiro failed to get it though. He knows lying his wrong but deems it necessary like killing pets to protect himself from Sakanagi. He doesn’t get why Subaru entrusted him with that fact about himself. He doesn’t get back then he was already starting to become special to Subaru.
And now, after having spent lot of time wondering about it, decides it doesn’t matter (either he didn’t have anything better to do in the middle of the night, after a tiring day and job, with Subaru that could wake up in a moment and discover he had been dirtied in blood and there’s a dead pet in Seishiro’s clinic or he’s in denial. Do your pick.) and decides to carry Subaru home. Subaru will say he woke up in his bed, which likely means Seishiro removed his clothes, did the laundry (or Subaru would have noticed the stains of blood) and dressed Subaru up in his pyjamas but what’s even more interesting is ‘why did he take Subaru to his clinic?’. It looks like he had nothing to do there. Subaru’s house is close so it’s not like he had to stop there to catch his breath. So why to take him there instead than straight back home, leaving him there and getting done with him? Maybe because he still wanted to spend some time with him?
Only Seishiro knows the answer to this…
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on February 21st, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
Part 10 - Start
Tokyo Babylon Vol. 7 – Start
So we start with a longer flashback of what happened to Hokuto, which is interesting because it’s all from Subaru’s point of view. It’s interesting. It seems to imply that when Subaru went within it’s not like he forgot about Hokuto, it’s just he was so caught up by Seishiro he couldn’t really move. I guess Subaru’s pain should have been heartbreaking and, at the same time, since Subaru is the martyr type, he must have thought he deserved it, that maybe Seishiro was mistreating him like that for the eye or for something he did or for something he did not. So he let himself drown in sorrow.
I’m not sure, had Hokuto been next to him, he would have managed to wake up from it, but I think it would have made waking up less painful and that there was still a chance. It’s kind of terrible also how Subaru seems to feel powerless and alone. He can’t move, he calls Hokuto but first she gets far and then she doesn’t seem to answer him, there’s even a mirror between them, in short he’s kept trapped away from her and maybe he felt he needed her. Subaru loved her, after all, not as much as Seishiro but he loved her. She was probably the only one on whom he could count. It’s also horrible how, for a moment, she’s inside the cage with him, just the time to hug him and ask him to ‘come back’. ‘Come back’ is between quotes/parenthesis (not too sure how you call those Japanese signs) as if it was underlined or some sort of magic spell that, with Hokuto’s death, will wake him up (in fact, in ‘End’, once awake he’ll remember it).
Subaru kept on calling her, on trying to reach her but with no result. And now there’s the odd thing. He sees the scene of her facing Seishiro. In ‘End’ it seemed he merely heard her calling him when she died but here he sees the scene before her ‘fight’ with Seishiro. I wonder if he also saw it while being within and how. Did Seishiro showed it to him? His powers gave him a postcognitive dream? Was the connection he had with Hokuto? Was it Kakyou? (‘X’ had been started so, although Kakyou didn’t show up in TB he could be already in CLAMP’s minds…) We won’t know but, with Hokuto’s death, Subaru’s free from ties and meets Seishiro’s gaze. In his dream Seishiro doesn’t have a nice expression… though later, in ‘X’, when he’ll tell what had happened to Kamui, Seishiro’s expression will be a lot softer.
Either way Seishiro couldn’t have possibly be looking at Subaru (unless he used a spell to cause Subaru to see Hokuto’s death) so Seishiro’s expression as he looked at his should have been something Subaru’s mind made up. Interesting enough Subaru doesn’t wonder at all about Hokuto’s spell or why Seishiro killed her despite it. It’s one of the weirdest things in TB… unless Subaru though Hokuto’s spell only had the meaning to wake him up.
Anyway Subaru wakes up for real. Interesting enough he’s not sleeping on his bed but on his couch. He’s dressed but he was also covered with a cover. One might wonder WHY he was sleeping there. Maybe, after the time he spent within in his room he didn’t like to be there? Bu in ‘X’ we’ll see him sitting on his bed with no problems. It looks more like he had fallen asleep on the couch and someone had covered him but Subaru acts like there’s nothing out of the ordinary so maybe not.
In the drama cd too he happened to nap and we can’t know when exactly ‘Start’ takes place but it can be very well at the same time of the movie and drama cd. Interesting enough, I seem to remember jeldi saying that in the magazine version Subaru had different clothes than the ones he had in the volume… I wonder why they changed them… (she assumed it was due to ‘X’ being serialized, which can very well be the right explanation).
Anyway we don’t have a real date for this story, we’re only told it’s placed in June… (therefore we can’t be in ‘X’ already. ‘X’ starts in April so, by now, Subaru would have already met Seishiro…)