Never forget how Disney ruined Doug by slapping on a bunch of arbitrary bullshit changes:
• The Beets broke up • Honker Burger closed • Roger got rich • Connie got a more “normal” body type • Doug became Porkchop’s pet • Skeeter’s safeword changed from “honk honk” to “eebeedeebee”
• The town was named Doug
• “Patti Mayonnaise Memorial Swimming Pool” WTF!
• Mayor White became part of Doug’s circle of friends • Sex moans in the theme song • Everyone could see Doug’s imagination sequences happen in reality • 9/11 predictions got a lot less subtle
• Mr. Dink calmed down
• Judy Funnie became a baby • Mr. Bone lived in Doug’s walls • Doug’s voice actor was replaced by Sir Michael Caine
• Every episode was 4 hours long
• Every character was nude with grotesquely long, muscular torsos • Roger always dropped a gun on the floor in every scene
• Doug turned twelve
• Every episode ended with Doug’s parents dying
Hello! I really enjoy reading your thoughts on Tokyo Ghoul, and I was wondering if you have any thoughts on where Mutsuki's character arc might be heading? (Besides Kaneki and Touka, Mutsuki's probably my favourite character, but I'm preparing myself for a lot of pain while still hoping for some redemption.)
Aw thanks anon! I have many thoughts on Mutsuki; maybe too many
thoughts on Mutsuki, so do you mind if I go overboard and extend this question
into a mega Mutsuki analysis post? I figure now’s as good a time as any.
on Mutsuki’s internal monologues here, here and most definitively here, I
think it’s clear that Mutsuki considers herself to be a woman and merely
masquerades as a man due to her fear of male sexual attention stemming from her
childhood trauma. Thus I will be addressing her with ‘she’ and ‘her’ pronouns
accordingly. Discussion below about ‘gender confusion’ and the like is entirely unrelated to transgender issues, and solely applies to these characters’ individual psyches.)
As soon as we see Mutsuki, we are instantly reminded of Kaneki - specifically Kaneki as he was at the start of the series, the persona we call Kuroneki. She has the same wide, innocent eyes and a similarly prim and proper haircut, with her head stuck in a book. And of course, if you were left with any doubts, the eyepatch vanquishes them immediately. As we get to know her better, we find out she is polite and kind but meek and easily frightened, without a great deal of faith in her own abilities. It’s not exactly subtle paralleling, but then, it’s not meant to be.
Because while in :re, Kaneki is slipping out of the mould of his tragedy, there needs to be someone to take up the mantle of the tragic hero. The gift of a sequel series spared Kaneki from his death at the end of the original, but the author must maintain a balance - tragedy must have its tribute, and here is a person as ideally suited to the role as Kaneki once was.
In fact, Kaneki in his amnesiac ignorance ends up symbolically helping Mutsuki down the path he once walked. In the Christmas chapter - the same chapter where Kaneki’s own self-discovery takes a new turn with the gift of his mask - Kaneki offers Mutsuki a new eyepatch, without having a real reason other than instinct. He feels as though Mutsuki ought to have a new eyepatch because he subconsciously remembers how he changed in the past.
Mutsuki is pushed along little by little towards her ultimate revelation on Rushima Island throughout her time in the Quinx Squad, with snippets of the truth slowly revealing themselves to her. This evolution is sped along by several encounters with various characters representing different aspects of herself - the true self that she has been suppressing. Kaneki was the first, but the second of her doppelgangers was Torso.
Even before his torture irrevocably changed her, the two were already alike in their abusive backgrounds and, most importantly, their mental confusion between love and violence. Seeing one’s doppelganger is traditionally a harbinger of death, and in Tokyo Ghoul, an encounter with your doppelganger escalates your character’s tragic arc, often to that very final point. It is Torso who first begins to unravel the relative security she had felt living as a man, together with the web of lies Mutsuki had spun around herself to protect her. We learn more about Mutsuki as her own safeguards are torn down around her, much like with Kaneki before her. Our initial assumption that Mutsuki is transgender is disproved when we get deep inside Mutsuki’s head and it becomes clear that she considers herself to be a woman.
It establishes that Mutsuki is comfortable with living a lie in order to protect herself - and if she’s willing and able to hide her gender from the rest of society, who’s to say she’s not hiding something from herself? But already, ever since Torso lands that first crucial blow against the safeguard of her false gender, she finds it quickly crumbling as she is compelled into situations like the Auction that require her to dress (and therefore be treated) as female, and it isn’t long before Urie finds out her gender and eventually Saiko too. Because it’s not just Torso that finds out, it’s also the reader. And once the reader knows, the author can begin gradually undermining her defences to fit her into the tragedy she was written for.
I’ll be talking a little more about Torso later, but for now I’d like to get to Mutsuki’s third doppelganger: Juuzou Suzuya.
The two bond very quickly out of an unspoken connection to each other. Indeed, they share much in common: their sadistic tendencies, their reliance on gentle paternal figures to make up for their lack of a real childhood, and
the ambiguity of their genders stemming from their sexual abuse as children. The latter connection in particular is highlighted by the inclusion of Big Madam (also of confused gender) in the arc, reminding us of Suzuya’s past and making us suspect similar activity in Mutsuki’s, and by the two of them dressing up as women for the Auction. While Suzuya believes them both to be pretending to be women - both to be lying - the truth is that Mutsuki is actually being honest, suggesting a misunderstanding in Suzuya’s connection with Mutsuki.
Although they’ve never discussed their pasts to each other in any great detail, Suzuya senses their similarity, and tries to help Mutsuki along by training her in the same lethal artwork that allowed him to cope and find purpose in this brutal world - until Mutsuki eventually even joins Suzuya’s squad. But again, Suzuya misunderstands how they are similar and how they differ. Suzuya’s trauma left him numb to feelings of empathy and love, and so he used his bladework, and the strength it gives him, as a distraction from that hole. Mutsuki is still connected to those feelings, only in a very twisted way. She instead starts filling that hole with knives, mingling violence hopelessly with her notion of love. There’s no better proof of that fundamental difference between the two than their individual reactions to Uta’s masks.
When Suzuya finally learnt how to love, he learnt to do it in a healthy way, and so he couldn’t bring his knives against the image of Shinohara because violence and love are completely disconnected for him - when he killed Big Madam, it was not out of personal desire for revenge (a reaction to the spurned love he should have been given by his maternal figure), but merely out of duty. Love can never involve violence, and violence can never involve love - those two sides of his personality are entirely cut off from each other. Mutsuki, on the other hand…
…sees the two as the same, having gone down the second of two opposing paths stemming from similar trauma. And so Suzuya’s attempt to aid Mutsuki only escalated her tragedy, just like Kaneki’s gift of the eyepatch, and even Torso’s warped attempts at love.
The last of Mutsuki’s parallels are solely antagonising figures. In the midst of the Auction, three of Mutsuki’s parallels intersect due to their mutual interest in her.
Mutsuki catches Nutcracker’s attention at the nightclub and she is quick to take advantage of her. She embodies the sexual abuse that made Mutsuki who she is today - only in reverse - and where Mutsuki covers up her sexuality, Nuts flaunts it. But like Mutsuki, Nutcracker just wants to be loved, and ends up expressing that desire in violent ways.
But as soon as Mutsuki escapes from Nutcracker, she runs straight into another of her parallels. Karren is another female character who masquerades as male, and whose actions, good and evil, are motivated out of a powerful desire for love. But she quickly finds herself battling for control over Mutsuki with Torso - yet another of Mutsuki’s parallels.
After the Auction Operation forced her to confront her femininity by dressing up like a girl, she spent the rest of it wandering through a maze of her own mind, running into a grand total of three of her alternate selves all seeking to control her in this space alone. The effect? Mutsuki begins remembering the thoughts that she had locked up, presenting them to the reader for the first time:
But with these memories unlocked, a certain gruesome aspect of Mutsuki’s behaviour does as well, as we learn later on at Rushima.
Being attacked on all sides by agents of her inner psyche externalised, she is slowly pushed to a very dangerous point that requires a very dangerous spark to fully ignite.
Ken Kaneki underwent his transformation as Aogiri started to gain power. Tooru Mutsuki underwent hers towards the end of it. The Rushima arc serves as an excellent parallel to the original series’ Aogiri arc, as Mutsuki finds herself trapped in the tragic hero’s role that was once Kaneki’s. But where once there was Yamori, now there is Torso. Mutsuki is trapped by Aogiri, all alone, in the hands of a mad torturer. Her hair becomes pale and dishevelled as Kaneki’s once did, and she remembers something vital about her family that kicks her transformation into motion. She adopts the nervous habit of her torturer, accepts her sadistic urges, and gives her torturer a taste of his own medicine.
And right afterwards, she goes on a battle spree, far more confident in her kagune and far more ruthless in its use. Mutsuki’s ability to suppress large parts of her memories lines up with the entire conundrum of Haise’s existence.
Urie functions as the Touka to Mutsuki’s Kaneki; someone initially cold to Mutsuki who warms up to her and becomes the most determined to save her when she’s captured. But even then, at the start of their heartwarming, but sadly doomed, relationship, Mutsuki only thinks to show love towards Urie after being wounded by him. As @linkspooky points out, she is completely accustomed to abuse by male figures at this point. For Mutsuki, love and pain are one and the same.
But where does all this lead? With all these parallels set up, where can we see Mutsuki’s journey finally taking her?
Nutcracker is dead. Karren is dead. Torso is dead. If the original manga is taken as a separate entity, in that world, Kaneki is dead. Is there hope in the precedent set by Suzuya? While I do think Suzuya will survive the series, I’ve already established the great point of difference between the two, and I think it will be what keeps Suzuya alive. You’re right to prepare yourself, anon. I don’t think Mutsuki has much hope of surviving this series.
Will she be redeemed? I think, before the hypothetical raid on :re that I believe will be happening soon (especially since Mutsuki has considered it as Kaneki’s possible hiding place), a confrontation with Urie may lead her to question her actions, but it won’t be enough to stop her. As she hunts for Kaneki in :re, she will find her efforts will come down to nought as members of the CCG begin defecting and her way is blocked by enemies. Her single last thread of hope will lead her to a God of Death, and as his scythe takes her eyes out she will deeply regret ever coming to this place, but all too tragically, all too late.
We’ve been given reason to doubt Suzuya’s loyalty to the CCG for some time now. He asserts his obedience too boldly for me to trust him completely. If he does defect, he would be ideal to fill Arima’s shoes and have Mutsuki meet the tragic fate that originally was meant to be Kaneki’s, especially since they already have the mentor/student relationship Kaneki and Arima would go on to have. To have these two, so similar and yet so different, fight each other to the end would be a fitting end for Mutsuki’s arc. Urie’s attempts at reason, like Touka’s before him, won’t be quite enough to stop her.
I’m sure Suzuya would try not to kill Mutsuki…but I’m not sure it will be that easy.
I taught this morning and then ran a workshop (on mental health in the classroom yeahhhhh) at a conference this afternoon and I’m only just getting home and I’m doing all the deep breathing stuff but are there any particular stretches or something that work well for post-binding all damn day (8.5 hours, I didn’t get home as early as I thought I would)?
Jae: my favorite drink….water? I kinda like some other soft drinks and stuff like that, but lately I’ve been trying to, you know, stay off that because it makes me jittery. I used to have a can before I go up on stage but then it makes me like super nervous so I’m trying to avoid that. As for my favorite food, since you [person who sent in the question] said you’re from Japan, I’m really craving ramen. You’re so lucky man. [bc the Japanese person can eat it frequently in japan]
[basically they were talking about obsessions]
Jae: I am currently O B S E S S E D, I am literally obsessed with 2k [basketball video game]. I can’t get off MyCareer [game option on 2k] to save my life. I find myself going late to band practice because of that. I find myself waking up late and staying up later because of that game. I will destroy anyone that comes at me, so…come at me.
[out of the 2 options, he has to pick which one he is more obsessed with]
1: music charts or my appearance
Jae: music charts. That’s what important man. Music.
2: if my girlfriend does not answer my call, I will call her again and again. Yes or no?
Jae: it’s been so long, I don’t know if I’ve changed. It’s been like SO long. Should we just do like, what it used to be like or what I think I would do now? [answer: what you would do now]. Oh okay. No. I used to. I remember like back in college like…[weird voice] I was crazy! It was just hard for me back then. Especially cause like, in college is that whole party scene and everyone’s always partying all the time. It’s like, if she doesn’t pick up her phone on Saturday night at like 1am, I’m just like…what’s going on? Driving me [weird voice] crazy. Makes me CRAZY! I’m just like a super insecure dude, man. I think that’s the thing. I’M UGLY OKAY! I know it! I know!
3: I like a girl who is obsessed with me [yes or no]
Jae: I like a girl who is obsessed with me. [changed his answer after thinking]. Actually, I would rather be the one obsessing. I can’t relate to that anymore because I don’t remember how it feels. My emotions are dead. Love isn’t real.
Question: do you have any inferiority complexes?
Jae: [before Bernard even finished the question] YES. I have a lot. My small eyes, my vocal ability, my long torso, [bernard: your long torso?] DON’T GET ME STARTED MAN! DON’T GET ME STARTED MAN! I’VE GOT A COMPLEX BRO!
Question: do you have any fans that stick out to you? Do you have any stalker fans?
Jae: I mean all of our fans stick out. And we don’t have any stalker fans. But we do have this one fan, he’s a guy, and he comes to our concerts and his lung capacity is crazy. Everyone’s screaming but you can just hear his tone. Everyone’s like “ahh oppa!” he’s like [deep loud voice] “oooOOOHHH!” We’re just like “dang boy okay!” But yeah he’s super cool man, he supports us hella good so we appreciate it.
cadenti porrigo demolotio: I reach out my hand to the man who’s pulling.
Harry’s beauty was whispered through the valleys of Greece, attracting females and males to the island of Mykonos in hopes of hearing the green eyed siren’s song. Myths and legends told of heroes such as Odysseus and Heracles swayed by his beauty, even the goddess Aphrodite smitten by him and his son. He was no god of any sort; instead a nymph, if you will. An Oceanide.
Harry had skin kissed by the Greek sun. He had eyes that matched the wine colored sea he dwelled in and hair the color of whiskey. He knew he was beautiful too; people were willing to die to catch a glimpse of him, how could he not?
His voice was just as beautiful as he was. In the dead of night you could hear the distinct tune of his irresistibly sweet melody against the lapping waves on the sand. Though deemed as suicides, many had traveled to the island only to jump in the water in search of him only to be met with their fate under the sea. It wasn’t until Harry’s own fateful day where he meet his own siren of his dreams. Although she wasn’t a siren like he was.
She was human, and the most god damn beautiful human Harry had ever seen too. She was a sort of understated beauty, one that in a crowded marketplace in the famous city of Athens, Harry would be able to pick her out in a millisecond. She had lips the color of pomegranates and smudges of coal lined around her eyes to make them bigger than already possible. A soft, sweet gentle voice that Harry could hear when she was out that made his heart swell two sizes bigger.
How could he ever love another?
(Y/N) had traveled by boat to her birthplace of Mykonos. Every summer she would return to her childhood home and spend the season aiding her elderly parents around the house and the town. Living in a small cottage just on the coast of the island, her favorite thing to do was to garden and to sing, preferably at the same time. In the late evenings she would tend to the roses and watch the rhythmic percussion of the waves on the sand.
It wasn’t until one night the girl had wondered on the dark beach, wrapping her silk dress tighter around against her body. Her hair blew in tresses around her, momentarily restricting her vision until it was whipped away back behind her.
(Y/N) squinted, eyeing a blurry form in the distance with a look of confusion. Something had washed up; something big. A …shark? A seal? Coming closer, her jaw dropped open; it was a man. A man with a long, slender torso that turned from skin to scales into a long fish tail. He lay unmoving, twitching from time when a particularly strong gust of wind blew.
(Y/N) sunk down to her knees, observing him. She had only ever heard of nymphs in stories but undoubtedly knew from his appearance that he must of been one. His long hair lay strewn around his head in a disheveled mess and bits of sand covered his face all the way down to his torso. Clearly, he had been washed up. But how could such a strong creature, one so close to a human, allow itself to become so vulnerable?
(Y/N) reached out and dusted flecks of sand away from his forehead and eyes, noting that his skin, though a blue tint, was warm and he was in fact still breathing. She noted how long his eyelashes were and how they touched the apples of his cheeks, his lips a shade of a pink hibiscus. She felt herself becoming smitten with the man.
Harry jumped, startling the girl’s hand off of him with a gasp. From his view on the sandy beach, all he could see was the swirl of dark storm clouds above him and a frightened girl looking down on him. His girl.
“I’m sorry for startling you. What’s your name?” He whispered, lifting a hand up onto the girl’s jaw and cupping it sweetly. She followed his hand with hers and gave a slight eyebrow scrunch. He talked with an unusual accent, one that reveled he was not where she was from.
“Lovely.” He coughed. “Can you help me back into the sea? I’m having trouble breathing.”
(Y/N) jumped up but the thought came to her mind; how was she suppose to drag a siren back into the ocean?
Harry held his arms out, encouraging her to take his hands. She did so with hesitation and lifted him off the ground only to find he weighed basically nothing. She felt like she was lifting a child up but he stood towering over her, wrapping his arms around her dainty neck to keep balance. (Y/N) stood shocked.
“Please.” He encouraged her, feeling her body rigid with hesitation.
She complied, using one arm to hoist his body up and carry him bridal style down to the water. She pushed her embarrassment to the side, as this was probably really damn strange looking. She wandered into the ocean waist deep, occasionally losing her footing against the waves that didn’t seem so gentle.
She loosened her hold on the siren, allowing him to slide into the sea. He did so quickly, diving under before coming back up with a refreshing laugh. Harry leaned over and took her hands, encouraging her to follow him deeper in the sea.
(Y/N) shook her head, pulling against his hold. “I can’t swim. I’ll drown.“
Harry had this funny look on his face, an odd smile matched with eyes that visibly shined even in the dead of night. He smoothly pulled her forward, her feet sliding off the sand and automatically kicking her weight above her. (Y/N) gasped, latching her grip onto the siren and wrapping her legs around his waist in a haste.
“I can’t swim!” She cried but a mistake it was, as now the siren floated the two of them deeper into the black ocean. The water was cold, surprising for a Greek summer and it had (Y/N)’s hair standing up on end. Her wet dress was weighing her down even harder onto Harry who had his strong arms wrapped around waist.
“Focus on me.” Harry spoke but it was difficult to hear him over the water spinning in waves around them. He had the same dreamy look on his face, seeming to appear unaware of (Y/N)’s horrified state.
Harry leaned in and kissed her lightly on the mouth, her body going in shock before melting into his as she reciprocated the kiss. Their noses bumped into each other as he worked his lips over hers, as he had never before kissied anybody. She clung to him as a child, momentarily forgetting the fact that she was freely floating in the sea.
The siren’s kiss made her feel warm inside but not warm enough to stop the fact that she was shivering. Harry tangled his hand in her hair, enjoying the sound of their lips against each other but her iron like grip on his shoulders made him pull away.
“I’m scared.” (Y/N) spoke. “Please take me back to shore.”
Harry frowned, not wanting their time to be up just yet.
“Tell me,” Harry sounded, his hand in her hair detaching and resting on the base of her neck. “Do you believe you can breathe underwater?”
“Would I be this scared in the middle of the ocean if I knew I could breathe underwater?”
Harry laughed, flicking his tail to keep them afloat. “What if I told you you could?”
(Y/N) shook her head. “I want to go home, I’m very tired. Please.”
“Okay, I’ll take you home. Hold onto me.”
And so, the siren trod the waters back to shore. (Y/N) let out a sigh of relief when her toes touched the sandy bottom of the floor. Without much of a goodbye or a look back, the girl ran back to dry land and up the path back to her tiny cottage.
Harry watched her, rising with anger. He took her on an adventure that no other had experienced and she repays him by running away? Here he was in love with her, so enamored but there she was trying to get away from him. He slapped the water surface angerly.
Harry took a breath and started to sing a song of sorrow and heavy heart. Singing always calmed Harry down, making him feel like the calm after the storm. Most of the time, Harry didn’t even know he had started singing because he would fall into a state of semi-consciousness, one that would make him feel one with nature, one with the gods on Mount Olympus and one with Earth.
Unknowingly, Harry’s melody had drifted into the wind and on to (Y/N)’s ears. She stopped her hurried walk and fell in love with the siren all over again. It only took her a millisecond to decide her fate and she was running back, holding her dress up from her legs and sprinting back down to the beach she had just been running from minutes before. It felt like an invisible string was pulling her, yanking her back in the water and to the siren’s arms. She didn’t care anymore though.
Harry saw her running, letting the last note of his song curl slowly from his lips. She stumbled through the water, doing her best attempt of trying to swim towards him before meeting being enclosed in his embrace and planting her lips onto his.
“Take me away.” She breathed heavily. “I never want to be without you, please, take me away.”
It didn’t take Harry any more convincing than that to turn around swim deeper into the sea. Though awkward, (Y/N) clung to the side of him, completely hypnotized by the voice of a siren she didn’t even know the name of.
When the island of Mykonos was only a dot in the horizon, Harry turned to (Y/N) and with a dazzling smile, breathed, “Are you ready?”
(Y/N) nodded, struggling to keep herself a float. “I’m yours, I’ll go wherever you go.”
With that, Harry took her hand and dived down. Immediately the water burned (Y/N)’s lungs, paradoxically making them feel like a growing flame. She coughed and sputtered violently but continued to follow the siren blindly deeper into the darkness. Her eyes refused to adjust, only seeing a blur of Harry’s tail and red and black blotches. Her head pounded, every cell in her body screaming for oxygen but she didn’t care to fight. (Y/N)’s love for the man dragging her deeper only heightened with each second and soon, she began to fall.
It hurt so bad that… it didn’t anymore. Her body didn’t struggle and became in tune with the wishes of her heart. She was peacefully numb. Nothing except her love mattered.
All movement stopped and before she knew it she was just floating in the empty ocean. Harry’s hand had disconnected from hers and suddenly, she had never felt more lonelier. (Y/N)’s last memory before she died was the siren’s lips on hers, kissing the last bits of her life away. He held the water in her chest with his kiss and watched her diminish.