Boku, Ore, Watashi
Okay, I have to throw in my two cents in regards to the Mutsuki’s Pronouns ordeal. Let’s start here:
From what I understand, he used both the hypermasculine ore and typically-feminine watashi this chapter. This caused some confusion, as MS took the watashi bit and translated all pronouns surrounding Mutsuki to “she”.
In my opinion, this isn’t really appropriate, since Mutsuki has explicitly stated that he wanted to live as a man, and never the other way around. On top of that, the people closest to him have always referred to him as “he”, to his apparent approval. Until he says “I want to live as a woman”, this should remain. As a rule of thumb, it’s socially correct and just downright polite to refer to someone as the pronouns they say they are.
Now, let’s look at Kaneki and Mutsuki in relation to one another. They are a true example of two people who’s lives parallel. They both grew up in abusive households, both underwent unspeakable torture, and both found themselves living under the care of the CCG. The two of them have the white hair and eyepatch to make that abundantly clear.
So. Remember this part? In english, Kaneki is saying “I? I? I? Me?” etc. It translated that way okay because it sounded like he was stumbling over his words while his brain was doing somersaults. But in japanese, he’s actually saying “Watashi? Ore? Boku? Boku, boku–” because at the time he was struggling for control over his body.
- Rize used Watashi
- Yamori used Ore
- Kaneki uses Boku
Rize trapped him into this lifestyle and Yamori enforced it. To Kaneki, he felt like his life belonged to them now, and the “real” him had lost control. He knew that the violence was wrong, but needed “their” strength to protect himself and the people he loved.
Mutsuki is also struggling with who is controlling his body.
This is KEY to the polar shifts in his personality, and how he goes from a gentle doll to a rampaging killer in seconds. He disassociates and blacks out when he goes into these fits, and can’t remember what happened when he comes-to.
denial, then warping walls as he comes back to himself
Here’s the thing: when Mutsuki refers to himself as a woman, or uses feminine pronouns, he’s seeing himself as the weak person who was abused by his father; the person who slaughtered his entire family. He is disgusted by that– by himself– and equates womanhood (incorrectly) to this awful, despicable, abhorrent thing from his own experience as a woman.
- He was abused by his father as a woman (weak).
- He murdered his family as a woman (violent).
- He was leered at in the club as a woman (vulnerable).
- He was dressed like a woman when he stumbled into that corner of the auction and ate someone out of desperation (barbaric).
- He was treated like a woman when he tore Torso limb from limb and was forcibly reminded of what he had done in his past (grotesque).
…and now resorting to violence is how his mind protects itself from more internal damage, unaware to itself that it’s trapping him in an downward spiral. Every time he’s put into a place of discomfort, he’s rocketed into an unhinged frenzy that he knows in the confines of his mind is wrong, wrong, wrong, but he can’t stop it. He’s triggered into lashing out at Touka when he’s jealous to avoid feeling (like a) vulnerable (woman) again, but in reality it’s doing him much more damage.
Unfortunately, Mutsuki hasn’t been able to catch a break or find some level of stability since his capture on Rue, and the “grotesque” parts of his self have now consumed him almost completely.
That, essentially, is why he’s using ore and watashi (and boku in the beginning, when he was stable). Like Kaneki with Rize and Yamori, Mutsuki is trying to have some kind of control over the “self” that has taken control of his body.