I remember that a while ago, you were discussing Gucci and the fact that he shows more respect to Rem, or shinigami, than anyone else. It makes me think that Higucci really tries to show respect to people he deems above him, and that it helped him come as far as he did in life.
You know, it’s things like this that make me really wish Gucci got more appreciation in general. Like he’s clearly not the sharpest guy, but he’s not stupid goon either. @namiguchi wote a genuinely brilliant post about Higuchi on her blog (here), which I would recommend to everyone because all of it is actual gold.
The part in that analysis that really made Gucci click as a character for me was also something that was plainly obvious, but still needed to be explicitly pointed out for me to fully grasp in its entirety. Gucci knows he can’t handle acting as Kira alone and needs to rely on the intelligence/resources of people he acknowledges are better than him.
This is such an interesting difference between Higuchi and all of the other Kira characters. Light, Misa and Teru all determine they can operate alone and don’t seek out the counsel of others. (I left Kiyomi out of this because the circumstances under which she becomes Kira are slightly different). To me, this kind of indirect admission on Gucci’s part of his shortcomings is weirdly refreshing in a way that I suspect it wasn’t supposed to be, haha.
But bringing this all back more directly to your point – yeah, Gucci isn’t stupid. He knows when he’s at a loss, and he knows who he absolutely can and cannot afford to anger. He bullies Takahashi in the meetings of death because he can get away with it (and presumably because Takahashi is the equivalent of Higuchi’s stress ball), and he generally behaves less aggressively towards the people he perceives as having substantive/important things to say. Part of that is, imo, due to Japan’s social structure and emphasis on rank/hierarchy. For any of the Yotsubas to get to where they are (with the exception of perhaps Hatori) they cannot afford to ignore social etiquette. Each of them know the importance of strategic deference.
While not completely applicable to Rem and Gucci because it doesn’t relate to social status etc, I do think to a degree Gucci does consider Rem a being that’s “higher” than him because she is a shinigami. Again, this is a point of view that I think is unique to Higuchi. Light grows to think of shinigami like Rem and Shido as nuisances and comes to treat Ryuk with indifference/disrespect, Misa doesn’t seem to respect Rem either and bosses Ryuk around, Teru is outright dismissive of Ryuk. Kiyomi doesn’t interact with Ryuk or any other shinigami. Higuchi though… he asks Rem for advice and seems to value her opinion, even when he doesn’t agree with it and unlike Misa who also asks for Rem’s opinion/advice doesn’t try to manipulate Rem. In a way, he also drops the alpha male posturing he does around the Yotsuba 8 when he’s alone with Rem.
It makes me wonder if Higuchi is more superstitious about shinigami/kami than the others are, and if that has something to do with his older age. It’s hard to pin it down definitively in the end, but I do wish we’d gotten to see the very first interaction between Gucci and Rem as that would have more clearly established the tone of their dynamic in the series :|