natsuo first!! tho i’m probably gonna do both natsuo and youji since they’re sort of a package deal
sexual orientation headcanon
i’ve always seen both natsuo and youji as completely bisexual where they don’t really have a preference. i also have always sort of seen them as polyamorous, too, though they’re the ‘main’ couple.
like i said in my last post, i’m gonna say this about a lot of the characters, but i really like the idea of trans and/or nb natsuo. i’m very partial to actually mtf or femme presenting natsuo who’s considers themselves to be trans. i have no canon evidence of this other than the typical ‘natsuo and youji were raised in an environment where they never developed an actual identity pertaining to anything, including gender’, but i’m very much all for a dysphoric mtf trans natsuo. i actually also hc youji as trans, but more agender, since i don’t think he would really care about gender or presentation or assign anything to himself. natsuo, i think, is a little different and would actually be bothered by dysphoria and such. i just think natsuo is generally more susceptible to be bothered by something like gender than youji is.
mental illness / neurodivergent headcanon
OH BOY MY FAVORITE TOPIC
alright so natsuo and youji are very interesting characters in a clinical sense, since they’re actually children. i talk a lot about attachment and conduct disorders in terms of adults but the fact of the matter is that clinically, we actually usually talk about those areas in terms of children, because it’s generally accepted in the psychological medical world that when you reach adulthood (typically 18-21), these disorders are considered more severe and given different names because development is considered to be over. i’m not someone who subscribes to this way of thinking, despite it being the current standard, and i personally believe that attachment and conduct disorders should still be studied and looked at, especially in young adulthood. but anyways, talking about natsuo and youji is different because i’ll actually be talking about things in a traditional clinical sense.
so let’s talk about natsuo and youji and natsuo in specific. the other reason that these two are very interesting is that they’re actually one of the only background characters who has showed clear and definable improvement throughout the series. yes, they are still little shits who constantly harass people and make fun of them, but they’re not the monsters that they’re portrayed to be in the beginning of the series. if you remember the beginning of the series, the two are first introduced when they are strongly implied to have murdered sleepless in cold blood and then they were 100% going to rape hitomi. they were fucking monsters and like, they’re still little gremlins, but they seem to have developed some sort of sense of right and wrong. this is very clearly shown when soubi sends the two of them to school and while they do harass her, they don’t seem to want to beat up and full out rape hitomi anymore.
it’s a huge change, and here’s the thing–it actually makes sense in canon. natsuo and youji have a very, very clear attachment disorder and clinically, i can pinpoint them with reactive attachment disorder. if you have any experience first-hand or second-hand with adopted or fostered children, you’ll probably know that reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is typically a term thrown around when talking about those particular children, specifically ones that have been abused in the past. attachment theory is a generally accepted and well backed up theory that in order to properly thrive in life, early on a child must attach securely onto a caregiver. kids who have been abused typically do not attach in this specific way. RAD is a disorder where the diagnosis can actually be made on the fact that a child has been abused alone.
RAD usually either manifested in one of two ways–either a child tries to receive comfort and affection from any adult available, even complete strangers, or they resist any attempt for an adult to get close to them at all, especially when the child is distressed. both ways come from constant and prolonged abuse and neglect, both of which fit very well with natsuo and youji. they fit the latter, where they resist any and all attempts for adults to get close to them. kids with attachment disorders also tend to get co-morbid conduct disorders, which are usually (and imo, wrongfully) seen as a pre-cursor to antisocial disorder and is described as a disorder wherein the sufferer exhibits behavior that is not appropriate and intentionally attempts to cause harm to others. i would actually stick natsuo and youji with oppostional defiance disorder, which falls under conduct disorders.
basically, natsuo and youji do not know how to developmentally act and are stunted, but are still young and therefore tend to violently act out in order to feel positive emotions and get attention from adults. they were raised by nagisa, who abused and neglected them heavily and constantly and therefore, they never formed a secure attachment with an adult and suffered developmentally from it.
the reason that they’ve actually improved to the point that they’re just irritating gremlins, is because they’ve been taken out of the bad parental environment and put in one that by complete coincidence, was actually exactly what they needed. typically, what kinds with RAD and conduct disorders need is both some independence and care and they absolutely should not be pushed. by soubi taking him in and soubi having 0 fucking idea how to parent, he accidentally provided them pretty much the best environment they could have to initially start to heal. they have actually begun to attach to soubi in a parental way and though he isn’t the best parent, he does seem to actually be very good for them.
beyond this, i don’t really think natsuo and youji have a whole lot of problems. going into more specifics, i think natsuo ended up a little ‘better’ off in the end where he wound up being able to understand people, whereas youji tried to shut down emotional responses in response to the pain of abuse/neglect. because of this, though, i think natsuo may have ended up more depressed than youji.
the takeaway of this all is that natsuo and youji are in dire need of a childhood/developmental psychologist even though they’re improving more than any other character in the series.
3 random headcanons
-soubi actually cares for natsuo and youji, but has a bit of a difficult time showing it because he’s…well, soubi. there’s a lot of evidence supporting this, from soubi involving them in things, forcing them to go to school and get a fucking education, the scene where soubi very clearly missed them once they left home, and the many scenes where soubi is off-handedly taking care of them. the thing is that they’re also good for soubi–all soubi’s ever wanted is to be wanted and needed, and taking care of someone/parenting kids seems to at least partially fulfill that need in him. it’s the same for ritsuka. on the opposite end, natsuo and youji also really like and care for soubi, despite their differences. they did willingly go back to him and have stated that although it’s strange to them, living with soubi is actually nice and enjoyable.
-i’m a huge sucker for found family troupes, so i consider soubi and kio to be the sort of ‘parents’ of ritsuka, natsuo, and youji, and the five of them being a big found family. i base a lot of this around the hallucination that soubi has during the moonless battle where the five of them are gathered together and just generally seeming very family-like and happy. that’s my endgame for all of them. that, and a fuckton of psychological treatment
-natsuo actually has some interest in art but hasn’t allowed himself to think about it, let alone ask soubi about it. it manifests itself in drawings in the margins. he’s pretty embarrassed about it, to say the least, since he thinks youji might poke fun at him for it and soubi might be unwilling to teach him anything about it.
-natsuo wants affection, but again, is too afraid to actually ask for it or talk about it. he gets affection from youji to an extent, but he’s started wanting parental affection. even if he can’t feel warmth, he does like affection like being hugged a lot, and yearns for that, but the thought of asking soubi to hug him seems fucking ridiculous to him, especially after nagisa only ever touched him to hurt him.
-natsuo and youji hate being referred to as twins. they are constantly asked if they’re twins or what they are. they don’t really know how to answer that question, but are a little offended at the thought of them actually being biologically related.
sexual orientation headcanon
once upon a time @salrai suggested to me pansexual kio and i sort of fell in love. i honestly do see kio as having a preference for men though, but he is attracted to all genders. he’s been polyamorous in the past, and might still be. while he’s a very good friend to him, kio also does have romantic feelings and attraction towards soubi and would be completely willing to date him (the fact that i love soubi/kio is gonna become very apparent during this)
melee (linked her blog above) also suggested the kio is agender and i fucking love that. different from soubi, kio does have a general understanding of gender and unlike natsuo and youji, it’s not that he doesn’t really care about gender, but kio just doesn’t really feel one way or another gender-wise. he spent some time struggling with it, but by the time the start of the series rolls around, he’s fairly comfortable with it and willing to help others with it as well.
mental illness / neurodivergent headcanon
so–here’s the thing about kio. kio seems fairly… mentally sound at the beginning of the series and he takes everything fairly well, including being kidnapped. he seems generally upset at his helplessness at soubi’s situation and he has a fierceness to protect him, but he still handles things very well. on the contrary to this, there’s obviously something incredibly fucked up about his familial situation, and the only time he doesn’t actually seem mentally well is when he visits his family. this doesn’t really add up, so my working theory is that kio is one of the few loveless characters who has actually gotten some sort of help prior to the beginning of the series. his reactions seem very telling of this. kio just seems to deal with things incredibly well.
this doesn’t mean that kio doesn’t have mental illness. it just means that his is managed. for kio and given what we’ve seen in canon, i’d probably say that he has major depressive disorder and ptsd, but both are very well under control with him, the ptsd being triggered when he goes back home due to bad memories being brought up.
alltogether, i’d wager to say that kio is probably the one psycholically-sound/well character in loveless and is probably in therapy or was at one point and is probably also medicated.
i would love to see this in canon, especially if he used this to help the other characters (namely soubi) with their mental illnesses. i think he’d be incredibly good for soubi’s recovery, if he gets a chance at recovery, because i think kio is the one person who might be able to convince soubi to go into treatment.
3 random headcanons
-i’ll write up a different post about this, but i’m pretty sure that the deal with kio and chouma is that kio was the first baby in the family, the firstborn, but it was deemed that kio was not a sacrifice and thus was not wanted, due to the fact that because of that stipulation, he is unable to take over the septimal moon seat. his immediate family gave him up, either to a very close family or to distant family, and had a do-over baby and gave her the same first name as kio, resulting in ‘chouma kio’ and ‘kaidou kio’. the reason kio doesn’t know chouma is because of the fact that he was given away. as for the family he was given to, i have a suspicion that they’re ‘part’ of the family, but a different branch of it with a different surname. what i think is going on is that kio is essentially only being used to make another heir, since chouma may or may not be paralyzed, and thus was systematically abused in the home until he ran away at a certain point.
-soubi has never talked to kio about his history of sexual abuse but if he did, kio would be a great resource, given what he had to go through. honestly, he’s still pretty scarred after having a kid when he was 8 or 9 and even though it’s been many years, he’ll never ‘get over it’. he ran away soon after his kid was born and i will headcanon until proven wrong that he was adopted by a nice family who helped him recover and develop properly, mostly because i want kio to be the one good example in loveless.
-kio also really cares about natsuo, youji, and ritsuka. with the zero boys, kio was initially really, really offput before he learned the reason soubi took them in (which was literally just because soubi felt bad and seemed to know they had a bad home life). his initial thought was a terrible one that the jokes about soubi being sexual with kids was true and that he’d lured these two in, which caused him to frantically look over his entire relationship with soubi. then it was ‘oh god, what if these two are his kids??’ which brought back horrid feelings of what happened to him. then he asked soubi and got the ‘yeah, i just felt bad for them so now they live here’ answer and was extremely relieved. it still took some warming up to the two of them. with ritsuka, it was pretty similar, except in this case, kio was genuinely trying to protect soubi from what he viewed as another seimei. the thing is- kio understands that people are not the same as their relatives, but there other thing is that seimei was so completely terrible that kio was not taking his chances again. he very much warmed up to ritsuka, though
-kio is actually incredibly extroverted, but he’s also pretty inseparable from soubi. people are really surprised when they quickly find out that soubi and kio are friends. kio hears a lot of ‘you can do better!’ and honestly, kio is really quick to cut people who say shit like that out of his life. he doesn’t really take shit, because he doesn’t want to get hurt.
-kio is the only reason soubi is functional at all. i completely believe that the only reason soubi has not failed out of college is because kio literally annoys him or guilts him into doing his work. pretty sure he’s also the only reason soubi remembers to get up or feed himself.
The dynamic between Natsuo and Youji has always fascinated me. Since their first appearance, they've obviously moved beyond murderous psychopath twins. I enjoy your commentary on Loveless characters so, do you have insight to offer on the Sagan Brothers?
hey! thanks for the question!
i talked a bit about natsuo and youji when i wrote this post, but ill expand on it a bit here.
let me start by saying that i have a lot of gripes with the way loveless is written, and most of those gripes surround the fact that we’ve dropped every plot line and bit of characterization besides ‘look at this weird thing seimei’s doing!!!!!!! LOOK AT IT!!!!!”
surprisingly, though, natsuo and youji are not part of that.
in all seriousness, natsuo and youji are the two characters in loveless who i think have been written and have remained to be written really, really well. they’ve developed and changed over the course of the series in a way that’s consistent and believable, while their core values have remained pretty much the same. what i’m trying to say here is that even though this is a manga about catboys and even though i’m talking about two genetically modified kids who can’t feel pain, natsuo and youji are written shockingly realistically.
i talked a lot in the post i linked above about attachment theory and how it affected the sagan boys (and maybe the girls, too). the basic rundown is that developmental psychologists (developmental clinical psych is actually my specialty hahah so this may get long) have a theory about why kids sometimes act out inappropriately sometimes towards adults. from an early age, kids are supposed to ‘securely attach’ onto an adult, which basically means that kids are supposed to have a parental figure they can trust, and it’s supposed to be someone they can trust to come back and trust to comfort/soothe them in times of need, whether that’s physical needs (food, water, discomfort) or emotional needs (lonliness, pain [emotional or physical], affection, etc). kids who are not securely attached but still have some sort of attachment usually have minor developmental issues, but kids who are unable to form an attachment at all usually suffer greatly from larger emotional, behavioral, and developmental issues.
i’ve also talked a bit about how i feel nagisa’s relationship with natsuo and youji is very…ignored or passed over. and really, it’s not completely the readership’s fault, because her treatment of them is often played for laughs. but sometimes, it’s not, and it’s in those times that it becomes apparent just how concerning her behavior is towards them, especially since it’s in those times that it’s obvious that the two are looking to her for some sort of real, parental support, and she’s reacting very badly and abusively to it.
this panel is a prime example of this, because at the time youji was expressing concern for nagisa and wanting to help her in a very normal way, and she reacts by hitting him hard while screaming that he’s useless to her. when i bring up this scene, i like to also bring up the fact that until soubi takes them in when they’re twelve (or eleven), the two of them lived with her and just because they can’t feel pain doesn’t mean that she’s allowed to hit or injure them. it doesn’t justify it–in fact, it actually makes things worse, given that any abuser could see this as a justification to do it more.
what’s more is that after this, youji doesn’t even react. he seems to think it’s completely normal, like he’s grown up with this, and it’s that that makes me doubt, as well as her previous treatment of them, that this is a first-time or even recent thing. every interaction we have between nagisa and natsuo and youji is her being extremely cruel, cold, and overall pretty terrible to them. she never actually treats them well and it’s as if she sees them as toys rather than actual children who simply can’t feel pain.