(1) This chapter opens with a shot of an agehamodoki/butterfly moth (this again, which also happens to represent Touka as well as ghouls, particularly because Touka again is like the ghoul represent in TG) on the floor, seemingly part of all the debris in the abandoned building they have converted to a makeshift love hotel. A butterfly moth is like a fake/imitation, while actual butterflies are associated with illusion/dreams. awkward virgin sex.
(2) The mole on Touka’s breast, actually quite a few characters in TG have conspicuous moles which reminded me that “mole reading” is a thing. According to some Chinese and Indian fortune-telling beliefs, where a person has a mole can indicate something about their life be it their personality or prospects with various things like luck, wealth, love, etc. I have no idea from a preliminary search what a mole on the right breast means as you get widely varying results that can’t be considered
conclusive. Note that at some point sheets appear under the pair. It’s like magic, because sex on a dirty floor is not too sexy is it? At one point Kaneki references last chapter’s hookline with “ah am I really doing this with Touka-chan?”. The OEK can’t unhook a girl’s bra lol Personally I find this panel kind of off-putting and unnecessary, but before Kaneki uh, gets going, Touka is posed like an angel with the sheets spread out like her wings.
(4) This is to denote her innocence which is about to be lost. You could also see those as her butterflymoth wings, which gives a different connotation of Touka not being what she seems…Of course the most unsettling part of this chapter is at the end, at which Kaneki unconsciously starts to cry right during the thick of things, but this is not the worst part.
(5) The last page is a spread of Kaneki curled up in fetal position head resting on Touka’s lap as she understandingly and gently strokes his head, and interestingly enough the sheets(that came from nowhere) are creased to resemble an outline of the butterfly moth. So, wtf does all this even mean?
(5) First off the fetal position represents child-like vulnerability. Having sex with Touka, a girl he claims is quite attractive to him meant to be his lover, somehow unconsciously triggers something within Kaneki that upsets him to the degree that it leaves him feeling vulnerable as a child again.But why would this be? A few weeks prior Ishida posted a poem on his tumblr accompanied by artwork of Kaneki curled up in fetal position, which to me seems to have been about childbirth or
(6) mother-child relationship. Touka also appeared in a recent colour cover in which a blood splatter appears over the area where her womb could be, implying some connection to motherhood. If you put two and two together, Kaneki’s breakdown this chapter is related to his mother issues which seem to have been overlapped with Touka. Not good.
(7) The sex was actually “too good to be true”. Instead of Kaneki feeling whole and loved he broke down after being reminded of his troubled relationship with his mother. This spells trouble for the two as lovers, as it seems to indicate that Kaneki won’t be able to love and be loved until he can get over the issues of abandonment by his mother which has left him deeply scarred. That even when Touka was willing to both emotionally and physically give herself to Kaneki,
(8) it wasn’t enough to heal his heart like she had hoped. This I would guess is the “dream” part of the whole thing. Ishida’s way of dangling a carrot only to bring down the stick. (entire chapter of happy sex, you wish). It’s actually kind of a downer for TouKen shippers even though Ishida played it straight. For me, I didn’t care about the sex or the ship so I was able to dedicate my attentions to locating the origins of the mysterious sheets lol
Uhm, really can’t say I agree with this interpretation. The moth represents metamorphosis. Several moths have also appeared throughout the series during key events of change, like when Eto reveals to the world that she’s a Ghoul, for example. Its focus is to suggest a huge change in Kaneki’s emotional state, and as the Tarot of the Sun indicates, it’s a positive one which leads to greater wholeness in Kaneki. And before you might argue that the Tarot is reversed, a reversed Sun indicates “unrecognised hope” which fits Touka to a tee - in avoiding Touka, Kaneki didn’t realise she was his hope. Even if you don’t agree with that interpretation, it’s definite that the Sun is never a negative card, even when reversed.
Touka has had wing imagery for ages, long before she had anything to do with moths. She’s an ukaku and carries the image of a caged bird: “Your wing can’t fly anywhere”, “This world is like a twisted birdcage”, and also feeling explicitly sorry for an actual bird in an actual cage. Even if imagery here is meant to represent moth wings, which I contest, that wouldn’t be a bad thing either because the moth represents change and as the Tarot indicates, change here is positive.
Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar and a mole is just a mole. Likely just for the sake of showing a realistic but still beautiful body.
Blankets are symbolic of warmth. Even if they’re actually doing it on a hard, dirty floor, the moment is so wonderful to them it feels no different than being on silk blankets. They give each other warmth in the cold, they give each other happiness in a world of pain.
Touka’s angelic appearance has nothing to do with the outdated concept of ‘losing innocence’ (she’s killed people for crying out loud). The image is reminiscent of our old friend the Sun Tarot - Touka practically glows with light above our naked child Kaneki.
See how the darkness at the bottom of the page is dispelled by the light that Touka is bathed in? The positioning of her hands and the blanket behind her evokes angel symbolism to reinforce her imagery as a celestial being that brings light to Kaneki. It’s only “off-putting” and “unnecessary” if it doesn’t lend itself to your theory - for Sun Theory, it’s a giant boost.
Kaneki cried tears of happiness upon seeing Touka again in :re, and his tears here are meant to reflect that occasion, even to the extent that he has to be told that he is crying, and then asked why. He doesn’t provide an explanation in either case, but in both, it’s clear it’s because he holds strong romantic feelings for Touka. Haise’s inner monologue in :re confirmed this then, and Kaneki moving in for the kiss immediately afterwards confirmed it now. He’s crying because he’s finally found what he’s been searching for.
Your analysis in the next section relies on incorrect information. The caption for that image was “Don’t hit me, father”. It never mentioned a mother. Additionally, Kaneki (if it is him) isn’t in the same position in that image as he is in this chapter - in the image, his hands are wrapped around his legs, an image indicating curling up from abuse rather than a foetal position.
Also, if this was a mother-related breakdown, why would Ishida be so randomly obtuse? His mother isn’t mentioned at all this chapter and unlike every other time Kaneki’s realised something about her, she doesn’t appear in his mind’s eye. If that’s what Ishida intended, wouldn’t the obvious thing to do would be for after Kaneki starts crying to have a small panel with the words “…Mother?” or the outline of her face? As it is, I’m afraid you’re drawing something from nothing here.
Kaneki is in a foetal position for three reasons: 1) To hearken back to the image of him in a solitary foetal position vs him now with Touka to indicate the end of his loneliness. 2) To indicate that he is being reborn once more, imagery that we’ve also seen when he battled his suicidal urges vs Arima. 3) To appear childlike and naked as Touka smiles on above to match the Sun Tarot Card.
You argue that Kaneki won’t be able to love or be loved after he started crying, but you ignore that extremely passionate image of love-making that immediately followed it. And you say she couldn’t heal his heart, despite looking utterly peaceful with the Sun Tarot right next to him. This supposed stick seems totally illusory. Is it so hard to believe that we’d be given a carrot after facing the stick for so long?
This is why I can’t agree with your theory, anon - that, and because it flies in the face of the entire feeling and emotional impact of the chapter, aspects which certainly should not be ignored. You might not be interested in the ship, but Ishida has always seemed quite invested.