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.
I would like to speak about an image that is shown in the End of Evangelion. It lasts just a second in screen but I think it’s a very emotional one.
The image is shown after Yui asks Shinji (moments after the formation of the Tree of Life with Eva – 01 and Longinus Spear) what does he wish for. Then, this appears:
and Shinji turns into LCL.
As I said in previous posts, Evangelion can be interpreted and deconstructed through some psychodynamic principles. This could explain how the romantic relationship between Shinji and Asuka is portrayed: Sexual impulses, utterly control, egocentric thoughts, need…but in the end it’s just the expression of the character’s conflicts. In the end, it’s just love, human love. Asuka and Shinji love each other but they don’t know how to communicate. This leads them to a path where the hedgehog dilemma is present.
Despite that, Evangelion can be interpreted without thinking in a psychodynamic way, arriving to the same conclusions. It just requires a bit more thinking and the intention of not taking Evangelion as a simple work.
I prefer to take this second approximation. Psychodynamics are much questioned in modern psychiatry (although it works in fiction) and I don’t think Evangelion staff was thinking much about it, maybe just sometimes to guide some scenes and conflicts. Moreover a wrong interpretation of pshychodynamics can guide us to think in the wrong way with this image.
So, returning to the point, we see this image. Let’s describe it: We see a long haired woman with her torso naked and, at first watch, covering her breasts.
This image can be deconstructed in three elements: Hair, arms and breasts. They can’t be interpreted alone although we can see a combination of only two for some information. For example:
- Hair + breasts give us the identity
- Breasts + arms give us the main information of the image
First off, what’s this image trying to tell us? Is the image saying that Shinji want to touch breasts ‘cause he is a pervert? No, of course it’s not this image’s point.
The breasts are not entirely covered by the girl’s arms, that can make our vision go there, but they are not drawn in enough definition for taking all our attention. They are important, but they don’t want us to look only at them. It’s the combination of the arm’s gestures with the breasts what is the key of the image.
What are the arms doing? I think they are making a hug-like gesture. They are not there to cover, take a look how hands don’t rest on the breasts (or at least, not just there for covering, because we see a lot of the breasts). Moreover, the arms are not in tension, they are relaxed and it communicates to us a calm feeling coming from the image.
It’s a scene that doesn’t show a girl covering her breasts due to someone watching, it’s an image that shows us an intimacy moment. A moment to share acceptance and love. What does Shinji wish for? He wishes for love and acceptance. Maybe he would like to be in that hug. But if this is true, why did they draw the breasts for? Because thanks to that we can narrow a bit more the love Shinji seeks for. It can be a generic love, but he is also interested in someone from the other sex. And this interest is not just in a friendship way, as all romantic love, it takes its sexual connotations. I think we can read more about the symbolism the breasts can give to the final message, but the central point is all what I’ve spoken about.
The final question is: Who is the girl? Who wishes Shinji for? This question has, in my opinion, a clear answer: Asuka Langley Soryu.
The hair the picture shows can only be Asuka’s one. Misato is the only other possibility and, first, it doesn’t fit the movie’s message and plot and, second, Misato’s hair is not a scaling hair and never is depicted in the two tufts way. However Asuka shows these two tufts in the movie some scenes later, naked, lying on Shinji.
We can take a better look to Asuka’s hair in other screenshots:
In the end, Shinji’s wish is to be accepted and loved by the person he loves and wishes for. This is represented through intimacy, kindness and sexuality. This is not stated only with this image, this is represented during all the film in different scenes. I’m not going to talk about them now and how they are connected, but I will speak about how this image and the “I need you” ending are connected:
The “I need you” scene is where we see the fulfillment of this wish. In the world where hurt exists, love can be found too. The position Shinji and Asuka ends up shows us that Shinji’s wish is fulfilled: He has found the love and acceptance he looked for: Asuka lets him to enter the private and intimate place we saw before.
All of this is supported also by the Eva Cardass Masters.
The Eva Cardass Masters card states:
“In the sea of LCL, Shinji wished for a world with other people. He desired to meet them again, even if it meant he would be hurt and betrayed. And just as he had hoped/wanted, Asuka was present in the new world. Only Asuka was there beside him. The girl whom he had hurt, and who had been hurt by him. But even so, she was the one he had hoped/wished for….”
Jeresa + I love you (aka what should have happened in 2.12)
They’re aiming at each other. Black barreled weapons wrapped in the yellow glow of the trucks headlights. They were only a few paces away from each other. An easy shot. Yet, neither made the effort to squeeze the trigger because no matter how loud the voice in the back of their mind screamed that the person they were staring at was a traitor, they couldn’t ignore the whisper of their heart that reminded them how much they cared about each other.
James lowered his weapon first, seemingly unfazed when Teresa didn’t immediately do the same. “Where is she?”
“Who?” Teresa’s unsteady breathing caused the weapon to shake subtly.
“Don’t play games with me. Where is she?”
Who? It took a few seconds for Teresa to piece everything together. “Camila?”
Her feigned confusion was beginning to frustrate him. Instead of resorting to his usual method of gaining a confession from a foe- pummeling them to a pulp until they sang like a bird- he settled on reprimanding her for her lack of loyalty, “She trusted you. I trusted you.”
“Is that why you sent men to my house to kill me, because of trust?”
He neither confirmed nor denied her accusation, “Where is Camila?”
“If I had her, I would have traded her.”
“Maybe you killed her.” The words slipped out easily, almost automatically. Like he’d simply selected from a list of templates he used during situations like these, but the look of disbelief that coated her eyes as she ingested his statement made James wish he’d never uttered those words.
Lee was disappointed when you had to cancel the night’s plans. But you couldn’t concentrate, your mind replaying the look on Bucky’s face when you saw him. He looked like someone had punched him in the gut, and it hurt you to think about.
You never intended to find someone else so quickly, but Lee had been so sweet and caring that you let it happen. You let Lee fall for you, when you knew that Bucky still has your heart. You hadn’t even realised that you weren’t entirely over your best friend until you saw his horrified expression. You knew that you didn’t feel right with Lee, but you hadn’t been able to put your finger on it. The moment you saw Bucky, it was like you’d found pieces to a puzzle that had been missing for weeks.