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.
The Sphinx of Greek myth is a female monster with a lion’s body, a woman’s head and torso, eagle wings and a serpent’s tail. She was sent by the gods to plague Thebes, she preyed on it’s youths and ate those who failed to answer her riddle. She was stopped by Oedipus, who answered her riddles and then apparently killed herself.
Land of Games: The Land is littered with Sphinx’s minions, they harass the Consort’s villages. some of them ask impossible riddles, others play games of strategy, still others simply ask question of math and science, and there are a rare few that challenges others to fights. Most Consorts lack the ability to defeat the Sphinxes, either physically or mentally, and thus just get eaten. The Player needs to go around solving riddles, beating games, answering questions, and generally just fighting to save the consorts before confronting Sphinx herself and stopping this nonsense.
The Sphinx would try to avoid direct combat, preferring the use of riddles and puzzles to confuse and misdirect. However, should the Player insist on fighting, the Sphinx has a wide variety of powers with which to call upon. The first and most obvious would be her wings, granting her the ability to fly, a rare ability among Denizens. This would make hitting her a nightmare as she prefers to dodge instead of taking hits. Another would be the creation of illusions of herself, granting greater evasion abilities. However, each illusion is imperfect in some way, allowing a smart enough Player to accurately detect the real one.
Seal of the Sphinx - An interesting prize, the seal is a small golden medallion with a picture of the Denizen on its face, and an inscription on its back. It reads ‘He who invokes the Sphinx’s Seal must claim victory or their life is forfeit’. When invoked in a competition of any sort, be it mental or physical, the seal would summon a copy of the Sphinx to oversee it. It will prevent any and all attempts to cheat and ensure that the contest is played to its end. Once a loser is determined, defined as either the party that lost in a one on one contest or the party in last place with more than two contestants, they will be devoured by the Sphinx before it also vanishes. Death caused in this way is automatically considered Just for God-Tiers and would leave no corpse behind.
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.
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….”
without a word, a slender arm snapped up from his side and pressed against the length of the woman’s torso. he fought her weight just enough to keep her from taking another step forward .
❝ stop . ❞
it was bold and perhaps discourteous without immediate explanation. had he miscalculated even a bit he very well could have placed his arm in a risque manner unknowingly. but once she had come to a complete stop and undoubtedly pulled back from his arm, he bent down to the small patch of grass in front of them. lissome digits pulled gently at the petal of a deep-rooted flower as he stood back up to eye level. on the green of his nail was a tint of red; a small LADYBUG, slowly making its way down to the tips of his knuckles .
— this small creature. you almost stepped on it. ❞ he stated simply, moving the index finger of his other hand so it could continue its wandering. a small, simple smile crossed pale lips as his gaze went from the insect to the woman he had stopped .
i distinctly remember doing a watercolour of a really ripped woman’s torso in art class when i was like twelve and almost everyone who saw it commented that ‘oh he looks too muscular to be a woman’ and internally i just had a ????? monologue and tbh i dont think my art has changed much since then