Coaxiality and the disappearance of Akashi

I have attempted to expound on a hypothesis made by a forumer (Quarkboy) and establish it in facts and correlations in order to give it more cogency. One of my central tenets is the reflection of the Yojo-han Watashi showed in the second episode in his arguably most introspective film: the film was about a man trapped in unending 4.5 tatami rooms and his attempts to escape from it. The tatami mats were arranged in such a way that the smallest mat was in the center of the room, and it was surrounded by the other mats (as what could be seen in the ending frame). I knew that that film was important in the course of the series, and I mentioned it in my post on the episode.

The format of his room's tatamis remains the same.

The format of his room's tatamis remains the same.

Vendredi, in his attempt to organize the occurrences of the first five episodes, suggested that the hypothetical continuity I expounded on was akin to a spiral. Quoth he:

I found it particularly telling that the configuration in the screenshot can be construed in a sense, as a spiral galaxy – four arms around a central axis, and this got me thinking – what is the literal four-and-half tatami configuration of Watashi’s living space across each episode?

There are no changes in Watashi’s tatami layout throughout each episode – but look closely – the same “galaxy” layout is the basic format of the mats in his room. It would seem to confirm there’s something to the nature of the dormitory itself…

He provides proof in the form of pictures. The sixth episode does not change this format. I would simply like to add on the coaxial nature among the central tatami, the Mochiguman, and the light. The three are located at the center of the room: if it is corroborated further in the next episodes that the small, but pertinent continuity in the center of the room is representative of the fifth episode, it can also be assumed that Akashi is, despite her present absence, pivotal to the evolution of our character as well as his escape from the interminable tragedy he seems to be suffering.

The central tatami, the Mochiguman, and the light are all in line with one another, thus sharing the same axis.

The central tatami, the Mochiguman, and the light are all in line with one another, thus sharing the same axis.

One must note how the Mochiguman, Akashi’s representative accessory, is connected with the light. It is her accessory that turns on the light. The light suggests a way out, an escape in a place of eternal darkness: perhaps we shall see later on the gravity of her importance of Watashi. I don’t think it is mere coincidence that she is averse to moths: moths crave the light, even if it kills them. She herself actually squished moths when they came near her, just like how candlelight burns moths when they come too near. I think the emotional moth to Akashi is Watashi himself: a controlled fire is warm and cozy; it also provides comfort. However, it can still burn when one comes too close. Akashi’s warmth has remained relatively consistent throughout the episodes: if she does not bail Watashi out, she does a kind gesture. It is Watashi who burns himself by missing the mark entirely: this was exemplified during the third episode. In spite of her wanting Watashi to stay the same, he fails to understand her altogether by striving to become better. He does not think that he could be accepted for what he is. No matter how noble his effort was, it remained to be misguided: he was the moth that ventured too close to the light.

The moth is flying around.

The moth is flying around.

I think there is already progress with him, however. There is no longer a moth bothering his light in the sixth episode, while there was in the second one. Akashi is also in the sixth episode, although her hair is longer and her mole cannot be seen clearly. Even in her absence, she is still present: she serves as one of the repositories of his sequestered masculinity.

'Akashi's mole is covered, and her hair is a little longer.

'Akashi's mole is covered, and her hair is a little longer.

P.S. I am exhausted. I will probably rest myself from Tatami Galaxy for a while before revisiting it next week. :)

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16 Responses to “Coaxiality and the disappearance of Akashi”

  1. Josephus Says:

    You know, reading your recent posts made me realize that you are a really good writer. From what little blogs I have read, yours seems to have the most control over his words and the most fluidity with his expressions.

    I was even surprised that there were few people commenting in your posts, since they are very well-written compared to the other entries on the Tatami Galaxy. The problem with your posts is that they’re really good that there’s really not much to talk about or to argue. I mean, just check out that last post you made – you wrote on a whole variety of topics relevant to the episode while still providing a summary and making a point. There’s no argumentative bullshit, just flowing writing.

    This one is also just as good, but I can’t say anything about it other than yeah, I agree with you. So don’t worry if people don’t comment much on your posts – I’m certain they read what you write, they just don’t really have anything much to say. Like, for example, me. This may just be guesswork on your part but goddamn it is great guesswork: coaxiality and all that jazz. Keep up the good work.

    Is that really Akashi, though? It just looks like her …

  2. Quarkboy Says:

    Ah, but watch the final scene a bit more carefully and you’ll see that it’s not the magazine with the fake Akashi-san on the cover but the one underneath which he pulls out, with instead a for more lurid looking blond…
    Perhaps he even has some semblance of dignity with respect to his true love to not do something as base as masterbate to her, even if he has a magazine at which to gaze?

  3. Michael Says:

    Josephus:

    Thank you very much. I really appreciate the compliment!

    Quarkboy:

    I recognized that – I focused more on the idea that Akashi-san was still there to help him, even in her ‘absence.’ I think I’ll agree with you here: he is that kind of guy who is traditional and noble in that regard.

  4. ahr Says:

    Hey, nice writing, but I’m not sure there’s much to be said here. She looks typically Japanese. Then again, they are quite far and few in this episode.

    Have we figured out what the third club is? (We know the second is the film one, right?) Here’s what my intuition says: Keiko is Akashi, who is a discipline of Higuchi, hence the last name. Akashi isn’t present when Watashi is there (assuming this is his third club) because she’s writing the very reports for Watashi that Ozu offered for him in the beginning of episode 6. Indeed, in episode 4 Akashi wasn’t there because she was writing a report. Keiko looks like Konhita because it’s how Watashi imagines her to be. Nevertheless, Ozu seems to be hard at work as ever.

    I might be wrong, but please, point out any criticism.

    Also, what is the significance of the swelling of the water? In episode 1, Ozu remarks that it’s a “shallow river” when people cross over to him after the fireworks, but later, it swells up. Furthermore, Watashi says (just before Ozu is going to be thrown in) that “but this is…”, somehow implying he has knowledge of a discrepancy. E.g. that the fireworks were part of a different continuity? (I’d like to say this explains why the characters wear different colour clothes.) There’s lots of little bits like this that I don’t understand yet.

  5. ahr Says:

    Actually now that I think about it, Kohinata is probably Keiko’s family name. I have no idea why she’d associate with Higuchi, though. Akashi most probably isn’t Keiko.

  6. ahr Says:

    Hmm, I could’ve sworn I wrote a correction here. (Perhaps it was caught by the spam filter? I hate to spam your blog, so could you delete that second comment if it is in there?) I think made a big blunder in assuming that Keiko and Kohinata are different people. Kohinata is simply Keiko’s family name, right? Ozu was being polite by referring to her by her family name in episode 1, whereas Watashi is able to refer to her by her first name. I’ve almost definitely made an error there. Akashi wouldn’t be part of Higuchi’s circle without Watashi and she wouldn’t lie about her first name. Bah.

    I think, though, the report stuff still matters because, like you wrote above, “Akashi is, despite her present absence, pivotal to the evolution of our character”.

  7. Michael Says:

    I didn’t think it was Kohinata, because if I remember correctly the episode clearly speaks about Keiko having Higuchi as a surname. That was the reason that I thought about the letters to be some sick joke by Ozu on Watashi (and he’s very capable of that, too). I doubt Akashi is Keiko as Akashi was never faceless in any of her incarnations within the continuities.

    I am not sure about Kohinata being Keiko’s surname.

    I am agree to you as regards the reporting. Maybe it was one of the reasons why she was not found within the episode: whether seen or not, she still helps Watashi out.

    EDIT:

    Higuchi Keiko

    This is at the 08:56 mark.

  8. ahr Says:

    Yes, I’m aware of that. The thing is, Ozu refers to a relationship with Kohinata in episode 1. I haven’t missed any relationship between the two, have I? So it must be something that is to come. Seeing as they’re similar in looks, I can only conjecture that Kohinata changes her name to Higuchi… Ah, I don’t know. They might be different people!

  9. Michael Says:

    I don’t think so. I recall Watashi being heartbroken by Kohinata, but I’ve never surmised there was a formal relationship in place. I think the facelessness of both characters represent the distant ideal women all of us have, and not really because of a change in surname. I find it’s more plausible that Ozu was pulling Watashi’s strings and using the name of his master to do it, writing letters to Watashi.

  10. ahr Says:

    I think you’re right. Since the relationship was in Watashi’s freshman year then Akashi wouldn’t even be at university and therefore it would be quite irrelevant to the story. Ozu is probably up to something. Just a general remark, but I like how raven-haired maidens shine a brilliant white but when Watashi puts an umbrella above them they turn out to wear yellow clothing (this happens in 5).

  11. Michael Says:

    They also melt into ugly monsters once Akashi gets close to them, in the previous episodes.

  12. Vendredi Says:

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The moths, the light, everything fits together perfectly – and in fact, have been evident since the first episode. Near the end of the first episode, when Watashi boldly declares that “I won’t lose” and proceeds to ravage the Castella cake, we see the flickering of moths once more drawn to his ceiling light. The parallelism makes perfect sense with this theory.

    Also, just wanted to confirm that the name of the girl who dumped Watashi in the first episode was indeed Kohinata – Ozu confirms this at around the 12:03-04 mark in the simulcast: “Don’t tell me you’re still hung up on being dumped by Kohinata-san when we were freshmen, right?” – to which Watashi replies “Say not that name in my presence”. Still, I think it is more the idea of Kohinata that is to be taken away – Kohinata is not necessarily named as such, but the “faceless raven-haired maiden” is ever-present in each episode in some way.

  13. Michael Says:

    Thank you, Vendredi.

    I agree. It’s the idea of the faceless ideal that is present in all episodes in some way.

  14. Projector Lamp : Says:

    for ceiling lights, we always use compact fluorescent lamps because they are energy efficient compared to incandescent lamp.*’

  15. Complete Kitchen · Says:

    there are LED ceiling lights available these days already, they are more expensive but does not consume too much electricity .:,

  16. cat movies Says:

    Whats up are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you need any coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

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