Tatami Galaxy (Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei) – 07: the 2D complex sublimed
The three clubs that Watashi chose during the last episode were finally revealed: they were not the Movie Circle or the Softball Circle, but two distinct clubs as well. One was a Hero Circle, and the other was a club that had something to do with the sea, or the ocean. [ERRATA: It’s actually a reading circle, a commentator (Madiel) notes.]
In a previous post of mine I pointed out the importance of the coaxiality between the central tatami mat, the Mochiguman, and the light in Watashi’s room. I believe that the Mochiguman is an important symbol in the development of Watashi, and that has been strengthened this episode when Watashi himself wears a Mochiguman suit and acts as a Mochiguman. In fact, his Mochiguman is the same color that Akashi lost in the previous episodes! It cannot be denied that this can be interpreted as Watashi being the one to complete Akashi: in fact, it has been consistent with the previous episodes that the lost Mochiguman always ends up being found by Watashi despite the different situations and incidents that occurred to them both. While Akashi may be the answer Watashi has been looking for, the reverse may well be true: Watashi can also complete Akashi.
In fact, the abnormal occurred within the scene where Watashi acted as a Mochiguman. In contrast to the earlier episodes, it is Watashi who protects Akashi and not the other way around: while the children thought it was just part of the show, Watashi was able to prevent Akashi from being abused by placing the children’s focus into the two ruffians who were bothering her. In the previous episodes it was always Akashi who saved Watashi’s hide from perdition: there has been a noticeable shift in this scene, further supporting the claim I made in the previous paragraph that rather than a parasitic relation, it may very well be mutual between the two. With a terse ‘thank you,’ however, Akashi once again disappears from Watashi’s grasp: he was more curious with the invitation than with her.
He follows through with the invitation, and Jougasaki (in mask and sunglasses) appears to him and offers him a significant amount just for taking care of Kaori, a love-doll. Jougasaki has faith in Watashi because he is a ‘late-bloomer and shy,’ so he believes Watashi will not do anything to her. After giving him instructions for Kaori, he goes away.
It is during this time that the 2D complex I have mentioned in previous posts come to play.
With that line of thought, Watashi perceived of Kaori as a beautiful being, deserving of love and respect. Notice how his dialogue with Kaori is gravely different from his dialogue with Hanuki and Akashi in the previous episodes: he gets to the point immediately, unlike his serpentine word-weaving with the other girls. He tells Kaori, ‘you are beautiful,’ without any ostentation. He is honest and direct, because she cannot turn him down or hurt him back, unlike the other girls due to their humanity. This is akin to imprecating upon a brick wall and hurling anathemas at it: because it is a brick wall, one can be direct and honest; after all, what can it do?
Ozu repeated what he said about Jougasaki and Kaori as a ‘very refined kind of love.’ It has been mentioned in the previous episodes, and I believe he thinks of it as a refined love because it is a platonic love: the lover can never receive love back; he can only keep on loving, because what he loves does not live or flourish. This is in contrast to the erotic love that deals with fluid exchange (although this is merely part of the bigger picture); it is also different from the filial or romantic love that expects love back. It is an unconditional love: what can one expect out of something inanimate?
Aside from that however, it must be pointed out that Ozu is fleshed out more as a human character. He has never mentioned in the previous episodes that he has a fancy to talking, that he is a loquacious fellow: being loquacious is a trait, which, while not always positive, is basically human. Similarly, loneliness is also very human in nature. In addition to this, however, (thanks, Meo [JORGE!]), Ozu says a wonderful line that reverberates throughout the episode and suggest an idea that Ozu really is a friend to Watashi despite everything: he tells Watashi to be a bit more honest with himself.
The episode clearly references the second episode and this ties well with the hypothesis Quarkboy introduced and I expounded upon: if the fifth episode represents the central tatami, and the sixth episode is a rewind, notice how there are elements in the sixth episode that are intrinsically connected with the seventh episode. More importantly, there are elements in the second episode clearly alluded to in the seventh episode, as with Jougasaki’s Alexander the Great movie. The tatami galaxy is revolving once again.
As his feelings for Kaori develop, Watashi makes a wonderful quip that is among the reasons why some people have been snared by inanimate objects.
Vendredi commented succinctly yet wonderfully in a recent post of mine about the 2D complex,
One might also note thereâ€™s a certain amount of imagination required to visualize a 2D image, especially a stylized one, so the opportunity is there to project idealized traits and attributes.
This was very noticeable with Watashi when he heard Kaori speak. Her voice was feminine and quite inviting, an attribute Watashi probably thought seemed to be hers. More importantly, however, it is still a permutation of his voice he hears from her. It really is all in his mind.
The problem of Watashi remained to be basically the same as the previous episode: who should he choose? He was disappointed with Hanuki because she did not yet invite him for drinks, thus implying he wasn’t close to her; he was also unwilling to meet with Keiko because he embellished himself in his letters to her: it is so easy to hide from one’s reality when all one can really see is text. (I have a strong hunch that this was just Higuchi toying around with Watashi.)
It has always been said that proximity is of the utmost importance in a real-life relationship. This is the reason that long-distance relationships often fall in a little while, because it is difficult to trust what one cannot see, feel, hear, or touch: out of sight, out of mind. This is also the case with the 2D complex: those who truly suffer from this cannot help but have a number of figurines, pillows, and even dolls nearby to affirm their feelings and emotions to these objects. This was also the case for Watashi.
Even Johnny appeared in the episode just to energize Watashi: this is just another establishment of the connection between the sixth and the seventh episode; he exhorted to Watashi the saying popularized by Nike.
The drinking competition as well as the hygiene of Hanuki was fleshed upon as well, still ending at the same place as the previous episode: Watashi locked himself in the bathroom. He chose Kaori this time around, however, and followed what he said the last episode: he merely desired a different choice. He has made a choice and finally sublimed the 2D complex, recognizing Kaori as a human being despite being inanimate. He even continued to hear her voice, persuading him to run away with her.
Ozu contacted Jougasaki after they ran away, and his real face could be clearly seen. He still looks quite impish, but he is very human: he exists apart from the thoughts of Watashi. I admire how Mr. Yuasa established another disconnect between Watashi’s thoughts and reality by showing how Ozu looks like without the lens of Watashi. The fortune-teller repeats her words to Watashi, and it remains notable that the Mochiguman can still be found.
The sublimation of the 2D complex continues with the reflection of Watashi: he believed that he could have a child with Kaori, meet up with her parents, have a family, and die ahead of her. He still resolutely denied that she is inanimate and still wavered in taking advantage of her. It could be said that he was worthy of praise because of his moral choice in the previous episode, but when the same thing happens with an inanimate object, it is worthy of disdain. His resoluteness was praiseworthy in the previous episode, but that is overcome by his fear in this one. Was it really resoluteness, or fear?
It was merely fear. It was a fear of commitment, a fear of decision, an incapacitating fear. To love, one must get past fear: he recognizes that it is love that is important; he must tower over his fear to succeed.