Kuragehime – 04: the weight of words

One of my notebooks was nearing depletion after about three years of use, and so I decided to write a lengthy write-up with dedication until I filled up the notebook’s remaining pages. I decided to write about Kuragehime.

The weight of words

It is nothing funny to lose a loved one at such an early age. Children for the most part are unprepared for it and have difficulty dealing with such loss. The absence will most certainly color their maturity and define their personalities in the future (as what is visible with Tsukimi). There are certain things one should never say to children suffering from the passage of someone dear: in our block on pediatrics one of the most memorable things I’ve learned is that one never tells a child who’s lost a loved one not to cry. It’s also no good to lie about the one who died, since children, while being young, are more perceptive than they seem, and lying about who they love will reverberate through their entire lives.

A loving mistake

Despite being unprepared, however, these children’s perceptiveness must not be ignored. Even at such young ages, children often correctly understand a certain event from the priming cues that event presents. In child psychiatry, it is an absolute no-no to be dishonest with a child upon the death of a loved one. As much as we’d like to believe the contrary, children are not idiots. Honesty is extremely important so that the child can face the truth of the event, although that truth must not be forced upon the child at loss: the child must know the truth, but in his due time and in his own terms. It’s no good to shove the truth down his throat.

A costly mistake most parents commit towards their children is lying to them with regard to their (the parent’s) condition for ‘the sake of the child.’ Simple words and statements like this build up a child to have faith in the dishonesty of fantasy, even if the words were said with noble intent. Another mistake is for the parent to tell the child not to grieve: as most of us know, children don’t have a mature sense of ideation, and their actions are mostly rooted in the physical world. If a child was told not to grieve by a loving parent, chances are he will follow that command even if it will be to his detriment in the future (how should the child know how about that?). Taken to the extreme, the child may have difficulty growing up adjusted, as the process of grief was not followed naturally.

The process of grief (described properly by the thanatologist Kubler-Ross) is not something to be taken lightly, as it is only in its completion that people finally move on and face the reality of the loved one’s passage. Because of her mother’s words, Tsukimi was not afforded this normal process of grieving. It is no surprise that her current existence was majorly defined by her mother’s death as she was still unable to move on from it. Because the normal process was stilted and stoppered, it transmogrified into something pathologic. Even after years have passed, Tsukimi was still heavily affected by her mother’s death. Had she been allowed to cry her heart out or had she not been ‘pressured’ by her mother, she may have become more adjusted as a person. She may even be one of the princesses who proudly strut Tokyo. One must recall that the primordial reason to her being an otaku of jellyfish was her excursion with her mother when she was near death: the child is the father of the man.

The OP expanded further

The opening animation of the song, as I mentioned in a previous post, is full of prognostication with regard to the future events in the series. As the allusions speak for themselves, they predict certain events from the short, referential skits.

At the later part of the OP, there was a marriage skit with Shu protesting the marriage of Kuranosuke with an unknown lady. That unknown lady popped up in the preview for the next episode, and it is currently obvious where Shu’s emotions lie. While it may seem disturbing for some that Kuragehime was going to become a love story, I am enjoying the direction it’s been taking as it won’t be anything but an iridescent love story: I’ve had my fill of the Amars and they’re very good, but only as side characters. I hope they will be more than one-dimensional at the end of the series, but I’m thankful that they have shifted focus to the relationships of the main characters. Besides …

Every story is a love story

All stories eventually and inexorably deal with love. The love may not be romantic or erotic in nature, but love can never be skirted from and can never be avoided in any story, as it is a fundamental positive emotion ingrained in every human being. It’s just that the love is directed towards different objects: whether these are inanimate or imaginary, as is the case with the Amars; filial, as with Quentin Compson; or of course, romantic, as with Shu’s towards Tsukimi’s. Every story is essentially a love story, however, perverted or sublimated.

As I’ve mentioned in the previous segment, I’m not too fond of the previous focus on the Amars and their idiosyncratic manifestations of love, so I find that the current direction of the series is more interesting. By placing focus on such a paradoxical emotion among the series’s central entities, the show’s become more colorful.

Kuranosuke’s jealousy

It has already been pointed out by many that Kuranosuke is highly attractive. An unbiased observer, as observed in the previous episode, funnily pointed out that Kuranosuke was ‘ikemen.’ Whether dressed as a woman or man, he’s highly confident in his beauty. He isn’t delusional: as he pointed out, he was endlessly scouted and his girlfriends were the beauties of his place. Their bitterness towards each other, however, lead to his disappointment in them. Their outward beauty was masked by their ugliness within.

Ikemen.

In contrast, Tsukimi did not bathe in the knowledge of her attractiveness: in fact, she tried to shy away from it. She masked her outer beauty with disregard, but it’s quite obvious that she’s a kind girl. When Kuranosuke touched her up, however, she noticed her being a diamond covered with just a ton of dirt. Even then, he still wasn’t able to see her beauty, because he was so focused on her physical makeover. It was only in this episode where they looked into each other’s eyes (as Tsukimi’s disability with her vision made her braver), and he saw the beauty within and without. It was very entertaining to watch because he was in persistent denial with his feelings until he finally realized that his feelings towards her were growing. It’s ironic that despite his overwhelming handsomeness, physical charms and aggressiveness, he’s quite the underdog for Tsukimi’s heart.

I think it’s difficult to root for him, however. He can practically just walk and beauties will flock to him, whereas his brother has difficulty even having relationships with women. Shu has never been besotted as much as he is with Tsukimi, after all.

Final notes

I sought to write this post topically, since there are a lot of interrelated but highly disparate issues that the current episode tackled. As the puzzle slowly gets constructed, the pieces more and more become connected to the picture. I’d assume that the mystery woman will present complications to the love triangle being fomented by Kuranosuke’s jealousy. She will either be interested in Shu or Kuranosuke, and will be a confounder to the major players involved.

I really don’t think Shu’s turned off with the normal Tsukimi, although I will have to see the future episodes to really tell. The incident during the previous episode was just one bad fluke, after all: he saw her at her worst. Sooner or later, he will have to see her as she really is. I am patiently waiting for the role the new lady will play, since she, at a physical level, is the antipode to Tsukimi: she is quite stylish; she looks mature; and seems social, too. She’s one of the princesses that Tsukimi dreams one day to be (even if she is already one).

Tags: , , , , ,

8 Responses to “Kuragehime – 04: the weight of words”

  1. RedMaigo Says:

    I feel sorry for Shu. He is not going to get the girl. I personally would love a ShuxTsukimi ending but the anime gods will not have it. The protagonist/geek, and by extension us the viewers, must get the hottest person in the room. All the harem and VN adaptions have The Nerd pulling 2D goddesses right and left simply because, underneath all of that self-loathing, doubt and awkwardness, is a truly wonderful person trying to get out. And the only way to bring that person out is through the love of some alpha male or female who is finally able to see it, or so the tropes tell us.

    It is tit-for-tat on the shoujo/josei front as well.

    Shu is a thirty year old virgin with no experience with women. Virginity becomes a liability as you get older; especially for males. Who wants a man who doesn’t know what they’re doing when it comes to the opposite sex? And when I say this, I mean sexually, emotionally, personally and socially. I hope for Shu’s sake that his family can set him up with someone who will help him on his own journey to a loving relationship. Otherwise, to quote Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “He’s going to fall in love with the first woman who sleeps with him and then she will treat him like sh**.”

  2. Kazu Says:

    “I think it’s difficult to root for him, however. He can practically just walk and beauties will flock to him”

    And it would be one of those shallow girls he’s not interesting in to begin with. What’s the point? Besides, you can’t root for him because he’s popular? Isn’t that the same as the nunz rejecting stylish people just because their different?

    “his brother has difficulty even having relationships with women. Shu has never been besotted as much as he is with Tsukimi, after all.”

    Shuu is a hunk. If he didn’t get any till now it’s not for lack of women interesting in him, that’s for sure. He’s probably shying away from relationships for some reason, or saving himself for the “right woman” or whatever. None of that makes his virginal state more sympathetic. So what if Tsukime is the first girl he ever like that much? It change nothing. It doesn’t make his feelings more honest of whatever.

  3. Will of the Wisps Says:

    I found your discourse on how to interact with children about death to be interesting. I can still remember my pediatric professor noting that children below 10 should not have a construct for death and thus death of a family under 10 should not affect them as much. I am quiet curious as to what your thought about that line of thinking.

    I completely agree with you, though, that delayed grieving is the worst outcome. Palliative care is one of my passions, and it is good to see some discussion about it related to anime.

  4. Michael Says:

    Red Maigo:

    I’m not as pessimistic, but it’s something we have to deal with eventually. There’s a good chance it’s going to be Kuranosuke that will end up with Tsukimi, but I also think certain events will make our impression of him more positive. I hope that no matter how the series will end, happiness will come to him.

    Kazu:

    Compared to Shu, Kuranosuke will simply have a easier time with women. That’s what makes it more difficult to root for him, because he isn’t exactly the one who needs to be championed: he has what most women desire in a man. I didn’t even note his popularity: it’s just difficult to empathize with someone as blessed as Kuranosuke compared to his brother.

    With regard to your second point, however, I think you’re on the right track more than I am. But there’s something noble about chastity, especially because of the discipline and sacrifice it takes from the person. Waiting is no easy task. But Shuu’s a hunk, yes.

    Will of the Wisps:

    I don’t think Tsukimi was that young when her mother died, but it was just a series of lectures that explained to me that children are often ‘monkey see, monkey do,’ whether their actions are conscious or not. I think this triggered the pathologic grief we’re currently seeing with Tsukimi. I’ll look into your stance further: I may be mistaken.

    Thanks for the posts, everyone!

  5. itsmeMARIO Says:

    I usually don’t comment but I know getting comments is motivation to a lot of writers to continue writing so I thought I would comment this time. I really enjoy all your posts because they are not just summaries like many other anime bloggers do. Anyway, I am enjoying this show and your analysis posts so I hope you will continue! Thanks! =D

  6. vendredi Says:

    I really do enjoy the jellyfish analogies that Tsukimi keeps drawing between the brothers. It’s quite clear by now that Kuranosuke and Shu are half-brothers; at worst, Kuranosuke is possibly an illegitimate child. It’s been evident since the last episode, where Shu doesn’t refer to Kuranosuke’s mother as “mom”, but rather by her name. This episode definitely cements it, however, with Kuranosuke mentioning Shu was in high school when he arrived at his father’s house.

    We also start to see a bit of a connect here between Kuranosuke and Chieko here on fashion – like you stated, this doesn’t seem to be the primary direction the series is going but Kuranosuke I think is slowly winning over the Amars to a tolerable presence – he already gained some measure of approval from Banba, if only (ironically enough, in his female guise) as the person who brings home the bacon.

    Also, the prime ministerial interludes are consistently amusing. 9% approval rating is definitely not a fun place to be when you’ve got a Westminister-style Parliament and elections can be called at the drop of the hat, which really makes Negishi’s reaction all the more of a non sequitur.

  7. MeoTwister5 Says:

    I personally like the Amars. An insanely exaggerated (?) foil to Tsukimi’s more sane and controlled otaku-isms. As the new girl in the apartment, she’s pretty much seeing what she could and probably will become if she intends to hang around and absorb the entirety of their living philosophies and idiosyncrasies. At least they have… jobs (?).

    For a bunch of cloistered otaku nuns they do actually live some normal in-house lives and activities, which highlights just how uncomfortable they are with people who are unlike them. Psychologically speaking I still think that the reasons they’ve adopted such a lifestyle are very much similar, even if individual events are dissimilar. From that it seems important to take them into consideration as well, because to understand Tsukimi you need to understand the entire mental and social “system” the Amars family has built for themselves.

  8. Michael Says:

    itsmeMARIO:

    Thank you for the compliments. While the reply may seem delayed, I’ve been quite busy the previous week.

    vendredi:

    Yeah, I think that he’s either illegitimate or adopted. I like Negishi as a secondary character, because he defuses the seriousness of the situation in spite of his job and the people’s disapproval of him. He’s a guy who looks and seems serious in the outside, but is really a relaxed jokester – and it’s nice how he treats Kuranosuke kindly.

    MeoTwister5:

    Episode five underlined that. They’re so debilitated by actual society that they can’t even fight for what they believe in. It’s quite a pity.

Leave a Reply