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Sinnesspiel ([personal profile] sinnesspiel) wrote2015-06-26 10:16 pm

Shiki Novel Translations 3.12.4

 

4

Seishin at last left the temple office after a long meditation and contemplation. When he looked to his watch the date had already changed, entering into the early hours of the 21st. 

Through the temple grounds, through the graveyard to the lumber path, he came out at the Maruyasu lumber yard. He set his eyes on the Ozaki Hospital, where the lights were on on the second floor. 

He was opposed to hunting the Shiki. But some kind of plan of compromise had to be found. He couldn't ignore the village's distress any further.

Were the Shiki's lives the priority or were human lives the priority? The answer Seishin had to come to was obvious. Humans took priority. As to why, that was because Seishin was human. For Seishin who was not a Shiki, to treat Shiki's lives as if they were equivalent to human life was to transcend his own humanity. It was to look upon humanity as another, and even to look do so to the Shiki, thinking like a god, he realized. But Seishin was only a man. In that case he would have to hold the vantage point of a human, and doing that the answer was obvious. The Shiki were a threat, and thus an enemy. If they didn't kill them they would be killed. They had to exterminate the Shiki to uphold their own safety.

While half trying to convince himself of this, Seishin went towards the side staff entrance of the Ozaki Hospital. The staff entrance was locked. Since the light was on at the nurse's station, Toshio must have been up above with Kyouko. And so he pushed the interphone button. The answer was some time in coming. Before Seishin himself could say anything, he heard Toshio's voice asking: "Seishin, eh?"

Right, he answered. There probably wasn't anybody else who would come at this hour without calling first. 

"You came at a good time. My hands are a little full right now. The window in my room's open, so do me a favor and come in that way. I'm in the operating room."

Seishin tilted his head, but for the time being went towards the back garden. Entering into Toshio's bedroom, he crossed through the main wing of the house where everybody seemed to be sleeping with quiet, concealed footsteps towards the hospital. He went to the second story using the front stairs in the corner of the waiting room. As he passed by the sick room, he could see that only the nurse's station light was on. The recovery room was dark, and peeking in all he could see was the screen. It didn't seem like anybody was there, so he thought that Kyouko must have been taken to the operating room too. He wondered if the sickness had gotten that bad. 

He was sure he should have been able to get to the operating room through the nurse's station, but when he put his hand to the door it was closed. He tried returning to the recovery room, but that was closed up too. With no other choice he went down the hallway to the free door pushing it open. The door to the front room opened easily. 

Clothing was thrown and scattered about the seats of the front room. Looking towards the operating room beyond, Toshio was still in his white doctor's coat, bent over the operating table as he turned to look at Seishin. Surgical lighting shone above the operating table, over a white naked body from which Seishin averted his eyes without thinking.

"Take off your top clothes and gown up. They're in the wash room next door. While you're going there, take the clothes on the seats in the front room to the laundry room for me."

"Sure, .....But,"

Hurry, Toshio cut him off, once again turning to face Kyouko. Kyouko's face was white, her eyes firmly shut.

"Kyouko-san, don't tell me that she's,"

"She's dead."

I see, Seishin murmured in his heart. When he'd seen Toshio in his white coat, it had occurred to him that it was beyond the point of taking life saving measures now.

As he was told he returned to the front room, gathering up the scattered clothing to take to the washroom. While looking for the washing machine, Seishin became frozen in place. What were those test tubes lined up? Most had a dark red liquid in them, with most separating out. The brownish red samples prepared looked like they were spotted with blood.

"---Toshio."

Seishin peered from the washroom to the operating room. Turning around the corner, he saw Toshio's handiwork. Toshio was sutring Kyouko's chest. Above Kyouko's shoulder was a stake pulled out and stained with dark reddish blackness.

Seishin swallowed a breath. Toshio's eyes rose from his task. "It's just what it looks like. Kyouko's dead."

"......Did she, revive?"

Yeah, Toshio nodded. He cut the suturing thread. 

"This--no, I guess it's already yesterday---evening she rose up. She just went to sleep permanently a bit ago."

To sleep permanently was a fitting phrase. Yes--an awoken corpse had its sleep disturbed. This was putting it back to sleep. And this time into a sleep that would be permanent. No matter what words one used to cover it up, it was killing a Shiki and that truth wouldn't change, but certainly calling it putting them to sleep would weaken the resistance on the hunter's part. That was the magic of words. 

"It's messy," said Toshio, his white coat splotched all over with blood. The cuffs of his sleeves were bright red. "Gown up. Put on gloves too. It might be dangerous to touch bare handed."

While saying that, Toshio took of his white coat. He held it out towards Seishin. "While you're going, take this one to be washed too." 

Nodding, Seishin took the white gown in hand as Toshio followed and sat down on the only chair in the washing room. Taking off his gloves and throwing them away, he lit a cigarette.

"Toshio......" Seishin sought out the detergent in the washroom, poured what looked like a suitable amount in and hit the switch. "What are those test tubes?"

"Kyouko's blood," Toshio said turning his eyes to the test tubes. "Looks like they're mostly dead, now."

"Dead?"

"That's probably the right term for it, anyway. That's most likely their real form. I dunno how to put it but the blood itself's alive, like, you know? I mean, it ain't like the blood itself is moving like an amoeba and attacking, but." Toshio leaned back into the chair heavily, completely worn down as he breathed out the smoke. For a while, he gazed as the smoke as if seeking something in it. "......Yeah, they're alive, I think. And they starve to death. Or maybe they suffocate to death. Once they die it separates out."

"The blood does?"

Toshio nodded. "Those ones that change color---the ones that haven't separated out yet, they go bright red again if you add human blood to them. They come back to life. The reason they attack people is probably based on that, I'm thinking."  Toshio said, giving a sarcastic laugh as he looked as Seishin who still stood there bewildered. "Kirishiki Seishirou and Tatsumi aren't Shiki. They're probably human."

"That can't be."

"That's all I can figure. Kyouko reacted to sunlight. The sunlight's no good for them. They burn and blister." 

Seishin found himself looking to the operating room. Toshio continued, still exhausted. "Even if it doesn't look like it, there's no sign of it left's all. Their ability to recover from injury's nothing short of miraculous. You can literally see it close up before your own eyes. A blade or a sharp edge or something used half-heartedly isn't going to stop them."

"......The stake?"

"Effective. Probably using a shotgun at close range or something would be too. Don't give them time to recover, destroy the blood vessel system in one go is the only way I figure. Or possibly, like the legends say, cutting off their head. 

Their blood's alive. And their brain is alive. But the fact is that Kyouko's breathing and heart rate never came back. Just, before she herself rose up, brain waves appeared. For a while they completely disappeared but they came back. Whether they really stopped completely, or if they were just slight enough at the level where the machine couldn't pick up on them, that I don't know, but I think I can at least say that Shiki aren't brain dead, they're corpses with an active brain. What's alive is probably that weird blood. I can't say for sure, but."

Seishin blinked. ---Right, if Kyouko rose up, it could only mean she had died once. 

"When did Kyouko-san die?"

"Five days ago...... On the 16th. After four full days the brain waves appeared, yesterday morning she started responding to the sunlight. She revived just past evening. I don't have any basis for comparison, so I can't say that all the Shiki revive about at that rate, but."

Seishin swallowed a breath. "......You were hiding it? That Kyouko-san died? Why?"

Toshio murmured. "I thought she might rise up." 

Seishin was at a loss for words. 

"So even though she died, you didn't say anything and were hiding the corpse? You confirmed that she rose up, drove a stake into her and killed her......?"

"I didn't have any other way," Toshio said, lazily closing his eyes. "Not a single drug had any effect. Their healing rate's abnormally high. Did seem like incense and smells like that had an effect. Magic works too. For whatever reason it looks like it provokes a fear response. Crosses, honzens, both got her to show signs of fear. But it doesn't seem like they're afraid of Buddhism itself. Seems like it's the spectacle that scares them. Like that radiation shape behind the Buddha's head. Same with the cross, a straight lines put into that shape must scare them. But the only reaction it evokes is a fear response. It'll be effective in repelling an attack but they won't put them to sleep for good."

Seishin could feel himself going pale. "Not a single drug had any effect? ......You tested them?"

Yeah, Toshio nodded. "So I figure there's no way to stop them from rising up after they're already dead. At least, not by any means I could do in secret. If we're going to stop them from rising up, we'd have to stake them when they're buried or cut off their head. There's no other way to stop those who have risen up or to keep them from rising up in the first place."

Sitting before Seishin who had lost his capacity for words, Toshio turned his eyes to his hand suddenly aware of it. It had burnt down to the filter; throwing it away, he turned around. 

"Lend me a hand. For now we've got to clean up the operating room. We have to put Kyouko in clean bedclothes and get her back to the recovery room. ---Ah, and the wound'll have to be covered with a bandage or something."

"......Why?" 

Asked that by Seishin, Toshio stood there looking at Seishin dubiously. "I can't let other people see her like that, can I?"

Toshio shrugged his shoulder. That wasn't what Seishin was asking about, but he didn't interject.

"I can't just keep other people from seeing that part. She'll have to be put in a white burial kimono and all. Explaining the wound itself I can probably get around saying it had to be done for treatment purposes or something like that, but I don't want anyone to really see exactly what kind of wound it is. All I injured was a corpse but other people probably won't look at it that way. They'll think I killed Kyouko for sure."

"Is that not exactly what you did?" 

Toshio looked up and stopped on his way to the operating room, turning to face him. "What'd you just say?"

"You killed Kyouko-san. You hid that she died and preserved the corpse. You used her once she revived for a lab experiment, and at the end of it you killed her."

"Seishin," Toshio's mouth opened. "It wasn't like that and you know it."

"It wasn't like that? What part was wrong?"

"Listen, Kyouko was,"

"Kyouko-san was ill. With an unknown illness. It's possible that that was the result of being attacked by the Shiki. But none the less, she died. And then she rose up."

"Exactly. Kyouko became a Shiki."

"Then answer this, what is a Shiki? Setting aside the reasons behind it, they are patients who died of a disease whose initial symptoms are anemia. They die and a strange post-mortem phenomenon occurs. For whatever reason it seems like after a fixed period, they revive. ---Doesn't this mean that by the real meaning of death, they are not dead?"

"Kyouko was dead."

"If she revived, she is not really dead. Isn't a part of the definition of death that it's irreversible? Since she revived, no matter how much it resembled death, it was not death. It was only an apparent death. Patients that appear death rise. These risen patients, they attack people. This strange disease spreads by means of these attacks."

"I told you, they're vampires!"

"You're free to call the disease with these symptoms "Vampiric Illness" if you want. But it doesn't change the fact that you killed a patient who revived from an apparent death."

"Listen," Toshio said thrusting a finger out at Seishin. "Kyouko died. She woke up but during that time she had no pulse and no breathing, her heart was stopped. She didn't come back to life. That was a corpse."

"And the medical basis for that is? What's the definition of "death' that you're proposing?" When asked that by Seishin, Toshio kept his mouth shut in spite of wanting to speak. "Was she really dead, was that really a corpse? Can you objectively say that without any doubt?"

"She was---"

"Death is irreversible isn't it? Can you call a reversible death death? Do you need to reacquaint yourself with the definition of death? Or can you just declare that a body that's not breathing and has no pulse is a corpse? Does a corpse have brain waves? Why would a corpse move?"

That's, Toshio faltered. 

"Wasn't what you should have been doing been finding out whether Kyouko was really dead, why, if she was, the corpse was moving, why something thought to be dead revived, finding the source of that, and seeking a medical treatment for that?"

And yet Toshio was seeking a way to kill her. He used his own wife. That was the reason he went through the trouble of hiding her death, of hiding her corpse. 

"If you could say that it was to save your patients, I would cooperate with you completely! ---But, if it's to obliterate patients who go against your understanding and common sense, I cannot cooperate."

Toshio looked up and leveled a glare directly at Seishin. 

"Then lemme ask you this, how do you want it? What will it take to please you?"

"That's,"

"The deaths are continuing in the village. The victims they attack are dying. Are you saying to leave it be and watch it carefully? The Shiki being killed is cruel and people being killed isn't? Refusing to be their food, taking steps to repel the enemy to protect ourselves is unforgivable? ---Nobody wants themselves or their own family to die. Even you yourself, didn't you say that you wanted to put a stop to this? If it's a disease, it should be stopped but if it's because of the Shiki attacking we should just let it be, is that how you want it to be?!"

This time it was Seishin's turn to be pressed for silence. 

"If we show consideration for where they're coming from, are they gonna make concessions too? They must have to attack people. If they don't attack people, they'll starve. Probably if they starve, the blood dies, and the person does too. So to avoid that they desperately attack people. You pity the Shiki and won't hunt them, so what, do b you plan to tell them to stop attacking and die that way? Are you thinking they're going to take you up on such an unreasonable demand?!"

"......That's,"

"That part of you's insufferable cowardice! At the heart of it, you just don't want to dirty your own hands. So the Shiki rising up isn't something you couldn't call coming back to life. Maybe so, I mean, the brain was moving. The person themselves was probably thinking even. They got feelings. If you base it on all that, there's no difference between them and people. If you call killing erasing a single personality, then hunting the Shiki and killing a person might be the same. And you're not a Shiki. So you don't need to dirty your own hands killing anyone. That's why you can approve of Shiki hunting humans. Hunting the Shiki means getting your own hands dirty. You'd have to take part in the massacre. So you're saying you don't wanna. ---Am I wrong? "

"......That's it precisely," Seishin sighed. "I don't want to become a mass murderer. Because I don't think that fatally wounding another, no matter how much of a just cause there is behind it can be justice. It isn't that I approve of the Shiki hunting humans. Be they Shiki or be they human, I think that one should not slaughter others. But, as to whether Kyouko-san attacked others or not to prolong her existence, that it something that should have been left to her to decide. That is not just an argument that I'm making verbally. Even if I could condemn her actions, I could not order her to do this or that. The only one whose actions I am able to control are my own."

"And so even if they are a Shiki you don't want to kill them, and that's your own freedom of choice, you wanna say, right?" Toshio's mouth tapered into a warped smile. "Right now you and me are the only ones who know what's really going on in this village, and us standing here and letting the Shiki do what they want saying it's their right is an act that indirectly approves of and leads to other people being slaughtered, but that's not your problem, in other words."

That's not it, he wanted to say but even he himself wasn't sure if that wasn't in fact what he meant. 

"You can criticise but you can't order? Just before, when you were blaming me for murder, you mean to tell me that was just criticism?"

Seishin hung his head. Toshio spit out: "Since you don't seem to get it, let me spell it out for you. People like you are called hippocrites." 

That we are, Seishin murmured in his heart.

"I made a choice, I acted on it. I can't just let the contamination spread. So I'll hunt the Shiki. They're my enemy, so even if they're a part of my own family I'm not letting them off. This is my justice. Unless you've got something to say about that, get out. I don't have time to listen to your "criticisms." "

Seishin had no words to return to that. And so, he did exactly as he was told. 



There was no mistake in Toshio's labeling him a hypocrite, he thought. Seishin didn't want to hunt the Shiki. Indeed, it was true that he didn't want to dirty his own hands. He didn't have the courage to take an action classified as a sin. He couldn't build up the murderous intent to decisively commit a sin just because they were a threat to him and his own.

Whether they were human or not didn't make a different. He didn't want to kill anyone. To tell the truth, if all of the people---he wished for the Shiki's wish to come true. If it did, the God that he believed in, that reasoning would become universally consistent, as he wished.

(People......) 

Seishin thought, trying to make a playful excuse for himself as he went.

(Either can desire to kill, or there are those who cannot desire to kill......)

When faced with a threat, there were herbivores who could not do but flee, and there were carnivores who could intimidate that threat, who could repel it. He wasn't a carnivore, and so he did not have such bloodthirsty logic within him; would that excuse work?

While thinking he returned to the temple. Dejected, he turned to the temple office desk. What a cowardly and unjust sheep he was. He could only go on living while munching on bits of grass while holed up in a safe place. 

While thinking, he opened the drawer. Taking out the manuscript, he then cocked his head.

(Somebody.....)

Something about it seemed just faintly off. For example, the sides of the Japanese writing paper, the corners. It made him think of when he'd passed his manuscript to an editor, when it had passed through somebody else's hands before returning to him. 

(Somebody touched it? ......It couldn't be?)

Neither Mitsuo nor Miwako laid a hand on Seishin's desk. Much less did they ever pull out the drawer and look inside. 

Tilting his head he turned the manuscript paper over. None of the numbered pages were missing. Taking stock of all he had written he aimlessly looked over the paper, and that was when Seishin's hand stopped. 

There was writing in the margins of the paper. Lightly pencilled letters. Of course it wasn't in Seishin's handwriting, as Seishin did not write in the margins.

Why did he kill his little brother?

Seishin stared fixedly at those letters. 

The older brother gave in to a whim. He didn't feel like writing more than that. Just as Seishin himself had, he had just been driven by a meaningless impulse. It was precisely because he didn't have the desire to kill that the older brother who wandered the wasteland's anguish was so deep---.

While thinking, Seishin paged further into the manuscript when he once again came upon the writing.

Killing without the intent to kill is an accident, not a murder.

There is no murder without the intent to kill.

There is no intent to kill without a reason.


Seishin stared at the writing was a hollowed out feeling. Those letters had arrested his gaze. 

(But,) Seishin stared at the writing. (......There really wasn't any reason at all.)

8D

(Anonymous) 2015-06-27 01:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, that answers my question last reply...

But wow, this is it! Finally we've reached this scene.

Lol, I was just wondering about this the other day. The Shiki don't exactly fit the definition of death. If they're having a debate about it, even Toshio couldn't deny it. But to Toshio, it isn't really the matter about whether they truly died or not. It's because their very presence threatens the humans. While to Seishin, it matters.

Even Seishin knows the Shiki don't actually have to kill people. But still, they're able to, probably are more prone to doing this than regular people killing one another. Even if they don't kill people, they still harm people in a way because they can only consume human blood. Even if they don't kill people, Toshio couldn't leave them alone I think. Not to mention it's his own village.

If it's Toshio who got hurt, or Seishin's own parents, I wonder if he'd at least be angry. If he doesn't, well, I think he's got a bit of problem there.

I got a bit irked that Toshio uses 'she's dead!' card while knowing himself that it isn't really 'death'. It'd be better if he'd just admitted right there that he did that to help the village to be honest, rather than giving Seishin an ammo to use against him too. While I don't doubt that it's also his moral conscience speaking when he criticizes Toshio for it, I also think that part of it is to save his own face. If he'd just admitted it right there, Seishin wouldn't be able to save his face. He'd have to face his own self.

They both attack one another to save their own face, I sensed. Toshio, while being right, I also think that he criticizes Seishin partially is because he was found out that it isn't really 'death'. He's actually pretty conscious about the moral behind his action and Seishin berating him is like sprinkling salt water on an open wound. If we treat this as a competition, then Toshio wins, because Seishin lacks counterargument.

If it's me, well, I'd say that Toshio better let Seishin go if his heart isn't in this. I understand that he'd lose a most valuable support, but it won't do him good too if his support is half-assed in assisting him. Let him go, but if he stands in the way, it's then up to Toshio to strike him down or let him go. Well, if Toshio intends to kill the Shiki's human allies, then even if Seishin's a dear friend he'd have to kill him too if he also kills the others. He's going to be consistent. But since he already said that no, he wasn't going to kill the human allies since they're humans, he didn't have to kill Seishin. I wonder if Toshio giving the villagers a choice to either follow him or not is also due to this experience.

That being said, while I love this chapter it makes me sad too because this is probably the last chapter those guys get to interact directly and in such lengthy conversation (argument). Gotta say goodbye to them as a kinda unit and partners. It's been a good time, sobs.



Also, Sunako is too intrusive to be honest. If it's me, I'd be angry if other people disturb my private belongings without asking me first.

8D

(Anonymous) 2015-06-28 07:12 am (UTC)(link)
I was considering the brain death aspect of things (which, as has been shown, the Shiki aren't brain dead), but Toshio probably considers it more from the cessation of cardiopulmonary function aspect. So, you're probably right that it's a matter of what he believes, and it isn't like Toshio has no basis for it either so I'll take back what I said. That being said, I'm curious about the physiology of Shiki, how their brain works and if it works just like a normal human's -- if it does, why does their cardiopulmonary system stop functioning, is it because of them being unneeded that they don't (have to) work or are there other reasons, are there more changes, do all of their other systems stop functioning too? Do they excrete? And the most essential probably is, is all of this possible? (lol, likely not)


She IS invasive, and it makes me admire Seishin for being that patient with her lol. But this is also because Sunako has become a person he seeks out comfort from, and whose opinions he ponders on.

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-06-28 03:08 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm happy to see this scene in writing too, even if it's a bit different from how it was presented in the animanga. Seishin still seems of two minds until he sees Kyouko's been killed (or has died again, depending on the definition one uses of what life is). I enjoyed seeing how Toshio and Seishin contrasted; it seems that when it comes to arguments, Seishin can at the very least have Toshio consider things he may not have otherwise. And to me, regardless of her intention, Sunako's still somewhat of a creeper, but to watch hers and Seishin's continued interactions is interesting in an odd, almost 'train-wreck' sort of fashion.

8D

(Anonymous) 2015-06-29 11:17 pm (UTC)(link)
When I first read the manga (before the anime aired), I found their church scenes cute. There was one that made me specifically go 'awwww'.

I also think she's a creeper, but that's probably one of the reasons why Seishin's interested in her. They're both weird people who can get around one another's weird side because they are quite similarly weird. Kind of in contrast with Toshio and Seishin, who are so different they cannot understand one another.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-06-29 11:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Which one did you think was cute? I think if Sunako was an ordinary girl I would have probably thought the same, but I guess for me she was too...I don't know, as I said before it seemed that she influenced his way of thinking a bit too much for my tastes. I guess you're right, heh, there are lots of different types of weird in the world and they're both lonely people in different ways, so maybe that was why they gravitated to each other. Yet I still play with the idea in my head of their weirdness one day becoming incompatible and incoming conflict from it, with a possible side order of Toshio involvement.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-06-30 12:20 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- Ahaha, that was when I was reading without actually paying attention. I didn't even think Sunako had some ulterior motives or so. I thought she was eccentric, and obviously a Shiki, but I thought she was just sharing her opinions. If Sinnesspiel didn't even mention about the likelihood of her influencing Seishin (kind of like what you said) way back, I probably wouldn't even consider the idea. I've never paid attention to her that much. Now that i'm thinking about it, that's just not logical for a Shiki to approach a villager without a plan in mind. Well, I was just reading for fun, and didn't really start analyzing things until I came here.

That was the scene of Seishin getting down after being scolded by Toshio, and in the manga (and anime) she was placing her palm on his head and said "poor Muroi-san" or something, and I was like "Heeeeee."

Now (after I put some thoughts into it) I think as a relationship they're another shade of unhealthy though because they see one another as the extension of themselves. That wouldn't end good, but I'm kinda afraid it'd take another three decades for Seishin to snap out of it. I also think that, this is Shiki and no relationship doesn't end in this work, so. I also want another Seishin-Toshio confrontation. They don't even know that the other survives the whole ordeal as well so I want to see their surprise, haha.

Basically, I think (because Sinnesspiel gave me the idea) probably Sunako and Seishin aren't that similar in actuality and conflicts will arise because the ideas they have about one another don't align with how they actually are. Or that's one part of it. Another would be them developing different vision so again, kind of similar with Seishin and Toshio's situation, conflicts arise.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-06-30 12:42 am (UTC)(link)
Poor Muroi-san in more ways than one, heh. In some ways I do enjoy the novel more than the animanga because Seishin gets to school Toshio on some things like he did in this chapter. I originally watched the anime first and got the impression that Sunako was going to potentially spell trouble for the village and Seishin in particular, but then I've also had a long time of teachers drilling into my head that everything in literature has a deeper meaning if you know where to look (or think you know--there's an entire thing about a writer's intention versus a reader reading too much into something the writer never intended; I'll have to dig it up).

I do hope it wouldn't take Seishin 30 years to figure out that he and Sunako may not be as compatible as both had initially hoped given that he has a lesson to draw from his relationship with Toshio in regards to compatibility, but maybe in some ways, this is just him choosing to exchange one form of drifting through life for another, so who can say? I would give almost anything to see what happens after the epilogue to this series, but I doubt we're getting a sequel.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-06-30 01:26 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- Personally I don't read many literature, except manga perhaps, but even when I enjoy deep works I rarely give them my own thoughts and just enjoy what's being shown to me, except for bits that personally resonate with me or interest me. Even when it comes to Shiki, the only character I've gone into trouble of analyzing thoroughly is Seishin, and the rest is only bit by bit. Which means that Seishin is the first fictional character that I care enough to analyze.

I largely enjoy the novels more because of many important details the animanga don't include (and I prefer originals to adaptations), but the manga and anime definitely have their own charms. I love the black-and-white drawing style of the manga, which really adds into the horror (and the hot summer impression), and the anime for astounding soundtracks.

Even when it comes to his and Toshio's relationship, it takes the whole Shiki ordeal to happen first for them to think that their differences really aren't irreconcilable anymore, so I think perhaps Seishin is going to need something similarly big to happen between him and Sunako first. Seishin is someone who enjoys status quo, so it'll considerably be harder for him to make change. I also hope that Seishin draws a lesson or two from his relationship with Toshio, but I think his and Sunako's relationship will be of different tone that he may not easily see the signs of incompatibility.

I think Shiki has neat enough ending that I kind of afraid a sequel would ruin that, though I also deeply want a sequel. I think fanworks is the only way to go...

Re: 8D

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-06-30 01:33 pm (UTC)(link)
I grew up reading a ton of different things. I do like that Japan seems to be open to making the same stories into different mediums, because each can be enjoyable in a different way, like with this. It's always better when a work resonates with you on a personal level because then you can understand why the characters are doing what they're doing better, or at least have an interest in trying to understand, providing the author is competent and doesn't throw odd things into the work for no reason. Seishin resonates with me too, which is why I was drawn to reading this in the first place. So, I can understand that as well. :)

Anime seems to have a habit of leaving out things that the original manga/other work included. I chalk it up to things like that being under contract, and sadly, the artists who draw the stuff seem to be woefully underpaid. Yes, Buck-Tick is amazing, imo, and they've done other things (before I heard the Shiki soundtrack, I'd heard the opening to Trinity Blood, which uses the song 'Dress' as its opening).

Hm, yes, I can see where he might be content with Sunako for awhile, because it's always hard to embrace change even when it's necessary. Different people also interact in different ways, so I can also see him taking awhile to catch on that Sunako isn't all she seems. But then, I also wonder what would happen if he separated from her and went to live on his own? Runs into Toshio? If I had time, I'd dedicate some of it to a fanwork maybe exploring those things, but right now I have so much happening it would be very difficult. Perhaps one day...

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-07-01 10:37 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- For me, it's quite hard to sit still reading things that only have letters in them, much less if they come in thick volumes. That's why I usually don't bother with novels. I'm also very picky and for better or worse, cannot be bothered to read things that don't interest me. I was introduced to manga at a very young age however, which is one of the perks of having a Dad who also loves to read manhua and occasionally manga.

Seishin is nicer and more patient, that's for sure. (And he also deals with lots of literature where I don't) However he rings so many alarms in my head because lots of things he does, I also do, or that's what I believe. I also think that his thought pattern kind of resembles mine. Reading about him and analyzing him has also made me discover more stuffs about myself. However I also fear that all I've been doing is projecting myself onto him, what with how self-centered I am, and that the real him is someone different. Then I'll be no better than Sunako.

The one thing I grieved the most about the animanga is them leaving out interesting details about Seishin and Toshio's relationship. No Seishin visiting Toshio at the dead of night, no Toshio visiting Seishin's room that one time, and lots of other things. The manga already left these out so I assume the anime was just following it. The anime is also only 24 episodes total so perhaps there's no enough screentime to jumble all things from the novel inside it. The animanga are also a shounen work so I think some changes were due, like making Natsuno a protagonist because Toshio and Seishin definitely don't fit as protagonist of a shounen work. I guess that's also why the actions were changed into more shounen-like, 'crazy' actions. Like the part when Setsuko died; in actuality Toshio and Seishin only passed out from exhaustion and no certain actions took place. Or perhaps the staffs changed it to add more horror into it too. Buck-Tick is great, and I also love Nangi's Walk no Yakusoku, but I'm definitely in love with Takanashi Yasuharu's works. Eau de Vie and Thirteen Moons are my favorite, but the others are also great.

I kind of fear about Seishin just putting up with Sunako even when all he wants is to get out, just like him now. I still cannot really grasp the person he's becoming post-Shiki, but I guess he'd be even more individualistic than before (as in, not afraid anymore to convert his principles and visions into actual actions, which he lacked before). I still fear that it'd take some years for Toshio and Seishin to meet, with Toshio looking significantly older already and Seishin youthful still. My greatest fear is still one of them outliving the other, especially with them having never met. Makes me think that, a confrontation which results in them dying at the same time would be a lot better and less depressing to me. But that's me...

Re: 8D

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-07-01 03:36 pm (UTC)(link)
It seems there may be a dearth of translated manhua in comparison to manga. I think there's also an equivalent from China in terms of graphic novels but again, there are less places where you can read them in English. Awhile back, I watched someone on Youtube play a Korean indie game with full voice acting and it was very interesting in some parts. I read everything unless it's so boring I can't get past the first few pages. Everything, good or bad, has a lesson to teach, it just depends on how much you seek the lesson.

Seishin, I think, is meant to resonate with the ordinary reader, but so too is Toshio. There are people who believe that all killing, no matter the purpose, is wrong, and people who are more morally absolute, so that's where conflict comes in. Therefore, I'm not too surprised that you see some of yourself in Seishin. I do too, but I also see some of myself in Toshio and his motivations. I'll be back with a second part to this comment a bit later. Work is calling and I have to be there, unfortunately.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-07-03 08:03 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- In my country action manhua (which usually include martial arts stories, often with medieval China as the setting) seems to be easier to find than the other genres, and thankfully that's my Dad's preferred genre. He rarely reads fiction that's not historical ones, and he also likes to watch movies about war stories. Here Korean drama seems to be way more popular than manhwa, and people here are also love K-pop. I try to look for any lesson I can find from my everyday life, but I indeed feel the lack from not reading enough. There's no doubt that you can find lots of lesson from reading materials.

Toshio seems to be one character I cannot seem to really grasp. I think until I try to actually live in his shoes, I'll not be able to understand his core personality. I understand feeling like you have to follow traditions, but that's not exclusive to Toshio. I understand feeling angry at people who try to endanger the lives of people whom I also live with, but there seem to be more reasons to his motivation. He seems to be someone who does things based on collective needs unlike me too. I'm more individualistic. This particular chapter hits me quite hard because I also feel it myself what being an individualist would entail. Compared to Toshio, I seem to understand Natsuno more. I think Natsuno can be quite a jerk but he's in actuality a very fair person who's able to align his actions with his moral principles. Granted, those principles are what get him killed in the first place, but I admire his still wanting to align to those until the end. He couldn't hunt Shiki therefore he would only be their prey, but so be it. Better than committing the sin of killing. I don't even know if I could be as determined as he is.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-07-03 12:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Interesting. But IIRC, were you in Russia? K-Pop and Korean dramas are popular here too, although I don't think they get quite the coverage and enjoyment that their Japanese counterparts do. I tend to find more than one sort of lesson from reading fiction, no matter how good or bad: the one the author intended for me to find, the one I find for myself, and the one as a writer to show me that if I ever hope to write anything people will like, it's worth paying attention to how the good authors write their books. =P Not that I see myself in a position where I'll be any good, but I digress...

Natsuno is a very blunt person for sure, probably especially for his culture. Yet even as he comes across as a jerk and willfully so, I can't but help admiring him to a degree. Being honest with others is sometimes difficult if you fear what their reactions are going to be. Being honest with yourself can sometimes be even more difficult. It's difficult to say what anyone would do in a situation like Shiki--doubtlessly, some would rather kill than be killed. Some wouldn't be able to survive the onslaught. Some would likely try to be turned because they'd perceive humanity as boring or perhaps die only to find, like Seishin, spoiler

they changed anyway with no real plans to do so.

Unfortunately, I do see myself personally being more like Toshio in that scenario if it was possible for something like that to happen. Or in the very least, I'd do my best not to be killed before I went down.

In terms of Seishin and Toshio meeting again years later and perhaps dying together--I think though Toshio might be older by that point, he's illustrated being clever enough to get to know and orchestrate plans to get to the Shiki in the past, so this wouldn't be too different. He'd be dealing with a Seishin who is different in many ways from who he knew, but I can see him adapting. It would be tragic but fitting if they both died in a second encounter.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-07-03 05:13 pm (UTC)(link)
8D -- Ah no, I hail from Southeast Asia. Here, K-Pop and Korean dramas are more popular than their Japanese counterparts by much. Korean dramas often get into television while for Japanese ones I can only recall the tokusatsu ones being aired, and even their popularity seems to be dwindling (the ones that are still being aired are usually reruns too). There's no reason you cannot be any good if you do lots of practice to improve yourself, and writing does seem to be your passion too. You can definitely do it!

Natsuno often comes off as a jerk, which I don't condone in any way, but at the very least he doesn't expect people to treat him better than how he treat people. I think if he actually wishes to be treated respectfully, he'll start to treat others as respectfully too. He's utterly blunt and cold but he's okay with people being like that towards him. I admire this part of him. I personally see strength in doing everything to preserve life even if it means stooping so low, or in Natsuno's case, keeping true to one's moral principles even at the cost of life. I cannot blame others for stooping low when I'd perhaps also do so if I were in their shoes. Some people might see Natsuno as being stupid, but I think the most important thing is he himself doesn't regret his decision. I also very well cannot blame Toshio for doing what he did, even if I think what he did to Kyouko is uncalled for. I still admire his determination on not killing Shiki's human allies.

I just hope that if they were going to meet again, it wouldn't take so long that Toshio would be much older because he wasn't going to be as physically fit as his 30 year old self, and Seishin already had so many advantages over him as a Jinrou. But then again Toshio would refuse to lose just because he was getting old, and would definitely use his brain to his advantage. I can see them taking 5 to 10 years to meet, and seeing Seishin looking just as old as Toshio last remembered him to be would definitely feel like a blast from the past. Or probably a hurricane. He'll adapt for sure, but I think he'll also be haunted by the old Seishin. Whenever he sees Seishin acting differently, I think he'll sometimes cannot help but compare him to his past self.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-07-04 05:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah, cool. Here, it's a bit different--I think K-pop and rock are popular, but Korean graphic novels aren't in the markets. I think there are some translated scanlations online, but even then they're more difficult to find. I think I also did read something about tokusatsu awhile back, but I can't remember offhand too much about them (ah, the ravages of getting old). Heh, do you recall the parts where it was said that Seishin would make holes in his writing paper from erasing/writing with so much pressure? He's a perfectionist, and so am I. We're not known for getting things done at a rapid rate. :P But who knows, perhaps someday I'll write something worth a damn despite myself. Thank you for the encouragement. :)

There's something to be admired in Natsuno, true, even if he's blunt. There's usually something to be admired in almost anyone, some positive quality, even if as an overall person they're an ass. I think Shiki was deliberately set up to show that humanity, while seeing itself as superior, often has the same downfalls as the monsters they say they're against, so it leaves the question of, 'Who is the true monster?' Every human, regardless of who they are, where they're from, or what allegiances they claim to have, is capable of such things, I think. They don't act on it because of laws and civility, but what happens when those things go out the window? Many books/media have explored it, but Shiki captures it in a way that I haven't seen a lot of other media do. Kyouko didn't deserve to die the way she did, that's true. I sort of wonder what would happen if Toshio had allowed her to live. Likely he would have wound up one of the Shiki himself, or more probably, she would have joined Sunako and they would have ended up confronting one another anyway.

I can easily see Toshio scoff at the concept of being seen as old. He's somewhat irreverent to begin with, so if someone claimed he couldn't do something based on age, I could see him doing his best to try anyway just to prove them wrong. If Toshio is haunted by the old Seishin and blown away by the new one, it makes me wonder how a new Seishin would see Toshio? In a pitying way, 'He's going to grow old and die, while I can't', as a former friend with misguided views, an enemy? It's interesting to consider for sure.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-07-05 01:02 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- Here manhwa can always be found, though I don't know if it covers every title available in the home country. The example of Tokusatsu are Ultraman and Power Rangers. Power Rangers isn't Japanese, but wiki says it's technically also a tokusatsu. I don't know Seishin's reasoning on using 2H pencil, but that's probably because they don't smear easily if touched or anything. I bought one because I was curious and tried to apply it the same way Seishin does; it's a pain to erase it. Writing with a lot of pressure speaks concentration, so you're probably right. I like that first chapter because you can already see a glimpse of Seishin's philosophies. When it comes to writing (in general) and such, I also have my own, so it's interesting to see others'. I personally don't exactly like using pencils, but my experiences only include 2B anyway, I think that's the norm. I try to write on my own too from time to time even if it's just for myself, but the moment ideas leave my head, I usually become bored easily. It probably speaks volumes about my determination, lol.

There are certainly things to learn even from the worst people. I think only humanity is capable of becoming a monster, but in this case, it extends to anything that have humans' way of thinking or something similar to it. I personally don't see any difference between humans and Shiki in this regard. They're both capable of the exact same thing to the exact same degree. True, humans don't need to consume on other humans' blood to survive, but Shiki themselves don't actually need to kill their preys (as stated by Toshio; they can only fill their stomach so much on one meal and it wouldn't kill their preys) so I believe there are other motives, ones that they actually choose to do and not natural instincts, as to why they end up killing their preys. Humans and Shiki have exact similar thought processes and the only thing distinguishing them from one another is their physiology. Not saying that Shiki is to be included within humanity, because that would be incorrect (humanity isn't only about mental qualities, but also physiological/biological ones and other stuffs I think?), and they certainly want to set themselves apart from humans too (and so do humans from them) but... yeah, that's my opinion. I think they're quite similar to people/groups who try to kill one another because of different interests, motives or visions, though humans certainly have legit reason to want Shiki dead. I wonder too about what would happen if Toshio becomes a Shiki, but since Seishin is one, I think it'd be more fitting if Toshio just didn't have the genes to become one. More contrasts between him and Seishin. Besides, Takae was killed and not turned and I think that's a smart way to show that Toshio can either have the genes or not, but I think it'd fit more if he didn't.

I think Seishin would somehow pity Toshio because as a mortal, he'd die someday so as a self he'd cease to be. Jinrou is technically alive, so I don't think they are immortal -- just beings with ridiculously long lifespan who age reaaaal slowly. You can only have death if you have life, so if you don't have life to begin with you cannot have death (is Shiki alive or dead though? I think this is a question that transcends technical reasoning and is up to every individual's interpretation). I think the reason as to why Seishin isn't very thrilled by the thought of death (despite of what he might seem to people) is mainly because when you die, you're no longer 'you' as a unique identity, and humans' lifespan is ridiculously short. Seishin may not be very thrilled by the aspect of living the way he is supposed to be, but he's not suicidal, at least as Muroi Seishin, the heir to the mountain temple. He'll probably also be like 'If you stand in my way I'm gonna kill you' towards Toshio. I don't know if he'll attach himself to any Shiki group, but there's a possibility he'll not. Speaking about identity, I don't know if he'll embrace the identity as a Shiki fully as it is, or if he's going to develop his own by making the Shiki identity a vehicle or some sort, but the latter is way more likely for an individualist. Individualists at their core stand at odds with any group, and I see no reason he'll not be even with other Shiki years down the road. The old Seishin was someone who still attached himself to a group (Sotoba) even if it was probably more in body than in mind, but that's natural to any human. Seishin who's no longer human may perceive things differently. I have to say that a Seishin who no longer has any ties with humanity/world is a force to be reckoned with, even to someone like Toshio.

Speaking about Toshio, since I read a fanfic (shippy) long ago where Toshio died from lung cancer, I cannot get it out of my mind. It could probably be another contrast between these two guys where one had looong way ahead of him and one had short lifespan. I'm entertaining the idea that if they were going to both die in that second encounter, Toshio was also dying himself at that time.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-07-06 02:51 pm (UTC)(link)
I usually write in pen when I go to draft something. My room is full of notebooks with rough drafts to several things, all mostly scenes that never make it to a word processor. Being the oddball that I am in that respect, I don't fully trust computers even with things like the cloud because I've had one too many things deleted before. I used to have a friend who came from the Philippines, and he told me that there were a lot of things there you could find in other parts of SE Asia, as well as things that were unique to that country themselves. Tokusatsu were popular in English, but weren't heavily edited for content as they were when they were broadcasted here, so when he came here and saw the same episodes with things taken out, he was kind of surprised. It's interesting to hear about the differences between different places and people. I think I may have had a go-around with such a pencil before, and the marks they make, unless you're very light on writing with it, never quite go away. You'll ruin the eraser or the paper long before the marks totally fade. It definitely is a testament to Seishin's personality. I wonder if he became a writer so he wouldn't be forgotten? I recall he kept at it because someone in university encouraged him to, not because he felt it was best for him, but for a lot of artists in general that's an added element, I've noticed.

I think the Shiki are meant to be somewhat of an allegory for any 'alien' group in general, especially in situations where the people who were there first lived isolated lives prior to the other group's arrival. There's suspicion on both sides about the other's motives and goals, so that breeds discontent, and in extreme cases, crimes and avoidance. Sotoba sounds like a lot of farming communities in Japan, if the news I read was correct--people are having less kids because they're no longer an agricultural society, so there are more old than young people, and the number is projected to go up as time goes on if things keep on as they are, so a lot of these farming communities are, for all intents and purposes, ghost towns. Younger people want to move to cities and pursue their own interests. I remember there was another discussion on what the Shiki were really up to, and it had a social component; they didn't need to kill their prey, but chose to because they wanted to make more of themselves so they could avoid living lonely lives. That seemed to be Sunako's main goal in the animanga, anyway. I imagine it's probably similar here, but we'll see.

Ah, I'd forgotten if Jinrou were immortal or just very slow-aging. I can see what you're saying there. Judging by Toshio's reaction at the end of the story, though, I do wonder if he would simply accept that this is who/what Seishin has become (hence rendering any confrontation moot in the first place), or if he would try to reason with him as he would have in the past. It would all likely be to no avail either way. As far as his identity goes, he's not truly Shiki or human, and if there are no other Jinrou around that Seishin knows about, I wonder how that might also affect things?

I read that same fic. :) I recall Sunako deliberately made Seishin think that she'd died so that he could live a life without her being front and center, which for her seemed very unselfish given her previous canonical actions, but it the fic wasn't so horribly out of character that it made me want to hit the back button. Seishin was still more bold than he used to be, but on losing Sunako for a time he somewhat reverted back to his old self and relied a little on Toshio, who was by turns surprised by how much he'd changed in some ways and remained the same in others. I can see that happening between the two of them (maybe minus the part where they become lovers). Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that there are too many quality Shiki fanfics around. =/

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-07-07 12:37 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- I kind of hate my own handwriting so for me computer it is. Everything is just a lot less messy and quicker, though I did write quite many times on my notes and such. I draw more than I write, though it's mostly doodles. According to a chapter, what Seishin first wrote (that was remotely any closer to a novel) was when he was giving a statement/explanation for his suicide attempt. I think it was his dorm advisor who asked him to? He said that if Seishin didn't want to give a verbal explanation, he could write it down. He ended up writing something incomprehensible about himself which irritated his dorm advisor. Seishin soon realized that what he wrote was closer to chapters of a novel than anything, so he began writing more. After that, he was discovered by Tsuhara. I think it's his way to explore himself, and also to show to the world what kind of an individual he actually is. I remember that I once did a similar thing, but it was when I had to write a short story for my language class and I didn't know what to write, so I wrote about myself (things I pondered about) instead lol. I probably should do it more, because I tend to discover more stuffs when I write it down instead of only thinking about it in my head. I also think that his writing in such a way that leaves a mark which is not easily erased symbolizes his wanting to made an impact in the world as his own self. "This is me, I exist, and I will not be easily destroyed, even by myself."

I think it's also like that for Sotoba as a farming community. As an alien group, the Shiki are a threat, and it'll also probably be true even if they don't go around killing people. Well, even if they don't go around killing people, I think the villagers have a right to be wary of them because of what they can potentially do. If they were similarly human, but very obviously a different group, I think the villagers will still be wary of them because they could impose themselves on them, and as a certain identity Sotoba will be under threat. I remember an instance where a Takemura-someone first built the church (the one Seishin frequently goes to) and the village leaders were obviously alarmed, because Sotoba was very exclusively Buddhist and afraid he'd convert the villagers. They were pacified somehow knowing that this Takemura person had no such intent, and that the church he built didn't denote to any real branch of Christianity and that he was just an eccentric, but they still estranged him somehow. So yeah, it leads to conflict, especially if the foreign group indeed has this kind of intent. And the Shiki themselves do it in such a way lots of people will find disagreeable.

I also think that as the novel itself says, Shiki is also about death. Nothing is without an end, and nothing that's alive will not someday die. Relationships end and change, life changes, people change, belief and views change, even a community will someday die. In a way, you're probably born only to die. You're born to prepare for your death too, which could be in a lot of ways -- including making an impact on this world. But death itself is a concept a lot of people try to avoid, including Seishin, and that's only natural.

I think unless it's completely necessary Toshio will just leave it be, despite his exact feelings about it (like that one instance where he isn't actually very thrilled by Seishin's betrayal but what can be done? Seishin has chosen a side, and if it comes down to it he'll probably end up being killed) Things have changed too, and it'd not go back to before just because he talked it out. I don't really know, but I think unless he's sure Seishin is a definite threat, he'll just leave Seishin be. I think he'll soon know that Seishin isn't a Shiki (being alive, going out at day) and that he'll not require blood to survive. I think he'll give him hell though if Seishin still dares to harm someone despite not actually requiring blood. I think it'll require a big thing happening for Toshio to actually try to reason with Seishin, as he sees fit. His being a Jinrou is a nice symbolism too I think, someone who's not a Shiki nor human, and in the end he's still this someone who cannot /really/ identify with any group and that he'll ultimately be alone. Individualists already have instincts to separate themselves from any group, but since they also come with natural instincts to align themselves with others so that they'll not be alone, it'll turn into a feeling of being estranged. It's like something that repels you but attracts you at the same time. Individualists feel isolated, but they ultimately also isolate themselves. They both see the beauty but also a curse in detaching themselves (or that's what I think anyway).

I ship them, so I want them to be together romantically in a way or another though I also (grudgingly) admit that this is rather unlikely to happen. All in all, I try to be content enough with how the novel turns out (which is heavensent, by the way). Lots of interesting details of their dynamic explained. I like that Toshio seems to be more fond of Seishin than he is in the animanga. And yeah, ugh, I definitely feel the lack.
estgold: (Default)

[personal profile] estgold 2015-08-15 11:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, wow. Wow. Ok, I'm going to have to read a couple more times now. Definitely lived up to what I was hoping it was going to be like in the novel. Thank you for your work once more!