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Mascot Hell

October 29, 2009

“In other words, you’ve fallen in love but it’s painful and you cry…Quit pretending you understand!””

Yes, Ioryogi, you’re the voice of a silent generation.

Ioryogi is acting as a sort of cipher for us anime vets. We’re at the point where we can no longer relate with the clueless innocent types, and while we will help when our help is needed, we loathe to see their naive world view thrust upon us as “the truth” when we know that it’s as far from reality as possible.

And when we want to rain biblical fire upon them to punish their hubris, Ioryogi does this for us. He’s like Prometheus, attempting to deliver us into a new era, except the fire he brandishes comes from his belly.

Again, I salute you Ioryogi. You are quickly assuring yourself a seat in the Mascot Pantheon.

But Kobato is upping the mascot ante in this episode, and does so in an eerily, creepy manner.

Usagi, or Ushagi (pretty sure I heard both) is God’s messenger. I remember seeing the little thing in the one volume that I read of CLAMP’s Wish, but I don’t remember what the “proper” translation was in that manga.  Anyway, we essentially have a plushie bunny cast as Metatron. That makes about as much sense as casting Hans Gruber as Metatron in Dogma, but I’d say that this casing is far more sinister.

Most people will cite the haunting music used in this scene. Yes, that stuff’s pretty out of character for this happy-go-lucky series. But that amused me more than disturbed me. What’s really freaky about Ushagi is his manner of communication. He hurls small balls of energy that go directly to the person-in-question’s heart. By “attacking” that person’s heart/soul/whatever, Ushagi is able to transmit a message. He’s essentially hacking your ghost in a cyberpunk/Ghost in the Shell way in order to communicate with you, but does so in a “benign” and assumingly non-invasive manner. Such casual, primal manipulative power is disturbing, especially when it takes the form of a small plush rabbit. This isn’t someone reading your mind or talking to you in your head, this is someone reaching out, grabbing your soul, and “twisting” it to form a message. Scary.

This episode also helps prove my theory I went into in my first Kobato post. The fact that Ushagi is a messenger from God doesn’t mean that Kobato is trying to get into Heaven or anything like that. God is merely sending his “voice” to give Kobato and Ioryogi a message. I still stand by the idea that Kobato wants to go to Hell. When confronted with Ushagi, Ioryogi speaks as if he’s surprised. He acts as if this creature is a foreign, frightening presence. Ioryogi isn’t acting like a stereotypical deferential angel. Ioryogi’s acting like a demon who has come as closer to The Big Guy than he’s ever been before. He’s putting on a nonchalant front, but you can tell that he’s in frightful awe.

Also, when he encountered Kohaku earlier in the episode, Ioryogi spoke of her as someone he knew in passing. I’m assuming that Kohaku is a heavenly force. If I remember Wish right, this assumption is correct, but it’s been awhile since I’ve read that manga. Again,  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=””>Ioryogi doesn’t speak to Kohaku as if she’s a friendly and familiar entity. While he isn’t as shocked as when he sees Ushagi, he does act a bit distant and dismissive. They merely know each other “by name,” and Kohaku knows him by a different name. This makes me think that Ioryogi is actually a fallen angel. Perhaps he fell during Lucifer’s initial rebellion, and has been with the Dark Lord since day one. I think that’s a good theory.

So we have one of the original denizens of Hell leading a seemingly innocent soul on the path to Hell. Why does Kobato want to go to “that place” that is totally not Heaven? Maybe she’s like Orpheus, trying to gain access to Hell to save someone she loves. Or maybe she’s a truly malevolent force that is so beyond our comprehension as humans that her “kind” persona is actually an evil not meant for man’s eyes.

Or maybe she’s just a hapless soul being manipulated by a Prince of Hell. Regardless of her reasons, she’s definitely going to Hell.

Addendum: Kobato is Spawn.

Yes, the dude with the cape and the Spiderman mask who is from Hell. Actually, she’s something of a Reverse Spawn. Nega Spawn. Bizzaro Spawn. Spawn has a meter that tracks his power (or at least he did when I read it in the 90s) and when that power is up he goes back to Hell. So he has a timer of sorts. Kobato has a timer as well. She has one year to collect “scarred hearts” or else she won’t be able to go to “that place,” and she has a “meter” in the form of little candies that fill her soul urn.

Totally the same thing if you ask me. Except in reverse.

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