The Dream-Quest of Unknown Ozu
I’m one of those people who wouldn’t mind living an entire life of dreaming. If I could go to sleep and have a seemingly endless stream of dreams flow through my mind without ever having to worry about waking up, I doubt I’d really mind. I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out on anything, or rather, I wouldn’t mind missing those aspects of real life that I enjoy since I’d find the tradeoff perfectly fine.
Dreaming’s about as pure as storytelling gets. No editing, no inhibitions beyond your own, no critics standing by to bitch about your shit– it’s like being able to have someone film those shitty little fanfics you write without having to worry about the producers telling you how to go about it. And it’s all freeform– totally improvised on the spot and playing off of your biases and experiences.
I’m not much of a fan of lucid dreaming. I’ve done it before, but a good amount of my experiences end up like Inception. When I realized I’m dreaming and I try to control my dreams, some force acts out against me and tries to sabotage my actions. It’s like I’m inside someone else’s dream and stuff tries to get me to quit messing up this other dude’s subconscience. Except it’s all inside my own head. Maybe it’s because I suck at lucid dreaming, but because of that I don’t dig on it.
This is why I really liked this Tatami Galaxy special. This wasn’t a story about someone experiencing a dream, realizing it’s a dream, and trying to play off of dream logic to tell some story of their own creation. The dream sequence that occurs in this episode plays like a “real” dream that’s birthed from whatever mental processes that act while you’re asleep.
This dream played like a lot of my own dreams that involve my close friends. Some weird crisis is going on, my friends and I have to deal with this weird crisis, and weird shit happens. While in the context of the dream, all of this makes perfect sense. My friends do freaky stuff like abandon our task to save a bunch of swimming elephants, kinda like what happens to Akashi while the gang’s off trying to save the world from rising sea levels. It makes sense while you’re dreaming, as if on some fundamental level it’s something your friend would do if given the same exact circumstances in real life. When you wake up, you most likely yell at yourself the way the main dude yells at whomever is talking about this dream. You don’t think this shit makes any sense. There’s no way in hell soandso would run off and make out with a real doll on an iceberg when the world needs saving.
Most people stop right there, much like how the main dude goes into a bitchfest at the end of this episode. I’m not one to stop there. Just because this shit doesn’t make sense immediately doesn’t mean I just throw up my arms and say “What the fuck, dude!” It might not make some sort of logical sense when you look at it from the rules that the real world plays by, but you gotta get over that. Dreams don’t give a damn about all this reality nonsense. They use their own language to get across whatever point they gotta get across to your sleeping mind.
With this episode of Tatami Galaxy, I’m pretty sure the big chin mentor dude is the dreamer in question. You could say that this is his interpretation of the events that have transpired across the series. He looks at Ozu as some sort of chaos-creating monster, not unlike almost everyone else in the series. Ozu’s a big fucking kaiju whose actions are leading to the world being submerged under a torrents of ice spit, and something needs to be done about this shit. The quest to go take him down, which results in Ozu getting frozen and blown up, could be seen as the mentor’s attempt to rein in Ozu’s antics. The whole bit where he takes in Ozu as one of his students could be his way to focus his destructive actions.
Of course, everything we saw in the series showed that Ozu wasn’t nearly as Chaotic Evil as we were led to believe, and we saw that Big Chin’s actions towards Ozu actually kinda backfired on him, but this all makes sense in the context of Big Chin’s mind. This is what he wanted to happen. He wanted to venture into the unknown south, find the source of everyone’s ills, and blow that shit up. Metaphorically speaking, of course, and his mind played all of this wish-fulfilment out as he slept.
Much like how the main dude tried to play out idealized scenarios in the actual TV series, Big Chin’s playing out his own idealized scenarios in his dreams and is retelling said dreams to his buddies.