manga04_jpg login_tab_left_jpg
Username:   Password:    Forgot Password?
App
Try out our new iPhone application!
App
Manga Poll
Your favorite series has been going for a while now. You...
Want it to continue forever
Want it to end before it turns worse
Want the author to stop to start a completely new series
Want a spin-off story of it
 
See Old Polls

Manga is the Japanese equivalent of comics
with a unique style and following. Join the revolution! Read some manga today!

Coded in ConTEXT

Join #baka-updates @irc.irchighway.net

RSS Feed
 
center_left_tab Forums center_right_tab

You are now viewing a topic.

working out plot questions (spoilers!)

Back to Nijigahara Holograph


Pages (3) [ 1 2 3 ]   You must be registered to post!
From User Message Body
monkey-boy
Post #8428
Member

8:53 pm, Mar 18 2007
Posts: 18


I think I'm just about done with everything except a final accounting for a few of the big issues (those being: what happens in Amahiko's mind when he meets Arie; what exactly is the context of Kimura's attack on his wife; and who's playing God / the butterflies / the monster at different parts of the story); saving the hardest for last. Meanwhile lots of smaller stuff from a final read-through:


p033: spring of 5th grade: that is, the beginning of fifth grade, April 1992 (new school year begins in April in Japan, see e.g. http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/japan/schools/q4.html). Amahiko and Arie fell, in unison as bukuwawa suggested, during the previous autumn --- see long shadows in the afternoon on p020 and following pages; also school is in session, so this is after summer vacation, probably September 1991. The interim of approx. six months is required, among other things, for Amahiko's injuries to heal and for his father, having heard of the death and burial of his beloved first wife, to move there from Saitama to be near her grave.

p034: Sakaki has momentarily forgotten that there are two empty seats in the back of the class: a newer one in the fourth row, next to Arakawa, and an older one in the fifth and last row (cf. p020, p135 for a view of the class from the front), in the corner by the hallway wall (cf. p241). I think that means that Sakaki has blocked Arie's old seat out of her mind --- not so much that she's blocked it out as unusable for a new student; rather, she's blocked it out as an unpleasant personal reminder of Arie and the episode of the attack. Sakaki gives Amahiko the seat that wasn't Arie's. The students, as I understand is common if not typical in Japanese schools, keep to the same classrooms from one year to the next.

p036: regarding whether Sakaki cares about Suzuki or not: I find that her behavior here, and at p045-46, and at p073ff, and even at p124 and p154, comes across as caring. Certainly she cares much more than Hatori --- if a teacher sees a kid drawing a picture of himself that way, it's borderline criminal negligence to shrug it off as Hatori does. One thing that was lost when I snipped out my long opening post was the fact that, on first reading, I was really drawn to the complexity of Sakaki as a character --- she seemed to be the one bright spot in Amahiko's life, and perhaps I seized on that to the exclusion of the in retrospect very seriously screwed up parts of her makeup. Anyhow, I don't dispute that by the end she'd become a monster in more ways than one, but I can't erase the impression of these many early scenes as the signs of a kind, compassionate woman.

p035-36: is the red "picture of [himself] in the future" Suzuki's holograph? I realized yesterday that I've been thinking of a "hologram" all this time --- the 3D image that appears with laser light --- rather than a "holograph" properly speaking, which is a document written entirely in the hand of its author. Probably there is a broader reference here to the regular theme of authorship of one's own life (momma says "don't be afraid ... it all depends on you" at p277, old-Amahiko says "you are allowed to choose the way your life goes" at p291, etc.) ... but perhaps this particular document may be taken as one example of Amahiko's hand. Bukuwawa, do you know if "holograph" is translated from japanese, or if it's the english (greek) word, or anything else about it?

p049: I read Komatsuzaki's waking thoughts here as showing that he doesn't live in a perpetual state of semi-catatonia; rather, he goes into that state periodically, returning to his normal self with time, only to be visited again (as he sleeps, maybe at other times too) by momma, who wipes his memory and drags him back into the tunnel, so to speak. These are the thoughts of a perfectly lucid individual, struggling against a regular adversary whom he can never defeat. He's equally lucid on p213ff. Even on p218 he starts out talking normally with Arakawa before he suddenly shifts into possessed mode. And his protestation on p229 that he remembers everything like it was yesterday seems to me to be in earnest; if it weren't for the visitations, he'd be fine.

p054: Komatsuzaki is pictured making a gesture that suggests a prisoner longing for freedom ... I'd read this as further confirmation of bukuwawa's idea that he's in thrall to momma. It also could be taken as a pre-echo of his gazing out the window at the end of the book, suggesting, perhaps, that he'll have a new "owner" in Arakawa; only I really can't see how Arakawa could exercise the same supernatural control over him that momma had, and so I prefer to limit myself to the former reading.

p057: the supermarket owner suggests that Kimura should find a way to "cut [his] own head off," which combined with the image of him lying in a pool of his own blood after jumping from the window (p277) seems to recall the picture of the headless kudan by associative triangulation. Add this to my thoughts on the kudan identities above.

p057: present is March 2003; the calendar fragment only matches March of that year, assuming we can rule out 2008 which hasn't happened yet. (See calendars)

From this we can work out all the dates in the story pretty narrowly. The key data points that space out the timeline are:

- Amahiko is 10yo for most/all of 5th grade (p246)
- after the end of 5th grade, he left this town and didn't come back for 10y (p247).
- it's ~10y from when Arie fell into a coma to present (p221). Now, this one can't be exact if Amahiko was away 10 years, since Arie was already in a coma when Amahiko first arrived. So I take this statement --- the cop's offhand one --- as an approximation, and Amahiko's as the exact one.
- it's ~11y from when body was found to present (p016)
- it's ~12y from when Arie and Sakaki were attacked to present (p144)
- it's ~ 6y from when the Kimuras divorced to when the mother's body was found (p018)
- momma was missing for ~5y (p019)

Adding these together, plus the information that Arie and Sakaki were attacked at the end of spring (p117), we get the following:

- if Amahiko really was exactly 10yo for all of the 5th school year, and Japanese students enter first grade in the April after their sixth birthday (http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/japan/schools.html), that puts his and Arie's birthday somewhere in the spring break between March 22 and April 2, 1982. There's no need to take it that literally, I think. If he was 10 for most of the year, it means their birthday was somewhere in the first quarter of 1982.
- late summer 1985: Kimura attacks his wife in Nijigahara field
- late summer/ autumn 1985: Kimura and wife divorce, momma and Amahiko move to Saitama
- spring 1986: momma goes missing
- spring 1991: momma dies in the tunnel; Arie finds butterfly pendant in the river; begins to meet Higure (brother)
- end spring 1991: Arie and Sakaki attacked
- early autumn 1991 (probably September, as school is in session, see p019): mother's body found
- early autumn 1991 (shortly after body found, and again while school is in session): Arie and Amahiko fall
- april 1992: Amahiko's stepparents move back to the town where momma is buried, he enters fifth grade
- end spring 1992: Komatsuzaki falls into the tunnel and enters into momma's service
- early winter 1992: Higure dies in the fire
- march 1993: Amahiko graduates from 5th grade, Sakaki leaves teaching
- sometime mid-1994-to-mid-1997: both Komatsuzaki's parents die
- sometime 2002-to-early-2003: both Amahiko's stepparents die
- march 2003: Komatsuzaki goes on a little killing spree, Takahama becomes a violent criminal, Sakaki and Kimura off themselves, Amahiko comes back to town, Arie wakes up, Arakawa gets a little musical beds action and leaves town for good with K, and Hayato goes crazy. Good times.

p061: this was partly deleted earlier: Kimura smiles as he is about (he thinks) to be killed, becaue he has "always been waiting for [his] judgment" since attacking his wife in the field.

p070: the nickname "Thermos" could be related to the fact that Higure's always wearing the same zipped-up, insulating track-suit jacket (except in summer). Young Komatsuzaki always wears a similar jacket, of course, though it looks a little less silly on him; and I realize that most of the kids wear the same or nearly-the-same clothing all the time, evidently as part of their characterization; but it could still certainly come from this ...

p026, p083: a stray cinderblock sits at the lip of the well into which Arie and Komatsuzaki fell. This seems to be more than a coincidence. I'll venture to say that the cinderblock is a token of that threshold, the monster's mouth; it's a unifying theme in the events that see Sakaki, Arie, and K fed to the monster in turn.

p115: Suzuki explores Sakaki's drawers because of his interest in her, but is totally outdone by Hatori exploring her other drawers ... the pun only works in English, but that's the exact sense of the visual juxtaposition in the upper-right-hand panel on p121.

p127: Sakaki desires that everything should be forgiven, as apparently does Amahiko (p263); the wish that everything should be forgiven, that things hadn't happened, is essentially aligned with the other familiar wish that things should be undone, that the world should end.

p196: the bandaid on Amahiko's temple (see also p288), and the bruise below it, is from his right-handed (p203) stepmother's beating him (p233).

p197: Amahiko lets himself fall backwards; he comes back to the present via the image of the flowers placed on his desk "in memoriam," because he should in effect have died back then. Hat tip to bukuwawa for explaining the significance of the flowers in the first place.

p209: Arakawa's just had her hair cut on the right side to match what Higure lopped off the left, and is fingering the newly cut ends.

p218: Why has Arakawa come again to Nijigahara? There are a few possibilities: one is that she's come to say "... thank you for helping me yesterday ... But ..." --- in which case I'm very curious to know what follows, but don't have an idea offhand. Another is that that's just an excuse, that really she's here because she saw momma when she looked into Arie's eyes, and momma told her to come down and collect the handoff from Komatsuzaki's final mission. I'm partial to this latter idea at the moment (working with recently posted ideas by Stealth and bukuwawa).

p220: Japanese middle school corresponds to grades 7-9 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secondary_education_in_Japan; Sakaki's speech on p240 also indicates that their elementary school experience will finish in 6th grade); which would mean that Komatsuzaki hasn't yet lost his parents when we see him as a child ... that comes a few years later. See timeline above.

p227-29: the alternate-reality Komatsuzaki and Arakawa story comes at the other end of the tunnel, beyond momma's influence. Perhaps this means that he's passed into a new level of detachment from sensible reality. I finished reviewing all the pieces and am basically convinced by bukuwawa's idea that K is living in this alternate reality now, after being released from momma's service. This departure from actual reality, if total, may suffice to explain why he can't leave Arakawa's apartment ever again.

p236: Komatsuzaki rescued Amahiko from the snow, brought him into the hospital, and has been waiting since in Arie's room --- all under momma's orders, as bukuwawa suggested earlier. When he delivers the last message, the butterfly leaves him.

p237: I take it that this is the butterfly saying goodbye, not K; which is to say that it is momma talking. It was also the butterfly talking, then, when K found Amahiko in the snow and said "but here you are, still alive" (p206); note that old-Amahiko also comes in the form of a butterfly (see p292) when he says essentially the same thing, "yet, in the end, you always wake up, and it's just you" (p008).

p237: there's a shadow at the bottom of the tunnel, a dark figure over the shadow of the grate. Momma's there to receive the pendant.

p238: the diploma affirms that, though Arie fell during the 4th grade school year, she is expected back as part of the 5th or now 6th grade class when she wakes, and it is her empty desk waiting in the back that had confused Amahiko and Sakaki at the beginning of the school year.

p241: Arie's empty desk has been joined by those of Higure (dead) and Komatsuzaki (stopped coming to school in the months after his fall, see p148) in the rear corner of the room, by the hall (upper-left-hand panel).


bukuwawa
Post #8447 - Reply to (#8428) by monkey-boy
Member

11:56 pm, Mar 18 2007
Posts: 13


Quote from monkey-boy
p035-36: Bukuwawa, do you know if "holograph" is translated from japanese, or if it's the english (greek) word, or anything else about it?


It's the english word spelled in phonetic japanese: HO RO GU RA FU

Which does not mean hologram, you're correct. The most obvious item in the story this could refer to is the diary, which sort of centers around the field Nijigahara and the tunnel anyway, so Nijigahara Holograph. Good catch.

Quote from monkey-boy
p049: I read Komatsuzaki's waking thoughts here as showing that he doesn't live in a perpetual state of semi-catatonia; rather, he goes into that state periodically, returning to his normal self with time, only to be visited again (as he sleeps, maybe at other times too) by momma, who wipes his memory and drags him back into the tunnel, so to speak. These are the thoughts of a perfectly lucid individual, struggling against a regular adversary whom he can never defeat. He's equally lucid on p213ff. Even on p218 he starts out talking normally with Arakawa before he suddenly shifts into possessed mode. And his protestation on p229 that he remembers everything like it was yesterday seems to me to be in earnest; if it weren't for the visitations, he'd be fine.


I'm still sticking with my theory that the events in page 229 happen in his head only, because they're going to visit Arie, and Arakawa is visibly suprised to see Arie in the hospital further along in her timeline (short hair, thus post higure scissor-attack, as opposed to long hair on page 229, where she and Komatsuzaki openly discuss taking arie flowers).

Page 49 happens in real time, though, because Komatsuzaki clearly then goes to work and attacks the Freckled Man and Kimura. Perhaps that's where he got the image for his mind to use on page 229.

Quote from monkey-boy
p054: Komatsuzaki is pictured making a gesture that suggests a prisoner longing for freedom ... I'd read this as further confirmation of bukuwawa's idea that he's in thrall to momma. It also could be taken as a pre-echo of his gazing out the window at the end of the book, suggesting, perhaps, that he'll have a new "owner" in Arakawa; only I really can't see how Arakawa could exercise the same supernatural control over him that momma had, and so I prefer to limit myself to the former reading.


I think Arakawa has simply assume care of him, and the ownership that comes with dependency.

Quote from monkey-boy
p057: present is March 2003;

<snip>

...and Hayato goes crazy. Good times.


Hahaaa, amazing timeline, man, I'd be interested to see if anyone in Japan has taken it this far.

Quote from monkey-boy
p115: Suzuki explores Sakaki's drawers because of his interest in her, but is totally outdone by Hatori exploring her other drawers ...


*groan*

Quote from monkey-boy
p237: I take it that this is the butterfly saying goodbye, not K; which is to say that it is momma talking. It was also the butterfly talking, then, when K found Amahiko in the snow and said "but here you are, still alive" (p206); note that old-Amahiko also comes in the form of a butterfly (see p292) when he says essentially the same thing, "yet, in the end, you always wake up, and it's just you" (p008).


I'd agree with this.

So, do you think that at the time arie wanders (Over here, over here!) into the tunnel:

1. was at the time of the rape.
2. was after her mothers death.
and
3. she did not a. discover the body or b. tell anyone that she had


Last edited by blakraven66 at 10:04 am, Jan 2

monkey-boy
Post #8463
Member

1:59 am, Mar 19 2007
Posts: 18


Quote from bukuwawa
So, do you think that at the time arie wanders (Over here, over here!) into the tunnel:

1. was at the time of the rape.
2. was after her mothers death.
and
3. she did not a. discover the body or b. tell anyone that she had


I think it's gotta be 1, 2, and 3a (for 3a see p022). On the first couple of readings I imagined that these things all happened more or less right together, but on further consideration in the last few readings:

- Arie has to ask her father whether momma is dead, which at least means that she didn't realize momma was dead. I mean to say, she obviously met momma in the tunnel, but that doesn't mean she found the dead body; what she found was rather the spirit, very much "alive" and kicking. To my mind her asking that question decouples, strictly speaking, the rape and the discovery of the body.
- The evidence linking the rape and the entry into the tunnel is very tight. I don't think we can escape this (and btw now that we know Arie is 9 at the time we can't very well fall back on the first period theory as an alternative).
- The evidence linking the "Is Mommy dead? / Arie's just gone out to play" timeframe with Arie getting pushed down the well in Komatsuzaki's absence is also pretty tight. There might be a way out of this, but I don't see it offhand.

So if one of the links has to break in order to accommodate a stretch of time between the end-of-spring attack and Arie getting pushed down the well (and we know that Sakaki watched the bullying of Arie happen for a good while after the attack), it's the one between the rape and the discovery of the body.

edit: clarity

2nd edit: and just to keep all the evidence in one place, I'm copying in these two crucial points from above:

- it's ~11y from when body was found to present (p016)
- it's ~12y from when Arie and Sakaki were attacked to present (p144)

Quote from bukuwawa
t's the english word spelled in phonetic japanese: HO RO GU RA FU ... The most obvious item in the story this could refer to is the diary, which sort of centers around the field Nijigahara and the tunnel anyway, so Nijigahara Holograph.


Of course! Hadn't even thought of it but that's the primary identification, for sure. Good call.

Quote from bukuwawa
I'm still sticking with my theory that the events in page 229 happen in his head only, because they're going to visit Arie, and Arakawa is visibly suprised to see Arie in the hospital further along in her timeline (short hair, thus post higure scissor-attack, as opposed to long hair on page 229, where she and Komatsuzaki openly discuss taking arie flowers).

Page 49 happens in real time, though, because Komatsuzaki clearly then goes to work and attacks the Freckled Man and Kimura. Perhaps that's where he got the image for his mind to use on page 229.


Nice point about the two identical scenes belonging to two different realities. I totally agree with you about the events on p229 not being real, actually ... I had been reading his protestation about memory as the lucid statement of a mind that just happened to think it was in a place that didn't really exist, but maybe you're right --- maybe the claim itself is as irrational or unreal as everything else that happens in that other world.

Love the scene of K and Arakawa walking in the sunlight above the field, and K's decision to skip work ... just a few short strokes and Asano's drawn a portrait of true carefree ease against the otherwise constant background of anxiety. Nijigahara itself has somehow been drawn completely free of the illness that clings to it ...

Thanks BTW for the appreciation of the timeline. Had a little Archimedes moment there when I spotted the calendar fragment (give me a fulcrum, etc.) ... was pretty psyched.

Last edited by blakraven66 at 10:33 am, Jan 2

nijomu
Post #243316
Member

7:37 am, Jan 1 2009
Posts: 1


This is the only forum I could find about this manga. What's been written here is really good, even though I disagree with some of it (I don't take the monster so literally and I think the last scene with Komatsuzaki and Arakawa is real).

One thing I wanted to bring up was the scene on page 12. Two people are having sex in the hospital (as shown on page 11). Who are they? I'm pretty certain it's Arie's room. The comforter matches the one on page 222 when she wakes up. So the woman is Arie. Is the guy her father? That's my guess. He has a hard-on when he's talking to her on page 23 and no-one else would have access to her room. If so, then his guilt is even greater than I first thought. And this story is even more messed up.

Also, Suzuki remembers the sunset of his youth on page 251. This is like the sunset on page 43, which distracts him from opening the box. The sunset distracts him not because it's so beautiful, but because of what it reminds him of.

Do we ever really know why Arie and Suzuki were split up?

Also, I like what everyone has said about the headless characters- that it adds to the claustrophobia of the story and makes certain things surprising, like seeing Arie's face for the first time. But it's also the point of view of a child. Children, especially ten-year-olds, are only about chest high. So the story is told from a kid's point of view visually. Also, the headless characters fit the kudan theme.

And if the mother cut her throat it's like she was trying to decapitate herself, like a sacrifice. So she herself is a kudan. That means the monster is something else. To me, the true monster is the horror of life, the eternal suffering. People who can't deal with the monster go crazy or commit suicide.

bukuwawa
Post #243752 - Reply to (#243316) by nijomu
Member

7:26 am, Jan 2 2009
Posts: 13


Quote from nijomu
This is the only forum I could find about this manga. What's been written here is really good, even though I disagree with some of it (I don't take the monster so literally and I think the last scene with Komatsuzaki and Arakawa is real).

One thing I wanted to bring up was the scene on page 12. Two people are having sex in the hospital (as shown on page 11). Who are they? I'm pretty certain it's Arie's room. The comforter matches the one on page 222 when she wakes up. So the woman is Arie. Is the guy her father? That's my guess. He has a hard-on when he's talking to her on page 23 and no-one else would have access to her room. If so, then his guilt is even greater than I first thought. And this story is even more messed up.

Also, Suzuki remembers the sunset of his youth on page 251. This is like the sunset on page 43, which distracts him from opening the box. The sunset distracts him not because it's so beautiful, but because of what it reminds him of.

Do we ever really know why Arie and Suzuki were split up?

Also, I like what everyone has said about the headless characters- that it adds to the claustrophobia of the story and makes certain things surprising, like seeing Arie's face for the first time. But it's also the point of view of a child. Children, especially ten-year-olds, are only about chest high. So the story is told from a kid's point of view visually. Also, the headless characters fit the kudan theme.

And if the mother cut her throat it's like she was trying to decapitate herself, like a sacrifice. So she herself is a kudan. That means the monster is something else. To me, the true monster is the horror of life, the eternal suffering. People who can't deal with the monster go crazy or commit suicide.


Yes, I believe Arie is being raped by her father in this scene, note the teeth.

We're never given a concrete reason for Arie and Suzuki being sent to different homes as children, but I imagine it has to do with their mother being out of the picture. I don't know how adoption/custody works in japan, but my guess is Suzuki was given up, and the father kept custody of Arie for prurient reasons.

Your Kudan theories are certainly valid. I'm sad that no one who has in-depth knowledge about that particular bit of Japanese mythos has weighed in, because I feel like there's some meaning that might be obvious to a native that we're missing.

This will probably remain the only forum with in-depth discussion of this manga in English, I'm afraid it's kind of an ambitious type of storytelling for it to register widely with the subset of English speakers who actually read manga.

I'm kind of attached to my dual-reality theory for Komatsuzaki and Arakawa, so I'm going to stick to it for now.

Hope you enjoyed it! It remains the only scanlation project I've ever completed =P


Last edited by bukuwawa at 6:22 pm, Jan 2

decisions
Post #256381
Member

10:55 pm, Feb 8 2009
Posts: 18


I'm a bit confused about the ending. We have a kid (Amahiko) falling off the roof, who we later see at the hospital. The nurse says that he can stand, but he doesn't, so she gives up on him and he cries (is he looking for attention? The look on his face as he is falling is not the look of someone who is falling off the roof for the sake of attention -- to me it seems pretty clear that he was pushed). Then an old man comes over and gives him the box, saying his name is also Amahiko. He tells the boy to keep a strong will and then he changes into a butterfly.

Who exactly is the old man? Is the older Amahiko the same person (from a dream, the future, an alternate reality, w/e)?

I never fully understood the butterflies at the end, or the scene showing a family on page 275, though it seems reminiscient of Donnie Darko -- the family is Kimura's this time with the twins united, and Kimura is being shown to be the root of all the disaster (the mother says "Don't be afraid. It all depends on you.")

OppKnox
Post #301348
Member

4:21 am, Jun 27 2009
Posts: 2


I have a slightly different interpretation, which is largely derived from my limited understanding of Taoism (the philosophy of Zhuangzi and Laozi in particular) and, to a lesser degree, Christianity. I apologize in advance for grammatical errors, prolixity, and other blunders. I’ll be borrowing liberally from Internet sources of dubious reliability, but here goes …

The plot is cyclical to reflect the flow of space, time, life, and the universe. To borrow an analogy from Laozi, the characters exist at points along an endlessly rotating wheel with Nijigahara as its central axis. All along the wheel, subjectivity creates dualities: every perspective has its counterpoint; every yin its yang. However, the spokes of the wheel that connect each point to every other converge at Nijigahara, where Komatsuzaki, Arie, Suzuki, and others seek the Tao or the Way, i.e., intuitive enlightenment through objectivity or the nature of being and not being. The larger, infinite whole, which engenders sympathy and connects all beings, is unknown to those preoccupied with finite, corporeal existence and to those for whom the endless cycle of transformation is to be judged and feared for revealing the self’s limitations. The monster of Arie’s tale embodies such fear, but, more important, it represents everything society denies or alienates and the imbalance that results. Of course, the monster grows with each subsequent sacrifice, but the burgeoning threat is the ultimate illusion borne of ignorance, which pits opposites against opposites despite the inherent solidarity and balance that binds everything. Essentially, destruction spawns creation and the flow continues in perpetuity.

“It’s not the end,” Arie’s mother explains to her father. “It’s eternal.” She understands mankind’s disappearance to be another transformation, much like her posthumous flight with the butterflies.

Unable to see beyond his limited experience, however, Kimura imagines nothing but perpetual misery and violently rejects God. His revulsion upsets the balance of the unified family. Arie's monster is unveiled, and the twins are propelled along separate paths of increasing dysfunction. The myopic communities that ostracize them become the seven villagers in Arie’s story, which in turn represent the seven manifestations of society’s benighted self-absorption. Catholics call them the seven deadly sins, but Taoists merely consider them obstacles to greater individual happiness.

In NH, each sin reveals itself in human form. The storeowner, Takahama, and Arikawa are greed, gluttony, and envy, respectfully. Kimura is lust. He covets his daughter in the doorway, violates her in the hospital, and possibly engages in other forms of blatant lechery (the anticipated judgment he mentions at his ex-wife’s grave and the blood trickling down Arie’s legs are both subject to interpretation). Hayato is sloth. He lazes about while Arikawa cleans; steals money others would attempt to earn; justifies his actions against Komatsuzaki by claiming, “someone’s gotta take charge to keep the balance”; and then underplays his responsibility when punished for stealing from Takahama. “I didn’t even mean for things to go the way they did,” he laments, later remarking, “… But over time, things just get built up … it becomes harder to change your ways.” Ironically, his actions are a form of complacency. As a cop, he is still trying to “keep the balance” and panicking when he realizes he’s out of his league.
In contrast, Sakaki is wrath. Though her neglectful supervision of the children bullying Arie may resemble sloth, her supposed indifference is an excuse to repress her underlying anger. “You still keep trapping emotions deep inside you,” her husband observes years later, after her festering “sick” feeling has fostered abuse, as well as inaction. Sakaki still cares for the children she taught and raised, but her concern is self deprecating. She’s unable to overcome Higure’s assault and the fear that transfers her frustration to weaker parties. Climactically, she targets the most helpless person she recognizes, thus directing her wrath at herself.

The source of her anger, Higure, represents pride. In Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas claims, “Pride is the first sin, the source of all other sins, and the worst sin.” Higure’s multiple transgressions can be reduced to hubris. Behind his notion of beauty lies the belief that he’s entitled to beautiful things, and the rejection in Arie’s eyes haunts him more than her defilement. Everyone else, from his family to Arikawa, is unworthy of him. “My life is finally about to begin,” he announces triumphantly after a bout of arson. “Keep a strong will,” he then advises Suzuki, for whom such guidance has been uttered before. From the murderer of his only friend, however, the words have a cruel edge and are tainted by Higure’s interpretation of perseverance as the retention of rigid “ideals”. As Zhuangzi elaborates, such inflexibility and certainty is presumptuous, especially when human nature obscures the Way:

“Those who dream of the banquet, wake to lamentation and sorrow. Those who dream of lamentation and sorrow wake to join the hunt. While they dream, they do not know that they are dreaming. Some will even interpret the very dream they are dreaming; and only when they awake do they know it was a dream. By and by comes the great awakening, and then we find out that this life is really a great dream. Fools think they are awake now, and flatter themselves they know -- this one is a prince, and that one is a shepherd. What narrowness of mind! Confucius and you are both dreams; and I who say you are dreams -- I am but a dream myself. This is a paradox. Tomorrow a Sage may arise to explain it; but that tomorrow will not be until ten thousand generations have gone by. Yet you may meet him around the corner.”

Zhuangzi also provides the quote Sakaki reads, which serves to illuminate the swarms of butterflies enveloping Nijigahara and the surrounding areas. Zhuangzi has difficulty differentiating between himself and the butterfly, as well as the dream and reality, because such categorical delimitations are misleading and the products of limited perspective. He argues that right and wrong—what Komatsuzaki spends so much of his time floundering in the dark trying to discern—are the artificial constructs of the unenlightened. Confucius is mentioned in the quote above to represent society’s dependence on rules and reason, which Zhuangzi interprets to be the denial of an individual’s relative morality. If good and evil balance each other, then it is left to the individual to choose his own path and suffer the consequences. Any broad strokes on the part of society inevitably become emblematic of hypocritical self-interest. There is no need for Hayato to “keep the balance”, for Komatsuzaki or Suzuki to judge Takahama, or for the latter to open his special box. The flow will continue—one excess will find its counterbalance in another—without their interference. If they do act, they determine not their own fate, but the degree of humility, compassion, and moderation (the Three Jewels) with which they embrace it. In that case, the inner peace they find along the way is of their own making, and life is, as the final pages suggest, up to them.

The butterflies offer no explanation or judgment. Instead, they serve as a holograph, or a message that helps the characters find personal salvation. They represent the Way, and, as such, they represent everything. They are the seven villagers and Arie’s monster; God and His oracle; a waking dream; now and then; and imagined reality. More concretely, Arie’s mother resurfaces in butterfly form, as do both Arie and Suzuki. They all become one with Tao. As messengers, not arbiters, of the truth (a distinction Suzuki does not initially recognize), parent and children also symbolize the kudan.

The story of the kudan is reminiscent of Laozi’s philosophy in the Tao Te Ching:

“The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things.”

Essentially, the Way gives birth to the universe or the singularity that encompasses everything. Arie’s mother, the whole pendant, and the unified butterflies all represent this singularity. The twins, the two halves of the pendant, and the two butterflies represent nature’s complimentary duality. The union of the three, or the unconscious reconciliation between relative and universal existence, signifies the “awakening,” when, according to Komatsuzaki, “Man will return to the timeflow of peace and tranquility.”

More literally, the awakening constitutes the twins’ reunion, which must take place at Nijigahara, the center of the wheel. Suzuki’s visit to Arie’s hospital room as a child is premature, because fate dictates that he reach adulthood to learn of their relationship and that the seven villagers, or seven imbalances, be counterbalanced. By my count, the seven imbalances are ultimately corrected over the course of seven days, with the seventh day culminating in the awakening. (There may be an allusion to the Bible’s seven days of creation and seven days of the apocalypse here, which would reinforce the notion of dualities: creation and destruction are occurring simultaneously to maintain the balance). Suzuki’s stepfather is a catalyst; his former wife’s death brings him to Kimura’s town with Suzuki in tow, his departure separates them again, and his message to Suzuki on his deathbed leads his stepson back to Nijigahara a decade later. Komatsuzaki is also instrumental, but the notion that he is controlled by Arie’s mother to instigate the awakening is misleading. When he is used as a mouthpiece, he essentially becomes another oracle delivering the message of God. Otherwise, he acts independently. True, he follows the butterflies, but he interprets what they show him according to his own purpose.

Komatsuzaki’s notion of redemption involves helping Arie. As a child, he bitterly tells Arikawa, “I’m not going to fall in love with anyone ever again. I can’t protect anyone on my own.” Most of his actions stem from his apparent regret. He knows that Arie was bullied and sexually assaulted (he probably recognizes her father’s proclivities, too), and he later ends an obvious reprisal of her attack, thus rescuing Arikawa and becoming the savior he failed to be before. Moreover, he helps to reunite the siblings and reestablish the balance. His own violent acts, however, must be balanced, as well. Through the tunnel, he ultimately finds two separate paths: one by which he lives the right, virtuous life; and the other by which life continues along its current trajectory. The right path leads him back to Day 1. Instead of overhearing Kimura’s conversation with the storeowner and subsequently assaulting them, Komatsuzaki skips work to visit Arie in the hospital with Arikawa. It’s a beautiful day, Komatsuzaki is happy, and Arikawa willingly accompanies him without malice or envy. In contrast, the current world finds Komatsuzaki and Arikawa on the run. Now a murderer in hiding, Komatsuzaki is a lost, empty shell. The butterflies swarm the city in a dark, ominous cloud, and Arikawa jealously crushes one in the palm of her hand before returning to the apartment she now shares with Komatsuzaki, who is little more than her possession. The two separate, opposite paths balance each other.

For the other characters, balance is restored through the loss of self. Yet, for some, becoming one with the Way involves more than mere death or madness. Kimura ironically surrenders to his greatest fears—loneliness, judgment, and endless misery—by guiltily abandoning life just when his daughter’s awakening promises a more palatable existence. Sakaki eschews her former grudge to help Arie and Suzuki by showing Komatsuzaki the butterfly necklace. Both a deluded dead man with a doll and a butterfly with its companion, Higure revels in Arie’s “eternal” beauty as her passive listener. Takahama ends his self-appointed role as self-pitying, overindulged victim by stabbing a student. (A thematically consistent denouement would have the victim be another version of Takahama, though nothing in the story decisively indicates that outcome.) Finally, Suzuki finds salvation by embracing, forgiving, and relinquishing his dark side.

His catharsis seems to validate Laozi’s advice to embrace the antithesis of a chosen goal to achieve it. “If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked,” he states, as if preempting Newton’s assertion that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Goodness and evil are flipsides of the same coin, and both are products of humanity. Nijigahara Holograph grasps at a possible existence that transcends humanity. The Suzuki that emerges is not bound by time or space. He is an old man who speaks to himself as a child, a child who hands the box to himself as an adult, an adult who sees himself as an old man, and a butterfly who appears before his myriad human selves. The box is perhaps similar to Pandora’s mythical gift from the gods, in which hope and the evils of the world coincide as if plucked from the same tree. Whether it represents hope, the box is still a vestige of Suzuki’s selfishness and his desire to craft a world that suits him. Such a desire is abandoned and forgotten with maturity, perhaps because, according to the Tao Te Ching, “Hope is as hollow as fear.” In other words, the theme of Nijigahara Holograph is as ancient as Laozi’s text:

“What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.”


GodOfMadness
Post #307915
user avatar
Member

11:07 am, Jul 22 2009
Posts: 50


Well...this was an interesting manga.

Arakawa is an insane slut.
Sakaki is an insane ex-teacher sorry excuses of a mother child-abuser.
Suzuki an emo kid who can only use his imagination and not be able to back it up.
Komatsuzaki in love with a girl who doesn't even care about him(not that we got to see her alot in the manga) and then he gets trapped with Arawaka suffering for the rest of his life.
Arie....her father has the hots for her, she was raped by someone she trusted? and lived in coma most of her life until she met her twin brother and he tried to kill her?


steemsprite
Post #320320
Member

12:30 am, Sep 13 2009
Posts: 1


I'd like to point this out:
According to wikipedia , Amahiko and Arie are some of the merfolk who, in Japanese legends, appeared from the sea and foretold either good harvests or epidemics. Very similar to the kudan legend.

asrodeia
Post #374152 - Reply to (#8428) by monkey-boy
Member

4:30 am, Apr 25 2010
Posts: 40


Quote from monkey-boy
- late summer 1985: Kimura attacks his wife in Nijigahara field
- late summer/ autumn 1985: Kimura and wife divorce, momma and Amahiko move to Saitama
- spring 1986: momma goes missing
- spring 1991: momma dies in the tunnel; Arie finds butterfly pendant in the river; begins to meet Higure (brother)
- end spring 1991: Arie and Sakaki attacked
- early autumn 1991 (probably September, as school is in session, see p019): mother's body found
[...]
- march 2003: Komatsuzaki goes on a little killing spree, Takahama becomes a violent criminal, Sakaki and Kimura off themselves, Amahiko comes back to town, Arie wakes up, Arakawa gets a little musical beds action and leaves town for good with K, and Hayato goes crazy. Good times.

(Good times, and then repeat?)

So, who was the sacrificial cow? the 'twin' kudon was said to wash out downriver... so... If, like some earlier hypotheses state, Arie is her mother's reincarnation, then when momm

Prologue1, pg 12: Where Komatsuzaki is taking his meds, would that be 'momma's hand, getting his attention?

Just in general questions:
Why does Komatsuzaki attack Mr. Kimura? Does he hold affection for Kimura as a father figure, and so kill the shop owner(His old swimming teacher) because of his finger-chopping threats? If so, why does he then turn the knife on Kimura? Did 'momma' need him in the hospital, and so cut in then, or was the entire thing her directions?


Did Kimura's wife love him? She didn't seem to be hanging on maliciously when young Komatsuzaki comes over in the 2nd Prologue(and gets a big, big shock). (Or maybe she's just getting ready to be majorly pissed that her ex-husband was hard... looking at their daughter.)

Chapter 2, pg 10: ... Does Komatsuzaki recognize Higure the Creep here, or is he hesitant because there is a guy near Arakawa?


Same page, is this before or after the murder?... I'm guessing after... What time frame is he kissing Arakawa in? it's not raining.... is that the morning?.... WAIT, is he kissing her, or transferring the butterfly?!?!?! Momma's like mono now....

Chapter 3: What does Amahiko mean by trying just hard enough not to be too hard...?

Quote from monkey-boy
So if one of the links has to break in order to accommodate a stretch of time between the end-of-spring attack and Arie getting pushed down the well (and we know that Sakaki watched the bullying of Arie happen for a good while after the attack), it's the one between the rape and the discovery of the body.


hmmm well, she may not have been aware of the bullying until then, when she (one would think) began to watch Arie more closely. Thus, the bullying would have had sufficient time to get worse... not probable for the unscarred, diligent teacher Sakaki was then, but... not impossible either.

And, OppKnox.... that was so deep.... eek

I think I fully asked all my questions... for now...

Neil_Cusick
Post #404759
Member

12:20 am, Sep 7 2010
Posts: 1


Hello. Seeing as this is the only place on the internet I've found for Nijigahara Holograph discussion, I figure I'll post my questions about this manga here. I honestly feel pretty stupid, because I'm pretty confused with a couple of major points in this manga. I posted these same questions on Mangascreener, but I've been waiting for a couple of days and haven't gotten any replies. Here they are;

1) What exactly happens to Suzuki and his family before we see him at the school? Is Saitama the town were were the story takes place in, or is it somewhere else?

2) What's the deal with Suzuki's mother? Does she go insane? Why? Also, how does she manage to live for five years in a tunnel? What does she eat? How does she avoid being seen by Kimura or anyone else that knows her? And exactly what is she trying to accomplish through the butterflies/Komatsuzaki etc?

3) What's going on with the tin box? Are there three different versions of Suzuki? Does the young Suzuki hand the present-day one the box or something? Can it really grant him a wish?

4) Does Arakawa turn evil at the end? That's how it seems to me, what with her creepy expression and the "You'll never leave here as long as you live" stuff.




Dincu
Post #437315
user avatar
Member

4:04 pm, Jan 5 2011
Posts: 37


Hey Neil,

I finished reading NH yesterday, so I haven't thought to deeply about it yet (even thought my head keeps working on making hypothesis and stuff bigrazz) but I think I could at least answer one of your questions.

Quote
4) Does Arakawa turn evil at the end? That's how it seems to me, what with her creepy expression and the "You'll never leave here as long as you live" stuff.


Well, I think that the police is looking for K so Arakawa is pretty much keeping him at her place and since it is known that he committed the murders, then he can't leave her place ever again unless he risk being caught. The creepy expression of Arakawa comes for her finally getting that with she has wished for a long time.

I hope that helps some...

I will post here latter my on view on this... and hopefully someone will comment about it... this treat has been kinda abandoned bigrazz


megatonante
Post #463621
Member

8:15 am, Apr 23 2011
Posts: 1


Hi guys. I know this thread very old but I haven't find anything similar to discuss NH's plot. I'm sorry if my english is not good as I'm Italian.
I read something in the first page, but didn't go further, TL;DR. My question is one and simple: how do you explain the presence of three Suzuki on the hospital roof? There is the Suzuki-child, Suzuki-adult and Suzuki-oldman. It may have something related to eternal cycle, as the tin box is passed to the Suzuki child by the Suzuki old man. The the Suzuki child (a bit grown) will pass it to the Suzuki adult in an unexplainable scene with both Suzuki child and adult at Nijigahara. The the suzuki adult will became the old man, who will give the tin box to the child, closing the circle.

Pages (3) [ 1 2 3 ]   You must be registered to post!

Back to Nijigahara Holograph  Back to Top

Search This Topic:
 
Manga Search
MANGA Fu
MEMBERS
TEAM-BU


footer