Saturday, March 26, 2016

Kasane - Then to Now

Written by: Pomelote 

Before I post the chapter 72 recap, here’s a brief rundown of the major events in Kasane up to chapter 71, which I recapped last week. Massive spoilers, it goes without saying. These spoilers eat their own body weight in krill every day.
 *cue Carry On, My Wayward Son*


Series premise: 
Fuchi Kasane is a young woman who has the misfortune of being born with a strange, conventionally ugly face. She also has a dream of being a famous actor, like her mother, Fuchi Sukeyo, who died and left Kasane a strange lipstick as a token to remember her by. The lipstick, when worn, has the ability to let the person wearing it switch faces with anyone they kiss (for a set time limit).  What follows is Kasane trying to use it to live a normal life and follow her dreams, and many bleak games of cat-and-mouse between people who are good candidates for anti-depressants.
Detailed synopsis:
The series begins when Fuchi Kasane is six-years old, being relentlessly bullied by her classmates for being ugly despite being the daughter of a famously beautiful actress, Fuchi Sukeyo.

One classmate, Nishizawa Ichika, seems particularly offended by Kasane’s existence and goes out of her way to humiliate her even further by volunteering her for the lead role in the class play, Cinderella, and then, when Kasane manages to perform extremely well, hijacks the role away from her, with the consent of the rest of the class.

When the two of them go to switch costumes, Kasane, who is wearing her mother’s lipstick, remembers her mother telling her to kiss whatever she most desires. Out of desperation, she grabs Ichika and kisses her, and they switch faces.

Kasane and Ichika
Kasane manages to keep Ichika quiet by threatening her with a magically-appearing knife she pulls from her costume (it really does comes out of nowhere; is this one of those gritty reboots of Cinderella with a knife fight in it?) and tells her that she’ll give her her face back after the play is over.

Kasane goes on to finish the play, with everybody else assuming that she’s Ichika, and when the play is over, they go to the roof of the school to talk. Kasane pours her heart out to Ichika, but it basically goes over Ichika’s head, who only pretends to sympathise long enough for her to snatch the knife from Kasane’s pocket and try to threaten her into switching their faces back to normal (Kasane seemed about to give her face back anyway, so this comes across as an impressively stupid move on Ichika’s part).

Instead of being intimidated, Kasane bites down on the blade and challenges Ichika to cut her and see what happens when they switch back (which is both an impressively stupid and impressively hardcore move on Kasane’s part). Ichika panics, losing her footing and falling off the roof to her death, accidentally slashing a gash across Kasane’s cheek from mouth-to-ear. Kasane sees a vision of her mother apparently pushing Ichika from the rooftop, which will be the first of many appearances of her maybe-ghost-maybe-hallucination mother.

Still with Ichika’s face, but with it half-split open, Kasane rushes home and almost decides to cut her own wrists, until Mostly-Supposedly-Ghostly intervenes. When she wakes up in the morning, her own face has returned, but the gash also remains.

The story skips ahead to Kasane’s high school years, where life is pretty much the same for her. She’s a member of the school’s drama club, but she only does lighting instead of any acting. The head of the drama club, Igarashi Iku, befriends her when she catches Kasane practicing lines by herself. Iku also feels a camaraderie with Kasane from being bullied herself when she was in middle school.

They start spending time together, until another member of the drama club, an extremely 80s-fash girl, reveals that Iku was specifically bullied by the homely kids for setting a standard that they could never reach. Kasane realises that as much as she’d like for them to be the same, Iku is basically just being naïve.

On the night of the club’s big performance of Night on the Galactic Railroad, Kasane drugs Iku, and while she sleeps, switches their faces and clothes and takes her place. She almost falters during the performance when she starts to think about her normal fears and hang-ups, but she manages to get past them by acting as Iku acting as Giovanni and completely losing herself in the dual-layered role.

After the performance, she switches back with Iku before she wakes up, discovering that she can switch back at will, without having to wait for the time limit to expire like it did with Ichika. Iku suspects that something happened, but Kasane cuts all contact with her and Iku turns out to not be a recurring character after all, vanishing into limbo for the rest of the story.

 
Kasane (not pictured: Iku, because she isn't a character in this story)
The story skips ahead again to after high school, but just before Kasane comes of age. At the twelfth anniversary ceremony of Sukeyo’s death, while temporarily back living with her aunt, Mineyo, Kasane is sought out by a sketchy theatre director, Habuta Kingo, who already knows all about the lipstick and claims to have been a collaborator of Kasane’s mother. He drops hints that not only was “Sukeyo’s” face not her own (which Kasane had already figured out), but that she was also impersonating the original Sukeyo, who had left home to become an actor when she came of age.  

Habuta
Habuta wants to help Kasane as a favour to “Sukeyo” and introduces her to Tanzawa Nina, a beautiful but mediocre actor, and they work out an arrangement where Kasane performs as Nina and Nina reaps the fame and social rewards. Nina has her own secret insecurity, though: she has a condition, “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome”, that forces her to involuntarily fall asleep for weeks at a time, and this interferes with her acting because she can’t commit fully to any performance without worrying about having an attack. She also has a whole complex about being “forgotten” by people because of it, which is why she does acting, so that she’ll be remembered.

Ugou Reita, the director of The Seagull, the play that Kasane and Nina act in (and was the play that first won “Sukeyo” fame), also happens to be the man who inspired Nina to begin acting, so Nina feels even more pressure to impress him. Kasane-as-Nina sort of begins a relationship with the Ugou, which isn’t part of the arrangement, and Nina starts to have second thoughts when she realises that Kasane leaves more of an impression on people than Nina herself. Nina finds out about what Kasane is doing with Ugou, and steals the lipstick away from Kasane one night when Kasane-as-Nina has a date with Ugou. She goes in Kasane’s place, planning to sleep with Ugou so that Kasane-as-Nina will never be able to.

The next morning, Nina and Kasane both meet back at Nina’s apartment, and Nina mocks Kasane and starts to call their deal off. She has an attack of her condition, and when she wakes up, the run of The Seagull has ended and Kasane has more-or-less become Nina full-time, not even bothering to imitate Nina anymore by wearing the wig of Nina’s hairstyle or Nina’s perfumes. It’s also revealed that Nina’s attempted tryst with Ugou failed when Ugou noticed that Nina wasn’t Kasane, making Nina officially realise that Kasane had become the real “Nina” and Nina the fake “Nina”.
Nina
 
Several months pass with Kasane completely dictating how “Nina” is presented to the world and Nina sitting around their apartment, barely living. Nina feels trapped by her simultaneous fears of going back to being a has-been actress and being replaced by Kasane. Eventually, the only way out she sees is committing suicide, which would see her die at the height of her fame while preventing Kasane from replacing her anymore. So Nina’s mental health takes a serious nosedive at this point, obviously. She jumps from the rooftop of a building while Kasane tries to stop her (if Kasane didn’t already have a fear of rooftops, she definitely has one now). Kasane manages to get to Nina’s body before anyone else and switches their faces.

Guess who isn’t dead? Nina! Entered into emergency surgery under Kasane’s identity, her life is saved but she’s left in a vegetative state. Kasane-as-Nina gets custody of Nina-as-Kasane’s body by bluffing to Mineyo that she has a will of "Kasane's" detailing Mineyo’s abuse of Kasane and her overspending of money left to her by “Sukeyo”. This is also about the point where Izana, the real name of “Sukeyo”, starts being mentioned.

"Sukeyo"/Izana
Kasane goes about living as “Nina”, and on her next production, there’s a short but interesting filler chapter where she runs into two old acquaintances: her 80s-fash bully from high school, Seki Ayane, and some guy called Azamino Kei, who was the sound operator on The Seagull. Kasane still has a lot of residual trauma from the bullying, so she plans to get a little bit of revenge on Seki, who seems to look up to “Nina” and also has a crush on Azamino. Seki admits to being ashamed and remorseful of the way she bullied Kasane and has never been able to apologise, but Kasane, understandably, doesn’t feel all that comforted by that.

For her scheme, she invites Azamino to an isolated break room, where she drugs his drink, planning to switch faces/voices with him when he passes out and, posing as Azamino, reject Seki with the same phrases that Seki used to bully Kasane. He turns out to get pretty rapey when they’re alone, accusing her of making eyes and playing with him, but the drugs kick in just as he’s on top of Kasane.

She goes through with the plan, but now it’s more to scare Seki away from a dangerous rapist than for revenge. She also finds out that if she switches faces with a second person when she already has one person’s face, the first switch is automatically cancelled, giving the first person’s face back, and beginning a new switch with Kasane’s original face and the second person’s face. See, isn’t this interesting!
Seki Ayane (Truly, truly, truly outrageous) (Dialogue: "Nice to meet you. I'm Seki Ayane."
 
Kasane then begins her next production, Salome, which was the next play that won “Sukeyo” acclaim, while Nina’s parents begin visiting Kasane and Nina’s apartment. Kasane memorises details of Nina’s life from her diaries and plays her well enough to fool Nina’s father, although Tsugumi, Nina’s mother, senses that something is off. At the Salome rehearsals, Kasane is criticised by Uno Nobuhiko, the actor playing the Prophet Jokannan (John the Baptist), about coasting by on her looks rather than having any real acting ability. It’s very ironic and stuff.

When Kasane visits Nina’s parents for a dinner, she offers to help Tsugumi peel potatoes, which Tsumugi jumps on as evidence that she isn’t Nina, because Nina usually avoided handling peelers since a peeling accident she had as a child. She accuses Kasane of not being her daughter and Kasane isn’t able to convince her otherwise. Unfortunately for her/fortunately for Kasane, Kasane had placed enough doubt in Nina’s father’s mind about Tsugumi’s mental health that he becomes convinced that she’s suffering from the Capgras delusion, a neurological condition that makes sufferers feel that that friends and family have been replaced by identical-looking imposters. This basically puts Kasane in the clear with Nina’s family.

At work, Kasane uses the relief from the tension of Nina’s parents to improve her Salome, impressing Nobihiku, who takes an interest in her, noting how much she’s improved since The Seagull and sensing something strange about her. There’s more here, but Nobuhiku doesn’t have any deep, dark secrets or trauma or ennui, so I find him boring and I’ll generally skip anything involving him for the rest of this recap. The only thing interesting is that Kasane begins a relationship with him and has her first sexual experience. So, thank you for that, but GOODBYE, Nobuhiko.

Supporting characters: (counter-clockwise, from the right: Tsugumi, Nina's father, Nobuhiko, Atae with young Nogiku, and Amagasaki) (Dialogue: "I knew it, you're... you're not Nina!!!", "Mama didn't say something?", "When I was little, father was always kind, but...")

While the run of Salome begins, a new challenger enters the story! Nogiku, the younger half-sister of Kasane and daughter (and spitting image) of the real Sukeyo, begins searching for Kasane. Prior to this, she had been kept in the isolated mansion where she was born by their father, Kaidou Atae, and used as a substitute for the missing/dead Izana-with-Sukeyo’s-face. And when I say “used as a substitute”, I mean he mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually abused her for her entire life.

The only other person Nogiku had contact with in that time was her mother, Sukeyo, who was kept prisoner, bedridden and dying, in one of the bedrooms when Nogiku was young (prior to that, she was kept chained up in a dingy, filthy cellar). One day, while Atae was distracted by seeing Kasane-as-Nina in Salome on TV and tripped, Nogiku attacked him from behind with a lamp, seriously injuring him. Before she finished him off, he told her about the existence of Kasane, and threatened her that she wouldn’t be able to survive in the real world without an education or any legal documentation of her existence, which he had deliberately denied to her to keep her dependent on him.

So she killed him and left the mansion, and in the present, she manages to survive by resorting to prostitution. She’s vowed to find and meet Kasane, and that if Kasane is enjoying her life, to never forgive her (for the suffering that Nogiku and Sukeyo went through, which Kasane had nothing to do with and never knew about). There’s a bit of a logic gap there, but she’s been through a lot.

Kasane and Nogiku

[Message from the future: some of the following speculation turned out to be wrong!]
I’ll take a brief pause here to go through the family history of Izana, Sukeyo, Atae, Kasane, and Nogiku. It’s spread around in bits and pieces through the series, a lot of the fine details are still unrevealed, and some parts of the timeline are a bit squiffy, but I’ll try to summarise it as best as I can: Izana and Sukeyo meet, and Izana starts using Sukeyo’s face and identity. At some point she imprisons Sukeyo and becomes Sukeyo full-time, although it’s unclear whether their relationship began as a collaboration or if Sukeyo was always a slave.

“Sukeyo” meets Atae, an up-and-coming director, and they marry. At some point he’s let in on the secret and becomes a willing collaborator, and they also move into an isolated mansion and stick Sukeyo in the cellar. Kasane is born, but without a partner to switch faces with, so Atae rejects her. Likely intending to create a partner for Kasane, he goes into the cellar and rapes Sukeyo. Nogiku is born, three years after Kasane.

Here’s where it gets squiffy (and it was already squicky). Kasane and Nogiku never cross paths, and Izana seems to leave Atae and move to another house, taking Kasane with her. However, Sukeyo is still kept in the mansion with Atae while Izana continues using her face (so she would still need regular access to her). Nogiku accidentally sees the switch occur one day, which is apparently the only time that she ever meets Izana. Sukeyo becomes sick, from either the conditions in the cellar or something else, and is moved to a bedroom, and there’s a three-year period before she dies that Nogiku has with her, and those parts of the flashbacks are super-sad. Basically everything involving Sukeyo is super-sad.

When Sukeyo dies, Izana disappears and Kasane is left with Mineyo, while Nogiku is left with Atae. Habuta is involved here and there throughout this, mostly doing odd jobs for Izana to make up for something he did and holding an unrequited torch for her.

Kasane and Nogiku (uh, again)

Back in the present, Nogiku enlists the help of one of her clients, a teacher called Amagasaki Yuuto, to follow the trail of Kasane’s life for her. Pretending to be a journalist doing a retrospective on “Fuchi Sukeyo”, he talks to Mineyo (who alerts “Nina” that somebody is looking for Kasane), one of her primary school classmates, and her primary school teacher.

While he does this, Nogiku goes to see a play featuring “Tanzawa Nina”, the actress that had so distracted her father and is being called “the second coming of Fuchi Sukeyo” by the theatre crowd. I think it’s kind of a “know your enemy” situation, or just morbid curiosity. She starts having flashbacks to her father forcing her to act for him and abusing her, so she starts to leave just as Kasane-as-Nina is entering the auditorium from behind the audience. They lock eyes, and have a time-slows-down moment. Kasane briefly assumes that she’s just the ghost of her mother, as usual, until she hears some of the crew talking about her after the play, and she rushes outside to find Nogiku. She trips and almost falls down some stairs, but Nogiku happens to grab her hand from behind just as she falls, saving her. They start talking and become friends, both initially having secret agendas for why they’re interested in each other (Kasane because Nogiku so strongly resembles Izana-with-Sukeyo’s face, and Nogiku for the morbid curiosity thing). Their friendship becomes sincere, and they start spending a lot of time with each other.

Kasane and Nogiku's first meeting

Kasane returns the life-saving favour later, when Nogiku is stalked and attacked by a disgruntled former client who tries to kill her. With no home or family to go to for support, she begs Kasane-Nina to let her stay with her for the night. Simultaneously, they both receive interesting news: Kasane is told by Habuta about the murder of Atae (but not who or why) and about Amagasaki’s investigation, while Nogiku gets a call from Amagasaki about the basic history of Kasane, sans magic lipstick, up until “Kasane” (Nina) attempted suicide, mentioning “Tanzawa Nina’s” involvement as her guardian.

Realising that her first-ever friend is connected to Kasane, Nogiku investigates the locked room that Kasane keeps the comatose Nina in, initially thinking that she is Kasane. The next time Nogiku sees him, Amagasaki offers her a place to stay at his house, which she begrudgingly accepts. Their relationship is really weird, but the gist of it is that they both initially detest each other; Nogiku because the only way she can pay for his help is with sex (which she hates, for obvious reasons), and Amagasaki because he thinks that the hate he can see in her for him is because of his unattractive appearance. He was bullied for it as a child, and even as a teacher, his students openly mock him, so he has fantasies of murdering his students and other attractive people, and he kind of sees Nogiku as a surrogate for them that he can control and undermine. Like I said, really weird.

Nogiku and Amagasaki

Nogiku next meets with Tsugumi, who seems to have become a little overmedicated, faking a coincidental run-in with her at the park. Tsugumi opens up to her and shows Nogiku a tape of the real Nina’s acting, and she realises that the Nina she knows is a fake. She revisits the mansion to try and figure out what’s going on. She finds an old diary that seems to have been written by the real Sukeyo, missing some pages, detailing the effects of the lipstick when Izana uses it. Nogiku puts all the clues together and comes to the conclusion that Nina is really Kasane, doing the same thing to Nina as Izana did to Sukeyo. She steals a key to Nina’s apartment that Nina’s parents have, and visits the real Nina while Kasane is working.

She talks to Nina, not expecting an answer, but a finger on Nina’s left hand starts tapping in response to her voice. She realises that Nina is no longer in a vegetative state, but is conscious and unable to move any part of her body besides her finger, a variation of locked-in syndrome. She continues visiting when Kasane is at work, working out a system of partner-assisted scanning to communicate with Nina. Eventually, Nina asks Nogiku to kill her (and also to not tell anybody about Kasane being a fake, not even her parents, so that she’ll still be “remembered”). When Nogiku baulks, Nina refuses to say anything except for “kill me” over and over again.

Thinking over what Nina asked her, Nogiku goes to see “Nina” at a showing of The Glass Menagerie. Watching Kasane on-stage, she gathers up the resolve to kill again, both to save Nina and as the first step in her plan to hurt Kasane. She smothers Nina to death with a pillow on the day that Kasane finishes The Glass Menagerie. That night, Kasane exchanges faces with Nina and realises that she’s dead. Thinking that Nina died of natural causes, she and Habuta clean up all the evidence in the apartment that could give them away, and go their separate ways to fake the disappearance of “Tanzawa Nina” (Habuta to dispose of the body, and Kasane to make it seem like she’s still alive until their faces switch back). Kasane calls Nina’s mother to say goodbye on her behalf, and then destroys Nina’s phone.

The deadliest weapons in this series: lamps, pillows, and the ground (Dialogue: "Nina... ...thank you.")

For a few weeks, Kasane mopes around in a non-descript, empty apartment, getting trashed on red wine and yelling at Habuta and the TV. This is my favourite part of the series, incidentally. She struggles to leave the apartment with her normal face, even more self-conscious than before, having spent so long as Nina. She remembers Nogiku, who left a message on “Nina’s” phone just after killing the real Nina, hinting that she can be found at a beach that they spent time at when Kasane was Nina (the second step in her plan).

Everyone's felt like this at some point or another (Dialogue: "Get out!!" "Damn coward...")

Kasane goes to the beach and meets with Nogiku (step three), who pretends that she doesn’t know who Kasane is. Kasane spins a story about being the one who tried to commit suicide, waking up from her coma just recently and finding Nina gone, then going to find Nogiku because she’d been mentioned by Nina.

She shows Nogiku her face and there’s a little moment when Nogiku is taken aback by how much Kasane reminds her of her mother, like how Kasane reacted to first seeing Nogiku. Nogiku talks truthfully about her hatred for her own beauty and how it only led to her exploitation (but not giving Kasane details), to incite Kasane to bring up the lipstick, which she does. She puts it on Nogiku and tells her that there’s a way to make both of their dreams come true. Nogiku, knowing what’s coming, aggressively kisses Kasane rather than just passively allowing herself to be used, and they switch faces (step four).

(right-to-left) Kasane, Nogiku, flashback of the real Sukeyo with Izana's face

While this is happening, Habuta seems to be researching potential candidates for Kasane to switch faces with, finding Nogiku’s name in a family tree (presumably one made by Atae and kept in the mansion rather than an official family tree). There’s a flashback chapter detailing some of his life and relationship with Izana: Habuta himself was born when a married man raped a woman, who gave birth to Habuta and then left him with his father’s legitimate family after a few years. After his first encounter with Izana (when she had her normal face), he become fascinated by her and went looking for her. Something happened in a forest between him, Izana, and an unknown man, and he asked Izana for forgiveness. Then, when Izana was living full-time as Sukeyo, he investigated Atae on her behalf, reporting to her that he was planning to propose to her. The last time he saw her, it was after Sukeyo died and she was back to her normal face, telling him that he’ll be forgiven if he helps her daughter, Kasane. 

Kasane calls him and tells him to meet her back at the apartment to meet Nogiku. Off-screen, she told Nogiku about the lipstick, and admitted to her the real version of events involving her and Nina. Habuta recognises Nogiku’s name from what he was researching (and he also briefly passed her in a crowd in a much earlier chapter) and puts it together who she is. He doesn’t tell Kasane, but he does tell Nogiku that he knows who she is, and he asks her to come with him to help burn down the mansion, correctly figuring that she was the one who killed Atae. Overzealous with setting the fire and destroying her past, Nogiku ends up with a burn scar on her arm.

When she returns to Amagasaki’s, he cleans and dresses the burn for her and freaks out a little, being reminded of his own burn scar that resulted from his childhood bullying and realising that Nogiku is her own person, not just a surrogate for the people that he hates. Nogiku thinks that he freaks out because the scar makes her “damaged goods”, reinforcing her feelings of only being valued for her appearance instead of as a person. They have a temporary falling-out, but they make up, telling each other their mutual histories and starting to see each other as equals. He starts helping her willingly and stops having sex with her, and Nogiku lets him fully in on her plans. It really can’t be emphasised enough how weird their relationship is.

Nogiku and Amagasaki reconciling, in GLORIOUS COLOUR (Dialogue: "What are you saying...?")

While this is all happening, Kasane, Habuta, and Nogiku build a brand new identity for Kasane to use while using Nogiku’s face: Saki (step five-ish). She makes her debut and is a huge success, and five months later, she joins the cast of a new production of MacBeth as Lady MacBeth, the final role her mother played. Nobuhiko is playing MacBeth himself and mourning “Nina’s” disappearance, adding extra tension to the role. The director, Fujihara, is an old peer of “Sukeyo” and Habuta’s. Nogiku also manages to get Amagasaki to witness one of Kasane and Nogiku’s face exchanges, proving her story beyond a doubt to him.

The debut of"Saki" (Dialogue: (On) this kind of scale, (she) seems like Fuchi Sukeyo").

Kasane also starts having trouble with the play, having no trouble at playing the callous, ambitious Lady MacBeth of the first part, but struggling to play the mad, guilt-stricken Lady MacBeth of the second part (it’s suggested by Nobuhiko that Kasane needs to know what it’s like to lose her “support” to play that Lady MacBeth properly).

She also finds herself haunted by spectres of Nina and Ichika, as Izana also did (but with an unknown person from her past). During a rehearsal, she has a panic attack and faints from a visit by the ghosts. When she wakes up, back at “Saki’s” house with Habuta and Nogiku, Nogiku suggests that maybe she ought to come and live in the house with her. She also suggests that they start making two exchanges in a day, instead of just the one in the morning, so Kasane can relax as “Saki” without having to stress about getting out of public eye when her normal face returns in the evening (step six).

Kasane agrees to both ideas, and Nogiku moves out of Amagasaki’s place and into Kasane’s. Both Nogiku and Amagasaki seem depressed by this. It’s still weird, but now it’s also weirdly sad. Meanwhile, Kasane defiantly declares to the ghost of Nina that she can get through the play with Nogiku’s support.

Ghost Nina confronting "Saki" (Dialogue: "The sin you commited,")

One evening after rehearsal, "Saki" is accosted by one of Nogiku's former clients, a guy called Suginuma, who works on the set crew of MacBeth. He thinks that "Saki" is Nogiku, trying to hide her past as a prostitute, and he tries to blackmail her (in exchange for more sex, natch). Kasane and Habuta confront Nogiku over this, and faced with no choice but to admit it, she turns it to her advantage by explaining the details of why she had to do it to survive, earning Kasane's and even Habuta's sympathies. She offers to throw Suginuma off "Saki's" trail by meeting with him again and letting him see her burn scar (which "Saki" doesn't have). After this, the play officially begins its public run.

And that’s… just… about… it.

But wait! There’s footnotes! (I’m so sorry):
1. The original inspirations for Kasane seems to be the imagery of the urban legend of 口裂け女 (kuchisake onna), the split-mouth woman, and names/plot details from 累ヶ淵 (kasane ga fuchi), The Abyss of Kasane, a famous kaidan tale. Kasane’s appearance is obviously based on the split-mouth woman, who you’ve probably heard about before, but The Abyss of Kasane is a little less well-known. 

There are a few versions, but the first and most relevant version (taken from the Japanese Wikipedia page for 累ヶ淵) tells of a peasant called Yoemon, whose second wife Osugi had a daughter from a previous marriage, Suke, who had an ugly face and crippled feet. Yoemon hated Suke and thought of her as a nuisance, so he drowned her in a river. Yoemon and Osugi had another child, a daughter called Rui (). She bore an uncanny resemblance to the dead Suke, so villagers whispered that she was a curse, repeatedly reborn over and over again. They took to calling her Kasane, from “かさねる” (kasaneru, to repeat over and over). 

Yoemon and Osugi died, leaving Rui/Kasane by herself. She met and married an itinerant man named Yagorou, who she had nursed back to health. He hated her face, as well, and made plans to murder her with the help of a woman he wanted to be with. He pushed her into the same river as Suke (the titular abyss), drowning her. However, every wife he took from that point on died. 

His sixth wife had a daughter, Kiku (; Nogiku’s name 野菊, is a reference to this), who was possessed by the vengeful spirit of Rui/Kasane when she was older. The ghost used her body to tell about her murder, and demanded the correct funeral services so that she could rest in peace. Local Buddhist priests did so, and she went on to nirvana. Then, Kiku was possessed again, this time by Suke (or maybe Rui/Kasane again, but under her identity as Suke; I’m not sure). The priests got the full details of the Suke/Rui/Kasane thing from the older villagers, and they gave Suke the full jyuunen (a particular Buddhist rite repeated ten times) and she also went on to nirvana. I don’t know if Yagorou received any kind of retribution, by the way! Kaidan tales always seem to avoid directly punishing the ones who most deserve it.

2. A list of the plays and productions that have played a part in the story so far.
シンデレラ (Cinderella)
銀河鉄道の夜 (Night on the Galactic Railroad)
夏の夜の夢 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, briefly glimpsed in “Sukeyo’s” photo album)
虎の花嫁 (The Tiger’s Bride, the play that Nina is in when Kasane first meets her, an adaptation of Angela Carter’s short story retelling of Beauty and the Beast)
カモメ (The Seagull)
サロメ (Salome)
ガラスの動物園 (The Glass Menagerie)
死者の書 (The Book of the Dead, an adaptation of the Buddhist novel by Orikuchi Shinobu. Kasane goes to watch Nobuhiko performing a version of this.)
マクベス (MacBeth)


Pomelote
Pomelote is the physical embodiment of first-world millenial entitlement. You can contact her on Skype with the name suukebind or Twitter at @poorlicoricekid, if you know any good spam bots. When she has free time, she enjoys putting gross, chewed gum in people's freezers and using their floss without asking.

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