Shigure is being Shigure, and Tohru is being Tohru.

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Shigure: Is there a point to holing up in your room for days on end? Do you really think that cutting yourself off from everyone will force the world to become what you want it to be?

Well you’re certainly not helping Akito by calling out her obviously ineffective actions, so shut up and stop making things worse for everybody else!  I get why Shigure is frustrated, of course, but Akito needs actual help, not someone telling her all the things she’s doing wrong.

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Anyhow, Momiji is all grown up!  And he switched to the boys’ uniform!

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But he’s not quite giving up his childish ways (yet).

Momiji: Actually, I’m thrilled I got taller. Don’t get me wrong – I still had a good time when I was short, and there are things you can only do if you’re short, not to mention things you’re allowed to do…but in the end, I’m a man, so…

I don’t imagine he could get away with kissing a strange girl now that he’s tall…

Haru: Those two are something else. By all appearances, you’d think they’re a lovey-dovey couple.

Now that Momiji actually looks his age, his cute and “innocent” gestures toward Tohru look an awful lot like something more, don’t they?

And speaking of lovey-dovey couples, Kisa and Hiro show up at Shigure’s house and are adorable.

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Kisa: Ah…um, h-hello!

Kyo: …? Uh, hey.

Kisa: […] Hiro-chan, I was able to greet him! And he returned the greeting! […] He really is a nice guy after all. And he always seems so nice to Onee-chan…

Back at the main house, Shigure and Hatori are arguing about Akito (again).

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Hatori: You’re too old to be this nasty. You know Akito digs her heels in all the more when you’re not honest with her. […] Why don’t you stop this battle of wills with an opponent who’s younger than you? From my perspective, it sometimes looks like you hate her with all your being.

Shigure: Easy for you to say. At the end of the day, my brand of “kindness” is a slapped-together afterthought. It doesn’t hold a candle to your “real thing.” But that’s never struck me as “sad.” I wonder why?

I think Shigure tends to show his affection by scheming for the happiness of the people he cares about.  He’s just not good at comforting or generally being “nice.” That doesn’t mean he can’t be a good person/friend/boyfriend/whatever, it just means he needs to be more intentional in that area (because, you know, his main issue is that he doesn’t TRY).

Shigure: I wonder. Who should someone like me have dreamed about…? […] Even if Akito does want your tolerant “kindness”, or Kureno-kun’s innocent “kindness”, if she’s expecting that from me, I just can’t deliver. I have no interest in becoming that girl’s “father”.

I know you’re aiming for tough love, Shigure, but you’re hitting more like “stubborn impatience”.  And as always it doesn’t help that nobody else really knows how to help Akito either.

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Hiro: Hey, I wonder if Kyo is in love with her…

Haru: …The guy can’t be in love?

Hiro: W-well, after all, he’s the Cat. So…

Haru: Hiro. You deliberately choose to cross the bridges everyone else avoids, don’t you?

Hiro: I’m…aware of that…I’m not trying to rock the boat or anything, but I just feel…I don’t know, depressed or worried or something. Not that I can do anything about it.

And that’s exactly how discrimination survives: Making anyone who might feel uncomfortable stop caring because they “can’t do anything about it”.  Also, EVEN THE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS CAN SEE IT.

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Kyo: Dude, when’d you get so tall?

Momiji: I know, right!?  I’ll be taller than you before long! Maybe I’ll even be more handsome! And then, and then, maybe…Tohru will accept when I propose to her? That kind of thing might really happen if you give up, you know? So you can’t. Giving up’s the worst thing you can do. I’m gonna stop doing it too. Stop with this idea that “There’s no point in thinking about it.” Thinking about the Cat…

Kyo: This late in the game…?

Momiji: Yes. Even if it seems like it’s “too late” now…we tend to gloss over it, but that’s all the more reason to be straightforward about it. It is “late”, but wouldn’t you regret if some other guy snatched up Tohru?

The only way to stop systems of oppression is to acknowledge them for what they are and try.

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Shigure: Maybe I should have dreamed about you, hmm? Maybe somebody like me needed somebody like you…or, well. That’s what I’m thinking today anyway.

Shigure, don’t you dare go blaming your lack of compassion on Akito.  It ain’t a woman’s job to fix her man, and Akito needs plenty of fixing up herself.

To be fair, though, this is one of the rare instances of spontaneous honesty from Shigure (usually he’s only honest with Hatori, because he knows he can’t hide his real motives from him).  And now I think we have all the pieces of Shigure’s puzzle that we need, so I’ll just say my piece about him now (and hopefully hold my peace about him more in the future). As I’ve implied before, the Curse is (or at least is “about”) the love of the Zodiac Spirits for their God (the “bond”).  That love has simply become twisted over the centuries until it’s only a Curse. That’s why Akito wields so much power and influence over the Members of the Zodiac – they love “him” so much that it hurts more to cause Akito any pain than to run their own lives into the ground. And Akito is very sensitive.  What makes Shigure different from the rest is that his love for Akito is romantic in nature (I think it’s safe to call the others’ love “familial”).

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Shigure had never cared much about anyone but himself.  He still claims that he is his own number one priority. And that’s why the Curse is so hard on him – because it forces him to prioritize somebody else.  But since he has no strong feelings or convictions to compete with his love for Akito, that love itself became his purpose. I’m not even sure if it’s Akito herself that he cares about, but the bond between them.  He couldn’t care less whether he’s ever released from the Curse – what he wants is for all the other Members of the Zodiac to be released, because that would mean he gets Akito’s love all to himself. Obviously that’s a dangerous and extremely selfish inclination (it’s been addressed more than once before in other characters), showing zero concern about Akito’s own needs.  There are two main reasons why I hate Shigure. The first is that he’s the only Member of the Zodiac who never really grows – he changes when required, but he’s fundamentally the same at age 7 as at 27. He’s a stagnant person, never bothering to leave his comfort zone. The second is that he’s just so selfish. It’s not that he never cares about anyone but himself (he does care about Hatori, for instance), but that at the end of the day his needs are the most important.  It doesn’t matter that he acknowledges his faults if he never tries to improve himself.

Time marches on. People and feelings move on too…you’ll be left behind. It’s already begun that hike. […] That’s why I want you to hurry and catch up…

Until next time…

 

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6 thoughts on “Chapter 111: Someone Like You

  1. Ahh the chapter I was waiting for and I must say your analysis definitely surpassed my expectations and then some! Unfortunately I’m always extremely busy during the week so I won’t be able to say much till Friday where I’ll give you my full thoughts but until then I’ll just say this, this part right here:

    “But since he has no strong feelings or convictions to compete with his love for Akito, that love itself became his purpose. I’m not even sure if it’s Akito herself that he cares about, but the bond between them.”

    is ultimately the crux of all of Shigure’s issues and is the best and most succint way to sum him all up.

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  2. So here I am, back with my longer comment: As I said before you really nicely summed up the extent of Shigure’s issues here, as I said before more than anyone else in the Zodiac (or series really) he has massive, MASSIVE identity issues and a disconnect of self and this is why the curse affected him so profoundly compared to the others. Shigure was and is a walking existential crisis he is searching for meaning and purpose in his life and whilst I tend to find characters with these types of psychological issues INSANELY interesting (I played Xenogears after all lol) what’s incredibly frusturating about Shigure is that he never develops or grows past these issues. He never learns to live in the present and find meaning AS “Shigure Sohma”, it really does feel like he’s chasing a distant past that he never lived (i.e. the animal spirit possessing him) because he can’t be comfortable in this new life. What he says to Tohru is really telling because it ultimately points to him feeling like he NEEDS SOMEONE to “fix him” and fill the gaping void within himself when really what someone in his position really needs is to learn to be at peace and content within himself and that can’t come from anyone else that has to come from within HIM.

    I also agree with your view that it was never even Akito herself he cared about, honestly I was hoping you’d touch more on what he said to Tohru “I should have dreamed of YOU” because that highlights my main issue with the ship and why this chapter pretty much sunk any chance of me ever appreciating or liking it. Imo what’s most disconcerting about this ship isn’t all the Kureno and Ren stuff and all the possessiveness and manipulating mind games (though that’s also pretty bad) but that it really seems like Shigure didn’t fall in love with Akito for herself but precisely because he felt he was “destined” to (Same reason why I take issue with the Usagi/Mamoru ship in the SM fandom which has some similar issues, I can’t stand when destiny is used as the sole reason to get a couple together, I don’t find it romantic I just find it sad as instant love to me is boring, unrealistic and sends a bad message to little girls. To me, real love isn’t “instant” real love takes time to grow with both parties spending time together and getting to know one another whilst eventually coming to appreciate and fall for the traits that’s inherent in the other, like in the Kyoru and YukiMachi ships) and also that he’s ultimately just using Akito to fill the gaping empty hole/void within himself which is all kinds of unhealthy both for himself AND Akito!

    I mean with that line he says to Tohru and himself he’s basically admitting straight to the that that dream could’ve been about ANYONE and he would’ve fallen for them, confirming the fact that he doesn’t in fact love Akito for herself. and that’s what ultimately turned me off to the whole ship.

    Anyways that’s my two cents on both Shigure and this chapter ahaha, I hope you agree with my interpretation of him and his issues.

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    1. Personally, the whole “destiny” angle never bothered me much – it feels true to the idea that you can’t help who you love (although I think you can help HOW you love them, to an extent). Shigure is constantly trying to take control of the relationship, hence all the manipulations and generally terrible behavior toward Akito (maybe that’s even why he pursued her romantically – who knows?). That said, I don’t really blame Shigure for loving Akito – I think if he hadn’t been bound to her, he might never have loved anyone so deeply (or at least not for a very very long time).

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      1. But that’s the thing though, when a relationship is based in destiny it IS taking out that whole element of “you can’t control who you love” because its by virtue, “controlling the bond” and who falls for whom. Isn’t this the exact reason why the Zodiac Bond itself is so unhealthy to its members in the first place? Its forcing a connection based on some mystical, intangible tie through no free will of anyone’s members, its what everyone else in the Zodiac is fighting against to break free of and yet Shigure still (happily?) succumbs to it in the end, undermining a bit one of the main themes of the story (bonds can’t be forced) as well as Akito’s change of heart/epiphany at the end that she doesn’t NEED a destined bond to be loved, she ultimately doesn’t WANT to be special she just wants to be Akito and loved or herself.

        That’s an interesting take though, I’m curious to what you mean by “maybe that’s even why he pursued her romantically” so the romantic feelings WEREN’T in fact, automatic for him and just him trying to take control? Why would trying to make those feelings romantic be considered by him as “taking control” of the situation though? Isn’t that just defeating the purpose and sucking him in even deeper?

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  3. I think I get into this later on, but the “Bond” itself isn’t the unhealthy thing – it’s not only normal, but HEALTHY to have deep bonds like that. The problem is that the bond exists in a toxic environment which has changed it into a Curse, forcing something to be “eternal” which simply can’t survive that long. Also, Shigure doesn’t “succumb” to the Curse in the end, otherwise it couldn’t be broken – he’s forced to let go, too, but he manages to forge a new, more equal bond because that’s what he wants. He ultimately DOES choose Akito for herself, and that’s one of the few things I have to respect in him xD

    As for the romance angle, like I said, most of the other Zodiac members have more familial feelings for Akito. By fostering different (romantic) feelings for her, Shigure is controlling how Akito relates to him. Romantic love and familial love can both be equally powerful forces, but I think romantic love tends to be more “selfish” because it’s explicitly one-on-one – it’s only about Shigure and Akito, not the rest of the Zodiac or the rest of the Sohma family. He’s not making himself love Akito more, just differently, but he’s also encouraging Akito to take particular notice of HIM.

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    1. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the Shigure/Akito ship, that’s a great explanation but I’m still not sold on the ship and I don’t think I’ll ever be lol.

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