inari

Yakushimaru in Wonderland

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“Long has paled that sunny sky:

Echoes fade and memories die:

Autumn frosts have slain July.”

-A poem from “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There,” by Lewis Carroll

From the moment she barges in by force, in search of a rabbit, Koto is the standout character – our presumed Alice – in the wonderland of the Mirror Capital. She is loud, winsome, and charming, allowing us to discover the mysteries of the Mirror Capital alongside her. Koto is confused, attempting to grasp at any sort of explanation for her mother’s disappearance, and so are we as we attempt to digest the imagery and references that Kyousogiga throws our way.

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Needing to Know in Kyousogiga

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“I only have a future. I can only keep going if I want to understand anything.”

-Koto, Kyousogiga, episode 7

When Koto breaks into the Shrine sanctuary that houses her mother, she is confident and does not flinch, even in the face of what appears to be a sticky situation. Koto reunites with her mother straightforwardly, with little excess emotion in spite of the fact that she is beaming with excitement. When the two are targeted shortly thereafter, Koto reacts instinctively. She grabs her mother, holding her closely, and proceeds to put personal questions, and feelings, aside in order to safely deliver her mother to her waiting siblings in the Mirror Capital.

The entirety of Koto’s life has been a maze of questions and answers with no context. As a child, Koto learned not to hide her tears, but to move forward following an outburst. She is far from emotionless, and vigorously expresses herself before moving on with her life – shown beautifully in the “rescue” of her mother, Lady Koto – to further seek out her own answers. This is the only way that she knows how to live, and her process of finding these answers is often driven by force. She forces her way because she knows no other and, as a consequence of her ignorance regarding her own personal situation, this leads to inevitable chaos or destruction.

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Kyousogiga and the Strength Behind Koto’s Tears

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“We have a secret!”

Somewhere, in the organized clutter of a half-furnished attic, between a box of musty orange life preservers, musical instruments, and yellowed paperbacks, there is a bureau that my parents have with a drawer for each of their children: one for me, and one for my younger brother. Along with our respective awards and achievements, there are various pieces of artwork, photographs, journals, and homemade knick-knacks of little to no consequence – our hand-colored paper Mighty Ducks Monopoly game, for example – and among these are a series of felt badges (similar to what one would find on a Boy Scout uniform or Girl Scout sash) with the name “Braves” on them.

Braves was a club that my brother had the dubious honor of founding – the only two members being myself and him – which was designed to test our strength and willpower.

Basically, we would punch each other until one of us cried. The person who cried first lost.

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