I really enjoyed this chapter, I think the atmosphere it created for me was really eerie which added to the spooky factor, and though I saw most of the twists coming (predicting that the ‘girl’ Renoir in the beginning was actually a boy, knowing that Shintani couldn’t win so someone else had to come in and save Renoir, the “who drew all of these paedophilic drawings!” question) I still really wanted to see how it all ended.
I will say, I legitimately had to take a break after this line
The mental image combined with the realization of the extent of Shintami’s cruelty was just too much for me in that moment. I’ve made criticism in the past of the ‘faceless bullying’ that can occur in Ryukishi’s writings but this felt much more like Marie’s fight with Kanamori, very up-close and personal. Speaking of other humans, I think it’s plenty obvious by this point that Ryukishi’s dialogue is about how humans can be worse than actual monsters, what i am finding more interesting is how we’re getting more explicit confirmation of the Youkai’s kinder sides, both explicitly (with Renoir) and implicitly (with Higanbana) through narration and character dialogue. This doesn’t stop the Youkai from being cruel however, Shintami’s fate is arguably the worst in the series thus far, being eternally imprisoned while experiencing endless fear. I think that there’s an interesting comment that the Youkai can be understood to an extent but are still completely alien to humans in their methods of acting. Speaking of which:
Man this is a neat comparison, it really sums up the way that I approach art, and storytelling. I’m finding it very difficult to explain exactly how much this statement means to me personally. When I approach a story I find it very interesting to focus on each character specifically, and then take the message each character is trying to teach us and apply it to a wholistic message. I feel like not only is Ryukishi providing a method by which Youkai can rebel against their nature to hunt, he’s also commenting on a reader’s ability to admire art itself. Renoir admires lots of little details in the paintings of the room, even if they’re of dark subject matter, even if he doesn’t really understand the point of it, and I think this is a wonderful way of showing how anyone can approach ‘art’ which is such a lofty term that can be thrown around to make it seem as though you’re superior to others who don’t ‘get it’. I think it’s so important that even if you can’t write a 20 page essay on a character or a motif or whatever the fact that you’re even trying to figure out the art is in itself so important.
The third angle of course is that Ryukishi is encouraging readers to look at the people around them. To admire them, to see them as individual humans that are worthy of note. I feel like this is core to Ryukishi’s writing, that it’s important to pay attention to people and to see that they all have merit. In Renoir’s defeat of Shintami with the assistance of Higanbana, we’re shown the value of someone who supposedly has no power at all. With just a little help from someone else with power they can grow through this powerless stage into something that can have a real effect on others.
^If it seems like this message parallels Chapter 2 I’m sure it’s no coincidence.
I’m 100% certain that the spiderlily symbolism prevalent in the novel refers not just to the fact that the Youkai feed on misery on death, but that something powerful and positive can ‘bloom’ in a terrible place that this misery resides in. Makes me excited to get to the end of the night! Chapter 7 hype!
@VyseGolbez I do think that Yuuki was able to answer the artist’s name correctly, though if the epilogue is any indication a wrong answer would have resulted in no more than a slap on the wrist. I think Renoir is much more interested in teaching and sharing his love for art than eating kids.