I had hoped someone would say that and admittedly, that’s why I kept looking for foreshadowing of awareness that things aren’t as black and white as the initial protagonists see it. But at least in the manga there was none. The way I’ve read it, the most generous interpretation is that everyone in the story is just blissfully naive, something that is utterly ridiculous if you assume that they have first-hand experience with a fascist regime. And yet they didn’t show the willful denial and silent agreement coming from sympathizers amidst denazification at all. Therefore I saw myself forced to decide: Either the setting is bogus, or the characters are all idiots.
That may be just my impression of the beginning of the manga, but sorry, I can’t make myself to get the VN to get it a second chance, because I just felt so awful reading the manga…
Oh yes, you are totally right! This whole cycle of bullying and how abused people sometimes become abusers as well when they haven’t learned other ways to regain control and power over their lives. That’s really a large part of any of his works, isn’t it? I wonder whether his social worker background has a lot of influence on it in regards to first hand experience.
As much as I adore the love duel, I think that is arguable. The way the story presents it, when George and Jessica become accomplices, they do so under the impression that it is just a game and within the love duel itself, they just do so because they became somewhat aware of the gameboard nature of thei existence, making their ‘murders’ while still very real to them, a bit of a purely symbolic thing.
Fully agreed. Though admittedly, the jealousy aspect shouldn’t be downplayed. What I love so much about Jessica is how she beats herself up about the possibility that she may only imagine her feelings because he’s literally the only boy her age around and she wants to do some romantic experiences as well. This doubt whether her love is real or just something springing up from a logical but cold rationale is very intriguing and so very human in how it deconstructs the concept. This is no fairytale love on first sight thing, it is two very rational people constantly questioning their feelings and reaffirming them this way.
I may also add that Kanon or Yasu herself is in kind of a similar pinch. When I was recently re-reading episode 2, I noticed how much Kanon envies how freely Jessica copes with the pressure put upon her with her Jessy persona. That she doesn’t completely hide her true self, but instead searches for ways to express herself in front of her schoolmates with her music, something that is the polar opposite of what Yasu is doing (and something that her mystery game attempts to do in a very twisted way). I think when Kanon fell for her at the culture festival, Yasu herself was left wondering as well whether this is love, or whether she just wants to be close to Jessica so that a bit of her confidence rubs up to her in return.
Though I have to shut up, because I ship them so badly, I can’t stop when fired up.
I may also add that especially in the first two episodes, George is the poster boy of the “Nice Guy” trope. The entitled jerk who thinks that just because he doesn’t sexually harrass her, she is supposed to fall in love with him. It is somewhat muddled by Shannon thinking it is expected of her to return his feelings, thus never having him put into a position of rejection in which he’d likely turn nasty, but it is still there. In his first two proposals he comes across as a giant jerkass and there are always bits and pieces about how he likes playing with her feeling and how he blatantly points out the status difference to make her do things she is reluctant to do. Yasu’s picture of him isn’t a very flattering one when you read careful, despite the narrations constant insistence on what a great guy he is. It is only Tohya with trademark optimisms who sees their relationship in a more healthy way and gives George the opportunity to become self-aware of his behavior.
I’d be careful with this. When the whole ShannonxGeorge thing happened, Yasu had no idea that they were related. And while it may be true that Yasu already knew at the time of the culture festival, he was quite vocal in pushing Jessica away. Yasu may have never confronted them with the truth and there is a lot of perceived shame on her part due to the incest thing, but I think that is honestly the least of her problems and I also don’t think that it would affect any of her relationships, if any had come to pass, given how they were not raised as family (effectively getting rid of the emotional entanglements that make familial incest so abusive) and Yasu couldn’t get children anyway (getting rid of the biological dangers). It does however show, how much just the revelation of it being incest messes up Yasu even more and how she stigmatizes herself for something she couldn’t possibly have any influence upon.
Therefore I find it very difficult to compare Yasu with Kinzo. What Kinzo did was straight-up rape, not to mention the whole ‘locked up at a fenced mansion for ever’ thing. You could argue that both are victims of their own feelings, in a way, but Yasu obviously never intended to do harm to anyone up until she found herself with her back facing a wall.