Steps to read Subahibi
1. Purchase it here on Steam, available on August 30th between 10 PM to 12 AM EST.
2. Follow this link to download the official patch. It’s too explicit for Steam so Frontwing only uploaded the first chapter to Steam to circumvent the matter. The rest of the content not on Steam is in the patch.
3. Follow the steps on the patch’s page in order to install the patch.
Steps to read Subahibi
Well I have finally had a chance to start reading Subahibi. Now as I am typing this, I have only passed the opening attributed to a quote from the play, Cyrano de Bergerac. As someone who has read this play, I do find it very interesting how relevant this particular play might be . For those of you who are unaware, Cyrano de Bergerac is about the titular character, a french nobleman and soldier with the heart of a poet and the flair of someone with great panache(seriously this guy is smooth).
In any case, he has fallen in love with his cousin Roxanne, but learns that she has fallen in love with the handsome Christian de Neuvillette. Cyrano, believing Roxanne won’t love him due to his self proclaimed ugly and large nose, instead opts to help Christian in wooing Roxanne by writing beautiful and well written poems for Christian to recite. Roxanne further falls in love, not due to Christian’s stunning looks, but due to the beauty and intelligence in “his” words.
In any case, through a series of events, Christian dies (before pleading Cyrano to tell Roxanne about the truth about the letters), but Cyrano decides to hide the truth in order to preserve Christian’s image. 15 years later, a mourning Roxanne ends up visiting Cyrano. During this visit, Cyrano becomes mortally wounded and asks Roxanne to give him Christian’s last farewell later. Cyrano reads the latter out loud, and only then does Roxanne realize it was Cyrano who wrote those letters all those years. Roxanne confesses her love to Cyrano before he dies. In his death throe he imagines him fighting enemies and laments that the only thing he has lost in life his ultimately his pananche!
In any case, as relevant to Subahibi, I think the tale of Cyrano here is going to be relevant in multiple ways- for one the power of words and how they shape reality(IE: in particular how the power of Cyrano’s letters has shaped Roxanne’s perception of Christian. Additionally one can say that the Christian that Roxanne fell in loved with was both Cyrano and Christian. Based on Subahibi’s synopsis, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is such a similar perception- where one character is representative of multiple people in some shape or form. Of course Cyrano’s fears of Roxanne came from his own perception of himself and how the world around sees him, so there might be themes of characters seeing something in the world that isn’t “real”. That however doesn’t invalidate how real it is the characters themselves.
In any case, that is my initial thoughts !
I’m mostly curious to see if he has any late Wittgenstein, or whether it’s all early Wittgenstein. Given the Tractus is of early Wittgenstein, I’m surprised to hear it as a basis for this work. Russell’s paradox was brutal against the Tractus; it’ll be interesting to see what Subahibi takes from it. I’m guessing by “based on Wittgenstein”, as lots of people claim (have any of them actually read Wittgenstein? Unless I’m vastly underestimating the average reader, I doubt the majority of people have bothered), it’s probably referring to some association between logic and language, not so much Wittgenstein’s thought in itself. Since he kind of abandoned the whole thing later.
By the way, we did have a topic where we discussed language earlier in Rokkenjima, and I did a
brief overview of early v late Wittgenstein there, for anyone who wants to read it. It might not be a very good explanation, given how it changed nothing in the discussion, but it is an explanation.
Well here are my thoughts as of finishing the Down the Rabbit Hole I route.
So, the route itself I think was a great start to exploring what appears to be the tenants of Subahibi’s themes- that is the extent of what one can perceives the world, the connections between oneself and the world,and what is the limit of the world. This is best exemplified through Zakuro and Yuki’s relationship.
Yuki first “meets” Zakuro through her dropping dolls off a building, one of which falls upon Yuki’s head. I was actually rather suspect of this scene right away and assumed it was some sort of metaphor for Zakuro’s suicide. In any case, Zakuro and Yuki discuss “the girl who is the world itself and the girl who is the sky”. My initial thought was “Well wouldn’t the girl who is the world itself include the girl who is the sky. After all isn’t the sky part of the world”.
In a sense, perhaps I was both right and wrong. If we were to look at this through the mundane layer, you can say that Yuki is creating an illusion of Zakuro in remembrance of her, though I suspect at least that Yuki didn’t really know much of Zakuro in life, so perhaps Yuki is expanding her own world through Zakuro as a someone who can fulfill the role of something new to her world. If Yuki is “the girl who is the world itself”, then Zakuro is indeed part of her as “the girl who is the sky”.
It is interesting again how Subahibi reinforces this concept of how we are each our own worlds by representing Yuki as the world itself. This is also apparent since Yuki willingly erases all other humans in her illusion to say farewell to Zakuro. Indeed, we are the gods of our own worlds .
However, I am not so inclined to say I am completely right in this interpretation because of how the game seems to use the sky as a metaphor for a way to connect people’s worlds together. If Zakuro represents this sky, then is she really within Yuki’s world or is she apart of it as the sky that connects Yuki to other people? In any case, I like how Subahibi uses “words in the sky” to key in how language and words are very important in establishing a connection with other people or in other words “connecting worlds together”. Words of course must be taken in context, and only when we define what those words mean together, will we start connecting.
My only real criticism of this route is frankly the overt slice of life scenes. I wasn’t particularly interested in the romcom routine between Yuki, Kagami, Tsukasa, and Zakuro whatsoever.If the events of this route play out in Yuki’s mind this is perhaps way of Yuki just exploring her sexuality with the people in her life.
I also find it interesting that we had that little interaction with Yuki and that boy (who’s name escapes me at the moment). He disappears as soon as Yuki loses interest him, which is probably a clue of how the world we see is an illusion constructed by Yuki.
I have finished the Down the Rabbit Hole II and My Own Inventions route, so here are my thoughts :
Down the Rabbit Hole II:
So, first the beginning of this route is identical to that of Rabbit Hole I, sans that Takuji claims to be “on the other side of the door”. Again, he references the idea of standing on the edge of the world and wondering if he can see the same thing as Yuki can. This naturally references how while we are own world, and that while we may be looking at the same thing, our perceptions and the words we use color what we are looking at. That said I do find it interesting how Takuji apparently has this desire to share a world with Yuki. As far as we know, Takuji and Yuki are classmates that barely interact. There seems to be some connection that Yuki has with Takuji that we are unware of. At this point my theories included- that they are the same person(which might fit with how Takuji seemingly disappears- though that could be attributed to Yuki not acknowledging Takuji in her world), that they share a past that traumautized them both, etc.
Anyways, we finally get into the point where RBHII differs from RBHII where we see Yuki get embroiled in the aftermath of Zakuro’s suicide. It is interesting that see Zakuro’s meeting with Yuki- again it seems there is an implication that Zakuro knew of Yuki. In any case, Yuki encounters Zakuro’s suicide and thus Subahibi’s plot comes in full throttle.
Yuki’s investigations led me to believe a couple of things : 1) Takuji and Yuki are in fact the same person (where Yuki feels vertigo everytime he is around, how no one seems to acknowledge Yuki and Takuji’s confrontation when Takuji makes his prophecy, etc) 2) That Takuji’s transformation may be a half truth- in that Yuki’s perception is coloring over what happened 3)That this whole “the world will end phrophecy” is just a product of mass paranoia.
In any case, it also abundantly clear that even before big reveal, that Kagami and Tsukasa aren’t real- or at least they aren’t the humans Yuki percieves them to be. After all comments like “oh you brought the cute pair with you” and such indicates it so. However, the question is why did Takuji have possession of Yuki’s doll or if Yuki imagined it as such, why did she rip the doll herself? This again leads me to believe that Takuji and Yuki are the same person. It is also interesting that when Yuki meets Takuji’s sister, Hisaki, she implies she knew Yuki before. In fact she says “please tell my brother to come back home” and “if you are ever in trouble please come here”. As far as we know, Yuki barely knows Takuji, so why would Hisaki say something like that. Additionally, would you say “if you are ever in trouble, please come here” to someone you just met? This again leads to me to believe that Takuji and Yuki are the same person
It also clear that at least to me, that Otonoshi Anaya is just a way for Yuki to reflect on herself and to pry the truth that she purposelly hidden. This talk of the sky again is interesting. The sky represents many things in this story- a bridge to gap worlds, god, the limit of the world,etc. If we are own world, and the sky is the edge of the world- then beyond the sky is the new world- ie: death or expansion of one’s world view. “The End Sky” has a suicide connotation to it as well.
In any case, Yuki’s conforontation with Takuji at the end was a thing of beauty I suppose. MAMIYA KUN JUMPED.
My Own Invention :
Takuji’s mind is a thing of wonders. There is nothing much to say, but his descent to madness and how he lies to himself is a thing of beauty. In any case, this route all but outright confirms that Yuki, Takuji, and now Yuuki are the same person.
I honestly don’t have much to say about this route because alot of its themes and plot are covered in the previous two routes, but I will examine this one part about the nature of the person that is Yuuki, Yuki, and Takuji by Ayana :
“One who names it, one who speaks of it, and one who erases it”
This may refer to Yuki, Takuji, and Yuuki respectively. Perhaps Yuki represents the beginning of this person’s divergence as “One who names it”, Takuji represents the one who perpetuates this split existence as the “One who speaks of it” (Kagami’s comments about how he was supposed to dissappear might allude to this) and Yuuki is the “one who ends it”- ie: make the person whole again.
It also very interesting how Takuji and Yuki percieve Anaya in different ways- with Yuki considering her to be almost a calming, albeit strange, being and Takuji fears her. The same way how the END SKY is perceived differently.
I also found the usage of Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Brain is Wider than the Sky” very apt in Kumika’s ending.
All in all Subahibi is a wild ride.
I’m done with Down The Rabbit Hole I and II. SPOILERS FOR THESE TWO ARCS FOLLOWING
Subahibi, so far, hammers home the point that “Cognition shapes your world”. The fact that our narrator is unreliable as all hell is established through this lens in DtRH I, when we learn that the doll that fell in the beginning was actually Zakuro all along.
I’m bad at writing overall impressions for abstract and deep works, so I’ll just start with the points I have regarding what I feel might be happening here and see where those ramblings take me.
First of all, I want to believe that RH I and II are the same chain of events. RH II is far more self-sufficient in its narrative, but it provides a very good explanation as to why and how Yuki seems so fixated on Zakuro in RH I, to the point it majorly distorts her cognition compared to objective reality. The slice of life scenes with the twins and Zakuro in RH I can all be interpreted as Yuki dwelling on the meaning of Zakuro’s kiss, especially assuming that RH II proves that Kagami and Tsukasa are not human/Yuki’s illusions.
I’d need to very quickly review RH I to see if it really supports RH II in any significant way. This hypothesis is significantly undermined by how Takuji gets practically no attention in the first arc, however- RH I seems to be about a rattled Yuki who completely secluded herself from others due to the shock of the suicide, whereas RH II Yuki even surprises herself with her conviction to get involved in the mysterious deaths in the school. Those two clash, somewhat- unless we interpret RH I’s secluded Yuki as the reason why she might be seeing pervasive illusions in the first place. Another minor counterpoint is that RH II Yuki spends her free time on the laptop, while RH I Yuki seems to be having a jolly good time with her “housemates”.
Although I do not want to go down the “Almost literally everyone is a delusion by Yuki” route, @farispie 's interpretation of RH II’s events that Kagami (and Tsukasa?) is a doll and that Takuji is Yuki is tempting. Kagami’s part of the kendo team though, and she’s also top of the class- other comments hinting at something Yuki’s hiding from herself (such as continuous questions asking why she stopped studying and getting good grades, and Yuki’s poor rationalizations) can be seen as her repressing her own doubts, but some of these details make me question whether they’re full-on delusions. There’s also stuff like Yuki waiting for the two after school so that their clubs are over.
As for Takujin, there are countless little details I want to argue complicates the “He’s Yuki” scenario. However, it makes sense as I think about it. A crucial detail is that when Yuki counts the fingerprints on her table and the desks at the school, she never mentions her own but there’s always one mysterious fingerprint. She attributes that to Takujin, but that still works if her and Takujin’s fingerprints are identical- Ergo, if they’re the same person.
One counterpoint, however. Hisaki specifically mentions that they aren’t very rich because her parents had eloped. If that is the case, how can Yuki be living in a modern house of her own when Hisaki and co. are living in a decrepit apartment?
Furthermore, we need further information upon why such a schism would occur in Yuki’s personality- Yuki obsesses over Zakuro after her suicide, and she values her friends highly (as evidenced by her regret in RH II when she realizes her friends have been missing for two days). She is a good person. So why would part of her personality morph into Takujin, who’s (apparently) bullied, hateful, spiteful that death is ignored in society, manipulative to the point he tries to make a messiah of himself? We never sense any animosity towards Yuki (except perhaps by Zakuro’s companions in RH II), so what could have caused the “Takujin-self” and “Yuki-self” to split in this theory? I think writers expected this theory and want to leave that avenue open thus far, but I have a feeling it isn’t the solution. Just a baseless hunch. (In Ayane’s words, “Isn’t that the simplest answer?”)
The greatest questions the VN poses so far:
- Just who/what the fuck is Takujin?
- To what extent is the narration we’re seeing influenced by Yuki’s cognition?
- Who is Ayane?
- What happens on the 20th?
- What is the “Crawling Chaos”/ blue ghost thing?
But most importantly, I feel:
- If the self’s cognition delimits the world, then what is the meaning behind the fact that people, overlapping but fundamentally separate worlds in and of themselves, can interact and communicate?
Perhaps the focus on Wittgenstein and formal philosophy aims to convey that the answer is language. Language is the bridge that connects the distant worlds of people, it’s what unites humanity, and is the ultimate bedrock of all human thought, communication and cognition. Language is the only way we understand that there’s something we share among our worlds.
How I interpreted the crawling choas/blue ghost thing in Rabbit Hole II, was a manifestation of Yuki’s cognition breaking apart- ie: something is causing her to change her perception dramatically.
Well I finished Insects Looking Glass, Jabberwocky I, and Which dreamed it
NOTE: THESE ROUTES HAVE MAJOR SPOILERS. DON’T READ THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE FINISHED THEM
Insects Looking Glass
So, this route and the subsequent routes, more or less confirm what we suspected about the nature of Yuki, Yuuki, and Takuji. As such the “plot is set in stone” so to speak, so instead I’ll focus more on the thematic nature of each of these routes.
Insects Looking Glass begins with a quote from the titular Looking Glass as Zakuro ponders the “boredom” she feels in her life and how she describes Takuji as a mirror that she reflects back onto her. Here we take the idea that other people are merely reflections of what we see in them and what parts of ourselves we see in them. Again, you are the limit of the world, and thus everyone else is merely a part of you. Zakuro sees her boredome of life within Takuji, but she is also curious that he represents a change of sorts- the other side of the looking glass.
It is nice to see my suspicions of Cyrano de Bergenac being relevant to the nature of perception and self to be confirmed in this route. That is Roxanne is effectively seeing Cyrano as a body with two souls in it- Cyrano’s and Christian’s. Yet, can these individual souls have their own worlds? If they share the same body and the same senses, are their worlds the same ? No! They are not, for language forms the world. For Cyrano’s words are the world. We also see the significance of the panache- both the plume on a feather (which might allude to Zakuro’s nature as a lonely blue bird), but also Cyrano’s very soul- his flair, his style, his words. Zakuro finds strength in these words, and thus the sky is no longer full of anxious words.
So looking at the two endings of this route- Kimika and Insects, I will say emotionally, I wish Kimika’s ending was canon for obvious reasons. However, it is interesting to note that Kimika’s route has Zakuro talking to Ayana at the end about the nature of Takuji/Yuuki/Yuki’s existence and her role in it. What is more fascinating, is that Zakuro can talk to Ayana at all. It is clear that she is some sort of aberration that is larger than any individual’s circumstances-ie: she appears before everyone. Is she a representation of oneself reflecting? Is she simply an omniscient third party observer? If so, can we treat her as the one absolute in Subahibi? I know not, but at least Zakuro has find her Wonderful Everyday in Kimika’s route.
Of course Zakuro also finds her Wonderful Everyday in the Insects ending- that is in death. This reminded me a lot of Umineko’s catbox concept. The “mon panache” scene at the end was both horrifying and beautiful.
As an aside, I know that this is an eroge as well, but did anyone else felt that the nature of Zakuro’s bullying was bit far fetched? I digress.
I don’t really have much to say on this route except of a quick couple bullet points :
As Tomosane himself pointed out- it is not the senses, pain, etc that make up the world- it is language. This is very apt considering for all intents and purposes Tomosane shares a body with two(technically three if you consider Yuki and Rabbit Hole Yuki different people) other people. It is interesting how despite that, they perceive the world oh so differently. Subahibi’s thesis in a nutshell indeed.
We get confirmation as to what caused Takuji to be the existence he is today. While the granular details are left to the reader’s imagination for the time being, we get the important stuff- Takuji being Tomosane’s twin brother. Tomosane killing Takuji, etc. The only thing I wonder is how did Tomosane have such a vivid recollection of Takuji’s memories for the events of My Own Invention to play out? Did he witness Takuji’s “education” to be a savior in such vivid detail?
I still am not entirely sure what happens at the end of July 20th. My running theory is that the Takuji personality “commits suicide” and the Yuki personality lives on as intended. The Yuki personality is hospitalized and in her mind, the events of rabbit hole I plays out?
Which dreamed it
All I can say about this route is poor Hasaki
In any case, one of the things that really struck me out in this route was Kimura’s comment of “how can we know that every person we are looking at is one individual”. That train of thought was chilling and now I will never look at other people the same :P.
Otherwise, I have nothing much to say about this route since thematically it covers the same ground as the routes before it - ie: Hasaki’s perceptions color the route, the idea of language being what makes the world ie: Hasaki defining the doll and herself in ways that only she can understand, etc.
Again, of course it is baffling that Hasaki meets with Ayana. Perhaps we shouldn’t mull over the nature of Ayana too much- Ayana is simply Ayana. I’ll treat her as a omnipresent observer who is studying and analyzing Subahibi the same way we are .
I don’t know how far I am through It’s My Invention but jesus fucking christ
He’s fucking a desk. HE’S FUCKING A DESK.
I had to get that out of my system.
As I joke around in the Subahibi discord, any time a bizzare scene happens in my own inventions, I proclaim Thus, Subahibi Begins
Well I officially finished Subahibi! Time to discuss Jabberwocky II and my overall thoughts on the work
As with the Looking Glass Insects,Jabberwocky, and Who Dreamed It? routes, I will not be focusing on the details of the plot, and more looking at these routes from a thematic purposes.
In any case. Jabberwocky II opens up with Tomosane’s childhood as he interacts with the then living Yuki and young Hasaki. Before I get into the theming of this route, I just adored Yuki’s interactions with Tomosane.
After Tomosane’s father’s death, we are treated to the scene at the Sunflower Hill that was mentioned in the previous routes. Here, the sunflower hill is akin to end of the world- in particular Hasaki and Tomosane’s world. However, upon crossing the hill, they discover that there is more to see beyond the hill- another town and likely another town beyond that. We as humans cannot perceive every facet of the physical world as Hasaki cannot possibly see everything beyond the hill. We are not omnipresent. If so, what is the limit of the world? How do we know that reality truly expands beyond plane earth, beyond the universe, and more ? Is it truly tied to the physical reality we see? The world is yourself, nothing more and nothing less. Everything is a reflection of you and yourself. Hasaki, ultimately finds comfort in this as she finds Tomosane, a reflection of herself, and that alone expanded her world.
Yuki, in talking with Tomosane, begins talking about the sky. The sky is a prevalent motif in Subahibi. I think ultimately to me, it represents that which cannot spoken. After all Yuki and many others point out that they not know what beyond is the sky, but it matters not- for the sky is part of you (ala Emily Dickinson’s poen). This is compounded furthermore by how each character perceives the sky (ie: Yuki and Tomosane’s conversation about a clear blue sky opposed to a dreary one). Yuki, then brings up her dream about the baby. This is where Subahibi starts to bring its conclusion to the reader- “Live Happily!”. We do not know if there is anything beyond the sky, we wish there to be, but in knowing this isn’t the case- we despair. The baby despairs, as does Yuki despairs at this realization. Yet the baby no longer cries as Yuki cannot bring herself to kill the baby? But why can’t she kill the baby? It is simple- there is no need to go beyond yourself to find solace- for again you are the world and you are the limit the world. Thus, “Live Happily!”, and the world will be a Wonderful Everday- for you color the world with your happiness. The baby and the mother both know this, and thus life is blessed.
In any case, we move on to the eventual confrontation between Takuji and Tomosane. I can’t quite make out the extent of the truth here- ie: Was Tomosane experiencing PTSD or was it truly possession? But honestly, I think it doesn’t matter ultimately. Tomosane believed it was the latter, and that is all that matters. Like Ayana existence, we will never quite find the truth in this matter Instead of asking “what”, and “how”, we should think “why?” Why , we the readers, are being shown this? And ultimately, I think it is important that Takuji’s possession of Tomosane hammers in that it is not the body that makes up the world, it is your soul- your words and language in other words- or more importantly you being able to recognize the essence of your world.
We then move onto the conversation between Yuki and Yuuki as part of Tomosane’s personality. I honestly had nothing much to comment on here, other than “I’ll miss you Yuki”. Tomosane then moves onto save Hasaki (through an absurd display of strength and willpower- which I honestly question the validity of). Here Jabberwocky II splits into three endings :
- Wonderful Everday
This ending was beautiful. In particular, Kimura and Tomosane’s conversation about the nature of death, despair, and the world. All of it ultimately served the conclusion of “Live Happily!” well.
Kimura and Tomosane first discuss why so many were adamant in following Takuji’s grand suicide. In particular this line of “They await a reason for death, but why don’t they just go and die by themselves already”. This line was personal, b/c at times I do have similar thoughts- hoping someone or something ends me. In a way, I think of it in terms of Subahibi’s theming- that if you are the world and everything is a reflection of it, then we await to take as much parts of ourselves as possible in death- however we are the limit of the world and thus we need something beyond the world (“an exterior edge”) to do so. As for me personally, I just am too much of a coward to commit the act .
Kimura summed up despair quite nicely with “Despair is like unrequited love”. Indeed, we despair because we hope for something beyond ourselves, beyond the world to tell us how we live. But, ultimately we need no god, or if there was a god, god will simply tell us to “Live Happily!”. For there is only you, you are the world, and thus you yourself will color the world in happiness. That is how one achieves Wonderful Everday.
- Hills on Sunflower Ending
I really don’t have much to say on this ending, simply b/c it felt like it dealt with the same ground as the previous endings. As for the whole “Why can Hasaki see Yuki thing”, I honestly don’t think it matters. We can provide a myriad of theories on this matter(ie: Tomosane died, Hasaki sees both Tomosane and Yuki as hallucinations), but again the trio has achieved their Wonderful Everyday, and that is all that matters.
- END SKY
OH BOY, this ending was the most fascinating ending and also the one I will likely think about and post on time to time the most- simply b/c this ending is the one that makes me rethink Subahibi as a whole and how I should approach it on further readings.
First, let us briefly discuss Ayana before we get anywhere else with this. At this point, it is clear (not that it wasn’t obvious before) that the exact nature of Ayana matters not- Ayana is simply Ayana- she may be god, a fellow reader looking down on the gameboard of Subahibi, etc. The important thing is that Ayana serves as a mouthpiece for the author and how he tells us to rethink about Subahibi in more detail. In other words, “Why did I show you Rabbit Hole 1 and what can you take from all of this?”.
As for the question itself, honestly I will need further readings, but I can say that regardless of what actually is the nature of Yuki, the important thing is the theming of Rabbit Hole 1. For example, Zakuro talks of looking at the other side of the Looking Glass. Is this other side what we see in Rabbit Hole 2- Jabberwocky II? If so, can we say that the two “realities” (if you will) are truly reflections of each other? If we are the world, then what is it that the looking glass is telling us. I think ultimately the looking glass is telling us that we extend beyond reality, that despite our deaths, our words will live on. So, to make the most of our existences, please “Live Happily!”
Overall thoughts on Subahibi
I seriously love this work quite a bit. From the beauty of its theming, to the weirdness of its events (looking at you my own inventions!), this work moved me in so many ways- from how it cut deep on the matter of despair and death- to how it inspires one to “Live Happily!”. My only real caveat with this work is that some of the character writing could be shaky at times, in particular when it came to the matters of sex and fanservice.
I willexplore this work again sometime in the future, esp. for its philosophical musings, but for now I must move on to my own Wonderful Everyday.