Paradise Lost: Portrait of the Oracle as a Young Girl
Sixth Future Journal holder Kasugano Tsubaki’s true intentions are revealed and the origins of her deadly intent made clear in flashback, with the cult’s founding; her parents’ deaths; and her subsequent subjugation in her role as the cult’s oracle (facilitated through the administration of psychopharmaceutical agents and religious prostitution at the hands of her own followers).
After removing the threat of Twelfth Future Journal holder Hirasaka Yomotsu, courtesy of Yuno in a tactical gambit relying heavily on her deductive reasoning, Tsubaki makes her move, taking Yuno hostage and forcing Yuki to hide in the obscurity of the night. Using Yuno as bait, she lures him into her trap under threat of subjecting Yuno to the same humiliation she had suffered. Examining Yuno’s diary, he discovers Yuno’s affections are indeed genuine and that she had been trying to protect him the entire time. Mustering his resolve, Yuki races to the inner sanctum and, in a calculated move taking advantage of Tsubaki’s Journal’s weakness, Yuki is successful in erasing Tsubaki and freeing Yuno. (It is worth noting that in spite of what he had discovered only a day before, Yuno’s Journal entry changes to once more reflect a Happy Ending with Yuki. Love triumphs over all, I guess.)
Like Ninth Future Journal holder Uryuu Minene, Tsubaki experienced devastating personal loss; and like Minene she can be considered a product of the destructive ravages of the human condition. As such she meets the basic requirements of a tragic figure. Tsubaki wishes to ascend to godhood to destroy a cruel world that had robbed her of her parents and only brought her pain. What she intends to do after that is left unanswered and is apparently irrelevant. While Tsubaki’s motives are utterly selfish, there is no rule in the Survival Game to suggest the one who finally attains deity must act in accordance with godhood’s more philanthropic virtues -like mercy, grace and benevolence. To say nothing of forgiveness and redemption, concepts of which Tsubaki knows little if anything on a personal level.
What little she does know had come to her in flitting shadows, unseen faces and malicious hands that tear and paw at her like claws until she is stripped of all dignity. It is not the darkness of an unseen world that is the true terror, but rather the darkness within the hearts of her tormentors -an infinite, impermeable darkness that stains and pollutes her consciousness and her being even as it condemns her to a living death from which there is no relief and no escape. Her only solace is a child’s handball, a final memento from her mother, long since lost. When that is gone, any traces of her former self are effectively extinguished as well. The gentle girl of her childhood was now lost to the darkness.
Up from the gutters of hell through a twisted landscape of unending affliction, Tsubaki rises in defiance of unspeakable fate, only to receive redemption -and, finally, peace- at the point of Yuki’s dart.
Henshin is Hazardous to Your Health
Hirasaka Yomotsu, in what turns out to be his final mission, treats his would-be quarry to a Super Sentai Spectacular before charging Tsubaki. His world is also a world deprived of sight, but that world is clearly defined within the demented logic of his moral code in crystal clear black-and-white. The victors are the righteous; the defeated are evil that must be eradicated at all costs, and woe betide those unfortunate enough to be caught in the crossfire. His self-appointed duty is to uphold justice and punish evil, even at the cost of his life.
Yomotsu dispenses “justice” from the legitimately criminal to the absurdly trivial with indiscriminate brutality. When he is finally bested, though, he acknowledges his enemy as “righteous.” This, however, is not because of any sudden ray of clarity piercing the murky depths of his insanity so much as interpreting the outcome within his framework of morality. Yuno had won, thus making her the “righteous” one. Nothing more.
At the close of Episode 5, the players in this deadly contest (i.e. Team Yuki) have thus far authored the elimination of two more Future Journal holders from the Survival Game.
Nine Journal holders remain: who will be the next to be voted off SURVIVOR?