Tasogare Otome x Amnesia 06 – When stories go out of control
May 21, 2012 Leave a comment
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is a series about stories and the power that they have over other people, often twisting their sense of reality and making it seem that the normal world is actually akin to hell on earth. We have learned numerous stories involving Yuuko; almost all of them appear to describe her as some malign spirit, always after a new target, attempting to either extract vengeance for her death, or simply being vindictive to those who are currently alive. The truth of course is very different, with Yuuko acting more like a playful poltergeist than a malign spirit. In a sense this helps to demonstrate the irony of Yuuko’s existence, and how the stories about her have twisted and changed over time, turning her into something terrible and frightening.
Niiya appears to be the first person who was capable of seeing Yuuko for who she truly is, and while he may have been distracted by Kirie’s story, it is clear that he views Yuuko as more of a normal girl than a ghost. Of course the stories surrounding Yuuko continue to grow, change and twist as they are retold, with the majority of them bearing little resemblance to the reality that created them. Take, for example, the story surrounding the night watch room, where apparently a ghost will continue to visit, and potentially lead to your death.
The reality is of course that Yuuko had been knocking on the door in order to get near the heater for some extra warmth and the company of a human being. The story had been changed and twisted to such a degree that what was initially an attempt to be near people becomes a terrible ghost out for vengeance. Yuuko is therefore a deeply misunderstood and alienated person, who has to live with the realities of the various stories surrounding her. There are times when you can see Yuuko almost closing herself off to those around her, attempting to hide away from the stories and myths that surround her and hurt her.
What this week introduced was a new and significantly more powerful story, one that threatened to destroy those who had heard it and believed it. The Red Woman has a certain amount of power behind it, but what is so frightening about this story is the speed with which it changes and twists itself based on the beliefs of those who hear it. It has a power and weight behind it that threatens to swallow up everyone that it comes into contact with. What is so fascinating about the story of The Red Woman is partly that it has an element of truth about it, but also that it affects everyone who hears it equally.
What this week also demonstrated is the inability of people to differentiate between reality and what is in their heads. Kirishima Yuuko is alienated and in a sense despised because of her name, everyone around her links her name with that of Kanoe Yuuko, suggesting that because they have the same name she knows something that they do not. This repression, and oppression based on her name twists and changes Yuuko, turning her into someone who is incapable of believing any ghost stories, even going so far as to despise them. To her, stories are ridiculous, made up, with little to no power and anyone who believes, or even takes them lightly is either stupid, or sick.
That she did not see anything when entering the Paranormal Investigation Club’s haunted house, suggesting that she is not afraid of anything. Instead, she is angry at those who she views as spreading rumours and taking the power of silly ghosts stories as a joke. She uses people’s trust in her to her advantage, creating and twisting particular stories to suggest that Yuuko is some sort of sacrifice who is needed to appease a vengeful spirit. However, she takes stories too lightly, not giving them the respect that they deserve. The power of The Red Woman is too much for her to control, it breaks free, twisting and changing, warping the minds of those who hear and believe, turning them against her.
That the people who believed her can be changed in such a drastic manner, appearing to truly believe that a human sacrifice is needed to appease The Red woman further demonstrates the power that stories embody. And yet, when none of them die, and they leave the building there is an odd disconnect between what they look like in daylight, and the nightmarish appearance that their belief in such a story appears to create. It is like this story physically and mentally warps them, turning them into beings far scarier and destructive than Yuuko.
Once again we see the power associated with the name’ Yuuko’, it generates a sense of fear that is so powerful as to warp and change people wherever it goes. The stories in Tasogare Otome x Amnesia are not to be taken lightly, because they have the power to kill and destroy. We also see how each new story surrounding Yuuko hurts her that much more, adding up and compounding her fears, anxieties and loneliness. There is the implication that she almost believes this to be almost divine providence, as if she deserves the terrible things that are said and believed about her.
That Yuuko Kirishima is bullied because of her name Yuuko suggests that she has no right to stop her plan to destroy all ghost stories, rendering them useless and feeble. That Niiya cannot accept this attitude once again demonstrates his feelings for Yuuko and how far he is willing to go to help her. There is also an element here that it is her fault when Niiya gets involved in such terrible circumstances simply because he has become associated with her name and the mythology that surrounds it. This is in stark contrast to the look of absolute joy on Yuuko’s face as she dragged Niiya around the school festival, visiting all the food stores, and exploring parts that perhaps until now she had avoided.
What this episode of Tasogare Otome x Amnesia did highlight, however, is the idea that Yuuko’s death and the subsequent ghost stories surrounding her may all stem from an element of truth. What is so fascinating about the story of The Red Woman is that in myth she appears to be a messenger form the gods sent to choose a human sacrifice in order to appease their anger and calm the elements. We know that Yuuko’s body is near an old shrine, one that is sealed with sacred scriptures, the implication then is that Yuuko may have been chosen as a human sacrifice to appease the gods anger, thus bringing harmony back to the village.
It is also becoming clear that while Yuuko is not the malign spirit in these ghost stories, despite her name appearing in the majority of them, there may be an element of truth there. We have seen on a few occasions the appearance of a dark being, with writhing hair and murderous eyes, something over worldly and with a dark, destructive presence. This, along with the apparent truth regarding The Red Woman only further deepens the mystery surrounding Yuuko’s death, suggesting that there may indeed be something dark and dangerous lurking on the Seikyou Private Academy campus.
It is this disconnect between the reality and the fictional that continues to make Tasogare Otome x Amnesia such a fascinating series to watch. We know that Yuuko is not evil, and yet we are not sure either, constantly wondering if this is simply all part of the mythos surrounding her as a character and a fictional creation. While we know very little about her death and subsequent amnesia, the stories and myths which surround her and Seikyou Private Academy suggest something far darker and more dangerous is at work here. That there is now the implication of Yuuko has a human sacrifice to appease the gods further deepens the mystery surrounding her, while at the same time, making her life as a ghost that much more tragic.