Tasogare Otome x Amnesia 07 – Hatred, Fear, Anxiety and Jealousy
May 26, 2012 Leave a comment
Over the course of the series the mysteries surrounding Yuuko have grown ever darker and more elaborate, painting a picture of something terrible and disturbing, while at the same time telling us very little about Yuuko herself. She remains an enigma, a ghost who presents us with a brilliant smile, someone who is almost always happy and continuously pulls pranks on Niiya and Okonogi. However, as Kirie points out, Yuuko’s ever happy, ever smiling presence is abnormal, not because she is a ghost, but because she does not get angry, as if she is incapable of doing so. That is not to say that Yuuko is perfect, far from it, she is as imperfect as anyone else, but instead of showing her emotions, there appears to be a barrier for her.
We have already seen the pained expressions that cross Yuuko’s face whenever another terrible story or mystery that involves her rears its ugly head. She is this happy, lively, and wonderful character, however, due to the mysterious nature of her death, along with the numerous stories that have arisen involving her, Yuuko is viewed as something terrible and dangerous. There appears to be a constant fear for her that Niiya may begin to hate her, or worse still, fear her, pushing her away and forgetting about her. To Yuuko, her attachment to Niiya is something of a conundrum for her, but also a puzzle. She appears to see Niiya as a way with which she can validate her existence, he is the first person to truly see, touch and acknowledge her as existing in Seikyou Academy.
Her attachment to Niiya can be seen as unnatural, while at the same time natural, she truly cares for him, and even loves him, however, Yuuko herself has yet to fully recognise or acknowledge such feelings. We see her constant attachment to Niiya, clinging onto him during class, even memorising his timetable and wanting to participate with him in gym class, or perhaps sharing lunch with him. She wishes to have the normal school life that has been lacking until this point, Yuuko has also begun to open up more since the very beginning of the series, participating in more classes and activities than she have otherwise done.
But, by being a ghost she is considered a malign influence within the academy, and while Niiya can see and touch her, no one else can (apart from Kirie). She becomes jealous, angry and spiteful towards those who come near Niiya, dragging him away from her, and interacting with him and the wider world in a way that Yuuko is incapable of doing. Seeing Okonogi openly flirting with Niiya, asking him to help her with mysteries and even eating lunch with him hurts and saddens her. Niiya cannot dismiss Okonogi since she is a club member and also human, she is important to him, but at the same time, her inability to see Yuuko makes the entire situation problematic.
Yuuko’s reaction to Okonogi attempting to feed Niiya some of her lunch (under the impression that is just her and Niiya naturally) further emphasises the feelings of jealousy, spite and anger that have been steadily growing within Yuuko since her initial meeting with Niiya. She is jealous of Okonogi because she is capable of interacting with Niiya in a way that Yuuko cannot, she is angry at Niiya for not refusing Okonogi, but at the same time she is frightened, frightened of Niiya being taken away from her, leaving her alone yet again.
We can look back to previous episodes for the beginning of such feelings, in fact right the way back to episodes one and two when everyone initially meets. Yuuko’s first meeting with Niiya was something wonderful, finally a chance of interacting with someone else as if she were a real human being. We can see that Yuuko initially views the Paranormal Investigations Club as something for only her and Niiya, a private place where she can interact and flirt with Niiya freely and without outside interference. The introduction of Kirie and Okonogi takes this space away from her, reducing her time and space with Niiya to something that is finite and precious, while at the same time introducing new people which she can interact with. This creates complex feelings within Yuuko who is happy, while at the same time clearly sad, and perhaps jealous of those who appear to constantly gather around Niiya in a way that is impossible for her.
As the story has progressed we see these feelings grow as more and more stories surrounding or involving Yuuko have surfaced, painting a picture that is dark and gruesome, but important, one that is the total opposite of the Yuuko that we see on screen. It becomes clear that while these stories have been twisted and taken on a life of their own due to constant retelling, they all hold a grain of truth. It now appears that Yuuko was indeed a sacrifice to appease some malign god or spirit whose wrath had affected Seikyou Academy. But, Yuuko claims that she died without any regrets, offering herself willingly to be the sacrifice, in effect martyring herself for a cause that she knew to be just.
But, if this were true, why then do these stories involving Yuuko appear to be so terrible and terrifying, if she had given herself freely knowing full well of the consequences, her body would not have been left in the basement by the old shrine. In effect, Yuuko, like the stories Is hiding something, something that perhaps even she does not know about or understand. That the stories involving Yuuko, and particularly that of the Red Woman can drive those who hear and believe in it mad, demonstrating rage, hatred and envy demonstrates the incredibly power of stories to warp the imaginations of those who hear them. Furthermore, Yuuko’s very presence in these stories suggests a darker side to her character, one that she appears incapable of acknowledging. Yuuko has instead repressed all the feelings of hatred, anger, rage, and envy, pushing them to one side and creating her other side, Shadow Yuuko.
In a sense, Yuuko has been capable of surviving for such a long period of time because she has effectively run away from the things that she dislikes, instead suppressing them with all her might. This then is the root of her problem and the reason for her amnesia; it is not that she cannot remember, it is that she does not want to remember. The introduction of Niiya inter her life has generated long repressed feelings of love, and jealousy within Yuuko. We see that with everyone else Yuuko acts with carefree abandon, enjoying her time and playing pranks on those that she sees, Niiya however generates far stronger emotions, or more accurately, generates actual emotions within her. This frightens Yuuko, and makes her remember all those repressed feelings and memories that she wishes to forget.
Yuuko’s wish to monopolise Niiya, keeping everyone away from him frightens her, but at the same time she begins to feel feelings of jealousy, hatred and anger towards those who can se freely interact with him on a daily basis, something that scares her. At the same time Yuuko is scared of herself, of what she may be capable of and of the stories that are told about her. These feelings are terrible and uncontrollable like all feelings, they are scary, but can also create something wonderful. Yuuko, however, only sees the destructive power of her feelings for Niiya, seeing them as ugly, and in order to maintain, not only her place in the world, but also her beautiful and carefree appearance she believes that it is necessary to discard anything that could be considered as ugly or dangerous.
Her feelings for Niiya are therefore overwhelming and terrifying for someone who tries not to feel. In her terror Yuuko perceives Niiya as someone who reflects and magnifies the ugly side of her personality that she wishes to forget and repress. So she pushes him away, instead choosing to run away from all these feelings, repressing them further, pushing them away so strongly that she ends up hurting Niiya physically as well as mentally. What we see is the strength of stories and feelings on those who are involved with them. Rather than choosing to face her own fears and anxieties, Yuuko attempts to run away from them, this in turn leads to pain, not only for her, but for those around her. But, while Yuuko may hurt Niiya and Okonogi, it is ultimately her whom she hurts the most.
By running away from her own weakness and fears she accomplishes nothing and instead only helps to create the situation which she has feared all along, she has pushes Niiya away, and rather than Niiya forgetting about her, she herself has forcefully forgotten about him. In a way we see the stories surrounding Yuuko come to life in this episode, along with seeing how they have all effected the people who have either come into contact with Yuuko or the stories themselves. But, it is Yuuko who has ultimately caused the most damage, by attempting to run away from the emotions and feelings that she fears the most she has ultimately created the shadow that has caused harm to others. Her fears and anxieties have therefore created a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it is Yuuko’s inability to deal with the powerful emotions that are created in her by the very mention or sight of Niiya that have ultimately resurrected the shadow that she fears most of all.