Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon and random talking birds
August 29, 2012 Leave a comment
The Testament Union is the major power within Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, it is the group that binds everything together, with a significant military force and the power of multiple Deadly Sins Armaments. However, there are clear questions about how and why they have so much power, along with why the Testament can control the minds of so many people. As is explained on several occasions, the Testament is effectively a history book, detailing all of the events that took place up until the initial destruction of the world. Every country and city-state religiously follows the Testament in their re-enactment of history, fearing that if they do not some dreadful calamity may befall them. And yet, there appears to be no real evidence that backs up this idea that if you do not faithfully re-enact history the world will end. Furthermore, Horizon’s position in all this, along with the perception that as soon as history, or rather the history in the Testament runs out another great calamity will befall humanity.
It is clear therefore that these countries and city-states follow the Testament partly out of fear, but also because this simple book gives them the authority to govern and to be an autonomous city or country in the first place. While there may be no proof that the end of the world is just around the corner, neither is there any proof to counteract the claim that unless the Testament is followed they will all be doomed. It is this uncertainty that something may, or may not happen which pushes may countries to act in such an extreme way to the demands and actions of Musashi. By rejecting the position that Testament has in this world Toori is in effect rejecting the current power structure and means with which many of these rulers govern. If his claims and wishes come to be true, it will demonstrate to numerous other small states or rulers that it is possible to control your own destinies and lives without having to rely upon an ancient book with mysterious origins and dubious message.
Furthermore it appears that Musashi as a separate city-state that encompasses and represents Japan is not bound, or controlled by Testament, suggesting that there are specific places and times where Testament and therefore the Testament Union have no control over. In the first series it was plain to see that Musashi was regarded with distrust and that its existence was tolerated partly because it has a well-established school and position within the world. Also, by controlling Musashi and weakening its power in the Far-East, along with making sure that those who graduated from Musashi Ariadust academy were spread over numerous city-states and countries the power that Musashi embodies would be spread out and prevented from concentrating in a single, easily-defined space.
By approaching England, Musashi has flown into a historical re-enactment, with the fate of England as an autonomous country hanging in the balance. But at the same time, the presence of Musashi Ariadust students helps to demonstrate the flaws in the Testament as a text, showing that there may be no reason to carry out these senseless actions, which are only designed to further the interests of the Testament Union. The presence of Toori and Horizon act as a deterrent for many, while also giving others a reason to attack England and destroy it. But, it is the presence of Master Scarred (Later to be revealed as Mary Stuart, or ‘Double Bloody Mary’) that further shows up flaws in the Testament along with how the Harmonic Divine States are split up and governed.
As with the history written down in the Testament, Bloody Mary must be executed that would provoke an invasion from Tres Espana (Spanish Armada). However, there are inconsistencies within this history, along with the manipulation by certain character that further show the flawed nature of these actions. The Spanish Armada can be viewed as a defining moment in British history, and if it had been lost there would have been a significant possibility that the islands would have been ruled by Spain for the next few centuries. The Spanish Armada was not caused by the execution of Mary Stuart, although her death was one of many factors that pushed Phillip II of Spain to plan an invasion of England. The intended purpose for this fleet was to overthrow Elizabeth I and putting and end to her involvement in the Spanish Netherlands, along with stopping British privateering in the Atlantic and Pacific, which had been interrupting Spanish shipments of gold and other precious items.
As such, the reasons given in the Testament for the invasion are far to simplistic to be a true recreation of history, but they are one of many such inconsistencies that crop up over the course of the series. Furthermore Bloody Mary is the twin of Elizabeth, and she has resigned herself to die in order to allow England the power to fight of the inevitable Spanish Armada. Mary Stuart was in fact the first cousin once removed of Elizabeth I, and both were from entirely different families. Also, as mentioned, her death was not the reason for the invasion fleet, although it did provide Phillip II of Spain with further reason to invade and depose Elizabeth I. It becomes clear as Elizabeth and Mary are talking that they are twins born from a different mother to the one stated in the Testament. In order to allow this historical re-enactment to take place they have to suggest that they were both spirited away (although this aspect is arguably true).
Mary has resigned herself to her own fate, apparently freely giving herself over to be executed so that England may have the power and spirit to fight of the inevitable Spanish Armada. However, because of the inconsistencies and strange occurrences that surround her and her sister, it begs the question as to why such an event still continues. Furthermore, there is a question mark over the Armada and the reasons for going to war, despite the inconsistencies within the entire scenario. If the history written in the Testament is obtuse and poorly done then why are people following it? There seems little point in following a poor history instead of making your own, especially when there are those who would willingly the facts so that they can fit into the beliefs of others.
This then is where Toori and Musashi come in; they demonstrate the phallacy that is the Testament, and show that is possible to do things in your own specific way, rather than follow the ramblings of a book. And yet, like all such books through history, it has an immense power over people, and because these historical re-enactments have taken place for such a long period of time there are those who truly believe in them. There appear to be many characters that don’t truly believe in the power of the Testament, however, they understand the power that it embodies within others. It is therefore a tool to be used to control and maintain existing power structures. Pope Innocentus (indecently, the pope who supported the Spanish Armada was Pop Sixtus V) sees Toori and Horizon as a threat to his rule for example. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is a series that can be viewed in numerous ways, and while it is complicated and convoluted there is enough in the series to allow many to see it regardless of interest. What it does do is demonstrate the importance of history, but also shows its fickle nature, and how past events can be changed and twisted depending on circumstances and need.
While events such as the Spanish Armada may be well documented in both Spain and England, there will always be certain aspects that are neither not fully understood, or where facts are deliberately missed out. Depending on your perspective a single point in history can mean something important, whereas to others it may be inconsequential. The problematic nature of the Testament is shown when Toori rejects it as a way to live, suggesting that it no longer has control over his life, thus pushing Musashi into a direct conflict with the Testament Union. The problems that they encounter, along with the concerns of Horizon who is ultimately at the centre of this whole story demonstrate the importance that many place upon a specific telling of history. It cannot be anything other than the Testament, however, to stick so rigidly to a single aspect of life shows an inability to change and evolve to the situation. As series it could also be argued that Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon demonstrates the damaging nature of religion in history, along with the importance placed on certain books that can be read in numerous, and often destructive ways. That is not to say that the Testament, and therefore religion is ultimately destructive, it is however twisted and used for such purposes.