I have a very peculiar thing. If I read Tsubasa, I become depressed. And I start having weird symptoms to do with the way I sleep: I sleep for too long, I can't wake up in the morning, and once I am awake, I feel like I haven't slept at all.
Which is completely ridiculous, because surely there's no way that a manga should have the power to make me feel that awful. Except --- we had a death in the family recently, and that got me to thinking, and suddenly I realized that it makes perfect sense.
Which is to say, this entry is basically a picspam about why I'm depressed. Read it or ignore it accordingly, depending on how you feel about that.
It's about this character:
The first time I read this, I was determined not to like Fay. I'm not entirely sure what the reason behind that was, now; possibly it was just because I was being a hipster and didn't want to like the character everyone else liked.
That resolution didn't last very long, and I ended up becoming obsessed with him. I don't use the word obsessed lightly, either. It's only now that I've come to realize: he makes me incredibly sad.
If I read this manga, I'll get completely overwhelmed by Fay's storyline. Then I curl up in a ball in bed and make up these vague, plot-less stories about how everything after the end of the story will be okay, and Fay will live happily ever after, and everything will be okay because everything has to be okay, because if it isn't, I won't be able to bear it --- And then, after I've done that, I'll sleep and sleep for way longer than I ought to each night, and I won't be able to wake up in the morning, and when I finally do wake up, my eyes will feel all strange, like someone's coated my eyelids with salt while I was sleeping. And even after I've woken up, I'll feel sick and drowsy all day and want nothing more than to go back to bed.
And now I realize why. I had an aunt I was especially close to, who died a few months after I turned six. I was so young when she died; I suppose it's fair to say that I never got the chance to mourn her properly. And so much of what happens in this manga is way too close to what happened with her.
Once, there was this person, this willowy androgynous person with fair hair and blue eyes:
And in the opinion of a particular girl, this person is absolutely the cat's pajamas --- which is no surprise, because they're talented and clever and compassionate and amazing and a thousand other things all at the same time, and so the girl is greatly impressed:
My aunt was incredible: she wrote me all of these letters when we lived in different states; she addressed me like a competent person even though I was too young to even be able to read what she wrote me. She sent me handmade cards. And one year she wrote and illustrated two picture books for me --- all in verse --- and she was going to write another one, but she died before that could happen.
Her signature always had a cat face after her name. And I adored cats as well. So in fact, we really were:
(It's details like this that make me react to this so strongly.)
And the two of you are always together, always with this person helping you and encouraging you.
This person, this perfect person, takes your wishes and beliefs and opinions seriously. And they continue to do so even though everything is very far from perfect in their own life, and even though they know that with the way things are going, they probably won't be alive much longer:
Because they care about you; they'll continue to care about you no matter how much they themselves are hurting.
. . . And they're wonderful. Up until the time comes when the thing you want from them is to take care of themselves, and then it's:
Because if there's one person they don't really care about, it's themselves.
Kurogane: The ones I hate the most are those who give up their lives before all hopes are gone.
Fay: . . . That means I'm the type of person you hate the most.
And even if they're not actively going to kill themselves, that doesn't mean they really want to be alive.
. . . And ultimately, a person can't have that level of problems without, however inadvertently, wounding exactly those people who most need them.
. . . More literally in this case, but the point stands.
--- And you can say things like that all night if you want.
Yet, at the same time, they're also so kind, somehow more so than they have any right to be, because people who are in pain tend to lash out, and by all rights someone who has that many problems ought to be intolerable. But that isn't how it is. Instead, they're the best you could hope for.
And you know there isn't anyone else who could take their place.
Which is too bad, because you can't help them, not the way you should be able to.
Sakura: I wasn't able to do anything . . . when Fay-san was in pain. I'm sorry. You are definitely suffering more than I am right now.
--- It is a desire to die, partially. But there's more to it than that.
Because these things acquire a life and a momentum of their own.
My aunt had anorexia --- although, I think that it might be more accurate to say that by the end, there was more of the anorexia than there was of her. In the period just before she died, she was trying to get better. She was eating things. But it's not as simple as that. By that time, her body chemistry was already so damaged that she couldn't absorb any nutrition from what she ate anymore.
Certainly I have noticed that, whenever anyone in this manga is worrying about whether or not another will eat, it's Fay they're worrying about. Admittedly, the question seems to be more whether or not he's willing to eat blood than whether he's willing to eat in general (although, you know, having a character become one of the undead is the next best thing to actually having them die, so that also has a lot of meaning to me):
Yuuko: Fay can choose not to drink your blood. No matter what methods you use. Even if he smiles from now on, that doesn't mean he's accepted it.
Still, he is the character who most appears underweight, and it does seem to be something that other people in the fandom have picked up on. I've seen it suggested that either he still has an unpleasant relationship with food, or alternatively that he's still so small because he was so malnourished as a child. Either way, the idea of Fay as "that person who is too skinny" remains.
And speaking of childhood . . .
I've seen one theory about anorexia which states that it's an attempt to stay a child forever. As far as metaphors go, someone who literally keeps the magically-preserved corpse of a dead child who is exactly identical to themselves for years and years because they hope to someday revive it is pretty damn suggestive.
But even if none of that applied, the simple fact of how emaciated the twins are in all the flashback scenes would probably be enough on its own to do it for me.
And that's why I want to sleep forever when I see this character.
But it goes a little deeper than that, as well.
Because with a person like that --- a person who's the other you --- you won't be able to give them up easily. You won't just grieve and get over it, you really won't, because where will you be if you have to be separated from your other self forever?
And you know you'll go through life with one wish that outshines all others.
Because the thought of never meeting again is impermissible.
Because it's awful being the one left behind.
Yeah, I'm sorry too.
There's a bit from a poem I like by Louise Glück:
No one wants to be the muse;
in the end, everyone wants to be Orpheus.
(out of terror and pain)
and then overwhelmingly beautiful
It's the concept of the image of the lost lamented person becoming also the image of unearthly beauty that speaks to me; anything we long for becomes beautiful simply because we long for it.
The first time I read this manga, when I was awake I could just sit there and stare at pictures of Fay for hours on end. And I mean, I realize he is meant to be pretty, but most likely he isn't actually any prettier than any other bishounen character.
^ But to me, this is absolutely the most beautiful character in anything. Ever. Ironically, my aunt was nowhere near as pretty. Then again, no one is.
To sum up:
Yuuko: Just remember this: to the children, you're not someone whom they can just leave behind. Also, to them, you're someone of great importance. When you're in pain, the children are in pain as well.
So bits like this:
Hurt me, because of course a quote like that has the power to wound me when it comes from that character, because it's a lie; she isn't here, and won't be here. I promise you, I don't even have any idea how many times I've wished to hear that person say those words.
. . . But it also maybe makes me feel a little bit like this:
Because at least now I've finally realized the extent to which I've never gotten over this.
Also, I cried while writing this. I don't actually literally cry very much anymore. But I cried over this.