A short note on the newly appeared Spotted Flower (episode 17):
Kio Shimoku is a master storyteller. I am in awe.
He still has it; the razor sharp steel right below the surface of the light comedic touch. I am impressed with the mid-late 20-ish Hato and Yajima gappel-sans but the tension between gappel-Mada and gappel-Hato is powerful and rife with “the sadness of the folly of men” all at the same time.
Note how gappel/not-Hato positions herself as her and his own gender expression. The male part is there still, not an accursed remainder but part of a whole. All of gappel-Hato is locked in a never-resolved dance of what could have been with gappel-Mada. And as for gappel-Mada; why does he wander over seeking advice from the person who is in some ways less than and other ways much more than a friend?
Can I wrap my head around such a BL-ish longing? I think the mangaka has invented a new one for the lore. The wanting is far more powerful than the having.
Gappel-Yajima knows that the obsession is etched deep into her lover’s soul. It will not be easily, if ever done away with.
And so, she becomes practical…
Shut up and keep rowing.
Gappel-Yajima is mighty.
I like borrowing the gappel-(donger) conceit for the Spotted Flower verse. Zetsubo Sensei’s Kōji Kumeta is a friend of Kio Shimoku and the farcical undertones of his invention carry over. The title conceit references the very first short stories of Timothy Zahn, wherein a probability shifting space drive let the pilots see ghostly images of their alternate lives and drove them all to depression and despair with what might have been. One of the tales is a update on Cordwainer Smith’s “Burning of the Brain”, but done with regrets as waypoints. There is a metaphor and a cautionary tale in here somewhere, but I’ll let it run off into the night.