Friday, March 11, 2016

Kasane Chapter 71 Review/Synopsis - Poison Fang

Written by: Pomelote

Nogiku, watching the performance of MacBeth, remembers life from when she was trapped with only her (and Kasane’s) creepy, creepy father Atae for company. “It’s repugnant… these scraps of memory from those days…” she thinks to herself as she remembers. “My former father, to use me as a substitute for “Fuchi Sugeyo”, forced me to wear the accoutrements (clothes… jewellery… cosmetics…) of that woman.”

“Above everything else, he was obsessed,” Nogiku judges, showing a knack for understatement. In the flashback, he creepily gropes her face and tells her, “These lips, red like blood; that much more suits a woman. It won’t be anywhere in this world besides on you.”

She flashes forward to when she first returned to the mansion after escaping, looking for information. “Lipsticks of deepest crimson. Of course, there was a difference between them and the lipstick owned by Kasane: they didn’t have the power.”

“But, at the time when I learned that the lipstick she held was the source of her power of transformation, back in the mansion, there was a lipstick with a design that I noticed was a perfect match for Kasane’s lipstick…” she narrates, while remembering Kasane as Nina showing her the lipstick as a memento from her mother. “Being thorough, since I knew that it was a hint, I took it from the dresser.”

“And soon…” Flash forward to Kasane-as-Nina playing Laura in The Glass Menagerie
The Glass Menagerie, curtain call.”
“Shining in the light, the ghoulish fake Tanzawa Nina made the real Tanzawa Nina plead for death. When I saw Kasane receive her applause, and the gazes of admiration aimed at her… if only those gazes could be inverted into gazes of contempt and rejection…”

“So I thought it over. I became aware of what my personal crusade would be. If I killed Tanzawa Nina, Kasane would then likely want a face to use… Then I would lure her in with myself as the bait… and knock her into the bottomless depths of the abyss.”
“With this. Using the imposter’s very own lipstick (dagger).” Nogiku finishes narrating her story. Back in the present, the final day of MacBeth’s run is starting. In the crowd, Nogiku is there with Kasane’s face, holding a tube of lipstick.

Backstage, the director, Fujihara, is giving a combination pep talk/nag session to the cast.
“Soon we’ll start the midday performance. When it finishes, that will just leave the final evening performance. You might have heard rumours that some big names will be coming, and you’re probably getting worked up about that and wondering about it between yourselves. You shouldn’t be focusing on that.”

“Whoever it seems your audience is, let them see our normal, superior stage! Just do what needs to be done!” The cast, including Kasane-with-Nogiku’s-face-as-Saki and Nobuhiko, break up. Fujihara’s assistant comments, “Big talk. You’re the one who’s most tense, not looking after yourself.” while Fujihara just clutches at himself and tells him to bring his stomach medicine.

Somewhere backstage, the apparition/hallucination of Izana-Sugeyo, Kasane’s mother, is bothering Kasane yet again. You know what stage parents are like. Kasane tells her, “Don’t worry, mother. Like Fujihara says… I’ll do what needs to be done.” She then adds, “And… I’ll surpass you, and your invisible future, and the light. Accept it as a matter of course.”

Later, Nogiku passes through the empty theatre foyer with a staff pass. “Thanks to Habuta, I can easily get into the theater.” She thinks over some steps of her plan as she does them. “First of all, there are two performances per day. During the first performance, choose a time when nobody is around to sneak into the dressing rooms.”

Simultaneously on stage, as she’s doing this, Kasane-as-Saki playing Lady MacBeth is going through the plot-to-murder-King-Duncan scene, with Nobuhiko as MacBeth.
“Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to toe top-full, of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood…”
Nogiku finds the snap clutch case with Kasane’s lipstick. “The lipstick is put away in here. Kasane showed me that it isn’t hidden.”

On stage: “Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes!’” Nogiku compares the lipstick that she brought with Kasane’s. “Just as I thought. The cases are identical; even the wicks are a similar colour.”
“Switch the pair. As for the real lipstick…”, Nogiku thinks, putting the fake into the clutch case and running some water in the sink.

Back to the performance (last time, I promise): “My dearest love, King Duncan comes here tonight.” “And when goes hence?” “Tomorrow, as he purposes.” “O, never, shall sun that ‘morrow see!”

“Kasane… your dreams, your light, your future, all of it… erased.” Nogiku narrates as she destroys the lipstick. As she scrapes the last of it into the sink, she finds herself crying. “Nina… Mother… with this, there will never again be victims like you…!!!” she crows, using far too many exclamations marks than is healthy.

She manages to sort-of regain her composure. “And from here on, it’s vengeance for myself. And for that, the only thing left to do is the exchange/kiss just before the final performance. But this time, the fake lipstick will be in “Saki’s” hand, and despite the kiss, the transformation timespan won’t be reset. In short, twelve hours will have passed since the morning’s exchange, and right in the middle of curtain call, “Saki” will transform into Kasane! I’ll see it for myself… your destiny’s final moment!/destiny’s climax!”


Well, no take-backsies. This seems very much like the beginning of the end for Kasane (both the character and the series). No magic lipstick, no acting career. Though, of course, there’s the obvious question of whether it’s replaceable or not (not to mention how Kasane managed to keep it from wearing out in the first place). And will there be side-effects from getting rid of the lipstick like that?

Kasane, you're... well, what Tilda Swinton said.

As for Nogiku’s scheme, it’s unlikely that it’ll go completely according to plan. But it remains to be seen whether it’ll be a complete screw-up, or if there’ll just be a minor hitch and her basic goal of exposing Kasane’s magic in front of hundreds of people, including major players from the theatre world, will still be achieved.

And of course, there’s still plenty of questions and characters to be explored. Habuta’s history with Izana, Izana’s history with the lipstick and the unknown person she felt responsible for killing, how Izana met Sugeyo, the nature of the Izana ghost/hallucination and whether or not Izana is actually dead, whether or not Nogiku and Amagasaki will meet again, closure for supporting characters like Nobuhiko, Mineyo, and Nina’s parents, etc. (although some of these might have already been explored in the spin-off novel Izana, which I haven’t finished yet). It’s all a rich tapestry.

And, most importantly, there’s the issue of how the relationship between Kasane and Nogiku will develop. Will Kasane ever find out that she has a sister? Will Nogiku ever stop blaming Kasane as a proxy for what Izana and Atae did to Sugeyo and herself? Will they be able to reconcile, or will their worldviews and upbringing prove so incompatible that they’ll destroy each other in the end? Tragedies aren’t known for their happy endings, after all.

Pomelote is the physical embodiment of first-world millenial entitlement. You can contact her on Skype with the name suukebind or Twitter at @poorlicoricekid, if you know any good spam bots. When she has free time, she enjoys putting gross, chewed gum in people's freezers and using their floss without asking.

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