Last night I had this dream that somehow combined Kyou Kara Maou with Disney’s Gargoyles. I was Elisa, except that somehow I was a newspaper reporter instead of a cop. We were picking up where Gargoyles left off, except since I never saw the end of Gargoyles (I stopped watching when it started getting all mystical), I guess my subconscious was making stuff up. In my dream history, the Gargoyles had all left for another dimension through a stone archway. I ended up changing that history by asking Goliath to stay and go to prison–he’d been sentenced, and that’s why they were fleeing, and I wanted to clear his name and get Gargoyles and humans to be able to work together. He wasn’t really all that into it, but he loved me and was willing to give my plan a shot.
So I led him to jail and he went in peacefully, and I was thinking that it was just like that episode of Lois and Clark where Superman went to prison–he could have escaped easily, but he chose to be in there to validate the system. So noble! Then I retrieved a stack of letters that had been written and preaddressed that I needed to send to people who might be sympathetic to our cause. The letters had been prepared by someone on orders of the Shinou (here’s where Kyou Kara Maou comes in). I was getting ready to take them out and mail them, and then go home and write an article for the paper that would run the day after the people received their letters, when this woman came along who I had to schmooze. I let her take the letters, reluctantly, because I knew she would trust me if I did. I wasn’t sure if she would actually put them in the mail though; I was worried. The guy I was working with showed up and asked for a key, and I realized that the key was in a packet of stuff bundled with the letters. The woman came out and said “If you need that key, you’ll have to ask me,” and dramatically handed it over, like she was very proud to have it. The guy looked at me as if I’d betrayed him, and I felt stupid.
Later, the woman kept coming on to me, and I really wasn’t into that, but I couldn’t protest or she’d get suspicious.
At some point I was talking to the guy about the Shinou, and I said, “Don’t you wonder sometimes about his real motivations?” The guy seemed reluctant to respond. Everyone in the dream who had orders from the Shinou followed them without question (like the girl in episode 46).
So this dream sort of crystallized my thoughts about the Shinou, and now I think I’ve come to a realization. To illustrate it, let me go through what we know about his activities:
Thousands(?) of years ago, the man who would become the Shinou (
literally “new king”, I believe Great/Imperial King) worked with the man who would become the Great Sage to stop someone from destroying the world. Together, they sealed this person’s powers into four separate boxes. Each box could only be opened with a key, and each key was carried by a person in a family line trusted by the two men. The houses of Weller (left arm) and Brischella von Walde (left eye) were chosen. At this point, I don’t think we know the other two keys. (These keys can apparently only be controlled by their owners, or by someone who is compelling them via the Wincott poison.)
After the battle was finally over, the Shinou gathered up all the people with natural magical abilities (demon powers) and founded a nation for them, called Shin Makoku (
New Great/Imperial Demon Country). He became the first Maou (Demon King). The Shinou established Ketsumei-jo (Blood Pledge Castle) as the “perfect” fortress, the pledge being that the Maou would protect the people and that the castle would only obey the Maou.
At some point, the Shinou’s temple was established in the mountains just beyond Ketsumei-jo, and the Miko (priestesses) were installed there to listen to the will of the Shinou, who inhabited the temple after his death. The Genshi Miko (Original? Maiden), the most honored of the miko and the one who communicates directly with the Shinou, has apparently always been frozen at a young age (there have been at least two of them); she uses a crystal ball with which to communicate with the Shinou and to see what’s happening in the world around her. The priestesses are forbidden to ever leave the temple.
At some point, presumably ~800 years ago (when Ulrike became the Genshi Miko), the Genshi Miko Ondine is commanded by the Shinou to leave the temple and live in a magical oasis near what was once dead terrain. Her sole purpose at this point is to coerce Shibuya Yuuri to drink magically charged water from the lake, thus creating a pact between him and the water element. (In order to use Majutsu, or demon powers, Mazoku must form a pact with an element. Their abilities are therefore more “natural” than those of regular humans, who build shrines and pray to their gods for powers.) Ondine waits for her time to come, and as she does she fosters a community in the forest, taking care of the people, animals, and plants there.
A few hundred years before the present time, the ancestor of Dai Shimaron’s King Belal attacks the Weller family and attempts to take the left arm of the head of the family. Weller severs his own arm and hurls it into the sea, pledging it back to the Shinou. The arm disappears once it is underwater; the Shinou has taken it back. The head of the Weller household is killed, and his son is taken in by King Belal’s ancestor. In future generations, the Wellers become wards of this human king’s line, so that their former status in Shin Makoku is lost to history.
Somewhere along the line, in the distant past,
but after Ondine is installed at the magic lake, [not necessarily!] a box, very likely The Mirror at the Bottom of the Sea, is sent to “another world” through a portal in the sky. My thinking is that the Shinou did the sending, and that the “other world” is Yuuri’s Earth.
In the more recent past, the Shinou selects Cecilie von Spitzberg as the next Maou. It is later revealed that his sole purpose for this is so that she can meet and marry Dan Hiri Weller. It’s not much of a stretch to conclude that the purpose of this is to produce the key for one of the boxes (Conrad).
20 years ago, war broke out between Shin Makoku and the humans, due at least partly to Cecilie’s impotent leadership, and her brother Stoffel’s ineptitude. Anti-human prejudice is thick in the people of Shin Makoku, and this causes anyone with human blood, including Conrad and Yozak, to attempt to prove themselves by going to the front lines. Of their unit, Conrad and Yozak are the only survivors, and Conrad’s valor earns him the title of “Rutenberg Patriot”. Despite the heavy losses, they were successful in warding off what could have been a devastating human attack. Fueled by anger and jealousy that a human contingent did so much for Shin Makoku, Geigen Huber Brischella leads his own contingent deep into enemy lines. His attack isn’t successful at all and costs many lives. Conrad’s “special” person, and the fiancee of nobleman Adelbert von Gratz, Susanna Julia von Wincott, dies when she uses too much Majutsu helping the wounded. Adelbert decides that the Mazoku leadership is incompetent and defects.
Upon Before Julia’s death, the Shinou tells her he has chosen her spirit to be reincarnated as the next Maou. Julia agrees to this fully, and this is why she recklessly uses up all her Majutsu helping the injured. Additionally, she has no regrets whatsoever about her decisions in life, and this results in her spirit forming a perfect white sphere.
The Shinou tasks Conrad with taking Julia’s soul to Earth to be implanted in the child of a Mazoku man and human woman there, as Julia wished for him to be the one to do it.
For the new Maou’s father, the Shinou chooses Shibuya Shouma. The Shibuyas have been important somehow in Earth’s Mazoku hierarchy; Earth’s Maou, Bob, has worked with them long before present occurrences, and even chooses Shouma’s first son, Shori, to be his own successor.
In the present, the Shinou gives Conrad the arm of his ancient ancestor, in exchange for the vow to leave Yuuri’s side. Conrad accepts. Yuuri, however, does not accept this, and ultimately it’s Murata Ken, the Great Sage, who causes Conrad to return. In conversation with the Shinou, Murata says, “I know this isn’t the way you wanted it, but this is better, I think.” The implication is that the Shinou wanted Yuuri and Conrad permanently separated. It’s already been mentioned that bad things happen to those who don’t obey the Shinou. Things might be different for the Great Sage, however; obviously the Shinou himself anticipated his return, because Ondine knew it would happen. The question is whether or not the Shinou anticipated Murata’s interference with his plans.
So. Ultimately, the Shinou has been molding Yuuri’s rule for thousands of years. He’s been carefully putting the pieces into place; the question is, what is he trying to build? He was willing to sacrifice thousands of his people in a pointless war in order to ensure Conrad’s birth (perhaps he couldn’t have foreseen that Cecilie’s rule would bring about war, but at the very least he knew he was installing a Maou who wasn’t suited to rule). He carefully took away one of the four boxes so that the humans couldn’t get them all before Yuuri did. He arranged for Yuuri to make a powerful pact with the water element. He chose Yuuri, son of a “noble” Mazoku family who perhaps came with innate talents of his own. He chose Julia, whose entire life was an act of love and self-sacrifice. He may possibly have been the one who arranged for the implantation of the Great Sage (“Christine” in his most recent life) into Murata–obviously Bob was involved there, at least.
It seems that he was preparing for a time when all the boxes and all the keys would be available. He wanted the Great Sage there, because who better to handle them than the one who’d created them? He wanted a Maou with extraordinary powers unlike any his people had seen in ages (perhaps since himself). And yet–he wanted his Maou to be sensitive, and he wanted him to be betrayed by the very person who was in star-crossed love with his soul.
What is the purpose of this?
Was the betrayal purely an exercise in maturity for Yuuri, or was there something more sinister there? Did the Shinou hope to break Yuuri, to unleash his raw power? (Against the boxes, to destroy them? Against the humans?) Or was the Shinou banking on the strength of Julia’s spirit, of her way of living with no regrets, to foster Yuuri’s innocence through troubling times? Was he simply trying to give Yuuri the hardest thing he could ever have to deal with early on, to prepare him for something horrible? Murata has already mentioned that even darker times are coming…
I would just like to know if, ultimately, the Shinou’s goals mesh with Yuuri’s. If Yuuri’s refusal to destroy is mirrored in the Shinou’s plans, or if the Shinou has something else in mind entirely. Ultimately, will Yuuri have to disobey the Shinou?
Actually, the Shinou hasn’t given Yuuri any direct orders yet. It seems that he is perfectly happy to let Yuuri do whatever he wants–but he’ll pull other strings along the way to provoke him. Will this eventually come to a head?
Also, is there a particular reason the Shinou wanted Yuuri to have water powers? It’s true that earth and fire powers are already available in the Ketsumei-jo court (Gwendal and Wolfram, respectively), so water rounds things out nicely, but is that the only reason? Why is it that Yuuri travels through water to get to his kingdom? Is it because of his own innate water abilities, or is it because Murata also has a pact with water?
Man, I love this show.
[Edited on 1/13/06 for minor errors/new information]