“Unconsciously, my finger silently cracked—“
I’ve got a bit of preamble this week. I’m writing this after having waited for MS to release their version of the chapter, but in retrospect I liked Helvetica a lot more. Putting aside the fact that they were a lot faster, it feels more like a literal translation cleaned up in order to make grammatical and stylistic sense, which is exactly what I’m after from a scanlation group. Just like IS used to do, MS takes a lot of liberties with the way they translate – and honestly it feels more like a localisation than a fan translation at times, which annoys the purist within me. Some lines are aesthetic decisions, and I can accept that. Others have clearly been localised, with Matsuri telling Urie to ‘cleanse the beach’ in Helvetica becoming ‘make this beach pretty again’ when translated by MS. On occasion it even causes confusion, because Kaneki telling himself ‘I just need to do my job’ (MS) has an entirely different implication to ‘I will do what I need’ (Helvetica). I don’t know what the original sentence said, but MS has implied that Kaneki will be defending Cochlea. It’ll be interesting to see how the scanlation scene for this series develops now that MS has started to face some competition in recent weeks.
Anyway. And here I was thinking last week’s chapter was already intense! I didn’t realize at first that this is essentially what we’ve been waiting for this entire time – not Centipede crawling inside Cochlea (definitely not coincidentally a part of the inner ear canal, need I mention) but rather Kaneki’s inner thoughts as Kaneki. All this time we’ve only seen him from an external perspective, and this chapter was the first time we’ve been able to properly get into his conscious thoughts and into his head – well, we don’t hear his thoughts, but his actions this week speak volumes and are more than representative of his mindset. And what a mess it is.
He’s been acting stoic and emotionless this entire time, but the very moment he’s alone he then does something I never thought the current Kaneki would do, just like how I thought he’d never smile – he curls up on the floor and fucking cries and shakes, telling himself that he has to do what he needs. Holy shit. And mixed in with my shock is quite a bit of confusion too, because I don’t know what Kaneki’s feeling and I have a suspicion that he’s not quite sure himself. Is it fear, at having to fight Arima? Is it guilt, over having to betray Arima? As Haise, his memories start from when Arima was kind to him – when Arima gave him books, company and helped him with his name (the derivative kanji interestingly being ‘coffee world’ put together, which I assume is a reference to Anteiku). But now that he’s Kaneki again, he’s also remembered the time when he was still himself, when Arima gouged out his eyes, walked into his cell and told him that all his friends were dead, because he killed them all like a heartless bastard. I guess Koma and Irimi really aren’t coming back, huh.
You know, I didn’t realize Number 240 was Kaneki at first – I thought he was looking in a current prisoner, and it took me a panel or so of thinking he looked a lot like post-Aogiri Kaneki before it suddenly dawned on me that it was Kaneki. After all, I was under the impression that his time as Haise started right after Arima gouged out his eyes – I thought it was the damage inflicted during that V14 battle which was responsible for his amnesia. So it’s interesting that he actually grew back his eyes (before clawing them out himself every night), still had his memories and was in the same unstable mental condition he had at the end of the original manga until the shock of learning everyone was dead suppressed his Kaneki personality. Haise was born at that moment. I wonder what they would have done if Kaneki had stayed mentally deranged the entire time – were they counting on him developing amnesia? By the way, ‘oedipism’ as a medical term means ‘serious self-inflicted eye injury’. And in Greek mythology Oedipus stabs out his own eyes. He also kills his own father, the king, and wins his throne. I hope you see where I’m going with this.
Even if we put aside the Oedipus analogy I think it’s quite obvious that Kaneki is planning to turn traitor. And this internal turmoil has led to an emotional breakdown, because at the same time he’s formed attachments within the CCG – which do include his relationship with Arima, and with the Qs like we saw last week. He hasn’t become cold and emotionless, he’s just gotten a lot better at pretending he has. I don’t know whether doing what he ‘needs’ involves breaking prisoners out of Cochlea, but a direct conflict with Arima is almost unavoidable at this point. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s feeling both guilt and fear, because now he remembers the V14 fight and how powerless he was even at what was then his best. What’s more perplexing is Arima himself – what does he think of Haise? How would he react if Kaneki betrayed him? Does he feel anything for Haise beyond perceiving him as an autonomous quinque? Haise thanked him with all his heart when he got his new name, and Arima just… looks at him. What is that supposed to mean? What the fuck does that face mean, Arima?
No matter what Kaneki plans to do within Cochlea, it clearly wasn’t him who set off the alarm. He looks shocked in that last panel. It also wasn’t Ayato, he hadn’t yet done anything when the alarm went off (who knows where he even got a Cochlea key card) meaning that most likely intruder is Amon. Hopefully with Kuro. As hyped up as the Cochlea side of things is getting, Ishida will probably go back to the Rue Island stuff so he can drag the suspense out of a couple more weeks – it’d be just like him to do something like that. As exciting as the Qs now are and the Houji match-ups will be (as well as some Ui redemption scenes, given that it only took him three pages into the raid to kill some ghouls this time!) I think we’re all more looking forward to Kaneki and Amon instead. Hinami, just wait a little longer okay? Onii-chan’s coming for you!