Welcome to my Kimi Shini FAQ, where I take a look at what people are saying about the manga and help address some commonly misconstrued notions regarding the characters and overarching story. I have little inside knowledge on this series, but I hope some of my insights will make things a little clearer.
One good rule of thumb to know about Yoko Taro…
- A huge pet-peeve of his in storytelling is doing the same thing more than once.
- He is a major war and history buff, which is why there are a lot of allusions to historic events and dates in his works.
- He is extremely well-read in literature from around the globe, which you will also find a lot of allusions thrown all over the place.
- He is not afraid to kill off characters. Be warned. No one is safe.
＊ If you have any additional questions or anything that you’d like to see added to this FAQ, please just let me know.
** Spoiler Warning **
It is recommended not to continue reading unless you are caught up with chapters 1-15. Read at your own discression.
1. Regarding the Story
1.1 ーWhy send children to war?
Well, they’re really not taking part in any war so much as they are being used as human weapons in mock battles and other unrelated “hotspots” around the world to test their abilities. The drug that gives people super powers is more effective on young adults. They are all essentially expendable test subjects.
They are dispatched on trial runs in secret— the government covers this up by saying they are going on humanitarian NPO trips to foreign lands to test the kids’ abilities (or lack there of). **If you remember, all the kids who actually died during the Brazil mission were said to have died in a plane crash at the beginning of Chapter 7.** This is clearly a cover-up.
Also, it might be interesting to take a look at the various stages that drugs go through until they are approved for the public:
Phases of clinical research – Wikipedia
According to the list of phases, I would guess the majority of the story we’ve seen thus far would fit somewhere in Phase II: Phase IIA in Brazil, and now Phase IIB in France.
Oh, no… If this is true, then this may also be why Mizukaki seems like a total waste… because he’s the control subject. Maybe that’s also why he’s survived this long because they intentionally injure or knock him out so that he’s out of the way but not out of the trials.
1.2 ーIn war, you want the most people to survive.
If this was war, perhaps, but this “war” is superficial. We have seen very little that even remotely shows that the world has fallen into some sort of desolate war-torn nightmare where nations are actively fighting each other for natural resources. It was pretty much spelled out for you at the end of the Brazil arc that it was STAGED. Just none of the characters have realized what’s really going on.
Therefore, the kids are expendable. What are a few dead rats as long as the strong ones survive? Survival of the fittest. Those who survive, will continue on with tests until they reach their limit and the drug is perfected. There is a seemingly infinite number of students to use as test subjects, so they really don’t care who lives or who dies as long as the R&D team makes progress.
1.3 ーThe “bad politician” thing is very cliche.
Yes, it is, which is why that’s not the point here. They are mere pawns to the real group in control from backstage. This is probably the secret agency that Rokusho belongs to. They seem to be playing a more active role in recent chapters, especially disposing of many political figures like the congressman who was caught having sex with an underaged boy (?).
1.4 ーKuroi is not interesting.
He’s not meant to be entirely likeable, but I believe you are meant to find something good in him. That’s what makes his darker side feel like such a betrayal. I think you’re meant to feel undecided when it comes to liking or hating him. It’s a little besides the point whether or not you think that he would have become this way simply by being able to hear the thoughts of people around him. Everyone is different and experiences things differently. Simply because you might be able to come out of these experiences unscathed doesn’t mean he could. That’s just the way life works.
1.5 ーI’m done with Kuroi. I’m okay with anti-hero characters, but they need to have some sort of moral code.
Okay. Everyone is different, so we’re all free to like or dislike characters as we please for any reason. But characters are free from outside judgement as they only exist within the story. They act and behave only as tools of the author to tell whatever story he wants. We are just innocent bystanders. If things don’t go the way we want them to or something changes the way we feel about the story in general, we can stop and let it go at any time. The moment you start blaming a character for acting the way he does or the author for writing a character in such a way is probably a good clue that this particular story is not for you; and that’s okay. Just don’t let it eat you up in the process. xP
1.6 ーThe relationship between Kuroi and Mashiro is crap. He’s only manipulating her.
Of course, there’s a lot of manipulating going on in this story, but I don’t see Kuroi doing much of this. He is just a product of his madness. He gets off by watching her go insane and destroy things; he thinks it’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. He loves her in a very unusual way, so much that he will kill for her…and he will even die for her. If need be, he will even kill her himself if necessary. So, I think it’s more accurate that Mashiro manipulates Kuroi… because she is his sole reason for doing anything. She is the only one he can’t read, which is what initially attracted him to her and why he MUST ALWAYS be with her. Anyone else is unnecessary, which is why he can so easily swat any fly that bothers him…like randomly making annoying people commit suicide. 😛
1.7 ーWhy do all the interesting characters die?
Well, it’s sort of a trademark of Yoko Taro’s works. ^^; He is not afraid to kill off a character on a whim or for commonly dubbed “bait and switch”. But with Yoko Taro, he often does things for a larger effect or a commentary on norms of any kind, including the structure of literary works.
We as a global society are constantly bombarded with movies from Hollywood and have become brainwashed with the norms of storytelling. Typically the first young, dashing male character in the opening scene is going to be the main character, right?. He is strong, handsome, and well-liked by his peers. Then suddenly by scene two, he’s dead. Woops. I guess he *wasn’t* the main character after all. I don’t think this was done purely as bait and switch tactics, and it wasn’t done to laugh or somehow torture the reader. I think it was more of a jab at all the other stories out there that follow the same pattern.
And if one knows anything about Yoko Taro, you’ll know that he doesn’t like doing the same thing twice or following a “safe” path that has been taken before. He often litters his stories with damaged, faulty characters. Can a murderer also be partially good? Can a sweet girl also be a bloodthirsty monster that cannot die? It’s not all BLACK and WHITE but rather a mix of both, one working off the other, a mutual co-existence. And here is my obligatory reference to Yin and Yang as stated on the Wikipedia page:
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, fire and water, expanding and contracting) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolized by yin and yang.
Yin: black, female, earth, north, cloudy, night, cold, odd numbers, docile
Yang: white, male, heaven, south, sunshine, day-time, hot, even numbers, dominant
1.8 ーKuroi is a hypnotist. Not a mind reader.
He’s a bit of both. Originally as a child, he could read non-verbals from other people as clearly as though they had actually spoken their thoughts aloud. This ability grew and intensified against his control until he was bombarded by it daily. This experience could have very well been what started him down his dark path [See more with #3 below].
Now, since he’s essentially “reading” people and their intentions, this indirectly makes it seem as though he’s actually reading their minds…which I’m not quite positive on. At times, it seems as though he is able to understand another’s thoughts, hear them clear as day, as though that person actually spoke them, but I think this may simply be an illusion or misinterpretation since we see this sort of writing even when Kuroi is not present.
There are times where it seems like he is also able to see past memories and events that have occurred to an individual, unless this is still inferred through his heightened senses (this type of mind-reading, or mind-melding, has also occurred between other characters besides Kuroi).
1.9 ーIf Kuroi heard the thoughts of somebody, he did it intentionally.
Although this may be true for Kuroi as he is presently in the story, this is certainly not the case when he was a young boy. Please have another look at Chapter 7. He was not able to control this ability for much of his younger years… Thoughts and feelings simply radiated from people like ripples in water that he could not avoid. This was completely involuntary at first. This is what caused him to shy away from people and shut himself inside because he couldn’t trust people.
1.10 ーKuroi’s only known Mashiro for like a year. How can he suddenly be madly in love or obsessed with her?
They have only known each other for about a year in real time, yes. But given Kuroi’s history of interacting with people and being able to read everyone, life’s gotten boring and dull. His world is nothing but shadow. Then suddenly in comes Mashiro like a brilliant dawn the likes of which this world has never seen. He cannot read her. This is a first, a first unknown. Something new in a sea of certainty. Suddenly, he is presented with a mystery, and this intrigues him. Why can’t he read her? Who is she? She must be special. This sets off his obsession mode, one of many traits that clinical studies on psychopaths have proven (I’ll write more on that later). For now, all that matters is Mashiro. And please note that this is something other than “love”, however, there could come a time where “redemption” could be possible through Mashiro’s innocent and kind influence on him [please refer to my Yin/Yang analogy above for more info: #1.7].
1.11 ーKuroi has no real feelings for Mashiro. All he does is lie to her.
The subject of “feelings” with Kuroi is not easily discussed, and there could be a wide range of explanations for this; but one thing is clear: Kuroi is wildly infatuated with Mashiro. I honestly do not recall a single moment in which Kuroi outright lies to her face. There are a couple times, however, that he chooses not to tell her something, like when Asagi hands him the taser that nullified her Berserker Mode after the Brazil mission. I believe she is still clueless that she was shot point-blank multiple times and still survived… and I really doubt she knows that she’s already gone berserk twice… Still, the reason WHY Kuroi chooses not to tell her about these topics is actually to protect her… it keeps her in the fold, in the school, and close to him.
1.12 ーHumans are created inherently good. It’s implausible that Kuroi would be so heartless! People care for each other! Care Bear Stare!! <3 <3 <3
I think a good psychology class would be of some help here, or maybe just a brief look down at #3 below at how psychopaths come into being. People are only the product of their experience over time. A perfectly innocent, caring individual CAN turn into a heartless murderer if given the right circumstances. There doesn’t even need to be any “tell-tale” sign of trouble for someone to suddenly snap one day and kill multiple people. Adam Lanza is just one recent example.
There are many, many academic studies on this topic if you could bother yourself with a quick Google search:
- FBI.gov: All about Serial Killers
- FBI.gov: Serial Murder
- Psychology Today: The Making of a Serial Killer
- Psychology Today: What We Found Wrong in the Brain of a Serial Killer
- Fort Lewis: Case Studies of Seven Offenders
- National Center for Crisis Management: Nature vs. Nurture
- Daily Mail: Born to Kill
- Daily Mail: How to Spot a Serial Killer
- Scientific American: What Causes Someone to Act on Violent Impulses…?
- AvvoStories: Common Traits of Serial Killers
Please, please, please… Do your homework before you feel like throwing around your baseless opinions with no viable scientific proof to back it up. Also, proper grammar is appreciated.
2. The Overall Scanlation Project
2.1 ーForeign Languages are Displayed Backwards
This has been explained before but here it is again: This is exactly the same way as the original Japanese text was displayed. I changed nothing with this design. It is written in mirrored Japanese text to represent the fact that it is a foreign language that Kuroi can somehow understand through the use of his powers even though he does not speak that language. It would be pointless to use Google translate to put in Portuguese or French in areas that were never actually WRITTEN in those languages to begin with., not to mention totally defeat the purpose. Besides… anyone who speaks more than one language would tell you to stay away from instant translation programs as they are far from perfect.
2.2 ーThe early chapters have sub-par work. Text bubbles read from left to right one second then switches to right to left. What gives?
I attempted to “Westernize” the text in relation to Left-to-Right reading in English. I do not read scanlations, and therefore was not familiar with common translation or editing practices. Many people gave me constructive feedback from which I was able to learn and make adjustments to future chapters. Even so, the early chapters will stay as they are since I have little time to revisit them. I’m very sorry for any inadequacy or lack of ability in this production. I am working as hard as I can.
2.3 ーWhat is this “Fire Sanctuary” title?
This is the name of my website that I’ve been running for over a decade. This is also the name that I chose for my Scanlation work in which it is a single-person production team. I purchase, scan, edit, translate, typeset, and upload everything on my own. I realize that my abilities may be lacking in several areas, but the sole reason why I’m doing this in the first place is because I am a huge fan of Yoko Taro’s work.
2.4 ーIf you have the original pages of the chapters, can you give me the RAWs?
I have already covered this in my personal FAQ, so please allow me to reiterate what it says there:
I’m very sorry but no. I will not supply raws. I have personally purchased the magazines in which the manga is published in order to do this. I would hope that others would do the same. When at all possible, please support the creators by first purchasing the material. If you want clean copies of the chapters, I suggest purchasing it, just like I did.
3. Why Do People Become Psychopaths?
Doing a little research on the psychology of psychopaths, there may be many clues in here that psychologically explains how or why Kuroi has become a complete psychopath. It’s not as ridiculous as you might imagine.
“Psychopaths are often thought of as cold-blooded criminals who take what they want without thinking about consequences,” Joshua Buckholtz, a graduate student in the department of psychology and lead author of the new study, said.
“We found that a hyper-reactive dopamine reward system may be the foundation for some of the most problematic behaviors associated with psychopathy, such as violent crime, recidivism and substance abuse.”
Previous research on psychopathy has focused on what these individuals lack—fear, empathy and interpersonal skills.
As Kuroi’s powers developed to be able to involuntarily listen in to the inner thoughts of people, over time he lost a lot of what normally developed individuals have. He becomes desensitized to fear. At first, he was greatly fearful of what people really thought, and this caused him to back away from people, but this was a sort of fear that was cured through time and power.
His sensing ability would have given him a power complex, as we have clearly seen in the pages of his backstory. He becomes curious what he’s able to do and tests various things, each time getting a little more and more sadistic until he’s inflicting injury on others, stealing or doing things to get whatever he wants, or controlling people. He can do things horrible things to other people because he has lost his ability to empathize with anyone outside of his head.
Being locked up in his own brain for much of his childhood, not shown any positive emotion or love from his mother or other family, he would have grown accustomed to shut himself inside and be rather introverted. As we’ve seen, he has NO friends…because he can’t trust anyone, and why would he need to when he has the power to do whatever he wants? He lost trust in other people and gained it in himself. This broke the final chain he had with fear and was finally let go of his humanity…
“The new research, however, examines what they have in abundance—impulsivity, heightened attraction to rewards and risk-taking.
Importantly, it is these latter traits that are most closely linked with the violent and criminal aspects of psychopathy.”
This fits perfectly with the time leading up to meeting Mashiro. Kuroi was doing whatever he wanted, breaking rules, committing crimes, having sex with many girls, etc. He fell into a cycle of controlling people impulsively because “winning” felt good. He felt powerful, each win giving him the necessary positive reinforcement to continue the cycle.
“There has been a long tradition of research on psychopathy that has focused on the lack of sensitivity to punishment and a lack of fear, but those traits are not particularly good predictors of violence or criminal behavior,” David Zald, associate professor of psychology and psychiatry and co-author of the study, said.
“Our data is suggesting that something might be happening on the other side of things. These individuals appear to have such a strong draw to reward—to the carrot—that it overwhelms the sense of risk or concern about the stick.”
This would also explain Kuroi’s nonchalant demeanour when he kills someone on a whim. He’s so in his own world, unable to relate with the feelings of others or the consequences of his actions (because no one can catch him!) that he sees nothing wrong with swatting an annoying fly away, even if that fly is actually an innocent classmate. He can’t differentiate between the two.