Black Lagoon Episode 1 “The Black Lagoon” (2006) Madhouse
Kara no Kyoukai Episode 2 “A Study in Murder Pt 1” (2007) Ufotable
The Taijitu, a Reoccuring symbol in the series is traditionally associated with Chinese philosophy and contains the Ying and Yang which correspond with Masculine and feminine ideas. According to wikipedia
Yin is the black side with the white dot in it, and yang is the white side with the black dot in it. The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley. Yin (literally the ‘shady place’ or ‘north slope’) is the dark area occluded by the mountain’s bulk, while yang (literally the ‘sunny place’ or ‘south slope’) is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed. Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity, and nighttime. Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.
The little dot of opposing color within each half represents, according to some, the bit of female in the male and the bit of male in the female. The second victim represents what Shiki is going through internally, her identity split into two beings inside of one body, the masculine SHIKI personality, and her normal Shiki personality. The fourth victim brings it all together by having the Taijitu actually carved into their body
Also props to Ufotable for tying together the Lens from Tsukihime with the overall thematic imagery. My hat is off to you.
Really nice observation, and it matches up quite nicely with my initial theory of Shiki’s color choices for her kimono (mostly anyway): [link]
It really drives the point that while Shiki has “two personalities”, put together these two personalities are still representative of one collective whole of a person known as Ryougi Shiki. “Shiki” being representative of her withdrawn/passive side, and “SHIKI” being representative of her impulsive/destructive side. It’s the very reason why Touko describes her condition as a “Compound Individual Personality”. It’s not as simple “two people” in “one”, it’s two parts of a single person’s whole, with both personalities acting on varying priorities of said person’s needs and wants.
Framing Shiki’s trauma this way really shows how much the loss of “SHIKI” had emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually stunted her as a person. The loss of what characterized her inner most impulses (“SHIKI”) was what created that detachment inside of her as well as her memories during the incident. It further reinforces the thematic symbolism behind Shiki’s role and motif as a "shikigami" too (hence Shiki), complete with the concept of emptiness and all the doll/puppet imagery within the series.
To add on, it’s also kinda scary when you realize that the idea of the “dot” present within both opposing color in the Taiji symbol is the exact reasoning behind Lio’s fascination for Shiki. As a misanthrope, Lio grew to hate both women and men, and it’s the reason why he obsessed over Shiki so much, since he viewed her as neither. As such, Lio was described as actually being attracted towards the feminine characteristics of the masculine persona “SHIKI” (Nasu even used the term “anima”), in which that very motif even stretched towards his transgender mentality.
This added layer of complexity certainly sheds light as to why Lio believes that he understands Shiki “the best” as he was actually attracted to the personality that outwardly expressed Ryougi Shiki’s inner most impulses/desires (“SHIKI” in this case). Still, the fact that Lio’s attraction is distinguished as being focused not only towards the masculine side, but also the inner femininity of said masculine personality, really lends to the Taiji theme prevalent within Kara no Kyoukai.
I have to say the integration the Taiji with the way the series addresses gender is probably one of the things I most admire about its thematic structure. And you’re absolutely right It’s not as simple as two people one body. I mispoke.
Oh no, I didn’t mean to step on your post or anything like that. While in retrospect, your phrasing certainly could have been better, I figured what you were implying anyway so I didn’t think it important to point out/correct it (especially since I really do love the observation you made with the murders in correlation with Shiki’s internal conflict).
Agreed, it’s one of the things that I love about the series. The concept of duality and the various motifs (shikigami, Taiji theory, etc.) really add to the storytelling; not just in writing (partly Nasu and partly Ufotable's adaptation), but also in terms of Ufotable's amazing scene direction and use of imagery. What I love is that these things aren't just random quirks to “spice up” the story, they're integral parts that add to the overall thematic structure of the narrative and lore presented within Kara no Kyoukai.