Well, over at Steven’s place, I remarked, “And that dangling question they left open for the sequel? I don’t think so. I think I know the answer, and I’m going to go back through the series for the next couple of days to see if I’m right. Of course, the last time I came up with a bit of wild speculation, I was way off base. And the time before that too. And probably the time before that…”
One of the really nice things about Shingu’s thinpak is that they didn’t use it as an excuse to strip all the extras out. The discs had a number of the usual extras like production sketches and character bios. They weren’t bad about including heavy spoilers in them (though there were some minor ones.) The real prize was the inclusion of a 40+ page booklet with a lot of extras explaining some of the puns and jokes in the show, including Nautya’s most horribly embarrassing moment, and a couple of jokes at the end about giving someone cushions (or taking them away). Reading them in the booklet saved me the effort of asking about them here — it almost feels like cheating.
However, it also contains a lengthy interview with the director of the series in which he also addresses the “dangling question” at the end of the show. It is a HUGE spoiler, so I’m hiding it both below the fold AND behind the spoiler tag. If you haven’t seen the series, do not go there. For one thing, you won’t understand it if you haven’t seen it. For another, if you plan to see it, reading this first will mess up your expectations, as well as how the ending plays out for you.
If you haven’t seen the show, go away. Now.
The big question is, “where did Muryou Suburu come from?” For the longest time, I’d thought he was the grandson of the old guy at the mountain temple, but it became obvious before the end that I was wrong. Finally, at the end of the show, he confesses that he didn’t even know himself from whence he came. Mulling this over, I thought up a different explanation, but it didn’t work for me. Then it dawned on me who he was.
He’s Mungen. More precisely, he’s a shard/reflection/fragment of Mungen’s power. At some level, Mungen is still self-aware and he remembers what he did. He has no desire to ever risk that again; he wants to remain sealed. Therefore he (probably unconsciously) created Muryou and sent him to join Setsuna. Together, they assist the Chosen and the Protectors in making sure that Mungen stays hidden and unawakened. I believe Setsuna is aware of this, and that’s one of the reasons she’s fond of him; Mungen was her older brother, and having Muryou around is like having him back in some way.
So when I got home a little while ago, I picked up the book and started reading. Lo and behold:
Q: So what was Muryou in the end?
A: Hmmmm…like a God…but nothing so grand. I’m sure he’ll continue in Tenmo with his classmates. I had ideas about him being Mugen, who turned into energy, and that his energy materialized into Muryou, but I figure if I spell out everything, it’s no fun.
Which suggests that I’m on the right track, but there’s even more to it than that. I’m just going to have to rewatch it and see if I can figure out more. I’m fairly certain I also know what’s in a certain odd shrine, so I’m going to have to see if that guess it correct too.
Update: another thought:
Let sleeping Gods lie.
Well, it is, if you’re dyslexic….