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The Toys of Thanatos

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Alchea


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PostSubject: The Toys of Thanatos Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:59 pm#1

Some of you may perhaps know of my efforts to read all of Sound Horizon in its original language and also how my efforts are mainly centered in Thanatos at the moment. That has allowed me to understand some bits of information and, after talking about it with Thanako, she requested me to write about it there.

So here I am.

This post's main focus is the first song inside the album, Soko ni Aru Fuukei. Sound Horizon's stories are highly dependent of their first songs, as they are the ones that usually explain most of the essentials bits necessary to connect the rest. Soko ni Aru Fuukei is no exception, even if it's true that it is one of the hardest to grasp.

That said, I would want first to refresh everyone's memory with a fragment of the song itself. I will include both japanese and my own translations to english. However, please understand that I'm no native english speaker and these may not be perfect.

Soko ni Aru Fuukei wrote:
そこに在る風景・・・
The view over there is…

屋根裏 埃まみれの小部屋 古びた玩具箱
An attic. An small room covered in dust. An old toybox.

そこに在る風景・・・
The view over there is…

四色の闇 転がり落ちた玩具 残酷な遊戯
Darkness in four colors. Toys that rolled down. A cruel game.

そこに在る風景・・・
The view over there is…

偽りの玩具 壊れたマリオネット 月夜のナイフ
A toy of lies, the broken marionette. A knife of a moonlit night.

そこに在る風景・・・
The view over there is…

後悔の玩具 銀色の馬車 吹雪のエレジ-
A toy of regrets, the silver carriage. An elegy of the snowstorm.

そこに在る風景・・・
The view over there is…

願いの玩具 輪廻の砂時計 星空のポエム
A toy of wishes, the Samsara Hourglass. A poem of the starry sky.

そこに在る風景・・・
The view over there is…

孤独の玩具 珊瑚の城 海底のプリズン
A toy of solitude, the coral castle. A prison under the sea.

Now, let's try to analyze what it is trying to tell us:

This song is, as its repeated time and time again, about what the main character can see from where she is: the night, a traveller... However, the view slowly gets closer and closer to the one who is looking. It moves from the outside to her dusty room and the toys that fell out of her old toybox: four toys which the song describes as "four colors of darkness" (exactly the same word insistently used in Chronicle to point at the darkness devouring their would, I would like to point).

And after that happened... a cruel game takes place.

The nature of the game? It may well be unclear, but we are given other interesting information: an explanation regarding the nature of each toy in, probably, the opinion of their owner. In other words, these are reflections of her:


  • The first, the broken marionette, is described to represent lies and the association with a knife probably talks about death too.

  • The second takes the form of the silver carriage, the one who carries regrets through a snowstorm.

  • The third is in charge of her wishes and it would be the Samsara Hourglass. If you take into account that Samsara is the name of the cycle of death and rebirth in which many oriental philosophies believe in, it gets interesting.

  • And the fourth and last is the Coral Castle, which represents the solitude that she probably lived.


Once their introduction finishes, the song closes by giving us proper information about the girl who watches over said view... The owner of those four. But that doesn't mean that the toys' job is finished. As representative aspects of the girl and as the objetcs that represent her lies, regrets, wishes and solitude; they are also given the task to carry the story over their shoulders for the next four songs...

Which are precisely named like each one of the four toys. And so, the fantasies associated with each of them allow us to take a peek at her mind, and what she associates with each of the keywords.


Last edited by Alchea on Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:04 am; edited 5 times in total
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Ghostie

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PostSubject: Re: The Toys of Thanatos Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:23 pm#2

Very nice findings...It wasn't clear to me that each song was represented by a toy and it gives a lot of insight into Thanatos' overall structure and symbolism. It makes a lot more sense and makes Thanatos a bit easier to understand with a structure similar to other releases.

The biggest thought coming out of this is how it can assist our understanding in other releases. Particularly, Another Roman is the most blatant release that references the idea of the broken toys with the mechanical Hortensia and Violette. If you ask me, what these represent are cycles that have gone on for far too long.

Looking at the cyclical nature of Thanatos and Roman (all of Sound Horizon really, but just the two we're looking at here), it certainly makes sense. It's implied that the nightmares of Thanatos are repeated over and over, similar to the story of Hiver and the search for the story of his birth. Another Roman is implied to be, well, another loop in the Roman universe. Particularly, it picks up from the end of Yaneura Roman, with the "Genjitsu...gensou" opening bit by Hiver. It then proceeds to play the melody of Asa to Yoru, with the twist of it being...distorted, dysfunctional, and broken down. The broken dolls represent a toxic cycle that has wilted away the very existence of the Roman cast.

Now, if we look at the toys and their individual meanings, we have...
  • Lies
  • Regrets
  • Wishes
  • Solitude

this list was totally unnecessary i just did it because I think it looks cool

These are all overarching themes throughout Sound Horizon, giving credence to the line of thought that the main girl of Thanatos is related to the creator and has some powerful influences. Particularly in Roman, it's a horizon where the idea of a liar is quite important, as the listener is asked to find the answer to the "Who is the liar?" question. All the others apply very strongly to Roman, further strengthening the link between the toys of Thanatos and Roman.

I was just really taken in by this post and immediately started thinking of how it applies to other releases--a true testament of is significance. In summary, the structure of Thanatos keys us into essential aspects of the girl that manifest themselves throughout the Horizons, and one only has to look at Another Roman to see the repeated symbols first-hand. Good job!
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Alchea


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PostSubject: Re: The Toys of Thanatos Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:46 am#3

Thank you!!!

Definitely, I was also amazed when I realized what it all was about. Being able to understand Thanatos made my appreciation for the release skyrocket! And, as you already know, I absolutely agree in the way it can be applied to other releases and your post. However, as much as I would like to discuss it, I want to work first in the work by itself before jumping at potential connections. This may perhaps be quite a lond thread...

So...

As I've been reading Thanatos, my interest in exploring even further how the four toys work and how they relate to the central character has just grown and grown. And so, with the goal to make this potentially really long ramble about almost a full horizon (even if I try to keep the connections I see aside, for the sake of focus) I will make a toy each post.

That said, if we follow the order given by the Horizon itself, the natural toy to start with would be:

The Broken Marionette

Soko ni Aru Fuukei wrote:
偽りの玩具 壊れたマリオネット 月夜のナイフ
A toy of lies, the broken marionette. A knife of a moonlit night.

The toy of lies, the Broken Marionette. A toy filled with such a violent intent that the lyrics compares it with a knife. Yet one could ask themselves: why does the Broken Marionette represent lies?

This is an essential part of the incoming text.

Kowareta Marionette wrote:
深い虚無の海で 覚醒を待ってる
"She" is waiting for her awakening in the deep sea of emptiness.

追憶に揺れるは 懐かしき旋律
What produces her reminiscence is a nostalgic melody

意識の彼岸で 『彼女』が目覚める
and, in the equinox of her conciousness, "she" awakens.

宵闇に躍るは 避けられぬ約束
What throbs at dusk is a promise that can't be avoided.

Kowareta Marionette wrote:
追憶は雨の葬列 泣いてる少女は誰?
Her reminiscence is about a funeral in the middle of the rain. Who is the crying girl?

黄昏に芽生えた殺意 もうひとりの私
An killing instinct born at twilight, another me.

壊れたマリオネットは 同じ動きを繰り返す
The broken marionette repeats the same movements.

唯・・・タナトスの衝動に突き動かされるまま・・・
It is just... estimulated by Thanatos' impulses.

However, to wonder about the symbolism of a story I think that it is essential to understand it as perfectly as possible in the first place. In the case of the Broken Marionette, it is the story of a split personality that Thanatos estimulates and moves to action. Nevertheless, the culprit of its awakening isn't the God, but a melody that makes her remember something (the funeral)

This is further pointed at by the next quote:

Kowareta Marionette wrote:
屠る華を捜すように 夜空を舞う蝶は
The butterfly flying through the nightsky as if it was searching for flowers to kill

綻びた瑕を抱いた タナトスの操り人形
is Thanatos' marionette, one that held in her arms a wound opened once again.

A wound opened again (the memories that came again to her) is what is probably making the butterfly (the broken marionette) fly in the first place. The reminiscence is even related to us: it is of a funeral of unclear details that, in my opinion, marks the birth of the split personality (as the "born at twilight" part seems to indicate). The song itself lacks, however, any further details regarding the origin event of the marionette.

Even so, given that we know of the memories that were brought back, it is easy to imagine why would Revo make the comparison with a wound. An emotional one, most likely.

Once covered the activation, it's important to wonder about her actions after the fact. For this, I would want to bring out the next quotes:

Kowareta Marionette wrote:
同じ動きを繰り返す 壊れたマリオネット
The broken marionette repeats the same movements.

もがいているの? 苦しんでいるの?
Are you struggling? Are you suffering?

ここで終わらせてあげる・・・
I will make it end for you right now…


くちづけた首筋に 緋い薔薇咲かせて
That girl made a red rose in the neck she kissed and

月が海に沈むまで その少女は眠らない
she won't sleep until the moon sinks in the sea

Kowareta Marionette wrote:
壊れたマリオネットは 同じ動きを繰り返す
The broken marionette repeats the same movements.

唯・・・タナトスの衝動に突き動かされるまま・・・
It is just... estimulated by Thanatos' impulses.

The marionette kills repeating the same movements. Yes, it is only insinuated that she bites their necks, but the repeated "I will end it for you" (It is repeated in yet another almost identical quote) and the fact that those movements are estimulated by Thanatos, the God of Death, seem indication enough. We can even point at how it is called a "killing instinct" in one of the previous ones to prove that, indeed, the Broken Marionette is an assassin.

And certainly her means are interesting enough to be noted (biting necks), but to discuss it I would need to talk about other horizons. And that's something I'm trying to avoid here.

Back to the topic, what does motivate her to do so? The quotes above are a good reflection of that. "Are you struggling? Are you crying?", the marionette seems to approach those who are suffering with the promise of ending it. The reasoning that precedes her acts of killing is always the same. That is the meaning behind the "same movements" part that is constantly repeated through the song.

She always kills those that are suffering to "save them" from those feelings. What, personally, seems a highly flawed reasoning. Killing them solves nothing at all. At the end, she is just stealing their chance to attain happiness later on. And yet, knowing it or not, she can't exactly stop herself:

Kowareta Marionette wrote:
緋い月の雫は 抗えぬ衝動
The drops from a red moon are an impulse she can't fight against.

夜の闇に囚われた その少女は眠れない
That girl can't sleep, as she is trapped by the darkness of night.

Kowareta Marionette wrote:
宵闇に躍るは 避けられぬ約束
What throbs at dusk is a promise that can't be avoided.

Thanatos is what estimulates her once activated, and the broken marionette seems to lack any power to resist to his influence. The taste of blood (drops from a red moon) and the promise she seems to have made, together with the God of Death's influence, is what condemns her to keep acting.

With this, I think that it is the moment to come back at the initial question. Then, with all of this in mind, why is the Broken Marionette the Toy of Lies?

I can think of more than a reason, but I will explain here two of them.

The first would be explained by this quote of Thanatos no Gensou:

Thanatos no Gensou wrote:
壊れたマリオネット 銀色の馬車
The Broken Marionette. The Silver Carriage.

輪廻の砂時計 珊瑚の城 タナトス
The Samsara Hourglass. The Coral Castle. Thanatos.

全ては少女の幻想 眠れぬ夜の悪夢
Everything is part of the girl's fantasies, of nightmares produced in sleepless nights.

Thanatos (at least THIS Thanatos. Making claims in this regard can be tricky) is fictional, something that the Girl created just as much as the Broken Marionette. There are no real outer force influencing her, as the influence of the God goes just as further as she wants. The Girl isn't really as influenced by Thanatos as she wants to think... she isn't being forced to act by anyone aside of herself. And that, for me, counts as a lie that applies both to the killing Broken Marionette and the girl that created the toy as a reflection of herself.

But it's probably just easier to fault a fictional being.

The other options stems from her other attempt to justify her actions: she is bringing happiness to those she kills, freeing them of the pain. But, as I've explained before, that reasoning is deeply flawed. However, this one is more difficult to apply at the girl that created the marionette... At least with only Thanatos in mind, we have no real idea of what is going on in her life (it would be a different matter for me if we discussed this together with other horizons).

Of course, there are a third option: both are parts of her lies. It wasn't said at any point that it was just a single lie, so it's worth to consider that the song could be talking about more than a lie at once.
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PostSubject: Re: The Toys of Thanatos Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:05 pm#4

In a way, I always considered the Kowareta, or Broken Marionette to parallel with the ending of Chronicle, with Shoujo Ningyou, the Girl Doll. Kimi ga Umarete Kuru Sekai is a sort of transition, even mentioning that the story continues into the next horizon.

The cover of Thanatos seems to indicate that the God Thanatos is slowly making his way into the girl. Despite differing views of the central focus of Pico Magic Reloaded, the concept of Thanatos making someone as his vessel was completely confirmed so many years later with Moira. No matter how you cut it, his influence is embedding within her on the cover.

I consider the toys to be very important, as they help her make sense of jumbled memories. Every time we reach Kimi ga Umarete Kuru Sekai, time starts over. The idea of psychometry. The idea behind this is more than psychic superstition, but the general theory is that even inanimate objects may contain a soul, and that certain people can understand the history of an object by touching it. This is a relevant concept when we deal with the idea of Bastet, so please pay attention when we get to that so-called antique shop and if this sort of representation repeats!

The general idea boils down to the huge similarities between the appearances of Thanatos-ko and Shoujo Ningyou, on top of the established fact that there is the relative of the Noël from Roman, a dollmaker. There may be more to this if she is in fact Noël Malebranche. But, without asserting the Thanabranche ideals here, the idea of the girl doll being psychic fits in perfectly with the idea of Thanatos-ko responding to psychometry.

The more loops that go by, the more memories are left behind in the toys. To touch them would be to invoke memories that no longer hold true, a huge mix and messy combination. If we assume the girl in Thanatos is the same as the girl in Tsukiyo, the idea of potentially seeing her own death at a young age, and a new understanding of her brother's betrayal could lead her down the desensitized path that we see.

But there are multiple loops by the time we have reached Thanatos. Chronicle had ended and begun anew multiple times, and we constantly see Thanatos-ko with the inability to sort through these memories. The bells that toll to the end of the world give her a splitting headache, and she is left unable to sleep. If you can't even trust your own memories, what else is there? Was any part of your life real? That could break you, similarly to how Elef broke.

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PostSubject: Re: The Toys of Thanatos Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:33 pm#5

The Broken Marionette representing the toy of lies made immediate sense the moment Alchea explained it to me. The entirety of the 2nd Horizon is a pretty introspective work into one character and her fantasies (at least, it's most obviously the case in Thanatos). Afraid of her death, she creates nothing but fantasies of death. She creates these fantasies, and then quite simply "kills off her own characters". This could be a big reason why Sound Horizon in general is "about dead people". Alchea pointed out the rationale for the killings and it sounds like something Thanatos from Meiou would say: death is what ends pain and suffering. Of course it's very weak, but she isn't exactly mentally stable through any of this...she's lying to herself in every possible way you can look at it.

What Thanako said made me think of an interesting point: Shoujo Ningyou is the girl doll with the power to see the future, and this is because memories from previous loops have been sealed inside the doll. Because history repeats itself, the doll is able to predict the future, and arguably plays a role that Chronica plays in that way in Chronicle 2nd. This interpretation makes a lot of sense because the entire premise of Chronicle and its loop remake sequel is that history repeats itself, after all.

What also comes to mind is Ark from Elysion as well. It mentions a miniature garden of an arrogant but also incompetent Creator God where the forbidden organ (the hippocampus, which regulates memories) is manipulated. Ark then proceeds to have a story that parallels Tsukiyo in some interesting ways, with the girl's idea of the knife being the pathway to paradise (killing her brother who betrayed her). It certainly seems like a twisted form of wish fulfillment. All I'm saying, without getting too carried away with other releases, is that falsified or faulty memories is something we can say is a prevalent theme throughout the Horizons. Part of this is because the girl who is arguably the center of all of the Horizons does not have a strong grip on her own, lies to herself, and traps herself in a self-made cage of doom.
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PostSubject: Re: The Toys of Thanatos Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:45 am#6

Time to reply here. Sadly I don't have the Silver Carriage post complete (In my opinion, that one is the toy that allows the most interpretations and so I would rather not rush it out), but I will be pleased to muse in the meanwhile about what Thanako and Ghostie have commented.

First, about Thanatos. This is my current personal interpretation of this part of the story and, as this theory/post is weaved with the idea of helping with the understanding of the 2nd Horizon, I personally preferred to keep such a thing out of the text; but yes, I consider that Thanatos makes vessels. It's obvious when you take Elef into account. However, my read of his relationship with Thanatos-ko, the Thanatos girl, is slightly different.

Let me explain,

Thanatos no Gensou wrote:
その果てに私が待っているのは 銀色の馬車?…それとも
What awaits me at the end is... the Silver Carriage? Or

偽りのタナトス 偽りの輪廻 零れ落ちるまでの詩
a fictional Thanatos and a fictional Samsara. Until the moment in which I will scatter,

私は幻想を重ねながらも生きてゆく…
I will live piling up fantasies...

We know without doubts that cycles are a thing across Sound Horizon, and Thanatos is too: the influence that the God has in her is real in some way. In my first read of 2nd Horizon, I thought that the main character had schizophrenia and all of it were just hallucinations. Of course, Revo didn't use something that simple, that much is clear to me now.

This Thanatos is fictional but, as Tsukiyo said quite well (and I'm definitely assuming that Tsukiyo girl and Thanako are related, but their designs are so strikingly similar it's hard to not do it):

Tsukiyo ni Ochiru Mono wrote:
その想いは世界を狂わせる
Those thoughts will drive the world to madness.

叶えてはいけなかったんだ
That wish shouldn't have

その願いは
been granted.

Her fantasies are distorting reality to the point of stopping to be truly fantasies. That is supported by the HalloYoru blurb, which also talks about how fantasies are taking the place of reality. There are even more material supporting this fact, but I won't insist as that isn't the point of this post.

But that's too, in a way, what I think that happened with Thanatos. He was Thanatos-ko's creation but, as time passed and he became more and more real, her fantasies of him controlling her actions became just as true as his existence.

And, at some point...

Thanatos no Gensou wrote:
タナトスに見つめられているような気がした…
I had the feeling that Thanatos was watching me from somewhere...

She starts to feel the God even outside her fantasies, a feeling that only grows worse by the time of Thanatos no Gensou wa Owaranai. He is "real" now and she has lost all control over him. What was just a dream became something able to drive the world mad, and that's why a God of Death was born following her fabrications. In a way, if you think in Moira as a representation of the Creator and not the Creator herself (and I really think she is a placeholder, a fantasy, not the true Creator), the whole conflict relates marvelously to the one between the girl that can't sleep and Thanatos.

At the end, Thanatos-ko is shown to be losing grip over her own creations to the point of fearing that things like the Silver Carriage or Thanatos (her creations) are the ones that will take her from the world. And yet everything will be born again to attempt again to overcome it. (as expressed in Thanatos no Gensou wa Owaranai).

----

With that first topic over, let's jump to the fascinating idea of psychometry and how I can definitely see the relationship between it and the Girl Doll. One could definitely argue that most of those who show adivination powers through the Horizons could just be remembering events in past cycles. Chronicle and Chronicle 2nd are proof enough of how strikingly similar can be the events from a cycle to another: Chronicle 2nd delves deeper and some key characters are replaced, but the core events are at the end exactly the same.

If you cling to your memories as you keep on flowing, it is perfectly possible to retain some dangerous memories. However, the idea of psychmetry makes of this perhaps involuntary: some objects are just attached to those memories and it stops then to be a personal decision. Girl Doll hardly seems to exist willingly, what explains her wish for the world to end: she probably just hopes to be erased from existence.

How the tolls of the end are shown to be a part of Thanatos no Gensou is definitely something worth talking about, but this is getting way too long...

Just to conclude that definitely the girl that created such a twisted world is just as trapped and lacks a strong grip in her own creation. Well, popular wisdom already says so: be careful with what you wish.
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PostSubject: Re: The Toys of Thanatos Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:47 am#7

While a lot of my ideas go along with the idea of psychometry, there's also the matter of Saṃsāra, which is mentioned by name. I've already gone more into detail on that alone, but I think that the ideas behind psychometry are more relevant to the discussion of the toys themselves, and especially what we are possibly getting with Bastet. HalloYoru seems to imply that everything is mixed up, that something really disrupted the order and balance of things. From the perspective of Thanatos, there is a lot of negativity and death, especially of our main character, who grows only more paranoid as these loops seem to keep on happening. The idea of the bonus from Pico Magic taking place a long time after the events of the album is a lot easier to understand, if only because it is a separate work. This is the same thing that helps strengthen a lot of Sound Horizon's connections. You get a stronger concept of time itself when someone appears in another work.

With that said, I have so much to say about the fake Saṃsāra, but I will try to keep it shorter here, and much longer on the other theory thread dedicated to this idea. The big twist is that Thanatos-ko is wrong. She speaks with an elegance and firm tone, she believes what she is saying fully. But if she did have a true understanding, she'd finally understand how to be be free from it. Saṃsāra doesn't quite work as she presumes it to. With that said, this could just as well be a reference to the "painted horizons". For the sake of just the context of Thanatos, she has a huge focus on the end of the cycle, and slowly descends into madness. It contrasts completely perfectly to her past self from Tsukiyo. Again, I'd like to suggest this is due to her not being able to handle all of the memories contained within the toys themselves, a curse from her psychometry.

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