Dan’s Annotations 3

(A chapter of Akayama DanJay.)


The year is 2021.

Dan paused during the anime’s end-credits and wiped his tears with the sleeves of his orange robes. “I always get wet-eyed when I see Lucille watch her parents Lucia and Bunjiro die.”

Virgil Blue wondered which tragedy Dan was reminded of this time. He would probably read about it in Dan’s annotations later. “I’m impressed with Tatsu‘s accurate portrayal of the Hurricane,” he said. “I thought LuLu’s would allow the Hurricane to come from outer-space, but the human root is acknowledged. It’s a product of the Biggest Bird many Sheridanians might rather ignore.”

“Tell me about the Hurricane, Virgil Blue.” Dan took out Jay’s notepad and started writing his own rare notes. “Since I’ve read LuLu’s, all I can think of when I hear the word is big red space-orbs.”

” ‘Big red space-orb’ is quite accurate,” said Virgil Blue. “The original sun was exactly such a big red space-orb.”

Dan never trusted Virgil Blue’s claim to being the first human ever, an immortal created by the Biggest Bird herself. Earth’s creation was supposedly a strange time when the sun—the original sun—was a big red space-orb. “But what does the big red space-orb represent?

“Some philosophies might call it Dukkha,” said Virgil Blue. “The original sun is the image of our original sin! Sentient beings are initiated without self-awareness, blind to their actual circumstances. This leads to furiously violent hoard-mentalities. Every religion has faced it in its own way.”

Dan flipped manga-pages back to Akayama’s confession. One of the Zephyr’s screens showed a red circle in a black rectangle. “I think Tatsu might be using the Hurricane to comment on eras of Japanese colonialism, and man’s duty to see and accept regrettable histories as real so he can understand and properly disapprove of them.”

Virgil Blue tensed his feet. He wore thick white socks and slim tan slippers. “The Hurricane represents the temptation of any sentient being to commit atrocities, Danny, or allow them to be committed out of greed, cowardice, or ignorance. The presumption that a race or species is more vulnerable to the Hurricane is itself a vulnerability to the Hurricane. To join the Zephyrs in the fight against the Hurricane, our worms must see, accept, understand, and disapprove of the Hurricane reflected in themselves.

“Of course, Virgil Blue. The Hurricane’s hundred pilots were generic psychopathic leaders from across a dystopian hellscape, not representing any country in particular. In fact…” Dan rubbed his mouth in thought. “Charlie and Dakshi are drawn as stereotypes, an American top-gun and a more disciplined Indian, but being hundreds of years in the fictional future, today’s national or racial conceptions are long gone. Maybe these characters are like machine elves representing the energy behind all thought. That’s why there are no space-aliens in LuLu’s: the whole story takes place within the mind, so nothing can be truly alien.”

“You said forgetting God created Hell surrenders power to Satan.” Virgil Blue looked at the moon. “To join the Zephyrs, we cannot forget the Hurricane mirrors everyone who sees it.”

“That sums up Akayama’s problem, too,” said Dan. “She’s like a former Nazi-scientist hired by NASA. She felt so guilty for contributing to the universe’s doom she devoted herself to fixing it, and when she couldn’t fix it, she wanted her confession to be destroyed alongside her. Because she couldn’t accept her past, Lucia and Bunjiro had to give their own lives to recover valuable information. When we wash our hands of the Hurricane, more of our own blood spills.”

Virgil Blue leaned on his tall cane to stand up. “Danny, there’s an awful lot of suicide-talk in this sequential art. Would you really want to annotate the next volume next year?”

Dan sucked his tongue. “It’s a little bothersome to me, sure, but there’s a good reason suicide keeps coming back in fiction. Camus said suicide was the only real philosophical question.”

“And what does LuLu’s say about suicide? Is it for, or against?”

“Well…” Dan gave Virgil Blue his second annotated volume of manga. He tucked the volume into his navy sleeves. “Lucia and Bunjiro died as sort of a proud sacrifice for the sake of all others. Akayama tried vainly escaping her reality, and… the anime is about to loop the story back twenty years to show any possibility of escape was an illusion. So there’s two distinct cases.”

Virgil Blue nodded and slid open the orange paper door with his cane. “Danny, it’s time for me to bird-nap. I’ll bring you the next volume a year from today.” Dan nodded back. Virgil Blue closed the door behind him.

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