In 20th Century Boys, Kenji was one of a particular few in his village to listen to and actually like classic rock. Enough to air guitar Jumpin’ Jack Flash with a broom and scrounge enough money to buy an acoustic guitar. One particular instance of this that stands out for me, however, is when he hijacks the school’s audio and blares T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy” to his entire campus. Kenji, in his youth, thought that the power of rock would awaken something in his sleepy little village, in the same way that the music did for him. The truth, however, could not have been farther from Kenji’s grasp; no one particularly cared that this song was playing on the school’s speakers. Kenji’s intended message for his school failed to deliver at a spectacular level. In the end, however, even the failure of getting a rise out of his peers was of no consequence to Kenji. All that mattered, at that moment with him lounging on the school’s roof, was that one of his favorite songs was being played in public.
Similarly, Sphinx’s final act of terrorism in the final moments of Terror in Resonance always struck me as more of a child’s prank than the feat of revenge it was built up as. Sure, a high-altitude detonation of an atom bomb is clearly not something a child is capable of. Yet, one of the most poignant moments for me about this show was what happened afterwards. Once the blast knocked out all the electronics, the lights went out and for the first time in ages, Tokyo was completely black. And in that moment, Nine sees an aurora.
Nine’s normally hardened features regain their roundness and softness under the aurora’s glow and, for the barest of moments, he becomes a child again.
Nine’s many references towards his Icelandic roots surface in his choice of attire, the kind of music he says he listens to, and even the word he chooses to use to identify himself: von, an Icelandic word meaning “hope”. And as you would guess, one would love to be in Iceland to see an aurora. By that supposition, I imagine Tokyo to be a place where finding one of these things is nearly impossible without doing something drastic. In this case, he stole an atomic bomb and detonated it above the population. Seems childish to the most extreme degree, right? It also seems awfully reminiscent of tying up that kid in the audio room and risking punishment from the teachers just to play your favorite rock song for the whole school to hear.
Would it be crazy to believe, then, that this aurora was even the smallest part of Nine’s plan? To bring a part of himself that he holds so dearly to the forefront of a nation he considers his parent? That nuclear blast was clearly meant to cripple Japan as punishment for its crimes, but it was also Nine’s special and desperate cry for attention. That aurora at the end of the blast is something Nine brought with him to share to the people of Japan. Would it be so far-fetched to assume, also, that this is what Nine meant by wanting to “wake up Japan”, as suggested in countless synopses of this show, in his attempt to put it to sleep?
Yet, similarly to Kenji’s situation, I doubt anyone would understand the significance of this action. Nor would anyone care that an actual aurora formed over Tokyo’s eternally light-polluted skies. Perhaps Nine realized this long before before the final parts of his plan came to fruition. What’s important at this very moment, however, is that definitely made an impact on the world with what he just did, in the manner that most fit his character. To show his father nation the aurora: the one thing he knew for sure that encompassed the world’s beauty, its hope.
- sasuga aots
- sasuga watanabe-sama
- sasuga yoko kanno