"Rukia... You've become formidable."
Tokyo.sora (2002) a Hiroshi Ishikawa film.
I have read many books, literary and not-so-literary, (I honestly think this applies to manga too), and every time I see a character reading a specific book from the “real world,” my internal alarm bells go off. You never show the reader a specific book in a story unless it serves a purpose, and I am here to tell you that it probably does. HNR is no different when it comes to the use of literary devices. I’m very intrigued by the fact that there’s a specific book, Rigoletto, at all in chapter 65. Also, the English major in me is coming out, so LET’S DO SOME ANALYSIS OF THIS SHIT YEAH
If you’d like a more detailed summary of the opera, you can read it here, I will give you a slightly longer TL;DR version of it. Basically, it is about the Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed jester sidekick guy named Rigoletto, and Rigoletto’s beautiful daughter. The Duke is this womanizer who seduces a lot of women. The Duke finds out Rigoletto has a “mistress” at his house and goes to see her. He goes to seduce her and it turns out it’s Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda. Gilda falls in love with the Duke, then the Duke leaves, and the Duke’s followers kidnap her without the Duke’s knowledge. Rigoletto helps them, thinking they are kidnapping someone else, then they betray him, and his daughter is gone. He finds her at the Duke’s and she tells him what happened. They go to a club on the outskirts of town and Rigoletto tells his daughter to leave town disguised as a man. He then pays a hitman to kill the Duke. The hitman’s sister begs him not to kill the Duke and to kill Rigoletto instead, so he comes to a compromise to kill the next person who comes in the club. Gilda overhears this and sacrifices herself to save the Duke.
This story doesn’t appear to be that similar to HNR at all. I mean, the plot isn’t really the same, the characters are completely different, and the characters don’t seem to be as morally destitute as the Duke and Rigoletto. However, I can see some parallels between three characters, even if they aren’t exact. The Duke = Shishio, Rigoletto = Uncle Yukichi, Gilda = Suzume. Shishio (the Duke) betrays Yukichi’s (Rigoletto) trust and goes after his niece Suzume (Gilda). Suzume falls in love with Shishio (Gilda falling in love with the Duke), then her uncle eventually finds out because of Suzume’s “To Do List” (Gilda tells Rigoletto about it), and her uncle puts a stop to the relationship by telling Shishio to knock it off (hires an assassin to kill him). So there is some validity to the comparison of the two, besides the fact that Shishio isn’t killed, he just stops seeing Suzume.
In my opinion, this play is used to serve as foreshadowing for what may possibly happen at the end (or very soon) in Hirunaka no Ryuusei. While I doubt assassins are going to kill Shishio, and I doubt even further that Suzume is going to die, I think something very bad is going to happen. I have a few theories.
Theory A: Shishio and Suzume are going to get caught. Wild rumors will go around the school, Shishio will get in huge trouble, and Suzume’s reputation will go down the drain.
Theory B: Suzume will throw away Mamura if she founds out Shishio still loves her, like Gilda threw away her life to save the Duke’s.
Theory C: Something really bad will happen to Suzume where she sacrifices something for Shishio. I have no specifics, and this is just speculation, but this one rings the truest for me. It sort of ties into them getting caught, but then again it doesn’t.
Yamamori sensei would not have put Rigoletto in chapter 65 if it didn’t mean anything. You don’t have a character reading a very specific book (or play), especially a fairly well known one, if it’s not going to serve a purpose. I may be very well wrong on my speculations of what will happen, but I don’t think this is random at all. If this is telling the reader anything, I think it’s telling us this:
Suzume will sacrifice something for Shishio’s sake
I have no idea what it is, but it’s something. I don’t think Yamamori’s editor would let her put in something that specific if it didn’t serve some purpose. I’m a writer, and anytime I put any specific reference to a real life book in a story, my critiquers always say to leave it out unless there is some significance.
And that’s the end of my analysis about why Rigoletto makes an appearance in HNR. Also, if we find out Yamamori sensei put it in there because she likes it and no other reason, I will personally fly to Japan and poke her in the forehead.
TL;DR: Like Gilda sacrifices her life for the Duke’s in Rigoletto, Suzume will sacrifice something for Shishio’s sake in HNR.
On a side note, why the actual hell is Shishio reading some random opera from Italy? I thought he was a history teacher, not a literature teacher. Not to say that he can’t read whatever he wants, but it seems weird to me unless someone has an expressed interest in literature, especially since Shishio had some random books on the shelf in his house, like historical manga. Also, why a play? SO MANY QUESTIONS
Yeah, I love classical music, so when I saw “Rigoletto”… O__o Yamamori likes opera? but as I was saying in my post here, I think she is subtly telling us that Shishio is still a fool, especially when it comes to Suzume… The fool is in the act of unknowingly walking off the edge of a cliff.
But who knows, maybe you’re right ;)
Set me free by 윤하 (Younha)
From her Supersonic album. I think this a long with title-track were the only songs that I really enjoyed from that album (to the point of looping them for hours).
The instrumental is really well written and played, and Younha’s vocals are as great as ever, but I think the chorus could’ve been worked out a little bit more.
Click here to see my other Younha picks, or check out my tumblr for other similar songs.
edit: I am an idiot and copied the hangul for “Philtre” instead of “Younha”, fixed now. Many thanks to ellyvator for pointing that out.
i like sensei with this hairstyle the most
I got my volume 9. There wasn’t any doodles or big redraws this time, but it seems that Yamamori just can’t draw Shishio without making some changes in the volumes afterwards. So, in the tankoubon Shishio actually has some light in his eyes in the scene where he meets Suzume again. Now he looks a little bit less like he is dying inside…. ಥ‿ಥ
(how sad is the fact that i noticed this immediately?? overall i liked volume 9 a lot, more than words was great extra.next volume comes out on june.)