Kyousougiga is a show about love. Love can come in many forms, but Kyousougiga focuses on two in particular: familial love and self-love. Kyousougiga is a very focused show, committed to showing how the power of love influences one family, and how that family influences the world around them. It’s a show that focuses on love as a powerful force, and this begins with its focus on the individual characters.
Part 1: Single Character Focus
Kyousougiga has a very diverse cast. It focuses on one family, yes, but it’s a family that comes in many different forms. Almost everyone is supernatural in some way, and yet they’re all so very different. What stands out the most is that in spite of their differing beings, they still feel like one family, and their existence as a family has a major impact on each character. We see this as we watch the show, and it begins by focusing on a different character in each episode, showing how the family’s situation affects everyone.
The first episode is merely an introduction to the family as a whole, albeit an excellent one, establishing a basic idea of their past and journey into Mirror Kyoto, followed by the departure of Myoue and Lady Koto. This is key to setting up the entire focus of the series. Though it fails to give us a deep understanding of the characters, it certainly does its job in establishing the early character relationships while providing the basics of everyone’s personalities.
The second episode dives straight into the character-focused section of the show, starting with our main character, Koto. Here we get to see a bit of her past, seeing how she was raised by Myoue and how she began to feel a strong desire to find her mom. We also get to see that Myoue himself misses Lady Koto, though he doesn’t show this openly, only showing this when he cries to himself in his sleep. Koto’s desire to find her mother pushed her to travel to the Mirror Kyoto, kicking off the events of the series. Establishing Koto quickly was important, since our ability to care about the protagonist’s goals is key to caring about the show’s overall trajectory.
The third episode focuses on Kurama, a character who exudes mystery. That doesn’t change much over the course of the episode, which might as well be focused on one of his assistants, Shouko, but we do get some material on him when we learn that he wants to return to the outside world. Even as a kid he wanted to see the capital, something he couldn’t do since he wasn’t human, and Mirror Kyoto, while nice, doesn’t satisfy that desire for him. It becomes clear that he is ready and willing to force his parents into returning so that he’ll be at liberty to leave, and he’s fine with using Koto for this purpose. To him, the departure of his parents stole his already limited freedom, and he’ll do anything to regain it.
Our fourth episode is focused on Yase, the character most openly affected by the departure of their parents. Yase constantly clung to her mother, and we see in this episode that, with her disappearance, this has only become more prominent. Anything she has a memory of enjoying with Lady Koto is kept within her mansion, and when she loses any of it, she becomes angry and depressed. Koto attempts to give her a substitute for a cup she loses, which doesn’t satisfy her, but upon seeing her long-lost stuffed animal on Koto’s hammer, she realizes that there is hope of reaching their parents again. Yase notably matures here, and while she still clings to the idea of her mother, it’s clear that she’s gotten better at dealing with it, and this was only possible because of Koto’s help. It’s useful to cherish fond memories, but you needn’t hoard them.
Episode five is the last of the episodes focused solely on one character and in this one we focus on the current Myoue, who I’ll refer to as Yakushimaru. Yakushimaru has the darkest past of any character we see, as he attempted to kill himself in the wake of his biological parents’ death, only surviving because Myoue found him and brought him back to life. Yakushimaru has some resentment towards Myoue for this, as well as for saddling him with the job of Head Priest, but in this episode we see that over the course of the show thus far Yakushimaru has come to love Koto as family. However, he’s clear in asking her to kill him if he helps her find Lady Koto, as his massive survivor’s guilt makes it impossible for him to love himself.
Each of these characters has different reasons for wanting their parents to return, but it’s clear that all of them have at least some love for them and each other in spite of their many issues. By the halfway point of this show, you can already begin to see them as a real family, Koto included, and we also see how much damage has been caused to the bond of the family. The departure of the parents was a major issue, so it’s only natural that the next step is to have them return.
Part 2: Family Focus
The first half of Kyousougiga focuses entirely on how much the four children care about their parents, and why their departure had such a major impact. The second half, on the other hand, focuses more on the family dynamic of the characters. We’ve now seen them as individual elements, so we can now zoom out and look at them as a whole, and that’s exactly what we do when Lady Koto returns at the end of episode six and the beginning of episode seven. The beginning of episode seven gives us one of the best pictures of our cast as a family, as all of them happily enjoy their time alongside one another. We had already seen that they love each other, and they clearly had grown to love Koto as well, but this is the first time after the first episode that we really see all of them together, as one family, and it really accentuates how important the parents are to the family structure.
And the show does a great job at portraying them as a family. They show plenty of gestures of love while fighting at the same time, something real families do constantly. We see this at its best when Koto comes to complain to Yakushimaru. She complains that everyone expects her to solve everything and everyone asks her for everything, and though he usually makes fun of her he’s quick to be there for her in a time of need. Much like friends, families can be mean to one another, but good families will always be there when you need them, and we see that really well here. The love of a family can really help at times.
And then Myoue returns. Myoue is the character who really caused all of this due to his ridiculous whims, and as always when he arrives he brings problems. Mirror Kyoto starts to fall apart as Myoue takes steps to destroy the twelve realms, no longer having any interest in observing them as a god. To do this he’s willing to use Koto, placing the blame for Mirror Kyoto’s collapse on her and forcing her to continue the destruction.
This sets up our final focus. Koto is the main character, but she’s really only one of three characters who are absolutely vital to the main theme because Myoue and Yakushimaru are just as important. At one point or another in Kyousougiga these three characters lack one key form of love: self-love.
This is most apparent for Myoue, though it applies to the other two as well. Myoue has no love for himself in spite of his plentiful love for his family. This lack of self-love blinds him to most things, leading him not to consider the family he loves so much, nor to consider the world he loves in equal measure. Myoue legitimately loves the existence known as life, but because he modeled it off of himself and because he hates himself, he can’t truly appreciate it from a more neutral perspective. This causes him to attempt to destroy the twelve realms, though it’s really an attempt to push his duties onto his children, splitting his soul between Yakushimaru and Koto, which would cause him to cease to exist.
Koto herself loses her sense of self-love during this moment as well. As we saw in her complaints to Yakushimaru, she already had a lot of trouble dealing with all the expectations people had of her, and once she realizes that what’s going on is her fault she can’t take it. The idea that she’s destroying the Mirror Kyoto she’s come to love so much and the idea that she’s the reason Lady Koto can’t remain outside of a pitiful, barren moon is too much for her, allowing Myoue to use her as he wishes.
And this is where familial love comes in. Without friends or family someone unable to love themselves would be trapped, unable to escape from the hell that is self-hatred. With a family though, you can be reminded of those that care about you, thus making it clear how important you are to others and the world at large. Yakushimaru once again reassures Koto here, helping to wake her from the spell Myoue placed her under while also making it clear that this isn’t all her fault. Really, it’s Myoue’s fault for not telling her anything, and she’s pretty quick to accept this. Koto momentarily lacked love for herself, but a little bit of love from her family was enough to quickly bring her back.
In his saving of Koto, Yakushimaru too comes to love himself, or at the very least he sees it as a possibility for the future, and that can be enough. In helping Koto and feeling love for her he realized that it’s a good thing that he’s still alive, and this gives him the strength he needs to go with Koto to save their father, urged on by their grandfather, the world’s true God. The two of them both felt guilt, and that guilt isn’t necessarily relieved, they simply found other reasons why it’s worth it to go on anyways. Life isn’t perfect, but even some value is worth protecting.
Koto lacked self-love for a few hours at most, while Yakushimaru lacked it for centuries, but both of them pale in comparison to Myoue. Myoue has hated himself for millennia, perhaps for the entire time the universe has existed, and you would think that would be impossible to overcome. Fortunately, Koto doesn’t care much about the possibility of doing it, and she dives right in, beating her father up before professing her love and making it clear why he should value himself. And once again, miraculously, it works. Koto and Yakushimaru make it clear that they love him, as does the rest of their family, and that in itself gives him inherent value as a person. Like Yakushimaru he might not immediately love himself, but the possibility of it is enough.
And with this, their family becomes complete. Everyone in the family is able to love themselves, and this is only possible because they love each other. Love isn’t some perfect, magical thing that cures all issues, and families aren’t always going to be perfect either, but it’s clear in this case why they matter so much to one another. In the end, Yakushimaru finds acceptance in taking on the role of Myoue, both he and Koto are fine with succeeding their father as those who watch over the world, while at the same time Myoue remains. The family is truly reunited due to the power of love. Kyousougiga’s portrayal of family and its importance to loving yourself is exceptional, and that’s why I love it.