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Galactic Overanalyzation: Speculating the Squid-Piercer March 22, 2011

Posted by navycherub in Anime, Essay.

As anyone watching Star Driver right now can attest, episode 23 was full of progression, specifically surrounding Sugata. The development that Sugata has become the King of the Emperor squadron has turned my head upside down. For the longest time I thought that in Sakana’s story, the Emperor was Reiji and the King was Sugata. However, based on two things looking back it was clear that Sugata actually represented both of those things, seeing as

-“In the Glittering Crux Brigade, he serves as leader of the Second Company “Vanishing Age,” as well as acting as temporary head of the entire organization on the pretext of the king’s seat being empty.” (The World of Star Driver pamphlet description of Reiji)
-Sugata has told Takuto numerous times that he must defeat him in order to gain Wako, which matches the King’s order for Sam to defeat the Squid Emperor to win the galactic ship
-If we compare Sugata to Columner, then he must have defeated many people in order to gain that position, reflected in the images of Samekh destroying Ayingott during Eve of Legend, and then retired to the shadows just as Columner did.

This has inspired a breakdown of the story of Sam the Squid-Piercer, based on what we know up to this point.

—“So the boy fell in love. He fiercely and passionately fell in love with the girl he met on the shore.”

Very clear here. Takuto is the boy, and the girl is Wako. Wako found Takuto on the shore and gave his first kiss to her; though it wasn’t on purpose, it is made very clear by the focus on kissing imagery and each individual character’s different perceptions of how important kisses are and even what constitutes a kiss early in the series (examples: the question of if kisses through the glass are appropriate when married, and the question of if CPR counts as a kiss).

—“It was… on the fish planet.”

So called because of the many fish references in the show, which may mean something but that would require more than I am willing to type or research right this moment. (examples: Tsunashi is a kind of fish, so is Katashiro, Agemaki is a kind of clam, “fish girl,” etc.).

—“The boy was a skilled fisherman and his name was… is Sam all right?”

Replace “fisherman” with “Driver” in this sentence; I thought that was a stretch until episode 23 when Reiji revealed that Takuto was trained to be a strong Driver since before the events of the show.

—“The boy named Sam dreamed that he and the girl he met got on a boat and sailed away into the shining galaxy.”

The galaxy here of course represents the world that Wako et al cannot venture into because of their connection to the island and the Cybodies. The boat can be taken figuratively, but also quite literally as we saw both Sakana and Mizuno leave the island on a boat. So here it is revealed that Takuto’s goal is to remove Wako from the island so that they can live their lives unrestrained.

—“But did Sam love the girl he was with or the brilliant galaxy around him?”

Later in the story it is revealed that he did choose the galaxy over the girl; would Takuto make the same choice?

—“There was only one ship that could sail from the fish planet out into the galaxy. That ship belonged to a king.”

I believe the ship represents both the ability to leave the island (the fish planet) and Samekh itself – it makes sense when you consider that Sugata is the king, the owner of Samekh, and that Sarina took over the end of the play to tell Takuto directly that he could pilot Samekh as well (“thou too canst sail the flying ship”).

—“A king’s ship… a good ship like that isn’t just going to fall into your hands.”
—“Right. But one day, the king issued a proclamation.”
—“Whoever defeated the Squid Emperor and brought back his blue blood would have any wish granted.”
—“The boy, Sam, resolved himself to defeat the Squid Emperor and get the ship that could sail into the galaxy.”

The proclamation is easily comparable to Sugata challenging Takuto to defeat him in order to win Wako; this also makes me believe that he knows Takuto can pilot Samekh but feels Takuto needs to earn it from him.

—‘”Take the chance!’ thought the girl.”
—“You have to beat the Squid Emperor and get the boat that can sail into the galaxy!”
—Sam took up his spear and began practicing with it, training for the day he would do battle with the Squid Emperor.

Takuto doesn’t realize the Squid Emperor (collectively representing the Glittering Crux) included Sugata, and neither does Wako, so everyone is encouraging him to take them out; Sugata is even training Takuto to make his skills with the blades stronger.

—(Head) “Good. It would be boring if he won easily.”


—“And so the name of Sam, the Squid-Piercer, began to spread throughout the kingdom.”

Reference to how Takuto’s power quickly gained fame among the Crux.

—“So the girl waited in her cottage by the seaside for Sam to return.”
—(Head) “What? They didn’t go together?”
—“Of course not! They were a boy and a girl in their prime!”

I believe this refers to Wako’s unwillingness to admit that she likes Takuto, despite the glaring obviousness of the situation.

—“And also, the two had a secret.”
—(Head) What secret did Sam the Squid-Piercer and his girl have?
—They ate the squid. On the fish planet, squid are the servants of evil.
—It was forbidden for their flesh to pass your lips, but still, the two ate together.
—(Head) I guess he wanted to be Sam the Squid-Eater too.
—They shared that dark secret and their bond grew even deeper.

To be honest, I am lost as to the meaning of this section. It might become more clear on another watch of the series, but offhand I cannot recall any particular important secrets carried by Takuto and Wako. It might refer to Reiji and Sora’s secret relationship, but if so then I don’t understand why it was placed in this story since Reiji doesn’t match Sam as well as Takuto does. There are similarities, such as Reiji and Sora on the shore, but not enough to fully convince me quite yet.

From here on out we start to enter various degrees of speculation as opposed to direct correlation, so keep that in mind and contemplate your own thoughts on what these parts could mean.

—“‘If you want something, don’t falter!’ said the girl.”
—“They had learned who the Squid Emperor was.”
—“But in the previous year, a huge storm had risen and the waters had become dangerous.”
—“Sam the Squid-Piercer faltered.”
—“So the girl berated Sam.”
—(Head) “Yeah. If you really want something, you can’t be afraid to take risks.”
—(Head) “That girl got it right.”
—“And that’s when Sam the Squid-Piercer left the girl and the cottage, and went out into the wild and dangerous sea.”

The important line here is that they learned who the Emperor was; it obviously would not be easy for Takuto to kill Sugata, or his father if the Emperor represents him (or both?). This also represents Head’s own mistakes; he knows that risks are needed if a goal is in place (the risk of resurrecting Cybodies), yet he doesn’t take action.

—“They began to fight. In the dark, wild night sea. Sam fights on with his spear.”

That fight’s gonna be awesome.

—“And in a fierce battle that cannot be described in words, Sam slew the Squid Emperor and took his blue blood.”
—“From in its bottle, the Squid Emperor’s blue blood sparkled and lit up the dark night sea.”

Takuto defeats his enemy and takes his blood. Yes, octopus blood is blue, but I do not think it is a coincidence that Sugata’s hair is blue as well.

—“Sam took the blue blood and went back to the king.”
—“‘My King! I have brought the blood as promised. Here it is!'”
—“The King took the bottle and suddenly drank the blue blood.”
—“That blood was the one potion that could remove the King’s magical immortality and end his eternal life.”
—“‘Thank you, Sam. Now I can finally sleep and never awaken.'”

Now I think we can all tell by now that Tokio has some sort of immortal youth or something like that going on; though it isn’t clear what exactly it is or what causes it, I believe that this is what this particular passage is talking about. How it relates directly to the fight that comes before it as far as Star Driver’s plot goes isn’t clear yet, but I happen to believe that Tokio wants to end his youth. To quote Enokido on Tokio, “If I were to say that Takuto and the others were representative of a “refreshing adolescence” he would be “anti-adolescence.”

—“The King offered him his throne. From the beginning, the King had planned to give it to the one who brought him the curse-breaking blue blood.”

Tokio and/or Sugata (now collectively refereed to as “the King”) will offer control of the Crux and, as a result, the island to Takuto as a reward for defeating them and ending their respective reigns. However…

—“But, Sam refused it.”
—“‘My King, all I ask of you is your galactic ship.'”
—“‘So that I may sail it into the dazzling world of the galaxy.'”
—“‘I have no desire for your throne! I have no want for your country!'”

Now that sounds distinctly like something Takuto would say. He’s too young to have a head for the big picture. To quote Enokido again, “The truest allies in this world are Kanako and Leon Watanabe. They’re the ones thinking about the rest of the world. On the flip side, Takuto, Sugata and Wako and the others are sorta… adolescent hoodlums. They’re the type to destroy the whole world for their friends.”

—“…And so, the King said,” ‘Very well, young man. I did promise to give you anything you desired. I have no intention of breaking my word.'”
—“‘I shall give you that galactic ship.'”
—“‘But, young man… Sam the Squid Piercer, heed well these words,'”
—“‘To make the ship move, you must fill the engine with every last drop of your beloved girl’s red blood.'”
—“‘Yes, you must kill the girl you love.'”
—“‘It won’t move if you don’t.'”
—“‘Now, take it. It belongs to you.'”

The King gives Samekh to Takuto and…wait…reveals that he has to kill Wako to get off the island? As you can probably tell this is the biggest surprise in the story and one that can’t really be fully analyzed simply because this part of the story hasn’t come even close to happening yet. I have a feeling this is another example of the story not being 1:1 with the events of Star Driver, but I do believe that the killing of the girl Sam loved has some correlation with the breaking of the Maidens’ seals, hence the inability to leave the island before doing this ritual. Maybe the ancients broke the seals in a much more violent way. Also, Samekh must be really dang fuel-effiecient to be able to explore the galaxy on one girl’s worth of blood. I want a Samekh.

Then again, perhaps Mark’s firm choice of the girl over the ship in Eve of Legend was just as improvised as Sarina’s bit, and he was denouncing the idea that he would choose the ship over the girl, thus changing the destiny foretold in Sakana’s story.

—“Sam killed the girl. To sail into the shining galaxy, he offered her red blood to the ship’s engine. In the end, what Sam truly loved was not the girl, but his longing for the world out in the galaxy. The girl he loved had never been more than a flower adorning his journey. Sam got on the ship and sailed out into the galaxy. But soon, Sam realized… Though he was in the galaxy he had dreamt of, all those worlds were different from the fish planet of his birth. The fish planet was but one world in the vast galaxy. The galaxy was not some far off world. Sam had been living in its brilliance all along. Why did he kill the girl?”

The finale, quoted here for completion’s sake. I can only hope for Wako’s safety that Takuto doesn’t fall down this line of thought.


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