γ · Foxy Fox Ladios Sopp
One of Chrome Ballanche’s latest creations is set for her debut: Fatimas choose their master, a custom meant to stop fighting over them. This event usually takes place in the Free City of Bastogne on the planet of Addler. It’s important to keep in mind the galactic configuration at play here: Joker is a Star Cluster consisting of four stars or suns. There’s a northern star, a western star, a southern star and an eastern star. Each of these stars has either one or two planets that can support life.
Addler and Delta Belun are such planets in the eastern solar system. As the intro blurb states here, Addler is basically a hodgepodge quilt of autonomous, semi-independent states: Bastogne is a free city within an autonomous district within a federation!.
However, its big brother Delta Belun (an old planet, considered by many the cradle of humanity) is led by the A.K.D. which although technically a federation of ten states is in fact controlled by the Kingdom of Grees. And Grees boasts a gorgeous chancellor named Aisha Codante, but everyone knows the real boss is Amaterasu. Thus Amaterasu hangs over like a cloud [dark or light, take your pick] over the vibrant but unstable Addler as well.
With this in mind, we meet Ladios Sopp as he meets Voards Viewlard. This is a funny, funny sequence, but creator Nagano tells us so much with his hints that it becomes deep at the same time.
Voards is struck by Sopp’s beauty and he calls him a “goddess”, as he still hasn’t realized it’s a man he’s talking to and who can blame him? Then he apologizes for his mistake and confesses he thought Ladios was a “mirage” at first. Amaterasu is a god and his pretorial guard is known as the Mirage Knights. Coincidence?
The foreshadowing continues once Sopp reaches Ballanche and the meight requests a favor from him: to protect Clotho and Lachesis, about to debut, from the lecherous designs of the “Grand Duke” Juba. Chrome is so inflated with pride for his creations that he tells Ladios he doesn’t think even Colus III or Amaterasu would find it easy to control them. He’s telling this to Sopp! And Sopp recalls a young Lachesis pledging herself to him…
Everyone in this “Debut of Lachesis” arc is trying to outfox everyone else.
The so-called Grand Duke Juba wants to keep the new Fatimas to himself little realizing that he’s about to lose everything he’s gained instead.
Ballanche has started to build Fatimas without mind control in defiance of the universe, but we already know from the prologue that Atropos (very possibly as a direct result of this “free will”) has caused him harm. And now he’s being played by Sopp, it would seem.
Voards is a wily fox, but it takes Ladios one look at his “Brandzi” MH to figure out that things are not what they seem. I like how Viewlard sweats and how it’s Sopp himself, and not Viewlard, who changes the conversation. Sopp is just too clever: acquired information is better kept and used later and confronting Voards won’t do any good.
So Sopp is the great nine-tailed fox of destiny here! He’s outfoxing the world, doubly so, as Sopp and as Amaterasu, both in Bastogne.
I find it an interesting question to what extent Sopp’s “moe” reactions (for example, he looks so adorable when being told that Juba of Bastogne is a great big pervert and will probably violate him) are real or faked. Can a god act? (I mean, like Hollywood acting). Wouldn’t that be lying? And couldn’t a god be powerful enough to actually be real when he’s wearing a mask, or rather is the mask not a mask and the role not a “role” when played by a god, so that in fact Ladios Sopp is Ladios Sopp after all…?
Two examples from the world religions come to mind, and I want to very respectfully offer them and mind you I do not mean to take them lightly. In the Lotus Sutra the Buddha reveals that he is eternal and that the historical Buddha lived as an “example” to living beings. What does this mean, from the perspective of the historical Buddha as he was living, becoming enlightened, dying?
Jesus was the Son of God. How did his own knowledge of his nature factor into his mental life and acts? These are questions that have been debated for centuries, and they’re as interesting as they are difficult.
END OF DIGRESSION, ONLY TO ENTER INTO A NEW, GEOGRAPHICO-TOPONYMICAL DIGRESSION THAT ENDS THE POST AND IS THEREFORE NOT A PROPER DIGRESSION AT ALL:
Amaterasu’s Kingdom is called グリース, and the English translation is Grees. But that “s” at the end must be pronounced like a true voiceless “s” and not voiced “z”. Thus the sound of Grees is exactly the same as the sound in “Greece”.
In fact, some sites on the net call Amaterasu the King of Greece, and phonetically speaking that’s perfectly fine. Not only phonetically, I have no doubt in my mind that Nagano wanted us to think of “Greece” here!
But here’s the deal: the Japanese don’t call Greece “グリース/Grees/Greece”, they call it “ギリシャ = Girisha”. Therefore, when a Japanese hears or sees the country namein FSS he will probably make the connection with Greece but not immediately, rather after a second or two. Thus translating Amaterasu’s Kingdom as “Grees” in English is great, because it makes us go through that one/two second time lapse before we go: “Whoa, isn’t that like saying that the Japanese Sun Deity is the ruler of hoary Hellas?! Also known as the King of Grease?!“
That’s the toponymy, now let’s look at a map of the Amaterasu Kingdom Demesnes, the “federation” ruled by Grees that probably resembles politically the Delian League imposed by Athens on the Aegean states prior in its heyday of the 5th century BC:
Now, let’s look at Grees and the AKD within the larger perspective of the planet of Delta Belun:
The geography of Grees and the AKD, and even more its situation on the planet, remind me a lot of Japan, specifically of the main Japanese island of Honshuh. I bet you if you had a program that could simulate tectonic movements on a continental scale, you could get from Japan to this map by crashing the Land of the Rising Sun into East Asia, or viceversa.
So to me at least it seems that Amaterasu is lording it over a mutant hybrid of Greece and Japan. And that’s pretty cool.
BTW, the volume ends with Clotho flashing everyone as she jumps over a wall and escapes. More on that in the next post.
[covered VOLUME 1: from page 40 to the end of the volume]