The Blood on the Tracks by Shuuzou Oshimi🩸The Realization 🤦🏻
[WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!]
Another creepy series by the infamous Shuuzou Oshimi doesn’t disappoint! Reading The Blood on the Tracks brings chills to my spine, and even makes me question my relationship with my mothe–just kidding ;p
But in all seriousness, the question of “What does it mean to truly grow up?” seems to come into light with this story. Truly growing up means to lose your innocence, see beyond the simple actions of everyday, and acknowledge that your parents are actual human beings. Although what we experience as growing up isn’t as twisted as our protagonist, Sei-chan, it all happens to everyone so that we realize that the world we grew up in isn’t all rainbows and sunshine.
Sei-chan’s “growing up” sprung onto him the moment his mother, Seiko, pushed off his annoying cousin, Shigeru, off a freaking cliff. A normal witness would’ve confessed immediately at such a sight, but her own son didn’t seem to want to break off this motherly image of Seiko. How could my mother, who asks me if I want a meat bun or a red-bean bun every morning kill someone? She’s just my mother that cooks for me everyday and shows her protective side towards me because that’s what mothers do!
The surface of this manga seems to be as if the mother brain-washed Sei-chan into thinking that she didn’t push Shigeru off, but it truly was the aspect of not wanting to let go of the artificial past they’ve shared. Although it was that typical happy family image that held onto Sei-chan’s mind, there was more to it than those fluffy flashbacks and this murder situation made Sei-chan realize that his mother is almost like a stranger, rummaging through his memories even more, it becomes very baffling. Yet he wanted to try his best to understand his mother, and become the only one that will ever understand her which gives a sense of pride and a love only for them. However, this childish mind of Sei-chan, not wanting to grow up and part from his dear mother begins to shatter from the outside influences of others that are growing up like him and the small shards of memories he’d obtained as a baby inevitably revealing things he didn’t want to know.
Sei-chan gets made fun of (why the heck is your mother so protective?), he gets exposed to sexual desires, like Fukishi who he shares mutual feeling with, but utterly rejects because of his ‘supposed’ mother’s control once again (although it is clear that he rejected on his own account), and he defends his own mother from the crime with a stutter. The stutter phase that Sei-chan went through was very significant. Why was he stuttering? The answer is because his once innocent world was shattering. He had to speak lies, and with the stuttering he tried to fix represents the difficulty in mending together the world he loved to live in, yet when he did overcome his stuttering, it was more of an acceptance in the loss of leaving childhood. Although it seems like the mother wants to escape from this reality, she also doesn’t want to let go of the time with Sei-chan, evidenced by her over excited expression when he explained the fact that he remembered the cat they met on the street and that bonding time that consisted of ripping up Fukishi’s love letter together or that time she was looking for Sei-chan in tears after he ran away. Perhaps she was hoping that her and Sei-chan can escape this world together.
It seemed as if Sei-chan wasn’t himself. Rather, as the series went on it seemed like he thought of himself as another part of his mother. Sei-chan was constantly trying to be approved by his mother. Because being approved by your mother shows a form of affection that asserts their kind authority over you. An authority is needed to feel assurance and shelter as a child. But as the series goes on, her approval deteriorates, and Sei-chan beginning to be aware of his mother’s true colors causes him to slowly lose his purity and take control of his own life.
Now the dead cat that is constantly referred to was something Sei-chan didn’t understand at all. Why did it die? But as he grew up, this memory seems to become more and more scarier the more he understands it. The cat symbolizes himself, abandoned but still being caressed after “death” That memory represents the truth that his own mother never saw Sei-chan as her beloved son, yet she was constantly pampering him. Now why is that? Why was his mother something that he never, ever understood? This realization about the fact that he was voluntarily, although unknowingly becoming his mother’s precious “son” even though she never thought of him as one made him grow up. He was finally independent, even taking a step forward with Fukishi, and making his own decisions from finally breaking free the chains he actually locked up himself.
It was a sad realization of growing up. To know that your mother, a girl who didn’t want to live such a stereotypical life failed in her mission and utilized her own son as another failed outlet towards her life. She tried so hard to adapt, but she couldn’t.