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Fickle ([personal profile] fickle) wrote2017-01-28 12:19 pm
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RYUUJI OTOGI: A MANGAVERSE PRIMER

So let's talk about Ryuuji in the manga! First up, summary of the plot from @cairnsy.

In the manga, Yugi's grandfather is not the person who actually finds the puzzle, Ryuuji's father is. The puzzle and its powers were actually intended for Ryuuji, but his father ends up playing a really scary occult game with Yugi's grandfather, and ends up losing. As a result, Yugi's grandfather gets the puzzle, and Ryuuji's father starts to mysteriously age very rapidly and becomes very grotesque looking.

Not being the forgiving sort, Ryuuji’s father (who is only known in the manga as “Mr Clown’, as that is what he is *constantly* dressed as) dedicates his life to seeking revenge on Yugi’s grandfather, and basically uses his son as a pawn to achieve this. He trains Ryuuji in various areas, and the whole reason they move to Domino (where they open a game shop) is to take revenge on Yugi’s grandfather through destroying Yugi, and to take back the puzzle and Yami.

At this stage, it is perhaps important to note that Ryuuji’s father is practically drowning in all this occult stuff, and Ryuuji appears to know a fair bit as well – for instance, Ryuuji knows all about Yami and his powers, and the way he deliberately humiliates Jounouchi during class (similar to the anime scene) is simply to draw Yami out so he can face him. Not only does Ryuuji seem to know more about Yami and the puzzle than Yami does, but Ryuuji can instantly tell when Yami takes over control of Yugi.It’s one of the real missed opportunities of the series; the way Ryuuji’s knowledge was never fully explored.

Anyway, back to the plot. Ryuuji and Yami end up playing a game at school with normal cards, which Yami wins. Ryuuji is all pissed, and the version we see of him at school is very much like his anime persona. Arrogant, bitchy. When he goes home however, we see a very different Ryuuji. Around his father, Ryuuji is amazingly polite and very formal – pretty damn submissive. When Ryuuji tells his father that he faced Yami and lost, his father actually hits him. With a whip. Did I mention that his father carries the whip around with him everywhere? Immediately afterwards, his father apologises, and asks Ryuuji if he is all right, too which Ryuuji replies that he is and that he is the one who is sorry. It doesn’t come across well in typing, but it shows how amazingly manipulative his father is, and just how much Ryuuji is completely under his thumb. It’s at that point that you really start to get the feeling that Ryuuji is a little screwed up.

The next day, Jounouchi, Honda and Yugi visit Ryuuji’s father shop for its grand opening. Ryuuji’s father separates Yugi from the others, and locks him in a room with a DDM game board, and Ryuuji. Ryuuji’s father forces Yugi to play against Ryuuji even though Yugi doesn’t know the rules of the game. The puzzle is broken, and so Yugi has to duel Ryuuji as himself, as opposed to letting Yami do it – a huge difference from the anime.

Long story short, Ryuuji loses. He apologises to his father for losing, but finds that he can’t hold any bad feelings against Yugi because he’s starting to like him. Ryuuji comments that perhaps this has all gone to far, and his father agrees. Apologetic!Ryuuji’s father goes to put the puzzle back around Yugi’s neck, but instead uses the actual puzzle to choke Yugi, pulling him away into a secret room, but not before blasting his son for being useless/a waste of space/a simple pawn who couldn’t even achieve it’s only purpose in life/ a disgrace etc, etc. Poor, poor Ryuuji. When it comes to shitty fathers, he got the worst of them.

In the separate room, the puzzle is nailed to a table and Ryuuji’s father and Yugi participate in an occult game that Ryuuji’s father loses before then going completely mad, and ends up accidentally setting the room on fire. Ryuuji’s father escapes, but Yugi refuses to leave without the puzzle, which he’ll be able to remove from the table only if he can put the pieces back together. What happens next is basically the same as the Yugi x Keith duel from Battle City, Jounouchi comes in, tries to get Yugi to leave. Yugi refuses, saying he can’t leave until he fixes the puzzle. Yugi fixes puzzle, collapses, and Jounouchi has to carry him out.

Once they’re all outside, a fireman comes up and asks if anyone else is still inside, and it is YUGI who has to say that Ryuuji’s father is. Whether Ryuuji would have mentioned it isn’t really known, and I think the scene is up to interpretation. I think we see his father get carted off in an ambulance, and that is the last we ever see or hear of him.

A lot of it comes down to the actual feel of the scenes between Ryuuji and his father. I mean, there is something freaky about the fact that the man wears a clown suit in the first place, let along the whip he carries along with it. The complete contrast in Ryuuji's character when he's around his father as opposed to others is pretty huge, and the scene where Ryuuji is actually hit by his father is just done perfectly. His father makes it pretty damn clear that Ryuuji's only purpose in life was to act out his revenge - which Ryuuji's father himself couldn't do, and it's always made me wonder personally exactly how much Ryuuji's father lived through his son.

[/End of cairny's discussio.]

AND NOW FOR SOME META DISCUSSION WITH MANGA PAGES AND ANIME SCREENCAPS FOR BACKUP.

Eyeliner/Tattoo/Scar:
One of the things that's oddest about Ryuuji's looks is the streak of black eyeliner he has under his left eye. Popular fandom theories are as follow:

1. It's eyeliner as a style thing.
2. It's eyeliner to cover up a scar (my personal favorite theory).
3. It's a scar.
4. It's a tattoo (mentioned in a story by [personal profile] 9tails).
5. It's a tattoo his father made him get to mar Ryuuji's perfect looks (discussed in this entry by [profile] cairnsy).


The last theory is one that I would have never thought of on my own, but there's a certain logic to it, especially when you consider how it mimics the clown look of his father's mask. And his father is definitely bastard enough to make him have done. The tattoo-versus-eyeliner theory is also backed up by the fact that Ryuuji, even when sleeping, has the streak in place, not smudged or smeared in the least. However, that could also be due to really strong/waterproof eyeliner.


Wristlets:

Ryuuji also wears wristlets 24/7. Just like for the eyeliner, there are a couple of different theories behind it:

1. It's a style thing.
2. Ryuuji's a cutter and has bandages under the wristlets.
3. They're actually secretly concealing wristblades (my favorite theory).
4. They cover up scars from a failed suicide attempt (more in this entry by [profile] cairnsy).
5. They cover scars caused by blood magic.


I'm willing to semi-believe the failed suicide attempt theory, because that's a fairly decisive move to make, and considering his father has no problem using a whip on him, Ryuuji ought to have a high enough pain tolerance that the thought of how much it would hurt might not bother him.

I'll fully buy into the scars-from-bloodmagic theory, and I like the secret weapons theory because after all, they're positioned in the exact right place, Ryuuji was brought up by an Evil Clown and wristblades are a sneaky weapon and he's sneaky.


Education/Work:
In this page from the manga, Ryuuji's father says that he raised and educated Ryuuji himself. There are a couple of ways you can take that:

1. Ryuuji was fully home-schooled and that Domino was the first school he attended (logical conclusion from that page).
2. Ryuuji's father taught him magic but Ryuuji went to normal school for the rest of it.
3. Ryuuji was partly home-schooled, but also attended normal schools to keep his social interaction skills up to par.


Ryuuji is a very successful game designer as made obvious in that page, where sales of the games are limited on the first day to make sure they don't get stockpiled, meaning that D.D.D isn't the first game he invented. Therefore, it's possible that he was academically and magically home-schooled to make sure he'd be able to juggle his schedule well enough to make sure that he'd have time to keep inventing games.


Abuse:
Anyone who's read the manga knows that Ryuuji was physically abused, thanks to Mr. Psycho Clown Daddy who walked around with a whip and couldn't take even the slightest failure on Ryuuji's part.

From this sequence of events, I think it's pretty obvious that Ryuuji's father is a manipulative mindfucking bastard, since not only does he lash Ryuuji twice with the whip within a short space of time, but he also guilt-trips Ryuuji by showing his 'war wounds' and saying that Ryuuji is the only one whom he can rely on. That's enough to have Ryuuji apologizing for having failed his father, when his failure was nothing more than losing a normal game of chance which allowed him to scout out his opponent's abilities anyway.

The manipulation, gaslighting and mind games that his father plays with him are obvious there. Mr. Clown makes Ryuuji apologize to him. He makes the victim apologize for having forced him to hurt him.

The level of mindfuck that does to a person can't be overstated. Pretty as Ryuuji is, he's deeply messed up no matter how well he hides it.

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