“Muv-Luv” The Home of Anguish and The Pure Land

“Muv-Luv” The Home of Anguish and The Pure Land

In Muv-Luv UnlimitedThe Day After Episode 2, Lieutenant Tatsunami Hibiki blames himself greatly for the error that caused Major Jinguuji Marimo to be demoted and transferred from her military position. Nevertheless, she doesn’t feel a single bit of remorse, as much to Hibiki’s surprise (and ours too) she continues her daily activities with confidence and grace that might seem incomprehensible, or even unreachable from the standing point of a normal person.

Marimo has been instructing Hibiki from earlier in the story about the importance of facing life head on, and never shying away from the harsh reality of the dystopian new world. However, during a particular meeting she makes her intentions and convictions more clear, in a very poetic way that exposes how faithful she really is. We try to analyze in this article where does the source of her power come from, and what lesson she wanted to bestow upon her new favorite subordinate.

Muv-Luv Unlimited The Day After is Now available on PC through Steam.

Buddhism and Realism

“Muv-Luv” The Home of Anguish and The Pure Land

Sometimes the English Translation can elevate the original script in amazing ways, just like i elaborated before in my Tales of Arise article. The English Translator did their best to elaborate on the famous Buddhist proverb Marimo has used in their own way. The words written were:

Impossible it is to leave this house of agitation where we have dwelled since the beginning of time, nor can we long for a peaceful paradise which we have yet to know“.

It sums up the conflict of the story in a really nice way, but things get much more interesting if we look at the Japanese original text of Muv-Luv TDA.

苦悩の旧里捨てがたく安らぎの浄土は恋しからず候kunō no furusato sutegataku yasuragi no jōdo wa koi shikarazu sousou

These words could be literally equated to: “It’s hard to throw away the Hometown of Anguish, and I have no love for the Peaceful Pure Land.” It means (I can’t give up this world of endless suffering, and I don’t miss the peaceful and abundant world of paradise, where I was never born.) The importance of using the original terms of land, anguish and hometown predates to one of the basic old documents of Shin Buddhism, called Tannishô, and which was founded by Shinran (1173-1262).

The Tannishô are records left by Yui-en, one of Shinran’s students in which he tries to recite his confusion during some of the practices of Buddhism, and the answers he has gotten from his master, who founded Shin Buddhism or Pure Land Buddhism/Jōdo Shinshū. The document is largely concerned with recognizing things as the way they are, and letting go of the self-centered thinking that everything has to happen in the way we want. These are, in pure Buddhist terms, our anguish and mortal desires.

Make no mistake though, this is not an argument about believing in pure bliss after death, in fact its the complete opposite. Land here ( jōdo ) refers to a pure state of mind one attains in living. The major concern of most religions in the world is what might happen after death, but the path to enlightenment in Shin Buddhist logic is feeling confidence in life, and focusing on “Seeing” what’s in front of you, instead of “Believing” in what’s yet to come.

Love and Impermanence

“Muv-Luv” The Home of Anguish and The Pure Land

All of this gives us an insight on Major Jinguuji’s thought process in the entirety of Muv-Luv, inspired by her unshakable faith. Her words are taken directly from the ninth chapter of Tannishô, when Yui-en raised a question about having no feeling of wanting to dance with joy when he accepted the existence of the afterworld. His master argued then that this is more proof he is on the right way to enlightenment, by not averting his eyes from this world for the sake of the after life, or vice versa.

When we feel ill, we stop wanting to die, this can be true for the design of human nature. We don’t want to move to the next life because we have attachments in this life. Even if we gain faith, our vexations will not disappear, but Shinran did not deny having vexations after attaining faith, rather, he said something more radical, which is what Marimo quoted word by word: It is not easy to abandon the old home of suffering which is rooted far in the past and we have no longing for being born into the world of eternal peace which, as yet, we have not seen.

But if you figure that out, if you realize that, it’s already over right then. It’s a problem with no solutions and no interpretation. It’s over before it’s begun, and by the time it’s over, it’s complete. To accept things as they are, your attachments in life, and your dreams in death, this is what they call the pure land or state of mind. A world where we forsake our attachments and worries is not truly heaven, but instead accepting them and carrying them with us to the other world, side by side with the people we have not forgotten, is what to be called true paradise. The world of Muv-Luv is the now.

This kind of frankness, or humanism maybe one of the reasons why Tannishô and Shinran are so popular in Japan. The Buddhist scholar Tatsuaki Ohora argues that this is a large contrast from the concept of Impermanence, that was made popular by the Tale of Heike in japan around that time, and how it preaches for the Buddhist law of transience and impermanence, and that life is fleeting, hence why Shinran’s words felt so radical and heretical at the time, and why Hibiki is having trouble digesting them.

Our Only World

“Muv-Luv” The Home of Anguish and The Pure Land

The meeting between Marimo and Hibiki is a reflection of the same meeting between Yui-en and his master, both are discussing the same thing about feeling the weight of their worldly responsibilities holding them back, and preventing them from seeing the joy and the path forward. He kept averting his eyes from the fact that he was made a hero, but no he needs to accept it and the responsibilities that come with it, and he should continue living for these responsibilities, instead of actively trying to die for their sake.

The same could be said for many characters in the story. Lilia argued that the people of JFK are doing the same thing and running away by believing in a goal that may or may not be there (the existence of Hawaii), and Takeru himself ran away because his actions affected Marimo negatively, and had a heartfelt talk with her in the same manner in the normal world, crying his heart out about wanting to run away. Looking at it from this angle, Hibiki and Takeru’s situation feel pretty similar.

Marimo Muvluv Alternative Home of Anguish Pure Land

For better or for worse, this is the world we live in. This world – the one we build day by day with our own hands – is the only place where we belong. Truer words were never said. Jinguuji Marimo is not only portrayed as a mother figure and a confident leader in Muv-Luv, she is the real deal, in every sense of the word, and the writing greatly supports that, with her way with words, her actions and convictions that allow her to stand firm, true to her own character and ideals, for the sake of Japan and the entire world.

It’s hard to measure the current mental standing of this profound mind. She is already aware of the grand design of things and stopped being a slave to past circumstances, furthermore she continues to lead the children of Japan and teaches them languages and national dignity, while feeling happiness in overcoming every adversary thrown at her, in addition to learning from other multicultural societies like America and become a part of the greater world.

My chest swells with Joy upon seeing such provoking writing. A story where you are not ashamed to live no matter where you were born, instead you should ask yourself, what do you want to do, what do you live for, and what would you die for, and treasure each passing moment. Muv-Luv truly reflects the collective knowledge of humanity, as the one thing we cannot afford to neglect, in every written word.

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