originally posted at https://canmom.tumblr.com/post/162604...

The description of ‘Episode 2: Turn of the Golden Witch’ from the menu screen. The text says, in a calligraphic font, “Good morning. The Golden Witch has been waiting impatiently for you. Please take your seat opposite her at the table.”

  “Have you rested well, and deliberated over how you will play? The witch has high expectations of you, and is determined to come at you right from the opening. I, too, am looking forward to observing your moves.'

  “The difficulty level is first-rate. The witch plans to make you surrender in an instant.”

Episode 1 was Legend of the Golden Witch for the record.

According to the metafictional framing story, we are playing metaphor-chess with Beatrice. But, much like Homestuck, this is not a game, just a linear story that borrows the presentation of a game. Including, as of now, second-person narration.

A picture of Shannon, out of her work uniform, in a large aquarium. The narration says “Shannon found a pair of hammerhead sharks playfully swimming in the tank, and made a fuss like a grade schooler seeing an aquarium for the first time.”

This is either a flashback, or given the witchy business, an alternate universe in which everyone is still alive. Either way, they’re at an aquarium.

George wants to eat the sharks, and Shannon jokes that the Japanese are the only people who go to an aquarium and want to eat the fish. Huh. That’s a stereotype I’ve never heard.

We get first-person narration from George this time. He’s very straight for Shannon.

There’s a conversation about how the finite tank is a sea for the fish that swim in it, which seems like it’s probably going to have metaphorical significance.

We get an opening credits sequence, again listing the names of the characters as if they were actors.

Afterwards, George and Shannon are at a café. We get Genders around eating and implicit fatphobia.

Anyway, the location is named: Okinawa. Which means, given remarks about the size of the tank, they must be attending Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world until 2005.

George comments on teasing Shannon.

Brief snippet of text from George. He is saying “I can play with her emotions however I please, ...and I can have them all to myself.”

Creepy. [Chill out! - 2022 Bryn]

They talk about weight loss stuff in the usual fat-is-evil way. Then they go the beach and tell each other they love each other a lot. Yeah, yeah, you’re heterosexual.

Shannon says she used ‘real magic’ to bring herself and George together. George is very male and dismissive.

Gotta say, the more of George’s interiority we get, the less I like him.

Words from the future

I don't want to erase my past words, however embarrassing. But damn, 2017!Bryn sure got a bit worked up about a fairly cute flirting scene and some clearly good-humoured teasing between a couple. Like, hetero scenes are never gonna move me that much even still, but to complain this much feels kind of forced! Reading this back, all I get is the painful feeling that I was, on some subconscious level, very worried about proving your SJ literacy. The 'zeal of the converted'.

The interesting thing to note here is their character dynamic: we see George's greater confidence as he teases Shannon (as Shannon stumbles trying to tease him back), but also get a bit of a sense of what he sees in Shannon, something rather absent from the confession scene in the previous episode. They're almost too perfectly lovey-dovey. Which sets up nicely the next scene.

That said, a great deal of their conversation does hinge on gender: the ideals of men as logical etc. This is however not to be merely dismissed; the whole point of these characters is that they occupy this idealised heterosexuality, I suspect at this point. Anyway, we shall see. Past me was not wrong to note a large age gap and power dynamic, of course.

George explicitly agrees and says says that in many alternate universes, they wouldn’t be together. Shannon’s like, no, not magic as a metaphor for an unlikely thing, actual wizard shit.

George says he doesn’t want to break the magic (of ~love~) by not believing in it.

Anyway, he tells Shannon that he’d rather she not use the -sama honorific when they’re not around family. In turn, she tells him her real name, Sayo.

So: this is a flashback, before the events on the island.

Snap cut to another time. We’re back on Rokkenjima. Someone is washing up on the beach, and going to the torii. That means this is before the events of the murders.

Whoever the new narrator is, Beatrice ‘the witch’ persaudes them to stop being ‘furniture’ by remaining in the ‘paradise of God’. They ‘learned of love’ and decide to ‘choose to become a person’. The way out: to break a mirror inside the shrine.

…the person turns out to be Shannon! This must be the ‘magic’ she spoke of with George.

She says she upheld her promise, and now it’s time for Beatrice to uphold her side of the deal.

The PS3 OP plays - same as in the first episode, but now I recognise the characters and some of the events. I got asks from @fates0end with links to the original game’s OPs, so I’ll watch those in a bit.


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