mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Suffering a simultaneous attack of Silence and Futility- which generally happens when I'm avoiding translation- I'm musing instead on Goujun's manner of springing unsatisfactory underlings from jail. We go on a lot about Goujun's by the book upright tight-assed disapproving commanding officerness: but the man who tosses a set of keys to his manacled underling, betting on him being able to catch them with his /toes/, is none of those. In an odd way, if anything could convince me that Jiip really is Goujun, it'd be that. It's such an Ikkou thing to do: the ambivalent gesture, the double message, and the sheer jauntiness of it all. But if I had to name the other character who'd act like that in similar circumstances, it'd be Goujou/ Kenren more than Hakkai/ Tenpou, or even Sanzou. (Konzen of course isn't a possibility.) (Well actually, Kanzeon might be. But that's another field of speculation entirely.)

I know exactly what ijiwaru looks like, thanks to a slew of BL manga and djs, but I still can't get the English word for it, at least as practised by hot characters. It's a certain kind of malice plus. Hakkai is the ijiwaru member of the ikkou; Tenpou is the ijiwaru member of the Gaiden. Hakkai's little needling remarks and bland smile; Tenpou's more direct Oh I feel so *sorry*- for your poor damned subordinates who have to put up with an asshole commander like you. (All the Tenpou avatars have their own slightly different ijiwaru. Kubota's poker-face 'You must excuse him- he always tells the truth' is another variation.)

Goujun's key-tossing looks like ijiwaru to me, and by the usual definition surely qualifies as such: it's not a nice thing to do. You either straightforwardly unlock the man's cell or you leave him to stew in the mess he's got himself into: but this 'Get yourself out- if you can' approach is neither one nor the other. Yet it lacks the sideways or backhand quality of Tenpou and Hakkai's ambivalent actions and remarks. It reminds me more of post-scorpion Gojou consoling Gokuu- (Hug) look I'm fine stop stewing about what didn't happen (Boot to head) asshole.

More than a soupcon of fed-up-ness enters into it. Goujun springs Kenren because, disgrace to the service or not, Kenren was right and Kenren is one of his men. But Kenren gets up Goujun's nose entirely as much as Goujun gets up Kenren's. So he throws the keys at him- confident that Kenren *will* catch them with his toes? which is actually quite a feat, you'd think- or all prepared for them to drop uselessly to the ground? Oh dear, there they are where neither of us can get them too bad good-bye. I'm not sure how Goujun actually expects that scene to end.

There's this to be considered as well. Goujun is down on Kenren for his unmilitariness, this appalling wandering around with a wine-bottle at his hip. He's not down on Tenpou for his appalling wandering around in lab coat and toilet slippers. It's not eccentricity that bothers Goujun, it's a certain kind of eccentricity. Tenpou is an excellent soldier when the chips are down and you're in the field. Except that by-the-book he's nothing of the sort. He's a death or glory boy who takes unjustified personal risks (though at least he doesn't endanger his men taking them, only himself: which is still bad by the book.) But Kenren is just as reliable in the field and *isn't* a death or glory boy. He sees the big picture that Tenpou doesn't; he takes the whole squadron into account; he is, simply, the better soldier. Goujun can't stand him. How come?

The easy answer is the yaoi one of plain jealousy, but let's look for something other than the easy answer. Kenren's introduction to the western army might have started Goujun's prejudices, if Goujun is at all strait-laced about sexual matters or respect for rank. Maybe the latter's what it is: Kenren behaves shockingly towards his superior officers, thereby becoming a chronic thorn in Goujun's flesh, but soft-spoken Tenpou doesn't. Until he does, and even then it comes as a form of consideration: I treat you appallingly so that your utter innocence in this matter will be evident to everyone. (And Tenpou, always more subtle than Kenren, is quite right. Their totally unpremeditated rebellion could have made Goujun dangerously if not fatally vulnerable to Litouten afterwards, given that he's probably already alienated him by springing Kenren. That point simply wouldn't have occurred to any of the others.)

But I also wonder about that off-hand remark of Kenren's in vol 1: Goujun is from a high-ranking tribe of toushin. Goujun is a *fighter*, in other words, who isn't allowed to fight in the place he find himself. And yes, he's a fighter: look at his reaction to Seiten Taisei. Somewhere or other his learned reaction is to reach for his sword. Compare Kenren's reaction to the youkai beast in the flashback: 'doesn't it drive you mad when you want to kill something and *can't*?' I do wonder how much covert fellow-feeling there is between Goujun and Kenren, and if that's part of the reason they dislike each other so much. And if that had anything to do with early djkas' obsessive desire to pair the two. Half of yaoi is metaphor, on a good day, and I always figured the djka were expressing something about the Kenren/ Goujun relationship when they drew Kenren x Goujun.
Tags: dragons, saiyuki_gaiden
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