The new ending theme for Ajin: Demi-Human, performed by CreepHyp, is quite a mouthful: the full title is “Koutei no sumi ni futari, kaze ga fuite ima ieru ka na.” That roughly translates to “The two of us, in a corner of the schoolyard, the wind blows… I wonder if I can say it now?” Search around online and you will find different interpretations. But what is it about?
The lyrics to anime songs are usually related in at least some way to the themes presented in the show; they are, after all, theme songs. Whether they are explicitly referencing characters or incidents in the series–like classic Astroboy or Gigantor theme songs–or a little more suggestive and nuanced, they are supposed to match with the content.
Koutei no sumi ni is one interesting example where we are given a very specific situation that appears to have little room for interpretation and yet does not seem to apply perfectly to the show at first glance. It thus suggests that the “story” being told in the song is somewhat metaphorical and perhaps alludes to some inner monologue of a character.
The title places us in a schoolyard. At first glance, “the two of us” might appear to reference a couple, but listening closely tells us that is not (necessarily) the case. Let us see if we can interpret any deeper meaning from the first verse.
I’m bored of it, so I’ll trade you
My shiny card with your plain one
OK, here we have a clear image of what is happening. Many of us traded cards at school. For some, it was a good ice-breaker, as a way of making new friends. Perhaps especially so for the more introverted types, who would otherwise not have as many such opportunities.
If you come to my house I will show them all to you
Perhaps this kid is desperate for friendship? At this point, we have to begin wondering how this scenario in any way relates to the story of Ajin. One theory is that it is about the character of Kei Nagai. It would certainly be the most obvious–he is the lead, after all. Plus it more or less fits with the description I gave in my previous article of his inner turmoil, and how, as an Ajin, his “black ghost” does not obey direct commands and acts like a spoiled child. He certainly is a troubled individual which has been depicted as shutting himself off from others on the surface, on the grounds that “everyone is stupid,” yet somewhere we feel that he does want to make a connection. He does want to belong.
My personal theory is different, however. I think it is a little deeper–the song is about Satō.
As the main antagonist, Satō is the merciless, murderous, dangerous mastermind behind the plan to terrorize society in order to liberate the Ajin population and grant them equal rights. Or so it would seem. Because everything that we have been shown so far of Satō is actually less reminiscent of a ruthless cultural revolutionary and more of a kid in a candy store, jacked up on sugar. Sure, he is an aged, smart, calm man in appearance, but when he is performing atrocious acts of violence, he is always seen to be having a good time–like he’s riding on a natural high. He loves being an invincible Ajin. It’s like when a child gets to stay up past bedtime. We never see him actually hammering out a real plan for Ajin and human coexistence. Instead, we see him playing video games to kill time. To him, life is a video game. As an Ajin, he gets to have unlimited continues. But eventually, he will get bored. When he does, to whom will he trade his shiny card?
Which brings us back to our lyrics. The schoolyard is the society, the corner is Satō’s little space where he can gather friends. “If you come over to my house” he can show you all the other cards he has, like the knives, guns, bombs, and other weapons he uses as trump cards against the Japanese government.
The final line is,
I’ll give you anything you want, OK?
Promise me you’ll always be my friend.
Maybe Kei and Satō are really two sides of the same coin. Maybe it’s the age-old tradition of having heroes and villains who are so similar, one of them could have easily, in another life, become the other. The two are certainly connected in their mistrust of most of the people around them, but I believe they long for meaningful interactions. One throws temper tantrums for fun until eventually there is no one left to play with, the other simply wants to leave it all behind, but finds himself going back every time.
Check out CreepHyp’s official site here.
Ajin: Demi-Human (season 1) is currently streaming on Netflix.