Ch. 6-7 Summary: A boy with a dragon child, Tomonori, attacks Shiina and Akira. He tells Akira that he wants to rule and change the world, and will do so by killing all the educated people. He tells Shiina he will kill her and asks why the dragon saved her. Shiina tells him he doesn’t know. He attacks Shiina and Hoshimaru, but Hoshimaru is Akira’s dragon child in disguises. Hoshimaru kills him with the strut from the plane.
Notice the symmetries here. First Push Dagger points its blade at Shiina, in the previous chapter:
Then, striking the same pose with his own handheld dagger, Tomonori threatens Akira:
As we already saw in the last chapter, Shiina tries to fight even though she has no chance of winning. Akira doesn’t try to fight at all, even though she would stand a small chance against an ordinary human. As Shiina’s father said previously, there’s a time for courage and a time for cowardice, but they are children who don’t know the difference.
It’s only fitting that Hoshimaru strikes the same pose when he impales Tomonori with the strut from the airplane. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. It’s even more fitting that this sword was forged by Tomonori’s own acts of violence when he attacked the airplane.
We have a very interesting conversation while Tomonori is holidng a knife to Akira’s throat. For all that Shiina and Akira’s friendship is worth, Tomonori understands Akira much, much better than Shiina does. If Shiina noticed these marks on Akira’s wrists she wouldn’t even know what they are. But Tomonori is not at all surprised to see them and, in a way, understands Akira much better than Shiina ever will.
He offers her a choice (in the form of a pun):
Carve yourself to fit the world, or carve the world to fit you. Use the knife on others or the razor on yourself. We’ll see as the series progresses which Akira chooses.
Tomonori’s philosophy and goal of killing all the educated people is dumb and childish (well, he is a child) and I don’t think there’s any need to explain why. It’s comically evil. So why does Kitoh insert him into the narrative?
I see three main reasons:
- To introduce the others linked to dragon children (he will inspire their interactions with Shiina later) and to explain some of their workings.
- To present this binary choice to Akira.
- To destroy Shiina’s innocence.
I see the third reason as the most important. Up until this point, Shiina is an energetic, innocent child. Sure, she’s already been on the brink of death twice in the first volume. But now she has seen the face of death itself. Even if it she was not directly responsible, I am certain that in the moment when she was pinned to the tree, the knife pointed in her chest, she wised for his death if it would save her. She has lost her innocence.
This loss of innocence is strengthened with imagery suggesting a metaphorical sexual violation. Or perhaps I have just been corrupted from watching Sword Art Online.
Look at their reactions at the end of the chapter. Akira is terrified and in tears, which is not surprising. But Shiina’s calmly gazing ahead, seemingly without a care in the world. Her eyes look just like Hoshimaru’s. She is becoming an empty shell.
As we will see later, Shiina is the only one who sees herself as “friends” with a dragon child. Does this stem from Shiina’s overabundant kindness, or does she identify with one of her own kind?