Ria (kessie) wrote in ship_manifesto,

Muraki/Tsuzuki/Hisoka (Yami no Matsuei)

Title: The Third One
Author: Ria
Spoilers: General; specifically - the Nagasaki, King of Swords and Kyoto Arcs
Email: ria_ruby@yahoo.com
Personal Website: Quillstrokes

My introduction will, unfortunately, not be as elegant as I'd like, as the computer labs here are soon going to be closing and I don't want to wait until tomorrow. Specifically, I was quite nervous writing this essay - Tsuzuki, Hisoka and Muraki are all important and popular characters from YnM, and I'm relatively new - what if I messed up? Still, I went through with it, despite the numerous times I wanted to give up, and I now realise that I do really, really like this threesome pairing, as well as now knowing the reason why I keep writing fic concerning them and why, one day, I will hopefully write a fic concerning them in their threesome pairing together... or perhaps convince someone else to write it for me. *g*

The decades-old Shinigami who still weeps for those that he’s killed – the empath that’s determined to be strong, no matter the cost – and the psychotic doctor who’s linked to them both.

There’s no denying that we feel the third one, we do
I’m tired of hiding, and so are you

-“Between”, Vienna Teng

This is not a romantic threesome. This is a threesome linked by the past, linked by pain, and driven by anger and the desire for revenge. This is the ultimate dysfunctional threesome and, really, the only way that they could work together romantically is in a complete AU, along with severe changes in their personalities. Their pasts together are simply too tangled and their emotions concerning each other are fuelled by all the wrong reasons. The three view each other through a haze of rage, desire, revenge and guilt. Separately, they can’t survive without each other; in pairings, they can destroy each other, be wonderful together, or just never realistically work; as a threesome, they are ultimately on the path to destruction.

The anime and manga Yami no Matsuei (“Descendants of Darkness”) centres on death. Here, the consequences and messy clean-ups of death are governed by the Shokan Division of JuOhCho, presided over by EnmaDaiOh, Ruler of Hell, in Meifu, the Land of the Dead. The Shinigami of the Shokan Division are frequently called upon to bring in the souls of people who are supposed to be dead, but aren’t, or to prolong one’s death until the proper time, earning them their unsettling nickname. They basically keep the timetable of the judgement courts (the courts that judge a soul to heaven, hell, reincarnation etc.) running smoothly by doing the dirty work. They are highly respected, but poorly paid, but their wage is balanced by their regenerative abilities, their ability to fly, and the fact that they alone can travel between Meifu and Chijou (Land of the Living) and are given a new body to do so. But none of this compares to their emotional state while doing their jobs, and thusly, it takes a very special person to become a Shinigami – and sometimes, not even a choice is given…

Meet Tsuzuki Asato, one of the two main characters of Yami no Matsuei. Permanently twenty-six (but in reality, ninety-seven at the beginning of the anime and manga) and stuck in the dead-end province of the Shokan Division blocks, Tsuzuki just happens to be dead, trudging through mounds of paperwork and files connected to his cases for the judicial system of JuOhCho. The second-oldest in the Shokan Division and amazingly powerful in his own right, Tsuzuki is renowned throughout the office for being an immense slacker and utterly addicted to sweets. Despite the fact that Tsuzuki is an employer’s worst nightmare, his boss and colleagues like and respect him… most of the time.

Tsuzuki: "Well, I'm rather tired. Other than old man Konoe, I'm the most senior employee here."
Tsuzuki: Still ordinary after 70 years of continuous service.
Asuka: "You don't ever think of a successful career working around Tokyo? Tsuzuki-san"
Tsuzuki: "Ne-ver! I'll just become busy."
- Volume One

The questionable emotional stability related to the job of a Shinigami means that each one must work with a partner, and Tsuzuki, unfortunately, has the ability to go through partners as quick as he can eat apple pie. That is, until the arrival of Kurosaki Hisoka. Dead at the age of sixteen, Hisoka is, at first, the image of a stereotypical teenager – snappish, short-tempered and sarcastic. In the first few days of their partnership, Tsuzuki’s patience is severely tested – as well as his stress levels. Worse, Hisoka just doesn’t seem to care!

Tsuzuki: What the hell is with this brat's attitude
Tsuzuki: Doesn't even apologize for mistaking a person for a criminal
Tsuzuki: Ah, youth these days have no manners!!!
- Volume One

But Tsuzuki never seems to give up, gaining Hisoka’s respect, acceptance and loyalty, as well as his eventual trust. He also manages to pique Hisoka’s curiosity, resulting in Hisoka’s decision to stick around as a Shinigami, even though he know knows the truth surrounding his death.

Hisoka: He's different from everyone else I've known until now
Hisoka: "Why...."
Hisoka: Why for me...
Tsuzuki: "Because we're partners."
- Volume One

Hisoka, for his part, has plenty of reasons to act the way he does. Hisoka was born to a traditional Japanese family that stretches back many generations with extremely strict ideals and opinions. Not so bad – except that Hisoka’s an empath, meaning that he was born into the worst possible family structure. The Kurosaki family has a tendency to distrust anything that they don’t understand, and they didn’t even try to understand the powers that Hisoka had. Thusly, whenever Hisoka’s powers flared and caught their attention, he was put in a cage in the basement. Needless to say, Hisoka grew up with very little affection and a general distrust of people – but something was to happen that would make things even worse.

GuShoShin: "Tsuzuki-san. That child's family has a line that goes into the ancient past."
GuShoShin: "A noble house heavy with pride and social standing."
GuShoShin: "Hisoka-san's parents appeared to be those kinds of people. Separating themselves from him because his powers were repulsive to them."
GuShoShin: "If they saw even the slightest hint of his powers, they would without scruple lock him up in an underground cell."
- Volume One

One night, Hisoka decided to wander through the family grounds, happening upon a man and woman embracing under a lone Sakura tree – but then he saw the flash of a knife as arced down towards the woman.

The man in question was Muraki Kazutaka, and what he would do to Hisoka that night would affect him forever afterwards. Muraki not only raped and terrified Hisoka – he also called something significantly worse.

His death.

Muraki: "Have you forgotten? We met three years ago."
Muraki: "Under the sakura tree where corpses sleep....."
Muraki: "A night of a full moon, red like blood"
- Volume One

Doctor. Angel. Murderer. Demon. Rapist.

All of the above can describe Muraki Kazutaka well, but can’t truly describe him. Muraki is one of the strongest links between Tsuzuki and Hisoka, even stronger than their close friendship and partnership, and is partly responsible for their growing closeness. But Muraki affects Tsuzuki and Hisoka separately in significant ways, too, none of them very pleasant.

Muraki was born to a family of doctors, following his grandfather and father in the occupation. It is assumed that Muraki was a very bright child, whose childhood was marred by his mother’s emotional abuse, treating him more like a doll than a child, as well as his father, whose adultery led him to introduce Muraki’s half-brother, Saki, into the family. The details that followed are hazy and ambiguous, but we are led to believe that Saki had a significant role to play in shaping Muraki into the person he now is, if not partly responsible for the deaths of Muraki’s parents. Muraki reacted badly to this, possibly leading to Saki now being a floating head in a tank of water, still with some level of consciousness. Muraki possibly wanted to help people when he first became a doctor, but now every action he does while in his occupation is tainted by his desire to see the perfect, immortal body free of death, as well as infinite levels of power.

Muraki: "I've been a doctor for eight years and know the limits of human life."
Muraki: "That's why I yearn for a power that overcome that.”
Muraki: "Don't you want that kind of power?"
Muraki: "The perfect body and power..."
- Volume One

The few two meetings between Tsuzuki and Muraki in the anime are emotionally-charged moments, Muraki shedding a tear upon first seeing Tsuzuki, while Tsuzuki tends to have a “deer caught in the headlights” reaction. But it’s blatantly clear in their following interaction that Muraki is pulling the strings and is expertly toying with Tsuzuki – and enjoying seeing Tsuzuki’s discomfort and confusion. Muraki’s dangerous aura automatically repels Tsuzuki, but he also can’t help but be attracted to him in some way. This is all well and good… until Tsuzuki learns the truth of what happened between Muraki and Hisoka – as well as what happened after the rape.

Muraki: "It would have been fine to have simply raped and killed you there, leaving it as the work of a pervert. But such an inelegant manner of death wouldn't have suited one as lovely as yourself no?"
Muraki: Those dear to me
Muraki: Are those who I wish to cruelly crush underfoot.
Muraki: "So no one would suspect murder, I didn't kill right away and stole your memory of that night."
Muraki: "Slowly.....letting the curse entice you toward death....."
Muraki: Dragged you down when you tried to escape
Muraki: Stripped off your clothes
Muraki: Wrote the cursed secret words
- Volume One

Tsuzuki, horrified that Muraki was the cause of Hisoka’s slow and painful death, begins to hate Muraki, but at the same time, part of Tsuzuki’s attraction to him remains – the best example of this being the King of Swords Arc (Volume 3).

Muraki: "Poker."
Muraki: "Ne, Tsuzuki-san. Will you have a match with me?"
Muraki: "Not with chips, but betting something else...Wouldn't that be more thrilling?"
Tsuzuki: "Bet what?"
Muraki: "Well how about..."
Muraki: "Your body?"
- Volume Three

We eventually learn that Muraki knew about Tsuzuki long before he met him, as Tsuzuki was a patient in Muraki’s grandfather’s hospital following a mental breakdown due to undisclosed circumstances. Muraki, having found his grandfather’s files some years earlier, became fascinated with Tsuzuki and more than a little obsessed with eventually meeting him, hence the reason for Muraki’s shedding a tear upon first seeing Tsuzuki (and finally meeting him).

But Tsuzuki’s attraction to Muraki abruptly dies when he finds himself in Muraki’s lab, on a table with Muraki standing over him with a knife. Even with Muraki rapidly sinking deep and deeper into insanity, it’s eventually hinted at that Muraki wants to transplant Saki’s head onto Tsuzuki’s body (Tsuzuki, as a Shinigami, being able to withstand the serious amount of stress trauma that this would cause), so as to re-enact his revenge onto the new Saki – Muraki wishing to destroy Saki as much as Saki had destroyed him. But Muraki underestimates Tsuzuki’s fragile emotional state, nearly succeeding in killing Tsuzuki, Hisoka and himself. As a result of this, Hisoka is determined to become as strong as Tsuzuki, not only to protect Tsuzuki, but also to eventually defeat Muraki as well. It is this burning desire for revenge against Muraki that fuels Hisoka on, as well as Tsuzuki’s assurances that they’ll defeat him together.

As for Muraki… well, we’re still waiting to find out what happened to him, but as the curse on Hisoka still hasn’t lifted, it’s presumed that he’s still alive, at least.

So why would someone ship Muraki/Tsuzuki/Hisoka, a threesome that can’t exactly be called romantic? I can’t exactly or champion my belief as to why these three would work in a threesome pairing because, to be quite honest, I don’t really believe that they can. Given the above canon evidence, their current mind-sets and personalities simply wouldn’t allow them to co-exist in a reasonable, stable relationship. So why write this essay at all? Simply put, I’m not interested, really, in how the three of them would work in a romantic pairing – I’m interested in the emotional reactions they have between them. Tsuzuki, Muraki and Hisoka all show extreme emotions for each other, though they’re all extremely different depending on the person their emotion is being directed at.

Tsuzuki and Hisoka generally accept and love the other for who they are, and their entire relationship is one revolved around protecting the other (as well as the general pseudo-cruel banter and exasperated teasing they have between them). But neither Hisoka nor Tsuzuki hold anything but dislike and hatred for Muraki, which is not surprising, considering what he has done to them. But one can also argue that this is because neither of them knows Muraki or his childhood, or the reasons he became the person he know is. Muraki, for his part, seems to view Tsuzuki as merely something fascinating and while he seems to sexually pursue him and intentionally flirt with him, he also doesn’t hesitate to bring up Tsuzuki’s dubious background and use it against him whenever he chooses.

Muraki: "You understand as well don't you? Tsuzuki-san....... Even if you kill me, your deep sorrow..."
Muraki: That moment I saw your photo in the past...
Muraki: I understood
Muraki: "Will not be healed."
Muraki: We are the 'same'...
Muraki: Going against the natural law, genetically engineered, produced imitation of "life".
Muraki: The only path for those who receive life from the chaos of darkness is darkness.
Muraki: "There is no escape...for you...for me..."
Muraki: For that reason we
Muraki: are the sons...
Muraki: of those who must bear on their brow the mark of one who commits crimes
Muraki: Because we are the "Descendents of Darkness"...
- Volume Eight

Muraki views Hisoka as a doll, something trifle and not very threatening to him, dismissing Hisoka continuously and choosing to refer to him as ‘the Boy’, succeeding in enraging Hisoka within seconds.

Muraki: The curse carved onto your body, permeating to your bones and tissue, even if you were reduced to a cell, it would still return. My little puppet that dances by my whim…”
Muraki: In a sense, you are a reproduction of me."
- Volume Three

In this way, I love the thought of this threesome simply because of the emotion involved with them – there is seldom a fic involving these three that is bland and unemotional. Muraki has a talent for sparking violent explosions of emotion from Tsuzuki and Hisoka, and this is a skill he uses delicately and gracefully. He knows exactly how to use them to their advantage and thus, they are his perfect puppets. He can have them exactly where he wants them to be, he can have them say exactly what he wants them to say, think exactly what he wants them to think, and half the time they don’t even realise this. Likewise, Tsuzuki is an obsession for Muraki and Hisoka is an annoying itch that just won’t go away, but the fact that for most of the earlier manga volumes (Volume Eight and below), Muraki simply won’t leave them alone is testimony to how far he’ll go to get rid of them. In a nutshell – if he can’t have them, no one else sure as hell can.

I’m actually rather new to the Yami no Matsuei fandom and was, initially, rather reluctant to offer myself as a candidate for this pairing – what could I, a relative newcomer, say that a long-timer of the fandom couldn’t say far better than me? But even though I entered the fandom having initially only seen the anime (yes, that quickly changed), I already had an inkling that Tsuzuki, Hisoka and Muraki were important to each other, if not linked together. But I was still surprised at how much Muraki featured in Tsuzuki/Hisoka fics, though after a while (and a lot of musing), I realised that this wasn’t so surprising. Muraki is linked to both Tsuzuki and Hisoka in significant ways and he is the Yami no Matsuei villain, particularly to those entering the fandom having only seen the anime (as I did). And Muraki is a popular character in his own right. So, eventually, the three of these in their own pairing became my secret wish to see a fic written about, though it is a vastly underappreciated threesome pairing. I mean, the three of them together… who wouldn’t like to see a fic written about that? (Plus, you’d have my undying gratitude. Always a bonus.)

There are rarely any Tsuzuki/Hisoka fics where Muraki doesn’t feature in some form or another. Even if he isn’t central to the plot, he usually comes up in thoughts or memories, even in flashbacks where Hisoka remembers ‘that night’. Likewise, it is usual for Tsuzuki to sometimes remember what Muraki did to him in the Kyoto Arc in fanfics, as well as the fact that he reacts this way himself in volumes after the Kyoto Arc. Muraki has left his mark on Tsuzuki and Hisoka and, for better or worse, they won’t be able to forget this. He continuously affects them, whether it’s subconscious or not. Even in Tsuzuki/Muraki fics, Hisoka is usually mentioned, remembered, or central to the plot in someway – likewise in Muraki/Hisoka fics with Tsuzuki. The three of them are simply linked together, and often go as a threesome in fics where there are, apparently, only two people in a pairing.

The consequences of the Kyoto Arc are important to all three of these characters, but this is also the pivotal point of this threesome. There is no denying that all three of them are vastly changed after this arc – Tsuzuki nearly died, Hisoka nearly died along with him, and Muraki nearly died and has lost his raison d’être in Saki. Fandom speculation has it that Muraki was probably intensively damaged physically from Touda’s flames and one can’t help but wonder if this will significantly change Muraki’s character as well. If so, does that mean that Tsuzuki and Hisoka could ever change their attitudes towards Muraki upon finding this out? We do not yet know, and won’t know until the manga is (hopefully) continued, but this could drastically change the threesome that is them forever.



This is, by no means, a complete list, but these are a collection of sites, essays, and fics that concern Tsuzuki, Hisoka and Muraki in some way that I like very, very much. So, yes, go check them out/read them now!

Theria.net - the site for the YnM translations.
Salt water by Bridgh
Thy Faithfulness in Destruction by Bridgh
Corrupted by, uh, me...
Portrait of the Empath as an Involuntary Voyeur by P. Zeitgeist
An essay on Muraki at reflections_2
An essay on Tsuzuki at reflections_2
An essay on Hisoka at reflections_2
An essay on Tsuzuki/Hisoka as a pairing at ship_manifesto
Another essay on Muraki by Rinoa
Another essay on Hisoka by Rinoa
Another essay on Tsuzuki by Rinoa
An essay on Muraki, Hisoka and the Rape by Rinoa

Tags: #anime/animation, #manga/comic, -threesome, yami no matsuei

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