Steven Den Beste examines the mysterious ending of the last couple episodes of Re-Kan.
The flower’s Japanese name is “asagao,” which literally means “morning face.” [“morning” (asa) + “face” (kao, gao).]
In Japanese poetry (as in English poetry), the morning glory signifies the beauty of transience and the brevity of life. In the Japanese language of flowers, they also signify “willful promises” (presumably because their bloom is too brief to follow up on the promise they show in the morning).
For those of you who don’t watch Re-Kan, the name means “Sixth Sense,” and it’s a Japanese ghost show set in a high school. Lots of Buddhist legend stuff.
Okay, here’s what’s going on with the last couple of Re-Kan episodes.
The morning glory is both Hibiki’s sixth sense and her life. When the morning glory is wilting, Hibiki is tired to the point that she is slowly dying. The part of it that is her sixth sense is fed by the presence of her mother, because it’s an inherited skill. Even with all the other ghosts helping, they don’t have as much spiritual power as Hibiki’s mom, and they don’t have that direct line connection. Also, remember that Hibiki’s mom knew she would die nine months later as soon as she got pregnant with Hibiki. Apparently it’s just too hard to run one’s own body and spiritual powers while also supporting a second person’s baby body and baby spiritual powers.
So it’s probable that spending all night letting Hibiki see the ghost of her mom just tired out the other ghosts, especially since they expended enough effort to make it possible for Hibiki’s dad to see what was going on. Hibiki’s sixth sense may also have become exhausted by this effort.
Okay. So the next morning, Hibiki’s mom was probably still traveling back to Hibiki’s weird little soul room when Hibiki woke up. Hibiki’s body was also tired out and hungry, but Hibiki ignored it and didn’t eat. And then she kept it up for days. She also didn’t “feed” the ghosts as she normally would. So her body was weak, which made her sixth sense remain weak; and the ghosts were probably too weak to get out even after Hibiki’s mom made it back, because they weren’t being fed, either.
So basically, she was dangerously weak, and she was attempting slow suicide while inadvertently doing her best to take a lot of the ghosts with her. If she had died, the ghosts and her mom would probably have been able to get out, but obviously a healthy Hibiki is the better way to go.
But the final step toward making the morning glory bloom again was for Hibiki not just to eat and live, but to decide that she will continue to connect with other people. While she had been refusing to eat, she had also been largely refusing to talk and interact with other people whom she could see, ignoring them out of distress and depression while desperately trying to seek the dead whom she could no longer see. This was not healthy, either. Her sixth sense and her life are both meant to spent caring for other people and nosing into their business, whether dead or alive. An incurious Hibiki is a dying Hibiki. So she had to reach out to someone (in this case, literally) before she could get her life and her sixth sense back.
So the moral of the episode is that when you’re in a slump with your talent, you don’t deal with it by nothing but useless persistence (as a lot of Japanese shows do) or by stupid behavior (ditto). You have to go back to the basics and help and work with the people you know, and you should remember the good stuff that you’ve done is still worthwhile.