Baton Pass

subject — Kyoko Honda (Fruits Basket)
medium — Manga
creation date — 23 March 2016
participated inOnigiri Box Marathon
Some things you only learn once it hurts or once you get others involved. That's just the way it is. There are many things you only understand once you've hit rock bottom. You fight all the beautiful things in life and often learn to appreciate them only by having been in the dirt.
  • wisdoms & inspiration
  • memories
  • how to keep going
  • influence
  • adolescence
  • losing your way
  • fragments
  • loneliness & empathy
  • maturing
  • parenthood
  • learning from mistakes
  • living on

Favourite Pages

Milestones

  • piecing together fragments of non-chronological memories
  • going far beyond the character themselves
  • introductory paragraphs for subnavigations

Making of

  • This shrine was written under three different mottos rather than keywords: "It's alright to make mistakes", "there's always something worth living for" and "remember your childhood and past struggles". The first and to an extent the second one are explicit parts of the narrative; the third one is self-set because it resonates with me if you look at the series as well as at Kyoko's scenes in their entirety. Erich Kästner's quote about being a child touched me deeply the first time I read it in elementary school, and I absolutely wanted it to be part of the shrine. A large part of the shrine (the main motivation behind it, in fact) rests on the chapter concerning the importance of childhood memories – a scene that isn't about Kyoko at all. But it stuck with me and coloured my perception of Kyoko's scenes, and that's how you make a shrine something personal.
  • Thinking about how to group all the fragmented memories other characters have of Kyoko so as to present them on the shrine was so much fun. It's my forte: detail work, but also looking at things as part of the big picture, and giving it a structure of my own. What I'm particularly proud of is that each section has an entirely different feel to it – but it is only together that they lead to the shrine's conclusion.

    Out of all my shrines so far (even more so than Valkyrie due to that one's size), this one definitely has the strongest narrative, which means it more or less has to be read in the presented order. This is also the reason I couldn't release it half-finished: Each link in the chain is crucial, and without the conclusion of the shrine, those links are robbed of their meaning. In turn, that motivated me to keep writing even when I didn't feel like it.
  • The fact that all these pages flow into each other also makes it difficult for me to point out favourite pages aside from the conclusion I had wanted to write about from the start. It's not so much any one page that I like, as it is the sections in their entirety.
  • I will be honest though: I was very worried my shrine would be looked down on. Kyoko, in the narrative and on my shrine, are largely introduced in scenes concerning other people's life, as part of the advice Tohru (her daughter) gives to all those characters. As I discuss in the conclusion of the shrine, it is necessary to see that bright, positive and influencing side of Kyoko first to grasp the significance of her character.

    Nevertheless, that's only once you see the big picture – which isn't the case that early on, and which is precisely the challenge in grasping Kyoko's role. I was worried that by offering those fragmented pieces of Kyoko, I would make it seem as though I'm not... actually making a shrine about Kyoko, and that others would be asking themselves what the point of all of it is. I was equally worried that I'd overshadow Fruits Basket's actual protagonist, Tohru, too much, just by describing all those scenes. After all, it's Tohru who relays Kyoko's messages, because Kyoko is no longer around. Tohru is the actor – and I was wondering whether visitors would consider the influence behind those actions of equal importance.

    And as much as I liked my approach to it and the entire concept of the shrine, writing the Legacy part was very tiring. At one point, I even thought that I'd end up disliking the shrine, and that it was my weakest work. That part of the shrine is summaries and translation first, and analysis second. As I've just said, it felt like I was writing without getting to the point, without finally being able to talk about Kyoko as a person and the things I had wanted to make the shrine for in the first place (Parenthood and Message). But I knew it was necessary, so I continued writing. (That's what I mean when I talk about shrines being my context for essays.)
  • Something similar can be said for the Resonance section. It was supposed to be one of many pages under Finish Line, but it turned out to be an essay of enormous length. I split it up to make it easier to follow, thus making a split between narrative and thematic conclusion. Here, too, I was worried that it was too much about Tohru and Akito than it was about Kyoko... But the importance of Tohru having to let go of Kyoko cannot be understated, even though it's very subtle, entirely one-sided due to its nature, and not discussed with others. It's important to address it because I haven't seen it addressed as a thematic focal point anywhere else, even though Kyoko's ghost keeps haunting Tohru across many volumes. That's what a shrine is also for: to discuss the things not sufficiently addressed in other parts, and to give yourself a platform to do just that.

Retrospect

Baton Pass is, as of writing this, my latest shrine, but also perhaps my strongest to date, even if it may not necessarily be my favourite subject among the subjects I have created shrines for. It's evident that it builds on shrines that have come before, and that is something that fills me with pride. In a sense, it's the reverse of Kyoko's story: The shrines I have made up to this point influenced this one, the experience I have gained from them coming together to form this.

Whereas Strength of Heart and Jamais Plus translated mainly technical terms and lyrics respectively, Baton Pass translates entire passages, which are dominantly featured all across the shrine, with special attention to beautiful and appropriate phrasing; Fruits Basket is a story full of wisdoms after all. Following Setting Sun, each point in the navigation introduces what the respective section is going to be about, something that wasn't part of my previous multi-page shrines that had several subnavigations. Like Dornenkaefig, it's (supposed to be) small, and it is definitely contained, its established mottos present on every single page. Like Valkyrie, it has a narrative and strongly focuses on the character's different roles and the way those develop; the important quotes are part of the navigations on both shrines as well. Naturally, no character shrine is untouched by In Control's merging of different pages and the way analysis makes it way into each page. And like many of my shrines before, it has a strong theme of its own, with its own structure to highlight that theme.

Baton Pass' reception has only added to this pride: It's so very touching and rewarding to hear that you were able to give someone a different perspective on a character, especially regarding their narrative significance. Despite my initial skepticism and negativity, I'm so glad I decided to take part in this marathon and to keep going even when I just wanted to throw in the towel – because that's exactly Kyoko's message: Keep fighting when you're down, and you'll find something that makes it all worth it. Persevere to the end, and live in a way that you can be proud of when you look back on yourself.