Is Mithra a real god? Are Chisato and Yayoi really sisters? There must be many people who have played the game with these questions in their minds. Here, we will have Goichi Suda, the director of Moonlight Syndrome, answer several of these questions. We have additionally provided a supplementary article and our unique interpretations (marked with ※), so please use them for reference.
He is based on the Mithra of Zoroastrianism. I was thinking about something based on Zoroastrianism for a project plan I was working on before Twilight Syndrome, but it ended up being put on hold, so I decided to use some of that - Mithra - in Moonlight Syndrome.
It's very simple. Twilight Syndrome was a story about girls, so I wanted to put in a boy.
At first, it was supposed to be set at a Catholic girls' school in Yokohama (specifically near the Foreign General Cemetery). I had the idea of putting in a mixed boy as the owner of the land. That's when I started thinking that maybe it wouldn't feel weird if we had some sort of devil type thing in there... It's a carry-over of that background. His likeness, of course, is based on Akira.
Zoroastrianism is a religion from ancient Persia (modern day Iran) which is thought to have been established in around the sixth century BC. Zoroaster is the name of its founder, Zarathustra, as it is written in Greek.
It is said that the symbols of this religion are its ideas on the dualism of good and evil and its eschatology. Its good faction is led by the supreme god Ahura Mazda, who is constantly fighting against the might of the evil god Angra Mainyu, but in the end the final judgement is conferred and the powers of good prevail. After their victory, it is said that the world will be reborn into a new, ideal world.
Mithra is a god who represents covenant, and is also the guardian of the law. Mithra is always watching to make sure that contracts made in his name (worshipping the good god Ahura Mazda, living properly, etc.) are always properly carried out, as well as conferring justice in the other world after the resulting judgements.
He also seems to have been popular as the guardian deity of war in ancient Persia, where conflict was constant (people pray for victory = make a contract to be the victor). Mithra, the guardian deity of the country, would crush any enemies who put his country in danger with fierce retribution, and was also the god of things such as livestock that would bring profit to the country. When worshipping Mithra, it is said that people would sacrifice cattle as sacred animals, reproducing the divine protection of Mithra.
Due to his nature of dual extremes, being a protector of the good but also ruthless, Mithra seems to have been viewed as sitting in the middle.
※Long ago, Mithra was treated as equal to the supreme god Ahura Mazda, but in the Zoroastrian reform he was dropped to a yazata, a normal angel and the bottom rank of the seven great angels. This is said to be both because Zoroaster hated bloody rituals using cattle, and also disliked him being more popular than the supreme god. This treatment apparently later created legends of fallen angels and demons in Europe. In any case, it seems as though Mithra's popularity fell, but sadly, his nature as a god of vengeance was greatly wished for by those who could not escape the conflict later on.
In Zoroastrianism, it was thought that time had existed before the world's creation, and that it would continue to exist even after the world came to an end. It was also thought that the time containing the history of the world was a "limited time" excised and created from this constant, eternal time. It seems as though there were people who thought that this "eternal time" itself was the god Zurvan.
Hvar (the sun) makes its way through the heavens, bringing the day to an end. By doing this every day, it causes the changing of the seasons. This means that the sun is considered to be a companion of Zurvan (time). The other half of its nature, Rashnu (justice), is an angel who confers judgement after death. With his golden scales, he is said to measure a person's good and bad deeds. In the world of Zoroastrianism, heaven is divided into three levels, and which of the worlds you go to is determined by the weight of your good deeds. There is also a hell, of course. If the scales fail to tip in either direction, you will be sent to the lowest level of heaven, called Hamistagan.
※Hanako-san from Twilight was a messenger from the spirit world. Half of Chisato is an angel who governs judgements in heaven (the other world), so it wouldn't be strange for her to have a thorough knowledge of the spirit world. Her nickname of "spirit realm radar" wasn't just for show after all.
In the Zoroastrian world, it is said that along with the heavens, ruled over by Ahura Mazda, and the world of darkness, controlled by Angra Mainyu, there is also a world of emptiness. This world of emptiness is controlled by the god Vayu (wind). Since the world Vayu inhabits is between the heavens and world of darkness where good and evil intermingle, you can think of him as a man-in-the-middle like Mithra. Wind also represented space. Furthermore, it seems as though space was regarded in the same way as Zurvan (time). There are also witches called Pairilas who were said to seduce men with their charms, and were compared to shooting stars.
※It is said that good and evil were born from Zurvan (time). In short, both good and evil are contained within time. If you think about it that way, the midway nature of Mithra means that he is Zurvan, too. Then Chisato being one of three siblings (refer to Twilight Syndrome) means...!?
Mithra, Yayoi and Chisato are gods who are part of the yazatas.
This was set up by having Yayoi and Chisato be Zoroastrian gods as the groundwork.
Strictly speaking, Yayoi is a fusion of Vayu (the wind god) and the Pairilas (witches), who are on the side of the evil god Angra Mainyu, while Chisato is a fusion of Hvar (the sun god) with Rashnu (an angel who symbolises justice), who is on the side of the good god Ahura Mazda.
This means that they are both fusions of gods who are part of Zurvan (time). Because of this, I decided to make them sisters.
※If you compare the gods' nature of Zurvan to the blood flowing through their bodies, perhaps this makes them like sisters who share the same blood.
Think of Hanako-san herself from Twilight Syndrome as Chisato Itsushima. We made a highlights version of Twilight Syndrome in the past, and there's a scene in the promotional movie on the disk that implies that Chisato is Hanako-san.
Yes. She needed a temporary form to use as a messenger for the people living nearby, so she became Hanako-san.
You could say that Sumio's contract was the beginning of everything that happens in the story. So, what was it that he wanted? It was the eternal separation of Kyoko and Ryo. He apparently offered up his own death and soul to Mithra for this. Does this mean that Ryo formed a contract with Mithra about Mika? This is not the case. It seems as though Ryo thought Mithra to be Sumio when he made contact with him. Sumio must have been quite important to him. When executing Sumio's contract, pointing out the existence of Mika to Ryo and making him choose of his own volition whether or not to protect her, you might say that Mithra was displaying the majesty of a god of justice...?
The headmaster and Lil actually had contracts with Mithra, too. The cost was, of course, their deaths. It is Mithra's intent that leads to Kimika Takahashi's pretty face ending up in the headmaster's office. However, he was destroyed by Chisato before Mithra could take his soul. When the headmaster's office suddenly collapses in Dowaku, it is seemingly due to a phenomenon caused by Chisato's will. In the world of Zoroastrianism, it is said that when you die, you cross Chinvat Bridge and receive judgement. If Rashnu's scales lean towards goodness, the bridge is thick and stable, but if they lean towards evil, the bridge becomes as narrow as a knife and you fall into hell. It is just like the image of falling into hell. On the other hand, Lil is spared. This is because she was saved by Chisato as Hanako-san. The price of her father taking her place (as he was passing beneath as Lil jumped) must be a heavy burden to bear, though...
He met her at Lost Highway, like Kimika. They had a normal relationship, but Sumio gradually began to change, brainwashed by Yayoi. That said, he was always that sort of guy, so he slowly realised that something was wrong with Yayoi and that he had got himself caught up in a huge, uncontrollable maelstrom.
But sensing his heart burn with his feelings for Kyoko, he is pulled in by Mithra. He subconsciously senses Mithra lurking behind Yayoi and plans to make contact with him... That's how it went.
"Prank", the hidden scenario in Twilight Syndrome, is the original version of Henshitsu. The "prank of the fairy" is a different concept from Twilight Syndrome, so you can think of it as a pre-scenario for Moonlight Syndrome.
The explanation for it includes internal relationships with others. Mika's erratic actions, graphic words and killing (or being killed by) people are all actions taken because she has been caught up in a "a fairy's prank". So, no matter what Mika does, Ryo can forgive her. It's trial from the fairies to Mika... or Ryo, rather.
I still hadn't thought of the character of Mithra at all by this stage, but you can think of the fairy as the original form of Mithra.
"When the moon's sorrow overflows~" was something I wrote at the start with the image of Moonlight Syndrome in mind. It comes from the moonlight in the title, and hints at the events of the epilogue.
"To someone who forgives all" is a feeling of self-admonition that Mika Kishii has towards herself for her actions (pranks and making up stories) in Twilight Syndrome. It also signifies the question of whether or not Ryo will forgive Mika as a person.
Can Ryo stand to protect a woman Sumio had relations with, despite feeling something like a mix of love and hate for him? It's a representation of this jumbled relationship between Mika and Ryo.
Think of the concept of time in a story where Mithra is involved as different from time in real life. The gravity of acknowledging a person's death is represented by the feeling of the length of time.
For Mika's classmates, Kyoko's death isn't something that affects their daily lives. They have the weakest and fastest recognition of it, and it's explained in conversation format in the game's prologue. Next, Mika learns more information from the news than she heard from her classmates' conversation, and in Mowdei, Sumio first acknowledges it when he initially sees Kyoko's head.
And then, in the final scene of Mowdei, Ryo acknowledges it. Since Ryo had the deepest connection to Kyoko, it takes him the longest time of all to become aware of her death.
The death of someone close to you. I tried showing the gap that everyone has felt (or will feel) towards death using a staggering of time.
What would happen if the phenomenon of mental revolution that Ryo undergoes, triggered by the death of Kyoko, happened not just to him but to the whole of Hinashiro? The headmaster, Kimika Takahashi, the people at the club... If all of the people scattered across town, too many to depict, were to simultaneously undergo this internal revolution...
I think of it as a realistic story with this exaggerated to an extreme.
Ryo definitely does exist within Hinashiro, and he experiences a realistic story up until Dowaku. There is no definite explanation for the epilogue. You could say that all of the characters in the story are walking along by themselves, and so at one point I had to rewrite the epilogue due to the circumstances of their journeys. The events are completely different.
Did the characters within the story head for the conclusion in the epilogue of their own will, or did they become caught up in and fall victim to the relationship between Mika and Ryo? I think these things came together to create the final scene.
Except for Aramata, each of the characters were pushing forwards towards the final scene, which concludes the story's reality... Please think of it like that. I decided not to decipher or put into order the baffling details.
The "edge of the world" (the big tree scene) is the purest, most primitive place. Yayoi puts aside her good will and other emotions towards Ryo, reuniting with him at the "edge of the world". There, Yayoi watches Ryo and the conclusion of it all in her most human-like state, then watches Mithra's death in the real world at the end to bring an end to the story.
Why isn't Rumi at the "edge of the world"? That's because I couldn't take the time to write about her properly. The depiction of Rumi is something I wish I could've done more with.
Yes, he was. Mithra was a victim, too. In a way, Yayoi was a faithful servant of Mithra's, but if you look at it from another perspective, you might say that Mithra was used and sent to his destruction by Yayoi.
Maybe you could even say that it was even Yayoi's jealousy towards Mika?
The grassy field that appears during the story is a shared vision of the "edge of the world". Mika, Chisato and Yukari return to the "edge of the world", thinking of the place with nostalgia and homesickness.
It is said that free will was revered in Zoroastrianism, where good and evil are in opposition. This means that one must have the self-awareness to choose the faction of good gods of their own free will and fight against evil. In short, you can assume that they meant "take responsibility for yourself"; that if you discover a sprout of evil within you, you must pluck it out by your own efforts. I am sure that this does not mean rejecting the advice of others, however. This is similar to the way in which Ryo has the assistance of Kyoko and Chisato before he arrives at this answer for himself.
In the end, Ryo faces up completely to his own weakness and fragility, choosing the path of going against the great power of Mithra. How you interpret the conclusion is left to the player's free will.