Continuing my mini-series on parallels between seleção in Higashi no Eden (East of Eden) and Biblical individuals, the focus of this post is on Daiju Mononobe, the primary antagonist of the series. Mononobe is Lucifer himself. While it’s easy to compare almost any villain to the Devil, Mononobe makes a more interesting parallel than most. He isn’t over-the-top and maniacal. In fact, he reflects the often-sly Devil that’s presented in scripture. Well-dressed, well-spoken and very intelligent, Mononobe is a Lord of the Flies in a business suit.
There are three ways Mononobe fits the role of Satan in particular:
1. Mononobe Tempts Takizawa
One of the most known passages in scripture has to do with Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Three trials are described, and they fit well with Mononobe’s temptation of Takizawa.
If you are the son of God, tell these stones to become bread.
Jesus is in the wilderness for 40 friggin’ days. He’s hungry. Obviously. So, Satan first offers him something that Jesus desperately needs. Likewise, Mononobe, when first meetings Takizawa, brings up the idea that he knows of his past life and why he erased his memories. He holds something that Takizawa wants badly, and uses it to his advantage.
If you are the son of God, throw yourself down.
Satan’s next temptation of Christ is to try to get Him to test God by seeing if His promises are true. Mononobe allows Takizawa to go to try to stop his plans, almost tempting Him, likewise, to use His godlike powers to intervene. But the stronger parallel comes when looking at Jesus’ response. He accuses Satan of testing God; Mononobe tests Mr. Outside (God) by trying to outwit him at his own game. Satan tried to outwit God at His own game, too, by quoting the word of God.
All this I will give you, if you bow down and worship me.
Lastly, Satan tries to win Christ’s allegiance. Christ would become the ultimate ruler of this earthly plane, just below the Devil it seems. Likewise, Mononobe tells Takizawa that he is going to win the game and that the younger man can come along; the indication is that Takizawa will be part of Mononobe’s “new kingdom,” as it were.
Mononobe’s final goal seems to be a good one. He wants to be a savior by creating a sense of community and togetherness. But the way he’ll do it is by murder on a mass scale, as Mononobe supports the idea of a terrorist attack. Notice, also, that he works with others, getting people to do his work. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent caused havoc, not by eating the fruit himself, but by convincing Eve to do so. Similarly, Mononobe uses other seleção (and tries to use Takizawa as well) to do this work. Not that Mononobe is above dirty work himself, as when he runs over Itazu.
The Devil is the antithesis of God. Christians often find themselves falling away from God through letting small things slip, letting their character diminish bit by bit. I can certainly attest to this. But it’s in everday life that a Christian tries to glorify God. After all, it’s not final result that matters as much to God – it’s the motivation and our actions. Scripture says that the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). But to Mononobe, the ends justify the means; no matter how many people will die, the final result is worth it. How devilish.
3. Mononobe Ultimately Fails
Mononobe has carefully crafted a plan to achieve his goal. And it seems to be headed on course – no one can stop it, or so he thinks. The parallel between Mononobe here and the Devil of the Old Testament up through the Gospels is strong. The Devil’s goal is basically to lead mankind in rebellion against God. He is called the ruler of the world, and he pursues this goal without abandon. But ultimately, it takes just one failure in the image of one man to destroy his plans. The devil fights hard against Jesus, through temptations, through inhabiting Judas, and through the violent actions of others. Yet, he is foiled by Jesus’ strength and by his resurrection. Likewise, Takizawa is, hope against hope, able to stop Mononobe’s actions.
But like the Devil of the New Testament, Mononobe isn’t done. He ends the series understanding that he has failed, but still determined to accomplish his goals. Meanwhile, the Devil continues to do his work, even when losing the battle to Jesus. Revelation reveals the final outcome of Lucifer and his demons, to happen somewhere down the road. The series sets up for Mononobe to also continue his work, and I’m predicting (having not seen the films – no spoilers please!), to fail as well, maybe to his mortal demise.
Mononobe fits the profile of Satan very well. I won’t but mention this final point, but his attempt to dethrone Mr. Outside sounds a whole lot like Lucifer and God, doesn’t it? The parallel, and the others here, fall in line very well indeed. Stay tuned for Friday’s concluding post, and please visit Monday’s post about Shiratori, if you haven’t read it yet.