What happened at the end of the Manga series As the Gods Will: the meaning of the ending, an explanation of the plot, similar Japanese films.
Genre: horror, fantasy
Year of production: 2014
Director: Takashi Miike
Actors: Sota Fukushi, Mio Yuki, Ryunosuke Kamiki
Slogan: “Daruma doll did it”.
To understand the meaning of the film As the Gods Will (Kami-sama no Iu Tōri), you need to be Japanese. Although, seriously, the picture raises many important questions. One of the central themes was the responsibility that must be borne not only for one’s actions, but also for words.
What is the movie about
Brief description of the contents of the picture. The plot centers on a young man named Shun Takahata. Every day is similar to the previous one, and life is meaningless. He constantly reflects on this topic, but does nothing to correct the situation. Unless one day, in a fit of despair, he turns to God (the gods) with a request to somehow change his boring life. At the same time, Takeru Amaya, a half-crazed school bully, makes exactly the same request.
Sota Fukushi played the role of Suna Takahata. Still from the film.
One day, during a history lesson, something completely unusual happens: the teacher’s head is taken off his shoulders by a scary tumbler doll, Daruma (representing the deity who brings happiness). The monster literally forces teenagers, speechless with horror, to play a game called “Red Light – Green Light”. The loser will face a cruel death – such is the will of the gods.
The first round of the game begins immediately – the doll turns away from the class for a short time, and then, turning around, blows off the heads of everyone who moved during this time. Suddenly, one of the guys, Satake, realizes: to stop this madness, you need to press the button that is on the doll. There is also a timer on the tumbler that counts down how many minutes the schoolchildren have left to live.
Several guys rush to the button, but die one after another. Only Satake and Takahata survive. The guys understand that they will probably be able to help each other. The smarter Satake, quickly analyzing the situation, invites his friend to jump to the tumbler and finally press the ominous button. Xiong does just that. Thanks to his jump, the guys manage to escape before the timer resets. However, Satake also dies – after all, only one can win this round.
Soon, a frightened Ichika Akimoto, Shun’s childhood friend who managed to survive in her class, appears in the audience.
The guys go to the gym. There are new rules of the game written on the floor: “Put the bell on the cat and the game will end.” Suddenly, a giant Maneki-neko (ceramic “Money Cat”) appears from under the floor and devours the players one by one. In this case, all participants are dressed in mouse costumes – in this way you can understand the speech and desires of the cat, but this at the same time increases the risk of being caught by it.
The role of Shoko Takase was played by Mio Yuki. Still from the film.
Suddenly, Shun and Ichika notice a cat bell with a timer and realize what the solution is: it needs to be thrown into the basketball hoop, which is attached to Maneki-neko’s neck. At this time, the monster makes a maneuver and Ichika finds himself in danger. Takahata manages to save her, and Takeru Amaya helps him in this. The game ends, and the gods graciously allow the surviving trio to advance to the next round.
Meanwhile, the news reports about the strange deaths of schoolchildren around the world. For this reason, the country’s leadership decides to introduce a state of emergency. A giant snow-white cube hovers above the city in which the main characters of the film live. According to authorities, this is where the teenagers who were able to survive are located.
Meanwhile, Xiong finds himself in a bright room. Together with him there are other winners of past games – the pretty girl Shoko Takase, Takahata’s classmate, whom he has not seen for many years, the arrogant excellent student Mikinori Taira and the quiet, calm Yumi Taoko.
The third round begins. Kokeshi (Japanese painted wooden dolls) fly into the room and explain the rules. They consist in the fact that the player is blindfolded and seated in the center of the round dance. When the deities finish singing their eerie song, the player must guess who exactly is behind him. When Taia and Taoko die, Shun decisively sits in the center of the round dance instead of Shoko – and wins. The young man’s ingenuity helped him win: he came up with the idea of recording on a tape recorder the words of one of the dolls – “That’s it, time is up”, so that the rest of the round dance participants would speak and reveal their location.
Having admitted defeat, the deities disappear, leaving behind four large keys. As soon as they get out into the corridor, Shun and Shoko encounter another player who is being chased by a flying doll. The point is that she destroys the loners and the guys are saved holding hands. Soon they are joined by Ichika, who is running away from the flying killer – the girl is saved by Shun, who at the last moment grabbed her hand.
Still from the film.
Soon the new tour begins and a giant smiling head with seven keyholes appears on stage. Two more survivors appear next to the new deity.
There are only six guys and they only have four keys. They only have two minutes to open their heads. The situation is again saved by Takeru Amaya – he brings the remaining keys and without hesitation kills one of the participants, whom he brought with him only to escape from the flying doll. The shocked guys still accept the help of the madman and insert the keys into the keyholes.
The monster tells them to go through a tunnel built in the wall. They do so and soon find themselves in an ice cave. There they meet a polar bear, who tells the players that he will ask them questions. Their job is not to lie. If someone lies, the others must find him and feed him to the bear. Otherwise he will eat everyone.
The deity asks simple questions and the guys answer them easily. However, the bear insists that there is a liar among them. The participants begin to quarrel and blame each other, and in the heat of conflict, the helpless Shoko dies…
The polar bear is waiting for its next victim and Xiong, again showing miracles of intelligence, finds the liar. “It’s you!” – he shouts in the monster’s face and turns out to be right: the polar bear is actually black.
The defeated deity announces the finale. Five participants find themselves in an old abandoned city on the seashore. An ominous nesting doll appears on stage. She tells the rules of the last round. One of the players must take a tin from the castle wall and place it in the center of the paved circle. The rest of the participants need to hide at this time.
Ryunosuke Kamiki stars as Takeru Amaya. Still from the film.
When the tin is in the center of the circle, the driver will have to start looking for comrades. Everyone caught will need to be looked into the eyes, called by name and locked in a cell. They can be released by one of the players, who will need to stop hiding to do this. Having reached the tin, he will have to kick it while the driver tries to find the others. But that’s not all. The impact will cause the tin to explode and the one who kicked it will die… The one who saves the prisoners before sunset will win.
The guys determine the driver by lot – Takeru Amaya becomes him. He quickly drives everyone into the cell except Xiong. Takahata is faced with a difficult choice – continue to hide or save the others by dying during the destruction of the ill-fated tin.
He chooses the second and goes outside, but at the same time puts on armor. The helmet covers his face and the driver cannot fulfill one of the rules – look him in the eyes and call him by name. After a short struggle, both guys rush to the tin, but Xiong is quicker. He kicks the tin, which suddenly hits the wall with a hollow sound and falls to the ground…
As the Gods Will Ending explained
Explanation of the ending of the picture. When the sun goes down, the nesting dolls appear again. They announce the end of the game and treat the children to ice cream, assuring that each of them will be able to find out about their future fate on a stick. After this, three prisoners die, and only Shun and Takeru Amaya are free. They are joyfully greeted by people who watched the “show”, and at this time a certain reclusive programmer runs to “save the world”…
Having a hard time experiencing what happened, Xiong expresses the idea that the God to whom he was turning probably does not exist. One of the nesting dolls corrects him, saying that he exists – and he has many faces. She then points to the homeless man who was also watching…
Perhaps the meaning of the ending of the film As the Gods Will is this: no matter what skills and intelligence a person possesses, in the end everything is decided by luck.
According to another interpretation, the picture has an open ending: the fate of the surviving guys is unknown to us and who this recluse is who ran to save the world is also unclear. Most likely, a second part was planned, which for some reason never made it to the screen.
The meaning of the film As the Gods Will
Takashi Miike is known for his prolific output, producing an average of two films per year. He mainly specializes in bloody crime dramas and always skillfully balances between the fine lines of grotesque and seriousness. His painting As the Gods Will cannot be called an arthouse with a hidden meaning. However, it not only makes you think about many things, but also simply “explodes” your consciousness.
The film is based on the manga “Kamisama no iu tori”. Conventionally classified as a horror genre, it is still a real shonen – manga for children (boys and young men) under 18 years of age. This is where the “legs” of the characters’ characters and the whole picture “grow.”
This film is about a clash between very young people and mysterious higher powers (gods). Teenagers who become participants in a terrible game are forced to adapt to sinister deities who impose their own rules on them and take their lives. Cruelty has penetrated into their small world and each of them reacts differently to everything that happens: someone gives up, someone tries to fight honestly, and someone walks over corpses.
Still from the film.
The essence of the film (as well as the moral) is blurred. It seems that everything is clear: appreciate what you have, be content with little and be careful with your desires. However, the deadly game captured the whole world, and most schoolchildren somehow did not complain about boredom. That is, Shun Takahata is not to blame for what is happening – the gods just decided to have fun, and the young man’s expressed wish out loud was just a coincidence…
In the ordinary (relatively normal) world, it is customary to either take a problem seriously or “turn on” a sense of humor. It turns out two points of view on one problem. But it’s not like that with the Japanese. There is no room for two views in their worldview – they contemplate the problem from all sides. This is exactly what the director of this film did. What he ended up with was an almost philosophical story, presented from the point of view of the absurd. Almost like “Alice in Wonderland”.
Many are surprised: the genre of the film is horror, but they scare us with some kind of nesting dolls and say that these are gods. This is the “trick” of the picture. Gods are toys that people began to play with. People always lose because they try to think logically and play by the rules. But this makes no sense: the gods play by their own rules, in which there is no logic. What is a matter of survival for people is fun for them.
There is only one thing scary here: in the very end it becomes clear that the absurdity is real. The film clearly shows how popular such “shows” are in society. Moreover, the spectators are not only loafers and consumers – everyone wants “bread and circuses”.
The gods smile: if you wanted, you will get it. Just keep in mind that there will be few survivors – perhaps only one. The gods laugh because it turns out funny. Even though it’s scary. Not for them – for us. And this is not just a cinematic technique, but a real international reality…
Here are several films similar to the film As the Gods Will in meaning and partly in plot:
- “Royal Battle” (Japan, 2000). The film tells about a terrible game of survival. There will only be one winner…
- “Cube” (Canada, 1997). A group of people with no connection to each other find themselves in a strange cubic room. It soon turns out that they are trapped and someone is playing a terrible game with them.
- “The Hunger Games” (USA, 2012). Teenagers participate in a survival game that is broadcast live. Among the competing participants are a young man and a girl who are in love with each other.
- “Gantz” (Japan, 2011). Two guys die tragically and find themselves in another world. By the will of a strange creature, they have to play a strange game…