The Themes of X/1999
There are many influences, themes, and motifs in the series of X/1999. CLAMP definitely knows how to do their homework and incorporate their previous works into the newer series. This series is heavily influenced by religious themes and backgrounds. Rather it is Christianity or Japanese religious shrines, it shows up quite often. There are also several places throughout Japan that show up. These are usually places that are part of everyday shrines and religious spots in Japan.
Influences of X/1999
X/1999 is heavily influenced by religion. The Chinese mythology of the Earth dragons were the concepts for the Dragons of Earth and the Dragons of Heaven. This is shown more so in Chinese feng shui. the shifting Earth dragon causes the earthquakes when it is agitated. This is why the Earth is fated to be destroyed by the Dragons of Earth and their earthquakes.
Since it is an apocalyptic genre anime, the religious influence plays a strong role to the series. There are various scenes and talk of Christian based things. CLAMP just adds their own modern tale to the story. The Apocalypse of John heavily influenced the series. Tokyo represents the modern-day city of Babylon and it is “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev. 18:2 KJV) and therefore set to be destroyed.
Kamui represents the figure of Christ. He is the one to save Tokyo and determine the fate of humanity. His title is allusive to his divine nature. The Dragons of Heaven, or the seven seals, are shown in the book of Revelation Chapter 5. The antagonist group of the Dragons of Earth are represented by Angels and “go [their] ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth” (Rev. 16:1 KJV). Their supercomputer, Beast, is branded with the demonic number of 666.
The Gaia theory is also an influence on the series. The Earth is seen as a living organism and the end will be brought on due to the abuse humanity has done to Earth. The story is therefore a depiction of the Judgement Day. Humanity is nearly a nuisance to the living Earth and it is either be destroyed or destroy humanity to survive. The Angels wish to bring justice to Earth and destroy humanity. The seals are looking to save humanity and entrust the planets future to the people.
Themes of X/1999
The conflict between the two groups is the sole purpose of the plot. Therefore the series is mostly carried by the characters and ethical ideals. It also deals with societal issues much like Tokyo Babylon did. Since the series is set in the present time, the authors are allowed to comment and reflect on Japan’s affairs. Unlike Tokyo Babylon, X does not allow their characters to speak out loud what they are feeling about the ethical issues. Their values are only implied in their actions throughout the series.
The characters focus on the individuals rather than the group. From the beginning, each character is destined to be part of the end fight of Earth. Each family of the Dragons of Heaven raised their child in order to protect Earth. They may feel sympathetic to the Dragons of Earth, but they still have to do what they think s right. The ability to summon their special kekkai, is their ability to fight the enemy. If they do not have the ability to fight, they can not use the kekkai.
This is another series that focuses on mankind’s destruction of Earth/ Ohkawa (a member of CLAMP) explains how she fears the destructive relationship of mankind and the planet. She even says “people will save the Earth to save themselves, but who will risk themselves to save the Earth?”
Motifs of X/1999
X/1999 shows a sharing motif with literature that is apocalyptic, character concepts, and future events seen through dreams. They focus on what is greater than themselves. Since there are two Kamuis, the protagonist is given the choice between the two groups. He struggles each second to choose the right path to take not knowing there is someone else to fill the other spot.
The doctrine of dualism is something that fascinates Ohkawa, and is therefore a theme that often appears in the series. The qualities of one person can make you love them, but the same qualities in another person can make you hate them. His name has two separate meanings, the one who represents God and the one who hunts God down. This is where his twin star comes into place. His friend Fuuma takes the place of the Dragons of Earth Kamui. Even further into the the theory of dualism is represented by the dreamgazer sisters, each on opposite sides.
Dreams are another fascinating idea of Ohkawa. Within her writing it can be often seen that her characters often have prophetic dreams (X, XxxHolic). While in XxxHolic the dreams were parallel to their the world, X is about the future. Hinoto often feels she can change the future since she has the ability to see the future through dreams. Ohkawa says that this is called lucid dreaming, where the dreamer can perform the impossible through their dreams. Kakyo of the Dragons of Earth is another dreamgazer. He is always seeing the future, but knows he can not change it mostly since he is in a permanent coma.
When Kamui arrives in Tokyo, the events to the end are set into motion. Knowing the sides to choose from, he ends up choosing the Dragons of Heaven in hopes to save the people he loves. Kotori inevitably dies and his best friend ends up on the opposite side. He fights against his fate, but other characters accept tehir fates. Sorata Arisugawa knows he will die protecting the woman he loves. He of course chooses Arashi Kishu to die protecting. Subaru Sumeragi has no interest at all in the fight for humanity. He and his opposite, Seishirou Sakurazuka, are both drawn to the apocalyptic fight only to face each other once again. Ohkawa felt that their desire to choose for right and wrong was represented best in their character control.
Religious Locations Used in X/1999
A Shingon sect headquarters of Japanese Buddhism (Sorata’s place of origin).
A shrine of Amaterasu in Japan (Arashi is a shrine maiden).
A temple of Tendai sect Japanese Buddhism (Yuzuriha is a descendant).
Terminology Used in X/1999
Here is a list of mostly religious terminology that is used for the apocalypse in X/1999.
Shadow Sacrifice – A paper (or wooden) doll used to represent people and do harm with magical nature. When someone harms the person that is protected by the shadow sacrifice, the doll will suffer instead. Kamui’s family line is able to act as a shadow sacrifice as part of the Magami clan.
Sacred Sword- A reference to Kamui’s (and Fuuma’s) swords for the final battle. It is a Shinken which is a sword gifted by god and offered as a sacrifice to god as well.
Dreamgazers – These people have a window into the future through dreams. This future is obviously unalterable though some try to alter it at times. The Japanese word yumemi is directly translated to “the one who has true dreams.” The dreams are part of the real world, but only the dreamgazers can cross into both places. It is said that these dreamgazers sacrifice physical abilities and health to see these dreams.
Spiritual Barriers – A Buddhist tradition in which an energy protects a certain area by magic. When the barrier is up, any damage done to the area will return to normal. This is only if the person that created the barrier lives. If they die, the areas damage will remain. The barriers are also key ares that act as a larger barrier to protect Tokyo.
Nakano Sun Plaza, Sunshine 60, Yamanote Line/Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Highrises, Shibuya 109, Ebisu Garden Place, Rainbow Bridge, The National Diet Building, Ginza, Inokashira Park, Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, and Tokyo Tower.