So now that I've made six different layouts for LLOM, I think it's about time I settle on one. I understand these hoverovers are something you guys enjoy, so I'll keep doing them. In the next few slices, I'll explain why Anthy is the prominent figure here. This is an Akio layout. Anthy is simply a means to an end. I could remove both his face and his hand and you'd still know he was there. Also, I've been trying for ages to sneak a picture from my NASA folder into a layout. Starry night, holy night...o wait holy has no place here!
See? You don't even have to see the rest of his face to know the expression he has. I love it. Yes, I added little pearly things to Anthy's hair. Shut up, they're cool. A woman's shoulders are the front lines of her mys-fuck, wrong devil. This, my friend, is an arched back. Look at her. And he's not even touching her yet. Menu's over there, dear.
I wish a gorgeous sadistic man like Akio would stop by and come-or it come and stop by? Damn, I'm confused. Hi Anthy! You seem less blank than usual. Akio's not Indian. He's just a black man that's also a vampire and thus pale for his race. Had I known what an unholy pain in the ass this layout would be to code, I'd have...well..done it anyway.
Look, a chopped hovering gif. You guys just don't know how much I suffer for this stuff. Actually, I wish I was back in the city.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger...might be a bad choice of music considering what I'm doing. MY ROOM IS A MESS. Well no, but my mind is. I DON'T WANNA GO TO CLASS. Fuck school. I'll like it better when my campus has a phallic tower and hot dean. I really should be getting dressed for school... ....ok, a song titled 'Weapons of Mass Distortion' is no better... No more hovers! (They don't work in Firefox anyway.)
    I've been part of the nerdy SKU analysis community for about seven years, and in all that time, no one anywhere, myself included, has agreed on a single explanation of Akio Ohtori. The other characters are often similarly the subject of such inconclusive debate, but it's seemed to me that agreements and conclusions have always been the most absent in any consideration of who, what, and why Akio is.
    I do not offer here one complete essay on my version of Akio, but several short essays, from different angles and on different things. A comparison I notice in June, a facet of his personality I concern myself with in July. If you notice the frequent presence of Freud and Jung, don't blame me; I'm just running with the names Ikuhara dropped. My intention here isn't to in one swoop fully describe all that (I think) Akio is. I won't even necessarily stay true to my own interpretation of him. Instead, like all analysis of SKU, the most I can hope for is to see where a train of thought takes me, and offer you innocent bystanders a chance to come onboard.

ar·che·type (är'kĭ-tīp')
1. An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype.
2. An ideal example of a type; quintessence: an archetype of the successful entrepreneur.
3. In Jungian psychology, an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious.
    The shadow play girls call Dios ‘the light of the world’. Was he real in a biological sense? Did he have parents? Or is he simply the living embodiment of the idea of a prince—a walking archetype that congealed from the mists as soon as someone thought of him? We’re never given the slightest hint as to where Anthy and Dios come from, and an oversight like that makes one wonder if they had a biological origin at all. Dios lives his life as an archetype rather than a person—an ideological extreme instead of the many shades of grey that mark the human animal. He protects the world from everything they fear: monsters and loneliness on a holiday. He’s a pure soul free from the sin of selfishness. He’s everything for everyone, and he demands nothing in return.

    An archetype is an ideal and by nature unable to deviate from the image it represents. If you represent pure good and selflessness, than to stray in the slightest means you’re no longer that archetype. There’s no room in Dios for deviation from the ideal he lives, and his value to people hinges entirely on his capacity to maintain it. When he did something that broke that image of pure selflessness, he ceased to be Dios entirely.

    He stumbles a bit. He makes a mistake, just like any human being will do thousands of times over. A human can still be basically good in light of their minor fumbles. But Dios isn’t human. As an archetype he had to go from the ideal he represented before to the ideal realized in the actions that made him cease to be Dios in the first place. This is Akio. The living archetype on the other end of the spectrum.

    We find in the flashback a Dios pushed to the very brink, with only two obvious choices: fall from grace or die. It seems either way, the light of the world will be put out; even if his immortality keeps him alive, he’ll be incapacitated, since his struggle to hold to his duty will deny him any opportunity to recuperate. Rendered unable to act, it’s likely the swords would have found him anyway; the people seemed much more concerned with his ability to help them than the maintenance of his purity. Either way, Dios falls under the great temptation he’s presented with—after all, the odds were stacked strongly against him. This one minor infraction is all it took, and in its wake there’s only Akio.

    Akio is selfish, impure, and in no way innocent. Dios had once been the answer, but Akio is the problem. The selflessness that was the cornerstone of Dios’ virtue is the black hole that permits Akio’s cruelty. Akio’s evil, if you want to call selfishness that, and he’s sinful, if you’re going the Biblical route. He’s the universally accepted definition of a very, very bad man.

    This doesn’t just describe his personality. It describes what he is. If Dios was a living archetype than that’s what Akio is. He’s simply the opposite, a different archetype: Dios is the innocent child prince and Akio is the tyrannical and selfish adult king. Akio rules over his subjects absolutely, and like some kings, considers his domain all that exists in this world. ‘Ends of the World’—the line he draws describes the border of what is, or at least what’s important. (Akio is aware of, and occasionally interacts with, the world outside. It’s just not important to him.)

    We usually think of a tyrant king as someone who rules with an iron fist, but as much as Akio is the opposite archetype of Dios, he mirrors him here as well. Dios saves the world by brute force. He doesn’t talk the dragon into being complacent, and he doesn’t maneuver a kind man into a lonely girl’s dinner plans. He does everything himself, and where a problem can be solved with a weapon, it’s solved with a weapon. Akio rarely uses such methods to get what he wants, but then this isn’t surprising. Dios’ goal is to save people, and in the setting he appears in, this often takes the form of a physical battle against a hostile enemy. Akio’s goal is simply to satisfy his own desires, which in his case involves a kind of control over people that precludes brute force. You don’t make Touga do what you want him to do by holding a sword to his chest, and you don’t approach Juri yourself when there are people that can more effectively move her.

    This brings us back to the comparison of the child and adult rather than prince and king. They’re applied simultaneously, because the archetypal prince is a youth, and we usually think of kings as seasoned adults. The means each of them uses to reach their own ends exhibits this contrast in age—a child would use physical force before manipulation, because it’s straightforward. Simple. To manipulate, especially on the scale Akio does, requires an organization of thought children rarely have. Aside from that, manipulation has an unshakeable stigma even when the means driving it are good. For Dios to have used manipulation to help the people, he’d have lost something of his purity. He’s a stereotype as much as an archetype, and we never think of the good and innocent prince as a plotter. Tyrant kings, however, are often thought of as manipulative and clever rather than simply forceful.
    Above I describe Akio as an ‘adult king’, but he only thinks of himself as an adult and so presents himself that way. He looks like an adult. He lives like an adult. He acts, in the most superficial sense, like an adult. But ultimately he’s no more grown up than the students in his school. He’s a consummate actor, and he fools everyone including himself, but there’s something missing.

    It’s not his cruelty or his selfishness. Really, it can hardly be said that adults are by nature kind and selfless. Some are, some are not, some are just plain assholes. Akio is a child because ultimately, he isn’t responsible for anything he does. He’s never held accountable for his behavior, and he doesn’t consider the implications of what he’s doing. It’s not that he’s unaware of the consequences of his actions. He knows very well that action A will have reaction B. It’s that he’s ruled entirely by his own selfishness. It’s like a child setting his green plastic army men on fire without the least little concern that his mother paid for them.

    Akio has no real concept of right and wrong. He’s by no means amoral; he’s well aware he does bad things, and savors this fact with some enthusiasm. However, he has never been reprimanded for his behavior. He has no set of rewards and punishments that monitor his actions as a real adult would.

    This, ultimately, was the damage Anthy did to him when she took the swords on herself. In saving his life, she also let him get away with his selfish act with no punishment. A child will keep stealing cookies from the jar if you never slap their hand. Akio’s never received any positive or negative reinforcement from outside to guide his behavior. He’s never been spanked, scolded, yelled at, kicked under the table, or put in time out. The only thing guiding his behavior is his own selfishness. There’s no learned understanding that there are things you don’t do. Akio knows murder, for example, is wrong. He knows other people are punished for murder. He might even realize it carries a moral imperative. But that punishment and that moral imperative don’t apply to him.

    What makes him even more dangerous is that he’s aware of how much of an exception to the rule he is. A child not taught right from wrong might think it’s okay to steal. Akio knows it’s wrong to steal, but he also knows he won’t get punished for it. This gives him the capacity to do things out of cruel selfishness instead of just selfishness born from not knowing any better. To add to that, Akio is patient. He’s not a walking id, functioning entirely on the immediate pursuit of pleasure. He can structure his desires on a hierarchy of how worth the effort they are, and he understands the concept of waiting and sacrificing the immediate desire for the long term, more intense one.

    Akio has a very developed concept of right and wrong. He has a studied understanding of it, and he’s clearly capable of abstraction and analysis. He’d carry himself in any philosophical conversation on morality. He just doesn’t care to apply any of it.