relationships

It is said in Evangelion that there are two versions of every person - the you inside your own head, and the you in everyone else's heads. And if it's said in Evangelion, it must be true. In the absence of a convenient route into Tohma's head, I think we're going to concentrate on how he interacts with the other cast members in order to shed some more light on the character.


Uesugi Eiri - Well, this is quite a difficult relationship to quantify. It's obvious that Eiri and Tohma have known one another for a long time, and seem to have been quite close: Tohma was after all the one who took Eiri to New York, indicating that they were already close by then. In the flashbacks, we seem to see the two being good friends - Eiri is late for a lesson because he was with 'Seguchi-san', and after Yuki's death he sits and cries in Tohma's arms. It's my opinion that Tohma was in love with Yuki even at this early stage: his behaviour seems pretty consistant with his behaviour later in the show, by which point he has admitted that 'I love Eiri more than anyone else in the world.' There's no denying how strongly Tohma feels for Eiri - some people even argue that Tohma only marrried Mika in order to get close to Eiri. It seems like he was always trying to protect Eiri, and after Yuki's death he blamed himself entirely for failing to look after Eiri. This guilt complex is something we haven't seen much of in Tohma, but always seems to surface with regard to Eiri, like in episode 11. It may well be a symptom of that same sense of over-responsibility which leads him to overwork himself running NG Productions and Nittle Grasper at the same time.

It's pure speculation on my part, but after New York I think Tohma was the one primarily responsible for getting Eiri back together again. Eiri seems to have trusted him, and it seems to me likely that Eiri's 'don't trust anyone, don't care about anyone, you'll only hurt them and be hurt yourself' attitude is most likely to stem from the overly protective and emotionally awkward Tohma. The intervening years between New York and the series aren't accounted for, but I'd assume that Yuki and Tohma stayed in touch at least to start with.

But it seems to me that it was during this time that they began to drift apart. Part of it seems due to the fact that Tohma's help worked too well, and Eiri consistantly cut himself off from his family and his friends. It appears that by the time of the series, Eiri has grown almost to hate Tohma at times - when they meet up at the Bad Luck concert, Eiri refuses to exchange more than a few words with Tohma; when Tohma enquires about something later, he is told to leave him alone. Of course, occasionally the old friendship seems to appear again, but the times when this happens are few and far between.

Part of the difficulty may arise in the fact that Tohma is still very much in love with Eiri, but still sees him as a child who needs protecting. Tohma goes into full mother hen mode over Eiri, cooking him food, protecting him from Aizawa, and so on. It may be that this rankles with Eiri, and so he shuns him.

One thing I feel I should stress in this relationship is how altruistic Tohma feels he is being, and to some degree actually *is* being. As long as Eiri is happy, Tohma is happy for him - even if that means letting him be with Shuichi. Tohma is often criticised for trying to break up the relationship between Eiri and Shuichi, but it should be noted that Tohma only does this after he is certain that it will not hurt Eiri to do so - remember, he is the one who asks Eiri if he is absolutely sure about the breakup. Although he would probably be very happy to have the relationship end (as shown in his slightly gleeful wish to finish Shuichi, and his cruel behaviour towards him), he would never try to bring it about unless Eiri agreed. It is vital to Tohma that he sees himself acting, not out of personal selfishness, but out of altruism and love.

And don't try to paint Eiri as whiter than white in this situation - I think his behaviour towards Tohma in the last scene was terribly cruel. The man has based his life around him for the last God knows how many years, he has followed him halfway across the world, and Eiri first refuses to even acknowledge him, then throws the evidence of his lover back in Tohma's face. Tohma's expression here is one of total desolation, as he finds the one thing he relied on - that Eiri needed him - has gone.

Now tell me Tohma's the bad guy.


Seguchi Mika - Hmm...this is a slightly tricky subject. I think everyone would agree that Tohma is not in love with Mika, even though he appears to be quite happily married to her. He does, however, respect her opinions, listen to her, talk to her, and generally opens up far more to her than to almost any other character. I think it would be fair to describe Mika as Tohma's closest friend, and he does care about her quite a lot. My guess would be that they were friends right back when they were both at school, and it was through Mika that Tohma first met Eiri. Mika seems to be perfectly aware of her husband's feelings for her brother, and even seems to support him. I don't believe that Tohma married her purely for the sake of getting close to Eiri - he married her because she was the closest thing he had to a female love, he actually cared about her, and she understood him. Marriages have been built on far less.

As for Mika's feelings for Tohma...well, I think there's a certain case to say that she's actually in love with him. I can't think of many women who'd tie themselves down in marriage purely for the sake of a platonic relationship. Whether he quite realises her feelings is another matter entirely. Tohma occasionally seems a little naive to me with regard to emotion, and this would be a case in point. In any case, Mika cares for Tohma deeply, and looks after him constantly - I think in many ways she's very good for him. She's a good match in terms of intelligence, ambition and general ability, and seems to understand Tohma better than almost anyone else. Whether she could bear to remain in such a loveless marriage for the rest of her life remains to be seen.


Sakano - Well, you can safely say that the relationship here is a tad one sided. Tohma more or less seems to view Sakano as just another efficient subordinate, and as a rival producer. He doesn't attempt to spare Sakano's feelings when he sacks him as Bad Luck's manager, and never really opens up to him or views him as a friend - though he is occasionally quite sweet with him. Sakano, on the other hand...well, his feelings for Tohma seem pretty clear cut. Immense respect, a constant quest to please him, a desire to 'know your disposition better than anyone else' - there's a pretty defined case for Sakano being very much in love with Tohma. Indeed, the section on 'ideal male partner' in Sakano's manga profile reads simply 'the company president, definitely!' It's my opinion that Tohma might suspect that Sakano has something of a crush on him (Sakano's hardly an expert at disguising his feelings after all), but might not believe the full extent of it.

As far as a relationship between them goes...well, my opinions are pretty clearly laid out elsewhere...


Shindou Shuichi - *sighs* Yes, I know Tohma comes in for a lot of criticism for the way he treats Shuichi towards the end of the series, but to be honest, I don't entirely blame him for it. Yes, he was trying to break Eiri and Shuichi up, and yes, he was rather cruel to Shuichi especially in the office scene in episode 12. But throughout the majority of the series, Tohma had been nothing but the helpful (if sometimes over-critical) and supportive President of the company, offering Bad Luck help and advice. Which is really quite impressive, considering that Shuichi was sleeping with the man Tohma was in love with. I think as long as Eiri didn't appear to be serious about the relationship and it wasn't doing any harm, Tohma would have continued to be the soul of politeness to Shuichi and continued to support Bad Luck. He's far too pragmatic to let the little matter of his own feelings get in the way of a good business proposition.

Everything changes, however, after Shuichi begins to make Eiri recall his half-forgotten memories of New York. As you'll know if you've read my fic Never For Me, I think Tohma spent a lot of time and heart-ache trying to pull Eiri back together after the death of Yuki Kitazawa, and seeing all that being destroyed rather gave him a grudge against the unwitting Shuichi. I firmly believe that Tohma thought he was only acting for Eiri's good in chasing off Shuichi - though I'm not suggesting for a moment that there wasn't really a certain amount of jealousy mixed in, if only subconsciously. After all, Shuichi had not only won Eiri's body - he'd now begun to win Eiri's heart, something Tohma might have hitherto believed should be his. In this situation, it's hardly a surprise, and hardly worthy of too much condemnation, that Tohma should treat Shuichi so harshly.


Sakuma Ryuichi - Probably the two most important members of Nittle Grasper, these two must have known one another for at least six or seven years. There's a lot of interesting interaction between these two - like with many other characters, Ryuichi, despite his ditziness, seems to be the person who can read Tohma most clearly a lot of the time. When they first meet up again, Ryuichi glomps on Tohma enthusiastically; although Ryuichi is known for being the friend of all the world, Tohma's answering smile seems completely genuine (even if he does seem a little unnerved by Ryuichi's demonstrativeness). When Tohma is worried after Eiri's collapse but trying to hide it, Ryuichi is the only one who realises that he's in pain (though he then seems to louse up that bit of perceptiveness by wondering whether Tohma has a stomach-ache). When Tohma is looking exhausted in episode 12 after Eiri's collapse and having to deal with NG Pro and Nittle Grasper, Ryuichi first tries to get him to get some sleep, and then reassures him that he is still an important member of Nittle Grasper. In my opinion, this is a point in the series where Tohma is worried about Eiri not needing him because he has gone off on his own - so Ryuichi's reassurance here is probably just what he needs.

I never know exactly what to make of Ryuichi - he simply can't be really as childish as he is one minute and then as perceptive as he is the next, unless he's got some severe split personality disorder. But whatever the case, he seems to see Tohma a lot more clearly than most. Tohma, for his part, treats Ryuichi kindly, but rather like the child he often behaves like. He seems just as startled as the rest of us when Ryuichi turns into percepto-guy on us.


Ukai Noriko - They seem to have a largely professional relationship - while Noriko is often quite flirty and sweet with Ryuichi, she doesn't really interact so lightly with Tohma, though she does seem concerned that he's overworking near the end of the series. I'd say their relationship didn't really extend beyond the professional. I guess that Ryuichi and Noriko were the 'founder' members of Nittle Grasper, and that Tohma joined later as the Fujisaki of the group - the one with the arranging and producing skills, but not the creative genius, and never as close as the other two.




K - A purely professional relationship, as far as I can see. Tohma prizes K's ability to be ruthlessly efficient where necessary, and K appears to respect the same ability in Tohma. That somewhat unpleasant scene in episode 12 seems fair proof of this.


Suguru Fujisaki - They're cousins, and in many ways far too similar for comfort. I've already commented above about *why* I think both characters behave as they do in terms of their family and background - for now, I'll just point out their similarly ambitious natures, their similar drive and desire for success. I should also add that Fujisaki appears to view Tohma as both idol and rival, vowing to make Bad Luck better than Nittle Grasper because 'it's time to surpass Seguchi Tohma'. He seems to almost resent the fact that they're often compared, but still seems grateful to Tohma as being his benefactor.


ASK - I should probably put in a brief word about ASK, if only for completeness. Tohma, as company President, started the series by backing ASK rather than supporting Bad Luck, because he saw them as a more viable commercial proposition. This began to change when Shuichi became involved with Yuki - probably both because it made Shuichi a better artist and because the relationship put Shuichi rather more on Tohma's radar. As he said to Noriko, Shuichi is 'an interesting individual', and as soon as he noticed this he began to back them more, to the extent that Aizawa felt ASK was being unfairly neglected. Tohma was more than willing to drop them the moment they became more trouble than they were worth - and especially when they began to affect Eiri. The moment Aizawa's behaviour began to affect Eiri's health, Tohma acted swiftly. No one could claim that Tohma isn't ruthlessly willing to do what he feels needs to be done...