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    The many deaths of Sakura Mizrahi

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    Neosmith

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    Join date : 2012-12-19

    The many deaths of Sakura Mizrahi

    Post by Neosmith on Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:12 pm

    A few years ago, I started work on an essay that examined the evolution of Xeno called Contesting the Master Plan.

    One of the intended entries was devoted to the mystery of Sakura Mizrahi. As it turns out, the entry was 80 percent done. I've polished it and decided to post it.

    The Death of Sakura Mizrahi
    The plotline surrounding death of Sakura Mizrahi is one of the clearest examples of how the series had changed over time. Every single continuity has provided its own take on Sakura’️s fate and the truth of the matter remains shrouded in mystery and ambiguity many years later. While every single Xeno game would attest that Sakura died, the how and when is another matter.

    In brief, the deaths are as follows:

    OE1C: Suicide
    RE2C: Unknown
    RE3C: Passing/An Experiment
    DSC: Self-Sacrifice

    OE1C: Suicide (specific method not disclosed)

    Originally, the cause of Sakura’️s death in the OE1C was explicitly stated to be suicide. The ODM makes this clear in several entries. The entry on Momo states:
    “Joachim's purpose for starting to build MOMO was to save his beloved daughter
    Sakura… However, it is unclear how he was planning to use MOMO to save Sakura. This is because before MOMO was finished, Sakura committed suicide before Juli's eyes.” (43) <

    http://odm.xenotensei.com/translations/pg043.txt>


    The entry on Juli Mizrahi corroborates this explanation:
    “Sakura killed herself near Juli, and Juli felt lack of her power.” (50)
    <

    http://odm.xenotensei.com/translations/pg050.txt>



    As does the entry for both Juli and Joachim:
    “Due to the suicide of their beloved daughter, what little bond remained between them was lost.” (154)
    <

    http://odm.xenotensei.com/translations/pg154.txt>



    From the multiple entries of the ODM then, we can pinpoint that when Episode 1 was conceived, Sakura was to have killed herself. The reasons and circumstances under which she would do this is not stated and likely would be worked out when it came time to move the series to the script stage. But what we do understand from this outline is that that Sakura would’️ve been a sick, dying girl, who would’️ve killed herself in front of her mother. One could theorize her suicide as a decision on her part to end her suffering, to no longer have to be sick. Notably, none of the ODM entries that speak of Sakura’️s sucide ever mention her having a connection to Jr. or of Mizrahi attempting to cure his daughter with the help of the URTV.

    This is intriguing, as it raises the possibility that Sakura’️s history was originally conceived as a separate subplot from Jr.’️s backstory. In other words, it is entirely possible that it was only during script development of either the Original Episode I or the Revised Episode II that Sakura became a key element of Jr.’️s story and so, her fate had changed accordingly to be tied to the Jr./Albedo relationship.

    RE2C: Unknown Circumstances
    Quote - Albedo: I’️m glad she’️s dead!

    It is then quite perplexing as to why the PS2 Episode II completely neglects to resolve Sakura’️s fate. She is known to be dead in the present, but how she died, when and why is never specified. Given the huge role she played in the Subconscious Domain chapters and importance she had for the Jr./Momo backstory and the fact that she had been known to have died, one could see Episode 2 as building towards her character’️s resolution, only to completely drop the ball.

    Soraya Saga’️s post on the revisions to her script for Episode II specified that “the death of Sakura” was a story element that was removed by the new team. Why would Yonesaka and Arai remove it, when the narrative was clearly building towards it? Perhaps the cause of death might’️ve been construed as too dark for the more mainstream market the game was targeting. Perhaps, they wanted to save it for Episode 3. We may never know.

    RE3C:
    A. Passing away
    B. An experiment/accident

    Anybody hoping for clarification in Episode 3 was likely disappointed though, as Sakura’️s database entry only states that she “passed away”, without explaining as to how, when and why.

    Sakura Mizrahi entry:
    “After showing Rubedo and Albedo a meaning to their lives beyond that of weapons fated to eventually disappear, she entrusted to them her younger sister who would later be born–a new consciousness named MOMO–and passed away.”

    However, what most people probably don’️t recall is that a different version of the story exists in another E3 database entry, namely the Miltian Conflict Report, which states that
    “An experiment at the Yuriev Institute resulted in the death of Joachim Mizrahi’️s daughter. Yuriev informed Joachim of this matter personally.”

    This conflicts with the earlier statement that Sakura just passed away and re-connects Sakura’️s death to the URTV backstory. Again, however, we don’️t have an exact explanation as to what caused her death, but we could speculate that this was related to the U-DO Simulator. This largely fits with the explanation of Xenosaga DS.

    DSC: Self-Sacrifice

    Xenosaga DS provides the final and most specific version of Sakura’️s death. Initially, one is lead to speculate that Albedo kills her. However, in the end, it turns out that Sakura sacrificed herself to prevent Albedo from getting hit with a “simulated” U-DO wave. Albedo then apparently decided to claim he was responsible to goad Jr. into killing him. On Gamefaqs, Jinx of Xenotensei had translated the crucial exchange from the Scene:

    Little Albedo: !? What's this?

    U-Do: .......

    Little Albedo: You... were looking... for me? ... No.. I was looking [for you].

    U-Do: .......

    (Albedo touches the spherical object)

    Little Albedo: ...yes, that's it... I was born for the sake of accessing you.

    Sakura: No, don't! Albedo!

    (Sakura throws Albedo aside, touching the sphere. The object disappears and Sakura collapses.)

    Little Albedo: Y- You... why... for Rubedo's sake? If it's for Rubedo, you would go that far?

    Sakura: You're wrong... it was for your sake...

    Little Albedo: What are you saying?! I was going to be e- evolved by U-Do... Right before my eyes, the door to a higher-domain was opening... Why-- Why did you interfere?!

    Sakura: Your... true wish... is not like that.

    Little Albedo: What, d- do y- .. you know?!

    Sakura: You always... with Rubedo...

    Little Albedo: H- hey.. why are you quiet all of a sudden? Quick, you gotta regenerate... Rubedo will be here soon! If Rubedo sees you like this... get up... get up, pleeeaseeeeee!

    This explanation is neat, but it likely arrived only through the process of retroactive revision. Notably, it doesn’️t at all match with the depiction of Jr. and Albedo’️s relationship in the later flashbacks of Episode II, especially in the Nephilim chamber, where Albedo is very cowardly and Jr. expresses no hostility towards him.

    Given that we’️ve only seen retroactively revised versions of the story play out in Episode II and DS, the question remains then: at the time the Original Episode I had reached the script stage, what was the intended fate of Sakura as written out by Soraya Saga? Would it have still been a suicide as stated in the ODM? What was the intended fate of Sakura as written out by Soraya Saga when Episode 1.5 had to be reshaped into the revised Episode II? Would it have been self-sacrifice as provided in the DS? Or perhaps something else entirely?

    I doubt that Saga would’️ve had Sakura commit suicide in her revised version of the Episode 1.5 script, assuming she did in fact write one. Saga’️s brother had killed himself and Saga herself had made an attempt at suicide, so the idea that Sakura killed herself would likely strike too close to home. Likely, the death had to have some connection to the URTV, but the specifics may have shifted. In any case, unless Saga herself clarifies the issue, the truth will remain unknown.
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    Yikari

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    Join date : 2013-10-29
    Age : 27

    Re: The many deaths of Sakura Mizrahi

    Post by Yikari on Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:16 pm

    Are you saying that someone in the staff and/or among the target audience shipped JrxMOMO after Ep.I hard enough it actively changed the script of the following ones, making retcons necessary? I have no trouble believing that.

    As for what Soraya Saga may or may not have intended to write, since I'm neither actually her nor a trusted confidant of hers on matters Xenosaga, I have no idea.

    I assume you've double- and triple-checked those translations? Because those parts look like they could work just as well with, say, 'withered away' in the place of 'suicide' to me.

    If translation mishaps are not the case here... 'Side materials' books silently taking inconsistences out back and pulling whole explanations out of thin air where none existed before is nothing particularly new or rare. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole 'Enneagram types for all characters' part didn't exist before ODM was compiled, to say nothing of such a (relatively) minor detail as Sakura's fate.

    (I have to note here that neither Ziggy's desire for death nor whatever KOS-MOS had going at the end of Ep.I and Ep.III as a whole had reached me as a player. When the narrative later busted me over the head with those as if there was nothing sudden about it, I was very much o_O in my seat.)

    If you want my compltely off the wall spitballing, then I'd say that Sakura's connection to URTV could still be either through U-DO or realians, if in a much more generic sense.

    Ugh, that was unhelpfully vague. I'd need to rewatch the related scenes in Ep. I again and try to form my thoughts in a more coherent manner if I can. I'll post my half-baked theories later.

    Neosmith

    Posts : 465
    Join date : 2012-12-19

    Re: The many deaths of Sakura Mizrahi

    Post by Neosmith on Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:25 pm

    @Yikari wrote:Are you saying that someone in the staff and/or among the target audience shipped JrxMOMO after Ep.I hard enough it actively changed the script of the following ones, making retcons necessary? I have no trouble believing that.

    As for what Soraya Saga may or may not have intended to write, since I'm neither actually her nor a trusted confidant of hers on matters Xenosaga, I have no idea.
    I'm not saying that at all.

    I mean that it seems the Jr. and Sakura backstories were conceived separately but then woven together. I do believe Albedo makes a n oblique reference to Sakura in E1 when he duels Jr., so it could be that it was part of the very first screenplay for the Original Episode I.

    And the multiple entries do corroborate Sakura killing herself in the ODM, so I think it's accurate.
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    Yikari

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    Re: The many deaths of Sakura Mizrahi

    Post by Yikari on Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:08 pm

    @Neosmith wrote:
    @Yikari wrote:Are you saying that someone in the staff and/or among the target audience shipped JrxMOMO after Ep.I hard enough it actively changed the script of the following ones, making retcons necessary? I have no trouble believing that.

    As for what Soraya Saga may or may not have intended to write, since I'm neither actually her nor a trusted confidant of hers on matters Xenosaga, I have no idea.
    I'm not saying that at all.

    I mean that it seems the Jr. and Sakura backstories were conceived separately but then woven together. I do believe Albedo makes a n oblique reference to Sakura in E1 when he duels Jr., so it could be that it was part of the very first screenplay for the Original Episode I.

    I'm sorry, I should've put a smiley to denote I wasn't being completely serious there.

    The reason I've jokingly put pandering to the wishes of someone up the company hierarchy and/or a major percent of of the target audience as a likely reason of severe changes to the game plan after the production already started is because I've had the whole FFVII/Advent Children debacle in mind.

    Xenosaga doesn't have that kind of sequel-but-not-really thing going (it came across to me as 'oh, some retcons' and 'there is no way there are no huge chunks missing in the middle of this plotline' instead 'what kind of weed the creators were on?'), but in my mind it looks kinda similar still: I simply don't see the purpose for going so deeply into Sakura's plight and tying it so closely to URTV subplot.

    Yes, it gave an opportunity to see some interaction between Rubedo and Albedo (and Nigredo, even if to a signigicantly lesser degree). But if you notice how that is distributed between the scenes, the vast majority of character and plot defining details for URTV have absolutely nothing to do with Sakura at all. Like, completely. From where I am sitting as a player, if Sakura got booted out of Ep. II entirely, nothing of value would be lost.

    Rubedo developing an affection for the girl during the experimental treatment procedures, only to see her die despite all would've left him with a confusing bundle of strong emotions pulling at his mind everywhichway, true. And that would only get worse he meets MOMO and could complicate things in all number of ways. But the story... doesn't go anywhere with it.

    This leaves me scratching my head and wondering if the Ep.II Encephalon mind-whammy flashback bonanza was included into the final cut because 'Ep. I had one and it was cool, let's do it again' instead of any plot-related reasons.

    Well, no, the flashbacks being presented to the whole party instead of Rubedo just reliving them inside his own head allowed Ziggy to drop that awesome line on the subject of human mind and longevity.

    But that's about all I can remember. Party members didn't change their attitude towards neither Albedo, nor Nigredo or Rubedo or anyone or anything else from how it was before ('stand there like a dolt during the cutscene even if you could and should be helping' and 'beat them down with lethal force because boss battle'). The information they gleaned there didn't allow or make them to do anything they couldn't have otherwise done without it (Citrine got apparently murdered on the spot without a second thought, for example).

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