Thoughts about Fai and Yuui.
When we see the pair of them in the valley it’s r!Fai who wishes to die. Fai is the one sitting up in the tower wishing for death while below Yuui is pretty much fighting tooth and nail in all the ways he can. Yuui is determined to rescue Fai and gtfo.
Where did that determination go? (don’t answer that I know exactly where it went) Yuui doesn’t only adopt Fai’s name, knowingly or not, he takes on Fai’s attitude and death wish pretty much up until Nihon. I could be reading too much into this but Yuui was a fighter and after Fai dies he kinda stops fighting until hes facing down Fei Wang.
The final battle is the first time we see Yuui outside of a flashback imo.
Perhaps this ties in with Yuuko talking about how names have power, in xxxHolic. At one point in vol. 1, she names a bat after a famous sword, and she’s able to use the bat in a way more fitting for a sword than a bat (namely, slicing a computer in half).
Yuui didn’t just name himself “Fai”. Unbeknownst to him, he named himself after someone severely suicidal. He doesn’t just take on the attributes that any of Fai’s counterparts would have (like introverted-ness). He named himself after a Fai who had been miserable, who saw himself specifically to be the cause of everyone’s woes, and who had a deathwish. And so Yuui’s will to live was severely compromised, not only because of his brother’s death, but because he took on his brother’s name. (He also became introverted and shy, although that’s less obvious once he starts to Stepford Smile. I also wonder if this is part of the reason he loves to cook so much, a la Yuui-sensei…)
This isn’t to say that Yuui’s old personality ceased to exist, however. Rather, it was buried. And even before Nihon — even, I would argue, before he left Celes — his real/original personality was slowly uncovering itself. The Stepford Smiles and such were fake reflections of real Yuui-ish behaviors (I point to his prank in the epilogue, along with Fai-sensei in Horitsuba, as evidence of this). And even though he was passively suicidal, he still found himself fighting for survival. Part of that was probably because of an internal conflict between sucidal!Fai and Yuui. (At the same time, this internal conflict can happen with real-life suicidal people, much to their frustration. So it’s not COMPLETELY from the name.)
Now I’m thinking about just which qualities Yuui got from Fai. I’m thinking that the “purely Fai” traits are still there (especially since he still calls himself “Fai”), but the “traumatized Fai” traits have been healing, just as the “traumatized Yuui” traits have been healing.
Here’s what I theorize Yuui got from Fai:
- relative introversion and shyness (seems to have become balanced with Yuui’s more outgoing nature)
- suicidal depression (which is gone for now; could probably happen again in the right circumstances, but unlikely at this point)
- decision to grow his hair long, once he has no need to keep it with his brother (or at least, decision to keep it long once it grew out)
- love of cooking (probably an exacerbation, as opposed to getting all of it from Fai)
- relative level of serenity/calmness (once the trauma healed sufficiently)
- guilt for being born (in addition to Yuui’s own guilt, he also got Fai’s guilt; all of the guilt has been healing, and seems to be just about gone at this point)
- Edit: archery skill (although this might just be something the twins share)
Tl;dr: Yuui’s name-change had a huge impact on him, as it gave him Fai-like personality traits, both good and bad. But his real self didn’t exactly disappear, and he has been getting Yuui-er and Yuui-er ever since.
This has been a
n essay post.