Hiya :3 Sorry for the probably silly/unimportant question, but this is something I've been pretty curious about for a while now, and I was interested to see what other people thought of it.
Has there been any "official" word given as to why Sae and the Kusabi seem to be linked? I've played Fatal Frame 2 a bunch of times by now, as well as watched other people go through it, but one thing I could never quite draw a clear line of understanding between was why Sae and the Kusabi are often depicted as a kind of terrifying duo. He takes up residence in the Kurosawa house the first time you go in there and have to avoid him, he rises up out of the Hellish Abyss after Sae's ritual fails, and he's either the final boss (in some difficulties) or the penultimate one. People in the game are absolutely terrified of him ("The Kusabi is coming!" becomes this game's madness mantra, along with literally every word out of Sae's mouth), yet they don't seem to make much mention of him and Sae -- they seem to be a packaged deal. All of this clearly means that he's just as significant to the story as is Sae -- but I never really see any discussions as to why. I mean, I'm sure they've happened. The game's been out for ages and I was on the forum in its previous incarnation, so I'm assuming a topic had to exist there.
If I had to answer the question as to why Sae and the Kusabi seem to be linked, I'd say it might have something to do with both of their rituals being less than adequate for what the Abyss required. As "rejected" rituals, I can imagine this would make them understandable allies in being horrible creepy jerks who just slaughter everyone indiscriminately. Sae's ritual, as we well know, was a flat out failure, but the Kusabi was just enough to buy the village some time. This would make him somewhat of a success -- so why would he come back? Why would his soul be lingering around in the Abyss at all, and why would Sae's return drag it out? Well, that's where my silly little idea comes in.
I think a lot of it has to do not only with emotions, but with knowledge/understanding of the Abyss. Sae doesn't want Makabe to be sacrificed, and while I don't think she felt incredibly guilty about him (not to the level of what happened to poor Itsuki) it's obvious she felt bad about it. Her emotional turmoil over waiting for Yae, the fear of having (possibly) been abandoned by her sister, as well as the pressure of performing a ritual alone clearly weighed heavily on Sae during her final moments, and when it wasn't enough for the Abyss, well -- we all know what happened. Bringing the Kusabi back (if that was indeed Sae's doing: it's possible he just rose the hell up outta there along with her) seems to me like Sae could have been allowing Makabe to get some level of revenge against the village for what they'd done to him.
The trouble with this thought is that Sae never struck me as purely a revenge-seeking ghost. Her behavior isn't on the level of Kirie's which is spreading a curse in order to inflict her own suffering onto others, for example. Sae's actions are more about cornering and grabbing you, begging you to stay. She kind of arguably doesn't have anyone to be bitter against apart from her sister -- and it's made clear in the game that she's above all things absolutely desperate for Yae to return. That she doesn't hate Yae at all always made it hard for me to accept Sae as a typical "vengeful ghost." Her 'vengeance' is more of a corruption of the Abyss itself, exploiting her emotions and using her as a kind of dark avatar for its judgment on the village for failing to get the ritual right. But we all know that.
So I go back to my question -- what connects Sae and the Kusabi, apart from being "rejected rituals"? Well besides emotional turmoil, I think it also has to do with knowledge of the rituals and village lore itself. Sae would understandably have quite a bit of information at her disposal, given the importance of her family and her destiny as an impending sacrifice. And we know that Makabe used his time in the village to learn more about the village itself, more than maybe any other Kusabi in the past. The two of them would in a sense not only be "rejected rituals," they'd be rejects with more knowledge than was probably healthy about what they were being fed to -- and it's perhaps this understanding of the rituals and the Abyss that led to their alliance. We know that the ritual places a heavy burden on the twins who survive and that some can even go mad with grief. While this is a totally understandable reaction to the sacrifice, I wonder if the reaction isn't also heightened considerably by "exposure" to the Abyss and knowledge of it. The more you know about this wretched, forbidden thing, the more it can corrupt you. The only people who are allowed access to the Abyss are the priests and Mourners, who are veiled or blind respectively, and therefore sort of "closed off" from full on exposure to the thing. Twins used in the sacrifice as well as Makabe are the only ones, IMO, who have a full knowledge of the Abyss within them (having gotten as close as one could without becoming a Mourner themselves), and this mutual understanding led to a mutual corruption that was probably bound to happen eventually.
... Long story short, FF2 and the Kusabi/Sae tag team can probably be summed up with the almost trite Nietzsche quote: "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Knowing what they did about the rituals and suffering as extensively they had prior to the sacrifices, the connection between Sae and the Kusabi becomes more clear, along with any ill-will/bitterness they felt towards the village at large (although Sae's seems to be an indiscriminate and impulsive reaction: the Kusabi seems far more deliberately furious).
.. So! Now that that's done, anyone have any thoughts? I'm really interested to see what other people think about these two, and what other things possibly connect them apart from what the game hints at. Thanks for reading!
ETA: I just realized that I forgot to point out that there's clearly a connection between the Kusabi and the concept of a wraith (ghost seeking to avenge its own death). Would this mean that it's more likely the Kusabi latched onto Sae, and not the other way around?
Edited by Agony Crossbow, 01 November 2014 - 06:50 AM.