Kamiya is a positive figure who encourages less experienced Extreme Baseball players, but his dark backstory wouldn’t look out of place in Danganronpa.
WARNING: The following article contains important spoilers for Episode 2 of Tribe Nine, which is currently streaming on Funimation.
Tribe Nine returns as the Minato tribe tries to teach its newest recruits about the simplified but unforgiving rules of Extreme Baseball in Episode 2. As explained in Episode 1, the government enforced an “XB law” to prevent violent fighting between the various ” tribes” from Neo-Tokyo with the sci-fi sport of Extreme Baseball.
While the series premiere featured some darker imagery in explaining the violent state of the city that led to the passing of the law, it was generally more peaceful and positive than series flagship co-creator Kazutaka Kodaka. danganronpa project, in which he tells the story of the positive and surprisingly all-encompassing XB legend Shun Kamiya as he fielded the shy Haru Shirokane and rambunctious Taiga for his Minato Tribe baseball team. However, revelations about Kamiya’s backstory in Episode 2 could potentially bring the series more into line with Kodaka’s earlier darker forays.
Kamiya only challenged the rest of the Minato tribe to an XB game, which is his unique ability. Minato Tribe players Taiga, Santaro Mita and Manami Daimon watched as Haru tried to tackle Kamiya. Mita commented on Haru’s brutality, leading Daimon to ominously remark that Haru “don’t know.” Taiga refused to let go of the matter and investigated, and Daimon revealed that Kamiya used to be known as “The Destroyer”. Destroyer of what? Fellow player Saori Arisugawa dragged Mita away before he could finish, but he was clearly about to say “people.” Was Mita speaking metaphorically, or was Kamiya really a killer before the days of Extreme Baseball?
Mita’s eerie tone is similar to a child telling a campfire horror story, even developing a spontaneous atmospheric shadow on his face. It’s hard to imagine him being so playful when he talks about real murder. Arisugawa said, “Don’t scare him,” to which Mita replied, “I’m not lying!” Arisugawa’s reassurance might mean it was an exaggeration to call Kamiya a “destroyer of people”, but she also expanded that “He has calmed down a lot”, so even her defense of Kamiya refers to the way he is now and doesn’t deny Mita’s necessity implies that he was a murderer in the past.
In a later scene at Minato Tribe headquarters, Taiga was jealous that Haru was allowed to try Kamiya’s volatile “beam bat”. Kamiya refused to let Taiga hold it because “I don’t want it destroyed,” to which Taiga replied, “Give me a break, you former ‘Destroyer!'” Kamiya’s face fell as Mita and Daimon looked on in shock; a few tense seconds of awkwardness that felt like minutes. Kamiya soon smiled again and joked about passing the title on to Taiga, then transitioned into the latter shouting indignantly that he would get a better one.
Kamiya was not present when Taiga learned about his old name, and he declared his initial shock. Killer or not, Kamiya has been reminded that eventually his new friends will have to get to know this dark side of him. The way Kamiya laughed off Taiga’s words could be interpreted as more evidence that he didn’t kill people because he can still act so casually about it. Conversely, it could mean Kamiya was trying to change the subject and move on as quickly as possible, ashamed of his dark past.
This scene is another example of how Kamiya’s unpredictable personality defies expectations. This is the first time Kamiya has been confronted with his dark backstory, just scenes after its reveal. His playful response to Taiga by saying the controversial name is considerably less dramatic than brooding or even aggressive fans would expect from a “destroyer” just named.
The four Minato fielders interrupted the party to reveal that three other tribes had been “destroyed”. The cause of this was Ojiro Otori of Chiyoda Tribe, last seen running away from what appeared to be a series of bleeding bodies with baseball bats in Shinjuku. An earlier scene revealed the details of the challenge to play Extreme Baseball when Arisugawa told Haru that the loser of an XB game has to do what the winner wants, no matter what. The plight of Otori’s opposing Shinjuku Tribe team means these men have put their lives on the line — and received a horrific punishment for losing.
The purpose of the XB law was to prevent inter-tribal violence, but in Episode 2 it seems as if Otori has twisted the exacting rules of the game into a weapon. If Kamiya became less violent when XB replaced tribal warfare, it’s interesting to note that he could have legally chosen to continue using the game to end people’s lives, as Otori apparently does. Otori’s actions also threaten to drag the now-peaceful Kamiya back to a world where tribal conflict is a matter of life and death. Kamiya seems to understand that Otori is foreshadowing the end of his peaceful days of relatively low-stakes XB, and he repeats without a smile Arisugawa’s sense that the masked figure smells like trouble.
Kamiya may not have been a killer, but no one in the Minato tribe seems to deny that he was a destroyer. After all, as a member of a powerful tribe, there are other ways in which the ancient Kamiya could have “destroyed” people’s lives. Despite this, Kamiya’s delayed response to Taiga’s memory of the name, as well as his subdued disdain for Otori, imply that he is lamenting his destructive past. If Kamiya confronts Otori in Episode 3, he may also have to face the violence that once defined him.
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