Throughout my life I’ve had my good times and my bad ones as we all have. There’s been points so low that I thought I’d never climb back up and there’s been moments filled with such happiness that I felt that they couldn’t end. That’s the undeniable truth though that for every beginning to something there must undoubtedly be an ending. Everything inevitably fades away with time, life, nature, society, everything must eventually end. In some cases we can only hope that the ending to our story is a favorable one. Is that all our lives amount to though, an ending? We work, grow, experience endless amounts of emotions and interests, we live our lives the best we can with others that share in the experience and then we die. We die and all that ever becomes of the life we lived is little more than a fleeting memory and then nothing. Nothing at all.
Still through all of the things that happen in our lives what depths must one fall to reach the point where all they desire is this nothingness? There are those that wish to rule, those that wish to help, those that wish to live, and then there are those that wish for nothing more than a satisfying ending. The kind of man that sees his life as little more than a prelude to an end, factors and events that beget a result. What kind of life must that man have gone through? What kind of pain must he have felt and what could have possibly imbedded such a sense of unwavering futility?
Doctor Maki is a rather different sort of person. As a character he stands out quite a bit from the rest and usually comes off as a rather weird individual and while I don’t like referring to characters as being weird Maki is very close to being the exception to that rule. Carrying around his iconic doll and only ever speaking directly to it and no one else he certainly stands out amongst even the various oddity characters of the Kamen Rider franchise. He also happens to feature one of the more unique and somewhat disturbing goals amongst villainous characters that being to save the world, by destroying all life. Yes, Doctor Maki’s sole goal is to see the end to mankind because without it there can be no harm, pain, or sadness, just a suitable ending.
Maki is a very reserved man, rarely socializing with others and always remaining in the same withdrawn, expressionless state. He doesn’t often show any sort of emotion be it anger or concern unless it’s in the case of his doll Kiyo, to which case he will often show a great range of emotion towards. Maki also speaks in a somewhat monotone voice mirroring his stoic, unchanging facial expressions and uses the utmost subtlety when communicating, never saying anything unnecessary. Really, Maki doesn’t even move without subtlety, always remaining in a statue like stance with one arm held out as a perch for his tiny companion. Throughout the series he maintains an incredible amount of composure even when in the face of someone deadlier than he is. Again this composure is only broken when harm befalls little Kiyo, and rarely any time other than that. His lack of social skills become even more apparent when in the presence of others as it’s not often that he will ever physically interact with people nor will he even look at them while talking, rather his focus revolves entirely around his doll. In fact he does seem to be rather uncomfortable when being touched or in close proximity to other people stemming mostly from both a lack of interest and a lack of experience with socializing.
Furthering his lack of social skills when Maki is in contact with others he has a tendency to look down on them. While he isn’t exactly rude per say he is however prone to passing off other people’s ideals as being either meaningless or misconceived and will point out this fact without much of a second thought. Maki is a fairly cold, calculating, and rationally thinking person partially thanks to his profession as a scientist but also stemming off of his grim viewpoints on the world. Things like dreams and hopes often seem meaningless to him due to nothing less than him logically deducing their worth and then pronouncing them useless. If a goal has no practical effect it is in the end without worth and seeing as how the ending is all that matters to Maki having an unsatisfying one furthers this lack of worth. That all being said Maki isn’t exactly a practitioner of his rational thought process, at least not all the time anyway. This is mostly because of his more habitual tendencies such as carrying around little Kiyo or avoiding contact of any form with others. These though mostly stem from his more psychological issues as opposed to his abilities in reasoning as for the most part he clearly rationalizes any of his motives before acting upon them.
Now obviously Maki is a very smart individual as he was the head scientist for the Kougami Foundation and was capable of creating all of OOO’s utilities as well as Birth’s own driver. Even when it comes to things such as alchemy Maki is shown to at the very least be knowledgeable as he’s capable of easily understanding the workings of a Greeed as well as finding an extraordinary number of uses for the medals themselves. All of that being said Maki’s intelligence outside of the laboratory is no less impressive as he’s more than capable of reasoning his way through just about any situation. While it’s not entirely evident at first Maki is also capable of manipulation, or at the very least negotiation, to a certain extent as he’s able to not only form an alliance with all of the Greeed under him but is even able to seemingly persuade others through his reasoning. That’s not to say that he’s sly though as his personality still remains fairly stoic and unwavering and not so much conniving as say Ankh or Kazari. As I stated previously Maki’s strongest capabilities still remain in his ability to rationalize rather than things such as charm or deception.
Probably the strongest and most notable of Maki’s traits is his obsession with the endings of things. Everything has a point were it dies or becomes no more and this is the point that Maki has rationalized as being the most important aspect to life. The end serves to represent the most important aspect of the course of something’s life. This is Maki’s philosophy, not to say that he hates life though just that he finds everything about it to be without meaning. Take it in terms of the beginning, middle and end being all pieces of a single existence. To Maki the beginning is important as it signifies the beginning of what leads to an end. The middle part, or the actual life aspect, is a filler, a series of decisions that may or may not lead to a satisfying ending. The end is what he deems as being important, the moment of something’s existence where every decision is added up and calculated into one end result. Of course the most important aspect of these results is whether or not they are favorable ones, if they aren’t then the life is pointless if but if it is then it’s deemed satisfying. Essentially to Maki life is little more than a formula, the start, the work and then the result. No more is needed and no less will be acceptable.
Alright, I can’t really touch upon Doctor Maki’s relationships separately from his character as the more meaningful ones have a huge impact on the development of his motives and all around character. The first and for most relationship being with that of his older sister. Growing up Maki rarely socialized with anyone outside of his sister resulting in him developing some what of a sister complex, this is also the main reason behind his unsociable personality. That being said his sister was not exactly kind to him and was for the most part emotionally abusive. Due to this more emotionally abusive relationship Maki began to suppress his memories of his sister in place for fabricated ones showing her to be far more loving. When it came time for her to marry she gave him Kiyo as a stand in for herself. This is the reason why Maki seems to have such an obsession with his doll as it is the representation of the “good” memories he holds for his sister. This in effect created a new relationship in the form of Maki and Kiyo. Since he could never socialize with anyone but his sister and because Kiyo is the representation of her this is the overall cause behind Maki’s tendency to solely focus on Kiyo and only him even when in discussion with others.
Now these relationships, while out of the ordinary, may seem rather simple. That most definitely is not the case when the revelation behind Maki’s sister is shown. Maki’s sort of split perception of his sister as well as his deeply rooted complex with her led him to take drastic measures to ensure that she did not marry. This culminated in Maki’s murder of his sister by burning her alive. This incident traumatized the young Maki causing him to further his “good” perception of his sister, blocking out the murder and resulting in Kiyo becoming the permanent stand in for his sister.
This event had remained hidden away within Maki’s conscience until he became aware of the character of Chiyoko. Chiyoko holds a perfect semblance to Maki’s sister a fact that drives Maki to in turn become obsessed with her as well visualizing her as the “good” memory of his sister. It wasn’t until a confrontation with her in Maki’s old mansion that he finally deduced the reality of his past and brought to light a final motivation behind his ultimate goal. As I stated before this goal was to save the world by destroying it. What I meant by this was that after Maki understood the reality of his relationship with his sister he began to appreciate the kindness of Chiyoko. She represented the good heartedness of humanity that he had forced himself to believe was within his sister. Maki actually loves this kindness but due to his rationality he knows that inevitably she will become tainted as a person like everyone else. In order to preserve this good heartedness within her and those like her he would bring an end to the world before the kind heart he held dear became tainted. The fact that everyone would die was never really a concern to him as it fit perfectly within his philosophy. Everything comes to an end and to Maki the destruction of the world before it’s kind heart became further darkened was the most satisfying way it could end.
With his goal in mind one of the first steps Maki begins to take is the process of becoming a Greeed. Now as I explained last week the Greeed cannot sense the world around them like we can and inevitably develop into insatiable beings because of it. It’s not that Maki doesn’t understand the repercussions of this either, in fact he fully understands and is actually shown to be the most knowledgeable of it outside of the original Greeed. He doesn’t really show any concern towards this development within him and seems to accept the whole idea easily as if it were just another logical step in his life. Since he is so accepting of his new lack of senses there isn’t much negative development for the character, he doesn’t become upset or even second guess his decision. In fact at this point the only thing that had remained within Maki was an outstanding amount of resolution to see himself through to his goal.
Now clearly Maki’s little goal here isn’t exactly within the favor of the others and it’s without much surprise to say that his glorious end for the world gets cut a bit short. It is during this time though that Maki faces his own ending, while there isn’t much to note of his development during this time there was one specific instance that I at least want to bring up. During the final confrontation that would decide the fate of him and his goal there is a small moment when he removes Kiyo from his shoulder and speaks directly to Kougami. While this is very subtle it is nonetheless an uncommon occurrence for this character and an action that can be deciphered in several ways. One way can be thought of as being a development or a growth for the character, showing that he has grown out of the need for his sister’s presence. The second interpretation could be that his resolution overpowered his usual habits causing him to discard Kiyo out of necessity. The final interpretation is the possibility of Maki foreseeing his inevitable death and in turn discarded Kiyo in response to this. It should be mentioned though that Kiyo was presented to Chiyoko at the end possibly bringing a greater possibility to the third interpretation showing that Maki may have passed off Kiyo to either keep him safe or show a last bit of kindness to Chiyoko.
In the end Maki does face his death with a sense of happiness and satisfaction considering his end to be a good one. While his goals for the world may not have been met his overall goal for his life in general was fulfilled. In a weird sense Maki’s end could be perceived as even being somewhat happy. He ended his life the way he had hoped, in a satisfying way, he didn’t curse his death or even show concern over it. He just accepted it as he was ripped limb from limb and sucked into a black hole, and for him that was good enough.
For being the first villain that I’ve analyzed Maki may not have been the most paint by numbers villain to cover. While his main goal would certainly be considered villainous like many things in the OOO story it’s all about perspective. To Maki what he is doing isn’t exactly evil as it is a necessity, it’s the most favorable goal that needs to be reached so he goes about making it happen. He never shows a hint of malice or hatred in his actions, just fleeting interest, a deep understanding and a swift hand to carry it through to the end. Obviously he still plays the role of being an antagonist but really his personality is one that could have gone either way. It was only because of his tragic past and his cold, analytic outlook that he fell on the side that he did. Still that’s the tricky thing with perspective from every perspective there’s a protagonist and an antagonist, we have our enemies and our heroes but no story is ever really the same. Maki was the hero of his story and he fought a losing battle, from his perspective what he did was right even when we think differently.
So what can be learned from Maki’s character? Well as solemn as a lesson as it may be we see a perspective on life that is unfortunately grounded in logic. The ending is always coming, it will always happen and the mark you leave may very well be solely decided on the memories received through your death. During that event that signals the end of your life everything you’ve lived through, all of the experience, all the good times and bad, are summed up by the people nearest you into a collection of assorted memories and then it fades. After all of this the only consolation you can get is that maybe, just maybe you experienced a little bit of joy in your life. It’s the undeniable truth that we all face at one time or another. Hopefully when we do though, it’s a favorable one.
That being said as cold of a person as I can be I’m not content with leaving my article on such somber words. Those words may be my professional viewpoint talking through my article but right now I’m going to talk with a bit of bias, something I will very rarely ever do here. Last week I spoke of Ankh’s perspective on life, the idea that what you mean to others is what gives your life meaning. Maki saw it as a bit of the opposite, your life’s meaning is decided only by your death. Sadly one of these is wishful perception while the other is frighteningly true. Ankh’s idea of life’s meaning may be a hopeful, misconceived dream of what life should be, but damn it I’ll take the childish dreams of a dying man over the harsh truths of reality. It’s not often that I’ll say that, in fact I’ll often preach the opposite but in terms of life it can only be different. I wish to live a happy life, I wish to love, to grow old, to have children, to write and to work. I have so many things in my life to look forward to and so many things to fear as well, so why on earth would I ever be content knowing that it was all for nothing? As unprofessional as it may be for me to sit here and contradict my point I feel it’d be more inhuman of me if I didn’t. So what should you learn from Maki? To become a person that he couldn’t be, someone who enjoys the life they have while they can. No matter the truths and no matter how harsh they may be rest assured that the life you have, from its beginning to its end, matters.