I needed to write this somewhere, because the pomegranate scenes in the recent Kyousogiga episode made me curious about its symbolism, and I'm just a sucker for anything Myoe.
I’m also biased towards Koto/Myoe, so beware.
The pomegranate is one of the three blessed fruits in Buddhism, seen as a symbol of favorable influences, fertility, and is widely associated with the demon Hariti (also known as Kishimojin in Japan). The myth goes that Hariti was infamous for eating children, but after meeting Buddha, she changed her diet to pomegranates (nice and crunchy and red, just like chewing on babies I would imagine), and is often depicted with one in hand. Sticking with eastern influences, in China a picture of an open, ripe pomegranate is a suitable wedding gift, promising a blessed marriage and an abundance of offspring.
Now, at the beginning of the episode, shota!Myoe is seen alone, holding an open pomegranate in his hand and doesn't even offer it to the previous High Priest Myoe, whom he has such an
unhealthy attachment to. Fast-fast forward to the very end, when he does offer it, and to Koto of all people. Of course, pomegranates are signs of fertility and happy marriages and wedding gifts, but I get the feeling romance wasn’t exactly the main thing the creators were going for (no matter how much I wish it was). Instead, let’s consider this from the more neutral perspective of “favorable influences.”
Seeing the way things turned out, the previous High Priest Myoe wasn’t exactly an inspirational, uplifting role model. Myoe spends his days waiting, as implied by Yase and the Chief Priest’s conversation, and has a rather negative outlook on his life, saying that he has regrets but doesn’t bother doing anything to get rid of them. He complains about getting the short end of the stick throughout his life, but once again goes along with the flow and never stands up or fights back. Myoe is, simply put, apathetic, his life stagnant, as if time had never quite moved on from the time he was a child.
However, Koto comes along and things start to change, bit by bit. Myoe’s wary, of course, acknowledging that this little girl that barged into his life is similar to his mentor but at the same time different in so many ways. So he decides to keep her around “at a distance,” quietly observing and waiting for something to happen.
It so happens that he nearly gives up on anything of the sort, or at least that’s what I understood from the brief scene of the pomegranate departing from the station. The train station, at this time of the year, is where all unwanted and discarded items go to, and I suppose that these junk items go with the train into space, judging from the ending credits (Night on the Galactic Railroad, anyone?). Since the pomegranate was on it, then it may well be a sign that Myoe let go of his hope of ever finding anyone to share the pomegranate with.
Conversely, it can also be said that because he feels potential from Koto, he’s discarding his past, of waiting around by himself with a pomegranate, and moving on.
As it is, only several hours (or however time works in that universe) later, Koto utters the magic words, “’A’ and ‘Un’ mean ‘beginning’ and ‘end,’” and Myoe has the same reaction of letting his prayer beads go as he did when he received the title of “Head Priest”—a clear sign that Koto is the one he had been waiting for the entire time. And then this beautiful scene occurs, where his child-self, frozen in time and never moving on, actually reaches out to this frank, brash little girl, both metaphorically and physically. (Another sign of his acceptance: Myoe is no longer keeping Koto at arm’s length, but initiating physical contact instead.)
He offers the pomegranate to her, which she takes and beams at him, with him smiling back, the background pink and rosy and full of warm colors—completely different from the cold, pale, wintery colors shown at the beginning. Myoe met his positive, favorable influence at last: Koto. She isn’t the mentor who left him in the cold, but the one who brought his spring, unfreezing his time and cold, apathetic attitude, with sakura petals falling everywhere in the background (literally).
The pomegranate exchange
(DESTINY) is also a sort of parallel of the Kishimojin legend. Buddha (Myoe) is giving Kishimojin (Koto) a pomegranate, who eats it without complaint (the juices scarily akin to blood, though it might just be my opinion). And since Kishimojin is a symbol of fertility, it fits in with the spring metaphor, the season of birth and new life.
I’m looking forward to the actual anime and how Myoe and Koto’s relationship plays out there, along with how Myoe is further developed as a character in general! No matter how much these twelve minutes managed to convey, 20+ minutes can still do so much more.