Hello and welcome back to Morning Glory Academy Study Hall! In this column, MC contributor (and TV Overmind writer/FuckYeahLost’s head honcho) Crit Obara and I sit down and analyze the latest issue of Morning Glories. Now we’re back for issue #9 – the Jun issue!
So join Crit and I after the cut as we discuss the issue, it’s story and possible hidden secrets that we may or may not be picking up on. We should also note: this discussion contains massive spoilers for the issue. Colossal. Ginormous, even. The issue is out today, so make sure to read it first before you read our thoughts. It helps to give the issue a few read throughs before coming to us, but consider this your warning about impending spoilers.
Also, we know we slacked a little bit, but we still plan to bring you the first six issues soon, and look forward to our issue #10 discussion in May.
As always, our very lovely/supremely awesome column header was designed by the graphic designer for the actual book, Tim Daniel! For more of Tim’s work, please visit his site Hidden Robot. Many thanks to Tim for being fantastically awesome and providing it to us.
Crit Obara: It sure was. I’ve got my blue shirt on, what color is yours?
MM: In reality it is blue, but for the sake of fantasy I’m going to lie and say I’m wearing an orange hoodie!
So issue #9 is our Jun-centric issue. In #7 we had Zoe, #8 we had Hunter, and in future issues we’ll also get definitive looks at the individual characters. The difference here is that this issue doesn’t take place in the present, but rather in two flashbacks – one to Jun’s childhood, and one to the final scene of Morning Glories #2 where Jun reveals how he got in detention.
CO: Right. So it’s different from anything we’ve seen before, and it’s a very revealing look that literally changes our perspective as to who’s who, because as we learn, some characters are not at all who we thought they were.
MM: Right. It also doesn’t follow the same format as the first two character based stories, which opened with the kids meeting Abraham and were interspersed with flashbacks while they acclimated to life at Morning Glory Academy.
In our flashback, we have Jun and Hisao Fukayama as children in their mother’s home where they receive a visit from Daramount and Gribbs, and it looks like both boys are heading to MGA.
MM: We should also mention briefly that this issue opens with the EXACT same two pages of Morning Glories #2.
MM: But yes, the issue is primarily a flashback with Jun and his brother Hisao, two twins who are being recruited at a VERY young age to attend the Academy.
CO: Do you know what their names mean?
MM: I do!
CO: I’m not sure what we can pull from this, but Jun is a common unisex Japanese name that can mean any of the following: genuine/pure, moisture, obey, obedient, conform to, truth or even falcon. Hisao means loving living man and/or husband.
MM: Exactly. And their mother is Mari, which I found is a combination of the two words MA – meaning real, or true – and RI – meaning village. Although I .. uh.. think that’s less important than Jun or Hisao. They also don’t have a father, which once again brings up the never ending connection between the kids and missing parents. We don’t know what happened to their father, but he’s not there for whatever reason.
CO: Excellent point. We learn from Mari that Jun has horrible manners, and that Hisao is the more well-behaved son who knows better but often goads Jun on.Continued below
MM:Right, and that’s illustrated right from the beginning when we see Hisao and Jun playing some kind of space invader game (which, on a tangent, is funny because when we first learn Jun has a twin, that twin was pointing a gun to his head – and now when they’re kids, young Jun is pointing a fake gun at Hisao’s head).
CO: I didn’t even think of that real gun/fake gun… nice pickup.
MM: I think we should also throw out here to the audience that both Crit and I have, in our notes, that Jun is the “orange shirt kid” and Hisao is the “blue shirt kid.” It gets a little hard to remember as the issue goes on!
CO: Even with that written in caps at the top of my notes, I still had a little trouble remembering!
MM: Damn twins!! So Mr. Gribbs and Miss Daramount are at their mother’s house to pick them up to go to school, and Jun doesn’t want to go at all. Hisao thinks that it’s a good idea, though, saying that the pictures make it look “really nice,” which is fairly funny.
CO: Well, the school DOES look nice. It’s just that not-so-nice things happen in and around it!
MM: Well, yeah. And on the plus side, their mother Mari says she “knows this will mean a better future for them,” at which point Mr. Gribbs, Ms. Daramount, and the audience can all have a good chuckle. FOR A BETTER FUTURE is a very recurring phrase. It shows up in every issue, which started on the first page of the first issue actually.
CO: Indeed. Mari doesn’t realize what’s going on, or that she used a phrase that we’ve seen plenty of times. Mari is very proud that her boys were accepted to the prestigious school, and mentions to Daramount that it’s never too long until the summer, but I don’t think MGA students get to go home for the summer. So she thinks she’ll only be without her boys for a few months. I don’t think that’s the case.
MM: No, her boys won’t be back for the summer unfortunately. MGA is a year-round school apparently.
CO: And while that conversation is going on downstairs, a statue that was Jun and Hisao’s “father’s last gift” to them is broken accidentally. Interesting that the father is mentioned so casually like that.
MM: That statue HAS to be something, doesn’t it? Like, there has to be a reason their father gave them that particular statue. I don’t exactly know what it is though. It looks like some kind of warrior. Perhaps an old fashioned samurai?
CO: Something along those lines. Is that a nod to their father? Something at the school? I feel like it has to mean something since their father – who we know nothing about, in a comic where missing parents is a recurring theme – gave it to them. If it wasn’t supposed to mean something, they could have just broken a nice vase or something that belonged to their mother. But no, they broke the last gift their father gave them. And if it’s the last, what were the others?
MM: I feel like if their father gave them a samurai statue, in a comic where references are incredibly important it could be … I dunno, foreshadowing to their role as warriors of some kind in the future. Not in the literal sense of course, but in that fashion that – not to jump ahead of ourselves here – that Abraham is visiting these kids to MAYBE recruit some kind of “army.”
CO: I like that idea, especially considering what Abraham says at the very end, which we’ll get to.
MM: Of course. This issue and scene also help with something, which I don’t know if you noticed. We now know what EVERYONE’S parent situation is.
CO: Hmm…interesting. I didn’t notice that. I feel like there should be a chart of the kids and their parents.Continued below
MM:We keep talking about a parental connection, so I think it might help to just spell it out for the reader/our notes.
- Hunter’s mother is dead, his father is alive.
- Zoe’s father killed her mother, and we don’t know what happened to the father after (he assumedly left).
- Jun’s father is missing, presumed dead (at least by me), and they were under the care of their mother.
- Ike’s mother is alive, his father is dead, and his mother thinks he killed his father.
- Jade – whose history is uncertain as is – has a father and a brother, but her mother is missing (again, presumed dead).
- Casey? Casey had BOTH parents alive and well (until the end of issue #1).
CO: Interesting. As weird as this might sound, I wonder if that’s good or bad news for her.
MM: The comic tends to hint that she is the “leader” of the group, or the “hero” of the story. It kind of hints that everyone comes from broken homes except her, and that’s why she is so … I dunno, awesome.
MM: So back to the flashback! The statue is knocked over by Jun, and Hisao says to blame it on him since he’s the better kid and mom won’t get mad. He also mention that this is what brothers do. “They look out for each other” and “I will never let anything happen to you,” which is an incredibly important line to the story.
CO: Certainly. That sentiment reappeared in the more recent flashback at MGA. Jun seemed almost surprised that his brother was willing to take the blame for him.
MM:I love that line because as soon as Hisao says it, we’re in the present with one brother holding a gun to the other. I gotta say – I love Spencer’s habit of VERY deliberate dialogue. It adds a lot of clues, and really enhances the book on multiple reads. That and Eisma’s angles for storytelling really help intensify the scene, which – again – is even more interesting on the second read.
CO: I agree. The first time I read it I just go right through, and when I go back again slower and take a look at the details and words, there’s so much more there every single time. I hope that everyone who’s reading this does the same thing, because everything about the comic is very rich.
MM: Definitely. So Jun in present day is trying to break into some kind of facility when his brother comes to stop him. Any ideas as to what he’s trying to break into?
CO: My thought on that was that it was MGA related. Maybe the archives? He could be looking for answers.
MM: Interesting. I had a different take, actually. He says he came to the school to find his brother, and the door to whatever he is trying to get into is barred. I figured it might be some kind of jail or prison in search of his twin?
CO: That sounds highly plausible.
MM: It’s also an interesting detail that Jun does not call Hisao by name. Only “brother.” At least here.
CO: I didn’t realize that
MM: Yes, there are no names mentioned initially, and Hisao insists that Jun is not here to help him but just destroy the school.
CO: Do you think there’s any chance he wanted to destroy the school? I think he wanted to save his brother first, but destroying the school could be the second objective.
MM: Oh, I’d say he definitely wants to destroy the school after what it did to him. He wants to save his brother, and part of that is destroying the school.
CO: Maybe he was looking for artillery or explosives.
MM: That’s a damn good idea! If it’s a locked building that the security guards are near, that could definitely be where the armory!
CO: And if he has Abraham on his side, Abe sounds like someone who could very possibly know where that kind of stuff would be, so he knew to go right for them.Continued below
MM: Excellent point. I mean, the second issue featured all our kids in detention for various reasons. As soon as Jun got there, he went and caused trouble independently from the others. It’s highly plausible he was on a mission from Abraham, because he’s the only one who has had very direct “recruiting” interaction with him, except maybe Zoe. Hunter just bumps into him.
CO: Good point. Jun may very well be Abraham’s top guy, so to speak.
MM: I can see it. Now we go back to our flashback, where we learn some interesting details about Jun and Hisao.
CO: Yes, their birth.
MM: Hisao has never been late for anything since the day he was born, and Jun was born a half hour earlier. Their file said they were born at the same time: 2359 (aka 11:59 PM) on the 4th of May.
CO:Daramount questions their birth certificates, and Mari shrugs it off as unimportant. And all of a sudden, there are “financial” reasons why Jun doesn’t qualify for the school.
MM: And this is where the issue REALLY starts getting confusing. There’s obviously some kind of importance about being born at 11:59 PM on 4/4, and it’s interesting that Mr. Gribbs speaks in military time, but not Julian dates (which would be 124 for May 4th).
CO: Strange. I’m not familiar with Julian dates.
MM: It’s how the military records days of the year – with numbers out of 365 instead of individual months. It’s a pain in the ass to remember, though.
CO: Sounds like it! I’ll stick with regular dates, I think!
MM: Hahaha, you should. So Hisao can go, Jun can’t, and Mari says that if one can’t go then neither can because she doesn’t want to seperate them – which of course annoys Gribbs and Daramount, and Gribbs kills her.
CO: And Jun walks in and sees his mother bloodied and dead.
MM: He was trying to tell her that Hisao broke the statue! But now she’s dead, making Jun and Hisao orphans (if anyone wants to correct the chart we helped make about parents from earlier).
CO: And instead he saw his broken mother. Ouch! He turns and runs, and Gribbs chases him up the stairs. Daramount tells him to grab the one in the blue shirt.
MM: I think it’s humorous to note that even Gribbs and Daramount had to make notes about which shirt the kids were wearing. Damn twins!!
CO: Hah! And Jun gets back upstairs, and changes life forever for both him and his brother, and they switch shirts.
MM: Hold your horses there, Johnny Rocket! There’s one additional note we have to make!
CO:Neighhh! (That is my horse.)
MM: As Jun runs away, we are brought back to the present, where Hisao and Jun are still arguing. Hisao tells him that the Academy has given him a life of meaning, truth, and power. Which is incredibly important because – as you said – the two kids switch shirts in the next scene. This is the revelation that the Jun we knew is actually Hisao, who is SUPPOSED to be at the school, and that Hisao is actually the real Jun, who did not belong there.
MM: It’s also fun to note that Jun aka the real Hisao is wearing a blue t-shirt in the present, just as he was as a kid.
CO: As someone with lots of blue shirts, I understand.
MM: Of course. It’s a sad scene. Hisao (our Jun) had just given Jun (our Hisao) a tiny speech as a kid about protecting your brother, and in the end that’s what Jun (who we thought was Hisao) did for Hisao (who we knew as Jun).
This also changes a lot of information we had! In the last issue, #8, Hunter met Hisao and called him “Jun”, which prompted a beating. That scene took place AFTER this, which would explain why the real Jun would be so upset about being called Jun. It also changes the opening scene a bit, because now we see that the REAL Jun, aka Hisao, keeps putting guns – fake and real – to who we THOUGHT was Jun. AND – AND! Hisao, aka the real Jun, talking about how the school gave him purpose (a life of meaning, truth, and power) is even more enlightening now that we know he’s not supposed to be there. THIS ties back into the origin of his REAL name, Jun, as someone who is “obedient,” considering he’s clearly brainwashed into being part of the Academy.Continued below
CO: I’ve enjoyed all the twists and turns we’ve seen, but this issue was the most shocking for me. I wonder if we’ll see course correction from this. He wasn’t supposed to be there, his brother was. Now his brother’s there.
MM: Right, they’re both there. Unfortunately, they’re twins, so it’s really hard to tell them apart. You can assuredly assume that this angle will be played up more in the future, because now the evil brother can “infiltrate” the gang and we’ll never know.
CO: I meant more along the lines of, “no matter what I do, you’re gonna die, Charlie.”
MM: Hmm. I don’t know if it’ll end up like Charlie from LOST, but it’s possible.
CO: I think the only way the school officials will be able to set them apart is that one of them knows a lot about the school because he’s been there, and the other doesn’t… unless Abraham has enlightened him. But physically, the students and staff won’t be able to tell, and that could get very messy. Like you said, infiltration could happen and they just won’t know.
MM: It’s interesting that he – Jun, the real Hisao – was able to get in at all. If the school had one of the twins as a student already, how did they let the other slip in? They KNOW both of them are there. They KNOW one doesn’t belong. Yet both students are allowed to attend. Why?
CO: I feel like in a place like that, they don’t let things happen unless they want them to happen. They’ve got to want this.
MM: I feel like it might have something to do with Abraham as well, who we are assuming is a force against the school. Not to jump too ahead of ourselves again, but the issue ends with Abraham saving Hisao (who we knew as Jun), effectively “recruiting” him through fire after Daramount and Gibbs have ruined his life. Abraham obviously knows a lot we don’t know … maybe he can sneak kids into the school?
CO: Perhaps. And now that we’re at the end, Abraham says he isn’t with them as he saves Hisao (Jun).
MM: Right. He’s an agent of some other kind.
CO: I hope we get an Abraham flashback. It’ll be like when Richard Alpert finally got an episode (“Ab Aeterno”) in the final season of LOST! If not a flashback, just more information. Who is he, why is he working against the school, how did he come to work against the school, etc? Abraham knew which boy he was saving from the fire, which I thought was interesting. Was he watching the whole time somehow, or did he just know? And either way, how?
MM: All good questions. I do believe there is supposed to be a faculty-based flashback issue in this arc at the end, so we might learn a bit more there? The 12th issue’s cover features Gribbs, Daramount and the Nurse, so it’s possible we might learn a bit more there as it says that issue sets up the third arc after the deaths we’ve seen in #7 and #8.
MM: So the present-day scene ends with Gribbs arriving. Jun and Hisao are fighting, but Gribbs – in a robe, not a security guard outfit – comes out to break them up, mentioning that they’ve disrupted “the ceremony”, which we know very little about.
CO:If I remember right, we saw people in those robes in the basement of the school before? But either way, that’s true; we don’t know what this “ceremony” is.
MM: Yup, we saw them earlier! Back when Ike and Hunter interupted it in #2! Meanwhile, Hisao – the real Jun – keeps screaming that Jun – the real Hisao – is just there to destroy the school, which leads to the flashback where Abraham saves Hisao (who we thought was Jun). HisaoJun obviously wants to say because the school gives him purpose, but JunHisao knows that it’s dangerous. I hope that our readers now understand why we had so many notes denoting which kid is in the “blue shirt” and which is the “orange shirt.” With the revelation that the kids switched, their identities and actions throughout the flashback become all the more important to keep track of given the events of the present.Continued below
CO: For sure. For headscratchin’ sure.
MM: So just so everyone is clear: HISAO – WEARING THE BLUE SHIRT – IS THE BOY WE THOUGHT WAS JUN, AND HE WAS SUPPOSED TO GO TO MORNING GLORY ACADEMY. JUN – WEARING THE ORANGE SHIRT – IS THE BOY WE THOUGHT WAS HISAO, AND HE DOES NOT BELONG AT MORNING GLORY ACADEMY. NOW ORANGE SHIRT LOVES THE SCHOOL AND BLUE SHIRT WANTS TO DESTROY IT AND SAVE ORANGE SHIRT.
MM: I think that just about covers it, right?
CO: I believe so! I thought I had a blue shirt on when we started chatting… but I just looked down and this shirt is orange. WTF?
MM: I am definitely wearing a blue shirt right now!