Othello’s Eyes: Window to the ?????
This probably isn’t particularly groundbreaking to point out, in part because somebody else has likely already realised, and in part because we don’t need this information to know that Othello has some tricks up his sleeves and is the sort to guide the plot, so we already know to look into his choices.
But I for one have been struck by Othello’s wonky eyes since his very first appearance. I’ve always been a little disappointed that they didn’t stay like they were in his first panel, because for a hot minute I thought we might have been given a character with ptosis of the eyelid who isn’t treated as a joke. But I think there’s probably a good reason why they keep evening out and then becoming mismatched again. And it’s not just because uneven eyes let us know a character is dangerous or unbalanced.
Othello’s whole deal is that his name is a reference to the game reversi, right, which he’s got pieces of on his coat?
That is, the game where you flip enemy round pieces to shift their side/colour to your own.
Like the reversi pieces, Othello’s eyes, framed by his round glasses, will occassionally shift. Here’s a list of every time his eyes have become uneven so far (as of 26/JUN/18):
- Chapter 114: his first panel, when he greets Grelle. The eye on our left is uneven.
- 115: the chapter cover page he was featured in, accompanied by his “I won’t get in your way, so don’t get in mine” caption, the left is uneven.
- 119: when he says he doesn’t think “that person” knew much about this field, the eye on our right.
- 125: when he explains to Sebastian and OCiel that the interference of a non-human being can alter the death list, the right eye.
- 141: when he says it’s time to get on with that “spanking”, the right.
- BONUS: in chapter 115, when he says he can’t fight and need Grelle to protect him, the eye on our right is covered completely by his speech bubble.
- BONUS 2: in chapter 128, when Grelle reaps Agni, Othello is nowhere to be seen. What is he doing?
Though I can’t be sure (hence the “?????”), I believe that this either signifies a change in his own allegiance, or more likely, is an indication of his making a strategic decision. Flipping a piece, so to speak, in order to take control of the board. OCiel may be playing a game of chess and treating black and white as separate sides and unchangeable features of the playing field, but Othello… Is playing by completely different rules.
If this is the case, I’d say the chapter cover is simply an instance of reinforcing our association of his calculated nature with his shifty eyes. The wording, too, gets me, because in reversi, any pieces in your way, become your own, using what once belonged to the opponent against them. “I won’t get in your way, if you don’t get in mine” and, what it actually implies, “if you get in my way, I will get in yours”.
Asides from our not knowing whether Othello is telling the truth about his physical incapability, or if telling Grelle and getting her to protect him (or underestimate him) was just a way for him to further set up his plan, the one I think is the most interesting is his choice to tell Sebastian and Ciel vital information.
Because by telling them there was supernatural involvement in the development of the cult technology, he effectively tipped them off to the presence of Undertaker… or something more, if Undertaker isn’t the only one involved. And he did it on purpose. But I wonder why…? Perhaps in order to set up Sebastian, an enemy piece, against whatever else is involved. Just like reversi.