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After Dark, by Haruki Murakami
Like, say, an octopus. A giant octopus living way down deep at the bottom of the ocean. It has this tremendously powerful life force, a bunch of long, undulating legs, and it’s heading somewhere, moving through the darkness of the ocean. I’m sitting there listening to these trials, and all I can see in my head is this /creature./ It takes on all kinds of different shapes–sometimes it takes on shapes that are more difficult and dangerous than that. You can try cutting off its legs, but they just keep growing back. Nobody can kill it. It’s too strong, and it lives too far down in the ocean. Nobody knows where its heart is. What I felt then was a deep terror. And a kind of hopelessness, a feeling that I could never run away from this thing, no matter how far I went. And this creature, that /thing/ doesn’t give a damn that I’m me or you’re you. In its presence, all human beings lose their names and their faces. We all turn into signs, into numbers.
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If you don’t think Preston is a good cook you’re out of your mind. He’s the designated chef for any occasion, he’s definitely the mom friend. He’s been cooking since he was a child, and has learned everything from watching his grandparents and parents cook, learning multiple tips and tricks to make even the most bland food taste great.

He packs the scouts and field soldiers meals, as well as cook meals for the Castle on the nights he’s stationed there.

When he’s at Sanctuary he likes to make sweets and other baked goods for settlers and the companions, and when he’s in DC he makes sure to make special batches for Nick, Elli, Piper, and the rest of the working people (the kids of Diamond City especially enjoy when he visits because he tends to always keep them in mind, a bit of a morale booster as he puts it). Although all of his desserts are equally good, he gets the most praise from his cupcakes (the icing is made from carrot flowers, Brahmin milk and a touch of Nuka Orange; family recipe)

I headcannon as Preston’s family (pre-war) was from Louisiana or down near there, so they know their way around seafood. After getting the Minutemen established and getting rid of the Institute, Preston, with the help of Sole, clean up Quincy and set up a restaurant for his parents to run, it’s an instant hit and they soon collaborate with Takahashi to make seafood and pasta dishes.

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What a certain Panel Composition reveals about the Bond between Sato, Takahashi and Gen

I’ve written about the similarities and shared mind set about Sato, Takahashi and Gen before. Taken the panel composition of the manga reflected this aspect as well, repeatedly, I thought it worthwhile to have a closer look at this: It’s a good example of how the manga successfully manages “show, don’t tell” to transmit information about the intensifying quality of a bond between characters.

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The first time we see this occurring pattern of portraying those three as a group is right before the attack on Grant Pharma starts: Sato getting ready to board the plane he’ll succeed utilizing in the operation, Takahashi and Gen about to get ready to act as snipers. Taken how well those three ended up cooperating in the incoming plan, I assume this panel in question wasn’t coincidence but foreshadowing of those three being compatible. And also it’s the first time this composition of Sato depicted in the middle, Takahashi on his left and Gen on his right shows up and it’s worthwhile to keep this image in mind as it would get repeated in this exact same manner for several times.

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The second time we see the constellation mentioned above: Soon after the events in the building of Forge security took place. At this time a rift in team Sato has already happened: Tanaka’s sudden decision to prioritize the personal whim of sparing a target he put on the death list himself, casting the needs of the group during an ongoing operation aside, and further insisting plans previously established in the group should get cancelled, started letting his comrades doubt if he can still be viewed as a reliable part of their team. In this panel this atmosphere of growing uncertainty and distrust gets strengthened by showing that in contrast to this rift connections in other places have gotten strengthened.

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Example three: Sato may no longer deem Tanaka a good fit for the entire group. In return his trust in Takahashi and Gen gets shown to have grown. The manga makes a point to depict this several times in the short time between the operation of Forge Security and the incoming move on the Iruma base.

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Two times a coincidence, three times intention and four times can be viewed as proven facts - Not only is the by now familiar panel composition returning, what is taking place here is further proof that this bond of three has not only stayed stable but strengthened further: Not only is Tanaka’s exclusion as unreliable element of the group decided by now, it’s also getting shown that this decision wasn’t made by Sato alone but that Takahashi and Gen are in on the plan and as confirmed some pages further in after the above panel, also in favour of it.

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And the fifth time is confirmation of a familiar pattern by now. With the Iruma plan having gone as planned so far, these three favourite nihilists of mine have not much more to do than broadcast their message to the public in this most familiar pose. A joyful occurrence for the fact that it’s not only the manga readers, but by now also finally the people watching the TV in-universe getting the chance to appreciate the teamwork that comes to those three so naturally (though to be fair, the people glued to their screens in-universe probably have other concerns and priorities during this moment).

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And for example six I allow myself to make a bit of a stretch. The familiar order of Sato being the one in the middle (here in the middle panel) with Takahashi and Gen being at his left and right is not as strictly in order as in previous examples. But here the teamwork and understanding not in need of many words that flows so naturally between these three is so nicely depicted that I just needed to include this example. This occasion of Takahashi and Gen having words of encouragement for Sato is also a nice parallel to the panel I used first: Because it was during said first example of the Grant Pharma operation the bond of those three started developing, similar to here with Takahashi and Gen following their spontaneous impulse of the moment to cheer for Sato while he was in the middle of having to manage a demanding task of the plan on his own.

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