|“||And to myself, Bon Voyage. Do your best! My best! I can do this!||”|
–Misao, 2002 (Side B): Blood Sabbath
Misao (ミサオ) is a Japanese man who boards the cruise liner Exit in place of the Unnamed Photographer in August 2002. He survives the ship's dual seajackings by SAMPLE and The Mask Makers, only to later find himself in a hospital after falling down a set of stairs.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Misao is a sentimental man who possesses strong lingering feelings for his ex-wife Hiroko, to the point where he can talk to her but cannot eat out with her without becoming teary-eyed. He appears to want to 'start over' with her and can be a bit of a worrywart when it comes to her safety, a sentiment she appears to find a bit childish. In a similar fashion, she has called his boyish style of writing akin to that of an elementary or middle-schooler's.
For the first two nights of the cruise, Misao is in an upbeat and emboldened mood due to his luck in securing a cruise ticket and learning that Hiroko is coincidentally on the Exit's sister ship Entrance. He feels that something is 'off' but, as he cannot discern why, brushes off the feeling as unfounded
When the Exit is seajacked by both SAMPLE and the Mask Makers, Misao is all shades of terrified and panicked and desperately worried for Hiroko's safety. His fear for Hiroko supersedes his own for himself, as he uses up precious time and effort in an attempt to call her and warn her of what is going on.
Chronology[edit | edit source]
Pre-2002[edit | edit source]
Misao and Hiroko date for an undisclosed amount of time before they wed, and for a while are happy and content. However, they eventually divorce for unclear reasons – though Misao seems to blame himself for it – and Hiroko moves to the United States. Their divorce is amicable, as they remain on pleasant speaking terms afterward.
At some point prior to the events of 2002, Misao starts an internet blog and starts working at a new job, which is still new enough that he is relatively strapped for cash on the cruise. How he met and befriended the Unnamed Photographer is unknown.
2002[edit | edit source]
In August, Misao's cameraman friend wins the lottery for the second time in a row, having won a trip to New York back in July. As the cameraman has offered to show a few friends he made on the New York trip around Japan during their upcoming August vacation, he sells his lottery prize to Misao instead: a passenger ticket for the cruise liner Exit, which is due to depart for the American Pacific Coast from Yokohama Harbor, Japan.
At some point prior to the first day of the cruise, he learns that Hiroko is planning to board the liner's sister ship Entrance; the happenstance, while utterly coincidental, makes him nervous and excited in equal measure.
When Misao arrives at the harbor for boarding, he is surprised to find a great deal of foreigners among his fellow passengers, including: a man wearing a tribal mask; a woman whose extraordinary beauty makes him momentarily dizzy; and a muscular woman towering over two meters tall. He also witnesses the moment when the "Rookie Warlock" Luchino B. Campanella performs a magic trick for an apparently happy child. Recognizing Luchino from his pamphlet, he considers going to watch Luchino perform that night at Ristorante Cuculo.
Misao boards Exit and finds his room without incident. As he has brought his laptop – and as there is no Internet access – he decides to keep an electronic journal while he is on the cruise. The first thing he writes about is Hiroko and his shock upon learning she would be traveling on the Entrance, set to depart from America the following day. The odds of this occurring, especially taking into account how his ticket was an accident in and of itself, make the circumstances feel more miraculous than coincidental.
With his candle for Hiroko still aflame, he decides that he should try to 'make use' of this miracle and see it as his second chance with Hiroko, vowing not to bungle it this time. He resolves to call her the next day, and then recounts his experience on the dock and the various passengers he saw. After reading over what he wrote, he decides that everything he wrote is 'too embarrassing' to post on his blog and that tomorrow will be the start of his official posts. Finally, he toasts to his cameraman friend for giving Misao his good fortune.
That night, Misao attends the reception party celebrating the beginning of the cruise. He also goes to the Ristorante Cuculo to see Luchino perform, and is especially impressed given that Luchino is a 'kid' about ten years younger than him. When the foreign beauty from the dock is summoned to participate in a magic trick, Misao is a little perturbed to find an audience member filming her despite his presumed wife sitting right next to him.
He spends all of the next day exploring the ship. During his exploration, he spots multiple people and children wearing red-and-black outfits, the design something he finds creepy and off-putting. That night, he returns his room to telephone Hiroko – sometime after the Entrance departs the North American west coast. She says it is 'too bad' their timings were crossed, as she would have treated him to dinner in America had she still been there upon his arrival. He replies that this is probably for the best – as he still has lingering feelings for her – but she demurs by saying it is normal in America for divorced couples to dine together.
They chat about Misao's cameraman friend before Misao asks if there are any 'weird people' on Hiroko's side. She mentions that she saw an actress and a film director, and he tells her that he has seen odd and 'eerie' people about the ship. The conversation soon winds down, as it is expensive for Misao to use the ship's satellite system for calls, but make plans for another telephone call in twenty-four hours and a third in forty-eight.
Once Hiroko is off the phone, Misao adds a new entry to his journal in which he talks about his phone call, his feelings, and how he already cannot wait to call her again. He also writes both about the Rookie Warlock's show and the red-and-black suited people he saw while recording, though he tries to brush off his disconcerted feelings as those of simple paranoia. After praising the cruise's services, and resolving to thank the cameraman after he calls Hiroko tomorrow, he mentions hearing the sound of singing from somewhere in the ship. It sounds more like a prayer than a song and is in an unrecognizable language, and he guesses that someone must be getting married.
Misao continues hearing strange songs in a similar vein throughout the next day of the cruise, and encounters more of the red-and-black suited people while out and about. What is more, multiple passengers and crew members look like the 'life' has been sucked out of them, all of them foreigners. Increasingly uneasy, he winds up calling Hiroko four hours early that night and asks if everything is okay on her end. When she assures him that nothing is wrong, he informs her about all the odd people and songs he has seen and heard on the cruise so far.
Their conversation is abruptly cut off. Misao tries calling Hiroko again but fails due to a 'lack of signal', which he finds strange since his cellphone is on three antennas and the satellite system is reputed to be excellent. Worried that something may have happened to Hiroko, and also suddenly reluctant to leave his cabin, he tries calling Hiroko again. At that moment, the floor shakes – as if the ship has suddenly picked up speed.
Misao, now highly afraid, continues trying to phone Hiroko for some time. The sound of distant gunshots only heightens his fear, and he is still not brave enough to check what is going on outside his door. When an eerie prayer starts broadcasting over the speakers, he takes to his laptop to write out of the terror-sharp clarity that this may be the last chanace he will ever have to do it. He hurriedly explains that he still cannot reach Hiroko, the ship is picking up speed again, and he is still hearing gunshots, all the while listening to the announcement and relaying it with increasingly short and freeform sentences.
The announcer claims that they plan to crash the ship come tomorrow evening. The last line of Misao's journal entry is a garbled run-on mess, in which he fears for Hiroko's life and desperately wishes he could tell her thanks for everything.
As he continues trying to reach Hiroko, the announcer asks everyone to turn their attention to the lifeboats outside the window. Misao does, and he watches as the lifeboats are blown to bits. Finally, the connection goes through; he urges her to abscond the Entrance immediately. Screams rise up across the Exit when the announcer says that his people are planted throughout the masses, and Misao warns her that she has to escape even if the 'bastards' are on her ship too.
The announcer's voice is replaced by the sound of children praying, distracting the already-distressed Misao – but he pulls himself together to warn her that the seajackers plan to crash the Exit into the Entrance tomorrow evening. He then tries to tell her something personal, but does not have the chance: he cries out at something, and urges her to flee one last time. Whatever happens to Misao next is unclear: all that Hiroko hears after that is the broadcasting prayer.
Misao somehow survives the ensuing events and collision, perhaps by staying in his room. When the two ships come to a standstill following the collision, he crosses over from the Exit to the Entrance shouting Hiroko's name. He is in such a rush to see if Hiroko is safe that he ends up falling down a set of stairs and injuring himself, and he is taken to the hospital once the Exit arrives in Japan. Hiroko accompanies him, and the two of them are visited by the cameraman during Misao's hospital stay.