Key the Metal Idol
Image of Janome

Janome Ojii, the Priest

Don Brown (English)

Janome is a short, wizened man dressed in rather outrageous clothes. He is unmistakably a priest, but with the pronounced whimple and cotton-ball buttons, he looks more like something from a circus act. (The caricature grows even more incredulous when he must wear an eyepatch in later episodes.) The humor of his guise does not affect his faith, however...

"I prayed to Shiflan, begging him to keep you from falling," confides Janome in his first conversation with Key. Janome was one of the witnesses to the rather intense events of episode four, when Tamari Seiichi was hurled from the roof of a building by a malfunctioning PPOR. Tamari grabbed onto Key from the deck below (not that he knew what he was doing, just the he wanted to grab onto *something* rather than fall ten stories to his death) and precipitated Key and himself onto the rather flimsy awning some dozen feet below. Key was in the process of experiencing another Significant Emotional Reaction even before she was pulled down, and with her terror thus amplified by her own predicament, she entered into that peculiar fugue (Tomoyo calls it a "blackout") where Key demonstrates super-human and super-robot abilities. It is this writer's opinion that these abilities manifest whenever Key succeeds, albeit temporarily, in making a leap of faith that places her in some altered state, one where she is neither robot nor human, but somehow a superior amalgam of the two.

Perhaps it is this leap of faith that Janome recognizes as a priest. He finds his way to Sakura's house in an attempt to enlist Key in his religion. Not as a disciple, but as a prophet! Key accompanies Janome to his temple, a run-down old structure bearing the title, "Golden Serpent World Salvation Magnificent Prayer Association." While there, Key tells Janome that she is a robot, a remark which has Janome laughing heartily. "Very well," he says, "if you are a robot, then I am the messenger of the Serpent God, the manifestation of the Golden Serpent." Janome tells his story.

"Man is such a foolish, shortsighted creature...I was in the mountains, expecting to die. I wandered, panting with thirst, searching for the path that would lead me home. On the fourth morning, I was too weak to get up when I saw before me--it must have discerned the dishonest heart within me, for the serpent raised its head and coiled and sprang, biting my bare calf."

"When I came to, I expected to be dead from the poison burning through my body, but I saw an endless desert, and what seemed to be a man, sitting, waiting for me. This man was completely naked, but he shone bright with gold, and around him was a great golden serpent, wound around his powerful hips, around his chest, and up onto his shoulders. Majestically he said, "I am the creator of this universe, and you and your fellow beings are gods!"

Thus inspired, Janome founded his church. When he witnessed the miracles surrounding Key the previous night, he took it as a sign he had found an oracle to his god. Key at first rejects his offering of fellowship, but later, after she informs Sakura she will no longer trouble her and move out, Key arrives at the church, much to Janome's delight.

(And I will stop here. Janome sees a keen spiritual value in Key, and that belief is put to incredible use in episode six. If you thought episode four was intense, hoo-boy! )

Return to Character List
Return to Top Level

Christopher S. Rider ---