thoughts ~ tarot
So everyone has seen the cute SD tarot cards of Yuki and the not-secret boys of GH2, right? I'm sure they were all chosen carefully to match the character personalities and such, but I'm not going to analyze them all here. Instead, I'm going to ramble about what I think Sakaki's card would be, if he hadn't been kept secret and/or gotten the short end of the stick yet again. (Please don't get me started on how he was left out of the official merch but Keita was included. Raaaaage!)
Anyway! I have all of them right here on Tumblr for easy reference.
Disclaimer: I don't know shit about tarot actually, everything I know is from le Google. However, I know entirely way too fucking much about Sakaki, so there.
My understanding of the Judgement card, as cobbled together from my internet research:
The Judgement card represents resurrection and awakening, a time when a phase of life comes to an absolute end, making way for new beginnings. It signals the mending of the past and present self, suggesting that instead of enslaving ourselves to guilt and regret, we can take what we have learned from our mistakes and overcome them.
I mean, seriously, with that explanation I feel like I can just end this page here, everyone close up your textbooks and go the fuck home because UM HELLO that is exactly what happens in Sakaki's route.
But I will un-lazy myself and explain because I actually enjoy rambling.
This kind of jumps around a bit because I'm addressing the meaning of the card in the order that it's written above, so this may be a bit messy, especially if you're not already familiar with all of Sakaki's story. Just FYI. :)
a time when a phase of life comes to an absolute end
During the one-sided argument with his brother, Sakaki finally makes the decision that's been hanging over him for a while, and severs ties with his "toxic" (his word, not mine) family. Up until that point, he's made an effort to play the "good son" by balancing his own desires and ideals (being a teacher, wanting to create a truly good school that is even better than Bell Liberty) with what his family wants (infiltrate Bell Liberty and become director to hinder the rival Suzubishi group, work in the family business).
Family is serious business in Japan, and while Sakaki is under less pressure than his brother (the eldest son), he is still a member of a very prominent, wealthy, and influential family. If I want to be the annoying American doofus that I am and think about it from MY point of view, it would still be hard as hell to cut ties with a powerful family like that. It was hard enough to pack my shit up and move halfway across the country when I was 23 - my family is fucked up, but at least we're all derpy middle class bitches. For Sakaki, who is only 27 and caught up in toxic relationships backed by a TON of influence and piles of money, finally saying ENOUGH is huge.
And yes, 27 is still VERY young and having the balls to stand up to that kind of pressure at that age is very respectable. I'm in my 30s so I know all about faking your adultness while curling up in bed and crying yourself to sleep because something is eating at you. (Uh, not that Sakaki is doing that but if he did, I wouldn't judge him.)
making way for new beginnings
There's the plans that Nao left behind, the thoughts and ideals that he and Sakaki used to debate all the time on the school rooftop. Tomo discovers these in his office and approaches Sakaki at the Bell One party, asking if he'll help with putting them into action. It seems like (and this may be somewhat inaccurate as this part was hard to read) Nao's diary contains plans that are a fusion of his own idealistic goals and Sakaki's more down-to-earth rebuttals.
So because Sakaki has chosen to resist the order to close the school and pressure Tomo into hacking the Suzubishi research data, he now has the opportunity to try and create his ideal school. Instead of hating Bell Liberty because of its imperfect student selection policies, there's a chance to fix the problem instead of having to build a completely new school from scratch. The game specifically mentions allowing personal recommendations for new students, and improving the selection process so it's not just focused on "visible" talent - which was the issue that affected his middle school friend.
mending of the past and present self
At the very end of Sakaki's route, we learn that his two friends are now married, and they own a restaurant. Sakaki hasn't been to their place even though it's nearby, but that's where he decides to take Yuki. Instead of running from his past, he's moving back toward it, to renew those lost relationships. We don't know for sure that his friends are happy now, but in the picture on their advertisement postcard, they appear to be happy, suggesting that they've accepted their new lives and let go of the pain of the past. It's time for our favorite math teacher to do the same.
And depending on how you choose to play his route, Yuki's affection comes into play to some degree, and after witnessing how his genuine love for all the other characters heals their hearts... well, Sakaki is no exception. He'll be fine even without Yuki falling in love with him, but with that love, he'll recover even faster. (This is why I write stupid fanfiction, gaiz.)
instead of enslaving ourselves to guilt and regret
Sakaki has absolutely been a slave to guilt and regret over what happened to his two friends from middle school. The boy was a literal genius, but got poor grades because of dyslexia. His only hope was to be recognized by Bell Liberty... but that never happened, because BL was only looking at visible talent and not potential. And almost to rub salt in the wound, Sakaki received the Platinum Paper, though there was never any chance that he would go to BL since his family owns many private schools already. He never told his friends about being accepted to BL and went to a Sakaki-owned high school, and later became a teacher there.
It's not explicitly mentioned but it seems clear to me that his career choice was influenced by the guilt and anger he felt on his friend's behalf, and a desire to change the system. However, it seems like that desire got twisted by the guilt and instead, he became an unreasonable hardass who drove students to quit if they couldn't keep up. It's almost like the "logic" (not that emotions have logic but you know what I mean) was that if his friend couldn't succeed, then these kids who don't have any sort of learning disability can just suck it up and I don't care.
The girl in their group didn't fare any better. She became a teacher as well, also wanting to fight The System and create a better learning environment for students with disabilities. She ended up quitting after realizing she wouldn't be able to implement her plans for change, and she completely gave up on being a teacher. Her failure is another thing that's been weighing on Sakaki's mind.
take what we have learned from our mistakes and overcome them
Sakaki has held himself apart from everyone at Bell Liberty, intentionally making himself an outsider because he doesn't want to get involved with the school that wronged his middle school friend. After hearing the story of Sakaki's past, Yuki invites him to become a "real" member of the school.
If Sakaki can overcome the mistakes of his past - being pushed around by his family, clinging to guilt, doing things that ultimately work against his own ideals - he will be in a position to do exactly what he's always wanted. With Nao's plans, he can assist Tomo in transforming Bell Liberty into the type of school he always resented it for NOT being.
I look forward to seeing what's been accomplished if (when?) we get a GH3. :)
~ end ~