Nakatsukuni and Takamagahara are connected through dreams. Although they may be referred to as the world of humans and the world of gods respectively, with Tokyopop’s translation even calling Nakatsukuni the “physical, real” world in contrast to Takamagahara, the “spiritual” world, both worlds are inhabited by humans and both worlds are very much real within the story. That Tokyopop calls Nakatsukuni the real world in its volume introduction pages does not surprise, as it’s the world Yuuki is from and the world the reader is familiar with, whereas Takamagahara isn’t a parallel Earth and also does not share its geography, flora or fauna.
The following sections capture my love for Dream Saga’s journey across its world as I list the elements native to Takagamahara. I don’t consider any of these plot spoilers as they hardly refer to the progress of story, though if you don’t want to know in advance who the Magatama holders to join Yuuki are, avoid Inventions and Trivia.
Dream Self ☉ Month Names ☉ Organisms ☉ Inventions ☉ Trivia
Most things that can be said about the two different selves in Nakatsukuni and Takamagahara have already been stated under Intro page or are implied under Characters. The selves in the two worlds are considered different persons and have different bodies, so date of birth, age and even sex and gender can differ. As far as Dream Saga’s main characters are concerned, the blood type remains the same; it isn’t clarified whether that holds true for every person.
Age discrepancy aside, the two selves bear some physical resemblance (sometimes more, sometimes less), as some of the children are able to identify each other on sight after having met in the other world. The two personalities aren’t necessarily the same, as Megumi Tachikawa explicitly points out, though it seems to be a missed opportunity as far as Yuuki’s comrades are concerned, as all the profiles later on state that they are nearly identical… I’ll adress this again under Parallels.
According to Binga, every creature except for humans is aware of the fact that they have a different self. Although humans may catch glimpses of their other self in their dreams, they wouldn’t think much of it, and most of the memory is lost once they wake up.
In Takamagahara, however, there exists a phenomena that allows one to see one’s other self: the Fata Morgana Coral Festival. The villagers who live close to the Fata Morgana Coral Forest consider corals their guardians. Once a year in Zubo (the month of the sea), a mysterious red snow falls in the forest, allowing people to “meet their other self”. The villagers believe that if they can meet their other self during the festival, they will be able to find their happiness. (This festival and two revelations related to it are one of my favourite things in the series.)
Reincarnation exists in Takamagahara, though being reborn as the organism you were is not guaranteed. Due to the link between the worlds, one is reincarnated immediately after death, so that even without memories of the previous life, the selves in both worlds continue to exist.
The months in Takamagahara have names different from the ones in Nakatsukuni. Six of them were included in the character profiles in the side columns, partly to show that the two selves in the different worlds are different persons and thus also have different dates of birth, one of them is mentioned during the story.
In a Dream Saga Q&A on Megumi Tachikawa’s website, the full list of months is revealed. Thanks for helping me translate some of these, Mishiro and Delphine! ❤
|January||Onzu||month of the stars|
|February||Bage||month of time|
|March||Dogi||month of clothing|
|April||Oyage||month of agriculture|
|May||Fuki||month of the wind|
|June||Minado||month of water|
|July||Tara||month of thunder|
|August||Tsubo||month of the sea|
|September||Shi Basu||month of the moon|
|October||Shiraku||month of medicine|
|November||Tadara||month of competition|
|December||Madagi||month of the hunt|
Yuuki comes across many different creatures and plants on her journey, many of them either misunderstood, exploited, harmed or neglected by humans. The names used here are primarily taken from the German publication and listed in order of appearance.
The Desaria is a desert flower known to attack travellers with its vines and to eat them. It takes Yuuki’s arrival for humans to understand that the flower merely wanted its golden cotton pollen to be spread, something which requires the help of humans. Because humans kept attacking the flower, it saw no choice but to eat them in self-defense.
The Citroheros resembles a giant wasp far larger than any human. One of them is mistakenly believed to attack a village, when in truth, it only meant to look for the eggs it laid beneath the village years ago. Its cast-off skin can be used as a container for things such as liquid.
Sivdaisies are flowers found in the desert. They emit a pleasant odour and float in the air, living off the nutrition in it. When eaten by Agatenights, they temporarily paralyze the creatures.
Agatenights are creatures inspired by ammonites. They are found in groups and float in the air. Their shining pearl shells are coveted as part of jewellery, and have to be removed while the Agatenights are still alive, else the brightness is lost. Their meat is an expensive delicacy. For these reasons, these creatures are on the verge of extinction.
These unnamed fish are used as a means of transport by those who poach and contaminate the sea under Tsukuyomi’s orders. He himself keeps several of them as pets and calls them by individual names; evidently, they can be tamed, as they allow humans to mount and to pet them. They have large mouths and jagged teeth. (One of the poachers calls their fish “Zegou”, but that might just be another individual name.)
The Golgaia is a fish unpopular with humans as it greedily eats anything, but isn’t edible itself due to its bad taste.
Fata Morgana Corals grow thickly above water, so the villagers refer to them as a forest. Each summer, they spread their spores that look like red snow, and their eggs colour the water red — a phenomena that the villagers celebrate. These corals are susceptible to water pollution.
Crystalback Worms are insects that live in the Crystal Forest, where they eat crystals and create cocoons out of them. They form a symbiosis with the guardian of the forest, who allows them to eat the crystals and protects them; in return, they watch the forest for him. Crystalback Worms have gone extinct after the erection of the dome around Tsukuyomi’s palace, a project for which their lifeblood was solidified. The dome keeps the air around the palace clean.
Carbonheads are peaceful creatures that live in caves, where they feed off the minerals in the rocks. They are attracted to metal, but wouldn’t attack humans under normal conditions. Carbonheads rarely leave their caves.
The Ceasar Crab (which may just mean “scissors”) is a giant crab that piles seaweed and grass on its back as camouflage for its own protection. I assume that it is based on decorator crabs.
Orochi is an eight-headed serpent with crystal eyes and crystal scales. It is the guardian of the Crystal Forest.
Actygrove is an enormous sacred tree that grows directly below the floating Tenju Palace, and is the only living tree that can grow in the sky. It is the tree that holds up the sun.
When Keima eventually joins the group in Lysha, he brings a lot of utility with him, having been an inventor for quite some time.
Some citizens of Lysha wrongfully blame Keima for the new air automobiles on the streets that pollute the city’s air, not knowing that they are one of Tsukuyomi’s creations. Keima first explains his powers to the group by showing them the prototype for the automobile: Using the cast-off skin of Shdra Bugs, he transferred their ability to fly onto the prototype, thus creating a means of transport that wouldn’t pollute the air. The automobiles widely used in Lysha copied his prototype, but didn’t recreate its mechanism.
The Blueskyblue is a flying vessel that serves the function of an airship. It is made from an insect carapace, so it doesn’t fly very fast; Keima is able to control and steer it with the power of his Magatama, and can call it even from a distance. He prepared it specifically for the day he’d leave the city together with his comrades. It also serves as the group’s lodgings when no settlement is close by.
When the group arrives at a place heavily polluted by accumulated waste, Keima distributes candies made of Silvia blossoms. They are flowers that grow close to volcanoes, cleansing the air in the vicinity. The candies allow the group to breathe without the risk of inhaling the poisonous gas.
Earrings made with the properties of Orquid Fish fins allow the group to breathe underwater so as to cross subsurface passages.
The following are a few other materials and similar terms mentioned in the series:
Bardi and Leyk are spices, whereas Jinger, Getta and Binger seem to be dishes served at a restaurant.
Halcon fiber seems to be a material that makes particularly strong fishing nets.
Celestine is a mineral found in rock caves; Carbonheads consume it. It is the reason Tsukuyomi has ordered ceaseless mining in the area, as he plans to make weapons from it.
Rhodochrosite is a rare ore Keima finds at an alchemist’s house; he mentions how long he’s been looking for it.
☉ There are places where the two worlds are very close. In Nakatsukuni, mirrors and shrines are the bridges between the worlds, and it is through them that things native to Takamagahara can pass while Amaterasu is weakened.
☉ Takamagahara’s currency is called Luk. Its capital city is Lysha, seat of the ruler Tsukuyomi.
☉ Takamagahara seems to have its own language, even if the characters aren’t aware of speaking it. Education doesn’t seem mandatory, so being literate isn’t necessarily the norm: Among the members of the group, Souta (a priest) and Keima (an inventor) can read, whereas Taizou (a bounty hunter) and Nachi (a maid and dancer) are illiterate. The hidden power residing in each Magatama is released by speaking the word engraved on it. Keima’s Liuna means “reason” or “comprehending”, and Taizou’s Aghma seems to mean “strength”. (This happens to be a subtle detail I really like; Taizou and Nachi need someone else’s help to learn their own spell, and it also adds to the worldbuilding.)