Tsunayashiro Tokinada laughed while his life bled out of him. He sneered at the various people he had antagonized and victimized with his various sadistic plans. But those insults were not his last words. His last words were a cryptic message to his wife, a woman he had killed on a whim long ago. “I will… the stars…” if one version of the translation is to be believed. Right from the start of the novel, Tokinada had a strong Joker vibe. He was just a guy who wanted to watch the world burn… or was he? The Joker’s motivations were pure. Or at least, we have no choice but to believe that he acted out of a pure desire to revel in chaos. However, I suspect our lack of choice stems from a lack of backstory. Tokinada is different, in that respect. We know something about his past. We know his last words. Even if we don’t completely know what he meant by them, we know who he is referencing. Tokinada’s whole shtick is that he knows what his ancestors did to create Soul Society in its current form. Their actions were so despicable that the moment he learned the truth, it shattered him completely. He began to look at justice and morality as fragile, artificial constructs which could just as easily be shattered by sufficient power. I’ve always said, “It’s easy to be good when you know there’s some all-seeing god watching you. But the true test of your virtue is when you realize there is no god. There is no higher authority whose cosmic task is preventing you from abusing someone weaker than you. If you can accept that and still refuse to misuse your power, you can truly say your character is strong.” But Tokinada is not strong. He is hilariously weak. The moment he saw that the “ordinary peace” (as it is referred to by Ichibei) was all just a sham, his first reaction was, “Heh, this whole reality is based off of the worst sins. Therefore, I am free to do whatever I want.”
But then, along came Kakyo. A woman who was unbearably pure. A woman of strength. Not reiatsu. Not political power. A different kind of strength. She loved the stars. She wanted to clear away all the clouds of the world. Even the clouds that hung over Tokinada. Of course, it would have been one thing if she was just optimistic. No. That is not what infuriated Tokinada. Deep down, he suspected that this was a woman who would not break down under the weight of THAT truth. She would read that terrible pre-history of Soul Society and shoulder it all without breaking. She would look at this ordinary peace and call it a treasure. Tokinada was so hung up over what the original Noble Clans did to the Soul King that he forgot one important fact: The Soul King had allowed all of those things to happen to himself. He had allowed himself to be bound, mutilated, turned into a lifeless husk of an existence. All so this ordinary peace could be achieved. In all his foresight and wisdom, the Soul King believed it was a sacrifice worth making. Kakyo would have immediately seen that and latched onto that beacon of hope. She was strong enough to refuse to break the illusions of justice and morality even if they were born from something so terrible. And I think THAT is what got to Tokinada the most. He really hated that he was so weak and she was not. That is why, till his last breath, even though he liked to pretend like he didn’t care about anything, that he did all the things he did just for shits and giggles, he really did hate Kakyo. His last words were something about the stars? That doesn’t sound like the Joker at all. The Joker would have laughed all the way through to his death. Tokinada did not. Tokinada definitely held some emotion for Kakyo. Not love. Not care. Nothing positive. But he was definitely invested in proving her wrong. And that is where he lost.