Heavenly Delusion Episode 3 reveals Kiruko's tragic origins. So, who is Kiruko, and what exactly does Haruki and Kiriko's story imply?
Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for the Heavenly Delusion manga and anime below!
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Who Is Kiruko in Heavenly Delusion?
Kiruko (here referred to with gender-neutral pronouns due to the ambiguity of the situation) is a traveling bodyguard, initially perceived as female.
We first see Kiruko navigating the ruins of former Tokyo in an attempt to take Maru to Heaven.
Kiruko's gender identity is often referred to in ambiguous terms, for instance, when Kiruko and Maru run across a gang that thinks they're both girls.
Kiruko says they're also a boy. Later, when Maru clumsily attempts to romance Kiruko, they say they're a boy in a girl's body. This initially led fans to perceive Kiruko as trans.
However, the next episode reveals that the brain of Haruki (presumably a cis boy) was literally transplanted into the body of his sister, Kiriko, a kart racer.
From there on, the anime descends into a bleak dystopia about identity and bodily autonomy.
Haruki has renamed the body he currently resides as "Kiruko," a combination of his and Kiriko's names.
While Kiruko allows others to refer to them as female, perhaps for convenience, they evidently still see their identity as male.
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Why Did Kiriko Die?
Kiriko died after most of Haruki's body other than his head and torso are consumed by Man-Eaters.
In the manga, it's unclear if she willingly sacrificed herself to save him.
As an audiovisual medium, the anime actually clarifies this by featuring a gunshot. This confirms that Kiriko was murdered.
When Haruki wakes up in Kiriko's body, he's told that he is Kiriko and that he only believes he is Haruki due to a mental breakdown, but he knows otherwise.
Who Shot Kiriko?
The identity of Kiriko's killer is currently unknown. The screen goes blank when the gunshot is heard.
It's entirely possible that the Doctor who performed the surgery in the first place shot Kiriko to perform his twisted experiment.
However, the Doctor claims that Kiriko was brought to him brain-dead from someone else's bullet and that he moved Haruki's brain to her body as a last attempt to save at least one of them.
Since Robin turns out to be a villain who attacks Kiruko, some fans suspect that he might've shot Kiriko.
Given Kiriko's distress upon seeing her mutilated dying brother, her dying of suicide is a possibility, although there's no indication of that.
Since Kiriko was working with the Doctor, some speculate that she asked him to kill her and save Haruki, as she had likely known the nature of his work.
Of course, this would beg the question of why she had to be shot if that was the case.
But this is a complex dystopian and sci-fi procedure with no real-life equivalent, so it's hard to tell.
Is Kiriko Still There in Some Form?
For most of the manga and anime, Haruki believes that Kiriko is entirely gone and only his consciousness resides in her body. But Kiruko's reunion with Robin complicates things.
Robin turns out to be very different from what Haruki remembered. He hears all about the surgery and seems understanding, even welcoming at first.
However, he goes on to rape Kiruko, taunting their double identity.
Following that, Haruki's consciousness starts experiencing memories that belonged to his sister, Kiriko.
Whether this happens because Kiriko's consciousness had coexisted with Haruki's all along is up for debate.
It could be argued that Haruki began experiencing false flashbacks as a coping mechanism enabled by the fact that he's inhabiting Kiriko's body.
Of course, the exact nature of the surgery is still a mystery, so perhaps Kiriko is still there in some form.
It doesn't exactly help that Robin gaslights Kiruko into believing that Kiriko is still there.
But if it's true, it could mean that the Doctor actually believed he saved both Kiriko and Haruki, as opposed to just Haruki.
That being said, we don't have solid evidence so we can only theorize right now until the manga fully explains it all.
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