Keiko Miura In ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters,’ Explained: What Lies In Mari Yamamoto’s Character’s Destiny?

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Dr. Keiko Miura, played by the excellent Mari Yamamoto, was introduced in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters as one of the few scientists in the world of the MonsterVerse who was looking for Titans. Despite Japan’s strained relationship with the United States of America due to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, one of which probably took away Keiko’s first husband from her, she decided to collaborate with the United States Army. That’s when she became friends with Lee Shaw and Bill Randa, who provided her with all the support that she needed for her research. However, just when she was starting to make some headway, she got trapped in Axis Mundi while analyzing a Titan portal in Kazakhstan. Based on the ending of the first season of the show, though, she has returned to Earth in one piece. So, let’s talk a little about her character, what kept her going throughout her stint in Monarch and in Axis Mundi, and what she has to offer to a world that has moved on.

Spoiler Alert

Keiko Miura is a character who has seen a lot of tragedy but has always been resilient. It’s one thing to survive a tragedy like the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and a whole different thing to lose your husband to it; part ways with your only son so that you can pursue a career in scientific research, work on enemy soil, and never succumb to the racism that you are being subjected to. I have seen Apple TV+ shows dedicate an episode to a particular character’s backstory because it’s that inspirational and important, even though it has nothing to do with the plot, and I can totally see them doing that with Keiko in the second season of Legacy of Monsters. Her time in Japan and her journey to the United States can easily make for a whole episode, and I am sure that it will move everyone who has followed her character’s journey so far. Since I struggled to imagine what it must’ve taken to get to be the founding member of Monarch, every time I thought about how abruptly her career was put on hold because of a freak Titan-related accident, it crushed my soul. And even when she was stuck in Axis Mundi, she didn’t give up. She used the discarded Titan-calling machine that had landed there during Operation Hourglass to send signals to Monarch! And she made bows and an arrow out of sticks, vines, and whatnot and defended herself. I mean, calling her a badass is an understatement.

In addition to all the heroism, Keiko displays a very idealistic kind of humanity. Yes, deep down, she probably knew that if she showed any kind of vulnerability in the face of racism, she would’ve been labeled as “weak” by the Americans and shipped back to Japan. If she showed any kind of compassion towards the Titans, she would’ve been labeled “insensitive” and sent back to Japan. Essentially, if she showed any kind of emotion in front of the authorities who were funding “Monarch”, she would’ve been deported. But she didn’t change herself in this intimidating atmosphere. She didn’t see Godzilla from the perspective of the Americans, and she treated him like she would treat any other animal. When she saw Bill Randa echoing her characteristics, she realized that he was the right man to lean on and share the responsibility of bringing up her son. For a moment, I am sure that she imagined a life with Shaw, and even though the show doesn’t state it very explicitly, I think they couldn’t be a couple because Shaw ultimately represented those who decimated Japan. And, although Shaw had proven his worth, she saw Lee’s uniform before everything else, which reminded her of her duty, which in turn reminded her of her tragic past. Bill, on the other hand, wasn’t a stark reminder of Japan’s history with the USA, thereby allowing coexistence. Yes, of course, there is a parallel between the army’s relationship with the Titans versus the scientists’ relationship with the Titans and Lee and Keiko’s relationship versus Bill and Keiko’s relationship.

That said, Keiko hasn’t lived a full life. Her first attempt at a family life was tarnished by the war. Her work kept her away from her son. When she thought that she had reached some kind of stability in terms of her work and her personal life, she fell into a portal, and while she was trapped there, the world moved forward by around 60 years. She didn’t get to see her son grow up. Her disappearance caused her husband to spiral out, and she wasn’t around him when he died. So, in the last episode of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 1, when she says that she has nothing to go back to, you can understand where that sentiment is coming from. It’s only after Cate highlights the fact that her son and her grandchildren are around that she realizes that she can take another chance at life. It’ll be a disorienting process because things are pretty messed up on the personal front. On top of that, the threat of the Titans has grown multifold, and her scientific knowledge is a little outdated, thereby making her irrelevant to Monarch or Apex. However, based on everything we’ve seen, we can assume that Keiko is going to adapt pretty quickly because she needs to rescue Shaw and continue her research on Titans and Hollow Earth. She has first-hand knowledge about how everything works, and that’ll be a big deal for anyone who wants humans to coexist with the Titans. If she sees anyone trying to use her knowledge for their own nefarious purposes, they are going to catch an arrow, signed by Keiko, with their heads.

In addition to all that, here’s a note of appreciation for Mari Yamamoto’s stellar performance in the first season of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. Her elegance, quick wit, courage, strength, grace, and intelligence made my jaw drop to the floor. To be fair, I was a fan of hers after watching Pachinko, and she didn’t have a lot of screen time in that series as compared to the rest of the cast. Yet she caught my eye, and I was genuinely impressed. And to see her flex her acting chops over the course of several lengthy episodes was a treat for my eyes. I know that the juries of award shows don’t count reserved and subtle performances as “awards-worthy.” So, they can focus on that last episode, where Yamamoto absolutely swings for the fences to express everything that her character has lost and how she is hopeful about a weird future, and give her all the awards in the world. Also, I want to request that the heads of the franchise make her the face of MonsterVerse and put her in the feature films, too. I mean, I know she’ll be a mainstay on the small screen, but she deserves to be on the big screen, too, along with her Titan friends.


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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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