Analysis / Die Anstalt

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The Portrayal of Humans

There is some inconsistency throughout the game as to which humans are drawn like regular humans and which are drawn in the distinctive pigtailed big-eyed silhouette style. But it has become clear that this is dependent on the perspective of the toy the player is dealing with at the time.

  • For Kroko, he has had the most significant/traumatic interaction with the woman who used him as a mop, so it makes sense, and is in fact vital, that he would remember clearly what she looked like.
  • For Lilo, his owner is a fully detailed teenage girl when seen in the flashback, and the teacher is only a demonic hand because he sees her as a violator rather than a human being. When his owner reunites with him at the door, she switches styles to the alien silhouette, due to the time they've spent apart possibly having caused a disrepancy between memory and current appearance.
  • For Dolly, only the hand of her human is seen in detail, because that is all that Dolly remembers from her own painful recollection, having been petrified by the sight and teeth of the dog at the time.
  • Sly's owners are the silhouettes rather than fully detailed as other owners have been due to Sly being in a pre-overdoze haze from the drugs already coursing through his system, and thus distorting his perception of the people around him.
  • Dub's situation is similar to Sly's, but for Lilo's reasoning. He and his owner have spent so much time apart that Dub cannot remember what he looks like, only what he did to hurt him.
  • Dr Wood only sees adult humans in detail, because that is what he is used to from his profession. Because of his isolation from children, they appear completely alien to him.

How Kroko and Dr Wood Complement Each Other

Dr Wood and Kroko both work their way to opposite and yet very much the same positions over the course of their therapy processes.

Both of them have something missing. For Kroko, it's a physical object that fills a pocket in his chest when he gains it; for Dr Wood, it's an aspect of life, and his retrieving it is symbolised by the complete loss of his hood, something physical.

Both of them have to dive into something dangerous from a great height to get their missing things. Kroko has to go into a pool of water filled with haunting eyes (which, as Fridge Brilliance within Fridge Brilliance, evoke the Eye of Horus) to fetch his hot water bottle from his reflection; Dr Wood has to dive down into a pit of spikes to meet he-doesn't-yet-know-what from a very high icebergian bed that he himself made (which, by the way, was initially floated out to sea, another giant expanse of water).

Both of them need to have their bravery worked up gradually. For Kroko, this requires desensitization by one drop of water at a time; in Dr Wood's case it requires a hallucination wherein he is fondled by things he considers alien (which he fought off in an earlier sequence).

And finally, both of them get to their happy place by flying. Kroko follows the advice given to him by the motivational tape that told him he was an eagle and flies into the water. Meanwhile: after Dr Wood comes out of his spike-dream, he flaps his arms again, three times, and shakes his head. Then, in turn, after his child-initiation, he does the same thing, looking a lot happier about it. Before and after he confronts his fear, Dr Wood is flying.