Who is Blank (Shiru) in Homestay? What was His Mistake in His Former Life?

Based on Eto Mori’s novel ‘Colorful,’ Amazon Prime Video’s Japanese film ‘Homestay’ centers around Blank (Shiru), a soul that reincarnates in the body of a deceased high school boy named Makoto Kobayashi. When Blank wakes up in the body of a stranger, he meets “Guardian,” who guides souls who are in “homestays” for enlightenment and potential rebirth. Guardian offers Blank a chance to be reborn, only if he finds out the answer to the question “what is the cause of Makoto’s death?” As Blank progresses with his investigation, he comes across startling findings regarding himself. So, who is Blank? Let’s find out! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Who is Blank (Shiru)?

When Blank gets a chance to be reborn by finding the cause of Makoto’s death, he starts pretending to be the high school boy who “returned from death.” He mingles with Makoto’s family and friends to know the reason behind Makoto’s death. Upon reading Makoto’s suicide note from a sketchbook, he meets Guardian and says that the cause is suicide. He loses his first chance since the answer is incorrect. Guardian informs him that suicide is not “the cause” but just “the way.”

When Blank learns that Makoto’s family and friends treated Makoto poorly, he meets Guardian to answer that the people around Makoto killed him, only to lose his second chance. With one chance left, Blank tries hard to find the truth. As his investigation progresses, he gets emotionally attached to Makoto. He starts to sympathize with the emotionally turbulent life Makoto had to live. Blank’s life as Makoto leads him to several hardships Makoto had to suffer prior to his death.

Blank even starts to recollect the dead boy’s past vaguely when he encounters misfortunes that happened in Makoto’s life, which range from Makoto’s mother’s extra-marital affair to Mitsuki’s rejection. When he paints the exact painting Makoto painted prior to his death for Akira, he realizes that he is none other than Makoto. He understands why he is able to recollect Makoto’s past and paint like him. Blank also realizes that the mistake that paved the way for his death and Makoto’s cause of death are the same thing.

What was Blank’s Mistake in His Former Life?

When Blank learns about the hardships Makoto had to go through, he becomes certain that the people around him killed him. He believes that Mitsuru’s selfishness, Makoto’s mother’s extra-marital affair, Mitsuku’s attempts to hide her acquaintance with Makoto, and Makoto’s father’s attempts to stop his son from pursuing painting lead the boy to kill himself. A sympathetic Blank trades his potential rebirth for Makoto to get a second chance at life. Guardian asks Blank to find out the mistake he did for his request to get granted.

Even though Blank tries his best to find out the answer, he initially fails to even find out who he is. Blank continues to live as Makoto and realizes that his belief was wrong. He realizes that Mitsuru always cared for Makoto and Makoto’s mother cheated on Makoto’s father due to their troubled marriage. He also comes to know that Mitsuku loves her classmate Riko and never had feelings for Makoto. Blank also understands that the only reason Makoto’s father stopped him from pursuing art was that Makoto never stepped up and expressed his desire to pursue painting to his father.

These revelations lead Blank to the realization that Makoto killed himself by misunderstanding others. When he realizes that he is none other than Makoto, he finds out that the mistake he did in his former life as Makoto is killing himself by misunderstanding others, which is also “the cause” he has been investigating. He says the answer to Guardian and receives a second chance at life as per the promise.

Read More: Homestay Ending, Explained: Is Makoto Dead or Dreaming?