On Fandom and Free Will (w152)

SPOILERS ABOUND

It has always been curious, this world of Fandom, not so much that people like certain works of art and performers of those works, but rather the intensity of those likes which can border or even cross over, fanaticism.

We constantly hear stories of Fan Stalkers, and the often violent reactions of fan comments on various blogs and websites is constant and obvious.

We have for the last 9 years, been following a manga story called Chihayafuru (ちはやふる). Written by MS. Yuki Suetsugu, her story began on December 28, 2007 and is still ongoing whose current published content stands at 44 Volumes across 230 Chapters as of October 24, 2020.

Pywackett Productions has published several analyses of this story here on this blog under the category URL

In all those years, we have tried to find a blog or website where the fans really wanted to discuss the story as a story, a work of art but such a search has always ended in failure. So in somewhat of a frustration, we opened this blog as a place to publish and encourage such a discussion.

The story of Chihayafuru concerns itself with an obscure Japanese card game called Karuta, and a young girl, named Chihaya Ayase (綾瀬 千早, Ayase Chihaya) who falls in love with the game and devotes all her time to becoming the Champion Queen. The story has a very large cast of supporting characters which makes for a very interesting, and enjoyable read.

Three characters stand out, two male friends whom Chihaya has known from childhood, Arata Wataya (綿谷 新, Wataya Arata), and Taichi Mashima (真島 太一, Mashima Taichi); and also a female opponent

Shinobu Wakamiya (若宮 詩暢, Wakamiya Shinobu) whom Chihaya wants to become her friend. As of Ch 230, Chihaya is in a Karuta Championship competition with Shinobu who is the reigning Queen and current Champion. Their match is a 5 game series, and stands at 2-1 in favor of Shinobu with two games to play. But although Chihayafuru is all about Karuta, this is not what occupies the vast majority of the fan base.

Go anywhere on the internet searching for Chihayafuru and you will find fan discussions, not about Karuta, but rather with whom Chihaya should/will fall in love! Any objective student of this fan base must immediately confront the obvious, a story about a card game and a championship for that card game, and a young girl who has shown not the slightest interest in Romance.

In fact, there has in 230 Chapters, been zero, nada, none, NO Romances of any kind. There has been not one date even and only a forced, partial kiss once, with failed results. We have seen a few confessions, but no acceptances of those confessions nor have these intimate moments lead to anything remotely Romantic.

An objective observer would have to scratch his or her head in perplexed anonymity trying to jibe the story with its fan base. The fans seem to be hypnotized by Chihaya’s love life of which there is none to date. And not only that but, the vicious fights and name calling that go on in these fan discussions is scandalous at best. Basically there are two groups fighting with each other, who hold differing views on with whom Chihaya should be Romantically linked, AKA the (Arata Wataya X Chihaya Ayase) shippers and the (Taichi Mashima X Chihaya Ayase) shippers.

But the Chihayafuru Fandom, is certainly not unique. Consider any story or even any work of art, and people will come down all over the map of opinion. Some like it, some don’t. For some, the work of art really and truly moves their feels, and for others a nice Potato Soup will have more impact on their emotional life.

There is no universal right and wrong about a work of Art. After all, all Art is imaginary!

Many people become emotional during a movie. The Tyrannosaurus Rex is coming down the street

and there is the emotion of fear. When children are afraid during a monster movie, do mothers still say,

“It’s only a movie!”? That may be so but tell that to your personal feels. Why does one laugh and cry at a movie? After all mother is right, IT IS only a movie, complete fiction, and totally imaginary!

Yet human beings feel a work of art, and express those feels in an emotional response all the while with full understanding that what they are experiencing is total fiction, a product of pure imagination.

Stories are entirely imaginary. There is nothing real about a story, yet our hearts believe in the characters and their motives, and we bleed with them when they are hurt. Curious how the imaginary can have real world, pragmatic effects.

Our hearts believe where our heads do not. That is why we have always found the critic who says that a story violates physical reality to be like, “Dude, why are you wasting your money on a piece of art which you will not enjoy?” You experience a piece of story art or any art for that matter with your heart so why do you allow your head to butt into a potentially wonderful, emotional experience? Leave your head at the door when you enter the theater, and let the artists have they way with you totally.

Then if you do not have a wonderful emotional experience, you can call that work of art “bad” not because it violates physicality but because it did not move your feels. It is no criticism of a space opera because the ships move faster than light speed, “Well, that’s impossible, so I will not enjoy this story.” type of head reaction. That’s just silly in our minds, and a waste of good money for the tickets.

The unreal, the imaginary, possesses a reality all their own.

As Death says in the Hogfather, “If you do not believe in imaginary things, how are they to become?”

The belief in the imaginary is the ability to transcend physicality, and this allows the unreal to effect change in the real. We do not build anything until we imagine what that thing will become.

The belief in the imaginary as Becoming allows the real as Being. The imaginary becomes the real.

This leads belief to time where we take Being, and put it into motion. Traditionally Being is a fixed, timeless, unchanging thing, like in most religions, a Faith which leads then to fixed dogmas and doctrines which themselves are unchanging. But as (“No man ever steps in the same river twice”) Heraclitus maintained, change is a fundamental fact of reality.

Without the fundamental belief in change, you are locked into the chain of causation, and everything about your life is fixed and immutable. There is “no free will” type of thing. You have no real choice!

The Future is fixed and immutable. Fate governs all.

But imaginary things have a way of moving the feels which can then move the will into a changed state of behavior. As Death says, if you cannot imagine something which does not exist, how will you then make that something become.

This is why you react to an imaginary story in the movies or novels. Your heart knows what your head does not, it is necessary to believe in imaginary things in order to break the chain of causation.

Art is certainly created in the real world so its causation is the result of a real individual effort. But where does the work of art reside? Where does it exist?

Consider Michelangelo’s sculpture in David.

The reality of David is that it is a block of marble with considerable chipping having been performed.

And, if so, where is the Art of David? Where does the statue exist? Michelangelo’s chipping has resulted in a physical object which suggests a human being. But that suggestion comes from the structure or form which has been imposed upon the physical marble. But considered as such, the structure or form is not real. That same form could be and has been imposed on many different physical objects. The Art of David is imaginary in the very same way that all fictional stories are imaginary.

Beethoven’s 9th Sympathy exists in thousands of different versions with every copy being a physical instantiation of an abstract, idealized imagination. Which one of the versions is the real work of art? Well, its all of them. Where do stories exist? Books? But that is just ink marks on paper bound together into something called a book. Where do words exist?

One way of looking at this dichotomy, is to use an idea from the mathemagicians. When they encountered something so impossible such as √-1, this hardly phased them, being the creative people that they are, they just invented a different number scale. Now the x axis is for the real numbers and the y axis is for the imaginary numbers such as a + bi where a and b are real and the “i”s imaginary.

As an example, we then include the following diagram ignoring all negative values:

On the X axis, we place all real things which obey fundamental physical laws, and on the Y axis we place all imaginary things. A movie is created on the X axis, but the creation, the movie itself, is on the Y axis.

The block of marble is on the X axis, but the statue of David is on the Y axis.

As another example, lets consider a movie, and in particular, the movie Tootsie(1982) [Warning: Spoilers follow].

This movie was made by many human beings. Its production was mechanical. Business decisions were made as to how it would be released. The movie grossed a certain real figure in dollars. It was seen by many real people.

All of these factors in making the movie are on the X axis above. They are real and can be legitimately debated as to truth value. While we may debate what the number is, we all know that there was a single discrete dollar figure that was the total gross. Likewise you can make many statements as to its construction. “Dustin Hoffman was the real actor playing Michael Dorsey in the movie” is a true statement. “Leonardo DiCaprio was the real actor playing Michael Dorsey in the movie” is a false statement.

But many other elements of the movie are on the Y, Imaginary Axis. Tootsie(1982) is a work of fiction. The story and all the characters in the story are fictional, imaginary, they do not exist, and you will find the standard boiler plate, “Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.”

Tootsie(1982)

Dustin Hoffman (a real male actor) plays

Michael Dorsey (an imaginary male actor, a character in the story) who plays

Dorothy Michaels (an imaginary female actor, a character in the story being played by Michael Dorsey) who then plays

Emily Kimberly (an imaginary female character being played by Dorothy Michaels who works as a hospital administrator in the soap opera, “Southwest General”)

NOTE: Emily Kimberly is on the Y axis relative to Dorothy Michaels who is on the X axis. Dorothy Michaels is on the Y axis relative to Michael Dorsey who is on the X axis. Michael Dorsey is on the Y axis relative to Dustin Hoffman who is on the X axis. There are even those who would say that Dustin Hoffman is on the Y axis relative to a super intelligent pan-dimensional being who is on the X axis of a super simulation like the Matrix. The imagination has no limits in this recursive process and it certainly is possible to become lost in this imaginary world

This is a tour de force of acting where Mr. Hoffman plays three different characters each playing the next with a gender change even and its hard to understand that while nominated, Mr. Hoffman did not win the best actor award that year.

But the point is that Dustin Hoffman is a real human being who is an actor. That individual exists in real space and time on the X axis. But Michael Dorsey, Dorothy Michaels, and Emily Kimberly are characters in a story which is in the Movie Tootsie(1982), and as a work of imagination, those characters exist on the Y axis. They are imaginary.

In the x,y chart above, please note the point indicated by (2,3). It is at this point that the x and y axes intersect with each other. Your feels during a movie are within your body which is on the x axis, but those feels are being generated by an imaginary event or character on the y axis. If 2 represents you and your feels, 3 represents the exact event or character in the imaginary story. The point (2,3) is where they come together. Think about this: a totally fictional, imaginary event moves your feels, and perhaps inspires you to change in some way. You then go out into your life, and actually effect some sort of change because you have been inspired by an imaginary thing. This is breaking the chain of cause and effect, and allows an imaginary ideal such as justice or mercy or truth or goodness, to become real as Death says. You first must believe in a wonderful world, how else will a wonderful world become?

You may wear your sackcloth and ashes in extreme cynicism about such Pollyanna views, but the truth remains. You have been inspired by a wonderful thing, to become a wonderful person.

Inspiration takes place in real time with real people, so where does it come from? The (2,3) point above suggests that inspiration comes from the world of imagination which in the model above is placed on the y axis. All thought and art resides in the imagination on that y axis. The (2,3) point is the light bulb in your head suddenly coming on, its that ah-ha experience of sudden realization. Its the very moment that one realizes that they are Free to change themselves and the world, and then set about doing so.

In the anime Aria, S1-EP5, we have a wonderful conversation between Alicia (blond), Akari (pink), and AI who is off screen. Akari is telling this story to AI in an email from Mars (Aqua) to Earth (Manhome) which lays out what this story is all about which is belief in wondrous things.

In this conversation Alicia makes this comment about Akari

The full conversation goes somewhat like this:

In this scene, Akari has a profound emotional response when the Imaginary makes sudden contact with her Real person. This moment is the (2,3) point. And of course all of this is imaginary to us so what the artists seem to have intended is that this same feeling in Akari is reproduced in you the audience. If you are in sync with the story, you will indeed feel what Akari is feeling, and your heart will be moved.

No guarantees that any work of art will move you in proscribed ways, but the artists do want to have their way with you, and if you are open, and non-judgmental, hopefully you will feel Belief as it moves your emotions.

The (2,3) point is the point of the Aria anime. Throughout the story during its three seasons, and two OVAs, Akari whose love for Aqua is unbounded and unqualified, experiences the Belief which is her love for Aqua.

This is symbolized in Akari’s encounters with Cait Sith, the giant cat-king who in some ways represents the protective deity of Aqua. The real of Akari touches the imaginary of Aria, and then that touch will touch you. Provided you have left your head to commiserate with someone somewhere else.

If you try to make this all work rationally, it will of course completely fall apart, because the process by which your feels are moved is not rational, or real in any way. You have to allow the Imaginary to make itself Real in your heart, and then you carry the ball from there.

This is the (2,3) point on the graph. Aria will hit that mark if you allow it to do so.

If perhaps the (2,3) point is not made clear by Pywackett Productions, then consider a wonderful movie, “Your Name.”(2016) by Makoto Shinkai.

At the very end, the last scene, Taki and Mitsuha finally meet on the steps to the Suga-jinga shrine in Tokyo. But because they cannot remember each other, they pass on the steps, Taki climbing up on the right, and Mitsuha descending on your left.

The Suga-jinga shrine, and these steps actually exist and look something like this:

Because they don’t know each other, they are at first embarrassed to speak, but at the last minute, Taki turns at the top and says one of the most clichéd lines in all romance stories. Mitsuha then turns and responds. And in unison, they ask for “your name”.

This is a very good scene as an example of the (2,3) point, where the imaginary touches the real, and the Suga-jinga shrine steps have become something of a shrine itself to be visited by fans of the anime.

It is doubly intentionally ironic, in that the Suga-shrine itself, is an example of (2,3) where the divine touches the real.

The (2,3) point activates your feels, and floods your emotional self with wonders and warm and fuzzies. For all of our history, these points have been blindingly brilliant, and overpowering. Religions and religious movements originate in these (2,3) points. Moses and the burning bush being a very famous example.

But the universal bottom line is that our deep feels are touched which is the essential point of the (2,3) point.

Imagination has no limits except for your horizons!

The imaginary is totally beyond all the laws of physics. Cause and effect cannot affect the imaginary, but the imaginary, by inspiration of human emotions, can then become a First Cause in Human affairs. If this were not so, then Star Wars ships could never exceed the speed of light and the god Zeus would fall off his cloud and Superman could not fly.

Akari is constantly moved by the imaginary forces of Aqua, and her feeling reaction to this emotion, then makes her the wonderful person that she is.

All persons who allow themselves to be moved by the imaginary, can then approximately approach that imaginary. I.E. You see a character do something on screen, and then in your life, you are inspired to become like that MC and then to do that very same action.

The Imaginary then moves the Real.

This is a function of Belief, the acceptance of the Imaginary into your life. Belief should be clearly distinguished from Faith. You believe this or that to be true but in real terms, Belief can be wrong.

Faith is never wrong. And that is why Faith is a problem.

In Fandom, the emotional attachment to the imaginary is so profound, that it takes on the character of a Faith Community. In the Chihayafuru example above, the (Arata Wataya X Chihaya Ayase) shippers and the (Taichi Mashima X Chihaya Ayase) shippers often act as if their ship is the only right ship, and the other side is not only wrong, but so wrong-headed as to be morally retarded. And so intense emotions are raised. After all, we think that others should have the same Faith as we do. You see this same phenomena in your BFF. “I love the new movie X” you say to your BFF, and are shocked when he/she responds that they did not like the movie. In fact you are hurt, that your BFF, who you thought you knew, who you thought shared all your same feels, who you thought was a member of your Faith community, suddenly turns on you (in your eyes only). And then things can get really nasty, as we see every day with strangers on blogs and comments sections, having an argument about a work of art, a work of the imagination.

Well, indeed, we are very silly creatures.

© 2021 Folcwine P. Pywackett w153

【わっぺん。】アイドル新鋭隊 踊ってみた【オリジナル振付】[Wappen. ] New Idol Group [original choreography]

Click on picture to play video

The two dancers are:

足太ぺんた Asibuto Penta with the Pony Tail on her right side

わた Wata (literally Miss Cotton) with Pony Tail on her left side

both are long time youtube dance celebrities.

Music: Newly Edgy Idols by Mitchie M

Choreography: 足太ぺんた Asibuto Penta

For samples of both dancers work on youtube, please click on the youtube buttons below

不協和音 – DISCORD – Keyakizaka46 (欅坂46)

Click on frame to play video

For English language translation of the lyrics, please see….

Some history is necessary on this group. Keyakizaka46 ( 欅坂46) is no longer in existence as an identifiable group. Having been formed on February 22, 2013, the group officially was ended on October 13, 2020 with the Live Concert. In all probability, the loss of several members, especially their center, Yurina Hirate (平手友梨奈) who withdrew on January 23, 2020, lead to the reformation. Many of the original Keyakizaka members remain and with new generations entering, management appears to have decided to fold the old group into a new one, now called Sakurazaka46 (櫻坂46). The world of the 46 is highly confusing even at best.

In an extraordinary run between 2016 through 2019, Keyakizaka46 posted a string of 8 consecutive number 1 hits in Japan. The last and 9th single, “Dare ga Sonokane o Harasunoka?” (誰がその鐘を鳴らすのか?) is still being charted as of this posting.

We at Pywackett Productions consider the number 4 hit, “Fukyowaon” (不協和音) – “Discord” (2017), to be a masterpiece of the Girl Group genre and that is the embedded video above. Unfortunately on youtube there is no excellent video of this piece, but the one above, is probably the best. Too many dance videos are shot with extensive cuts in angles and perspectives which adds extra movements to a dance piece that the choreographer never intended and as a result, the audience never sees the actual dance. This has been an historical problem in filmed ballet where many camera crews simply do not exhibit an understanding of the art that they are filming.

“Fukyowaon” (不協和音) – “Discord” (April 5, 2017) is remarkable for several reasons. Many have criticized the work for being “not pretty”, and that observation is valid, but misses the point entirely. “Discord” is not meant to be pretty in any way. The piece is very masculine, with puffed out chests, and bravado poses, huge stomps, bullying and isolation which carries a great deal of conflict as its title of “Discord” would suggest. There is a definite Spanish, Flamenco feel to the brilliant choreography by Takahiro Ueno, and also suggests an unwillingness to submit to aggression, but rather to fight on, and it ends in an almost spear point formation.

Not pretty, but powerful as it cuts against all the standard girl group tropes.

For the details and history, please see wikipedia page

OH MY GIRL(오마이걸) _ CLOSER (Performance Ver.)

Please click on subtitles (CC)

Pywackett Productions considers “Closer” to be a masterpiece of such incredible beauty and subtlety. The lyrical quality of the sounds and movements are almost classical and compare quite rightly with that of traditional ballet.

Released October 8, 2015 on the EP album “OH MY GIRL”, 2nd Mini Album, Closer.

Label WM Entertainment, produced by Lee Won-min and Moon Jeong-gyu.

Music for “Closer” was composed by Laura Brian

Arrangement by Sean Alexander aka Avenue 52

Korean lyrics by Seo Ji-eum of Jam Factory and rap lyrics by Mimi of “Oh My Girl”

MV produced by Yoo Sung-gyun of Sunny Visual

Choreography by MS Lee Sol-mi aka soulme

For more detail please see wikipedia page

Time of Eve: The Movie – Are you enjoying the time of EVE?

Time of Eve: The Movie – Official Trailer (Eve no Jikan, イヴの時間)

SPOILER ALERT: This review will contain spoilers so be aware

Please see Wikipedia page for details on Eve no Jikan

One of the most significant robot movies ever created with heart and feeling and which creates a confused mental state. This work exists in two forms. A 6 Ep ONA series released 2008-2009 and then a recompilation of the ONA series into a full movie with some extra story and this is called Time of Eve: The Movie released in 2010. We would recommend only the movie version as the story plays better in one continuous sequence, and it also has some additional story not in the ONA.

The artist behind this anime is Yasuhiro Yoshiura and you might know him from some of his other work like Patema Inverted or Patlabor. Mr. Yoshiura specializes in his favorite genre, Sci-Fi, and his art works shows it in every way. He especially loves to play with preconceived notions and how an encounter with something other lends itself to various forms of mental dislocation, a typical mind job.

Time of Eve: The Movie is in our estimation a masterpiece of the issues with which it addresses itself. There is a strange mood that is created by this anime. We are introduced to a near future world where Androids and Humans now live together with the Humans as absolute masters, and the Androids as slaves. What is immediately interesting is that Mr. Yoshiura introduces Issac Asimov’s three laws of Robotics published in I, Robot(1950). But as in many other stories such as Blade Runner (which is quoted by Time of Eve) the androids have developed a Ghost as in “Ghost in the Shell” or contracted the cogito virus as in “Ergo, Proxy” and this has given the androids, for lack of a better word, a soul.

We moderns are well into robot culture now where we interact with AI on a daily basis, and even in futuristic stories such as the above, we expect that these AI systems will also gain a soul, and like some maniacal monster, will turn on their creators as in the Matrix, Terminator, 2001, or Blade Runner. This is a well used and worn Sci-Fi trope, give a machine a soul and they become obsessed with destroying the human race.

Time of Eve takes a unique and entirely different approach. The androids here are more human than the humans they serve. Time of Eve refers to a special cafe for humans and androids to meet and mix on an equal basis. When the androids let their hair down and no longer act robotic, they are in turn exceptionally gentle, kind, and perceptive, far more sensitive than their human masters who act often like raging droid monsters.

The feels and mood created in these interactions in the cafe are exquisite tone poems of a possibility rarely seen in these kinds of flicks, that our own creation might actually be more humane than we are.

Take the following scene, “Are you enjoying the time of EVE?”

Click pic to play video

This title “Are you enjoying the time of EVE?” is something of a linguistic trick that Mr. Yoshiura likes to play on his readers. The name of the cafe is “Time of Eve” but the statement “Are you enjoying the time of EVE?” is not necessarily speaking about the cafe but rather are you enjoying your time with EVE and when read in that fashion, Eve stands for the Androids. Do you enjoy being with the Androids?

This requires a reorientation of one’s mind in order to see that in fact the Androids are more human than human, they are not subject to the emotional rages, hatreds, and closed mindedness of human beings nor are they tempted to the core evil in Human Nature, the drive for power, domination over others, and to force all others into abject submission, just as the humans in this story have forced the androids into the abject submission of slavery.

Make no mistake, the stakes are high, the bar is set well above sea level. This is Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches as

We could challenge the entire basis of “Time of Eve” by pointing out the physical non-existence of an artificial consciousness created by human beings, but realism in art is not much worth the salt of its seasoning. Many critics attempt a deconstruction of an art work by pointing out the physical impossibility of this or that part of the story, and that type of attitude is just south of silliness. Why experience a work of art while constantly pointing out to yourself and to others, that this/that is simply impossible? Such hyper rationality is irrational because it precludes the enjoyment of a work of art.

That entire attitude reminds us of certain political ideologies who have demanded all art must conform to “Social Realism”.

For these sorts of art critics who demand realism even in their art, the feels train never leaves the station and simply reinforces those sorts of dictatorial belief systems whose lust for political power is the very problem which “Time of Eve” is specifically addressing.

The androids in this work, have no drive, passion, lust for power over others that possess most human beings, especially males in their eternal quest to become the Alpha Dog on top of the heap. And that lack among the androids is precisely what makes them so wonderfully attractive, and makes the time you spend in the cafe, Real Time. The tone and mood which arise from the humans and androids meeting each other as equals, gives “Time of Eve” its heart and soul, and you can feel the Feels Train leaving the station.

“Time of Eve: The Movie” is a masterpiece of Sci-Fi, a head job, and a ship of feels all rolled up into one zip file.

Pywackett Productions highly recommends this work of art.

© 2020 Folcwine P. Pywackett (mox007)

Oregairu – My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU CLIMAX ( S3.EP12) – The Cutest Couple and now The End

Click pic to play video
Click pic to play video

My oh my, never expected this couple to be so kawaii (adorably cute).

S3.EP12 is really not the end of Oregairu because it effectively ended in the previous S3.EP11 where both Hachiman and Yukino admitted that they did care about each other rather deeply.

This EP12 is really nothing more than a celebration, a party, and an encore, an opportunity to bring on stage all your characters so that you can say goodbye, sort of an Angel Beats ending.

We see that Yukino has not changed in how she treats Hachiman.

Hachiman and Yukino have a date on their day off to scout for a venue for the fake prom. Yukino arrives and Hachiman notices she is very dressed up and she has fixed her hair in a very special way, and he comments that she must dress up on her days off normally.

Yukino: “I don’t usually do it on my days off, either.” which means she dressed up for him

Hachiman: head begins to spin “Huh? What’s up with her? Hold up, she’s adorable. Oh man, how is this possible? She’s super-cute…annoying, too, but that’s cute in it’s own way. Wait, is that actually what makes her cute? Whatever, it doesn’t matter as long as she’s cute!”

In taking selfies, she says to him, “Your eyes look the same. They’re perfectly rotten.” which is the kind of thing she has been saying to him the entire story. She does indeed have deep feelings for him, but that does not stop her in the slightest from telling him exactly what she thinks. But that is what Hachiman loves about her. She doesn’t pretend. Her words are her feelings, and they are genuine.

Later when they are scouting for a venue for the fake prom, she points at a building facility where a wedding is in progress, and Hachiman thinks she is talking about marriage. This embarrasses her, and she shoots back “Your looks and personality are already terrible. If your powers of deduction fail, what would you even have left?”

Then after the prom, Yukino says IT, “I love you!” but this sends both of them into major embarrassment, and she has to run away to hide. They are so unbearably cute together, you just want to laugh.

During the prom one major reveal does take place. Mrs. Yukinoshita, Yukino’s mother, is leaving and as she does so, she passes Hachiman, and says to him, “Hikigaya, this will be a lot of trouble for you, but please look after her [Yukino]” Hachiman is nonplussed and just mumbles out “Er, uh, well….yes, this is my job, so….” and she just gives him a little cute smile, and a quiet little laugh. We also learn later that she has invited him to dinner and Yukino says that she thinks her mother is fond of him.

This scene with Yukino and Hachiman is just so precious. He doesn’t want to go to dinner, but Yukino has anticipated all of that and all of his excuses, and she out flanks him, by matching every one of his objections until he has none left, and its clear he has to go to dinner, and Yukino is looking directly at him with this smug little half-smile like, Checkmate!. So, so cute.

Yukino outfoxes the fox

Yukino says here, “She’s [Mrs. Yukinoshita] become really fond of you, huh?” and who would of thought that would be even possible. Hachiman doesn’t want to go, but Yukino traps him, anticipating all of his excuses. And the reality is, if Hachiman wants a relationship with Yukino, he will need to have a relationship with the Yukinoshita family, especially Mr. and Mrs. Yukinoshita. So he might as well go to dinner now. There will probably be many more to come.

Seeing Hachiman at dinner with all the Yukinoshita family would have been a wonderful and humorous episode all in itself. Just think of the plot twists and turns you could play off of a very uncomfortable Hachiman twisting in the the wind surrounded by Yukinoshitas! That would have been rich indeed. One comment from the LN series says that Mr. Yukinoshita, Yukino’s father, is a lot like Hachiman. Watching them together would have been very, very interesting, and potentially very funny.

Sad to say good-bye to such a wonderful story, but all things must eventually come to an end, and at the very end, Hachiman sums up the entire story, “Yeah, just as I expected. I must say that this was expected.” and then he smiles.

© 2020 Folcwine P. Pywackett (mox006)

Chihayaburu 千早ぶる Hyakunin Isshu: poem 17 – (The Chihaya Card)

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read up to CH 226 in Chihayafuru, everything that follows is a spoiler

CREDITS:This piece is dedicated to a Ms. Anonymous who has requested not to be identified. I was stuck on this poem and could not see how Chihayaburu could be anything but a simple Autumn poem, but she walked me through how the poem number 17, the Chihaya name card, could be read as a Romance just as Kanade says and as written and supported by Sensei.

We will use here proportional equivalences of the type A is to B as C is to D

Placed into format this would show as

In terms of the poem itself, this would show as

In Autumn, the Japanese Maple trees which line the Tatsuta river drop their leaves into the water of the Tatsuta River, and are carried away down stream by the waters’s current. This is the physical image.

which inspires the poet to write the following poem:

Hyakunin Isshu: poem 17

Chihayaburu ( 千早ぶる) by Ariwara no Narihira 有原業平 (825–880)

The poetic image exists in the very last line of the poem

水くくるとは (mizu kukuru to wa) or (mizu kuguru to wa)

The verb くくる can be read two ways, as kukuru or kuguru and these two words have very different meanings. Kukuru means to tie-dye fabric and kuguru means some movement which is hidden underneath.

Both verbs modify the water 水 of the Tatsuta River.

In modern Japanese, kuguru would be written くぐる but that was not
the case when the poem was written.

If you were a poet writing a love poem to the Empress, you would be well
advised to hide your meanings to save your neck. So the passion of
Romantic Love lies well hidden underneath.

Then the equivalence would become

This then leads to the observation that

We all know the power of Romantic love to carry us away, and if so, then
we are speaking poetically about LOVE on the surface being carried away
by PASSION hidden underneath.

Passion moves Love which yields a new equivalence

Poem 17 — Chihayaburu is how the author, Ms. Yuki Suetsugu sees her story,
and she seems to take the double reading of the last line very much to
heart. The all Kana script in her picture below is the Chihayaburu poem
number 17, and her background scene has two elements,

1) the kara-kurenai Japanese Maple leaf which would be reading the last line
as 水くくるとは mizu kukuru to wa くくる=kukuru to tie-dye; and

2) the current of the river as 水くぐるとは mizu kuguru to wa くぐる=kuguru to
movement hidden underneath.

The two symbols constantly reoccur in her manga story to such an extent that they seem to function as some sort of visual comment.

Sensei appears to use the kara-kurenai Maple leaf as a symbol for Chihaya,
and the current of the river as a symbol for Shinobu.

If this is so then a final set of equivalences could be established

*NOTE: 千 is sen (a thousand), but is pronounced chi when coupled with
other letters witch is why Chihiro becomes Sen in “Spirited Away”
*Ogino Chihiro* (荻野 千尋) → Sen (千)

Sensei has clearly stated that Chihaya saving Shinobu from being alone is her ending.

(See the following in the Manga CH204 where Chihaya makes her initial
realization that Shinobu-chan is all alone in a desolate land, and then CH209 where she
sets her determination to become Queen in order to save Shinobu-chan
“I came all the way here in order to save Shinobu-chan from being all
alone in that desolate place.”)

The endgame of Chihayafuru appears to be Shinobu. If so then we will
match the story Chihayafuru above to the poem Chihayaburu which lies
underneath as

such that the Poem moves The Story, as the current moves the leaves, as
Shinobu moves Chihaya.

In this way Chihayafuru types Chihayaburu and the story becomes not the expected Triangle Romance but rather a paired two way relationship between Chihaya and Shinobu, fully awash in the river of irony!

We will see at the end of Chihayafuru if all that is true.

Perhaps the readers and fans of Chihayafuru are the ones being carried away!

© 2020 Folcwine P. Pywackett (fpp052)