I remember when I first started watching Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World I was struck by the seeming detached and aloof nature of Kino’s character. The first thought that came into my head was “Wow – Kino seems like a Buddhist.”
I was taking an introductory course on Buddhism and Japanese Culture at the time, so the fact that I immediately connected Kino to the material I was learning in class is no surprise. But there’s something to be said about this statement. First, it shows the core nature of interpretation: you have to pick a certain framework to interpret from. You need to be coming at material from somewhere, since there needs some system in place for establishing value and whatnot. The second thing is that it shows that it is possible to actually look at Kino through the lens of Buddhist philosophy. I decided to try and do this for our final project in this class, and it turns out it’s possible without too much of a stretch. This says something interesting about the nature of the show.
Continuing from my introductory post, here I’m going to give some background that’ll be helpful, and that I’ll be drawing on, in future posts in this series. Note that I’m doing much of this from memory and so might get some of the details wrong, but it’s the big ideas presented that are the most important. I also try and explore what exactly “fandom” is, since upon closer inspection it proves to be quite a mysterious and perplexing entity.
After recovering from mono and finally finishing out the semester, I’ve finally ended my month-long blogging hiatus! And we’ll be starting things back up with a bit of an unorthodox direction. The title gives it away a little bit, but for now let’s look at a quote from the 1890s to see where I might be going with this:
“The whole of Japan is a pure invention.” - Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying”
Now this seems pretty bizarre. What’s going on here?
So since I’ve sort of found my blogging style and niche (man looking through some of my early posts is a little bit painful), I’ve been thinking about my initial idea to do a full blog of the Kara no Kyoukai series. It’s been a while, and the more I look back and think about my first posts about the first movie, the more I think I said all that’s really necessary in order to understand the series. I no longer want to talk about each of the seven movies (plus epilogue) individually, but rather give an overview of the themes and concepts that are present throughout, and how best to examine them. In that light, much of what I discussed in my first posts (part 1, part 2) hold throughout.
I only have a few things I want to clarify or organize a little bit better, and so I’m going to use this post to do that.
I guess this is a bit like the epilogue, actually. Whatever that means.
Apologies for grammatical mistakes – it’s late! If anyone finds some let me know.
To answer your question (or preempt it) – yes, I spelled theater with theatre with an ‘re’ (and I’ll be doing it for the rest of the post!) to be even more British. It’s like I’m a mother-effing level 20+ Human Bard hailing from Stratford-upon-Avon or something.
Anyways, this post is going to be focusing on the aspects of Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster that make it theatrically consistent with its ‘source material’. I’m going to point out where/how Tempest draws inspiration from its Shakespearean origins (both explicitly and implicitly) and then how they impact the show. I’m a bit torn on whether to encourage reading on, since the show does hinge on some ‘revelations’, but ultimately, like a play, you’ll watch it for the theatrical experience over the plot…right? Continue reading →