Postcard from Nowhere

Source image: Detail of frame from FLCL episode 1, 'FLCL'.

It was a sort of picture-postcard day, and with everything else I somehow arrived early enough to recognize the eerie silence, then fell, captivated, into witness of an airplane stretching vapor across the sky, scoring the blue just above the trees, and after a moment not quite started but still slipped back to waking life according to the strange recognition that it was not a cartoon, and there would be no cut to the next scene.


Sekirei, from season one opening credits

To the one, it seems easy enough: If the series has an ecchi tag associated with it, one is best advised to simply avoid it. In truth, it is not so much a prudish rejection of sexual stimuli in animated motion media, but, rather, a critique disdaining the waste of prudery. The tropes are myriad and obvious, with the result that it really does seem childish to a creepy degree. Say what we will about the (ahem!) “premature nosebleed”, but it does kind of work as a catch-all symbol within the frame.Because premature ejaculation is always worth a laugh .... (Sekirei, ep. 1)

More problematic, of course, is the blatancy of the stimuli. It is almost hilarious when baseball and anime overlap off-screen, because those who will discuss in earnest the physics of a left-handed pitcher’s throwing motion in relation to the placement of the heart within the human body apparently find no reason to wonder how this or that best fighter in the Universe managed to pull off that maneuver without slicing off one of her myth-cupped breasts.

The nature of ecchi, though, is to not be so explicit as, say, hentai or open pornography. But the artists do seem to revel in what they do present. And it is, of course, one thing to chuckle at the outsized breasts popping into open air, and the goofy sound effect that goes with it, but somebody had to draw that.

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Don’t Ask

Come down ....Just one of those things. From FLCL episode four, “Full Swing”. Never mind. If you know, you know. If not, well, it is famously said that “comprehension should not be an important factor in FLCL”.

No, really, like I said. Never mind.


Attributed to director Kazuya Tsuramaki.

A Note for Steven Brust: Philosophy and Fish

It’s just one of those things; as long as I don’t do anything about it, the idea preys on my mind. Now, having actually scribbled it down, it seems kind of useless. Then again, it’s an exorcism, so ….

From Steven Brust’s Tiassa (p. 293):

“That is true, Brigadier. You have often said that when you assume, you are thinking like a fish.°”

• • •

° In the Northwestern language, the word “assume” consists of syllables that, when taken apart, are not dissimilar to the sound for “fish” followed by the symbols that form the word “thought.”

Meanwhile, from the anime FLCL, episode five (“Brittle Bullet”)—the English-language voiceover:

KITSURABAMI: [shooting an anti-tank rifle] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Cobalt blue! [fires] If Seven of Nine heaves a sigh, what do you have? Cyborg!

HARUKO: [swings bass guitar, slaps shot back] Cyborg, my butt!

KITSURABAMI: [gasps with alarm]

MAMIMI: [holding Takkun-cat] Actually, confusing cyborgs with robots is a common mistake.

And a more transliterated version in the English-language subtitles that accompany the Japanese dialogue:

KITSURABAMI: [shooting an anti-tank rifle] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Cobalt blue! [fires] If you write “fish” and “blue”, and it looks like … saba for mackerel!

HARUKO: [swings bass guitar, slaps shot back] Mackerel, my butt!

KITSURABAMI: [gasps with alarm]

MAMIMI: [holding Takkun-cat] Actually, writing fish with blue is a common mistake.

And thus having exorcised the blue cyborg mackerel demon, I’ll shut up, now.