In honour of ‘The Semiotics of Skin‘, and Kaiserpingvin’s original deployment of this image, I append a few observations of my own.
Let’s look at what’s held in the hands. Headphones on the right and a book on the left offer a choice of diversions to Kyou, one modern (yet antique: that’s a CD player!), one old (yet hardly out of date). Both activities – reading and listening – cut one off from the outside world, though the headphones are a far more visible signal that, in common with Garbo (who was, like Kaiserpingvin, born where the word ‘ombudsman’ was invented) one vonts to be alone. Of course, we don’t know what’s written in the book, or what music might be playing in the headphones. Two unsolvable mysteries, unless there’s something I’m missing because I haven’t played Clannad or seen its anime adaption.
I note from Wikipedia’s information about Kyou that she frequently uses books as weapons, so perhaps this isn’t just a choice of diversions but also a choice between defensive retreat into the headphones and offensive action. If, however, a book in Kyou’s hands is a threat of attack, then it is a denatured threat: it’s a very flimsy book (the flowers on its cover reinforce this impression). Similarly, such large headphones strike me as utterly impractical for someone with that hairstyle. It may be significant that Kyou isn’t looking at what she’s holding, but rather out of the picture, at you/us. Are the threat of attack and the threat of retreat meant to be only a token resistance?
You may or may not have noticed that I missed yesterday’s post. This is because my laptop’s screen died last night. I’m typing this on my new desktop computer, poorer but irreverently thankful for Sunday trading. I’ve an essay due in shortly and needed something fast, although I had been wondering about buying a desktop in any case. This isn’t what I’d choose if I had time and money, but I’m reasonably content.
I’ll get back to these posts once I’ve finished migrating from one machine to the other, but since I have a broken screen on my mind it seems fitting to give a passing nod to the impact of a scene that I never saw, from an anime I didn’t watch. I’m referring to two Clannad characters’ brief sojourn in a P.E. equipment shed, ‘the moment that froze the otakusphere.‘
I don’t have much to say about the scene itself, partly because it’s been well-covered already and partly because I haven’t seen it – although if you collected every screencap of the scene that I’ve seen, printed them all out in sequence and stapled one edge to make a flick book, you would, I think, have an accurate, if low-quality, reconstruction.
It’s pleasing that the whole incident is brought about not by a wish on Tomoya’s part, but by a book of charms, as though Clannad itself is a more cynically self-aware member of the Key-adaption family. Is a storage room lock-in a staple of the genre, or something that a normal schoolboy might wish for? One wonders what else Yukine’s book can do – if, that is, it was responsible in the first place. Not knowing any details, I can’t help imagining that it might actually be a book chock-full of charms to bring about hackneyed anime situations. I’m sure it’s much more mundane, but that’s an amusing thought, and as I go through the rigmarole of transferring my existence from one computer to another, I have to savour whatever amusement I can get.
Posted in commentary
Tagged clannad, curmudgeon, meta, twelve days of christmas 08