I'm not exactly sure why, but you remind me of the Sophie from Howl's Moving castle.
(insert excited squealing noise)
I make a fabulous feisty old woman, actually. I spent most of my time in college theatre transforming into an old woman… though the process of changing back is much easier when its makeup instead of magic…
The most notable part of Haruka’s existence is that they’re the only main character who isn’t Arkh. They’re a third level human that was specifically chosen by Queen Zahira and King Nikolai as a gift for Aina. Once their last life ended, the constitution of their soul was slowly recreated over many years, the work mostly done by Queen Zahira, and finished by Nikolai, who gave them to Aina as a coming-of-age birthday gift.
THOUGHTFUL PORTRAYAL OF QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR
…………..OH MY GOD
OH MY FUCKING GOD
this is why i go into the arkh tags
Nice job there, Arkh Project. Real nice. Slave romance? Tasteful. I can see you really have your finger on the pulse of what every queer PoC wants, to be turned into a horrible yaoi stereotype plotline.
And what annoys me about the “Totoro is about a specific rape-murder!” posts that constituted half of my dash yesterday evening isn’t the idea that Totoro’s about a specific rape-murder. That’s just opening up a new way to approach the film, and if it’s an incongruous and difficult one then all the better.
Neither is it the super-inductive “Isn’t [not particularly suggestive thing] suggestive?” argument on which it rests. If all that were part of a first draft of “Totoro read in light of the Sayama murder” then there’d be nothing wrong with it. So we can let it slide that its framed as, “Here’s the evidence that this is the true top secret meaning ofTotoro” and just put that down to people not knowing what they’re doing.
NO! WHAT’S GETTING ON MY TITS IS THIS -
The very strong implication that, without this reading, Totoro is all sunshine and flowers.
THE ARTICLE that the tumblr posts are all drawing from makes the contrast…
A very innocent and enjoyable yet heartmoving tale that most Japanese people have seen at least once. If you haven’t seen it yet, I would very much recommend it.
But, if you have seen it, there alies in it yet a whole other interpretation to the story… I have to warn you: if you read on, your idea about this movie being a happy childrens movie will change dreadfully.
In fact, you may lose hope in all childrens movies for suspicion that they are all actually morbid stories of death and murder.
But…but…but… even if you’ve never heard of the Sayama incident then Totoro is anything but a straightforwardly happy film.
It’s jam-packed with melancholy, and loss, and regret, and morbidity and other good things that all arise from the emotional content of the film. The happiness in the film is given its meaning by being part of a pretty wide emotional range and being framed by a hell of a lot of sadness.
There’s no choice to be made here between accepting a saccharine superficiality or delving into DARK SECRETS. If anything, there’s a choice between emotionally engaging with a very complex and nuanced work of art, or believing that “TRUE MEANINGS” lie in unconvincing trivia.
My Neighbor Totoro is not all sunshine and flowers. But what is bothering me is that the TRUE MEANING of Totoroas viewed through the Sayama Incident lense is the boring morbid one rather than the interesting social one. Someone (somehow) connected one of the biggest incidents of Japanese racism and discrimination to the film and rather than filter Totorothrough that means they decided “Naw, raaaaaape.”
WELL, I AM HERE TO REDIRECT THAT FOCUS. Lets go through the original article’s (I’m using that term loosely btw) points, shall we?
1.)“Totoro and his magical friends are in fact Shinigami, that is to say the gods of death, the grim reaper.”
Shinigami are not a strictly Japanese creation and they do not appear in Japanese folktales. They are a fairly modern concept that survive primarily within Japanese horror media.
2.) “It begins with the susuwatari (a.k.a. makkurokurosuke), those little black balls that they find in the kitchen. The story goes that if you see the susuwatari or Totoro, death is close.”
Susuwarti are not based on Japanese folklore either. As they appear in the film they are very literally based on nothing. Totoros for that matter do not exist in Japanese folklore either and are simply based on the very wide notion that there are forrest spirits (I don’t honestly see how the susuwatari are somehow harbingers of death, the author needs to re-watch the film because once the Kusakabe family becomes settled in their new home the susuwatari leave.)
3.)“The old woman says that adults can’t see the susuwatari or the other mystical beasts. Unexplained though, is why she saw them when she was young. Kanta, the old woman’s grandson doesn’t seem able to see them.”
Here we go, getting to the point of my pointing out that the dust bunnies and fuzzy kawaii critters are not of Japanese decent; Let’s say the Nanny’s grandson Kanta is Japanese and Mei and Satsuki are not Japanese. Please note that being Japanese in Japan has nothing to do with blood, it has everything to do with acceptance. Got that? Keep that in mind.
4.)“The Sayama incident occured in May 1963. It’s quite an important case for discrimination in Japan. The case goes that one day, in Sayama (in Saitama prefecture), a young girl was kidnapped for ransom, raped and then murdered.”
Back up! You’ve completely passed over the bit that’s “good”. Yes. The Sayama incident occurred in Sayama in May of 1963 and yes it was a HUGELY IMPORTANT case reguarding discrimination in Japan but you’ve washed over how and why that is in favor of getting your proclaimed TRUE GORY MEANING.
After Yoshie Nakata’s body was found the police arrested Kazuo Ishikawa, a man of Buraku origin. Ishikawa did not do the crime. He claimed he did not do the crime for a entire month before suddenly saying that he did. Ishikawa was arrested because he was a Baraku. He was arrested on the pretense of the cops wanting to save face. He was beaten and told to say he killed Nakata. He signed a paper saying, what he believed, was that if he agreed to committing the crime he would be given a fair trial and a limited sentence. But as he was illiterate (he was not educated as he was a Buraku - and the fact he could not write was hidden from the public in a case where a WRITTEN RANSOM NOTE was prominent evidence) when he signed the police statement - he signed his own name incorrectly - he was promptly sentenced to death. This sentence was resolved instead to life imprisonment after he made an appeal of innocence at the first hearing at the Tokyo High Court on Sept. 9, 1964. Ishikawa awaits a fair trial to this very day.
Burakumin are a minority class in Japan who are discriminated against because of the jobs their ancestors had and through limited options the jobs they continue to hold, although at this point the stigma surrounding them is primarily that of custom. These people can be described as being ethnically Japanese from a Western understanding of ethnicity but in Japan they use to be known (and sometimes are still referred to) as Hinin, or “Non-Human”. People of Buraku decent are not typically considered by Japanese people to be Japanese even though the social norms they practice typically align perfectly with the rest of the Japanese population.
5.)“The real murder took place in May. Also the youngest child is named Mei (pronounced ‘May’). This could be a coincidence, but the older sister is named Satsuki, which is also another way to say May.”
It is a coincidence. In Japanese Mei means ‘oath’ or more commonly, ‘sprout’. Satsuki means ‘May’ yes, but more often with names it means ’bloom’. This is because satsuki plants (rhododendrons) bloom in May. As is common in Japan that siblings have corresponding names.
6.) “The Nekobus (the cat bus) is the cariage that takes one to the next world (heaven, hell, whatever). This is given a little reinforcement by the above picture, showing the destination as 墓道, the first character means grave, the second meaning road.”
No it doesn’t. Sure when you do a literal translation it it meas “Tomb Road” but lets give some cultural context here. That screencap is from when the Nekobus and Totoro are standing on top of a big tall tree. The tree is a camphor tree, known for their medicinal properties in Japan. There is a Japanese folktale called “The Camphor Tree Tomb” and is about a sacred old Camphor tree that fell, but instead of dying it continued to grow. The reality is that the Cat Bus only ever displays place names, real locations - except for the time it displays Mei. The little joke is that the Nekobus finds destinations, including the destinations of people. If I may make a giant leap of assumption much like the original author as done: At that moment they’re traveling by tree top (road) on Camphor trees (tombs).
7.) “She enters into the realm of the Shinigami (death god) - Totoro. Notice the presence again of the Susuwatari.”
The Susuwatari are in Totoro’s realm because if you watch the film when they leave the Kusakabe house that is where they go. Although I guess this could be seen as them rejoining their dark lord. Or something.
8.) “This seems a little off until you remember the scene with the huge tree. The children sit atop this huge tree (which umbrellas the small house) playing flutes with the Totoros. The father looks out to see this, smiles happily and continues his writing. The suggestion is that he is writing about his deceased daughters doing exactly what they are shown doing.”
That tree is yet another camphor tree, which are known for growing south of Tokyo (guess where Sayama is located and guess what type of community lives within Sayama? YUP. Burakumin). The flutes they play are tsuchibue, a traditional Japanese Ocarina that was played by the lower classes. Such as the Baku (then of course there is the fact that it is established within the film that Mei and Satsuki’s father is a professor of archaeology, not a writer).
9.) “Apparently this gives proof to the interpretation that the Totoro story doesn’t flow chronologically. Either that, or the mother is hospitalized for almost a year.”
She has been in the hospital for a year. She has tuberculosis. If we want to jump on and go with the theory I’ve been hinting at; if Yasuko Kusakabe and the Kusakabe family are Burakumin and thus not Japanese she could be in the hospital for a year or more if she is not getting as adequate attention as other patients. Then of course there is the simple fact that TB is lethal, is somewhat common in Japan and Asia in general, and can require long term care.
10.) “In the scene where Mei is lost and crying, she is sitting next to 6 地蔵 jizou Jizou statues (English Ksitigarbha, a buddhist deity that looks after the souls of deceased children and aborted fetuses in Japanese culture. Apparently these 6 Jizou statues represent 6 people who died in the course of the incident (see above). Apparently one of the phrases in the lyrics of the song of the Nekobus is “乗ったお客は陽気なおばけ” notta okyaku wa youki na obake, “those guests who ride are cheerful ghosts.”
Okay, what? Sure Juizo does in fact look over the souls of decesed children and aborted fetuses but he (sometimes depicted as she) is most widely known as a friend to all. Jizo statues are usually placed at crossroads, to help travelers pick the right way to go as he embodies supreme spiritual optimism, compassion, and universal salvation. Lets repeat that: Universal salvation. Juizo is a big favorite of minority groups within Japan.
And that lyric is just flat out stupid. Try “His passengers are all cheerful spirits”, and also within context of the rest of the song. “The monster Cat Bus comes ru-ru-running! From one end of the world to the next! The Cat Bus calls up the wind, whoosh! Blowing rain clouds and thunder right away. His passengers are all cheerful spirits who sit down with a bit of an air. Outside the window is a view that’s enough to take your breath away! In the big sky he cuts the cu-cu-curve! Not afraid of doing somersaults in mid-air. Go! Meow~ anywhere in the world. Just as you please. Zoom! Zoom! Meow! Go! Cat monster, Cat Bus!”
Yeah, just super fuckin’ dark is what that is.
If we look at the idea that the Kusakabe family is in Sayama and are of Baku origin (although passing for Japanese as the father has a very un-Baku profession) we can translate that the totoros and the catbus are favoring them in all the ways Japanese society does not. I’m going to say my half assed reading has more credence than the DARK SECRET one as Hayao Miyazaki’s films tend to have themes of facing discrimination and the overcoming of them (Porco Rosso, Spirited Away, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind) and nothing to do with grasping atrocious violence for no reason other than to be secretly morbid.
The research on that original ‘TRUE MEANING’ article felt so half-done and twisted-to-support-the-hypothesis instead of research-informing-hypothesis, which really bothered me.
Also, I was really hating seeing it come up on my dash. THAT PICTURE. That kept me up all night. I do not get nightmares based on seeing things. I watch some pretty gory freaking stuff, for fun, sometimes late at night. And I also feel the need to say, I really like looking at dark explorations and explanations of things I enjoyed as a child, or things aimed at children, because there are some goldmines of creeping horror to be had in ‘kids’ stuff’. But that… that just, that made me sick and I could tell reading the article that no matter how much the writer believed what they were saying, they were clearly talking out of their ass half the time, which irritated me on top of being upset by the picture.
Apparently there is one childhood thing in my life that is sacred, and that is Totoro. I think I’ve written before about the huge part it played in my youth and how strongly I connected to it when my family moved from a big city to the middle of nowhere in the woods.
This explanation makes more sense to me, and does not ruin my inner child’s enjoyment, rather, it expands it by giving me some new ‘adult’ context to examine, and one that does fit with the themes of other Ghibli films. Is it necessarily true? I cannot say. But it is interesting, it does not rob the film of any quiet dignity when it adds its own darkness, and I really appreciate that someone bothered to refute the points which had felt poorly researched when I read the original article.
I’m an organ donor. I also am somewhere in between vegan and vegetarian. I see a contradiction in this.
This means that if I die, any of my usable organs will be harvested and transplanted into another human being, if possible. However, the odds of any of the recipients being vegan or vegetarian is very small. Somewhere around 2% of the Western world’s population is vegan with up to a possible 10% being vegetarian.
Here comes my worry. Something in the region of 300 animals are killed over the life of a single meat-eater (according to this on American meat-eaters, but it may be much higher). So, almost all of my organs are going to extend the life of meat-eaters, which means that even if they live for one year, each of my organs is responsible for the death of multiple animals.
On that basis, both vegans and vegetarians should not be organ donors.
Welp, I’m disgusted by humanity again.
I should put a note on my ID. ‘If this person dies, give her organs to someone who loves BACON— they are already probably filled with some’.
Stop and read this if you collect Monster High dolls, I swear this information will help everyone involved.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the jerk-move practice of buying and reselling new dolls at about three times the price on eBay and I know even with the hiked up practice this is tempting but please please please STOP BUYING THEM AT THOSE RIDICULOUSLY HYPED PRICES.
I know, I know I want the new ghouls as much as the next collector but every time you buy from someone doing this you’re supporting people that are doing this. It will only make them do it more. If you stop buying from the eBay sources the people that are buying and hiking up the prices will have to stop.
They’re not going to keep bulk buying and reselling these dolls if no one buys them and then you can just get them at the store for a normal and reasonable price.
It’s hitting more than just collectors you know. There’s got to be at least one little girl out there whose crushed she can’t get an Abbey or a Toralei doll because of people buying them all to resell. I don’t like to ask for reblogs but this information should be circulated so please reblog if you collect, know a collector or even just want kids to be able to get their favorite doll.
Seriously, this. As a pretty much lifelong toy collector, I really, really hate scalpers. They hurt everyone.
Yeah but Chris Nolan didn’t get the funding for Inception with a popsicle stick model of a penrose staircase and a post-it note saying “it’s gonna be good”
But honestly, who among us would be surprised if we found out that his first pitch went exactly like that?
First, JIH, fuck you for even responding to what the fuck I said. I hate seeing your fucking username. You ain’t shit. Your opinion has the weight of a fucking barbicel. Seriously. Fuck you. Look it up.
Now look. You people clearly didn’t understand my fucking point. The point is that everyone, everything, has to start somewhere. If you feel like something has gone wrong on something you are actually interested in, you don’t run screaming “The British are coming!” especially when the person or persons in control are so easily fucking accessible. You don’t run and tell all your friends, “This thing apparently sucks, so go hide under your bed until it goes away.”
You talk to the easily fucking accessible people about your concerns, and see what they’re doing to address them. You make suggestions. You share ideas. Fuck, this shit isn’t even hard. The only way you wouldn’t want to do this is if you just want it shut down, and don’t care if it comes to anything or not.
My god, are you people really that dense, or are you just that hateful?
Wait. I just answered my own question.
JIH’s a racial slur and I don’t appreciate that but I’ll let it slide
The point is asking for money at this stage of development is disingenuous at best
The idea’s great, the execution is shifty as hell
Now stop talking to me like I’m some sort of threat to you, I have no idea who the hell you are
I was so confused when I read this exchange at first because I thought that person was mad at Josh for not liking Inception.
Then I realized it was about the Arkh Project.
For reference, I am also working with a start-up company to develop games and we’re much farther along as far as development goes than Arkh ever was, and we don’t got no $5,000. And we actually have programmers on board as well as extensive notes on gameplay mechanics.
Arkh has no programmers and nothing about actual gameplay.
WOW. That was a pretty big rage-on all over Josh up there… and apparently from someone he does not even know. Which is one of those ‘Way to go, Internet’ moments, I guess?
Anyway, I am interested in knowing more about indie start-up game things that make actual progress and aren’t run by super-hypocrites, if you’re at liberty to talk about projects your start-up is working on.