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Posts Tagged ‘A Certain Scientific Railgun’


Kanji:         異口同音
Hiragana:         いくどうおん
Romaji:         i – ku – dou – on
Literally:         different – mouth – same – sound
Meaning:         Different people sharing the same opinion.




Featured this week is To Aru Kagaku no Railgun’s AIM Burst. A monster created from a network of ten thousand human brains, the AIM Burst is a menace to the entire city, boasting a multitude of powerful offensive abilities and possibly infinite regenerative powers. However, the true nature of the creature is the amalgamation of the emotions of the ten thousand children hooked up to the network.

The brains absorbed into the network all belong to students of Academy City. They are boys and girls of various ages, personalities and dreams, most of whom have never met each other in their daily lives. However, all of them are connected through the pain and frustration of failure in their struggle against the “absolute wall called talent”. Those who wanted to be acknowledged, those who wanted to meet the expectations placed upon them, those who wanted to be of use to others but found themselves powerless… all of their anguish is contained within AIM Burst’s shrieks.

Of course, more uplifting examples of the idea are sure to be found within the varied world of anime. A great leader uniting the entire nation to fight against an evil, a peace-maker helping a conflicted group strive for a common goal, or maybe a pair of sworn enemies gaining mutual understanding, what characters and scenes does this week’s yojijukugo remind you of?




Yojijukugo are four-kanji idioms representing some of the most important ideas and concepts in the Japanese language.

In this weekly series, I see how those ideas are represented in the anime world, and invite readers to share their own examples of series, characters and scenes best illustrating those concepts.

For other posts in this series, look for the Yojijukugo Series under the Category section on the right.

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Hands up those of you who can explain exactly how a refrigerator works. No, quoting Wikipedia is not allowed.

I’ll tell you, then. There’s a low-level gremlin living in the back of every refrigerator, and it casts a simple freezing spell-

What? You don’t believe me? What’s that I hear about a scientific explanation and chemical reactions? It’s not like you can explain those in detail, right?

Huh?

If we can believe something happens because it’s science, without understanding the process in detail, then science has indeed become a new religion. And that is exactly what we see happen in the world of To Aru Majutsu no Index. To the residents of Academy City, nothing that happens on the streets is surprising, even if it involves Gaussian acceleration, movement through the 11th dimension or subverting the principle of entropy. The kids studying there have seen so many incredible things that they can probably believe anything to be possible. That is, as long as you don’t mention magic.

A very powerful defense called the walking church. Supposedly.

The students are firm in their rejection of anything even vaguely smelling of magic. God, angels, demons? There’s no way something so unscientific could exist. That might well be a reasonable approach for the people of the new enlightened age… but how can they calmly reject any notion of this:

And nod their heads knowingly to this:

It certainly doesn’t seem like any of the kids have a firm grasp of what this ‘personal reality’ their teachers keep going on about actually is. If so, aren’t they magicians themselves? But that’s just it. They aren’t magicians

They are ability users. The Japanese term – nouryokusha (能力者) – is not that much different from the ESPers Haruhi made so famous, the chounouryokusha (超能力者). In fact, it is merely one kanji shorter. The missing kanji – chou () – means ‘to transcend’ when on its own, and it is the ‘supernatural’ in ‘supernatural ability user’.

Academy City is a world of the denial of the supernatural, and the brainwashing starts with the words the students use. Every time they use the term ability user, they’re also telling themselves there is nothing out of the ordinary about raining thunderbolts from your fingers. And if they keep repeating that long enough, they will start believing it. Because an ability is just science.

And science justifies everything.

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