Half-Truths as Roadblocks in Language Improvement

On occasion, I’ve noticed fans of Japanese pop culture to take statements at face value when they shouldn’t. This is not to single out anime fans over any other groups, but in threads online discussing the ambiguous gender of Monogatari character Oshino Ougi, it’s often pointed out that Ougi has said, “I’ve always been a boy,” even though Ougi is portrayed as highly deceptive and loves to twist words. While there might be a number of reasons that mistakes like this happen, from simple misreadings to not understanding characters to even possibly mental conditions such as autism, what I think is a significant factor is also how experiencing something in another language can make it difficult to assess lies.

When learning a language, or taking in information in a way that requires extra attention, I’m considering the idea that the more advanced you are, the more you are able to correctly understand nuances in context and presentation. Take for instance the idea that sarcasm in English is something conveyed through voice. However, if one does not understand the cues by which sarcasm is supposed to be voiced, or it’s a statement that’s written rather than spoken, the desire to convey sarcasm can get lost. Thus, it’s not surprising that Oshino Ougi’s manipulative language and behavior might not come through either, especially because people were already discussing the character prior to Ougi’s appearance in the anime, and had only either Japanese light novels or unreliable fan translations of said novels to work from.

Perhaps it can be said that learning a language requires a level of truth to be established. When learning basic vocabulary and rules of a language from square one, it probably wouldn’t help to pack your statements full of lies. While simplification can be important (you don’t want to inundate someone with all the exceptions first), setting in stone a stable foundation comes hand in hand with making sure that what someone learns is how to express things. Only once at least a rudimentary base is established should playing around with the language happen, and eventually from there the possibility of creating statements that essentially mean the opposite of what they are, which can only be gleaned from context and prior knowledge. At least, that’s one idea. I do not profess to being an expert at this topic.

 

 

Advertisements

Valentine’s Day “Dead Eyes Extravaganza”

In honor of Valentine’s Day, that romantic holiday transformed in Japan into a way for girls to express their feelings for guys, I present an image mosaic of one of my favorite character traits: dead or empty eyes.

deadeyes-mosaicCreated using Mosaic Maker

Dead eyes, that is to say empty eyes without luster, are usually associated with characters who have been mind-controlled. However, I’m more fascinated by them when the characters who have them are in full control of themselves. Rather than being a sign of a loss of will, they’re often symbolic of something else. They can be intensity, trauma, otherworldly perspective/experience, or even a swirling madness. Just think about how all many of the characters in the image above have notably different personalities!

Do you have a favorite character in the image above? Is there a dead eyes character you’re a fan of? Let me know!

Save

Save

Ogiue Chika + Satan = Oshino Ougi

owarimonogatari-crunchyroll

Throughout Nisio Isin’s Monogatari series there has been a mysterious character whose motivations and origins are difficult to grasp. Oshino Ougi, who purports to be the niece (and sometimes nephew) protagonist Araragi Koyomi’s Hawaiian shirt-wearing mentor, seems to come out of nowhere and has a knack for planting thoughts into people’s minds and for getting them to unconsciously open up. Is she just a manipulator or something more? Given the series and its author, the latter is more likely, though either way what Ougi reminds me most of is the biblical devil, whose half-truths are designed to deceive men into making grave errors.

074de9c41821cdc376b0ca5d7da5010c

What stands out to me most about Ougi, however, is how much she resembles Ogiue from Genshiken. She has deep, black eyes just like Ogiue’s from the first series. She has a hair style similar to Ogiue’s when she lets it down, especially Ogiue’s look during Nidaime. Ougi also has a similar chest size and overall figure, and the fact that she’s sometimes a boy (in terms of sex, gender, or something else? It’s mysterious.) reminds me of Ogiue’s overall tomboy demeanor.

mizuhashikaori-myanimelist

Drawing this comparison even closer is the fact that Ougi and Ogiue share the same voice actor, Mizuhashi Kaori (Mami in Madoka Magica, Laharl in Disgaea).

oshinoougi-dowmansayman

Check out this Ougi fanart by artist Dowman Sayman as well. Given the way they draw Ougi, especially her nose, she looks even more like Genshiken‘s fujoshi president.

Is it mere coincidence? Most likely yes. Even so, whenever I watch the currently-running Owarimonogatari and see Ougi, I can’t help but think of Ogiue Maniax’s namesake. Maybe that’s why Oshino Ougi has become my favorite character in the series.

If you liked this post, consider becoming a sponsor of Ogiue Maniax through Patreon. You can get rewards for higher pledges, including a chance to request topics for the blog.