Fune wo Amu is one of those series that reminds me that anime is just the medium. Just like we have movies and series, in exactly the same way we have anime movies and series. The style is directly linked to Japan because 90% of the titles are produced and played there, but with the advent of the Internet, simulcast is a reality and the worldwide audience can watch these series at the same time as their Japanese counterparts.
My point I guess is this: there is an anime for everyone no matter what his style is. My style is mature stories about real-life problems wrapped in artistic imagery. And thank god there is Fune wo Amu for that.
Japanese Title: 逢着
I love dictionaries. Have I said that in my previous review? Probably I did and I guess I will again. I love dictionaries and not because I have an extreme love of words like Matsumoto-san and his incredible analogies about words and ships. My love for dictionaries comes from deeper, more repressed linguistic complexes about my inability to properly express myself. The first episode of Fune wo Amu enthused me, but it was the second that spoke to my heart in a way the first tried but couldn’t.
Majime is not your average introverted person. He suffers from a sort of social anxiety that you need to have felt to properly relate with. He has no cell phone because there is no one he needs to contact on a regular basis. That means no friends and no close family. His favorite hobby is to watch people orderly enter the escalators, a sign of a mind that works a little differently from the majority. He has yet to discover his deepest desire but the chance to work somewhere where words are of importance makes him question his own ability to express himself. He may have read thousands of books but he still lacks a way to connect with the people around him in a meaningful matter. His only true connection is his ‘bosom buddy’, the old lady who owns the house in which he lives. She has become so accustomed to his presence (and she is probably good in reading people) that she can bring out the best in him. In her presence he feels more capable of expressing his thoughts. ‘It’s all about give and take’, she tells him. In order to have a good working relationship with his co-workers he just needs to be himself.
Majime might feel anxious of how he is going to work in a team, but the truth is that I envy him. His co-workers are as bit as ‘weird’ as he is albeit in their own personal way. Their passion is evident in what they are doing as the very first thing is indicative of what their purpose is: to create a modern medium-sized dictionary that will help people connect to each other. Araki, Nishioka, Sasaki, and Matsumoto-sensei. They are the different cogs that will keep this machine going for the next ten years that this dictionary needs to be completed. And all those bits and pieces about how a dictionary is made gave the goosebumps. Even more than the amazing ‘encounter’ in the last scene.
Word Force Moment: We are going to have a Word Force Moment, or WFM for short, on every episode as it seems. I like the effect and it goes incredibly will with the soundtrack. My request is that they make a scene where Majime can actually manipulate the words floating in the air!
Encounter: The title refers of course to the fateful encounter at the end of the episode. Is it going to be a love story? It seems like it. I just hope it will not be as cheesy as it looks it will be.
Word Play: This time we had a word play with ‘dog’ and its carious definitions according to the context. The different connotations of the word in the various phrases we use are very interesting.
Themes & Trivia
The Big Three: ‘The Big X’ is a very common phrase we use when we want to label the biggest names in something. The ‘Big’ are usually four (the Big Four of thrash metal or the Big Four of consulting services) and when the anime mentioned the big three in Japanese medium dictionaries, I just felt that theirs is going to be the fourth. The Big Three are:
- 広辞苑 Koujien: It is for Japanese what the Oxford is for British English and the Merriam is for American. Koujien is regarded by many in Japan as the authoritative dictionary and is the one most often cited by newspaper editorialists trying to make etymological points of questionable validity.
- 大辞林 Daijirin: It was designed to compete directly with Koujien. The difference is that Koujien arranges the senses of its definitions in historical order when Daijirin puts the most common contemporary meanings first. Daijirin is the most likely to list the intended meaning where it can be found easily.
- 大辞泉 Daijisen: It’s very similar to Daijirin. Their main difference is that Daijisen has more examples from contemporary language rather than citations from classical literature.
Many people have told me that they find anime a bit too self-righteous. I disagree. Anime are just showing what we are capable of if we are true to ourselves. We all want a sense of purpose in life. We all want to be able to connect with people who are passionate about what they do and who can instill some of that passion to us. And then we all want to someday become that person who can instill passion to others. If there is a glimpse to a hope for humanity we all share, then that glimpse can be found in movies, books, series, and of course, anime.
Words are Lights
Words are the lights that guide us to a place called ‘understanding’. Words are little guides that tell us the right path to the land of ‘empathy’ and the land of ‘feelings’. Words are the sea on which the dictionary ship of Fune wo Amy will keep on sailing for the rest of the season. We need more anime like this.
NEXT TIME: Love (恋)
Fune wo Amu (The Great Passage)
Official Website: http://www.funewoamu.com/