Kishibe feels a little overwhelmed by the dictionary work in the latest episode of Fune wo Amu. So many words and underlining and attention to details. No wonder her head hurts! Or is that from being inebriated like Majime said? And what the hell is ‘inebriated’? Come on, Kishibe. Let’s go search our dictionaries…
Japanese Title: 血潮
There isn’t much to recap in this episode. I know I’ve been quite verbose in the previous reviews, and don’t worry, there is still much to read further down. But this episode was uneventful when it came to serious plot development, except of course the trouble with the missing word at the end. The main theme of this episode was the hard work and determination that is needed to create such a complex piece of work as a dictionary. We got to learn a few more things about how Kishibe tries to understand the way Majime’s head works. When she talks with Matsumoto-sensei, he reminds her that communication is not as simple as uttering words and assume that they will be understood; choosing the right words is equally important. And when the words are wrong, the only thing you have to do is to change them.
He may know many words, but he lacks the ability to express what he’s feeling
The rest of the episode was just a medley of the hard work involved in creating the dictionary. Miyamoto needs to do two more revisions before he brings the perfect sample book, but he manages to score a date with Kishibe. Ahh, the smell of fresh love. Majime has to negotiate with the publishing department and sell his confidence in the dictionary. He also wants to complete the dictionary before Matsumoto-sensei kicks the bucket.
After-Credits Scene: Kishibe and Miyamoto are out on their date as the rest of the gang makes sure that Kishibe won’t get ‘inebriated.’ The loved the crayon-like background drawings.
Half-Time: The little anthropomorphized dictionaries returned for their most instructing half-minute episode. More on that on the Themes section, but I want to stress the fact that this was probably the first time that the dictionaries actually taught us something, and the episode itself made sure to acknowledge that with a hyper title that read: ‘They are finally starting to teach us things in Episode 9.’
Themes & Trivia
Word of the Episode: ちしお 【血潮】
to run or pass rapidly along an indicated path
e.g. Blood courses throughout my body.
This was not an easy word to translate. At first I was puzzled since most of the online sources I checked translated the word as either ‘Course’ or ‘Blood’. While most dictionaries include the word as a noun meaning ‘blood spilt from the body’, there is a secondary meaning: ‘blood circulating within the body’, often used as a metaphor for strong emotion or hot-bloodedness.
Dictionaries, Teach us: According to our cute dictionary gang, it’s important for a dictionary to have a good balance of entries. Since the subtitles tried to localize the linguistics into English, the three letters that the Japanese language has the most words starting with are あ (a), か (ka), and さ (sa). Dictionaries should be careful not to overdo it in these categories and create a dictionary that has a healthy and balanced number of entry words.
Marketing: Even dictionaries need marketing. In our age of extreme competition among publishing companies, marketing could prove the deciding factor that could skyrocket a book’s sales. Especially now that the Social Media and the Internet have brought the world at our keyboards, everyone everywhere is trying to sell us something and marketing is the mechanism that tries to promote those sales.
Language is Alive: As a linguist, I was moved by Majime’s observation that language is alive. That words lose their former meaning and gain new, modern ones. That language evolves along with the society in which it lives in. I don’t want to go into boring details, but instead I want you to read this favorite quote from Lewis Thomas (physician, poet, etymologist, essayist, educator, and so many more):
‘Language is simply alive, like an organism. We all tell each other this, in fact, when we speak of living languages, and I think we mean something more than an abstract metaphor. We mean alive. Words are the cells of language, moving the great body, on legs. Language grows and evolves, leaving fossils behind. The individual words are like different species of animals. Mutations occur. Words fuse, and then mate. Hybrid words and wild varieties or compound words are the progeny. Some mixed words are dominated by one parent while the other is recessive. The way a word is used this year is its phenotype, but it has deeply immutable meanings, often hidden, which is its genotype…. The separate languages of the Indo-European family were at one time, perhaps five thousand years ago, maybe much longer, a single language. The separation of the speakers by migrations had effects on language comparable to the speciation observed by Darwin on various islands of the Galapagos. Languages became different species, retaining enough resemblance to an original ancestor so that the family resemblance can still be seen.’
Sneeze: My Greek upbringing was the reason the sneezing sense made absolute sense. I wasn’t going to include this entry, but the person with whom I saw the episode had no idea why Majime sneezed when Kishibe and Matsumoto-sensei talked about him in the storage room. In China, Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan, there is a superstition that when someone talks behind your back then you sneeze. The sneeze is a sophisticated radar that can also tell you if the thing said about you is bad or good: One sneeze is good, two sneezes is bad, three sneezes and the person who talks about you is also in love with you, more than that and you probably just caught a cold.
One thing that escapes me in this anime is time. The only thing that’s certain is that it’s been years since Majime joined the editorial department of The Great Passage. Probably ten years because, if my memory serves me right, that was the estimate for the completion of the dictionary. Ten years in ten episodes. That reminded the format of the popular manzai Japanese drama Spark, where each episode narrated one year in the lives of the protagonists.
What’s a penultimate episode without a pinch to solve? Many times we forget that while books and films end, in the fantastic Neverland where this characters leave theirs stories go on. Nothing ends with a credits scene, only the part of the story we were allowed to see. I just hope that this part of the story we were allowed to see in Fune wo Amu ends with the dictionary being published without any problems.
Did you like the episode? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic reviews!
NEXT TIME: Enthusiasm (矜持)
Fune wo Amu (The Great Passage)
Official Website: http://www.funewoamu.com/