Weirdness is often utilised as a derogatory term to describe a person or object. However weirdness is, in a way, a very big part of being human as what one human thinks is just plain weird another thinks is plain genius. Japanimation is a great example of how being weird is somewhat better than being the standard fare.
For example take a cult favourite like ‘Excel Saga’ or, one of my favourites, ‘Serial Experiments Lain’ as these manifest a truly Japanese weirdness inherent within their media output. Perhaps this weirdness could come down to their life style. In Japan everything is carefully regulated so that when a person goes to work they wear the same attire and behave in the same way. Japanese anime, manga, books etc are a vent for some of Japan’s weirdness as a result and probably so well loved because of that very same fact.
This is not to say that all Japanese media is weird and kooky. Take a look at Seven Samurai for a thrilling three hours of classic film. It is not weird but is a very good reflection of our very own emotions, the seven samurai personify a different personality and that is what makes the film a complete classic.
Indeed Japanese readers, or readers of any nationality, will point out the weirdness of the British and especially the English. They have a sport where one can throw a ball at another person and garner recognition from it! Seriously, “it’s just not cricket!”.
Weirdness is what characterises our very perception of different cultures and makes them great in our eyes. Take Japanese etiquette which for many westerners is a very strange thing but characterises the Japanese as very polite and extremely traditional people. The fact that these ancient forms of etiquette still exist in a constantly changing environment is something which is close to the heart of many westerners as changing times bring about a change in attitude to traditional practises. In the UK we might consider the decline in producing home-grown produce in our own country’s farms as a decline in tradition etc.
Weirdness is not such a bad thing after all is it? In the UK we might call it eccentricity as opposed to weirdness but it is that which characterises our own culture and the culture of Japan. For example we might find it weird that in Japanese anime there is this penchant for forging classic cyberpunk adventures. Or that in the UK we have an ability to create a programmes with very British people saving the universe in one form or the other.
However the King of weirdness must be the Americans producing some truly weird stuff. Japanese Horror is one thing, British eccentricity another but the American weirdness is demonstrated by one Agent Dale Cooper in a dream he had…
This article is weird itself but I hope you enjoyed it. I wanted to write an article that would take a word like “weird” and make it a word which is not a negative but a positive because in our own special and unique ways we are all weird in one way or another.
Tomorrow begins the weekly “‘Ghost in the Shell’: What’s inside the shell?” feature examining each scene from the classic film. I hope you’ll enjoy it!