mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Some Japanese names roll off the tongue. Hikaru no Go. Houshin Engi. Otona no Mondai. Even the long ones: Zankoku na Kami ga Shihai Suru. Hi Izuru Tokoro no Tenshi. However: Hyakki Yakou Shou does not roll. The sound of it will turn an English speaker puce. Hence it's Cent Démons from now on.

I shall write Cent Démons fic eventually, when I've reread the series in its entirety (in Japanese- can't wait for the French) *and* Garth Nix's Abhorsen as well, because the correct way of handling Aoarashi is, I think, somewhere in there. Not that too much should be made of parallels, no doubt. But as a fanfic character I see Aoarashi with 'snare and delusion' written all over him. He's the kind of creation that western writers want to do things with that are not in his nature or conception. When we play paper dolls (I date myself, don't I? Barbies, then) with Japanese characters, I fear we'll want to dress him in a witty Mephistophilean frilled shirt and those hawt Miltonic Satin pantaloons and add a drooping pink bow from, oh, Ariel I assume: Mine would, sir, were I human-- but I'm not, oh bitter bitter woe is me at being denied the bliss of possessing a human soul. My own human soul, not one I happen to have eaten for breakfast. "I feel Aoarashi *should* be an ambivalent spirit aspiring to humanity malgré lui, even if all the evidence says he isn't,' to paraphrase one school of fandom that irks me mightily.

The challenge perhaps is to write a ghost story or a weird tale or a whatever, the same way Ima does- as the forefront events happening against a backdrop of social comedy. Much of the social comedy comes from the juxtaposition of the mundane accepted and the irrational otherworldly and the attempt to treat the inconveniences of the latter with the coping mechanisms of the former. Ritsu must pass his entrance exams. As a consequence Ritsu is attacked by a host of gloomy bogles that make the air in his house unbreathable. The ancient curse of the Iijimas appears again- juku!

I'm torn by this approach. My French half thinks social comedy is the best balancer these peculiarly insane stories could have, and there should be more of it. My English half is outraged at this frivolity in the middle of a serious blood-curdling genre. What next? Comic song and dance routines with the birds? (Yes. Drunken birds.)

My ponderings on possible stories to tell so far have only brought up the implied parallels of Aoarashi slumming among the humans- "your world is fascinating- your customs and your food- I learn something new every day"- and a westerner playing the Theme Park Japan game. ("Your country is fascinating- your customs and your food- and your bois/ girls are HAWT!!!') The twist might be that while the gaijin lacks what to the Japanese is common sense (often another name for common courtesy) he might well be possessed of- OK, use the French- 'une certaine sensibilité aux esprits.' But maybe not Japanese ones. Must go bone up on NFLD folklore to see what's there besides ghostly lighthouse keepers.
Tags: 100demons, ima_ichiko, manga, reading, writing
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