[MCS-HS] Da Garn 42, [GUIS & H-S] Kakuranger 34-39 DVD released! September 7, 2013Posted by sgtkira in da garn, Kakuranger.
Da Garn 42
Da Garn is coming to a close, folks, and each and every episode is getting more and more action packed! It’s strange, there’s so much going on, yet this episode going into maximum speechdrive and makes you feel like a terrible person for not having as much of an awesome view of the world as these characters do. Seriously, walk out of this feeling like a good person. I dare you.
Kaku is getting really good too! It keeps on getting better and better, and we’re getting into the last 10 episodes, where things start to really heat up, and get plain ol’ weird. This is Kaku we’re talking about though, so I don’t think much has changed, eh?
Lynx’s notes are under the cut, as always!
Kakure 34 Notes
This episode gets a prominent mention in episode 4 of Akibaranger’s first season.
[05:05.11] I am! Because I am… Sunakake-Baba!
Sunakake-Baba was a witch who walked around shrines and in forests, scattering sand. As stated the episode, there are stories of Sunakake-Baba that stood on treetops or shrine gates to scatter their sand (or simply make the noise of scattering sand). Her stories originate from the southern Nara and Hyogo prefectures. She wasn’t an especially malevolent or benevolent yokai, instead having relatively little interaction with humans at all.
As Japanese folklore goes, she was a rather obscure yokai. She was never drawn in any of the vintage yokai manuals that helped solidify the appearances of other, more popular yokai. This may have lead to theories that Sunakake-Baba had no physical form, or perhaps concealed it due to their ugliness.
The idea that Sunakake-Baba looks like an old human woman is relatively recent. It originates from the 1959 manga Gegege no Kitaro, which features a heroic Sunakake-Baba who looks like an old woman wearing Japanese clothing. This depiction is most often repeated in other works of Japanese pop culture, like anime, games, and more recent manga. Kakuranger parodies this depiction a bit, making its Sunakake-Baba a large-chested older woman who’s on the prowl for a husband.
[19:49.08] Next time, on Yuugen Jikkou… just kidding.
“Yuugen Jikkou” is a Japanese proverb that means, roughly, to be as good as your word or to make good on a promise. It’s capitalized in the line because it’s part of the title of another TV show, Yuugen Jikkou Chouchoutrian (also called Shushutorian in English, sometimes).
The joke here references the fact that Hirose Satomi, who plays Tsuruhime, also played one of the three protagonists in Chouchoutrian. The other two were played by Tanaka Yoriko and Ishibashi Kei, who’ll guest star in Kakuranger 35. Since the next episode preview is being read in-character by Tsuruhime, she’s basically breaking the fourth wall and pretending, for a moment, that she’s about to do a next episode preview for Chouchoutrian, not Kakuranger.
Yuugen Jikkou Chouchoutrian was the final entry in Toei’s long-running Fushigi Comedy series, which targeted younger children and girls. It’s not the most famous show from the franchise (usually overshadowed by Bishoujo Kamen Poitrine), but still fairly noteworthy in its own right. These days, it’s probably most famous for having a bizarre cameo appearance by Ultraman in episode 40, in which the three heroines transform into giants and help him fight the famous Alien Baltan. You can watch that cameo here [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1luDFcpLOBk], with no context whatsoever.
Kakure 35 Notes
See the episode 34 notes for a bit more information on this episode’s gimmick, specifically why they’re doing a whole episode about Tsuruhime’s best friends we’ve never seen before. tl;dr version: Tsuruhime’s actress was in the Fushigi Comedy show Yuugen Jikkou Chouchoutrian with this episode’s two guest stars.
[03:57.39] I am Hosogawa Fumie!
We have no friggin’ idea what’s up with this line. If you do, contact us and we’ll amend the notes accordingly. This is definitely not a reference to idol Hosokawa Fumie, who you’ll get hits for if you search for this name on Google.
[04:47.94] I wish to view the status of your plan to turn humans into yokai through controlled education.
Kakuranger’s dipping into social commentary again. Kanri kyoiku, which we’re translating as “controlled education,” is also sometimes translated as “managed education” or “rigid regimentation.” It was a specific instruction style that a lot of Japanese schools used throughout the 70s and 80s.
The idea behind kanri kyoiku was that students were too young and ill-informed to make important decisions for themselves, and so they should not be allowed to make meaningful choices in school. Instead, adults should control all aspects of the students development and make the right choices for them until they become adults. Unsurprisingly, kanri kyoiku instruction programs focused on teaching students to value self-discipline, conformity, and respect for authority.
It should also be unsurprising that kanri kyoiku has become controversial in modern Japan, and its use in actual instruction has declined (though not disappeared). This episode of Kakuranger would’ve been shot and filmed just as Japanese attitudes were beginning to turn again kanri kyoiku. Critics increasingly accused kanri kyoiku of being an excessively harsh and rigid style of instruction that failed to teach critical thinking and problem solving skills. This episode of Kakuranger, though obviously a cartoonish exaggeration, embodies that criticism perfectly.
Kamaitachi was popularized by the stories of scholar and artist Toriyama Sekien in the Hyakki Yagyo series. Sekien imagined a kamaitachi to be a trio of weasels with long, sickle-like claws that could glide on gusts of wind. Kamaitachi would attack humans by having one weasel knock the victim over, another slash at their legs, and the third treat the wounds so that they would quickly close over. The weasels are sometimes described as brothers or triplets. Kamaitachi based on this version of the folklore are quite common in manga, anime, and video games.
Kamaitachi’s original folklore comes from Japan’s mountainous central Chubu region. The terrain and climate meant that mountain travelers who weren’t careful to cover their skin could easily suffer from sever windburn by the end of the day. Modern people know that windburn is simply a form of sunburn, and can be prevented in the same ways. Unaware of the true nature of windburn, ancient Japanese travelers struggled to explain why they would find painful red “gashes” on exposed skin only at the end of the day. Stories about Kamaitachi were one way of explaining this away. Many of the oldest tales of yokai have similar origins.
Episode 36 Notes
This yokai is more commonly know by the name baku. It is one of many imports from Chinese folklore, a supernatural creature believed to have the power to eat dreams and nightmares. It was believed that experiencing a nightmare could lead to bad fortune in the waking world, so the baku was thought of as a beneficial yokai. Like most yokai, it was at best amoral, and should be treated cautiously. A too-hungry baku might eat your good dreams, including hopes and ambitions, as well as your nightmares. Sometimes the baku is considered more of a holy creature than a mere yokai, and venerated alongside dragons and kirin as mankind’s allies.
A baku could be called upon after waking up from a nightmare, and a talisman made in a baku’s image by your bed would ward off bad dreams and evil spirits. If you slept under or upon a baku’s pelt, it would protect you from illnesses and malicious spirits. Baku were thought to swarm in areas being ravaged by plague, so they could feast upon the nightmares of the dying. Baku had no power to manipulate or control nightmares, and did not kill humans intentionally. Those aspects of Bakuki were dreamed up by Kakuranger’s writers.
The word “baku” in Japanese can refer either to the yokai, or to a real-life animal called the tapir. As a result, many modern pop culture depictions of the yokai baku imagine its appearance to be based on the tapir. Descriptions of baku’s appearance in folklore treated it as a chimera, typically including an elephant’s trunk and a tiger’s paws. It was also sometimes given the body of a bear, the eyes of a rhinoceros, and the tail of an ox. Bakuki’s appearance in Kakuranger doesn’t seem inspired by either concept.
[15:02.82] You pathetic novice!
The word we’re translating as novice is “aonisai,” which means… well, “novice.” Ninjaman always loses his temper when someone calls him that, so we thought we’d unpack it a bit. Even though Ninjaman is over a thousand years old, he’s still just the apprentice of the Heavenly Triad, and more prone to making mistakes. The “ao” in aoinisai is the same as the “ao” in “aoi,” the Japanese word for the color blue. In Japanese, “ao” can also reference green things, and could be used to refer to the general idea of unripeness (as in the term “greenhorn,” which would’ve worked for “aoinisai” if English didn’t treat green and blue as unrelated colors). So “novice” seemed like the best way to get that aspect of it across. Ninjaman cannot, cannot stand being called a newbie by the monsters he’s trying to fight.
Episode 37 Notes
[06:51.87] … the yokai, Karakasa!
Karakasa is the “umbrella ghost” yokai, a monster born from umbrellas that reach a certain age. Karakasa resemble umbrellas, but may have arms, legs, and one or two eyes. Although images of Karakasa are common in folklore, there are no major legends about it. Fortunately, Karakasa has become tremendously popular in Japanese pop culture. Probably its most famous film depiction is in the Yokai Monsters film trilogy, where it’s depicted as a one-eyed umbrella with arms and a long tongue. This depiction has inspired many others. Kakuranger’s idea of Karakasa being a dancer doesn’t have any basis in folklore.
Episode 38 Notes
One general note about this episode. You’ll notice that Jiraiya has spoken normally in recent episodes, but that this one reverts him to something closer to his original speech pattern. This is meant to reflect the way the episode is written, as it spontaneously depicts Jiraiya as speaking much worse Japanese than he has in other recent episodes. Future episodes after this one return to Jiraiya speaking normally, so probably this was just meant as a bit of nostalgia for Jiraiya’s debut episodes.
[01:52.39] The ancient ushioni were oni with the faces of bulls.
The Japanese word “oni” is often translated as “ogre,” but oni are also similar to demons and trolls. Generally, oni are considered a type of yokai. Depicition of oni art and popular culture usually give them two horns on top of their heads, which is the basis of the “bull horn” imagery used in this episode. Oni have a mythological association with both bulls and tigers. Oni are often depicted wearing tiger pelts, if humanoid, or with a tiger’s stripes.
Ushioni in mythology is exactly as the episode describes it, an oni that has the head of a bull. Rather than being a bipedal sort of oni, mythological ushioni are more likely to have ox-like bodies. They also have an association with the sea, and are likely to live in oceans or mountain lakes. They have hideous tempers and are quite likely to kill any human who crosses their path. Even if you somehow manage to kill an ushioni, it’s likely to lay an evil curse upon you and your family.
In a handful of tales, ushioni are shapeshifters who can assume human shape. In these stories, they often take on the bodies of women, which they use to deceive and attack human men. This may be the basis for Ushioni’s ability, in Kakuranger, to transform humans into oni like itself. We have no idea why those humans become obsessed with stealing. Like many other Kakuranger yokai, the variety of Ushioni tales make it ideal fodder for games, manga, and other forms of Japanese pop art. The idea that Ushioni has become a rifleman is, obviously, to parlay the creature’s bull motif into a Western cowboy motif.
[02:36:20] Onigashima Land
“Onigashima” literally means “Oni Island.” In folklore, Onigashima is an island infested with oni who are later slain by the folk hero Momotaro. Ninjaman’s line at 04:01.91 references this famous feat. There is a real island thought to be the inspiration for Onigashima. Its modern name is Megijima, and it lies in the Seto Inland Sea in Kagawa Prefecture.
Episode 39 Notes
“Hey, kids! Did you miss me? You’ve been keeping up with Kakuranger’s adventures, haven’t you? Then you’re in for a treat! Today, I get to do more than tell the story! I’ll get to share all of Kakuranger’s secrets with you!”
This episode marks the return of the Storyteller, who stopped regularly appearing on the show as part of its first big tone shift. This is also his last appearance in the show, as the remainder of the series will continue on in the show’s more action-oriented tone. This episode writes out the Storyteller on one heck of a high note, though!
[01:37.65] My name is Nopperabo!
We mentioned this yokai back in the notes for episode 32, where the Yokai of the Week was a similar creature called nuppefuhofu. Nopperabo and nuppefuhofu are often confused for one another, but nopperabo is by far the more famous of the two.
Nopperabo is a ghost-like yokai that resembles a human, but has no face. Nopperabo enjoy frightening humans, and may impersonate someone a victim knew who passed away recently. Otherwise, they are completely harmless, a fact that Kakuranger’s Nopperabo directly references. Folk tales about nopperabo usually involve characters suddenly erasing their own faces to dramatically reveal their true nature. Nopperabo’s regeneration power in this episode doesn’t seem to reference any folk tales.
While nopperabo appear frequently in Japanese pop culture, they’re one of the few traditional yokai to transition into becoming urban legends. In both Japan and Hawaii (where Japanese culture is very influential), people in the 20th and 21st centuries have reported terrifying encounters with nopperabo. Usually these encounters are very similar to the ones described in folk tales.