I always promised myself that if I wrote a book I would have a reference list so I could put all my really obscure hints and references here. So I finally wrote a book and I can be as obscure as I want. So there. Nyaaaeeeh.
On a more practical note I did indeed write this for as wide an audience as possible and I do realize that I use a lot of terminology that is rather specialized. So if you don’t know a word or term, please look it up here. (or Wiki or Google it)
It’s also come to my attention that Wikipedia is not omnipotent after all and that some of its entries (especially those that related to Japanese media) are misinformed or in some rare cases just plain wrong. In which case, feel free to use my definitions. At the very least I’m sure you’ll find them funnier.
Anime Glossary :
Manga – Japanese comic books. Their subject matter ranges from the pornographic to the transcendental, with everything from samurai drama, modern-day spy thrillers, romantic comedy, cooking shows and bicycling competitions. You can essentially consider them the same as the modern-day graphic novel (even though the Japanese got there first, right after World War 2 actually.)
Anime – Japanese cartoons. See the above, but in animated form.
Cosplay – Dressing up as characters from the above two, and often acting out skits or performances derived from them. Nowadays cosplay has spread to basically encompassing dressing up as everything and anything from video games, Star Wars, comics, late US presidents – you name it, people do it. I’ve seen people cosplay Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders for goodness sake. (Quite well too I might add!)
Shounen manga – Manga aimed at boys, typically from the ages of 8 to 22. Usually about fighting, adventure, action and all those things guys like. A long-ago poll in Shounen Jump (see below) asked readers what they looked for in shounen manga and the responses were “friendship, hard work and victory” – a motto that has formed the basis for most works in the genre until now.
The most famous example would probably be Dragonball Z (also see below)
Shoujo manga – Manga aimed at girls, also typically from the ages of 8 to 22 (though anyone can read them, like yours truly did) They primarily deal with human relationships, especially between best friends and boyfriends, and are generally romantic in nature, but can be about a wide range of topics indeed. Almost always about Feelings and Emotions…because well you know how girls are, they love to talk about Feelings and Emotions.
Akira – Science fiction anime about psychics in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo. Very dark, bloody and violent. Also has really cool motorcycles. Was perhaps one the most popular anime series to make it to Western shores in the late 80s and early 90s, and was considered de rigueur watching for every fan back in my day.
TETSUOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! KANEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDA! Ahem. No mention of Akira is complete without saying that at some point. Sorry.
OVA/OAV – Original Video Animation, or often, Original Animation Video. Anime series have traditionally been divided into multiple methods of distribution – TV series (typically long but with low-quality animation) movies (short but with high quality animation) and OVAs (somewhere in the middle on both ends)
Nowadays, we have direct webcasts, streaming and other things as well, but for a long time (and to a certain extent, still today) these three methods comprised the bulk of anime distribution.
They made their debut during the 80s before the bubble of the Japanese economy had burst and disposable income among families there was still abundant. The typical OVA is a one hour long affair and costs about 15 to 20 USD – as you can see, pretty expensive compared to watching it on TV (which would be free) or watching a movie (which would cost less) Only really interested (or rich) fans would shell out the extra cash to watch OVAs. Nevertheless, they remained a viable price point for sales in the late 80s…vanishing almost completely during most of the 90s, and then making a resurgence of sorts in the mid 2000s and beyond.
The closest Western equivalent would be “direct-to-video” releases.
Dragonball Z – A shounen manga loosely (very loosely) based on the Chinese classic, Journey to the West. (see elsewhere in the glossary) Hard to describe completely, but think equal parts superheroes and martial arts and you get a good picture of what it’s like. Considered a classic of shounen manga, continuing to be highly influential on the genre even today.
If you’ve ever seen the meme OVER 9000 anywhere on the Internet, this is where it comes from.
Shounen Jump – a famous manga magazine devoted to well, shounen manga.
Voltron – One of the first (it may actually BE the first) giant robot anime to make it to Western shores. Four guys (and one reasonably hot princess) pilot mechanical beasts that transform into a giant robot to defend their planet against the forces of evil.
FORM HANDS AND TORSO! FORM FEET AND LEGS! FOOOOOOOOOOORM BLAAAAAAAAZING SWOOOOOO – Okay, okay, I’ll stop already.
Transformers – Transformers! More than meets the eye! Autobots wage their battle to…ok, basically a series of toys and cartoons where transforming robots fight other transforming robots to uphold peace, justice and the Cybertronian way.
You may most probably at the time of publication of this be more familiar with the Micheal Bay remake of the series, which is a travesty of the original because…ah, what the heck, people like what they like. I’ll stick with the original anyway though.
Robotech – In an age gone by where anime was called Japananimation and no one outside of diehard fans knew what the fuck it even was, Robotech was probably the most popular and well-known series of them all. For one thing it actually aired on TV, which made it a lot easier to access.
Essentially a sci-fi drama incorporating everything from transforming giant robots (gotta have those!) to singing, love triangles, politics, inter-species racism, spirituality and a lot of other things besides. That doesn’t even begin to do it justice but I only have limited space in the glossary.
A dude named Carl Macek stitched together the series from three disparate and only semi-related anime – Superdimensional Fortress Macross, Genesis Climber Mospeada, and Superdimensional Cavalry Southern Cross. The only thing they had in common was that they were all animated by the same animation studio (Tatsunoko) and as such had such similar animation styles that a Westerner watching it wouldn’t know the difference.
I hope writing this next sentence will not get me lynched and burnt at the stake, but I actually think the Western version is superior in some ways to the original Japanese series, since its interconnected nature makes for a more cohesive and deeper storyline.
Slayers – A humorous fantasy anime in which a ragtag band of wizards, warriors and priests battle demons, bandits, assorted monsters and sometimes, each other.
Heroic Legend of Arislan – A series of Japanese fantasy novels adapted into an anime, loosely based on the Persian epic, Amir Arsalan. The titular main character, Arislan, is an exiled prince who travels far and wide, gathering allies with which to take back his kingdom.
Has really, really good looking guys in it. If you don’t believe me just Google it.
Bubblegum Crisis – A 90s cyberpunk anime where a bunch of lovely ladies don armored battlesuits to fight an evil conglomerate and its legions of robots. Has absolutely nothing to do with chewing gum of any variety – the title refers to the situation in the city that the anime takes place, where the buildup of various forces has led to an atmosphere of tension like a piece of gum about to burst. (Basically, Japanese people don’t speak English very well.)
Features awesome (or very cheesy, depending on your taste) 80’s music. Priss and the Replicants!
Ranma 1/2 – Another early “first wave” anime to hit US shores. Early anime magazines described it as a “martial arts romantic comedy” and that’s probably the best definition of it there is. The protagonist, Ranma Saotome, is a strapping young man who is also an expert martial artist cursed to turn into a woman every time he is hit with cold water – and turn back into a guy when doused with hot. He is also betrothed or otherwise romantically entangled with four women who are also expert martial artists of various strengths and abilities. Hijinks ensue.
YuYuHakusho – One of the classics of shounen manga. A high-school student, Yuusuke Urameshi, dies in a freak accident and goes to the underworld to get involved in a lot of fights (and I mean a LOT of fights)
An oldie but goodie, IMHO of course. Not only are the fight scenes excellent, this was one the first shounen series to focus on interpersonal relationships instead of just battle and adventure (not that there is anyone wrong with the those) I must admit at this point that I have not actually watched the series nor read the manga past the first few volumes…but it’s good! I swear!
The artist of this work also married the author of the below entry.
Sailor Moon – One of the truest classics of anime there is (along with Evangelion and Dragonball) Features high school girls transforming into warriors of love and justice to battle evil in the light of the moon. While they’re not doing that, they talk about school and relationships. And eternal love.
Maison Ikkoku – A comedy romance manga about the misadventures of a hapless college dropout, Yuusaku Godai, and his stay of residence at a dormitory filled with weirdos. He also has a huge crush on the landlady of said apartment.
Vampire Hunter D – Sci-fi gothic drama (you don’t see that combination often!) where the titular half-vampire hunter D goes around hunting other vampires. Bears more than a slight resemblance to Castlevania (see game glossary)
Project A-Ko – Slightly (ok…more than slightly) risque comedy anime about the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman who gets into all sorts of scrapes. Like most anime, really hard to define and pin down using western genres and tropes. Features a little bit of everything – giant robots, dancing, lesbian crushes, and missiles…lots of missiles.
Tokusatsu – Remember the Power Rangers? Well, in Japan, there is a whole genre of that one show, featuring people wearing spandex fighting other people in giant rubber suits, complete with explosions in the background. Also known as sentai, which literally means “fighting group.”
-kun – Japanese honorific indicating a degree of closeness, typically used for younger males or males of similar age. Translation depends on context (as always!) but a common one is usually “my boy” or “my lad.”
Gundam – The semi-unofficial religion of Japan. Naah, I’m just kidding. (well, sort of) The most famous mecha series ever. Each series tends to be distinct from each other, and the content can range from boyband lookalikes fighting a guerrilla war (Gundam Wing) to giant robots using kungfu in futuristic Hong Kong (G Gundam) and well, everything in between.
Want to know how popular it is in Japan? Think Star Wars meets Star Trek levels of popularity. There is a full-size Gundam model in Shizuoka, if that’s any indication.
G Gundam – An installment in the Gundam series which features giant robots using various kinds of martial arts in tournaments worldwide. The main character, Domon Kasshu, travels the world trying to find his older brother and kicks a lot of ass along the way. It’s sometimes campy and extremely dramatic nature puts it at odds with the more realistic style of most Gundam series.
My sister’s favorite Gundam series of all time. She has been known to threaten people with grievous bodily harm if they disparage it in any way.
Yaoi – Hardcore male homosexual anime/manga. Also known as BL, or Boys Love. Back when I first knew about it it was just referred to mainly as yaoi though.
Etymologically its origins are either “yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi” (no peak, no fall, no meaning) a self-depreciating look at its humble origins, or for the more dirty minded, “yamete, oshiri ga itai” (stop it, my butt hurts)
Mecha – Giant humanoid robots. This is easily the clearest and most concise definition in the entire glossary.
Super Robot – Generally speaking, the giant robot genre in Japanese animation and games is divided into two categories – the more realistic “Real Robots” (hence the name) the most well-known example of those being Mobile Suit Gundam, and the exaggerated, cartoony “Super Robots”, the most famous example of that being Mazinger Z.
To an American audience, the best example of a “Real Robot” would be Robotech, and a Super Robot would be Voltron. This glossary is already so geeky I won’t explain things any further.
However, note that Super Robot Wars features robots from both genres, so it’s more SUPER Robot Wars and not SUPER ROBOT Wars.
Great Teacher Onizuka – A manga about a juvenile delinquent who somehow becomes a teacher at a high-class academy. Was pretty popular back in the day, and at its satirical best it actually approaches social commentary.
Newtype – A key concept in Mobile Suit Gundam. Essentially, when humanity moved to the stars, the new environment and increased freedom of space were supposed to ensure that humans evolved into a state in which they were able to understand each other better and thus remove the need for the endless conflict that has so plagued mankind for its entire existence.
A kinder, better and new type (hence the name) of human. Needless to say, this did not happen, and much war, devastation and sale of plastic models ensued.
It is also the name of the oldest anime magazines in existence.
Gundam Build Fighters – An installment of the Gundam anime series, this one focuses on the models of the robots and not the robots themselves. In a world where Gunpla are really REALLY popular, people from all over the globe gather to compete in tournaments where they battle each other with plastic models. Sort of like Pokemon meets Gundam I guess.
Though obviously created to sell more Gunpla (there are five minutes advertisements before every episode…) it’s a good series, especially if you are a Gundam fan.
Reiji – Deuterogamist of the above. The hot-headed, brave and determined prince of Arian. Never backs down from a fight. I really like him if you can’t tell.
Gunpla – Plastic models of the robots in Gundam. Huge business worldwide, bigger than you might think.
Akihabara – A district in Tokyo in which is famous for anime/manga/gaming material, adult goods and electronics. Often referred to the “holy land” of otaku.
Zeta Gundam – One of the older Gundam series. Our erstwhile blue-haired protagonist, Camille Bidan, gets caught up in an interstellar war between two opposing sides. You can think of him as the anime equivalent of Holden Caulfield (from the Catcher in the Rye) – cynical, bitter and more than a bit of an idealist – he thinks all adults are phony but is forced in many ways to be one anyway.
Rurouni Kenshin – Anime series about a reformed swordsman in feudal Japan who, after his involvement in many long and bloody battles, swears never to kill again. IMHO the later installments are better than the original TV series.
Catgirl – Females who have both feline and human features, typically the ears and tails. In other cases they may have also have the slit eyes present in cats as well, and rarely, whiskers. Often also possess the personality traits and mannerisms of felines. The cutest and hottest things in the Universe.
Shinkon Gattai Godannar – A Super Robot series dealing with romantic relationships of all kinds (marriage, dating, divorce, workplace) as well as the battle against giant beasts out to destroy mankind.
Gun X Sword – Mecha meets Western. The main character’s wife is killed on his wedding day and he roams the world trying to find the person who did her in.
Code Geass – An alternate history mecha anime in which Britain is the world’s only superpower and takes over Japan and most of the world besides. A Britannian prince in exile, Lelouch Lamperouge, is given the ability to cause any person to obey an order he gives once by a mysterious girl known as C.C. He then uses that, his formidable charisma, intellect and oratorical skills to wage a war against his former homeland.
It gets a lot more complicated from then on in. Probably the only mecha anime in which giving speeches is a more powerful tool than missiles or lasers.
Gurren Lagaan – The Super Robot series to end all Super Robot series…ok my bias is showing. Starts out with two teenagers, Shimon and Kamina, who live underground with other humans, rebelling against the tyranny of their beastmen overlords. Ends up with them and their motley crew of rebels going to the farthest reaches of the Universe in bigger and badder giant robots.
Hentai – Hardcore erotic content of any variety – games, animation, comics etc. The word literally means “pervert”, but in an interesting case of linguistic shift has grown to encompass any X-rated content from Japan.
H-Game – Hentai game. Video games (typically on the PC) which contain hardcore erotic content. Though that may not be the focus of the game (some of the best wargames I’ve played have been H-Games) any game with erotic content automatically is considered a H-Game and can only be legally sold to non-minors over the age of 18.
Doujinshi – the visual equivalent of fanfiction, fan drawn comics. Primarily of the erotic variety (about 90% of doujinshi are hentai doujinshi, and about 70% of that are yaoi doujinshi) but they do not need to be.
Otaku – A huge fan of anything, not necessarily anime. In the West though, has largely become synonymous with being an anime fan. Has very different meanings in Japanese and English, but any interested reader can easily find out more about the term’s linguistic history and as such I’m not going to define it further here.
Vampire Princess Miyu – A horror fantasy anime about a female vampire and her undead servant who are tasked with returning their former compatriots back to the world from whence they came.
Angel Sanctuary – Manga about fallen angels who wear copious amount of leather and lace. The story follows the exploits of one Setsuna Mudou, who, upon discovering he is the reincarnation of one of the most infamous angels of all Hell and Heaven, embarks on a quest to save the soul of his younger sister. Gets a lot more complicated from there on in. Biblical allusions (both heretical and orthodox) abound.
Vandread – Mecha anime about a galactic civilization where men live on one planet and women on the other. Both constantly war with each other (just like in real life!) and giant robots figure into the story at some point. Great opening, mediocre series.
Machine Robo – Old 80s anime series about humanoid robots who fight other evil humanoid robots using pretty awesome martial arts. Was brought over to the USA as Go-Bots. If you can remember that you’re at least as old as I am.
Honou no Tenkousei (The Blazing Transfer Student) – Manga series about a dude who transfers into a school full of weirdos where all disputes are settled by fighting. Wish I went to school there…might have actually graduated.
Mahoromatic – Anime about a robot girl who was a former soldier but now serves the son of her former master as a maid. She also tells everyone that perverted things are bad. Good series but I can’t say that I agree with her sentiments.
Full Metal Alchemist – Anime about two alchemist brothers who are trying to restore their bodies to their previous state after a failed experiment, set in a world similar to 1950s Europe. Extremely popular in the USA at one time. I’m not a big fan…which has caused many upsets between my friends and I throughout the years.
Shoujo Kakumei Utena – Shoujo anime in which a girl named Tenjou Utena (who has wanted to be a prince ever since meeting one while younger) is transferred to a school and meets the Rose Bride, a mysterious girl named Himemiya Anthy. Has a marked trend towards the absurdist, surreal and metaphorical and is filled with all kinds of literary allusions and references. Also completely incomprehensible to most straight males.
Ai no Kusabi – Literally, Wedge of Love. A Japanese science-fiction novel adapted into a anime. Like it says in the main text, a post-apocalyptic homosexual love story. Very dark and tragic…I know of no one who doesn’t tear up while watching the ending.
Kamen Rider – Or Masked Rider. The most famous of the tokusatsu genre (see above) a series of live-action dramas that typically feature a suited hero with an insect motif battling humanoid monsters. Often really cheesy, but cool.
Macross – A series of science fiction mecha anime, perhaps second only in popularity to the venerable Mobile Suit Gundam. Each installment often differs wildly in content but always has three things – love triangles, singing and transformable giant robots.
Macross Seven – An installment in the Macross series. Rock singer Basara Nekki and his band play music and hold concerts in space to beat back the forces of the Protodeviln, a strange race of aliens that can suck out the lifeforce from humans.
Features perhaps the only mecha I’ve ever seen that can be controlled by playing a guitar.
Valkyrie : Or Veritech in the American adaptation. A transformable mecha from Robotech, which can switch between fighter plane mode, a humanoid form and a mix between the two.
Deedlit – A female elf from the anime Record of Lodoss War.
Record of Lodoss War – Sort of an anime version of Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons. A high fantasy epic with great art and one of the most beautiful anime opening songs of all time, Adesso E Fortuna.
Ayukawa Madoka – The female lead from the anime and manga Kimagure Orange Road. Considered at one point one of the beauties of the anime world.
Kimagure Orange Road – Classic romance shoujo manga about the misadventures of a psychic high school student, Kasuga Kyousuke, and his romantic entanglements.
Crunchyroll – A live streaming service for anime and related content. If you live in the USA, you should be able to turn on your TV and find it in like five seconds.
You’re Under Arrest – Combination action and comedy anime and manga featuring two lovely neighborhood police officers and their peacekeeping efforts.
Kodomo no Omocha, often shortened to Kodocha (Child’s Toy) – Comedy anime and manga about the life and misadventures of a child actress, Kurata Sana, and her family. Despite its seemingly childish exterior is an examination of weighty societal issues such as divorce, bullying, child neglect and unpaid mortgages.
3×3 Eyes – Shounen fantasy manga about an immortal, three-eyed girl and her servant/boyfriend as they travel the world to uncover the secrets of her past and undying nature. A lot more romantic than most shounen manga at that time, which is probably why I was so into it as a preteen.
Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star) : Extremely bloody and violent shounen manga about the adventures of a martial artist named Kenshiro who travels through a post-apocalyptic world, protecting the weak and innocent and causing the body parts of bad guys to explode with extreme prejudice. He’s sort of like some combination of Bruce Lee/Jesus/Buddha/Chuck Norris. Heavily influenced by the Mad Max series of films.
If you’re reading this entry, then you’re already dead.
Naruto – Fishcake with a swirled design, often found in ramen. (Japanese noodles) Oh, you don’t mean the food…
Extremely popular manga and anime about the exploits of a young ninja, Naruto Uzumaki, as he battles evil and does the most un-ninja like things ever in a fantasy world loosely based on ancient Japan.
Everyone keeps on expecting me to like this since I’m an anime fan but it doesn’t really do anything for me. First part was decent though.
Bleach – You know, the cleaning agent? You add it to clothes, makes them whiter…oh, you mean the anime and manga series.
It’s about the adventures of a Japanese teenager (always has to be a Japanese teenager…) Ichigo Kurosaki, who obtains the powers and duties of a god of death and then has to engage in various activities ranging from protecting humans to defeating evil spirits.
Despite its immense popularity across the globe, I must say that I’m not a huge fan. Most of the women are really good-looking though. (especially Yoruichi!)
Attack on Titan – Anime and manga series about a fantasy world set in the equivalent of medieval Europe in which people live in huge walled cities built to keep out marauding giants. The story follows Eren Yaeger, a youth whose mother has been killed by one of them, as he swears to kill…every…last…titan!
I cannot watch this series without thinking…people! Just build goddamn pits already! Forget the fancy-schmancy ropes and wires and gears, just dig pits, cover them and let the giants WALK INTO THEM. Problem solved!
I know there is a necessary suspension of disbelief in fiction, but the series takes it too far IMHO.
JAM Project – Anisong band, probably THE most famous anisong band. Comprised of a variety of anime song singers (each popular solo artists in their own right) they have a rotating membership as members join and leave due to other commitments. Their name stands for Japanese Animationsong Makers.
Masaaki Endou – One of the key members of JAM Project. Known for extremely powerful and deep vocals, and shouting.
He did a kick-ass cover of the Power Rangers theme song.
Lina Inverse – The main character of Slayers (see above) A teenage sorceress renowned through the land for her prodigious magical ability, rapacious nature, hot temper and small chest.
I always thought she was pretty cute myself…then again, I’m a sucker for redheads both real and virtual.
Naga the Serpent – Lina’s rival from the above. Known for her magical ability (not as strong as Lina’s, to her eternal regret), maniacal laughter, crazy personality and large chest. (which she never fails to brag to her rival about)
I don’t know…am I the only Slayers fan to find her laughter sexy instead of off-putting?
Video Game Glossary :
Moon Patrol – A really old computer and arcade game in which you control a buggy on the surface of the moon heading to a series of unknown destinations. You fight off aliens, jump over pits and try your best not to explode into pieces on your way to the finish line. I always found the pits worse than the aliens.
Space Invaders – …really? I’m not going to define this one.
Super Mario Brothers – Ditto. Unless you live under a rock you should know what this is.
The Legend of Zelda – One of the most famous video game series of all time. (I know I use that phrase a lot, but really, it is.) The original was for the NES (see below) but each entry in the series involves the principal protagonist, a green-hatted youth named Link, saving the world from a variety of evils.
No, the PRINCESS’S name is Zelda, not the main character’s. This fact has confused many a non-gamer.
Darknut – A hostile evil knight in the Legend of Zelda series. The blue ones are tougher.
NES – Nintendo Entertainment System. The first ever gaming console to enjoy incredible mass-market success, influencing an entire generation of young minds worldwide (like yours truly) as well as having adults forever conflate any kind of gaming with “Nintendo.” Parents, if you are reading this, there’s a lot more to video games than just Nintendo and I hope reading the book helps you understand that.
SNES – Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The successor to the NES. Did not enjoy the explosive popularity of the former but was still reasonably successful.
Sega Genesis – Also known as the Megadrive in Europe and Japan. A gaming console created by Sega which debuted a few years after the Nintendo Entertainment System, as well as proving a competitor to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Pooyan – old NES game in which you play a pig that defends her babies from wolves on an elevator-like contraption.
Dragon Spirit – In a nutshell, a shooting game where a guy turns into a dragon to save his lady love.
Megaman – Also known as Rockman in Japan. One of the classics of video game history. The basic premise is that good robot fights other bad robots to save the world…but like most things it has gotten more complicated over the ages. Capcom, stop messing up the franchise already and give us another bona fide Mega Man title!
Contra – Possibly the first instance of the “run-and-gun” genre of games. Two Rambo-looking guys spray copious amount of bullets at bad guys.
Castlevania – One of my favorite series of games ever. Gothic horror adventures in a variety of genres (almost always action adventure though) and beautiful, BEAUTIFUL music. (and art!)
Super Adventure Island – One of the oldest platformers (a genre of games like the original Super Mario Brothers) featuring a guy running around in his undies throwing axes at turtles on a skateboard. I kid you not.
Phantasy Star – an early series of JPRGs which blended magic, technology and spirituality in an incredible combination. Due to their anime-inspired art, they were probably also instrumental in contributing to my lifelong love of the artform. I love Phantasy Star so much (the original four games) that I seriously don’t dare to define it any further.
Goomba – An enemy from Super Mario Brothers, an evil mushroom with a bad attitude who will walk off ledges if you let them.
Koopas – Also an enemy from Super Mario Brothers, antagonistic turtles which come in various shapes, sizes and colors.
A Link to the Past – The third installment of the Legend of Zelda series, and considered by many (like yours truly) to be the best one, despite the horrible pun in the title of the game.
RPG – Role Playing Game. Like it says on the tin, a game in which the players assume the roles of characters and play them out in a variety of settings. The first and perhaps most famous of its kind is Dungeons and Dragons, which then spawned many other others in many shapes, sizes and types, electronic and otherwise. In the book I tend to usually refer to RPGs on gaming consoles and PCs.
Tabletop RPG – An RPG played with papers, dice and pens in non-electronic format. The first and best example of this is the aforementioned Dungeons and Dragons.
JRPG – Japanese Role-Playing Game. Distinguished from its Western counterparts (often referred to as WRPGs) by being in Japanese (no duh) and often being more linear and story-driven. Almost always of the electronic variety. Its early roots are primarily high fantasy, but have since expanded to include genres as diverse as post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and basically almost anything in between. One of the most internationally well-known JRPG titles is Final Fantasy, which I reference multiple times in the main narrative.
Final Fantasy – One of the most popular (if not THE most popular) JRPG series. Each game is different in theme, genre and execution but they are generally fantasy-styled (hence the name) adventures. Except for a few notable installments, the games do not bear any relation to each other except for the title.
Yes, don’t ask me why there are 15 installments of a series called FINAL Fantasy…
Military Madness – Or Nectaris in Japanese. A sci-fi wargame for the Turbografx-16 (a system I never owned) Short on story, long on tactics. A good game all around though.
Warsong – Or Langrisser in Japanese. A fantasy wargame for the Sega Genesis that I spent many hours playing in my childhood with friends. Incredible tactical depth, beautiful women and an amazing hard-rock soundtrack.
Herzog Zwei – In German, Duke Two. A sci-fi wargame for the Sega Genesis. Pretty revolutionary for its time, it introduced many concepts which are commonplace in games of all genres today.
MMORPG – Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Online equivalent of an RPG. Basically, a whole bunch of players (up to thousands) play the same game at the same time in a virtual world. Players pay a monthly or yearly fee, as opposed to a single purchase.
Ragnarok Online – A Korean MMORPG with cute art but horribly boring gameplay. Yes, this is a complete value judgment on my part. Probably one of the few games I’ve ever played where you can literally beat enemies to death with money though.
Fighting game – A genre of video games where each player controls a character and dukes it out against another one controlling another character. Often focused on martial arts, swordplay and other melee activities. The most popular example of this would be Street Fighter.
Street Fighter – A fighting game franchise featuring martial artists of varying styles from around the world fighting each other for various reasons. Has come a long way from its humble origins.
Ken and Ryu – the main characters of Street Fighter.
Valis – Old side-scrolling adventure game series for the Sega Genesis, where Yuko Ahso, a Japanese schoolgirl, wields the sword of Valis to defend Earth against invading hordes.
Cham – Female character from the above. Initially wants to kill Yuko but ends up helping her instead. Has the most adorable ears and leather armor.
World of Warcraft – An extremely popular MMORPG – to give you an idea of how popular, it has over a few million subscribers. And a movie. If you live in the USA (or even if you don’t) chances are you know someone or someone’s relative who plays it. Despite my bias towards Japanese games I played it as well for a while.
Taki – A female ninja from the Soul Calibur series of games. Tasked with destroying the cursed blade Soul Edge, she travels the world with her twin blades, Rekkimaru and Mekkimaru, seeking out and punishing evil.
She’s also really hot.
Soul Calibur – A tale of swords and souls, eternally retold…no wait that’s just the opening narration. A series of fighting games from Namco Bandai where warriors from all over the world wielding a plethora of weapons face off each against each other for various reasons.
Most of the use of weapons in each game is extremely realistic and fluid, which was probably another reason why I was so taken with it. The in-game kata (choreographed movement patterns somewhat akin to a stylized dance) are truly beautiful to watch. As are most of the women.
Wild Arms – A series of JRPGs for the Playstation 1 and 2. Combines the Wild West with a fantasy theme, along with strong characters and incredible, incredible music.
Illusion of Gaia – Action adventure game for the SNES, in which the main protagonist travels the world finding ancient relics and trying to uncover the secrets of human existence.
Actraiser – A game for the SNES in which you control a deity who protects and leads his people by both guiding them to build houses and homes, as well as imbuing a statue with his essence to defeat any evil that might threaten them.
Soul Blazer – Or Soul Blader in Japanese, a sequel to Actraiser where all humans in the world have died because of a pact that the human king has made with the devil. An angel from the previous game is reincarnated in human form to kick ass and save souls.
Ogre Battle – A fantasy strategy wargame for the SNES. A million things to customize, hundreds of classes to choose from, more than 10 endings, and lots of moral choices to be made. All that and great music besides.
Hitoshi Sakimoto – A famous composer of video game music. Generally known for a classical and European approach to music.
Yasunori Mitsuda – Another famous composer of video game music. His style is more Mediterranean and ethnic. He composed the music for the below two entries.
Xenogears : A JRPG from Square Enix (the makers of Final Fantasy) which follow the adventures of Fei Fong Wong and his compatriots as they attempt to uncover the truth behind their existence and the mysteries of the Universe. Draws heavily from the works of Freud, Jung as well as Gnostic cosmology.
Xenosaga : The spiritual successor to the former, a series of JRPGs from Namco which are a blend of philosophical discourse, religious and spiritual exploration and science fiction. Like the above, just more of the same.
Chrono Trigger – One of the classics of the SNES era of video games. A JPRG in which a spiky-haired youth (rule 1 of JRPGS…main character always has spiky hair) travels through time with his friends to save the world and eternity as we know it.
Front Mission – A series of wargames featuring giant robots in a semi-futuristic setting set in humanity’s near future. Known for realism (as far as anything with giant robots in it can be considered realistic…) and political settings which closely mirror that of real world geopolitics.
Final Fantasy Tactics – An fantasy wargame installment of the Final Fantasy series (see above) A War of the Roses-esque feud between two countries leaves our young protagonist, highborn Ramza Beoulve, stuck in the middle and attempting to resolve things even as forces unknown to him operate in the background. Intricate storyline, Shakespearean-quality dialogue, great gameplay and fantastic music.
I’m now going to say something here that I’ve been saying for the past six years or so…Game of Thrones has nothing, nothing, NOTHING on FFT. You want fantasy with politics? FFT beats the pants off anything I’ve ever read.
Sorry for me venting my spleen back there. Fanboy moment.
Guilty Gear – Series of fighting games noted for extremely fast-paced and aggressive gameplay, bizarre characters and an awesome heavy metal soundtrack.
Breath of Fire 2 – Another JRPG from the SNES era. Hero from the clan of dragons goes on quest to well, save the world. One installment in the Breath of Fire series of games, which are not related chronologically (much like Final Fantasy) but the thing that never changes is the fact that the main protagonist can always transform into a dragon.
Marvel vs Capcom – A fighting game in which players choose characters from either the Marvel franchise or Capcom and duke it out.
Capcom – One of the biggest video gaming companies in the world. They made Megaman, Street Fighter (see above) as well as many other games besides.
.hack GU – One installment in the .hack series of games, which are about people playing an online RPG called “The World” – which turns out to not be your normal garden-variety RPG.
.hack is actually a multimedia franchise which spans anime, games, novels and other things as well. I only reference the .hack GU games for the Playstation 2 though.
Drama CD – A radio show in CD form. They were and continue to be very popular in Japan, and their content isn’t just restricted to video games either.
Metal Gear Solid – A series of video games which follows the exploits of Solid Snake, a secret agent who is best described as Rambo meets James Bond, just a whole lot more serious. The series’ tagline is “Tactical Espionage Action” which sums it up pretty well.
Zone of the Enders – A combined video game and anime franchise featuring Japan’s most significant cultural imports…you guessed it, giant robots. In Earth’s future, separatists on Mars rebel against the terrestrial government and well; someone’s got to do something about it!
Hideo Kojima – A world-famous Japanese video game designer, responsible for the above two titles and many more besides. Renowned for his cinematic approach to storytelling and to a lesser extent, his love of Twitter.
Sakura Taisen : A series of tactical roleplaying games featuring pretty girls piloting steam-powered mecha in Japan’s Taisho era. In addition to leading these girls into battle…you can date them too! Aren’t video games grand?
Lunar : The Silver Star Story – Fantasy JRPG which follows the exploits of Alex, a village youth who gets caught up in an epic adventure. Fairly standard fare.
Lunar : Eternal Blue – Sequel to the above, another fantasy JRPG in which a hero (named Hiro in this case…yes I know, very creative) goes forth with his loyal companions to save the world. One of the best love stories I’ve seen.
Dis Astranagant – The mecha of one of the main characters of Super Robot Wars Alpha 3. Runs on pure entropy and as such, can technically never run out of energy since entropy is the one thing in the universe that never ceases. If there’s only thing I love more than giant robots (and catgirls) its philosophy…so it’s no surprise I love giant robots that deal with philosophical issues.
Tales of Eternia – An entry in the Tales of series of games. A JRPG which follows the adventures of Rid Hershel and his merry band of companions across two worlds and their efforts to save both.
Despite being the first game I ever translated, I actually don’t think it’s one of the better entries in the series. Tales of the Abyss is my fave.
Suteki Da Ne (Isn’t it Wonderful?) – The ending song of Final Fantasy X.
Yuna – The main female lead from FFX.
Asura’s Wrath – Action adventure game in which the main character seeks revenge on his fellow demigods who have betrayed him and his family. He also gets really angry. Really really REALLY angry. Equal parts Incredible Hulk, science fiction and Buddhism.
Ikaruga – Shooting game in which the central mechanic is being able to change from black and absorb black bullets, to white and absorb white bullets. Extremely Buddhist in nature – the creator of the game has gone on record stating that the entire game is his personal explication of the dharma, and the six stages of the game correspond to the six stages of human consciousness in Buddhist cosmology. The game’s name comes from the Japanese grosbeak, a bird that has both speckled black and white plumage.
Super Smash Brothers – Sort of like the Nintendo equivalent of Super Robot Wars, a fighting game in which Nintendo characters from all their different franchises get together to beat the shit out of each other. It’s really pretty fun to play, especially with four friends.
Diablo 2 – Action adventure game for the PC. Dark gothic adventure in which you kill the same monsters again and again a thousand times over hoping they will give you better treasure than they did the last time…well that’s not what really happens in the game but that’s what it eventually devolves into.
Starcraft – The national sport of Korea. No, really.
Oh alright, you want the boring, standard definition. Space opera wargame featuring three different races who compete for galactic dominance. Spawned a huge franchise including board games, novels and comic books.
RTS – Real-time strategy. A genre of video and computer games in which you have to make decisions immediately (hence, real-time) as opposed to taking your turn and waiting for your opponent to make a move.
City of Heroes – An MMO in which you play a costumed superhero in a city filled with them, fighting crime, saving innocent bystanders and all that superheroic stuff. Decent enough game, if repetitive at times. At the time I played it there wasn’t a lot else to do besides fight crime over and over.
Sengoku Basara – Series of hack and slash games set during the Sengoku period featuring highly exaggerated and stylized versions of real-life historical figures. Think samurai meet superheroes and you get a decent picture of what it’s like.
Sanada Yukimura – A real-life samurai who lived during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. Renowned for his bravery, loyalty and dedication to his lord’s cause, he continues to be held up as an example of what a samurai should be like even in modern-day Japan.
Due to his historical significance, he appears in a LOT of anime, manga, games and other modern-day cultural references, though portrayal and depictions of him and his exploits often differ.
Sengoku period – (from Wikipedia)
The Sengoku period (戦国時代 Sengoku jidai 1467 – c. 1603) is a period in Japanese history marked by social upheaval, political intrigue and near-constant military conflict. Japanese historians named it after the otherwise unrelated Warring States period in China. It came to an end when all political power was unified under the Tokugawa shogunate.
Dissidia : Final Fantasy : An installment in the Final Fantasy series featuring characters from all the previous games thrown together in a cosmic battle – kind of like FF meets SRW. As you can see, I really enjoy crossover games.
Final-Fantasy Type Zero : An installment in the Final Fantasy series. A JRPG action adventure about the exploits of Class Zero, a bunch of magic wielding students in the kingdom of Rubrum, who get caught up in a political power struggle with the other three kingdoms of the world. Kind of like Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones.
Also I think Ace is like, the cutest ever. I guess I still have this thing for blondes with blue eyes of either gender.
Zero : The theme song of the game, which affected me deeply despite not having played it. If you read the lyrics, you’ll know why.
Scars Left by Time : In Japanese, Toki no Kizuato. The opening theme of Chrono Cross, and perhaps one of the most beautiful songs I have heard in my entire life.
Chrono Cross : The JRPG sequel to Chrono Trigger. (see above) Not as good as its predecessor (few games are!) but a decent game in its own right.
Daiakuji – Hentai strategic simulation featuring a gang boss out to control an alternate reality Japan. Great strategic depth, a good storyline and of course, girls – what’s not to love?
Metal Princess – A hentai game featuring giant robots, pretty girls and lots of sex…you can probably understand why I played it. It’s also very, very funny.
Hanachirasu – Hentai game featuring two swordsmen in a futuristic Japan hell-bent on killing each other. Light on the sex, heavy on Japanese history and swordfighting techniques. Also NOT a homosexual romance despite the intense looks that the main characters keep giving each other.
Bioshock : A first-person shooter inspired by the works of Ayn Rand. One of the best Western-made games I have ever played, and this is coming from a person who doesn’t play many of them.
Planescape : Torment : Western RPG that follows the travels of an immortal, the Nameless One as he struggles to regain his lost memories. Immersive, dark and deeply philosophical. A critical success but commercial failure, like most of the stuff I like. Has since gone on to become something of a cult classic.
Ultima : Series of Western RPGs that deal with the adventures of a Messiah-like figure, the Avatar, in a world inspired by medieval England. Has since spun off into a larger media franchise.
(D & D) or Dungeons and Dragons : I can’t quite believe I am still defining this in 2016. Never mind, here goes…
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game. THE most famous of tabletop RPGs, (no more “perhaps” or “often considered” here) it more or less invented the genre. Players assume the roles of imaginary characters as they adventure in a fantasy setting.
Persona : A Japanese media franchise (including JRPGs) which was initially conceived as a spinoff from Shin Megami Tensei (see below) that deal with the mind, the human self, identity and all that good stuff. Also draws deeply from Jungian psychology and world mythology.
By the way, Persona in Latin literally means “mask”. We all wear masks, metaphorically speaking. (bonus points if you can catch that reference!)
Shin Megami Tensei : Japanese media franchise that incorporates disparate themes ranging from religion, mysticism, cyberpunk and much more. Like Final Fantasy, most titles in the series are stand-alone entries.
Early entries in the series were never brought over to Western shores because of their heavy occult and religious overtones. This has since changed somewhat in recent years.
No More Heroes : Know what’s punk music? Think about what would happen if they made that into a game. Not a game inspired by punk music…a game that IS punk music. That game is No More Heroes.
It follows the hyper-violent action adventures of anime fan and pro wrestling otaku Travis Touchdown, who buys a beam katana off EBay and, at the urging of the mysterious and sexy Sylvia Christel, proceeds to go on a killing spree in a bid to become the top-ranked assassin in the world. Stylistic, vulgar, ersatz and utterly incomprehensible, it’s easy to play but very hard to define.
If you haven’t already guessed, this is one of my favorite games EVER.
Okami : Action-adventure game by Capcom. You play the Japanese goddess of the sun, Amaterasu, in wolf form on her journey to purify the world of evil. One of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played, its art style is inspired by traditional Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
Tales of : JRPG series and media franchise created by Namco-Bandai. Each title in the series is typically stand-alone (which you’ve probably realized by reading so far that is fairly common in JRPG franchises) but recurrent elements are a high fantasy setting and a freeform battle system.
FPS – (from Wikipedia)
First-person shooter (FPS) is a video game genre centered on gun and projectile weapon-based combat through a first-person perspective; that is, the player experiences the action through the eyes of the protagonist.
Tarutaru : A race of diminutive halflings in Final Fantasy 11, known for their magical prowess and arrogance. They sort of resemble walking humanoid chestnuts. Beloved of Japanese players for their cute nature.
Shantotto – A fictional mage in Final Fantasy 11 of the above race. Speaks completely in rhyme in the English version (for reasons unknown to me, ask the localization team I guess) but comparatively more normally in the Japanese one. Haughty, hot-tempered and extremely powerful.
Chains of Promathia – An expansion pack for Final Fantasy 11, extremely difficult (though it has been toned down somewhat during the years) and featuring an immersive and complex story. Hard to sum up but it’s about light, shadow, ancient evils, technobiological weapons, salvation and ultimately, redemption.
I never actually finished it. This is probably one of the things that I can say I truly regret not doing in my life.
Promivyon – A dungeon in the above expansion. It is a shadow world linked to Vanadiel, the world in which Final Fantasy 11 takes place.
Shion : Shion Uzuki, the main character of the Xenosaga series of games. Bespectacled, bookish and often petty and small-minded, she is initially quite the anti-hero but matures greatly as the games progress. She created KOS-MOS, the vessel for the essence of Mary Magdalene (see below in the other Glossary section)
Some fans used to think that she and KOS-MOS were lesbians for the longest time.
E-sport – Short for electronic sports. You may not know it, but video gaming as a spectator sport has been around for some time now. Professional athletes in e-sports can earn up to millions of dollars, just like their other physical sporting counterparts.
Why didn’t I ever get into this? Well because I love JRPGs, and they aren’t a competitive sport, more’s the pity.
Psychology Glossary and Others :
Noddy : Children’s book and TV series about a wooden puppet who lives in Toyland. A very naughty puppet he is.
Also, is it just me or him and Big Ears act really gay together, or am I just reading too much into it like American viewers did with Bert and Ernie in Sesame Street?
Gumby : A children’s TV show about the titular main character, a clay doll who gets into all sorts of scrapes and adventures. An early example of stop-motion animation.
The Wind in the Willows : A children’s book and TV show about anthropomorphized animals who live on the banks of the river Thames. Themes range from adventure, mysticism, spirituality, friendship, and a connection to nature.
Everyone’s favorite character seems to have been Toad but I always preferred the stoic Rat myself. I guess I was into cool, serious and responsible warrior types even before I started playing video games and watching anime.
Supergran : Children’s TV show where Granny fights crime with the help of power-inducing oatmeal. I defined it quite well in the original text I think.
Frog and Toad : Series of children’s books about the titular characters, the calm and relaxed Frog and the sometimes demanding and frustrating Toad. Each story in the books is short, often humorous and always poignant.
Man, I am tearing up writing this entry.
Janet and Allan Ahlberg – British children’s book writers. Very good ones too, but everyone is biased with regards to their childhood. If you are a parent and are reading this book, do check out the Jolly Postman – I promise you will not be disappointed.
Beverly Cleary – Multiple award-winning American children’s book writer, best known for the Ramona series of books.
Fairy Book series – A collection of fairy tales annotated and edited by Scottish poet and novelist, Andrew Lang. Features stories, myths and legends from all over the world.
Batman : The Animated Series – Cartoons about Batman. Batman…you know who that is right? The series is known for high production values (especially for a cartoon at that time) and has received critical acclaim.
Animaniacs : A Warner Bros cartoon series presented as a variety of shorts with a huge cast of characters. Known for off-the-wall, slapstick humor and breaking the fourth wall quite regularly.
If you’ve ever heard of Pinky and the Brain, this is where they came from.
Goof Troop – Disney cartoon in which Goofy is a single dad taking care of his son, Max. Key themes include fatherhood, growing up and being good (or bad, as the case may be) neighbors.
Talespin – Disney cartoon about the adventures of an air cargo freight company staffed by characters from Disney’s The Jungle Book in a world reminiscent of 1930’s America.
Random fact – Rebecca, the owner of said company, was the first single divorcee ever in a Disney animated feature, a fact that caused Disney no small amount of consternation. Also, she’s hot.
The Magic School Bus – A series of illustrated children’s books about a magical school bus that brings the class to a variety of locales, including the waterworks, the inside of the human body and the outer reaches of the solar system. Entertaining and colorful, one could do much worse in terms of classroom reading material.
The Chronicles of Prydain – A series of young adult high fantasy novels based on Welsh mythology, following the adventures and growth of its main protagonist, a youth named Taran.
Judy Blume – Best-selling American children’s and youth adult fiction author. Her work is most often about the trials and tribulations of girls growing up. The below title is one of her most well-known.
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Young adult fiction novel in which the 12-year old protagonist grapples with issues like a mixed religious heritage, disputes with friends, liking boys, and small boobs.
I’m not being facetious with the last one. Go read the book, it’s in there.
Dear Mr Henshaw – Young adult fiction novel by Beverly Cleary (see above) about a young boy writing letters to his favorite author and dealing with other assorted issues of growing up such as his parents’ separation, feeling lonely, and people constantly stealing food from his lunchbox.
Mahjong – A tile-based game of chance and skill well known in most Asian regions of the world. Players shuffle and deal four equal hands out of 144 tiles, attempting to build the strongest hand they can from choices and discards.
Fun fact : I never learned to play mahjong as a defense mechanism so no one – not friends, not family, not anyone – could ever force me to play because they wanted to have a game. Trust me on this…in Asia, somewhere, somehow someone will want to play mahjong and when they do, they’ll get ANYONE to play with them.
Shadowrun – A tabletop gaming franchise that combines disparate elements such as cyberpunk, urban fantasy, conspiracy and horror. It has been described as “Lord of the Rings meets Neuromancer.” Incredible setting, very VERY clunky rules.
Neuromancer : Considered by many to be THE novel that started the entire cyberpunk genre. The novel follows the story of Case, a down-on-his-luck and washed-up hacker hired to infiltrate the world’s most secure computer system.
Super-Soaker : A brand of pressurized water guns. Fun to play with but be careful with them…high pressure streams of water can STING. Goggles on at all times folks.
Bar Mitzvah : Coming of age ceremony in Jewish communities, roughly equivalent to the Christian confirmation.
The Art of War – Chinese military classic, still taught at West Point and other military academies the world over. Perhaps the most famous for the quote “Know your enemy and know thyself and a hundred battles you will pass through unscathed.”
Fox News : American news channel, often accused of have a far-right bias and being sensationalist.
BBS : Bulletin Board System. Kind of like the proto-Internet, they were computer servers which individual users could connect to to perform functions such as upload and download data and use chat servers. Largely extinct in the world of today.
Usenet : (from Usenet.org)
What is Usenet? Usenet is a collection of newsgroups where the users can post messages and these posted messages are distributed via Usenet servers.
It’s still used reasonably widely today, but not by that many people. Which is a shame. It’s really quite handy!
Dragonlance – A series of high fantasy novels which were very popular during my youth and childhood. You could consider them sort of the American version of Lord of the Rings.
Piers Anthony – Famous fantasy and sci-fi author, with more than 10 titles on the New York Times bestsellers list. Known for having controversial and sexual content in his books, as well as tackling sociopolitical issues.
Xanth – A series of fantasy novels involving bad puns and a lot of off-color humor. Subject matter ranges from the very serious (rape, murder) to the utterly absurd – the title of one of the books in the series is “The Color of Her Panties.” You know, looking back on it, I really shouldn’t have been allowed to read this stuff when I was 12…
Magic : the Gathering – The first really popular collectible card game (CCG) Basic premise is that players take on the roles of mages and battle each other with cards representing fantastic creatures, spells, artifacts and the like. These cards are sold in packs which contain a random assortment of cards, and players build decks with the most powerful combinations, or alternatively just mess around with them.
It has grown from its humble beginnings into a worldwide phenomenon that includes televised tournaments with cash payouts of up to five figures as well as company-backed scholarships.
In writing this I realize that I have explained the card game to countless clueless parents and family members over the years. I hope in future I can just direct them to this entry and not have to do that anymore.
JLPT : From Wikipedia –
The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (日本語能力試験 Nihongo Nōryoku Shiken), or JLPT, is a standardized criterion-referenced test to evaluate and certify Japanese language proficiency for non-native speakers, covering language knowledge, reading ability, and listening ability.
At the time of this writing I STILL haven’t taken it. Which may (or may not) have changed by the time you actually read this.
Babysitters Club – A series of young adult fiction books about a bunch of high school girls who babysat in their free time…hence the title. My sister read some of them, and they actually aren’t half-bad!
Babylon V : A sci-fi space opera TV show, considered by many to be one of the best ever. I would have to agree. (though I would have denied that when I was younger) Philosophy, political machinations, dogfights, engaging conversations and a lot more besides.
Slash : The Western equivalent of yaoi. (see above glossary) Fanfiction featuring homosexual pairings (typically male) between TV show characters, rock bands, the Bible, you name it.
ICQ : An early instant-messaging service. Named for the syllables in its name (I-seek-you) I believe that even with the advent of Facebook it is still used in some areas in Europe.
IRC : Internet Relay Chat. The most popular chat system worldwide back then. (and in some places in the world, even today) Every teenager I knew was on it at some point.
Chinese New Year : In the East, they celebrate the Lunar New Year which involves married couples giving children red packets (red being an auspicious color) with money in them, which they are then supposed to use to buy themselves treats and whatever else they want. As long as they are grow up to be good, hardworking, obedient doctors and lawyers, that is.
I’m only slightly kidding about the last part. Ask any Chinese person you know.
Feng Shui : Chinese geomancy. A traditional belief system in which the placement of items and the flow of water in any given location is said to affect the flow of chi (energy) around the environment and correspondingly, the fortunes of its inhabitants. It literally means “wind-water” in English.
Seroxat : One of the trade names of Paroxetine. An anti-depressant. One of the few anti-depressants that worked well for me. It actually worked TOO well in some regards…I can remember feeling high and almost euphoric at times – a state which was preferable to the depression, but nevertheless freaked me out quite a bit and frankly disinclined me from taking more of it. I have since learned that this effect is not altogether uncommon.
Xanax : One of the trade names of Alprazolam. A tranquilizer. Technically speaking, an anxiolytic (or antianxiety agent) It is supposed to grant relief of symptoms within half an hour, but has never really worked that well for me. I won’t say that it had no use at all, but in my life at least I’ve received more assistance from video games and anime.
Kai Budde : A German professional Magic the Gathering player. Widely considered to be one of the best players in the game’s history, he has the most Pro Tour wins of anyone on the planet.
Jonathan Finkel : Or Johnny Magic, to those who play MTG. A professional American MTG player, he is considered one of the best players in the game’s history. Also was the subject of a book called Johnny Magic & the Card Shark Kids.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross : A pioneer in the field of psychology, best remembered for her seminal work, On Death and Dying, as well as her theory of the five stages of grief.
Vanessa Mae : A British-born violinist (and skier) with album sales totaling more than a few million. Before the age of 30. Plus, she competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics. And she’s really quite pretty as well. Some people have all the luck.
The video I am referring to is her in a skintight affair playing the violin in a large body of water. It’s probably on Youtube now – everything is.
Transference : (from Wikipedia)
In a therapy context, transference refers to redirection of a patient’s feelings for a significant person to the therapist.
In short, what typically happens in therapy is that if the person has unresolved feelings towards a certain person (teacher, spouse, parental figure) those feelings are then transferred towards the therapist, and the patient starts treating the therapist like that person, often unconsciously. This is a vastly summarized version of what can potentially happen in therapy, but I only have limited space here.
Countertransference : (also from Wikipedia)
Countertransference is defined as redirection of a therapist’s feelings toward a patient, or more generally, as a therapist’s emotional entanglement with a patient.
Following from the above example, what happens in countertransference is that the therapist has to deal with their own feelings about the patient, which may arise from their own past experiences, the nature of the therapy, the patient’s own transference, or all of the above. It’s a lot to handle, which is why therapists go through so much training!
Effexor : One of the trade names of Venlafaxine. Technically an antidepressant, it was prescribed for my OCD.
Like most anti-depressants it has some unfortunate side effects, one of which was erectile dysfunction. Which was a problem, because for a long time I needed to masturbate in order to sleep. But what the manufacturers had not counted on was my love of catgirls!
It’s a Long Way to Tipperary – British music hall song written in 1912. Became popular among soldiers in World War 1 and is remembered as a song of that war.
I had to look this one up myself. Score one for Wikipedia.
Mary Magdalene : (first paragraph from Wikipedia)
Mary Magdalene, or Mary of Magdala and sometimes the Magdalene, is a figure in Christianity. Mary Magdalene, according to the Bible, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers. She is said to have witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Next to the Virgin Mary, she is probably the most prominent female figure within Christianity.
Ecstasy – A psychoactive drug used primarily as a recreational drug. Not as well known in the Western hemisphere (especially the USA) because there you can get access to harder drugs a lot more easily. Not to mention marijuana.
In 2016 it is apparently undergoing testing as a possible treatment for PTSD. Well whaddya know. Maybe my Dad WAS onto something after all.
Satch – The stage name of Joe Satriani, a American heavy metal guitarist (and a darned good one too)
Saiyuki – A manga and anime series loosely based on the Chinese classic, Journey to the West. Rough-and-tumble, wild and filled with attractive men shooting dangerous looks at each other, which is probably why my girlfriend was so taken with it. Other highlights include a heavenly credit card and Kwan Yin (the Chinese goddess of mercy) in drag.
Journey to the West – One of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature. Follows the demigod Sun Wukong and his companions as they guide and guard the Buddhist monk Xuanzang on his pilgrimage to obtain holy texts from a far-off region.
Matt Thorn – (first paragraph from Wikipedia)
Matthew “Matt” Thorn is a cultural anthropologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Manga Production at Kyoto Seika University’s Faculty of Manga in Japan.
Known as somewhat of an evangelist of shoujo manga, the essays I am referring to were written earlier in her career. In a time where serious scholastic research on shoujo manga was rare, they illuminated the genre and its relation to homosexual and romantic love very well.
She’s also apparently transitioned/is transitioning to a woman at the time of this writing. Was male when I first read her work though.
The Shawshank Redemption – An American drama film which garnered critical acclaim but was a box office failure. (like most of my other favorite movies!) The movie poster of the main character screaming in the rain (as well as the associated scene in the movie) remains one of the most enduring images in American cinema.
I’ve…never actually watched the movie, though.
Lucifer : The Adversary, Satan, the Fallen One, Light of Morning, the Devil…oh you mean the comic book.
A dark fantasy series in the DC Comics Vertigo imprint which follows the exploits of Lucifer as he travels through Earth, Heaven and Hell, attempting to get his way in all matters mundane and cosmic and generally succeeding. Deals with issues ranging from predestination and choice to parents and identity. Probably the best English language comic I have ever read.
Micheal Moorcock – British writer of science fiction and fantasy, best known for creating the character Elric of Melnibone, a dark and brooding white-haired anti-hero which was a huge influence on 60s and 70s fantasy.
You know, I’ve always thought that they should make an anime out of Elric’s adventures. It would be so cool.
Arthur C. Clarke : A British science fiction writer, best known for his Space Odyssey series, the first of which was adapted into one of the most famous and influential movies ever. (My God, it’s full of stars!)
Was also a futurist (he predicted many of the inventions we now take for granted today) and gay.
Isaac Asimov : American science fiction writer and professor of biochemistry, who wrote not only science fiction but hundreds of other books in a variety of fields, including physics, astronomy, fantasy and biology. Best known for his short story “Nightfall” as well as the Robot series (from which the Three Laws of Robotics come from) and the Foundation series.
Ray Bradbury : American science fiction writer, best known for the novel Fahrenreit 451, a cautionary tale of censorship set in a dystopian future. His work was unique for his time for combining elements of dark realism and fantasy.
He loves cats and hates dogs.
Dune : Science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert. One of the classics of science fiction, heavily influenced by Islamic theology. Deals with the struggle of two great houses in the distant future of humanity where all space travel is influenced by a psychoactive ingredient known as spice, found only on the planet Arrakis – the titular Dune.
Jodi Picoult – An best-selling American author, who writes mainly about family relationships and children born into horrible, painful, terrible, no-good, bad situations. Probably even worse than mine.
I’ll admit that I’m not that familiar with her work, but I’ve tried reading it and it seemed like trauma porn to me…stuff people read because then they can see how much better their own lives are. Each to their own I guess?
P2P – Peer-to-peer. A series of decentralized networks such as Kazaa, Napster and Emule, where files can be uploaded and downloaded by users.
Emule – One of the P2P services I used to frequent. You could find really rare and obscure things there that you couldn’t find anywhere else.
PvP – Player versus Player. Refers to an element of games where players face off each other and not computer generated foes or obstacles.
World of Darkness – Tabletop gaming franchise by White Wolf, characterized by a dystopian world with gothic overtones and a pervasive sense of despair. The most famous installment in the franchise would be Vampire : The Masquerade.
The EVA RPG I designed back when I was a teenager was based on this game system.
VHS : Videocassetes. I’m not sure people know what those are anymore.
Sagaoz.com : In most hentai games, you have to complete the game once or see the scenes in the game in order to view them in a separate viewing function. So what happens if you just want to see naughty pictures without having to actually, well, play the game? (hey, sometimes you just want porn without the plot…)
You get the completed save file from sagaoz.com, that’s what. Then you can enjoy the game in every way possible!
E-hentai : A website with animated pornography of all shapes, sizes, colors and types. I would not advise visiting it unless you are prepared. It’s…quite an education.
You can however also find artbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, visual guides, and all sorts of other non-X-rated material as well. I’ve actually found some things that I have been searching for FOREVER on this site, such as the Phantasy Star Visual Collection and original Robotech artbooks.
DSM-IV (from Wikipedia) – The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It’s in its 5th edition now but when I first knew about it it was the 4th. There has been both considerable support and criticism for the manual in both the psychological and research communities, but I leave interested readers to find out more on their own.
Battletech – Science fiction franchise from FASA Corporation, the same people who came up with Shadowrun. (see above) In the distant future, mankind is still locked in a bitter struggle with each other that involves lots of giant robots and complicated politics.
Riki-Oh – A horrible, horrible Japanese martial arts movie. Based on the manga of the same name. It’s so bad that it sort of rolls around to good after a while though.
CCG (Collectible Card Game) or TCG (Trading Card Game) – A card game which has players assemble a collection of cards with which they build decks from and attempt to beat each other with. Subject matter ranges from science fiction to fantasy to anything you could possibly imagine. (including urban planning…Simcity the card game, I’m looking at you!)
Magic : The Gathering is the most popular example of this, and is credited with essentially creating the entire concept.
ETF – (from Wikipedia)
An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is an investment fund traded on stock exchanges, much like stocks. An ETF holds assets such as stocks, commodities, or bonds, and trades close to its net asset value over the course of the trading day. Most ETFs track an index, such as a stock index or bond index.
I’m not going to explain any of the other terms. Ask your banker or nearby certified wealth professional.
Stand by Me – African American spiritual by Ben E. King. I first heard it in the movie of the same name when I was eight or so and it’s stuck in my head since then.
Parasympathetic nervous system – (from ScienceDaily.com)
The parasympathetic nervous system is one of three divisions of the autonomic nervous system. Sometimes called the rest and digest system, the parasympathetic system conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.
The parasympathetic nervous system is one of three divisions of the autonomic nervous system. Sometimes called the rest and digest system, the parasympathetic system conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.
This is an excellent and clear article on the role of trauma and PTSD :
TED Talk – (definition from whatis.com)
A TED talk is a video created from a presentation at the main TED (technology, entertainment, design) conference or one of its many satellite events around the world. TED talks are limited to a maximum length of 18 minutes but may be on any topic.
They are often very helpful, informative and instructive. At least that’s been my experience with them.
CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a branch of psychological treatment based on the premise that negative thinking patterns lead to negative mental outcomes. It seems to be particularly effective in treating behavioral disorders and less so for other ailments.
Ursula K Le Guin – The granddame of science fiction, (and many other genres besides!) best known for the Wizard of Earthsea trilogy. Writes some of the most perfect sentences I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Emotional Intelligence – (from Wikipedia)
Emotional Intelligence is a 1995 book by Daniel Goleman. In this book, Goleman posits that emotional intelligence is as important as IQ for success, including in academic, professional, social, and interpersonal aspects of one’s life. Goleman says that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be taught and cultivated, and outlines methods for incorporating emotional skills training in school curricula.
This was the book that popularized the term EQ in the first place.
Mindsight – A book that came highly recommended by my therapist, and it was a great one indeed. Its central premise is how we are not what we experience, think or feel, but that we can direct our focused attention to our lived experience and by doing so, change it.
After the seventh time I read it, I realized that the entire book was basically a treatise on Meikyoushisui. (see below)
K-pop wave – Also known as the Hallyu Wave, it refers to the phenomenon of Korean popular music and culture becoming extremely widespread and trendy, especially in Asian countries. It started in the late 1990s, but there have been resurgences of it in the 2000s and beyond. Opinion is divided as to what and where exactly it occurred, but most people agree that there have been multiple “waves”.
Gangnam Style (the horse-riding dance) came AFTER the first few. Though some argue that it in itself is the beginning of another wave. You’re going to have to ask my sister about this…she’s the expert on Korean pop culture. Me, I’m all about the games and anime.
Augustine – (adapted from Wikipedia)
Augustine of Hippo was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are The City of God and Confessions.
He’s a bit depressive to read, honestly.
Kant – (adapted from Wikipedia)
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who is considered the central figure of modern philosophy. Kant argued that fundamental concepts of the human mind structure human experience, that reason is the source of morality, that aesthetics arises from a faculty of disinterested judgment, that space and time are forms of our sensibility, and that the world as it is “in-itself” is unknowable.
Kind of dry, but good reading.
Hegel – (adapted from Wikipedia)
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher and an important figure of German Idealism. He achieved wide renown in his day and, while primarily influential within the continental tradition of philosophy, has become increasingly influential in the analytic tradition as well. Although he remains a divisive figure, his canonical stature within Western philosophy is universally recognized.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad –
A book about finance, investing, wealth management and other related matters by Robert Kiyosaki. I’ll leave the interested to go read more for themselves, but about the only thing I really took away from the book was the notion that work is the most ineffective way to make money. Probably true, but Kiyosaki also leaves out the fact that it’s the most SECURE way to make money!
John Bradshaw – (first paragraph from Wikipedia)
John Elliot Bradshaw was an American educator, counselor, motivational speaker and author who hosted a number of PBS television programs on topics such as addiction, recovery, codependency and spirituality.
His books on championing the inner child are highly recommended for anyone who has been abused.
He passed away in 2015. God Bless. I couldn’t have written all this without him.
AIM – AOL Instant Messenger. Another early-instant messaging service, created by America Online, an American global mass media corporation.
Wuxia – A genre of Chinese fiction largely unknown in the West that generally focuses on the exploits of heroic martial artists in ancient China as they do battle with evil and injustice in various forms.
The movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a good example of wuxia. (although whether or not it’s a good movie or not is subject to debate…)
Family systems theory – (from Genopro.com)
The family systems theory is a theory introduced by Dr. Murray Bowen that suggests that individuals cannot be understood in isolation from one another, but rather as a part of their family, as the family is an emotional unit.
Object relations theory – (adapted from Wikipedia)
Object relations theory is the process of developing a psyche in relation to others in the environment during childhood. It suggests that the way people relate to situations in their adult lives is shaped by family experiences during infancy. For example, an adult who experienced neglect or abuse in infancy would expect similar behavior from others who remind them of the neglectful or abusive parent from their past. These images of people and events turn into objects in the unconscious that the “self” carries into adulthood, and they are used by the unconscious to predict people’s behavior in their social relationships and interactions.
Peter Levine – A psychologist who is a pioneer in the field of trauma research. NASA consulted him before building the first space shuttles, so I’d say that he knows what he’s talking about.
Waking the Tiger – A book about trauma and healing from it, written by the above. Has many incidents within which cannot be explained by “traditional” scientific methodology, (out-of-body experiences, past lives etc) and was quite instrumental in shattering my previously completely rational view of the Universe.
OCD – I’ll use the National Institute of Mental Health’s definition here :
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.
There are multiple manifestations of this disorder besides the common perception of constant hand-washing. (though that exists as well)
Ego – This is going to be a hard one. I use the psychological and spiritual definitions of the term interchangeably.
The strict Freudian and psychological perspective is that the ego is the part of personality that helps us deal with reality by mediating between the demands of the id, superego, and the environment.
The spiritual definition is a bit trickier because although almost all spiritual traditions acknowledge the existence of the ego, they differ on the definition of what it is and what to do about it. I’ll say that the ego is a lower part of human consciousness that continually seeks more, defines itself as separate from others and identifies with objects, things and ideas.
Psycare’s definition is “the negative and controlling part of the human psyche.” Children are born full of ego, and we need a healthy one to function and grow, but it can choke us if its impulses are left unchecked.
Unitarian Universalism – Wikipedia actually says it better than I could and as such I’m just going to use their definition.
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion characterized by a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning”. Unitarian Universalists do not share a creed but are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth.
Old Man Maslow – Abraham Maslow.
Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.
The “pyramid” refers to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. You definitely know what that is, right? I mean, EVERYONE…what the heck, one more entry won’t hurt anyone.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a description of the needs that motivate human behavior. In 1943, Abraham Maslow proposed five different kinds of human needs, beginning with the most basic: survival. Physiological needs, such as food and shelter, are followed by needs related to safety. Next, there are needs of love and belonging. Fourth, humans have needs of esteem, such as the need for being respected. The final need in the hierarchy is the need for self-actualization (fulfilling one’s potential). The hierarchy suggests that basic needs must be met prior to less basic needs; for example, a starving person will seek food before self-actualization.
Reference List :
The Happiest Family in SancVille :
Life, the Universe, and Everything – Third book in the five-volume Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy science fiction trilogy by British writer Douglas Adams.
Yeah, it’s a trilogy with five books, go figure. Mr. Adams, you will be missed.
Kids say the darndest things – Comedy show hosted by Bill Cosby. You should get this reference no problem if you’re from the US. If no well…then this is what this document is for.
Fighting. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Bad men. Good men – The entire paragraph is from the Princess Bride, a fantasy romance novel, which it is itself quite a metafictive piece of writing. So now I have a reference in my reference. How intertextual…my Mum would be so proud of me!
Things Fall Apart :
The title is that of an English language African novel, often considered to the finest example of its type and taught in schools the world over. It follows the rise and fall of the fortunes of one Okonkwo, a Nigerian wrestler.
He took the reference from the poem “The Second Coming” by the Irish Poet W.B Yeats.
Eric the Unready – A really old humorous PC adventure game, which parodies all sorts of fantasy tropes and genres.
Being Happy! – A self-help book by Andrew Matthews. While it might not have been able to penetrate the depression that was so intense at that period of my life, I’ve had a chance to read it recently and it isn’t half-bad.
…And Here My Troubles Began – the title of the 2nd book of Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
unknown ceiling – In Japanese, mishiranui tenjou, the Japanese title of Episode Two of (you guessed it) Neon Genesis Evangelion. Interestingly enough when I first watched that episode and Shinji looks at the ceiling and speaks those words I immediately remembered the day I came back to Singapore.
Jon Snow – I shouldn’t need to explain this reference. I should also mention that I know nothing about Game of Thrones though. Some memes just can’t be ignored.
Neon Genesis Evangelion –
Dolly the Sheep – A female domestic sheep, the first ever mammal to be cloned.
A blue wind knocks on the door of my heart – The first line of the opening song of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
To Be or Not to Be –
Chapter title is quite obviously from Hamlet’s speech in the play of the same name.
Thanatos – In psychological terms, the “death drive” or desire to die. Also the name of a song in…Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Money Money Money – The song from ABBA. Yeah I know I’m old.
Spirits of Steel –
The chapter title is a reference to an oft-used term, item and song lyric in the series of games.
Faster, stronger, hotter – A line from when Touma Kanou uses Jinrai in SRW@3. What’s that? Read on. It’s in the chapter Beyond Strength Itself.
Zen and the Art of Psychology –
Triforce – the golden triangle in the Legend of Zelda series of games. It’s exact shape, form and purpose differs from game to game, but it is always a holy relic, and the three interlocking pieces always represent Wisdom, Power and Courage.
Jobless in Singapore –
Pokemon Master – C’mon, you can’t live in the 21st century and NOT know what is Pokemon. You know, short form for Pocket Monsters, little kids going around collecting little critters and saying “I choose you?” A popular (EXTREMELY popular) game and anime franchise from Nintendo.
The Playstation 2 :
weeaboo – Someone who likes things from Japan just because they’re from Japan. There are lots of them, more than you might think. They’re a virus I tell you, a virus! (I exaggerate of course…but not that much.)
maybe tomorrow – The ending song of Xenosaga Episode 3.
because someone was smiling softly at me – A reference to the ending song of .hack Volume 3. Who was that someone? I’ll let you guess.
Red, White and Singing all over :
turned on the switch – A line from Hearts, the ending theme of Star Ocean EX. Andy insisted we sing this every KHK at the end and after a while it became sort of our anthem. I found the song too cheesy at first but eventually grew to like it. Nowadays I get all teary-eyed whenever I hear it. I’ll never forget you guys.
Round 1, Ready…Fight! :
Buriza – Short form for the Buriza-Do-Kyanon (Blizzard Cannon) a crossbow in Diablo 2 much in demand during a certain point in the game’s lifespan.
The song of the same name from Macross Frontier. I tried to get at least one Macross reference in!
love’s labor’s lost – from the Shakespearean play of the same name. My literary background is showing.
There and Back Again – the subtitle of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Empty Motion – A key concept in Shoujo Kakumei Utena, an anime which has great emotional and spiritual relevance to my sister and I.
she looked good, she looked fine – The song Doo Wah Diddy of course.
the rationality was – a Star Wars reference.
An Endless War :
I was the void, the steel, the blade – A line from Hakumen in the fighting game Blazblue. In Japanese, “ware wa kuu, ware wa kou, ware wa jin.” Localized in English as “I am the white void. I am the cold steel. I am the just sword.” (which is a more than decent translation, if not completely literal)
a man whose back would never break – a reference to Kamina from Gurren Lagaan.
Beyond Strength Itself –
Jinrai – Divine Lightning.
Shinhamougekireppa – Folka Albark’s ultimate attack in the apotheosized Ialbadoth. Literally, True Conquering Wild Attack Breaking Wave. If I were localizing it, I would most probably render it as Conquering Dragon or something similar.
Day in and day out, like a puppet on a string – A line from Successful Mission, the opening of Saber Marionette J. The original is “karakuri ningyou wa mainichi no naka de.”
The Search for the Best Birthday Present Ever –
One Girl in All the World – Samus Aran’s theme from the Metroid series of games.
Distant Worlds –
Roses, wild or otherwise – The main character in FF2, Firionel, is looking for the place where the wild roses bloom.
Seventh Heaven – a common enough phrase, but I was thinking of the bar in FF7. If you can’t catch this one and you played FF7 you should shoot yourself.
Distant worlds together, miracles from realms beyond – Lyrics from Memoro De La Stono, a song from FF11.
The Sociocultural Explanation for Sin –
Bionic Commando – An old NES game. The central gameplay mechanic is using the bionic arm to lift yourself from platform to platform.
You Are (Not) Alone –
I mustn’t run away – More or less the most famous line in Evangelion. The main character, Shinji Ikari, says it all the time.
The Nightmare Ends (sort of) –
It was the best of times, it was the worst – A line from Charles’s Dickens a Tale of Two Cities.
Aniki! Aniki! Aniki! –
kindness was not bound by kind deeds – In Japanese, “yasashisa wa yasashii koto ni kagiranai.” A line from Endrance in the second .hack GU game, said after Haseo slaps Atoli. It was instrumental in understanding my father’s approach to things when I was in my mid-twenties…and what true kindness was all about. In essence, to be kind, you can’t always be kind.
My (Non-Existent) Sex Life –
If you didn’t already catch it, the chapter title is styled similarly to the English titles of the new Evangelion movies…You Are (Not) Alone, You Can (Not) Advance etc. Yeah I know like I have like 20 over EVA references in this thing.
The Last Days of SancVille –
World 2, World 3 – Super Mario Brothers references.
Return of the Son of OCD –
ever-loving black-eyed – From the Fantastic Four of course. I’m not going to spell it out for you, do your own homework on this…ah alright, the original is the “ever-loving blue-eyed Thing”
On Grief and Grieving – Anybody who’s studied any amount of psychology should catch this one. Elizebeth Kubler-Ross’s seminal work, On Death and Dying.
Over the Clouds – The God Eater opening song. I don’t personally like the game (Monster Hunter rip-off IMHO) but I love the song…if you were to Google the lyrics you’d know why.
Lance of Longinus – The legionnaire whose spear pierced the side of Christ while he was on the cross was called Longinus. In Evangelion, it is a weapon which can penetrate any AT Field.
AT Field – Short for Absolute Terror Field, a field generated by both the Evangelion units and the Angels in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Conventional weaponry is useless against something that possesses one – they can only be breached by something that possesses another AT Field, or the above.
The term apparently originates from a psychological concept by Freud.
Nibelung Valesti – Lenneth Valkyrie’s Divine Technique from Valkyrie Profile. It traps the enemy in a seal of light and she hurls a spear at them for the finishing blow.
The Wake – The last volume of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. Yes, I do actually have Western comic references here as well.
A Life in Review –
hold the unfading colors of my heart’s map up to the light – A line from Yuzurenai Negai, the ending song of Magic Knight Rayearth. I used to love this song back when I was a teenager.
Farewell, giant of that day – What Touma Kanou says in SRW@3 after mastering Jinrai and surpassing his master’s teachings. I’m sure you can see the connections here.
The entire poem is composed of musical themes from Super Robot Wars Original Generations. It’s also quite obviously about my sister and I, and it has bits of a dream/vision that I had long ago.
Please don’t read this if it’s too long. It’s just me geeking out. Though I think I still write pretty well when geeking out!
(WARNING : SUPER GEEK MODE ACTIVATED)
From beyond the white plains – Theme of Brooklyn Luckfield. He and Kusuha deserve each other.
A burning gale – A reference to the theme of Cybaster, (Neppu! Shippu! Cybaster!) the main mecha in the Masou Kishin series of games.
Blue Blue Sky – Theme of Kusuha Mizuha.
Dust to Dust – Theme of Lamia Loveless. Love the piano in this one.
Dark Knight – Theme of Axel Almar. It’s one of the best battle themes I’ve heard in my life and I’ve heard like over a hundred. It’s like FUCKING KICKASS man. What Axel taught me can’t fit in this book but it was significant.
Lost Children – Theme of Ing Ingret. Once again I have no space for everything, but seeing his story was truly healing to me in ways that I cannot describe. The raven may die but thrice, but its bloodline shall not.
Wings of Steel – Theme of the Shirogane, one of the main battleships in the game.
Fallen Angel – Theme of Excellen Browning and the Weisritter. Oh big sis, why must you be so sexy?
Steel Wolf – Theme of Kyosuke Nambu and the Alteisen. The perfect serious match to Excellen’s frivolous antics. I don’t mind betting on small odds either, Steel 1. My whole life has been like that!
Crying Survivor – Theme of Selena Recital. In a total geek moment I’d like to point out that hers is the only protagonist theme that does not change to its later version (in her case, Invisible AS) when you fight Keisar Ephes in SRW@3.
Wild Flight – Theme of Arad Balanga and Seolla Schweitzer’s Twin Bird Strike. Einst! Zwei! Drei!
Dark Prison – Theme of Shu Shirakawa. Argh, Shu! Why must you be so goddamn good-looking with your purple hair, multiple PhDs and mecha that can destroy all of creation? I’m a straight guy and I still think he’s hot.
Over the wall of worlds and the flow of time – Reference to Raul and Fiona’s Glenden’s musical themes, Over the World Wall and Over the Time Flow.
Everywhere You Go – Theme of Ryusei Date, everyone’s favorite mecha otaku turned mecha pilot. Ryusei taught me so much – about anger, about justice, about fighting hard and sticking to your guns. I must have sung the vocal version of this like a hundred times at least.
Believe in our Bonds – Theme of Yuuki Genajin. He’s even more fussy about tea than my Dad!
Returning to Singapore –
Wolves of the Hopi Legend – I’ll just write the entire thing here. Skip if you want.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.” It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”
You might have heard that the story ends like this. The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
In the Cherokee world, however, the story ends this way:
The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right, they both win.” and the story goes on:
“You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves.
He will always be angry and always fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities – tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking – that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.
“You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, and something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention.
And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.
“How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”
Death and Rebirth –
Komm, Susser Todd – A song from the End of Evangelion.
Terror of Death – The other name of Skeith from the .hack franchise.
Corbenik the Rebirth – The mirror to Skeith in many ways, its ability resets the entire Internet in the .hack series. The game’s story is too complicated to explain here.
Meikyoushisui – It’s actually a Japanese phrase (four-word compound, if you want to get all linguistic about it) meaning “clean and serene.” Refers also to an attainable state in martial arts where you can perceive each second passing with unclouded perception and complete stillness.
Kami ni aeba, kami wo kiru – The phrase actually originates from Linji, the founder of the Rinzai sect of Zen. Like most spiritual parables, it’s not meant to be taken literally.
I will not go into a full explication of the koan here, as this is not a Zen text. My explanation and interpretation is –
If what you can slay is the Buddha, then you have most assuredly not slain him, since the Buddha and dharma are both unassailable and beyond time and space. The same goes for God. What you are killing are only your false perceptions of God and the Buddha.
Tenmafukumetsu – The word “tenma” (literally, heavenly demon) is a demon from the sixth heaven in the realm of desire (one of the six realms in Buddhist cosmology) who tries to prevent humans from doing good. The incantation is intended to combat those demons.
Obviously, this is hard to all put into a few lines onscreen. A translator’s job is a hard one.
Six Months to Paradise –
Spirit of the wind – The mecha Cybaster from Masoukishin, one of the original series that makes up Super Robot Wars.
Yggdrasil – The tree of life in Celtic mythology.
The song of the wind and trees – Kaze to Ki no Uta, a famous yaoi classic. One of the first anime I watched with my first girlfriend.
A Time to Say Goodbye –
Il n’est rien qui soil futile, tu sais. – A line from Servante de Feu (Servant of Flame), a song from Sora no Oto. (The Sound of the Sky) Never watched the anime myself but the song is fucking beautiful. Go listen to it if you don’t believe me.
Pater et Ego –
Days of Future Past – One of the most famous X-Men storylines that deals with time travel and alternate realities. Was kind of groundbreaking until everyone and his dog started doing the same thing. Also the movie of the same name.
Shane – One of the most famous cowboy movie and books ever. Shane didn’t come back.
Killer Queen – a song from the rock band Queen. My Mum’s actually quite the fan of them, as am I.
Even Jupiter cannot find a lost opportunity – A line from Virtue’s Last Reward, on Phi’s brooch. The actual Latin is “Elapsam semel occasionem non ipse potest Iuppiter reprehendere.”
Janus, god of two faces – The Roman god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages, and endings. One face looks towards the future and the other towards the past.
The Promising Future –
The ending song of Phantasy Star 4. One of my favorite ending songs ever. For years I could never bring myself to listen to it because it never seemed that future would come. Now that it has I feel compelled to at least name one chapter after it.
In Conclusion –
sunlit garden – an important concept and musical piece in Shoujo Kakumei Utena. There are plenty of roses in that too.
“Vincit amor omnia, regit amor omnia.” – I’d like to take credit for this awesome and cool Latin phrase but I always like to give credit where credit is due, and I first read it in a Ranma fanfiction called Chasing the Wind. It’s one of the best fanfics I’ve ever read, and I’ve read plenty.
shining in the darkness – A Sega Genesis RPG, precursor to Shining Force, one of the best classic SPRGs. Which became Shining the Holy Ark, which became Shining Force NEO, which became…whatever. I only played the first two while younger, but they were a huge part of my childhood.
The Master Sword – A key weapon in the Legend of Zelda series of games.
Excalibur – King Arthur’s sword of course.
Sword of Mana – The final weapon in Secret of Mana, one of the last games I played in the US before coming back to SG.
The Elysdeon – I don’t even know how to start talking about this one. It’s a sword from Phantasy Star IV.
In many ways the Phantasy Star series was Evangelion before Evangelion…some of the most important games of my life and childhood. That gentle green light has appeared in my visions and therapy more times than I can count. It severed the final ties of grief and was with me as a young boy struggling with school and his parents’ divorce all the way until now.
It was there on the first retreat as well during one of the most intense episodes I experienced in my entire life. I would have liked to devote more time to talking about the game but it just didn’t fit in the narrative well. Still, it remains to me forever the sword of swords, blade of blades, shattering to protect all when its destiny is complete.
The blade that cleaves evil shall remain yet unbroken – A song from Zanma Taisei Demonbane. Also a reference to Zengar Zomvolt (Sanger in English) the self-styled “sword that cleaves evil” from SRW (localized as “sword that smites evil” I think)
Sora no aosa, yoru no fukasa – (The blueness of the sky, the depth of the night) A line from Born to Love You, the ending song of Mermaid’s Forest.
Don’t Stop, Carry On! – the second opening theme of V Gundam.
Keep on Dreaming – the opening theme of Nekketsu Saikyou Gosaurer.
Maybe Plato was right after all – One of Plato’s key ideas was that material objects in this world were reflections of eternal forms that existed beyond time and space.
You know the carnival comes and goes, but if you wait for a while, it’ll always come back to you. – A quote from Tenchi Muyou, in the episode No Need for a Conclusion.
End of Evangelion – The second of the first two Evangelion movies. (not the remakes)
To my mother and father, who gave me life. I know you tried your best.
To my sister, whom I probably still love more than anything in the entire world.
To myself, for writing this whole goddamn thing and well, being here.
To Doctor Harold Robers, Emily Cheah and the staff at Psycare. Thank you for taking care of me, my sister and my friends all these years. God Bless.
Hideaki Anno, the staff at Gainax, all the seiyuu, and everything ever involved with Neon Genesis Evangelion. I seriously don’t think I’d be here without you.
Everyone that was with me on the EVA ML all those years ago. I swore if I ever wrote a book I would thank you guys and now I have.
All the friends I’ve ever had. There are too many to list here! Besides which you’re all in between the pages anyway.
Natesh and Eileen Mohan, for believing in me.
All my family members on both sides, especially Benjamin Huang, April Cheok and Dorothy Chew.
Juliet Pang, for giving me far more than just singing lessons.
Doctor Herbert Tan, for his care, concern and advice.
17th_Immortal and Shimozakura at Animelyrics.com for their translations of Resistance Line and Shinjitsu no Yukue, which I used as a basis for mine. As well as Shinobi Chirlind-Byouko, for her translation of Saiai which I have adapted.
Aunty Pat, for putting up with the wild ideas of two cosplaying youths on a budget. Thanks for all your hard work and we’re sorry we lost your address.
Every girl that I have ever loved in whatever ways I did. Whether or not that love was returned – it doesn’t matter. It was a privilege to even be able to be able to even do so.
Dr Lim and Saras Atre at Raffles Counselling. I couldn’t have done it without you both either.
Jennifer Diane Reitz, whose writings and stories inspired me more than I knew. May you walk in love always.
Kalpana, for her ready smile, spiritual guidance and wisdom.
Makoto Sato, another brother of steel. Thanks for all the karaokes, they were awesome. Wishing you and your family all the best. You are every inch a “cool hero” too! And if we both already are, then I guess there’s no need to transform, huh?
Hideki Brian Ito, for sharing his home and heart with me.
All the early authors of fanfiction whose writings had such an impact on my life…Zen, Nora Jemison, Katrina Spencer, Chris Roberts, and many more I can’t remember. Thank you all.
Eri Izawa, for sharing her knowledge of light, shadow and the path out of cynicism.
Ikari Yui, my editor, for her invaluble assistance and advice. She went through my manuscript with a fine-toothed comb (yes, I know, it’s really long…) and pointed out many things that I would most definitely not have caught on my own. Not to mention providing incredible editorial help in many others ways as well! I will cherish her help and friendship forever.
The Divine that is manifest in all things.
To everyone involved with all the games and music and anime and books that have helped me with so many things in my life – wait that’s too many people to even count. Why not I just thank the whole damn world while I’m at it? How’s that for gratitude?