February 05, 2010

Fumiko's Confession

In Japan, a "confession" (告白) is what a girl does when she expresses her feelings to a boy she likes (usually but not always in that order). In Y/A romances, it is the subject of an unbelievable amount of angst. In Ranma 1/2, for example, it is treated the same as a marriage proposal.

My explanation for this is that, in terms of what's considered "normal" behavior in the U.S., introversion is the status quo in Japan. So making simple declarations like this are incredibly stressful. As my sister points out, this is an important clue to understanding Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

An unsuccessful confession (a very prototypical scene) begins Fumiko's Confession, igniting a very un-prototypical rollercoaster of a short film drawn by one very talented Hiroyasu Ishida (you may want to take a Dramamine first). Rarely are teenage emotions so vividly illustrated.

Here are the five lines of dialog, with the boy featuring typical junior high school male cluelessness.


Fumiko: Ah, um, please go out with with me!
Takashi: I'm sorry, but right now I'm concentrating on baseball.


Fumiko: [Just before running down the little old lady.] He's such an idiot!


Fumiko: I'll make miso soup for you every morning! [A colloquial expression that means the same as above.]
Takashi: I'm sorry, but I want to focus on baseball right now.

The hilly setting of Fumiko's Confession reminds me of Tama New Town in western Tokyo, where Whisper of the Heart (which also contains a misaligned "confession") and many other Studio Ghibli films take place.

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# posted by Blogger Kate Woodbury
2/06/2010 9:35 AM   
I just got done watching Season 4 of Bones. I consider Bones the most romantic show I've ever watched. For example, it is a billion times more romantic than X-Files! In X-Files, romance is kind of beside the point. Anyway, the Scully-Mulder relationship is a given from Day 1 which makes X-Files actually very relaxing to watch. Bones is much less relaxing: all those human emotions ricocheting all over the place. (Hey, I gotta lot of Bones in me.)

Anyway, there are some pretty die-hard romantic idealists writing for Bones (I hope it isn't spoiled in Season 5), and I think this confession business may be one reason the show is so romantic. A serious amount of effort is being expended on whether or not Brennan will ever admit that what she struggles with are her feelings for Booth. (The whole baby thing was a dead give-away, and I was right about how Booth would react! He would never agree unless he could parent the child.)

Season 4 makes it clear that Bones is the one struggling. I think Booth falls into "clueless guy" territory but in a sweet way: he is head over heels in love with Brennan but doesn't pay much attention to those feelings since she is off-limits. He just likes to make sure she is always around which is, from a certain perspective, exactly how a guy tells you he likes you.
# posted by Blogger Kate Woodbury
2/06/2010 9:46 AM   
By the way, I do consider X-Files to be a romantic show--hence the comparison! Bones does fall into the X-Files category--more than, say, the Lois & Clark or Moonlighting category because the romantic pair already behave like a settled couple, even without the confession. (Bones and Booth's behavior as a married couple is not substantially different from their behavior as a crime-solving couple which was the writers' point--and would have been mine if I were writing for the show).