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  1. #1
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    Default What's up with the feathers?

    This is one of those frequently reused symbols in Japanese media that I can't quite suss out entirely... what's the symbolism behind feathers? They pop up all the time, sometimes related to wings, but sometimes not. Sometimes they're left floating behind when a character does something particularly mystical, sometimes they're just there in a sort of non-sequiter fashion. I suspect it's one of those oddities that arises from Christianity's history with Japan, but I don't actually know that.

    Can anyone around here give up the straight dope?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Kid Kyoto's Avatar
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    can you cite some better examples?
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  3. #3
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    Opening of Black Lagoon
    Death of a karas in the first few minutes of Karas
    Various moments in almost any Final Fantasy

    I seem 'em most often in fantasy/magical settings.
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  4. #4
    vs. mode Sanagi's Avatar
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    It's not just anime. Feathers(and birds) are a very common symbol.

  5. #5
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    Yes, but the image of floating, often glowing feathers is present frequently without any relation to birds at all. They usually are depicted almost like falling leaves, and often of uniform size.

    I was thinking it had some spiritual relevance to the Judeo-Christian angelic nature, but I don't actually know it.

    Seriously, nobody else has noticed? I guess I'm going to have to start writing down instances.
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  6. #6
    Infinite Combobility K.O.V.G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkthinker View Post
    Yes, but the image of floating, often glowing feathers is present frequently without any relation to birds at all. They usually are depicted almost like falling leaves, and often of uniform size.

    I was thinking it had some spiritual relevance to the Judeo-Christian angelic nature, but I don't actually know it.

    Seriously, nobody else has noticed? I guess I'm going to have to start writing down instances.
    I agree like before a great fight you'll see bird of sort fly over then two fights go at it.
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  7. #7
    Gallifrey endures. blackphoenix's Avatar
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    Sometimes they are cherry blossoms. I think both with falling feathers and blossoms that it signifies that either something major and profound has just happened(like a death) or someone has entered who is very godlike or beautiful.
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  8. #8
    lost in the cyber dungeon The Xenos's Avatar
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    A friend of mine went to the recent Anime Expo that CLAMP was at. He said he was going to ask then, "What's up with all the random wings on all your characters?" I forget if he actually did or not.
    Xenos

  9. #9
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    I'm leaning towards "symbol of angelic nature" for the moment. I guess I'll see if it continues to apply.
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  10. #10
    vs. mode Sanagi's Avatar
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    More common, I think - white birds represent good/life, black birds represent evil/death.

  11. #11
    Tell me a story.... Melchior's Avatar
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    Higher/mystical/pure beings are often related to the sky mythologically, with the bird being the pre-eminent example of life in the sky.

    It also probably works back to "tennyo". Here's a rough bit in from good ol' wikipedia. Seems consistent with what I know.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenny%C5%8D

    Sanagi, is that Nausicaa, only surviving daughter of Jhil's eleven children, of the Valley of the Wind? With Teto, of course.

    Cool.
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  12. #12
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    Hm. That's one I hadn't seen before, but it does fill some gaps.
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  13. #13
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    Noticed they're also in the opener to Blood+ (in this case, blood red, but still glowy and sourceless and falling like petals).
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