• The Chinese motifs of Outlaw Star
  • The Chinese motifs of Outlaw Star

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  1. #1
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    The Chinese motifs of Outlaw Star

    I was watching an interview with Takehiko Ito recently, and one of the things that interested me the most was Ito describing the universe of OLS as being imagined as a 'Chinese universe'. Something 'clicked' in my head when he said that. Of course! The Tao symbol in the logo, the Kei Pirate Guild, Hei Fong... Suddenly it all makes sense! (Funnily enough, this is actually another similarity OLS has in common with Firefly.)







    Have you noticed any other Chinese imagery in the series?

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  3. #2
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    Cool topic! I greatly appreciate this aspect of OS, because not to paint with too broad of a brush but all too often Chinese culture and people are caricatured in Japanese media. Ever noticed how the unit of currency the wong seems to have been inspired by the Korean won?

    The Chinese motifs of Outlaw Star-wong-jpg

    The Chinese motifs of Outlaw Star-won-jpg
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  5. #3
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    A Chinese friend of mine told me that there are tons of Chinese references in Outlaw Star (as well as the manga and she got the Cantonese collection for me and read some of it before sending it to me), but I don't think she ever told me which in particular. Though I do recall her mentioning architecture and shop signs. I also think of the dragons, like the magic dragon Roifan summons in the second episode and the Leyline dragon. I'll definitely look up more about these references when I find the time.

    I remember the Korean won being mentioned in the DYKA episode. Was that based on name alone? Because I think the notes share more in common with Chinese currency, the yuan.

    The Chinese motifs of Outlaw Star-chinesecurrency-jpg

    The design definitely looks more similar. Rounded border edges, somewhat-circular centre emblem. So I wouldn't say the wong gained much inspiration from Korea. The truth probably goes deeper than that, and name alone isn't enough. (Side note: the "dollar" isn't American, and originated in Europe. Many countries call their currency the dollar. North and South Korea call their currency the won, but they're very different cultures and their currencies are valued differently.) Interestingly, though, a single wong is roughly equivalent to a US dollar.
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
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    Thanks for the info, guys. Very interesting!

    Can anyone confirm what language this is? Looking at the kanji for Hilda (ヒルダ) it doesn't seem to be Japanese. That's a super neat touch, if all the in-universe text is actually Chinese. (And maybe excuses the instances of Engrish!) Also, have we ever figured out what that (I'm assuming Chinese) text in the OLS logo says?


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    I've been learning a small bit of kanji recently, and I recognize one of the symbols in the OLS logo's upper part as 'Going' or 'Future' (Some words use the same kanji, from what I've been learning). Because I recognize the one that roughly translates to 'future', I'd assume that the logo's apparent Japanese/Chinese text is related to the words that hide in the O of Outlaw: Future Hero Next Generation. I could be wrong in my speculation, however.

    Since Kanji originates from Chinese in general, though, it wouldn't be surprising if it's a mix in general, to me.

    Editting in one note: As I google the kanji for the words, I'm seeing kanji I didn't learn compared to the one I recognized. I'm starting to question google as well as the tutor app I've been learning kanji from...Or if some words have multiple kanji relations. o.O
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  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mantis View Post
    So I wouldn't say the wong gained much inspiration from Korea. The truth probably goes deeper than that, and name alone isn't enough.
    I'd say there's some truth to this. After all, not to paint with a broad, ignorant brush, but Korean (and Japanese, for that matter) culture does originate from mainland China (if you go back far enough). The won itself is probably somehow derived from the yuan, so you're right either way Mantis lol (sort of like 'East Asian' dragon iconography, too: sure, they have their own relevance in Japanese, Korean, and other cultures, but again it pretty much meanders on back to China at one point or another).
    No one's gonna' give you a map. You've gotta' walk your own path.
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  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hari View Post
    Also, have we ever figured out what that (I'm assuming Chinese) text in the OLS logo says?
    The whole logo is the full title of Outlaw Star, which is "Outlaw Star: Starward Warrior Knight". Or, in Japanese characters: "星方武侠アウトロースタ". As for your Hilda question, I've tried, but no such luck. Here's the full screenshot:

    The Chinese motifs of Outlaw Star-vlcsnap-error218-png


    Try it out.
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    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

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  12. #8
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    Yes big time, I always thought the Chinese notes were dope and added a layer of esotericism to the lore.

    Just like the Feng Shui Episode in Cowboy Bebop! It's nice to see Chinese culture appreciated in Japanese animation.

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