Tuesday, 31 May 2016

So angry it's kawaii

We think that angry is cute but what do we mean by that? In this short post I try to show with some cute examples why their displacement is so adorable. My examples are both from anime. I guess Japanese can do many kind of cute.

First of all here's one of the most famous angry and cute things; Jigglypuff. In case you're not familiar with this creature let me explain it really quick.
It's a pokémon with a life goal to make everyone hear it's song. Unfortunately, Jigglypuff's magical song makes everyone fall asleep. But Jigglypuff doesn't realize the song's magical properties and thus thinks that everyone falling sleep during singing are just plain rude. Jigglypuff gets always mad because of this naughty behaviour and punishes audience with drawing their faces full of marks with a marker (which also works as a Jigglypuff's microphone).

Another of my examples is P-Chan from Ranma1/2. P-chan's design is adorable but he's anything than cute from the inside!

P-Chan is actually boy named Ryoga who transforms into a small black piglet when coming in contact with cold water. Ryoga often prefers being a pig because of the attention he gets from the second main character, Akane. Akane doesn't know that P-chan is actually a human. P-chan is vicious and violent towards the main character Ranma. He's the partly responsible from Ryoga's pig curse.

Why is this cute?
Well, it's mostly because of the contrast it makes. Angry doesn't mean (as many other negative emotions) that it's completely unpleasant feeling when is tied to something generally accepted as a highly positive; such as cute.
Generally something cute is related to something 100% positive. Such as happy, kind, generous, caring and little silly or simple in that cute kind of way. I could continue this list for ages but you get the point. Coventions in fiction are so predictable, boring, unimaginative and thus plain dreadful. It's so hard to make them work on any level. Everyone can make something cute such as a big eyed cat picking flowers to a child but who could bear to watch that kind of character if something doesn't come to contrast? and no the place/setting helps creating contrasts but not in this case.

Of course creating contrast is not something new and unique but point is what is contrasting what. Even contrast is used way too often to make something "new" but this often fails horribly. Cute and annoying for example is starting to be convention as well. This is used when there's an episode of children that are supposedly cute but terribly annoying. Maybe that's observation about real children. Who knows. This is really important part. The hostility of "angry cute" character shouldn't aim to annoy viewer. If character annoys you, you couldn't really describe as cute (besides the design) now would you? 



  1. What a great explanation of angry cute! I haven't really thought about this but it makes sense. I have never heard of these characters but I think that one that makes people fall asleep from its song and then draws on them sounds hilarious!


    1. Thank you, Rebecca! Jigglypuff is all around great! :D


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