2022-12-9 07:58 /


「于世界尽头狂飙突进的声音」
——几原邦彦动画中作为迭奏与革命的音乐时刻


原作者:萝丝·布里吉斯(Rose Bridges)
文章原名:"The Sound That Races Through the End of the World": Musical Moments as Refrain and Revolution in the Anime of Ikuhara Kunihiko
翻译:FISHERMAN
原文链接(Project MUSE)

几原邦彦监督因其超现实主义的、突破(传统动画)界限的作品而在日本动画爱好者中闻名遐迩。纵观由几原担任监督的作品——TV动画《少女革命》(少女革命ウテナ,1997)、《回转企鹅罐》(2011)、《百合熊风暴》(2015)、《皿三昧》(2019),以及电影《少女革命剧场版 思春期默示录》(少女革命ウテナ アドゥレセンス黙示録,1999)——我们发现,他就像写小说一样导演动画。几原的作品充盈着象徵主义;在他的作品中,很少有自身涵义与其在观众眼中的第一印象完全一致的角色或影像。从表面上看,几原的动画像是传统的少女浪漫/魔法少女动画,但它实则深入探讨了各式各样的主题,例如:激进女性主义、青少年心理发展、后现代主义文学,以及末世论。然而,经验老道的几原fan仍设法从几原那涵盖了形形色色的思想性元素的作品中提炼出了他的创作范式(pattern),而在几原动画中最为一贯的范式,便是他对“音乐时刻”的使用。

艾米·赫尔佐格(Amy Herzog)在她的著作《差异之梦,同一之歌:电影中的音乐时刻》(Dreams of Difference, Songs of the Same: The Musical Moment in Film)中,将「音乐时刻」定义为:“音乐…颠倒[影像-声音]的层次结构(hierarchy),以在电影作品中占据主导地位”的时刻。[1] 这种层级倒置最广为人知的运用,当属歌舞片(film musical)中的音乐时刻。然而,音乐时刻的使用并不局限于此。赫尔佐格在她的书中指出了音乐时刻在其他电影类型(types of films),尤其是让-吕克·戈达尔与大卫·林奇等导演所制作的更为前卫的影片中的若干使用案例,而几原的动画也和那些电影一样,遵循着这种使用音乐时刻的惯例。在数次采访中,几原甚至承认使用了法国新浪潮(戈达尔属其中一员)的视觉美学,并表达了与林奇合作的意愿,而海外的日本动画爱好者们则经常将几原比作“动画界的大卫·林奇”。不过需要特别指出的是,几原的动画乃是在「动画」这一媒介中运作的,而后者则和电影一样,有着颠倒[影像-声音]层次结构的悠久历史。[2] 可以说,众多诸如“米老鼠技法”(“Mickey-mousing”,指:使音声与画面中的角色动作完全匹配)的常见动画制作技术,都仰仗于对[影像-声音]层次结构某种程度上的颠倒——在其中,配乐被用来为相对单调的动作(例如行走)增添喜剧与娱乐内蕴。同时,从美国动画黄金时代的迪士尼《糊涂交响曲》(Silly Symphonies)、《幻想曲》(Fantasia),再到华纳兄弟的《乐一通》(Looney Tunes)和《梅里小旋律》(Merrie Melodies),我们不难看出:动画和音乐与音乐剧之间的密切关联由来已久。日本动画发展了自身的传统;这些传统植根于美国动画,但亦独立于后者。不过,身为一名研究日本动画音乐的学者,作者发现:对音乐时刻的依赖是美国/日本动画的共同特征。日本动画,特别是那些饱含色彩绚丽的变身场景和打斗场面的战斗类动画,往往严重依赖重复的动画片段(repeated animation,即“兼用卡”),而在这些片段中,配乐和音效的运用——它们可能与之前的片段中所用的配乐略有不同,或完全一致——使得这种重复引人入胜,而非枯燥乏味。

几原对音乐时刻的使用,很大程度上依赖于各种插曲似的片段(episodic sequences)——例如,作为《少女革命》(下文简称少革)绝大多数剧集高潮部分的薔薇新娘决斗,或《皿三昧》中对抗河童僵尸的音乐剧战斗。在创作《少革》之前,几原曾在东映动画担任《美少女战士》的单集演出和系列监督(他负责了第二季的一部分,和第三季全集)。《美少女战士》以一种在战斗类动画中更为常见的方式,使用着重复的动画片段和配乐。水手服战士的各种变身桥段和打戏不仅构成了每一集的叙事高潮,而且也构成了这些剧集的情感高潮;这要归功于描绘了“少女们的水手服化作火环或泡泡,‘魔法般地’环绕着她们”这一情节的风格化影像,但更为关键的则是伴随着这些段落的活力四射的配乐。几原邦彦基于他在《美少女战士》中的这种演出风格创作了《少革》的情节段落,例如这一幕:“主角天上欧蒂娜伴随着歌曲《绝对命运默示录》那气势恢宏的大合唱,登上通向决斗场的阶梯。”在《少革》中,几原进一步拓展了这种视-听重复,使之得以与(作品的思想)主题产生共鸣,而非止步于其华丽表层。

音乐时刻对传统电影层级的颠覆,是如何与其他文化等级制度(的颠覆)建立起关联的?这是围绕着音乐时刻的讨论中,最引人入胜的分析角度之一。女性主义电影学者将电影中的影像-音乐层次结构和性别关系(gender relations)进行了比较,而一些学者甚至认为:对音乐“盖过”影像或叙事的不信任,源于对音乐的女性气质文化编码的不信任。[3] 因此,打破前文所述的(影像-音乐)关系的影片具有女性主义意义上的潜能。赫尔佐格从音乐时刻优先(构建)景观并打断传统叙事的过程中,注意到了这种“破裂”(rupture):“在许多剧情长片(feature-length works)中,音乐时刻标志着电影大背景下的一个断点。视觉上,它倾向于采用华丽的演出风格、奇幻元素的并置,以及在理性世界中不可能做到的动作。”她还举例说,音乐时刻倾向于遵循常见的演出套路(formula),譬如,“逢场作戏”(putting on a show)【译注1】。[4] 藉此,音乐时刻中的“幻想”与非现实性元素被进一步增强。观众会在音乐时刻中注意到用熟悉的创作方式(trope)铺就的叙事结构,但对他们来说,音乐时刻给人的感觉并不那么“现实”。然而,这些套路在被应用于音乐时刻的同时,亦揭示了后者潜在的墨守成规(conventionality)。歌舞片经常为保守意识形态服务,纵使它倾向于破坏电影的形式结构(指:重视影像,轻视声音,并力求写实)。例如,许多音乐剧将异性恋爱情故事皆大欢喜的结局作为终极叙事目标。音乐时刻有着颠覆或巩固(affirm)现状的潜能,而这则取决于音乐时刻的相似性/差异性(与先前的各种层次结构相比)之间的特定(比率)关系。

作者在此立论:几原对音乐时刻的运用,意在激发「结构」的革命潜能。几原的动画一再关注普通人——特别是妇女、儿童、青少年,和LGBT群体——在压迫父权制中的处境。自《少革》起,几原执导的四部TV动画都利用了它们内部的音乐时刻来推进这些有关父权制压迫的叙事主题,并为剧中角色“生成”(create)了能够反叛诸类压迫制度的“空间”。几原的女性主义音乐时刻强有力地论证了赫尔佐格的观点——在她笔下,音乐时刻,即为「迭奏」。「迭奏」这一概念援引自后结构主义哲学家吉尔·德勒兹与菲利克斯·瓜塔利。它是一种涉及空间标划(marking-out of space)的重复艺术表达。通常情况下,在动画中登场的几原音乐时刻不只是作品叙述结构破裂的具象化,而且还展现了其笔下人物所处的“正常”世界物理结构的破裂。这些破裂,是剧情(diegetic)意义上的;几原的迭奏式空间(“refrain-like space”,例如少革中的决斗场)如同小说中的魔幻现实主义一般运作——这是几原动画与文学作品的另一个相似之处。在几原邦彦编织的故事里,此类空间扰乱了观众对物理现实的感知:某一事件,究竟是“真正”发生在角色身上的(实在情节),还是角色们的梦境图景(dream sequence)或错觉,亦或纯粹服务于观众视听的完全非剧情元素?正因如此,几原的音乐时刻生成了空间;在其中,剧情空间的规范(normal rules)分崩离析,而角色们则能够以他们在“世俗的”的物理世界中无法实现的方式表达他们的欲望并创造变革。

本文的大部分篇幅侧重于分析1997年放送的TV动画《少革》和2019年放送的TV动画《皿三昧》(几原最近的作品)。这两部动画牵涉到了对音乐最为广泛的运用:后者被应用于“不可思议般”的独立空间(相对于剧情空间而言),而角色们则在这些空间中进行个人表达,并试图创制变革。《少革》和《皿三昧》中的音乐时刻也最大限度地借鉴了其他日本动画中的桥段,特别是从属“魔法少女”流派的作品(例如《美少女战士》)当中的那些,并将情感宣泄和观众逃避现实的感觉(the sense of viewer escapism and emotional release)包含在内。同时,音乐时刻之于越界(transgressive)的故事主旨也是不可或缺的,而它们与幻想般的封闭空间之间的关联,则是几原虚构世界中的声景(soundscapes)的关键。


几原的迭奏

在她对小说和歌剧版本的《卡门》的电影再现中的迭奏的研究里,赫尔佐格给出了几个例子来定义德勒兹式迭奏的概念。鸟鸣是一种迭奏,情歌亦然;甚至,某些灵长类物种用于标记领地与传达特定生殖功能的五彩斑斓的性器官,也是一种迭奏。除了同为交配仪式以外,所有这些例子还拥有一个共同点:它们都是“...一种生成了环境(milieu)之间的节奏(rhythm)与差异的表达行为。”[5] 差异与重复也是“更广泛的辖域化形式”的一部分;在《卡门》中,一段鸟鸣、或一首在恋人之间传唱的歌曲,为这对交往中的情侣生成了特殊的“空间”。[6] 然而,定义德勒兹式迭奏最为关键的一点,或是「节奏」这一概念——它并非字面意义上的音乐节奏,而是指差异的重复,例如:音乐节奏是一种不同节拍之间特定、重复的顺序。迭奏节奏的变化,标志着不同辖域中表现形式的改变。因此,赫尔佐格将音乐时刻定义为一种迭奏,其特征是节奏上的差异;不过,许多叙事上的重复也可以作为德勒兹式的迭奏。我们可以将一组作品(譬如,由同一监督执导的电影或电视剧)中相似的叙事主题视为一种类似迭奏的风格化演出(refrain-like fashion),而作者认为,几原的“宠物主题”【译注2】和他的音乐时刻也是如此。

对几原式迭奏的探求激发了诸多对几原作品的批判性讨论,并使数不胜数的粉丝着迷于这些作品。在创作时,几原邦彦有着回到相似主题、母题(motif)、与符号的强烈嗜好,以至于粉丝们在社交媒体上制作了“几原宾果卡”【译注3】来帮助他们在他的每一部新作中寻找这些元素。然而,仅仅指出这些元素的重复并不能阐明迭奏的作用。正如赫尔佐格所写:“节奏不是同一的,而是差异的产物。”[7] 她引用德勒兹与加塔利:“一个环境的确是通过一种周期性的重复而存在的...但是,这种重复的唯一效应就是生成一种差异,而通过后者,这个环境才能够进入另一个环境。差异——而非生成差异的反复——才是节奏性的:生产性的节奏与复制性的节拍无关。”[8] 节奏性的变化生成了节奏,并开辟了新的环境;因此,正是几原的主题性素材当中的环境之间的变化使叙事迭奏如此地引人入胜。作者之所以要探讨几原的叙事主题性迭奏,是因为它们对于理解几原音乐时刻内蕴的潜能——那近似迭奏的、具备颠覆性的潜能——来说,至关重要(而音乐时刻经常被用来阐释这些迭奏式的颠覆性主题)。

几原作品中最为一目了然的主题性迭奏之一,是对性别与性(gender and sexuality)的关注。他的作品经常关注女性,或“(含蓄/明确表明)自身性取向为同性”/“通过非标准方式进行性别表达”的人;最常见的,是二者兼而有之:我们可以看到,“女同性恋”一词频繁出现在粉丝制作的“几原宾果卡”上,例如——《少革》的中心,是女主角欧蒂娜与姬宫安希之间的浪漫关系,其在《少革》剧场版中展现得更是直截了当;《百合熊风暴》的中心主题为:日本流行媒体与文化,特别是动画和漫画是如何将女同性恋者刻板化、边缘化的;《美少女战士》和《回转企鹅罐》中都有女同性恋配角。《皿三昧》则是几原邦彦第一部主要关注男同性恋者的作品,而在这之前,男酷儿在《少革》系列以及几原执导的《美少女战士》剧集当中扮演着配角。《少革》、尤其是《百合熊风暴》中的众多焦点集中在性别关系上,以及性别角色是如何阻碍少女(百合熊风暴)和少年(少革)的发展的。此外,几原的作品向我们表明:这些(压迫)系统的受害者亦可以被转化成为其他受害者面前的系统卫道士。例如,在《少革》中,双性恋男角色桐生冬芽是大爹(patriarch)凤晓生的主要跟班【译注4】的对立角色的化身(antagonist personifications)之一。像有栖川树璃、高槻枝织、和冬芽的妹妹七实这样挣扎于自身的「性」以及自身在(压迫)系统中的处境的女性角色经常对其他女性恶言相向。而在《皿三昧》中,同志情侣新星玲央与阿久津真武则是为压迫水獭帝国卖命的人物中的一员;将他们置于这种境地的浮士德式交易为动画的后半部分提供了许多戏剧效果。

另一主要的几原式主题,是青春期和这一时期个人发展的困境。几原笔下的青少年角色,通常来说既渴望蜕变成为新的形态,又被自身的过去所界定;结果是,他们可能不像最初意识到的那样愿意将过去置之脑后。这是《少革》与《回转企鹅罐》的中心主题之一,而后者则聚焦于九零年代初期日本泡沫经济破裂以及1995年奥姆真理教于东京实施的沙林毒气恐怖袭击过后,日本“迷惘的一代”的心理创伤。这两部动画中的角色所面临的核心冲突,是:他们能够在多大程度上为自己而活,而不是被自身那逐渐消逝的过去的罪孽与创伤所困扰——这些罪孽与创伤仍然会影响角色们的情感,纵使他们不能准确地记住这些过去之物。正如蒂莫西·佩珀(Timothy Perper)和玛莎·科诺格(Martha Cornog)在他们对《少革》剧场版、TV动画和漫画等不同版本的研究中所写的那样,《少革》的所有不同演绎都是“被往事织成的网络相互联系起来的,变化并再生的记忆。”[9] 这种对“压迫系统”和“青春期/成长/时间”的双重关注,解释了许多最有可能出现在粉丝宾果卡上、并致使重复情节被标记的几原式副主题。

例如,几原笔下的角色经常与他们的兄弟姊妹之间有着复杂的、甚至(含蓄/明确的)乱伦关系。几原在他对《少革》第31集“她的悲剧”的评论中讨论了这一主题。他指出,充满爱的、正常运转的家庭关系以无条件的爱为特征。因此,渴望能够“像他们爱TA那样”爱着他们的人的年轻人可能会过度沉溺于他们和兄弟姊妹之间的亲密关系。[10] 这构成了爱的形式之一,即“柏拉图式理想的”爱情,而它可能会在年轻人苦苦挣扎于形成自我意识并第一次探索浪漫爱情的时候吸引他们。接受改变(这种形式的爱)的必要性、并向世界发起冲击,是成长的一部分;这是“她的悲剧”一集中的核心人物七实所意识到的事情:在这一整集中,她与她的哥哥冬芽渐行渐远,并发现了凤晓生和安希这对亲兄妹之间扭曲的乱伦之爱,以及这种爱是如何阻碍他们的成长的。对“改变之于青少年的可怕之处”进行相似的探索、并且想要看似矛盾地“走快车道”来达成这种可怕改变的几原动画作品们经常着眼于角色们为了解决他们所有的问题而希望拥有的某种类似麦高芬(MacGuffin)的神奇“物品”(例如企鹅罐这一符号,或皿三昧中的希望之盘)或希望到达/见到的地点/人(譬如少革中的“世界尽头”)。通常,(角色们和观众会发现)这种物品原来是不真实的,或是至少缺乏被他们所寄予厚望的那种程度的力量;但是,其象徵价值对于展示这些角色是如何被更广泛的无形系统所束缚住的来说至关重要。

(作者在本文中提及的)最后一个重要的几原保留情节,是记忆的虚幻性(illusory nature)。角色们经常有着“被忘却的初次邂逅”;它甚至在角色们不知情的情况下影响了他们的人格塑造。其他角色则下意识地“编辑”他们的记忆,以使他们同他们想要成为的人物更为相像,或是使他们自身顺应现状。在《少革》中,欧蒂娜记得她曾遇到过一位赠予她订婚戒指的王子,并相信这是她渴望成为王子的缘由。后来我们得知,欧蒂娜遇到的其实是公主安希;受到安希启发的她想要成为王子来保护安希——但欧蒂娜更倾向于编造能够让她在异性恋本位(heteronormative)框架中感觉更“正常”、并为她离经叛道的行为(打扮的像个男孩、想成为“王子”而不是“公主”)辩护的记忆。这一情节,既符合“青春期身份形成”的主题,亦和女性与LGBT人群受到压迫系统束缚的方式相吻合。

以上这些主题/情节之所以能够在几原的叙事中作为迭奏发挥着作用,是因为它们之间有着差异、各不相同——为的是适应几原创作的每一个不同的故事、角色(们)和世界。同时,它们对于理解每一部几原动画中的音乐时刻以及它们的迭奏式功能来说必不可少——是音乐时刻阐明上文提及的主题并挑战每个虚构世界中的叙事和宏观社会当中的规范结构的方式,使得这些主题/情节在此至关重要的。作者已经解释了几原的叙事迭奏。接下来,作者将会在对《少革》的分析(本文的两个案例研究当中的第一个)中,剖析这些叙事迭奏在音乐时刻内的表达。


《少女革命》:作为破裂的音乐小剧场 & 作为迭奏的决斗片段

《少革》有着许多不同的重复音乐片段,而我们可以运用“音乐时刻”和迭奏的框架来对它们进行分析。在整个叙事中反复出现的片段主要有三个:影绘少女小剧场、欧蒂娜登上决斗场的过程、以及决斗本身。还有一些仅限于故事特定部分出场的片段,其大致分为三部分:第一幕(学生会篇)和第二幕(黑蔷薇篇)中学生会成员/决斗者搭乘电梯的片段,以及第三幕(凤晓生篇)与最后一幕(默示录篇)中决斗者搭乘跑车的片段。作者对《少革》音乐时刻的分析主要集中在第一类,即那些在所有篇章中都有登场的片段。

对于“影绘少女”小剧场是不是音乐时刻这一点,观众众说纷纭,因为他们可以辩驳说:作为诸类片段的中心的影像仍然是重中之重。然而,鉴于配乐在这些戏剧性演出中起到的关键作用,作者决定将这些小剧场视为音乐演出,进一步讲,音乐片段(musical numbers)。无论以哪种方式来看,它们——在欧蒂娜开始察觉并与这些小剧场互动之前——都在叙事中形成了破裂,特别是在“学生会篇”中。它们也是迭奏,一个重复性特征,不过这些小剧场在每一集中都会发生重要变化。它们的目的,是:藉由名为影绘少女的两位角色所表演的寓言故事,以阐明每一集的“信息”或其中心角色的内在动机。例如,在第7集“看不尽的树璃”的影子小剧场中,一位生病的女孩被困在家,而她的同学正在动物园进行实地考察。她更喜欢被同学甩在身后,因为那些动物太“无聊”了,女孩说道。但很明显,女孩其实希望自己能够去动物园,而她只是想说服自己不去罢了。这和“无所谓决斗或否的树璃想要‘否定奇迹的存在’的欲望,其实是因为她怨恨奇迹没能在她身上发生”这一点有关。它是一种打破物理现实界限的影子小剧场;在这之后的“小剧场”片段还会向观众展示七实那未被影子笼罩的头箍轮廓(而她的身体在阴影中),以及半透明的水面在有栖川树璃和土谷瑠果身上所投下的浓黑的“阴影”【译注5】。就音乐风格而言,影绘少女小剧场相比其他配乐部分来说是一种破裂:它们在第一和第三、第四章中使用了不规则节奏的快速木槌敲击(mallet percussion),并在“黑蔷薇篇”中使用了一段浮夸的手风琴华尔兹。这种风格,是主打柔和的古典钢琴与弦乐的《少革》剧伴(underscore)的通常声景中的一处脱轨。

影绘少女小剧场经常出现在决斗正前。这样一来,它们戏剧性地“介绍”了这些决斗以及当周的决斗者所要解决的“问题”。不过,在决斗开始之前,我们还可以发现另一个音乐时刻,即欧蒂娜登上决斗场的兼用卡。“绝对命运默示录”(絶対運命黙示録)的选段,是《少革》的音乐时刻最明显的例子之一,而配乐则是这一时刻扣人心弦的原因。该片段的特点是重复的动画影像,就像其在美学上所借鉴的魔法少女变身片段那般;但是,使它情感丰富的则是配乐,纵使这也是一种重复。在这里,这种配乐和画面上的重复通过解释决斗场的目的,标划了决斗的空间。决斗场是一处独立于世俗学园世界的空间,在此,物理和空间的规范被打破。它是决斗者们前来争夺世界尽头与永恒,并尝试发起革命的地方——革命即“打破蛋壳”,就像学生会成员们在会面前乘坐电梯时喜欢说的那样。“绝对命运默示录”的歌词向我们给出了决斗场“在何处”的线索:所有时间都被浓缩成一瞬间(moment)的地方。这首歌罗列了“出生登录”、“洗礼名簿”、和“死亡登录”,并接着讲述了象徵着生死轮回的对立物,以及宇宙的时间与历史永无止境的前行。它是将决斗空间标划为“一个与其说在所有时间之外,不如说在所有时间之内的地点”的迭奏。

每一集动画都为每一回合的决斗使用了独特的决斗曲。即使是那些在整个故事中多次和欧蒂娜决斗的角色,每次在决斗场上亮相时也伴随着不同的音乐主题。这些片段的配乐全面吸引了观众的注意力、并颠倒了影像-声音的层次结构,尽管剑术决斗的物理动作才是这些片段最为明显的“目的”。这在很大程度上要归功于晦涩难懂的歌词:它们引用了宗教的、科学的、以及其他神秘的象徵主义,以此突出每一集中角色的特定抗争,并将其抗争同决斗场永恒的本质联系起来。本质上,决斗曲是决斗自身的“[古]希腊歌队”(Greek Chorus)。这些歌曲评论了角色们的动机和目标,而它们对决斗双方的理解程度甚至超越了他们自身。这种古希腊歌队合唱的感觉,因歌曲的伴奏与和声(这也是它们与“绝对命运默示录”所共有的元素)而更加突出。合唱包括了以平行八度、四度、或五度咏唱和声的男女二重声部,其音域跨度从高亢的女高音到低沉的男中音不等。各种不同的歌手给观众带来的,是一种大型群众团体(合唱)的感觉。与三和弦等更为传统、紧凑的音组相比,八度、四度以及五度和声亦使观众联想到广阔、开放的空间,而这则要归功于几个世纪以来的作曲家运用此类和声以唤起前述意象的创作方式。此外,平行四度与平行五度也和欧洲中世纪的音乐(特别是赞美诗)以及各种传统形式的东亚音乐有关;它们在听众中唤起了一种“古老的”感觉,而古希腊合唱的结构也有着这样的效果。这些歌曲既使观众联想到真实的历史,又向其描绘了决斗场永恒的概念(the all-times-at-once construct)。

这些音乐时刻不仅对于《少革》每一集的戏剧性结构来说至关重要,而且对于本片虚构世界的整体声景来说亦是如此。它们将影绘少女和决斗的世界,同凤学园的其他日常生活(school life)区分开来。不过,音乐时刻的这种破裂仍然作为一种对学生们的世俗生活和欲望的分层式评论,发挥着它的作用。因此,它们和更为传统的音乐剧体裁——例如后台音乐剧(backstage musical),在其中,浪漫歌曲所表现的主题与角色们的幕后感情戏平行进行——当中的音乐片段有着相似的戏剧性功能。《少革》的不同之处在于:这些音乐时刻,对上层叙事(larger narrative)有着更为直接的影响;事实上,正是因为决斗,叙事才得以推进。作者会在讨论「虚构」(fabulation)时回到《少革》,但首先,作者想要分析几原的另一部作品。与《少革》相比,它用相类似、但仍截然不同的方式使用着音乐时刻。


《皿三昧》:反资本主义的半音乐剧?

就“几原的音乐时刻和叙事主题是如何形成类似迭奏的功能”而言,观众们最容易将《皿三昧》和《少革》相提并论。[11] 在几原的所有作品中,《皿三昧》对音乐时刻的运用和《少革》的最为相似:其每一集都重复着完整的音乐片段,而它们也是这些剧集的情感和叙事高潮。通过歌词中的口头阐述(verbal elaboration),这些片段亦更为直接地与故事想要传达的“信息”联系了起来。同时,《皿三昧》的侧重点和《少革》的略有不同;尽管它继续围绕着LGBT身份的边缘化、压迫系统的霸权性、青春期、以及功能失调的家庭关系等熟悉的主题展开,但其更多关注的是资本主义的压迫性,而非仅仅聚焦于父权制。实际上,《皿三昧》——这部可以说是几原最为自我反思的作品——展示了资本主义是如何一边支持父权制,一边笼络(co-opt)那些冲着它而来的愤怒与革命的,而《皿三昧》对音乐时刻的运用更是如此。

《皿三昧》和《少革》一样,有着两种主要类型的重复音乐片段:一种是接近每一集时长的一半时播放的片段(类似少革的影绘少女小剧场),另一种是每一集高潮时播放的片段(类似少革的决斗曲)。这些片段中的第一个,是由最初被塑造成反派角色的玲央与真武所表演的歌舞片段。玲央和真武是一对为名叫水獭帝国的一群水獭卖命的人类警官。“水獭帝国征服了河童王国”,观众们被这样告知。河童是日本神话中的水妖,而《皿三昧》的三位人类少年主角矢逆一稀、阵内燕太和久慈悠在他们自己的音乐时刻中变身成为的,就是河童。水獭们为了争夺被称为“希望之盘”的奇迹之物而与河童交战。这些盘子是通过解放“河童僵尸”,即那些被自己的变态欲望所摧毁的人类的灵魂而被生成的。在当周的河童僵尸被揭露之前,我们看到玲央和真武先是进行调查,然后,表演了一段歌舞,后者概述了身为“水獭警察”的他们所追求的明显目标。音乐片段中的这首歌——作者以歌曲中重复最多的短语,将其命名为“水獭呀!”(“Kawausoiya!”:“Kawauso”/“カワウソ”在日语中意为“水獭”,而后缀的“iya!”/“ヤァ”则是充作戏剧效果的无意义语气词)——似乎与三位少年主角的故事毫无关联,并突然打断了他们的故事;正因如此,这首歌符合“音乐时刻是一种破裂”的概念。在歌曲中,人声之外的配乐部分,也是使得这一时刻引人入胜的原因。这首歌的作曲在日本音乐剧流派当中并不少见——它运用了民谣音阶(“民謡音階”/“min’yō sukēru”,即小调五声音阶)和主歌-副歌的流行歌曲结构,并结合了西方和日本乐器。然而,就像相类似的日本音乐剧那样,“水獭呀!”的切分重音,连同歌手们那夸张的、富有感情的表演,一并吸引了听众。就画面而言,该片段同《少革》的“绝对命运默示录”一样,大量使用了兼用卡,并且,为了使这些重复的动画片段适应每一集的主题,还对它们进行了细微的更改。尽管如此,在所有这些重复当中有着与这一迭奏的“真正含义”相关的线索:玲央和真武的轻盈歌舞是在工厂,即压迫水獭帝国的机器的影像之上表演的。这些歌曲背后“极为标准化的”作曲方式令人想起机械制造(the mechanistic and the manufactured),而玲央和真武那轻盈的音乐演出只不过是在为它背后的资本主义势力作掩护罢了。

几原在他最近的作品中愈来愈以一种愤世嫉俗的态度来对待这些作品的吸引力、市场营销等方面。例如,《百合熊风暴》关注的是:有多少百合动画——一种可以说是为异性恋观众所设计的女同性恋虚构作品体裁——通过过度性化女同性恋者或是完全否认其欲望,以此压迫她们。在动画中,有着这样一幕:一个全员男性的“审判委员会”强迫女熊们——她们在本片中象徵着那些“被过度性化的”女同性恋者——进行性行为(perform sexuality)来满足他们的观赏乐趣(viewing pleasure);通过这一片段,《百合熊风暴》尖锐地批评了异性恋男性爱好者们对“百合”的兴趣、以及“百合”对他们的吸引力是如何将女同性恋者商品化和物化,以供男性主体消费的。在他对《少革》的导演评论中,几原邦彦甚至幽默地承认:他谙知由身为男性监督的他来讲述这些有关女同性恋角色的故事,是多么的矛盾。几原说,一架UFO在他14岁时命令他制作关于“女孩们对各种事物进行革新”的动画,并接着谈到,当他问UFO如果他把这次遭遇告诉别人,会有什么后果时,UFO回应道:“人们会管你叫怪胎(sketchy guy)。”[12]

围绕着男同性恋欲望展开的《皿三昧》主要面向的是BL动画这种与百合动画“大致相当”的男男恋爱作品体裁(yuri’s approximate male equivalent)的女性爱好者们。然而,《皿三昧》并非只是向这群特定观众发难,它似乎还使得其(对场外观众/剧中角色的)述评朝着近乎布莱希特式的方向更进了一步【译注6】。当观众沉浸在“水獭呀!”这首歌曲,以及玲央和真武那夸张的、性化的表演(玲央从真武赤裸的胸膛中取出他炽热的心脏,这不禁令人回想起《少革》决斗时从心脏处拔剑的那一幕)的坎普式(campy)乐趣中时,水獭帝国的机械不详地徘徊在其身后。问题是,这些轻松愉快的音乐片段是否能与它们的现实境况——即作为资本主义商品(被售卖的日本动画产品)的一部分——相分离。动画所探讨的“真正问题”,是玲央和真武那诱人身躯背后的残酷机械,而这些音乐片段甚至可以分散观众对这些问题的注意力,或许。的确,可以这么说:为了讨好那些大概(但并不总)是由喜欢看美少年吻戏的异性恋女性爱好者所组成的观众,《皿三昧》的市场营销背离了其主题,即欲望商品化(的批判)。我们很容易迷失在性感的跳舞警官之间,而忽略更重要的事实:在之后的剧集中,我们将会知晓玲央和真武为了成为水獭帝国的“拉拉队员”而经受的痛苦。随着他们的背景故事——其中包括玲央和真武是如何为了在水獭麾下卖命以保持两人之间的连结,而不得不牺牲他们对彼此的爱恋的——被进一步揭晓,“水獭呀!”的音乐片段从剧中退场,而这则巩固了该音乐时刻的地位:一种装饰性的逃避现实,但其目标却是反逃避现实。

与河童僵尸的战斗,同《少革》的“决斗”更是明显的相像。这些战斗发生在传统的线性时空之外的另一处地方。在那里,角色们似乎有着更多的力量与能动性,而他们内心深处的欲望也被暴露在外。在这个空间中,一稀、燕太和悠用音乐剧/舞蹈表演来和河童僵尸“战斗”。河童僵尸,是那些因为对特定物品、动物或人物持有变态欲望而丧失灵魂的人类;在战斗时,它们会从周围城区中吸取其所欲求之物。每一位少年都在那些以他的秘密和他所面临的困境为重点的剧集中的歌舞兼用卡里担任着主唱和领舞,而另外两位少年则是伴唱和伴舞。在音乐上,战斗中使用的歌曲“皿三昧之歌”(さらざんまいのうた)和“水獭呀!”一曲相似,不过前者要更加强调拉丁爵士的节奏和乐器。“皿三昧之歌”在其副歌前现部分(opening chorus)的每一次重复中都使用了大致相同的歌词(在这里,只有伴唱部分的重复词汇【译注7】会有所改变),不过,每位少年声音的独特性都在歌曲中得到了强调,而在每一集的“皿三昧之歌”音乐时刻中,一稀/燕太/悠负责演唱的主歌歌词最终将剧情推向了高潮,即“泄漏”部分【译注8】——这指的是,领唱者的秘密被泄漏给其他两位少年。这些“泄漏”往往会造成相当大的麻烦,假如它们同时泄漏了其他少年甘愿封锁在自己内心的信息的话。歌曲中的这些差异因重复而更加明显,正因如此,每一次迭奏都为该集的中心角色标划了空间。

为使这些战斗发生,Keppi(“河童王子”,一个像导师一般的河童)将少年们变成河童,并将他们带往战斗的另一时空。因此,这种迭奏也标划了字面意义上的空间——又一个位于故事的“正常”世界“之外”的空间。「有那样一件东西 我必须把它挽回」【译注9】这段歌词会根据演唱者的不同而产生不同的共鸣,因为每位少年都有一位不同的渴望联系之人(special person):对悠来说,TA是他的哥哥;对一稀来说,TA是他的弟弟;而对燕太来说,TA则是一稀。他们是三位少年各自的挚爱,同时,这些“渴望联系之人”也构成了少年们的那些被泄漏的秘密的主体人物。比起在“正常世界”中,这些角色能够在此表达更多(的情感/.../...),但是,这些角色也更加脆弱,鉴于他们不为人知的可耻秘密被暴露在外。“一旦开始便无法停下”、“对于表达者来说既是自由又是限制”——正是这种迭奏式表达的双重性,使得这些音乐时刻如此迷人。这种表达方式也和《少革》当中的决斗有着相似之处;在《少革》中,决斗者试图改变他们的命运,同时又不可避免地被他们留在决斗场外的人生所束缚。最后作者要说的是,这首轻松愉快的歌曲也掩盖了一个更为险恶的目的,就像之前的“水獭呀!”音乐片段那样:当悠、一稀、燕太唱出他们不为人知的欲望并试图“夺取”它们时,他们注定会将那些变为河童僵尸的人从一切存在和记忆中抹除。

在讨论《皿三昧》时,澄清作者为何更倾向于将这部动画称为“半音乐剧”这一点很是重要。纵观几原的作品,《皿三昧》无疑是最符合音乐剧体裁的条条框框(constraint)的动画。与《少革》中的那些由无形的古希腊歌队提供合唱声部的决斗曲不同,“水獭呀!”和“皿三昧之歌”都是动画中的角色用他们自己的声音演唱的。比起决斗曲,《皿三昧》中的音乐时刻给人以更强烈的自我表达感,而作者则会在下一部分中论证:决斗曲也在一定程度上实现了自我表达的目的。然而,这些音乐片段被局限在每一集和每段叙事的特定部分,而在传统的歌舞片中,“忽然高歌”(breaking into song)随时都可以发生;它亦贯穿了整部歌舞片。这就是《皿三昧》的音乐时刻被称为“半音乐剧”的原因。除开音乐时刻以外,《皿三昧》每一集余下部分的规范性[影像-声音]层次结构保持不变。然而,作者对《皿三昧》音乐时刻的这种命名可能会引起争议,特别是当人们研究几原动画的剧集整体结构时。几原笔下的故事是围绕着角色感情和主题信息的逻辑构建的,而非遵循[情节-发展]范式(plot action)展开。故事以一种类似音乐创作的方式展开:这些由音乐时刻提供的破裂被当作音乐作品的新部分。这样看来,几原邦彦的动画作品更接近德勒兹和瓜塔利的「时间-影像」概念,而非「运动-影像」——赫尔佐格认为这是理解“音乐时刻”运作的关键。以上内容,使得“由这些音乐迭奏所标划出的空间,究竟为位于其中的角色(以及他们所象徵的观众)留出了怎样的一份余地?”这一问题更加重要。这就把我们我们带到了「虚构」的问题上。


几原世界中的「虚构」

赫尔佐格将「虚构」定义为:“虚构对于[亨利·]柏格森来说,是一种神话创作(mythmaking),它源于(对创伤或冲击反应最为剧烈的)情感体验,后者则试图用创造性的再现来缓解这种和理性极限的冲突。”[13] 接着,她提出:“对于德勒兹来说,虚构要更具政治性”,并将德勒兹的虚构概念[14]描述为“创造性的再现开始用‘少数’语言(minor tongue)发声,并开始指向新的共同聚合体(collective assemblage)和未曾想象过的领土的潜能。”[15] 赫尔佐格对“少数语言”这一概念的描述不禁使作者回想起了佳亚特里·斯皮瓦克(Gayatri Spivak)的「底层话语」理论、以及围绕着言说(speaking)的规范是如何剥夺“底层”的话语权的。[16] 由此可见,虚构可以被视为(创造了)一个让这些话语成为可能的空间。虚构往往以这样的形式现身:通过艺术表达,为社会底层群体提供“发声”的空间,以此缓解他们所经受的“创伤”。赫尔佐格从坎普风格的角度对此进行了研究,但是,虚构可以以多种形式出现。赫尔佐格在作者于UT Austin选修的某门课中举办了一场讲座,其中,她将2018年上映的电影《黑豹》视作一种形式的虚构。电影幻想了一个单一尼格罗人种的社会,其技术和政治力量凌驾于世界其他国家/地区。《黑豹》是全球底层黑人(更确切的说,是拍摄这部电影的非裔美国人)的权力幻想;它是针对种族主义与殖民主义的创伤而被创作出来的。[17]

许多魔法少女和其他题材的少女动画——例如在美学上影响了《少革》和《皿三昧》(它其实可以被称作“魔法少男”动画)的那些——可以说有着一种女性权力幻想式的虚构。当月野兔变身为水兵月时,她的身体进入了一处独立的魔法空间,在那里,月野兔的魔法力量包裹着她的身体,并转化为了她的新服装;在这个空间中,月野兔的同伴敌人都无法触及她。有一些片段表明,特定角色可以看到月野兔的变身:她和她的初恋地场卫就是这样在动画第一季后期互相向对方揭示自己的秘密身份的,但总的来说,这一点尚不明确。月野兔变身的音乐时刻是一种迭奏,它以上文所述的方式为她单独标划了这片空间。但是,这个音乐时刻也是一种形式的虚构:它创造了一个月野兔无所不能的世界。魔法少女动画还虚构了它们为“少女”这个被父权制社会认定为软弱无力的群体赋权的种种方式。在《美少女战士》等作品中,魔法少女那能够制伏身体强壮的多的成年人的魔法力量,是她们世界中最强的力量。

几原的作品在其音乐时刻和更广泛的方面上借鉴了这种虚构。那些被赋予魔法力量的、掌握着重塑“世界”之关键的角色几乎全是儿童和青少年,且其身份通常为女性、LGBTQ人士、或那些被TA周围的系统剥夺权力(depower)的人。像《少革》的决斗场、或《皿三昧》的河童僵尸战区那样的音乐时刻空间(相较其他地方而言)被标划成了“角色们有着更多能动性与潜力来影响其命运”的场所。就《少革》而言,音乐时刻的空间对于默示和革命来说是格外有力的舞台,因为所有的时间都被压缩进了这一瞬。与此同时,几原似乎对完全虚构的潜能、以及彻底同外部世俗世界的权力结构相分离的世界抱有怀疑态度。在《少革》中,就连决斗场也在凤学园代理事长兼全剧反派人物风晓生的高塔寓所的视线范围之内,后者则是学园监狱的全景敞视(建筑)。这些迭奏有着更大的潜能,但这种潜能并不是无限度的——即使最初,对于那些更熟悉日本动画传统音乐迭奏的观众来说,它们看似如此。这与更典型的歌舞片当中的音乐时刻并非完全不同,后者虽允诺(发挥)无限的虚构潜能,但其终归是传统价值机器的一部分,例如异性恋本位。几原迭奏的不同之处在于:他对这些错觉和矛盾的认识要更为深刻、态度要更加坦诚。


结语

几原的动画作品是值得电影音乐学者进一步研究的充实(rich)文本。这些作品对音乐时刻的运用不仅有别于其他日本动画,而且也有别于许多赫尔佐格在研究音乐时刻时所援引的西方电影作品,因为几原的音乐时刻同其余叙事之间有着模棱两可的剧情(diegetic)关系。音乐时刻当中的音乐之所以被选择,其目的在于:用一种类似迭奏的方式,极为刻意地强调压迫的循环——几原故事中的世界的特征;然而,在这种重复中,存在着(产生)“差异”的可能性,而某些角色正是因为有了“差异”,才有机会“打破蛋壳”。

对几原动画作品的进一步研究可以强调电影给几原带来的影响——更具体地说,导致他对[影像-声音]关系有着独特见解的那些;将来的研究还可以突出几原邦彦的舞台剧背景对其作品的影响,而这种影响则反映在几原音乐时刻的舞台剧式演出风格中。更深入的研究可以从其他角度出发去探讨几原邦彦和(他选择与之合作的)作曲家之间的关系、以及他们为几原作品所带来的影响。寺原孝明是《少革》的作曲担当。他与几原共事之前,曾为实验电影/实验剧场导演寺山修司的作品谱写过配乐(incidental music),特别是寺山的独立剧团“天井桟敷”所上演的那些。几原基于这些联系,将他选为《少革》的作曲担当。因此,对寺原孝明音乐的更深入分析,可以显明“天井桟敷”对几原动画的影响。[18] 几原在他10年代的三部作品中与动画作曲家桥本由香利合作,而这种持续的合作则促使我们对这三部作品的创作范式再次进行仔细研究。

《皿三昧》等作品是如何对音乐时刻的“逃避现实”进行迁就的、以及这是否使作品的关键信息成为问题,就此而言,还有更多的讨论空间。虽然作者在分析《皿三昧》的那部分中简略提到了贝托尔特·布莱希特,但是,对该作品的反资本主义信息的更深入分析可以涉及几原作品在布莱希特的「烹饪戏剧-史诗剧」概念光谱【译注10】中的位置。同样,人们也可以从“反资本主义和其他革命性信息,在日本电视动画这样一个严重以消费者为导向的市场中是否真的可行?”这一角度来研究狄奥多·阿多诺和麦克斯·霍克海默的「文化工业」概念。[20] 这些作品希望通过销售蓝光碟片和周边回本,意味着充其量而言,它们不能将自己的“衣食父母”逼得太紧。音乐、和作品的任何其他部分亦是如此:原声带发售和演唱会,是流行动画作品的重要辅助收入来源。

作者希望本文只是从电影音乐研究角度来分析几原邦彦作品的开始。几原的动画,是贯穿了充满多层意义的叙事的“评论”、“迭奏”与“破裂”;它们不仅展示了日本动画音乐的,而且还展示了所有电影媒介中“音乐时刻”的真正潜能。




译注
1. 此处取成语的字面义。
2. 例如《少革》中安希的宠物猴“奇奇”,《回转企鹅罐》中高仓兄妹的三只宠物企鹅,等等。
3. 图片如下,另请参见https://www.reddit.com/r/shoujokakumeiutena/comments/ndho3o/ikuhara_bingo/

4. 原文为“lackey”(贬义),这里指学生会成员。
5. 原文为“as the shadow plays will show the un-shadowed outline of a girl’s headband (while her body is in shadow), and a thick dark “shadow” of translucent water bursting on characters.”
6. 原文为“Yet, rather than merely raging at that specific audience, Sarazanmai seems to take its commentary a step further, in an almost Brechtian direction.”,另请参见「间离效果」(Verfremdungseffekt)。
7. 它们是:箱子(第1集)/猫咪(第2集)/亲吻(第3集)/荞麦(第4集)/香囊(第5集)/球(第6集)/联系(第10、11集)。
8. 原文为“His version of the verse lyrics change to culminate in a ‘leak’ of his secrets to the other boys.”
9. 引自Sweetsub字幕组《皿三昧》字幕版本。
10. 布莱希特喜欢管“戏剧性/亚里士多德式戏剧”(Dramatic theater)叫“culinary theater”,即“烹饪戏剧”。


附录
1. 艾米·赫尔佐格:《差异之梦,同一之歌:电影中的音乐时刻》,明尼阿波利斯:明尼苏达大学出版社,2010年,页7
2. 贾斯汀·塞瓦基斯(Justin Sevakis):<采访几原邦彦>,动画新闻网,2001年4月22日,https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2001-04-22
3. 詹姆斯·布勒(James Buhler):<第7章:批判理论与原声带>(Chapter 7: Critical Theory and the Soundtrack),《原声带理论》(Theories of the Soundtrack),纽约:牛津大学出版社,2019年,页187-220
4. 参见赫尔佐格,《差异之梦》,页7
5. 参见赫尔佐格,《差异之梦》,页82
6. 参见赫尔佐格,《差异之梦》,页81
7. 参见赫尔佐格,《差异之梦》,页81
8. 吉尔·德勒兹、菲利克斯·瓜塔利:《资本主义与精神分裂:千高原》,布莱恩·马苏米(Brian Massumi)译,明尼阿波利斯:明尼苏达大学出版社,1987年,页314;在赫尔佐格《差异之梦》页81中被引用
9. 蒂莫西·佩珀、玛莎·科诺格:<在钟声中:‘少女革命’中的自由与革命>(In the Sound of the Bells: Freedom and Revolution in Revolutionary Girl Utena),《Mechademia》,第1期,明尼阿波利斯:明尼苏达大学出版社,2006年,亚马逊Kindle版,loc. 3218–98
10. 几原邦彦:<对第31集‘她的悲剧’的评论>,北美版「少女革命ウテナ」Complete Blu-ray BOX手册,凯拉·斯塔尔泽(Kyla Stalzer)、克莉斯·格罗(Kris Gero)、朱迪·阿尔伯特(Judy Albert)、大卫·奥尔森(David Olsen)编,格莱姆斯[爱荷华州]:Nozomi Entertainment,2017年,页22
11. 《さらざんまい》,几原邦彦导演,2019年,可于Crunchyroll在线观看;2019年6月12日读取
12. 几原邦彦:<对第13集‘描绘的轨迹’的评论>,《手册》,页13
13. 参见赫尔佐格,《差异之梦》,页33
14. 吉尔·德勒兹:《访谈:1972-1990》(Negotiations: 1972-1990),马丁·贾克林(Martin Joughin)译,纽约:哥伦比亚大学出版社,1995年
15. 参见赫尔佐格,《差异之梦》,页33
16. 佳亚特里·斯皮瓦克:<底层人可以说话吗?>(Can the Subaltern Speak?),《马克思主义与文化解释》(Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture),卡里·纳尔逊(Cary Nelson)、劳伦斯·格罗斯伯格(Lawrence Grossberg)编,香槟:伊利诺伊大学出版社,1998年,页271-313
17. 艾米·赫尔佐格:<原声带理论> 客座讲座,UT Austin,2019年2月20日
18. 参见塞瓦基斯,<采访几原邦彦>
19. 贝托尔特·布莱希特、彼得·苏尔坎普(Peter Suhrkamp):<现代戏剧是史诗剧>(The Modern Theatre Is the Epic Theatre),1930年,约翰·威利特(John Willett)译;重印于《现代性与音乐:资料选集》(Modernism and Music: An Anthology of Sources),丹尼尔·奥尔布赖特(Daniel Albright)编,芝加哥:芝加哥大学出版社,2004年,页341-348
20. 麦克斯·霍克海默、狄奥多·阿多诺:<文化工业:作为大众欺骗的启蒙>(The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception),《启蒙辩证法:哲学片段》(Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments),贡泽林·施密德·诺尔(Gunzelin Schmid Noerr)编,埃德蒙·杰夫科特(Edmund Jephcott)译,斯坦福:斯坦福大学出版社,2002年,页94-136


作者介绍
萝丝·布里吉斯是UT Austin音乐理论系的博士生。她也是布鲁姆斯伯里出版社于2017年出版的《33 1/3日本:菅野洋子的星际牛仔原声带》(33 1/3 Japan: Yoko Kanno’s Cowboy Bebop Soundtrack)一书的作者。(截至发稿时)她目前正在为即将出版的一本有关日本动画音乐史的论文集撰写其中一个章节,而她正在写作中的博士论文则主要研究日本动画原声带建构身份的方式。布里吉斯同时也是一位日本动画影评人,并为动画新闻网撰稿。
Tags: 动画
#1 - 2022-12-9 07:59
(エル・プサイ・コングルゥ)
原文:

Director Ikuhara Kunihiko has made a name for himself among anime fans for his surreal, boundary-busting series. Throughout his body of work, including the TV series, Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997, Shōjo kakumei Utena), Mawaru Penguindrum (2011), Yurikuma arashi (2015), and Sarazanmai (2019), as well as the Utena movie Adolescence of Utena (1999, Aduresensu mokushiroku), Ikuhara directs anime like one writes a novel. His works are drenched in symbolism, with few characters or images meaning exactly what they seem to at first glance. What seems like a conventional shōjo romance or magical girl anime, digs deep into subjects as diverse as radical feminism, adolescent psychological development, postmodern literature, and eschatology. Yet the seasoned Ikuhara fan notes patterns across his works, and one of the most consistent is his use of the “musical moment.”

In her book Dreams of Difference, Songs of the Same: The Musical Moment in Film, Amy Herzog defines the “musical moment” as a moment when “music . . . inverts the image-sound hierarchy to occupy a dominant position in a filmic work.” [1] The most well-known version of this hierarchical inversion is the musical moments in film musicals, but Herzog identifies a number of uses of the musical moment in other types of films across the course of her book, particularly the more avant-garde cinema of such directors as Jean-Luc Godard and David Lynch. Ikuhara’s anime follow in this tradition—in interviews, he has even acknowledged using the visual aesthetics of the French New Wave (of which Godard was a part) and expressed a desire to work with Lynch, and anime fans often compare him to the latter—but working within a medium that also has an extensive history of inverting the image-sound hierarchy: animation. [2] Various common animation techniques, such as Mickey-mousing (matching musical sounds exactly to the movement of characters on-screen) arguably rely on some inversion of the image-sound hierarchy, with the music being used to add comedy and entertainment value to a comparatively mundane motion such as walking. Animation has also long had a close relationship to music and the musical, from the early decades of Disney’s “Silly Symphonies” and Fantasia, “Looney Tunes,” and “Merrie Melodies” shorts. Japanese anime developed its own traditions that are both rooted in and separate from US animation, but as a researcher on anime soundtracks, I find the reliance on musical moments to be a feature the two media share. Anime, especially action-oriented anime that are full of colorful transformation and attack sequences, tend to rely heavily on repeated animation. The repetition is made compelling, and not boring, by the use of music and sound effects in these scenes, which may or may not vary slightly from the music used in previous such segments.

Ikuhara’s use of musical moments relies heavily on episodic sequences, such as the Rose Bride duels that serve as the climax to most episodes of Revolutionary Girl Utena, or the musical battles against kappa zombies in Sarazanmai. Before his work on Utena, Ikuhara worked with Toei Animation as an episode director and a series director (for part of season 2 and all of season 3) on Sailor Moon, which uses repeated footage and music in a way more common to action-oriented anime. The various Sailor Senshi’s transformation and attack sequences form not only a narrative climax to each episode but also an emotional one due to the stylized images of their sailor costumes “magically” wrapping around them as rings of fire or bubbles, but especially the energetic music that accompanies these sequences. Ikuhara draws on this for sequences in Utena such as the protagonist Tenjō Utena ascending the stairs of the dueling arena to the booming choruses of the song “Zettai unmei mokushiroku” (Absolute destiny apocalypse). In Utena, he expands further to give this visual and sonic repetition thematic resonance as well.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the musical moment discussion is how its inversion of traditional film hierarchies connects to other cultural hierarchies. Feminist film scholarship compares the image-music hierarchy in film to gender relations, with some even suggesting that the distrust of music “overwhelming” the image or narrative is rooted in a distrust of music’s feminine cultural coding. [3] Thus, film that ruptures this relationship has feminist potential. Herzog notes this “rupture” in how musical moments prioritize spectacle and form an interruption to the traditional narrative: “In many feature-length works, the musical moment marks a point of rupture within the larger context of the film. Visually, musical moments tend toward spectacular stagings, fantastical juxtapositions, and movements that would be impossible in a rational world.” She also cites that musical moments have a tendency to follow familiar formulae, such as “putting on a show.” [4] This can further the “fantastical” and unreal element of the musical moment, with it feeling less “realistic” and the viewer noticing the narrative structures in a familiar trope. Yet at the same time, it reveals the potential for conventionality in the musical moments. Even with their tendencies toward disrupting the formal structure of film (which emphasizes image over sound and strives toward realism), film musicals often work in service of conservative ideologies. For example, many musicals treat the triumph of heteronormative romance as the ultimate narrative goal. The musical moment has potential for both subverting and affirming the status quo, depending on the particular relationships between similarity and difference.

My argument is that Ikuhara uses the musical moment in service of the structure’s revolutionary potential. Ikuhara’s anime have repeatedly focused on the place of ordinary people—and particularly women, children and adolescents, and LGBT people—in oppressive patriarchal systems. All four of his series beginning with Utena use their musical moments to further these narrative themes of patriarchal oppression, and “create space” for the characters to rebel against those systems. In this case, Ikuhara’s musical moments act as a potent example of Herzog’s idea of the musical moment as “refrain,” an idea she adapts from the poststructuralist philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. A refrain is a type of repetitive artistic expression that involves a marking-out of space, and Ikuhara’s musical moments often take place not only as ruptures from the narrative, but of the physical structures of the “normal” world of his characters. They are diegetic ruptures; in another parallel to literature, Ikuhara’s refrain-like spaces, such as the dueling arena in Utena, operate like magical realism in written fiction. They trouble the viewers’ perceptions of physical reality in these stories: what is “really” happening to the characters versus a dream sequence or fault of the character’s perception, or even something wholly nondiegetic that is purely there for the viewers’ eyes and ears. Ikuharan musical moments thus create spaces where the normal rules of the diegetic space break down, and characters are able to express their desires and create change in ways they cannot in the “mundane” physical world.

For the sake of this article, the bulk of the analysis focuses on the 1997 Utena television anime series and Ikuhara’s most recent series, the 2019 television anime Sarazanmai. These two series involve the most extensive uses of music in separate, “impossible” spaces where characters perform personal expressions and attempts at enacting change. Utena’s and Sarazanmai’s musical moments also draw the most on conventions in other anime, particularly works in the “magical girl” tradition such as Sailor Moon, and including the sense of viewer escapism and emotional release. Yet they also are essential to the transgressive themes of the story, and in their association with fantastical and closed-off spaces, to the soundscapes of Ikuhara’s fictional worlds.

Ikuhara’s Refrains

Herzog gives several examples to define the notion of the Deleuzian refrain in her study of them within cinematic representations of the novel and operatic versions of Carmen. Birdsong is a refrain, so is a love song, so are even the colorful sex organs of certain primate species, which mark territory and communicate specific reproductive functions. The commonality in all of these, along with being mating rituals, is that they are each “an act of expression . . . that creates rhythm and difference between milieus.” [5] The repetition and difference are also a part of a “wider form of territorialization”; a birdsong or song shared between human lovers creates a special “space” for that mating couple. [6] Yet the most key aspect of what defines a Deleuzian refrain may be the notion of rhythm—less in the literal musical sense, but in terms of a repetition of differences, such as how musical rhythm is a specific, repeated order of different beats. Changes in the rhythm of a refrain signal shifts in expression through different territories. Herzog thus defines the musical moment as a refrain, with its rhythmic difference, but many repeating aspects of narratives can act as refrains in the Deleuzian sense. Similar narrative themes across a body of work—such as films or TV series by a single director—can be viewed in a refrain-like fashion, and I would argue that Ikuhara’s “pet themes” share this with his musical moments.

It is the search for Ikuharan refrains that animates much critical discourse on his works, and creates so much fan fascination around them. Ikuhara has such a strong habit of returning to similar themes, motifs, and symbols that fans have made “Ikuhara Bingo” cards on social media to help search for them in each new work. Yet merely noting the repetition of these ideas does not refrains make. As Herzog writes, “Rhythm is not the production of the same but the production of difference.” [7] She quotes Deleuze and Guattari: “A milieu does in fact exist by virtue of a periodic repetition . . . but one whose only effect is to produce a difference by which the milieu passes into another milieu. It is the difference that is rhythmic, not the repetition, which nevertheless produces it: productive rhythm has nothing to do with reproductive meter.” [8] It is the rhythmic changes which make rhythm and carve out new milieus; and thus in narrative refrains, it is the changes between milieus in Ikuhara’s thematic material that make them so fascinating. I discuss Ikuhara’s narrative thematic refrains because they are essential to understanding the refrain-like and subversive potential of his musical moments, which are often used to elucidate these themes.

One of the most immediately apparent thematic refrains in Ikuhara’s work is the focus on gender and sexuality. Ikuhara’s work often focuses on women, or people with (implicit or explicit) same-sex attraction or nonstandard approaches to gender expression; most often both, with “lesbians” frequently appearing on the fan-made “Ikuhara Bingo” cards. Utena has at its center a romantic relationship between its two main female characters, Utena and Himemiya Anthy, made more explicit in the Adolescence of Utena film. Yurikuma arashi’s central focus is the way that Japanese popular media and culture, especially anime and manga, stereotype and marginalize lesbians. Sailor Moon and Penguindrum both feature supporting lesbian characters. Sarazanmai is the first of Ikuhara’s works to focus primarily on gay men, while queer male characters play supporting roles in the Utena series and in Ikuhara’s contributions to Sailor Moon. Much of the focus in Utena and Yurikuma especially is also on gender relations, and how gender roles inhibit the development of both young women and (in Utena) young men. Ikuhara’s work shows how these systems’ victims can also be made into its enforcers on other victims. For example, the bisexual male character Kiryū Tōga is one of antagonist personifications of patriarch Ōtori Akio’s primary lackeys in Utena. Female characters struggling with their own sexualities and places in the system such as Arisugawa Juri, Takatsuki Shiori, and Tōga’s sister Nanami frequently lash out at other women. In Sarazanmai, among the enforcers for the oppressive Otter Empire are gay couple Niiboshi Reo and Akutsu Mabu; the Faustian bargain that put them in this position provides much of the drama in the latter half of the series.

Another major Ikuhara theme is that of adolescence and the struggles with personal development that come during this period. Ikuhara’s teenage characters are typically both eager to evolve into new forms and yet defined by their pasts, which they might be less willing to leave behind than they initially realize. This is one of the central focuses of both Utena and Penguindrum, the latter of which focuses on the trauma of Japan’s “lost generation” following the country’s early 1990s economic downturn and the 1995 Aum Shinrikyō sarin gas attacks in Tokyo. The central conflict for both series’ characters is the degree to which they are able to become their own people, versus being bogged down by the sins and traumas of their receding pasts—which affect them emotionally even if they cannot remember them exactly. As Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog write in their study of the various film, TV, and manga versions of Utena, all adaptations are “interconnected by webs of things past, memories that shift and are reborn.” [9] This dual focus on “oppressive systems” and “adolescence/growth/time” explains many of Ikuhara’s subthemes, the ones most likely to make it on to fan bingo cards and result in repeating plot points.

For example, Ikuhara characters often have complicated, even (implicitly or explicitly) incestuous relationships with their siblings. In his commentary for episode 31 of Utena, titled “Her Tragedy,” Ikuhara discusses this theme by pointing out that loving, functional family relationships feature unconditional love, and therefore young people can get over-invested in closeness to siblings out of a desire for someone who loves them “exactly as they are.” [10] This forms a “platonic ideal” of what love can be that may appeal in a time when young people struggle with forming their senses of self and exploring romantic love for the first time. Accepting that need to change and strike out into the world is a part of growth, and this is something Nanami, the focus character of “Her Tragedy,” realizes as she separates herself more from her brother Tōga throughout the episode—and discovers the warped incestuous love between siblings Akio and Anthy, and how this has stunted their growth. In a similar exploration of the way that change is frightening for adolescents, and a seemingly contradictory desire to “fast track” that change, Ikuhara’s anime often fixate on a magical MacGuffin-like “item” that characters hope to possess (the titular Penguindrum or the Dishes of Hope in Sarazanmai), or a place or person they hope to go to (the “End of the World” in Utena), in order to solve all of their problems. Typically, this item turns out to be unreal, or at least as lacking the amount of power these characters ascribe to it, but its symbolic value is important in showing how these characters are constrained by broader invisible systems.

One final important Ikuhara stock plot is the illusory nature of memory. Characters often have “forgotten first meetings,” that have influenced the shapes of their characters even without their knowledge. Other characters subconsciously “edit” their memories to fit more with the person they want to be, or to conform to the status quo. In Utena, Utena herself remembers meeting a prince who gave her an engagement ring, and believes this to be the reason that she desires to be a prince herself. Later, we learn that it was actually the princess Anthy whom she met, and whom she was inspired to protect as a prince—but Utena preferred to create the memory that would make her feel more “normal” in a heteronormative framework, and to justify her aberrances from the rules (dressing like a boy and wanting to be a “prince” instead of a “princess”). This fits with the theme of identity formation in adolescence and with the ways that women and LGBT people are constrained by oppressive systems.

These work as refrains in Ikuhara’s narratives because they all vary in order to fit with each of his different stories, sets of characters, and worlds. They are also essential to understanding each work’s musical moments and their functions as refrains, because of how the moments work to illuminate these themes, and to challenge normative structures both within the narrative and the larger society of each fictional world. Now that I have explained Ikuhara’s narrative refrains, I will analyze their expression in musical moments in the first of two case studies, that of the 1997 anime series Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Musical Theater and Action Sequence as Rupture and Refrain

Revolutionary Girl Utena includes a number of different repetitive musical sequences that could be analyzed via the framework of the “musical moment” and the refrain. The main three that recur throughout the narrative are the shadow girl plays, Utena’s entrance into the dueling arena, and the duels themselves. There are others that are confined to specific sections of the story, which is roughly divided into thirds: the elevator scenes during the first and second set of episodes, titled the “Student Council Saga” and “Black Rose Saga,” and the duelist car rides during the third and final set, known as the “Apocalypse Saga.” My analysis of musical moments in Utena primarily focuses on scenes within the first group, those found throughout all three “sagas” of the story.

The “shadow girl” play is more ambiguous as a musical moment, as one could argue that the image remains paramount as the focus of these scenes. However, given the key role of the music in these theatrical performances, I view them as musical performances, and therefore musical numbers. Either way, they form a rupture in the narrative—especially in “Student Council Saga,” before Utena begins to show awareness of, and interact with, these plays. They also serve as refrains, a repetitive feature that nevertheless changes in important ways with each episode. Their purpose is to elucidate the “message” of the episode, or the inner motivations of its focus character, through an allegorical story acted out by the titular shadow girls. For example, the shadow play for episode 7, “Unfulfilled Juri,” has a sick girl stuck at home while her classmates are on a field trip to the zoo. She talks about how she prefers being left behind because of how “boring” the animals are, but it becomes clear she actually wishes she could go and is just trying to convince herself otherwise. This is related to how titular duelist Juri’s desire to “disprove the existence of miracles” is really due to resentment over being denied one herself. It is a type of shadow theater that breaks the boundaries of physical reality, as the shadow plays will show the un-shadowed outline of a girl’s headband (while her body is in shadow), and a thick dark “shadow” of translucent water bursting on characters. In terms of musical style, the shadow girl plays are a rupture from the rest of the musical score, using rapid mallet percussion in irregular rhythms in the first and final arcs, and a flamboyant accordion waltz during the “Black Rose Saga.” This is an aberration in the usual soundscape of Utena’s underscore, featuring soft classical piano and strings.

The shadow girl plays frequently appear immediately before the duels, and in doing so, serve as a dramatic “introduction” to them and to the “problem” to be solved for that week’s duelist. Before the duel can commence though, we find another musical moment in the form of Utena’s ascent to the dueling arena. The “Zettai unmei mokushiroku” (Absolute destiny apocalypse) number is one of the clearest examples of a musical moment in Utena, where the music is the reason the scene is compelling. Like the magical girl transformation sequences it aesthetically draws from, this sequence features repeated footage; but what makes it emotionally rich is the music, even though this too is a repetition. In this case, this musical and visual repetition marks out space for the duels by explaining the purpose of the dueling arena, a separate space from the mundane world of the school, where the normal rules of physics and space break down. It is a place where duelists come to grasp at the End of the World, at eternity, and to make a stab at a revolution—at “smashing the egg’s shell,” as the student council members are fond of saying in the elevator rides before their meetings. The lyrics of “Zettai unmei mokushiroku” give a clue to “where” this space is: a place where all of time is condensed into a single moment. The song lists birth records, baptismal records, and death records, and moves from there to talk about more opposites that signal birth, death, and rebirth, and the endless march of time and history of the universe. It is a refrain that marks out the dueling space as a place not so much outside as inside all of time.

Each episode uses a unique dueling song for each bout. Even characters who duel Utena multiple times throughout the story have different musical themes for each appearance in the arena. Despite the fact that the physical action of the sword duel is the most obvious “purpose” of these scenes, the music overwhelms the viewers’ attentions, inverting the image-sound hierarchy. Much of this is due to the cryptic lyrics which use religious, scientific, and other arcane symbolism to both highlight the specific struggles of the characters in each episode, and to tie their struggles into the timeless nature of the dueling arena. In essence, the dueling songs serve as a “Greek chorus” for the duels, commenting on the characters’ motivations and goals with an understanding beyond even that of the participants themselves. The Greek chorus feeling is accentuated by the scoring and harmonies of the songs (which they share with “Zettai unmei mokushiroku”). The choir includes both male and female voices, spanning ranges from high sopranos to deep baritones, and singing harmonies in parallel octaves, fourths, or fifths. The variety of different singers gives the sense of a large, mass group; octave and fourth and fifth harmonies, in contrast to more traditional closer groupings like triads, also give the sense of wide, open spaces thanks to centuries of composers using them to evoke that imagery. Additionally, parallel fourths and fifths are associated with the music of the European Middle Ages (particularly chant) and various traditional forms of East Asian music, invoking a sense of the “ancient” for listeners; the Greek chorus construct does as well. The songs evoke both real history and the all-times-at-once construct of the dueling arena.

These musical moments are essential not only to the dramatic structure of each Utena episode, but also to the fictional world’s overall soundscape. They set the world of the shadow girls and duels as apart from the rest of Ōtori Academy school life; ruptures that still work as a form of layered commentary on the students’ mundane lives and desires. Thus, they serve a similar dramatic function to musical numbers in more conventional genres such as the backstage musical, where the subjects of the romantic song performances parallel the characters’ offstage relationship drama. Where Utena differs, is that these musical moments have a more direct effect on the larger narrative; in fact, it is only because of the duels that the narrative is pushed forward at all. I return to Utena in my discussion of fabulation, but first I would like to analyze another Ikuhara work that uses musical moments in similar but still markedly different ways.

Sarazanmai: Anticapitalist Quasi-musical?

Sarazanmai is the easiest parallel to Utena in terms of how Ikuhara’s musical moments and narrative themes form refrain-like functions. [11] It has the most similar use of musical moments to Utena across Ikuhara’s body of work: full musical numbers that repeat every episode, and serve as both the emotional and narrative climaxes of those episodes. They also tie in more directly, through the verbal elaboration in the lyrics, to the intended “messages” of the story. At the same time, Sarazanmai has a slightly different focus than Utena; while it continues familiar themes about the marginalization of LGBT identities, the hegemonic nature of oppressive systems, adolescence, and dysfunctional family relationships; Sarazanmai is more focused on the oppressive nature of capitalism rather than patriarchy specifically. In fact, Sarazanmai shows how capitalism both supports patriarchy and co-opts anger and revolution toward it, and it might be Ikuhara’s most self-reflective work. This is particularly true with Sarazanmai’s use of the musical moment.

Like Utena, Sarazanmai has two main types of repeating musical numbers, one that arrives near the midpoint of each episode (like the shadow girl plays) and one at its climax (like the duel songs). The first of these is a song-and-dance number performed by Reo and Mabu, characters initially framed as antagonists. Reo and Mabu are human police officers working for a group of otters called the Otter Empire. Viewers are told that the Otter Empire conquered the kappas, a mythological Japanese water demon that Sarazanmai’s human teenage protagonists, Yasaka Kazuki, Jinnai Enta, and Kuji Tōi, transform into in their own musical moments. The otters are at war with the kappas for mysterious talismans known as the Dishes of Hope, which are revealed by releasing the souls of “kappa zombies”—humans who have been destroyed by their perverse desires. Before the kappa zombie of the week is revealed, Reo and Mabu are shown investigating, and then performing a song and dance outlining their apparent goals as “otter cops.” The song, which I am titling for its most repeated phrase (kawauso is the Japanese word for “otter,” while the added “iya!” is a nonsense phrase for dramatic effect), appears otherwise unrelated to the story of the three teenage boy protagonists, and abruptly interrupts their story; thus it fits into the conception of musical moments as a rupture. The music is also what makes this moment compelling. The song’s composition is not unusual within the genre of Japanese musical theater, including its use of the min’yō sukēru (or minor pentatonic scale), verse-chorus pop song structure, and combination of Western and Japanese musical instruments. Yet, just like similar Japanese musicals, the heavy syncopation combined with the singers’ exaggerated, emotive performances draw in the listener. As for the visuals, like “Zettai unmei mokushiroku” in Utena, the scene largely utilizes repeated animation footage, with subtle changes to fit each episode’s theme. Still, within all of this repetition, there are clues as to the “true meaning” of this refrain. The lighthearted song and dance from Reo and Mabu is performed over images of a factory, the machinery of the oppressive Otter Empire. The very standardize” songwriting approach behind these songs also invokes the mechanistic and the manufactured. Their lighthearted musical performance is merely a cover for the capitalistic forces behind it.

In Ikuhara’s recent projects, he increasingly takes a cynical note toward aspects of his series’ appeal and marketing. Yurikuma arashi, for instance, focuses on how much of yuri anime—a genre of lesbian fiction arguably designed for heterosexual audiences—oppresses lesbians by either oversexualizing them, or by denying their desires altogether. With scenes of an all-male “judgment council” that forces female bears—the show’s symbolism for “oversexualized” lesbians—to perform sexuality for their viewing pleasure, the series is a sharp criticism of the heterosexual male fan interest in yuri and how appealing to them commodifies and objectifies lesbians for the male subject. In his creator commentary about Utena, Ikuhara even acknowledges humorously that he is aware of the contradiction of him as a male director being the one to tell these stories about lesbian characters. He says that a UFO ordered him at age fourteen to make anime about “girls revolutionizing various things,” and says that when he asked the UFO what would happen if he ever told anyone about this encounter: “People will call you a sketchy guy.” [12]

As an anime about male gay desire, Sarazanmai was heavily marketed toward female fans of BL (boys love) anime, yuri’s approximate male equivalent. Yet, rather than merely raging at that specific audience, Sarazanmai seems to take its commentary a step further, in an almost Brechtian direction. As the viewers lose themselves in the campy fun of the “Kawausoiya!” number and Reo and Mabu’s over-the-top, sexualized performance (Reo draws out Mabu’s glowing heart from his shirtless chest, calling back to the sword-pulling-from-hearts in Utena’s duels), the machinery of the Otter Empire lingers ominously behind them. The question is whether lighthearted musical numbers can ever be separated from their reality as part of a capitalist commodity (the anime product being sold). Perhaps they can even distract from the “real problems” being explored: the cruel machinery behind the enticing bodies. Indeed, it certainly could be argued that in an attempt to court the audience of presumably (but not always) heterosexual female fans who like watching boys kiss, Sarazanmai’s marketing betrays the series’ themes about the commodification of desire. We too easily lose ourselves in the sexy dancing policemen, and miss the larger point about—as we are to learn in later episodes—the pain they suffered to become those cheerleaders for the Otter Empire. As Reo and Mabu’s backstory is revealed further, including how they literally had to sacrifice their love to stay together in the employ of the otters, the “Kawausoiya!” numbers retreat, solidifying their status as decorative escapism—but escapism with an anti-escapist goal.

The kappa zombie battles are even clearer parallel to Utena’s “duels.” They occur in yet another place outside of traditional linear time and space where characters seemingly have more power and agency, and where their innermost desires are exposed. There, Kazuki, Enta, and Tōi use musical and dance performance to “battle” the kappa zombies, humans who have lost their souls to their perverse desires for particular objects, animals, or people that they absorbed from around the surrounding city. Each one takes the lead in the song and dance routine in episodes that focus on his struggles and secrets, while the other two boys are back-up singers and dancers. Musically, the song used here, “Sarazanmai no Uta” (Song of Sarazanmai), is similar to “Kawausoiya!” though with a greater emphasis on Latin jazz rhythms and instruments. “Sarazanmai no Uta” uses mostly the same lyrics for each iteration of the opening chorus (only the backing vocals’ repeat word changes), but the uniqueness of each boy’s voice is emphasized, and his version of the verse lyrics change to culminate in a “leak” of his secrets to the other boys—leaks that can often cause quite a bit of trouble when they reveal information that the other boys would rather have kept to themselves. These differences are made more obvious by the repetition, and so each refrain marks out territory for that episode’s focus character.

In order for these battles to occur, Keppi, a mentor-like kappa, transforms the boys into kappas and takes them to the battles’ alternate dimension. Thus, the refrain also marks out space in a literal sense—once again, one that is “outside” the “normal” world of the story. The lyric about “something I have to take back” takes on different resonance depending on which boy is singing it, as each character has a different special person—family members in Tōi and Kazuki’s cases, and Kazuki himself in the case of Enta—who is dear to them and who forms the subject of their leaked secrets. While the characters are able to express more than they can in the “normal world,” they also are more vulnerable, given the exposure of hidden, shameful secrets. It is this duality of refrain-like expression—expression that is both freeing and limiting for the expresser, that cannot be stopped once it begins—that makes these musical moments so fascinating. It also draws their similarities to the duels in Utena, where the duelists try to change their fates while inevitably being constrained by the lives they left behind outside the dueling arena. Last, this lighthearted song also papers over a more sinister purpose, just like the “Kawausoiya!” number before it. As Tōi, Kazuki, and Enta sing about their hidden desires and try to “grab” them, they doom the humans who have become kappa zombies to being wiped from all existence and memory.

In discussing Sarazanmai, it is important to clarify why I prefer to label it as a “quasi-musical.” Of Ikuhara’s works, it certainly comes the closest to fitting into the constraints of the musical genre. Unlike in Utena, where an invisible Greek chorus provides the singing in the duel songs, both the “Kawausoiya” and “Sarazanmai no Uta” feature the characters in the series singing in their own voices. It lends an even stronger sense of self-expression than the duel songs, which I argue fulfill that purpose to a certain degree in the next section. What makes it “quasi” is that these numbers are confined to a particular section of each episode and narrative, whereas in a conventional film musical, breaking into song can happen at any point and does so throughout the film work. In the rest of each Sarazanmai episode, the normative image-sound hierarchy remains intact. However, my designation could be disputed, especially when one examines the overall structure of Ikuhara’s anime series episodes. The story is constructed around the logic of character emotions and thematic messages more than it is plot action. It unfolds in a way that resembles musical composition, with these ruptures provided by the musical moments treated as a new section of a musical piece. In that sense, Ikuhara approaches Deleuze and Guattari’s idea of the “time-image” over the “movement image,” which Herzog identifies as key to understanding the operations of the “musical moment.” This makes the question even more important of what the space marked out by these musical refrains allows of its characters—and the viewers that they represent. This brings us to the question of fabulation.

Fabulation in Ikuhara-World

Herzog defines fabulation as “for [Henri] Bergson, a kind of mythmaking, born out of affective experience (most dramatically in response to trauma or shock) that seeks to ameliorate that encounter with limits of reason with a creative representation.” [13] She then suggests that for Deleuze, fabulation is more political, characterizing Deleuze’s conception [14] as “when creative representations begin to speak in a ‘minor’ tongue, to point to the potential for new collective assemblages and unimagined territories.” [15] In how Herzog describes the idea of a “minor tongue,” I was reminded of Gayatri Spivak’s concept of “subaltern speech,” and how normative rules around speaking deny the “subaltern” a voice. [16] In that sense, fabulation could be seen as a place where such speech becomes possible. Fabulation often takes the form of ameliorating the “trauma” of socially subaltern groups by giving them room to “speak” through artistic expression. Herzog studies this in terms of camp, but fabulation can take on many forms; in a talk Herzog gave in a class I attended at the University of Texas–Austin, she brought up the 2018 film Black Panther as a form of fabulation, with its fantastical vision of an all-black society with technological and political power over the rest of the world. Black Panther is a power fantasy for the global subaltern of black people (and more specifically, the black Americans who made the film), created in response to the traumas of racism and colonialism. [17]

Many magical girl and other shōjo anime, like the ones that aesthetically influenced Utena and Sarazanmai (which could be called a “magical boy” anime), arguably feature a type of fabulation in the form of female power fantasies. When Tsukino Usagi transforms into Sailor Moon, her body enters a separate magical space where her magical powers wrap around her body to create her new costume, and in this space, her allies and adversaries cannot touch her. There are scenes that suggest that specific characters can view her transformation—this is how she and her love interest, Tuxedo Mask, reveal their secret identities to each other late in the anime’s first season—but overall this is ambiguous. The musical moment of Usagi’s transformation is a refrain with how it marks out this space for her alone, but it is also a form of fabulation, creating a world where Usagi is all-powerful. Magical girl anime also fabulate with how they empower teenage girls, a group otherwise characterized by patriarchal societies as weak and vulnerable. In series like Sailor Moon, the magical powers of teenage magical girls are the most powerful force in their worlds, able to overwhelm far more physically imposing adults.

Ikuhara’s works draw on this kind of fabulation, both in their musical moments and more broadly. The magically empowered characters who hold the key to remaking their worlds are nearly always children and teenagers, and often female, LGBTQ, or otherwise depowered by the systems around them. The spaces for musical moments, like Utena’s dueling arena or Sarazanmai’s kappa-zombie battle zone, are marked as places where the characters have more agency and potential to effect their fates than they would otherwise. In the case of Utena, it is a particularly potent stage for both apocalypse and revolution because of the compression of all of time into that one moment. At the same time, Ikuhara seems to be skeptical of the potential for total fabulation, of a world fully apart from the power structures of the outside, mundane world. In Utena, even the dueling arena is in view of Ōtori Academy headmaster and antagonist Akio’s tower apartments, the panopticon of the school’s prison. There is much greater potential in these refrains, but it is not infinite—even if, at first, it may seem that way to viewers more familiar with anime’s conventional musical refrains. This is not entirely unlike the musical moments in more typical film musicals, which promise the infinite potential of fabulation but ultimately are part of the machinery of conventional values like heteronormativity. The difference with Ikuhara’s versions is that he is more aware of, and honest about these illusions and contradictions.

Conclusions

Ikuhara’s anime series are rich texts that warrant further examination from film music scholars. Their use of musical moments stands apart not only from other anime, but also from many of the Western film works that Herzog draws on in her study of the concept, because of their ambiguously diegetic relationship to the rest of the narrative. Music is chosen for a very deliberate, refrain-like purpose that highlights the cycles of oppression that characterizes the worlds of Ikuhara’s stories—and yet also, within this repetition, there is the possibility of difference, and with it, the chance for some individuals to “smash the egg’s shell.”

Further examination of Ikuhara’s anime work could highlight his more specific filmic influences that lead to his particular conception of image-sound relations, as well as the influence of Ikuhara’s theater background, which reflects itself in the theatrical staging of Ikuharan musical moments. Other further study could examine Ikuhara’s relationship with composers and the influences they bring to the table. J. A. Seazer, the composer for Utena, previously wrote incidental music for the works of experimental film and theater director Terayama Shuji, especially in his independent theater troupe Tenjō Sajiki. Ikuhara chose him as a composer for Utena based on those associations, and so a deeper analysis of his music could chart the signs of Tenjō Sajiki’s influence on the anime. [18] For his other three series, Ikuhara has worked with anime composer Hashimoto Yukari. That ongoing collaboration suggests another careful study of patterns across those works.

There is room for more criticism of the way works like Sarazanmai’s indulgence in “escapism” in musical moments, and whether this problematizes the series’ critical message. While I touch on Bertolt Brecht in the section on Sarazanmai, a more detailed study on the series’ anticapitalist message could engage with where Ikuhara’s work fits in Brecht’s conception of culinary versus epic theater. [19] Likewise, one could study Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s idea of the “culture industry” in terms of whether anticapitalist and otherwise revolutionary messages are even truly possible in such a consumer-driven market as television anime. [20] The desire for these series to make back their money in Blu-ray and merchandise sales means that, at best, they cannot bite too hard on the hand that feeds. This extends to the music as much as any other part of the series, with soundtrack releases and concerts an essential source of ancillary income for popular anime series.

I hope this article is only the beginning of the analysis of Ikuhara’s work through the lens of film music studies. With their status as commentary, refrain, and rupture throughout narratives that are dense with layers of meaning, Ikuhara’s anime works show the true potential of not just anime music, but the “musical moment” across all film media.
#2 - 2022-12-9 10:44
(闲谈无真,烦请宽心。)
get it
这篇好长
#2-1 - 2022-12-9 14:45
#3 - 2022-12-9 17:20
(突然出現!)
貌似没看到呢
#3-1 - 2022-12-9 17:23
FISHERMAN
没看到是指图床吗,可能我用的sm.ms不太稳定,抱歉
#3-2 - 2022-12-26 13:22
Caogaga
FISHERMAN 说: 没看到是指图床吗,可能我用的sm.ms不太稳定,抱歉
sm图床有点问题可能,我用它挂的图我自己也看不到但别人就是能看到(笑哭
#3-3 - 2022-12-27 06:46
FISHERMAN
Caogaga 说: sm图床有点问题可能,我用它挂的图我自己也看不到但别人就是能看到(笑哭
https://files.catbox.moe/2tyd06.jpg
不知道这个图床看得到不
#3-4 - 2022-12-27 07:22
Caogaga
FISHERMAN 说: https://files.catbox.moe/2tyd06.jpg
不知道这个图床看得到不
这个链接点开能看见图片的
#3-5 - 2022-12-27 07:38
FISHERMAN
Caogaga 说: 这个链接点开能看见图片的
换到正文里了
#3-6 - 2022-12-27 07:52
Caogaga
FISHERMAN 说: 换到正文里了
好的,都能看见了