Post Reply What's with the white feathers? And characters reaching toward light sources?
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Posted 10/29/17 , edited 10/29/17
Two visual elements that I see in a lot of anime:

Random, unmotivated white feathers drifting around and;

Characters reaching toward light sources for no good reason.

The light source is usually the sun or moon, but it can also be a street lamp or (in a recent episode of "A Sister's All You Need") an overhead bathroom light. I mean, "reaching for something unattainable" might be the significance, but in some cases all you'd need is a stepladder. Do the Japanese have a compelling desire to clutch at photons for some reason?

As for the white feathers, sometimes white doves are seen prior (a la John Woo) but not always. Sometimes they're feathers drifting around for no reason at all. I assume they are symbolic, but of what?

I almost get the impression that they started out as deeply symbolic and then got overused to the point where now they're simply done because they're traditional or expected, even if the actual symbolism no longer applies. But I'm just guessing here. Perfectly happy to be wrong if someone can elucidate me.
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Posted 10/29/17 , edited 10/29/17
It's just stylistic.

It's not even traditional, just aesthetic.

I dunno, maybe blame CLAMP? (at least for the feathers). Though it probably predates them... Rose of Versailles?
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Posted 10/29/17 , edited 10/29/17
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Posted 10/29/17 , edited 10/30/17

SparkyBob wrote:

I almost get the impression that they started out as deeply symbolic and then got overused to the point where now they're simply done because they're traditional or expected, even if the actual symbolism no longer applies. But I'm just guessing here. Perfectly happy to be wrong if someone can elucidate me.


I think this is mainly correct.

When used seriously though, it invokes symbolism of angels, purity, being close to death and grabbing at life (the light in this case not the "Don't go into the light", but "Don't go into the darkness (of death)").

It's become a trope used by comedies to be exaggerations of 'death' scenes.

EDIT: For death scenes, think of a drowning person slowly sinking downward, grasping toward the light of the surface as they lose consciousness.

EDIT 2: A related idea is light as "hope." It represents "a new dawn," "light at the end of a tunnel," sometimes rebirth. Characters that are sad or hopeless might reach toward the light symbolically, or in idol-type shows, striving toward the light represents becoming a star and being able to stand in the spotlight.
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Posted 10/29/17 , edited 10/30/17
Anime characters are really moths. The light source is, of course, the backlight to the cells.
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Posted 10/29/17 , edited 10/30/17
Warning: TVTropes


SparkyBob wrote:

Two visual elements that I see in a lot of anime:

Random, unmotivated white feathers drifting around and;

Feather Motif


Characters reaching toward light sources for no good reason.


Grasp the sun
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