Fune wo Amu and the Words of Dialogue

Fune wo Amu / Episode 2 / The Daitokai dictionary in figurative form

What does dialogue do for a story?

“To be or not to be, that is the question.”

That’s the start to one of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquies, and it’s arguably his most well-known line. It comes from Hamlet, a play about the titular prince as he attempts to uncover the unjust death against his father (the king) while he contemplates life and semi-devolves into madness.

It’s been on my mind because I recently finished 1948’s Hamlet [1], starring Sir Laurence Olivier as the prince himself. (He also directed and produced the film; he could do it all.) The acting was great, and the specter was spooky, but it was really Shakespeare’s words that drove the entire story. Puns, memorable quotes. More specifically, the dialogues — be that with a group, one other person, or with themselves — created the drama and breathed life into the characters.

Shortly after completing Hamlet, I also finished an anime that went somewhat undetected during the Fall 2016 season: Fune wo Amu. This anime likewise places heavy emphasis on words but to a more thematic level. So, it got me thinking. How does Fune wo Amu use its own words to craft dialogue?

The following essay will investigate dialogue. What it is, what it can do, and ultimately what it creates. Hopefully, by the end of this piece, you will not only have a better appreciation of Fune wo Amu but also a greater understanding of dialogue as a whole.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

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