Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #8, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Today we will all take part in the Namae Festa (名前星武祭), our very own variation of the notorious Festa tournaments that shake the Academy City on the water, Rikka, every year. Don’t worry, I made arrangements so Ayato and Julis wouldn’t join, so this will be a walk in the park…
What? No one told me about this! Seems like our opponents today will be 沙々宮(sa.sa.miya) 紗夜(sa.ya) and 刀藤(tou.dou) 綺凛(ki.rin), proud members of the official #loliteam on Gakusen Toshi Asterisk. Alright, this will be tough. For the sake of this battle, it is recommended to have watched up to Season 2 Episode 9 to avoid being overwhelmed by my Spoiler Lux. Brace yourselves and…
Battle Start… です！
沙々宮(sa.sa.miya) 紗夜(sa.ya) is Ayato’s childhood friend, though they lost contact when Saya’s family moved to Germany. Saya-chan is only 148cm tall, a glorious trait in my opinion, has light blue shoulder-length hair, an ahoge, braids, drowsy-behaviour. In other words, she is subjectively perfect. Alright, enough bias. Saya’s father, Souichi, is a genius engineering researcher who designs Luxes (mostly gun-type weapons) for her to use in battle and as a way to get advertisement. She is also known for not being a morning person and having a bad sense of direction. Shall we check her name? お名前は？
Family Name: 沙々宮(sa.sa.miya)
As you can see 沙々宮(sa.sa.miya) brings a third character I didn’t mention up there. 々 is a symbol that indicates the repetition of the previous kanji. It is present in daily life words like 時々(toki.doki; sometimes); 色々(iro.iro; various) and 段々(dan.dan; gradually). For these words it wouldn’t be completely wrong to just double the kanji, like 色色, but it doesn’t look very well. 沙々(sa.sa) is a name on its own already and you could see a pattern similar to Futaba, Youko and Teru – onamae wa? about naming your kid after some geographical or environmental event or place that relates to his/her birthday. If it were a given name, maybe the parents lived near a sand beach or just loved 砂丘(sa.kyuu; sand dunes).
On Saya-chan’s case tho, we also have 宮, present in words like 神宮(jin.guu; High Status Shinto Shrine), 王宮(ou.kyuu; royal palace) and 宮様(miya.sama; prince or princess). Putting them together, 沙々宮 would mean sand princess or sand palace. I can’t really point out anything here. Even the classic beach episode in Asterisk Season 1 Episode 8 was actually a pool episode. On a metaphoric sense, this would bring the idea of something beautiful yet easily destroyed, which I don’t think is the case for Saya-chan. We’re talking about her Family Name here though, so we could try linking it to her parents. We don’t know much about her mother, but we know that 沙々宮(sa.sa.miya)創一(sou.ichi), her father, had his body destroyed by an accident. His brain survived and is now connected to his workshop, which he thinks is awesome because it makes his job much easier. That being said, no clear relation to either sand prince/princess or sand palace.
There is a detail here though. If you have a sharp eye, you probably noticed that one of the examples I gave up there, 砂丘(sa.kyuu; sand dunes), doesn’t have 沙, but 砂. Thing is, both kanji can mean sand, but most of the time you will see 砂. There is a peculiar usage for 沙 that 砂 doesn’t cover: 100.000.000th. Yeah, one hundred-millionth. Curiously, it fits very well with another unusual usage, this time for 宮: constellations. By putting this on her Family Name, you would have 沙々宮(sa.sa.miya) meaning the 1016th constellation, which is probably something rather unique given the number of zeros there. Move on!
Given Name: 紗夜(sa.ya)
紗夜(sa.ya) has this simple kanji 紗 that I had never seen before. Gauze is that thin fabric commonly used in medical procedures as bandages. Gossamer? なにこれ?(nani sore; what is this?). I had to Google it, I admit. This has various meanings, ranging from gauze, to spider silk and even a Looney Tunes character. On the other hand, 夜 is very common, figuring among the Top 500 most used kanji in Japanese Newspapers, always related to night and evening. When you put both together you could think of a bandage that heals over night or a spider silk shining in the evening, which are fancy but the question is how to connect those to Saya?
Well, you could try to forcefully bring the idea that Saya isn’t a morning person because she is tied to spider silk to her bed. Woah. Even the greatest spider silk would snap after this stretch. We’re not over yet though, as there are some interesting things on her parents’ names.
Her mother is named 沙々宮(sa.sa.miya) 香夜(ka.ya). We can see here that only one character was changed and even then it retained the same vowel. 香 is the kanji for scent related things, appearing in words like 香り (kao.ri; smell) and 香(kou; incense). So 香夜(ka.ya) could mean the perfume of night, a very beautiful name, I might add.
Her father is named 沙々宮(sa.sa.miya) 創一(sou.ichi). We have seen 創 in Shokugeki no Souma – onegai!, a kanji that brings the idea of genesis, wound, injury. 一 means one, first, beginning. This is quite straightforward. You can say that his accident caused him major injuries that meant a new beginning, a new genesis.
Another trivia is that the pattern used in 沙々宮(sa.sa.miya)紗夜(sa.ya) is similar to some naming rules for Lalafells in Final Fantasy XIV:ARR. Here you could say that her name is AABC-AC, where A is “sa”, B is “mi” and C is “ya”. Some possible patterns for Lalafells include AB-CB, ABB-AB, AAB-CCB and AAB-AB. I brought this up because Saya-chan short size kinda reminds me of a Lalafell, though she would still be at least 50% taller than most Lalas out there. Still on the subject of her height, her name features 沙 and 紗, both of which use the radical 小, meaning little, small.
As a last trivia, and prepare yourself for some deep imagination, let’s return to that alternative meaning on 沙 from her Family Name. If you try to imagine a night sky full of stars and then counting your own created constellations with a telescope, always adding up one more star each time, as if you were trying to draw a gauze in the night sky, you would eventually run into the 1016th constellation. Ok, maybe this was too deep.
刀藤(tou.dou)綺凛(ki.rin) is adorable. Yes, this is it. Move on.
Uh? Name? Oh, right.
Kirin-chan is a shy, sweet and polite girl. She was taken hostage during an attempt robbery in her childhood, which led to her father killing the robber. This could be seen as self-defense, but her father was a Genestella, while the criminal was a normal person, so he was sent to prison for murder. Due to this event, despite her incredible fighting abilities, she has a tendency to blame herself whenever anything bad happens if she is around. This has been steadily being overcome due to Ayato and her tag partner, Saya-chan, with whom she developed a strong friendship. Kirin-chan, お名前は？
Family Name: 刀藤(tou.dou)
刀藤(tou.dou) is a very suitable name for a family devoted to sword martial arts. 刀 is of course the main theme here. 刀(katana) is a general term for the traditional sword samurais used during Edo Period (1603-1868). The Asterisk Wikia mentions the term 日本刀 (ni.hon.tou; Japanese sword) to describe Kirin’s weapon, which is a more general term, though in modern times it is usually associated with the Shinogi-Zukuri katana.
藤 is the kanji symbolizing the wisteria type of plants, most specifically the Wisteria floribunda, commonly known as Japanese wisteria.
One would quickly associate Kirin’s hair to the Wisteria light purple color, which is just natural. Even though in the original Novel Kirin’s hair is described as silvery, I think it is ok to relate these two.
Hair color aside, 藤 also appears in 葛藤(tsudzura.fuji or kat.tou), meaning either a Chinese seed or a complex inter-relationship, conflict, discord, all of which are something we could see in Kirin’s struggle after her childhood incident.
Given Name: 綺凛(ki.rin)
綺凛(ki.rin) is composed by two uncommon kanjis with simple meanings that are often associated with more usual characters. 綺 main idea is depicting beauty, featured in a word that everyone knows, 綺麗(ki.rei; pretty, lovely, clean, tidy), but usually written in hiragana as きれい. There are many variations to it, but usually whenever 奇 comes up it means something is eccentric, be it for its beauty, uniqueness or strangeness. I believe we spoke a bit about it in Akeno Misaki – onamae wa?.
綺 also brings the idea of a cloth, which is an unintended (?) nice link between Saya and Kirin. In Saya we have 紗, a thin, translucent fabric with a loose open weave; in Kirin we have 綺, a thin silk fabric. It is possible to create this distinction between the personality and fighting style of both girls, where Kirin acts in a well defined, soft, beautiful and pure way, while Saya is an open book and act more harshly, loosely.
凛 brings the positive side of coldness, depicting something majestic, awe-inspiring, commanding, with an imposing air or dignified. This says a lot about Kirin overall behavior, both because of her natural upbringing being the only child of a traditional martial arts devoted family and her childhood incident.
Putting both together, we could see a 綺凛(ki.rin) as beautiful and imposing presence. Maybe it would be better put as beautiful, yet imposing presence, pointing out the contrast between Kirin’s usual cute side and her seriousness in battle.
As a side note, 綾斗(Ayato) has a similar structure. 綾 also indicates a cloth, like 綺 from 綺凛(ki.rin), while also bringing relevant meanings like creating a beautiful pattern or skillfully manipulation, a direct reference to Ayato’s abilities. The second kanji, 斗, brings ideas like suddenly, unexpectedly, fighting spirit.
While researching this series, I stumbled upon the kanji combination for Festa: 星武祭. This is one of those cases where the kanjis used have nothing to do with the reading, just bringing the idea. 星武祭 could be literally read as the Star Warrior Festival, which is exactly the case.
The Integrated Enterprise Foundation holds three main tournaments: Phoenix, Gryps and Lindwurm. The Festa events itself lasts for three years, one of those each year, then restarting on Phoenix. Let’s check each of them!
Phoenix Festa 鳳凰星武祭
This tournament is held in the summer of the first year and features two on two battles. It is named Phoenix because of 鳳凰(hou.ou; Chinese phoenix, firebird). Yes, I can already hear you “isn’t that Pokémon named Ho-oh a phoenix…”, yeah, it is. It is interesting that the first kanji, 鳳 was originally used to depict Feng the male mythical birds in East Asia culture, while 凰 were the females Huang. In modern times this distinction was put aside and they were mixed together as a single female entity bird, the Fenghuang in Chinese, or Houou in Japanese.
Gryps Festa 獅鷲星武祭
This tournament is held in the Autumn of the second year and features five on five battles (this would probably be very cool if ever animated). A key point here is that a team can win if the opposing team’s leader is defeated, which creates a interesting range of possible strategies. Gryps come from Gryphon (or Griffin), a word that doesn’t seem to have a natural character combination either in Chinese (written as 格里芬 for phonetic purposes) or Japanese (written in katakana as グリフォン or グリッフィン). The author here choose to use 獅鷲, formed by 獅 (shishi; lion) and 鷲 (washi; eagle). Although not using a similar reading, there is a similar mythical animal in Chinese mythology named Pixiu.
Lindwurm Festa 王竜星武祭
This tournament is held in the winter of the third year and features one on one battles. Lindwurm is the German word for dragon and 王竜(ou.ryuu) literally means Dragon King. The reading is shared with 応竜(ou.ryuu), the Japanese name for Yinglong, a mythical dragon and rain deity in ancient Chinese mythology.
Let’s review our opponents today!
沙々宮(sa.sa.miya) 紗夜(sa.ya), the 1016th constellation in a star filled night sky.
刀藤(tou.dou)綺凛(ki.rin), the one who is as beautiful as a wisteria and as imposing as a sword.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed our battle. Gakusen Toshi Asterisk delivered a lot of amazing episodes in its Season 2, I recommend it! Below I tried to depict my natural reaction every week by the end of the Season 2 Opening theme. See you all next weekend!
This is the Asterisk War!! ┻━┻ ︵ヽ(`Д´)ﾉ︵ ┻━┻