Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #26, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
When I first heard about the manga that originated this show, I was like マジで(majide). The concept was just way too bizarre and yet, brilliant. Unfortunately, when I tried to invite many famous athletes of this fabulous sport to take part here in my humble blog, all of them declined. Guess it is not that easy to…
Uh? We got someone? She wants to appear here voluntarily? Yay! What is her name? Uh? Never heard of. Well, 乞食は選択者にはなれない(gojiki wa sen.taku.sha ni wa narenai; beggars can’t be choosers).
Seems like our guest today is 神無(kami.nashi) のぞみ(nozomi), main protagonist of Keijo!!!!!!!!, an ecchi shounen sports anime currently airing in Fall 2016. According to the rules of Keijo, it is recommended to have watched the first episode of this series to avoid being Asspoiled.
神無(kami.nashi) のぞみ(nozomi) is a 18 years-old newcomer in the 瀬戸内競女養成学校(se.tou.chi.kei.jo.you.sei.gak.kou; Setouchi Keijo Training School). She used to live and probably was born in 兵庫県(hyou.go.ken; Hyougo Prefecture). Judging by her accent, 播州弁(ban.shuu.ben; Banshuu Accent), she is most likely from the southern Hyougo, either in Kobe or nearby cities. You can clearly notice some typical structures over Episode 1, like the use of てや(te ya) and ええ(ee) instead of いい(ii). Anyway, she isn’t very famous (yet) and has a knack for money, one of her reasons for aspiring being a professional Keijo player. Let’s check her name out! お名前は？
Family Name: 神無(kami.nashi)
神 is a kanji present in many words related to spiritual matters, including 神様(kami.sama; God), 神(shin; spirit, psyche, divinity) and 心身(shin.shin; mind and soul); in words related to nervous system in living beings, like 神経(shin.kei; nerves) and lastly as a reference to nature phenomena like 鳴神(naru.kami; thunder. Literally the cry of the Gods). All these words convey the idea of mysterious powers of the realm of nature and, sometimes, beyond reason. Sounds fitting? Well, I don’t want to enter into the manga area, but you can already tell from the Opening Scene that things will get way, way beyond reason!
無 comes into play trying break everything I said on the previous paragraph. Damn it! Present in words like 無い(na.i; nonexistent, inexperience, impossibility) and 無(mu; nothing, nil, zero), this kanji is often used to negate whatever is grouped up with it. Some examples include 無料(mu.ryou; free), 料 means charge; and 無限(mu.gen; infinity), where 限 means limit. By putting it together with 神, it can induce us to believe that Nozomi-chan isn’t anything special. No powers beyond reason. No spirit. Is that it though?
No need to despair! 神無 is present in a very peculiar word, 神無月(kan.na.zuki), a name for the tenth month in the traditional Japanese calendar. This name can be translated as “the month where there are no gods”. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t any gods, but rather, that they are away. In Shinto Tradition, it was said that all the millions of gods of Japan would leave their shrines and congregate annually (this is a very recurring event in anime, like in the glorious 神様はじめました(kami.sama hajimeashita).
Going back to our topic, the point is that 無 here isn’t exactly describing that something is nonexistent, but rather that is not present at the moment. So here 神無(kami.nashi) tells us that, as of Episode 1, Nozomi is not quite there. Yet. Another way to look at it is that although having a strong background as gymnast, by not possessing powers beyond reason 神無(kami.nashi), she won’t be able to succeed against the monsters that will make our weeks glorious from now on for the next three months. This is further emphasized as 無 also indicates lack of 形(katachi; form, shape) or 姿(sugata; shape, condition). By following this train of though, it is not that Nozomi isn’t a God: She just hasn’t being shaped into her true form yet.
Others 神無(kami.nashi), including the much more common reading 神無(kan.na):
- 神無(kan.na) from InuYasha (2000)
- 神無(kamu.na) from Toukiden 2 (2016)
- 取石(tore.ishi) 神無(kan.na) from Idol Bouei-tai Hummingbird (1993)
Given Name: のぞみ(nozomi)
Yey… a non-kanji name. There are two words using this reading and both are relevant to our girl here. First is 望み(nozo.mi), meaning wish, desire, hope. Given the nature of sports and even Nozomi-chan motivations, this is straightforward. Second one is 臨み(nozo.mi), meaning challenge, confrontation. Again, a word directly related to sports. When paired up with 神無(kami.nashi), we could get something like the desire of someone lacking power, which might reflect a situation that Nozomi-chan will soon face.
The word 競女(kei.jo) is formed by the kun’yomi readings of 競(kura; contest, match, race) and 女(onna; woman). It is formed in a similar fashion to 競馬(kei.ba; horserace), where 馬 means horse. Thus, it literally means a competition between women. The matches themselves are called レース(re-su; race) following this idea.
Let’s review our guest name:
神無(kami.nashi) のぞみ(nozomi), the one whose desire will awaken a former powerless soul.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed your reading. As I hadn’t read the manga before, this week was my first contact with Keijo!!!!!!!! and boy, I was impressed! Honestly, the ecchi part isn’t what drew me into it. So, if it is not the ecchi, why watch something that is unreasonable, unnatural and irrational? Hmm. Because it is unreasonable, unnatural and irrational. And mostly: fun. See you all next weekend!