Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #52, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
No, her name is not Alice.
Our guest today is 紗名(sa.na), main protagonist of Alice to Zouroku, an adventure Anime currently airing on Spring 2017. This post was imagined by Sana herself and covers up to Episode 4, so beware of spoilers!
紗名(sa.na) is a girl… wait a moment. Hmm. For the sake of simplicity, yes, Sana-chan is a young girl who possess a unknown and apparently unmeasurably powerful ability of conceiving and creating anything that she can imagine. I won’t go much deeper here but in case you haven’t watched Episode 4 yet, it will give you more details about what kind of being we are dealing here. Let’s check her name out!
Given Name: 紗名(sa.na)
At first glance the name 紗名(sa.na) doesn’t really seem to be anything relevant. It is a real name, kanji used aren’t that unusual and even the reading is within normal boundaries.
紗 was covered on [Onamae wa? #8], all the way back in Spring 2016 when we covered Saya-chan from Asterisk War. From there, I quote:
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.
Similarly to what happened with Saya, I can’t really see a way to connect this kanji to Sana-chan’s personality or background, at least for now. If you break 紗 apart you get 糸(ito; thread, string) and 少(shou; small), so… small thread? A word that soundly resonates with Japonism is 袱紗(fuku.sa), those square pieces of lined fabric used in 茶道(sa.dou; Tea Ceremony) or even gift wrapping in traditional Japanese culture.
名 is a very common kanji. A few words include 有名(yuu.mei; famous), 名刺(mei.shi; business card) and 名物(mei.butsu; regional specialty, usually for food). Another interesting one is 名所(mei.sho; lit. famous place), which usually denotes a site famous for being associated with fictional works of literature, poetry and, nowadays, Anime.
Put together, 紗名 doesn’t really convey much meaning. Maybe a distinguished silk thread could be an interesting attempt, although linking it to our Sana-chan would be stretching too much. What a letdown…
Alice to Zouroku was my most expected show of Spring 2017 for exactly zero concrete reasons. I simply looked at the initial images available, glanced over the synopsis and thought “I want to watch this”, followed by a “I hope they have great names!”. Thus by what we have seen so far you can tell how disappointed I was when Sana-chan’s name didn’t really bring much to the table.
Fortunately, I was wrong.
As I said up there, 紗名(sa.na) is used in the real world. Upon looking for the ideas that surround this name, I ran into this description (Source, Japanese only):
And before I go over what is written up there I should stop and say that this is probably just yet another coincidence and the author never really intended to create this link. But it matches Sana-chan background SO PERFECTLY that it made my heart race. Alright, let’s go over each part.
This screams Sana-chan. If you wanted to describe her being, if you were to summarize her whole character and premise in a single word, I can hardly think of a better one. Structures with X + 化 usually denote a transformation, as in 強化(kyou.ka; reinforcement), 消化(shou.ka; digestion), 進化(shin.ka; evolution) or the most basic one, 変化(hen.ka; change). And what exactly is being transformed here? 理想(ri.sou; ideal) is frequently seem as a pair of 現実(gen.jitsu; reality). 理想 is what we expect or wish that was our reality. Therefore 理想化(ri.sou.ka) is the ability to make your ideals into reality. The ability to change your world according to your desire. Of course this is widely used metaphorically as a way to stimulate others but in the case of our guest this is a perfectly fit for her power.
自分の夢に突き進む (jibun no yume ni tsukisusumu; to plunge forward toward your own dreams)
This carries a similar idea as 理想化, but it also brings 夢(yume; dream) into the game, a word closely related to the background of Alice to Zouroku.
親や他人を精神的、物質的に援助します (oya ya tanin wo seishinteki, busshitsutekini ouenshimasu; supports both her family and strangers, either mentally or physically)
At this point of the story Sana-chan is more on the receiving end when it comes to supporting, although on Episode 4 she already manifested her ability to care for others.
Sanae and Sana having a hnng-moment on Episode 3
Another coincidence that drew my attention was Zouroku’s granddaughter’s name. Having both Sana and Sanae on the same show made my spider sense tingle. Her name is written as 早苗(sa.nae) and is actually a proper word meaning rice seedlings. I almost gave up on tracing a connection between these two until I remembered that, when looking up on 紗名(sa.na), I ran into many variations that were made by 紗名 + a third kanji. Among them there was this 紗名恵(sa.na.e), which could be translated as “the one who was wished by Sana”. You can draw your own conclusions.
Another point that struck me now is that she is deemed as the 赤の女王(aka.no.jo.ou; Red Queen), then her name is related to silk thread and we have that thing about the red thread of fate and she can manipulate reality and thus fate and…
紗名(sa.na), the one able to manipulate the fine threads of reality into her own ideals.
Thanks for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading. After Episode 4 my expectations for this show have risen even more. Hopefully I’ll come back to cover Zouroku as well once we learn more about him. If you haven’t given this show a chance, I recommend it! See you all next weekend!