Incremental progress meets Zeno’s Paradox

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. Daru
    July 2, 2014 @ 9:16 pm

    Wow cool. Loved it!

    What a fun episode to watch – gonna watch through the rest. Thanks for your analysis, helps to appreciate it more too. I like what you say about storytelling as an oral tradition within Japan and how much more fluid and alive it is (as within India). I love the thought of a living continuity, really how could it be any other way? Why do folk seek to limit and pin down things such as continuity in Doctor Who or Start Trek to such an obsessive degree – to the point where it could be argued that at times it damaged both shows as they adhered to that pressure.

    Have you hear of kamishibai, an old form or storytelling within Japan where essentially the myths are told around the use of pictures by a live teller using a small box for display, usually as a street show that would travel round towns and villages? It is said to be the origins of Manga and still is practiced – even in Scotland and Edinburgh there are at least two practitioners of it that I know. That's part of why I don't have a problem with static panels in animation as it links right back to such roots.

    Great stuff again!


  2. Josh Marsfelder
    July 4, 2014 @ 9:07 am

    I've not heard of kamishibai before you mentioned it, and having just now looked it up I'm very intrigued. I really, really like the idea of this being part of the lineage of manga, and thus anime: It adds a whole new layer of conceptual richness to something like Dirty Pair.

    Speaking of static images and working-class image-based street-level storytelling also reminds me of an idea that is held very sacred in Polynesian tradition: That the act of writing a story itself is tantamount to killing it, as keeping it in the oral tradition means it can always continue to grow and evolve.


  3. Daru
    July 9, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

    Thanks for the reply Josh (I've been away). Yes absolutely, Kamisihibai is a solid part of the lineage that leads all the way to anime – and well worth checking out. I love the fact as you say that it comes from the street and the people.

    Love also the Polynesian reference – this the heart of what keeps story alive, I completely agree with it. We should be telling Trek Tales on street corners and in cafes and bars.


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