Biosemiotic footnote


Cocona’s green rabbit in Flip Flappers is named “Uexküll” in both the Crunchyroll and Viewster subtitles. That doesn’t seem like a traditional Japanese name, so I did a little searching and discovered theoretical biologist Jakob von Uexküll. According to Wikipedia,

Uexküll was interested in how living beings perceive their environment(s). Uexküll argued that organisms perceived the experience of living in terms of species-specific, spatio-temporal, ‘self-in-world’ subjective reference frames that he called Umwelt (translated as milieu, situation, embedding-lit. German for environment). These Umwelten (plural of Umwelt) are distinctive from what Uexküll termed the “Umgebung” which would be the living being’s surroundings as seen from the likewise peculiar perspective or Umwelt of the observer. The umwelt is composed of two parts, the innenwelt or self-oriented features, and the Umgebung, or world-oriented features. Together, they describe the individual’s subjective viewpoint, or embedding, which has the property of being ubiquitous, as compared to the observer’s objective viewpoint, which has the property of being universal.

Um, okay. Possibly Uexküll’s Umwelt and Umgebung lurk in Pure Illusion as Faust does in Madoka Magica, though it will take someone with more patience with modern philosophy than I have to explain it all.

Incidentally, Flip Flappers is the only current series I’m still watching, unless you count the shorts Miss Bernard Said and Ninja Girl & Samurai Master.

One thought on “Biosemiotic footnote”

  1. Flip Flappers is awesome. Kinda reminds me FLCL for some reason. Maybe because it’s a bit trippy, and while general thought is clear, the episodes are quite unpredictable, and it’s lightweight, and nice, and it’s about friendship, and has a bit of humor.
    Though I also watch Fune wo Amu (a bit boring), Drifters (hellsing w/o vampires), http://WWW.Working!! (cliche, but nice) and Brave Witches (just try to ignore pantsu and it’s watchable), Flip Flappers is the absolute favorite of this season.
    And I’m writing this because I like Uexküll character very much and I have this exact picture as my avatar pic in social network. Too bad we don’t see him very often. He’s so cute and loyal.
    I also did look up the unusual name, because to me it did sound weird for anime, but not foreign per se. Wikipedia has an article on Uexküll – German name of Ikšķile, a town in Latvia and a Baltic-German noble family. I happen to live 200km from this town 😀
    Also, I noticed you don’t write about TV series. So I thought I’d recommend you my tv favorites of this season and you feel free to ignore 😀 Just in case you like them.
    1) Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – is as fun and unpredictable, much like Flip Flappers
    2) Black Mirror, 3rd season – visions of dark side of modern technology, a must watch for sci-fi fans
    That’s all, cheerio.

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