Saturday, June 04, 2005

Derrida and Yu-Gi-oh: Mina'dos

Largely inspired by the post I made here several months ago, I'm working on a paper for next year about Jacques Derrida and Yu-Gi-oh. I've been kicking around the idea for a while, discussing Derrida's ideas about friendship with Yu-Gi-Oh, and its wonderfully memorable characters like Yami-Yugi, Joey, Setu Kaiba, Pegasus, Marik, etc. and incredibly repititous dialogue (yugi "heart of the cards" Kaibi "no! this can't be real!" joey "let me at'em!" tea "c'mon guys." The limits of Yu-Gi-Oh match in strange ways the world that Derrida creates in his texts on friendship such as The Work of Mourning and The Politics of Friendship.

It wasn't until this last week that I actually started writing it and there are two reasons for this actualization. First, I saw a call for papers which explicitly stated possible papers could deal with Derrida's ideas about hospitality, and the welcoming of the other who's arrival is not expected. When reading the call for papers I made a connection between Yu-Gi-Oh and Satoshi Kon's Millenium Actress. But even this wasn't enough. It wasn't until I watched V3.3 of the Return to Battle City, that I realized how productive a paper on Yu-Gi-Oh and Derrida could be. With Yugi and Kaiba facing off in the next to the final match, atop Kaiba's duel tower, we see clearly who and what they are meant to represent. In the ways that they connect to those around them, such as Kaiba and his privileging of the close family link only (to his brother Mokuba). Or Yugi's links to his friends. Or what about the way Kaiba and Yugi relate to their paternal figures? The way that Kaiba vanquishes his adopted father, and the way that Yugi cherishes and embodies the wisdom of his grandfather. Or what about their relationship to the "past?" Towards the end of their duel Kaiba and Yugi discuss "the past," and what it means to them.

From the discourse created from this most recent episode that I watched, as well as my previous ideas about Yu-Gi-Oh, I think I might have a pretty decent paper to present next year.

Oh and one more reason to connect Derrida and Yu-Gi-Oh. Apparently, Yu-Gi-Oh means "friendship."

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