Quarkboy’s hypothesis: The Tatami Galaxy reflects the four-and-a-half tatami mat

This is just a hunch I have, but I bet that there are 4 different “continuities” total.

Let’s call them A, B, C, and D. Each of these continuities overlaps with two other ones in some way. So, B overlaps with A and C, C overlaps with B and D, etc…

Then there’s the room itself which overlaps with all 4 continuities. Let’s call that “E”.

To draw a picture:

AAB
DEB
DCC

… I could be wrong.

This is the picture that Quarkboy meant. The picture was taken from the second episode: it was the penultimate film made by Watashi and the last film that was not meant to offend. The center square is connected to all of the other four tatami. It is the 'E' continuity in Quarkboy's example.

This is the picture that Quarkboy meant. The picture was taken from the second episode: it was the penultimate film made by Watashi and the last film that was not meant to offend. The center square is connected to all of the other four tatami. It is the 'E' continuity in Quarkboy's example.

Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei is transliterated into English as the Four-and-a-Half Tatami Myth Compendium. It is translated as The Tatami Galaxy in English. I was reading all the posts of the two forums that I visit regarding The Tatami Galaxy, and it was the post that gave me pause and made me think about its implications. One has already seen the intersect clearly and explicitly shown in the fifth episode: there is at least a parallel universe that is happening within the show, and the crossing over of the older Watashi simply proves that. The different universes intertwine in different ways: they are somehow interconnected, like different planetary systems are, into a galaxy.

As of the fifth episode, one still has incomplete information as regards the show. But one also has to note that the continuities do overlap one another and this is extremely obvious in the fifth episode: phenomena occurring over the past four episodes have expressed themselves in the fifth, from Kohinata-san to Akashi’s abhorrence of moths, among other things. The fifth episode seems to be a cocktail of elements from the first four episodes, suggesting that the ‘E’ continuity is the continuity of the fifth episode: while it is a summation, it is also a recollection. It has little original within it (it only has half the original content as the other episodes), but it remains to be highly pivotal in the evolution of the series: this is the first time, after all, that Watashi admits of the blame to be squarely on him, and not on Ozu, who has served as his scapegoat for the four episodes before that.

Let us assume the ‘A’ continuity, for clarity’s sake, to be the continuity of the first episode. It is clearly intertwined with the ‘B’ continuity, or the second episode continuity, and the ‘D’ continuity, or the continuity of the fourth. Let us not even talk about the mainstays of the series: there are little details within the episodes that prove this to be true.

The first and the second episode continuity

1. Recall how Akashi called Watashi an idiot for the first two episodes?
2. A prominent line also appears, if I remember correctly, only during the first two episodes: ‘Why do you haunt me so?’ asks Watashi.
3. There is a promise that Watashi has yet to keep.
4. Watashi cheers for Akashi to go about things in her own way.
5. The Castella cake appears for both episodes.
6. Akashi’s phobia with moths is underlined.
7. The transvestism of Ozu appears.

The first and the fourth episode continuity

Remember how they were firing firecrackers at lovers during the first episode? I don’t think it was an offhand quip by Watashi that he wished he could do the same in the universe of the fourth episode: ‘[…] but it seems I’ve done that before.’ Hanuki-san appeared only during the first and fourth episodes as well, both as a dental hygienist. It is only during the fourth episode that we discover that she’s also a disciple. How about jumping into the river, which he also did during the first episode.

The second and third episode continuity

This was found as early as episode two, acting as Watashi's escape vehicle.

This was found as early as episode two, acting as Watashi's escape vehicle.

The boob wall in the second episode remains prominent in the third episode, but from an object of offense it becomes an object of training for Watashi. The bicycle that was also highly prominent in the third episode, Manami, is seen as Watashi’s escape vehicle in the second episode. Imagery of a percolating coffee-brewer have also appeared in both episodes.

Prominent in the background is the boob wall.

Prominent in the background is the boob wall.

The third and fourth episode continuity

The master-disciple relationship between Ozu and Higuchi was already established as early as the third episode. An antagonistic relationship between Jougasaki and Higuchi was also established in this episode, continued on in the fourth episode.

Problems with the hypothesis

Episode 1.

Episode 1.

There is also a relation between the first and the third episode, although it’s tangential, like how the ‘A’ universe connects to the ‘C’ universe only by passing by ‘E:’ the ‘big’ ideogram in the mountain is clearly seen in both the third and the first episode, although what this means is still dubious at this point.

The same ideogram, magnified in episode 3.

The same ideogram, magnified in episode 3.

Important points of focus [after re-watches]

1. Why does ‘Why do you haunt me so’ repeat twice in the second episode?
2. What is the deal with Ozu’s changing personalities?
3. Why does episode three seem so disconnected from the other episodes? (This is just a personal observation.)
4. Episode two more and more suggests a connection between the different universes: subconsciously, why did he produce that third film that seems to be the condition he is currently in?

What do you guys think? I’m sure there are some similarities that you guys can still figure out, but also some dissenting opinions from what the series shows. Care to share?

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13 Responses to “Quarkboy’s hypothesis: The Tatami Galaxy reflects the four-and-a-half tatami mat”

  1. Vendredi Says:

    Excellent thoughts here, and I think you’re really on to something – when I discovered the translation mismatch it got me thinking too. I covered the English/Japanese title mismatch in my primer post on the series (http://fungafufu.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/the-tatami-galaxy-0-a-primer-post/)

    I chose instead in that post to focus more on the “mythological” aspect rather than the four-and-a-half arrangement… but it’s notable there is no “set format” for the arrangement of the four and one-half tatamis in a room, but they may be scrambled as desired to reflect personal taste or even superstition.

    However, I think the English title is rather ingeniously selected as well – the screencap you provide from Movie Circle Misogi provides a tatami arrangement that is similar in layout to a spiral galaxy – four “arms” swirling around a central core.

    I need to check the previous episodes again, but I wonder how the tatami mats are laid out in Watashi’s room in each episode? Is the layout similar, or does it change from episode to episode. Maybe worth a post on my end…

  2. matthew jahn siy Says:

    you call that an entry its sucks only gays like that color violet lol ;] only animes like this make the world stupider boy i will call the police and tell them where u live.i’m ganna spam you and cook you spam.you know i’m a good cook the truth is i’m jealous of your stupid net you gay but the truth is i like you.hehe

  3. Tatami Galaxy: Collected Musings « FungaFuFu Says:

    […] recently presented an interesting theory exploring different possibilities stemming from the title, and one telling frame from Movie Circle […]

  4. 2DT Says:

    The older Watashi crossing over… Hmm. I didn’t think about that before, but that’s VERY interesting!

    The “big” ideograph is just a marker of where they are and the time that things are taking place, I think. It’s the main event of the Daimonji Fire Festival in Kyoto.

    http://www.pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/en/info_required/traditional/kyoto_city/03/

  5. Michael Says:

    Yeah, people tell me that it’s a red herring. It’s nothing important to the story, which basically retains the interconnection of the first and fourth, second and third, and third and fourth.

    The closest episode to the sixth is the fourth: I’m not sure how to tie that in with the series, but we’ll see.

    Thanks!

  6. Tsundere Says:

    That thing on the mountain means “fire” (The pokemon move, Fire Blast, looks like it) and was lit for the festival. The festival would happen again if time was repeating, and that’s why it’s still there.

  7. Michael Says:

    No, it means big. Fire is written with a different ideogram, although it may be misconstrued as such. 🙂

  8. Yi Says:

    The four and a half inter connected tatami mats are very interesting. The relationships between the episodes are excellent finds, and even if they were not intentional, they’re fun to think about.

  9. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » Tatami Galaxy (Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei) – 07: the 2D complex sublimed Says:

    […] episode clearly references the second episode and this ties well with the hypothesis Quarkboy introduced and I expounded upon: if the fifth episode represents the central tatami, and the sixth episode is a rewind, notice how […]

  10. Michael Says:

    @Yi

    Thank you.

  11. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » Comparative and comprehensive interpretations of The Tatami Galaxy (Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei)’s timeline through the first nine episodes Says:

    […] more information one can glean from it. Take Quarkboy, for example. He was the one who proposed the four-and-a-half mat hypothesis, but in light of the recent episodes it seems apocryphal at at times incoherent with the flux of […]

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