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Kakimoji S.O.S. 9 – Kakimoji of Time

Enrico Croce Enrico Croce 19/04/2018 7 min read
What are Kakimoji for, Penmaru?   Erm…! To bring excitement to the scene? To convey atmosphere? To make it easy to understand the feelings and actions of the characters…? Am I right?!     That’s right, Penmaru! Though you have some great answers, Kakimoji has one more, very important role….expressing the passage of time! In today’s article, we will talk about the Kakimoji that emulate “TIME”!   1. Extension of time (From “Souten no Ken REGENESIS”)

Pita… (ピタ・・・) From PITARI, representing the moment where movement stops.

  There isn’t actually any “sound” in this scene. Here, the use of “Pita (ピタ)”  illustrates the instant where the protagonist, Kasumi Kenshiro, soundlessly strikes his enemy’s hidden channelling point. The use of Kakimoji here perfectly tells the reader what is happening, thereby adding gravitas to the man of Hokuto’s fatal gesture.  So what does the reader feel when they see this “moment in time” encapsulated by Kakimoji? Compared to the case without any Kakimoji, we get the impression that “time has stopped”! It can be also recognized as an “important moment”, giving prominence to this crucial scene. This is one of the biggest uses of Kakimoji: making it possible to manipulate time in static and immobile frames!   2. Express time with perceptual elements (from “CITY HUNTER”)


Kakimoji often used in manga to focus the reader’s attention on what protagonist  is staring at. It has the useful role of revealing to the reader, the various sensations characters experience that aren’t explicitly depicted in the panel. Much like in the real world, we perceive information on an almost subliminal level. Emotions, intentions and thoughts are as important to the storytelling process as epic fight scenes!  Here, we quickly move from a jovial Ryo’s to an intense shot of his eye with an accompanying “!”. Depicting the exclamation mark as a Kakimoji, the emotion displayed in the panel is one of alert expectation. Just like in the previous example, we are given the impression that “time has stopped”.   3. Actions that happen in a fraction of a second  

Suu (スウッ) A quiet action and/or sound

  Anybody who has watched a horror movie knows that tension builds with music, whenever a killer slowly stalks a victim. It’s no different in manga! But on the printed page, this sense of expectant dread is created with a combination if pictures and Kakimoji!  By adding the Kakimoji “Suu (スウッ)” to a scene, the reader starts to feel this building up tension as the predator approaches the prey. This also changes the scene from instantaneous to temporal. For instance, what if, in place of “Suu” we added “Pita…”? This would change the whole scene! The reader would get the impression that the predator had stopped, rather than moving around silently with malevolent intent.    4. Kakimoji that fits a specific scenes

 “PAA”(パァァ), “FWAA” (フワァァ) PAA: For bright light; FWAA: Represents the sound of floating wings in the air

  Kakimoji are here to “suggest” rather than explicitly “tell”. This is most important with specific situations, especially when choosing the font, size and style of the Kakimoji.  Depicted the “PAA”(パァァ)” and “FWAA” (フワァァ)  Kakimoji, in bold and stretched designs beautifully depicts a moment of otherworldly wonder. But how long does this last? A second? A minute? Or and hour? We will never know. Much like moments lasting a lifetime, we are using Kakimoji to depict an abstract moment in a world where everything is possible.      It’s astonishing what Kakimoji can do! I always ask myself how the characters featured in fighting manga can speak and have so many fights, when the moment in “actual time” lasts less than a minute. Now I know the answer: they entered in the world of Kakimoji!      Yes, Penmaru, and this is not all! You know where sound doesn’t exist can ONLY be expressed by using Kakimoji?  I revel more in the next article of Kakimoji S.O.S.!  CIAO!  
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Enrico Croce

Enrico Croce