Kyoto Animation gains a great deal of its reputation by some creative direction from its in-house guy Tatsuya Ishihara (or wait was it Yamakan??) and their noted eye for fluidity, but often times it’s the little details that push an episode over the edge. Sometimes it’s just the way a shirt collar or skirt edge flaps in the breeze when no one else would bother animating that, but often it’s little easter eggs.
The two objects Riika’s holding are some of the more classic examples of OOPARTS, which, aside from being a terrible Pillows album, means “Out of Place Artifact.” The term was coined by the father of cryptozoology, Ivan T. Sanderson, and refers to something that doesn’t quite make sense in the chronology or geography of what is commonly accepted in the archaeological field. At times, they turn out to be disproven; other times they’re revealed to make perfect sense. These objects represent each side of that.
In Riika’s right hand is one of the Acámbaro Figurines, generally accepted to be a hoax. They are alleged sculptures of dinosaurs made by early humans and found in Acámbaro, in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. Of course, if they were real they would throw hundreds of years of accepted science out the window (much like the numerous bizarro Creation Museums found in the United States) and possibly prove the young-earth-creationists’ notions of a 3000-year-old planet. They were more likely made in the 1940s, coincidentally around the time they were found.
Our charming chuunibyou cherub holds in her left hand the Antikythera Mechanism, something that could probably more accurately be called a “former OOPART or “not really an OOPART at all.” Discovered in 1901, this ancient astronomical calculator was probably made in ancient Greece around 100 BC. It was used to calculate the position of the planets. For a while, it was thought to be so sophisticated that it threw knowledge of the Greeks’ technology of the time right off. It’s only been since the invention of X-Ray machines and CT scanners that scientists really even figured out how it worked. I’m sure there are still proponents of the Ancient Aliens theories that don’t believe humans could have created something so sophisticated so long ago. Yet there it is, predecessor to both clocks and solar maps. Interestingly enough, scientist-divers are about to revisit the shipwreck at Antikythera where the mechanism was discovered.
These two things couldn’t be more different, except in that they’re of interest to historians of the weird: one is almost definitely a fake from the 20th century that was created with aims of proving a nonscientific worldview, while the other is an ancient tool of the kind of science that even most modern religious folks can get behind.
So what appeals to the creators about that? Not sure — at most it could be mined for some of that “credence” lent by real-world truths, myths, and objects that Lovecraft was so fond of. And at the very least, there’s a fun little easter egg.