Is that the Antikythera Mechanism in your hand, or are you just happy to see me?

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.

Fuck these (10) Comments.

  1. windyturnip says:

    Where do you learn this stuff? Seriously…

    • otou-san says:

      In my past as Dark Flame Master, it was my business to know this stuff.

      I don’t know? You pick shit up along the way, and I had an Ivan T. Sanderson phase.

  2. illogicalzen says:

    Recently watched episode 1 again and only just noticed the Antikythera Mechanism, coincidentally I had been watching a programme about the numerous theories and problems that deciphering what the mechanism was and how it worked created over the years. Always nice when these little things make their way into anime.

    • otou-san says:

      Yeah it’s kind of fascinating. Once the show made it into Rikka’s apartment in the next episode, I was hoping for some more details like that but I didn’t see anything that stood out quite as much.

  3. Brock Way says:

    The difference between the two is that one is a poor hoax, and the other is a GOOD hoax. They are still both hoaxes.

    Oh look, a unicorn! And it’s totally legit, really!

    • Metal says:

      Haha your comment is funny.

      But I agree with windyturni & kadian1364. Where do you learn this stuff??! haha

    • otou-san says:

      Where’s your basis for saying one’s a hoax? I’m curious, as it’s generally accepted that one is real. It’s also not something that’s unbelievable or improbable considering the technology of the time. Just wondering if you have something you’re getting that statement from or if you’re just being an Internet Commenter®.

  4. Jarten says:

    I personally know someone who documented a large number of the Acámbaro Figurines that have been collected. He says that the area they were found was littered with with different ones that depict real animals, people, astronomical ones, and the ones that you mentioned that look like dinosaurs. There are literally thousands of statuettes and they have been dated and proven to be real and not fraud. If they were fraud they would have gotten rid of them them and not put them under the protection of armed guards like they did.

    • otou-san says:

      well, generally accepted wisdom be damned, a guy who commented on my blog about Japanese cartoons knows a guy who totally says they’re real!