The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

The Meaning of “Speculah” in Sora no Woto

“Time destroys the speculation of men, but it confirms nature.” —Marcus Tullius Cicero

Sora no Woto is an anime production from the Anime no Chikara initiative, which sought to produce unique, novel anime that had no source manga. The project only led to three anime being produced before being scrapped, and in particular, Sora no Woto was one anime that was crafted with such an attention to detail that speculation surrounding the anime continued even after the anime had finished airing. In fact, so prevalent is the speculation that Sora no Woto fans propagated a new meme, “speculah”, to refer to all of the different speculations about the series. The term “speculah” is probably more widely used with Puella Magi Madoka Magica, referring to speculation originating from the fans. However, it has its origins in Sora no Woto, and while the exact nature of the propagation from Sora no Woto to Puella Magi Madoka Magica is not clear, my conjecture is that English-speaking Sora no Woto fans imported its usage to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and because the latter is more well-known compared to Sora no Woto, its usage has since remain associated with it. With that in mind, the term “speculah” nonetheless remains irking to read, and so, my curiosity led me to track down the origins of this term. Naturally, there is no single source that provides a satisfactory definition. While Sora no Woto is clearly not K-On! in a military setting, the superficial character resemblance between the two series, specifically, the fact that both protagonists have a signature instrument (Yui Hirasawa’s guitar and Kanata Sorami’s trumpet) led a small number of fans to term Kanata’s trumpet “trumpetah” in an ill-mannered attempt to recall Yui’s Guitah. Phonetically, “Guitah” makes sense and is appropriate for K-On!, whereas “trumpetah” merely sounds absurd. These fans subsequently began appending the suffix “-ah” to everything they used, resulting in the portmanteau “Speculah”, composed of “Speculation” and “Gitah”. This is not an unreasonable estimate of how the term came about.

  • For nearly four years, the original posters at the Sora no Woto wikia have gone unchallenged, uncontested. The time is prime to change that.

Just how prevalent is the term “speculah”? The answer may be quite surprising; the truth is that it’s actually quite infrequent with respect to usage. Aside from the Sora no Woto Wikia, where members have compiled detailed but crude posters of their speculations, the term is virtually unheard of elsewhere. This observation suggests that the user base at the Sora no Woto Wikia was likely a group of individuals who have real-world, or at the minimum, steady online communications and were thus able to coordinate the creation of their posters. While their intentions remain pure guesswork at this stage, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Sora no Woto Wikia’s community was intending to encourage the notion that their interpretation of the series was the only correct one and promoted their ideas to gain respect in the anime community, even going so far as to try and turn “Speculah” into a meme. To this end, they have created special “Speculah” charts to remind viewers that their efforts and organisations imply that their views are necessarily true. The charts, however detailed they were, are crude, inconsistent and unprofessional, making them very difficult to read. This formed the rationale for my project: to completely revise all of the charts into a clean, informative and readable form. I have done away with the original charts’ inconsistent information, unintuitive formatting and incompetent grammar, providing a series of new charts that are structured and formatted for ease-of-reading. The charts can be found below, and naturally, can be expanded for viewing at their full resolutions.

The project has taken roughly 25 hours over a month-and-a-half period, and the effort that went into the project’s undertaking is obvious in the new posters. Every single issue and problem with the original posters have been addressed and rectified here. There is no more Comic Sans font, poor grammar or unprofessional comments. In addition, irrelevant asides and forced memes have been completely removed: the new charts are concise, focused and professional. The original chart’s creators included personal opinions in their charts, passing them off as fact: those have likewise been displaced. Aside from being wrong, it’s also not relevant to what the reader was looking for. With polish, a clean design and readable passages, these posters are intended to serve as the new reference for Sora no Woto that fans and readers alike deserve.

6 responses to “The Meaning of “Speculah” in Sora no Woto

  1. FromThereToHere February 22, 2014 at 14:59

    I have a completely different take on WHERE Sora No Woto is set. The way I see their back history is that during or towards the end of the world war (and I STILL haven’t decided if the winged demons were alien, or were genetically created for use in the war, although I’m leaning towards the latter), the Japanese Self Defense Force came in huge numbers as allies to Switzerland, one of the less devastated areas of the world at that point, Larger numbers of soldiers and civilians survived there, intermarried, and thus created the hybrid European-Japanese/Asian civilization we see in Sora No Woto. Because the Japanese are so Japan-centric, and due to loss of knowledge of the past, the descendants came to believe that what was left of their “world” is more or less a map of Japan superimposed on the current area of Switzerland, as shown in the last episode. I don’t think they are PHYSICALLY IN Japan. I just think they’ve sort of forgotten they no longer are.

    Conversely – as part of the background story – soldiers of Middle Eastern & Indian (East Indian) nations came to southeastern Europe (what would now be southern Italy or possibly Turkey or at least the Mediterranean basin) to aid in the last stand there. There the remnants remained, and formed the Roman civilization.

    But that’s my interpretation, by me.

    Like

    • infinitezenith February 22, 2014 at 15:02

      And so it is🙂 Personally, that’s where the fun of Sora no Woto comes in: it allows people to enjoy the series in the manner most fitting for them.

      Like

      • FromThereToHere February 22, 2014 at 15:38

        Exactly. And that’s why I still think about SnW quite often – a deceptively moe-appearing story, but…not. (BTW, I came to it as a life long sci-fi fan, especially of PA (Post Apocalyptic)…and by virtue of being a big fan of YKK – Yokohama Kaideshi Kikou).

        Like

    • FromThereToHere February 22, 2014 at 15:09

      oops, and I left out – I’m thinking a large group of German refugees or armed forces also wound up in what became the “Roman” Empire, accounting for the German every day language.

      Like

  2. ChartGuy January 5, 2016 at 13:37

    Ha! So it was you who created the new charts! My God, where were you back in January of 2010? I could have used your talents. The charts originate from /a/ on 4chan. After the first couple of episodes of SnW aired, the threads were rife with speculation and cluttered with all manner of images pointing out things people have noticed about the show’s setting. So I grabbed a bunch of them, put my nonexistent image editing skills to use and cobbled together the first chart. They definitely are crude and unprofessional, everybody wanted to add their image/text file/2 cents. Then again it was a spur of the moment thing and I don’t think people cared much about professionalism. After creating 3 of the charts [or was it 2?] I decided that my job is done and I left them in the hands of whoever wanted to continue making them. The rest is history.

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    • infinitezenith January 5, 2016 at 16:35

      As it turns out, I do happen to be the individual who’d gone ahead and created all of the new Sora no Woto charts, and a glance shows that the new charts would have been created about three years after the fact. Before we go anywhere else, I apologise about the post’s tone: my main complaints were leveled at the later charts from episode seven onward, where some (non-trivial) errors about the anime’s theme were made by whomever crafted the new charts, which led individuals at TV Tropes into thinking that the anime was about anything other than music. Since TV Tropes’ Sora no Woto fans were negatively impacting discussions of the anime elsewhere (particularly by one “Sluagh”), I decided to craft new charts: the original charts were intended for speculation and facts, was no place for any personal essays. I took the existing charts, my own background with Sora no Woto and set about creating new ones, with the aim of clarifying a few things about Sora no Woto, then linked them to TV Tropes. The end result was that my account was permanently banned for disrupting the status quo, with the new charts promptly removed (under old management, it was a bannable offense to disagree with other members of the site), but others found the charts and uploaded them to the Sora no Woto wiki, then went back to TV Tropes and managed to get the new charts to stay for good.

      Addressing your query about where I was when Sora no Woto first aired, at that point, I wasn’t watching anime on a regular basis, so I’d not even heard of Sora no Woto. It wasn’t until summer 2011 that I began watching more anime, and Sora no Woto was one of the titles I picked up. I’m also not a participant at /a/ and thus, did not know about the origin of these speculation charts until after I released the new ones. With that being said, that it was a collective effort is apparent given the breadth of the information seen in the charts. I wondered why the charts became increasingly disorganised as the finale neared, and you’ve answered that question. Looking back, it was definitely a fun project to embark on, and again, I remark that it was the content of the later charts, not your original charts, that shaped my remarks — I’ve never been a fan of image macro memes.

      Like

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