There had been lots of theories about facial expressions. Two of the most common ones are: first, it’s a universal language that’s already in us which reflects our inner feelings. And second, it’s a cultural notion that we acquired through influence.
So it was said that the facial expression is the immediate reflection of a person’s emotions. Say for instance, if we see somebody smiling, we can tell that it represents joy and a scowl represents anger. Likewise when watching anime, we end up smiling whenever we witness happy moments and we feel anxious when our favourite characters are in jeopardy.
Such convincing atmosphere and emotions combined with intensified tones make the viewing experience so emerging, and this is one of the many reasons why I enjoy watching Chihayafuru. The beautiful aesthetics and faces of the characters craft it’s so easy to have fun and engage with the characters and plot.
For instance, there’s something so true and heartwarming with Chiahaya’s adorable and playful expressions that never fail to make me smile. Despite having such a pretty face, I’m so fascinated by her clumsiness because it envelopes the innocence and determination of a child. More importantly, her pleasingly genki personality is so well-resonated by her sparkling eyes and beaming pulpy lips.
Kana managed so well to flare the true gracefulness and elegance of wearing a kimono regardless of her chubby and petite figure. Through her poised stares and modest smiles, she convinced everyone that beauty is not just all about the physicality but also through expressing and controlling her emotions on a high stake competition.
Moreover, who would have ever forgotten the cold smirk that conceals such seductive meanness and divulges an appallingly competitive Karuata match? Although Shinobu is cloaked by her Snowmaru shirt and obscured by her euphemisms, her pointy glares and flattened mouth can’t help but to unveil her fierceness yet stylish demeanours. In addition, I love how she could also be surprised by Chihaya—she looks like she’s going to snap anytime soon when Chihaya took two cards from her in a row.
And aside from that, the Taichi fanclub might highly agree with me if I say that he’s at the peak of his cuteness whenever he’s on his emo-mode. Most of the time, the way he jerkily masks his feelings for Chihaya makes him cool and sympathizing. But at the same time, he’s so endearing once he shuts his mouth and calmly closes his eyes each time he tries to sort things out and suppress his emotions.
Conversely, Arata’s tranquil expressions deliberately show his sensitive side. One of the best qualities that I love about him is his composure and focused because there’s always something so intimidating on how he steadily gazes on the cards as his eyebrows never show any slight curve and how his lips remained slightly pressed.
But having said all of these, it was also argued that a face is like a switch which carries only the expression but not the inherent meaning. To simplify, facial signals only happened to affect the trajectory of the social interaction.
I’m sure that some of us watch anime as stress relievers or amusement pills. Say for instance, we can end up watching some drama and have a sad face by the end of the show but it doesn’t mean that we’re truly devastated. As a matter fact, if a show could make us cry the happier we become and the more positive feedbacks we provide.
Nevertheless, whether facial expressions are our innate characteristics or are just happened to be some form of inherited cultural behaviours, we can say that these are medium that put soul into the non-verbal signals because they bring social activities into life. It’s truly amazing how the eyebrows, eyes, and mouth encode and decode the seemingly intricate thoughts into a simplified language.
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