What is it about?

In Volume 4 of Kiyohiko Azuma’s Azumanga Daioh we found an -- even for manga -- unusual visual cue that one of the six heroines was emotionally affected: she was (usually for the duration of a panel) depicted without hands, her arms ending in stumps. We examined all occurrences of hand-loss in this volume, and decided this temporary hand-loss had to be interpreted in one of the following three ways: a character lost control (1) over her body (eg when tripping over); (2) over her emotions (specifically: being angry); (3) over everyday reality (eg by day-dreaming).

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Why is it important?

The findings contribute to Conceptual Metaphor Theory's insight that humans THINK metaphorically. The paper shows how a recurring metaphor, LOSS OF CONTROL IS LOSS OF HANDS, is rendered in completely visually. We thereby explore how visuals (here: manga) can communicate metaphors in a medium-specific way.


Since the manga album has six heroines, and there are three reasons for "hand-loss," we were able to demonstrate how different frequencies and kinds of hand-loss helped the characterization of the six girls.

Dr Charles Forceville
Universiteit van Amsterdam

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Visual representation of emotion in manga: Loss of control is Loss of hands in Azumanga Daioh Volume 4, Language and Literature International Journal of Stylistics, May 2011, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0963947011402182.
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