Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blog Essay: The Significance of the Song Daisy Bell in the Manga Dengeki Daisy *spoiler free*



Disclaimer: I LOOOOOOVE the manga series Dengeki Daisy.

It remains my all time favorite, and honestly, it is going to be hard for anything to ever take its crown.  It's adorable, thought provoking, smart, funny, a little bit sexy, and extremely sweet.  I love stories that chronicle people unrelated by blood becoming a family.

 
And that's exactly what this is.

Now, along with all the nonsense that is Dengeki Daisy--seriously, when you read the synopsis of this series its hard not to prematurely judge it... 

~ How is all of that going to fit together in one story?  
~ Who thought this was a good idea for a manga?  
~ Why should I care if the janitor is a hacker?
~ When was the sixteen year old able to fall in love with the school janitor, and why hasn't he been fired yet???  
~ WHERE ARE HER PARENTS...

Yes--all of those thoughts went through my head.  Yet, this is a widely loved series.  Once you start reading, there is something that draws you in immediately, and convinces you to stay.  And what I think that thing is, is just how genuine these characters are.  How much they all care about each other underneath all the initial pretense.  And, ultimately, how this story is about much more than just Kurosaki and Teru.


A large component of the story of Dengeki Daisy is the fact that Kurosaki is secretly a high level computer hacker.  (As far as the hacking goes, you'll just have to use your imagination.  Don't go into this manga expecting to learn anything about code, or actual code breaking because this isn't that kind of story.)

But even beyond the hacking, the story as a whole is heavily rooted in technology, and the advancement of technology.  Ranging from the daily importance of one cell phone, to matters of encryption at the highest level of national security.


The fact that Kurosaki's hacker handle is in fact DAISY is a pretty big tip off that there is something significant behind the name.  However, the wonderful origin story which unfolds throughout the series might trick some readers into believing that that is all there is to it.  In fact, the reason behind why he chose the name Daisy gets down to the very core of the story: Because it's a song that is important to him.  But this particular song is even more worthy of its defining role due to its longstanding relationship with the advancement of technology.

I majorly geeked out over it.


"Daisy, Daisy 
Give me your answer, do. 
 I'm half crazy 
all for the love of you"

This song was written in the year 1892 by Harry Darce, and sometimes goes by the name "Bicycle Built For Two".  Its a cute little song that has withstood the test of time, and when you listen to it today--its maaaaaad creepy.  Really, it is.  Go try it out, you can find a phonograph recording of it from 1894 on Youtube.

But historically, the song Daisy Bell has had a longstanding relationship with technology.  A random fact that I came across back when I was in film studies.

Here's a timeline of events:

The Year is 1961:
Computer speech synthesis was just completed and to demonstrate the new advancement an IBM 704 at Bell Labs was programmed to 'sing' "Daisy Bell" 


The Year is 1968: 
Having witnessed the demonstration, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick include a scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the super computer, HAL 9000, who gains some form of sentience and begins killing members of the crew, sings "Daisy Bell" during its deactivation.


The Year is 1974:
The melody of Daisy Bell is used to demonstrate the advancement of "pure dichotic perception".  This apparently means that the melody was encoded in a stereophonic signal, that could be heard when listening with both ears, but not heard when listening with either ear alone.

The Year is 1985:
This one I previously had not known before doing the research for this blog post, but...

Christopher C. Capon created a Commodore 64 program named "Sing Song Serenade" which caused the floppy disk drive to move the read/write head in such a way that one would hear the melody of "Daisy Bell" coming directly from the hardware,

The Year is 1985-Present:
The song Daisy Bell is a popular pop-culture reference utilized in many hit TV shows and movies.

The Year is 2010:
The manga Dengeki Daisy is responsible for the upsurge in plays of Daisy Bell on Youtube in North America ^.^

And of course, if you ask Siri to sing you a song she will serenade you with...Beyonce?

 
JK!  You guessed it, Daisy Bell.

For more information, check out the links on the Wiki page for the song Daisy Bell:  
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisy_Bell