Worldbuilding: Kabaneri and Glasses

My plotbunnies insist that character design matters.

I’ve read comments on Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress to the tune of “Ikoma, get your glasses fixed already.” The thing is, if you look at some screencaps, we see Ikoma’s glasses have two intact lenses. One’s just clear, while one is green.

Which actually tweaked something in memory, so I went poking.

So. I have 3 possible reasons Ikoma might have that pair of glasses. Thought I’d toss them for feedback. 🙂
1) Color-blindness. Wearing one colored lens, while it won’t allow you to see the colors you’re blind to, will help you distinguish them better. This would be very important to an engineer.
2) Dyslexia. One (or two different) colored lenses helps some dyslexics read, apparently by toning down a brain-eye movement mismatch.
3) Looking at stereoscopic pics.
His glasses wouldn’t be the best for that, given that works better with two contrasting-colored lenses, but it would work.
I have to admit, given we see him looking at a very detailed depiction of a Kabane heart, and the fact that he’s a steamsmith,  the last seems most likely. Though it doesn’t explain why he’s wearing them almost all the time… unless he really does need glasses for another reason.

33 thoughts on “Worldbuilding: Kabaneri and Glasses

  1. Plausible . . . . through, as pointed out, that doesn’t explain why he’s wearing them all the time – because some of those applications should like it would give one a headache to wear glasses like that all the time – especially since it’s only eye that’s getting the colored lens and whatever it does.

    At least it’s a better explanation than “because it looked cool.” Or something like that. Which is often the case with characters wearing glasses. The creators add it for aesthetic reasons and don’t think / know about wearing glasses entails / means / etc for the character. Said creators tend to treat said character’s glasses like a prop or fashion accessory rather than a piece of necessary adaptive equipment, one that isn’t cheap. Which results in the character not taking care to their glasses (like being careful about removing them and setting them down so they don’t get broken), etc, etc.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. If he has an odd medical condition, one eye might be more light sensitive than the other. Or only being able to afford one pair of glasses, and one lens for indoors, and one for outdoors.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Actually, if he’s got an injured eye, one could be far more light sensitive then the other as well. Or in general, light sensitivity is a pain in the butt, but both eyes tend to be covered if that’s the case. Plus, eye injuries can do odd things to sight.

    Including color blindness in one eye and not the other.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I spent today learning about how terrible people can be and how my bit of the world is overdue for a large earthquake and tsunami. Reading this has made a very disturbing day a bit brighter. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oof. Well, in the long run almost everywhere’s overdue for an earthquake. Take a deep breath, know your evacuation routes, and have a portable pet carrier you can grab in an emergency.

      That’s one of the really nice things about Kabaneri – there are definitely terrible people, but the main characters are good people, trying their best to keep everyone alive. It is survival horror/zpoc steampunk, though, so you might not want that much gore ATM…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Some places are worse for earthquakes than others. In California they’re pretty much ready all the time. In the Pacific Northwest… let’s just say I hope I’m not here when the big one hits. It may be here tomorrow, it may not be here for a century… which means that the local government is more interested in putting in new bike paths with the state infrastructure money and the local people are more interested in getting all the potholes from an unusually cold winter fixed that doing that. Adding new taxes to get the billions of dollars (or more) needed to make the earthquake more survivable is not desired by most of the local government or people.

        Think it won’t be all that big? Let me put it this way. The Cascadia subduction zone that will cause the earthquake is just off the Oregon/Washington coast. Japan has already prepared for it.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Hopefully, we’ll have a bit of time, remember that “overdue” in geological time can run to thousands of years!

      And yeah, I’m right here in the earthquake zone with you(we actually had a really bad one in the 90s, killed a couple of people and just destroyed buildings), though I do think that we need to teach more people earthquake/tsunami survival. I’m a bit more worried about the two volcanoes by my town, one is fine, occasionally erupting just enough to release pressure. The other one…well, at least the monitoring means we should get a week or so to evacuate. I may be a little less worried about earthquakes then I should be, given I can “hear” them coming. Not much warning, but that minute counts. But at least it’s not tornadoes!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Heh, I’m on the New Madrid fault line. We took a class trip to visit Reelfoot Lake.

        The “fun” thing about the New Madrid line is it was, historically, pretty reliable and frequent. Except the last time it quaked, it was past due and a good chunck of the Mississippi River flowed BACKWARDS to make Reelfoot Lake.

        It’s overdue again, and we learn about it in school, but earthquakes aren’t covered in local insurance and the vast majority of buildings built here aren’t built to be earthquake proof. So…. this will be a complete disaster when it happens.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve only watched enough of Kabaneri to figure out I think it’s stupidly annoying (or annoyingly stupid) so no idea if any of these ideas fit with what’s shown, but I think in general they make sense and the reason why the character would be wearing glasses all the time is simple – he needs to wear glasses to correct his vision, the reason for the colored lens is one of the reasons you came up with, and like many people with glasses doesn’t want the hassle of having to deal with multiple pairs of glasses for different occasions.

    A couple of other explanations:
    1)Color changing glasses will often appear to have one tinted lens either because the sun was off to one side and the lens on that side became a lot darker than the other, or because the lenses aren’t matched. This was in fact my first thought because I owned glasses like these for several years – one lens broke and I had it replaced, but I didn’t see the point of spending more money to replace the other lens just so the colors will match when they darken.
    2)If his work required constantly going between bright sunlight and a not well lit shop/shed/etc having one darkened lens would help reduce the time he spent practically blind each time he went through the door.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I actually like it a lot – it fits that same slot in my head as Parasyte and Resident Evil movies. Survival horror with good guys, not a ton of plot but the point is surviving so that’s not as important.

      After tossing it with a fellow fan, I’m actually thinking head injury making Ikoma’s right eye light-sensitive could be the most likely culprit. His bangs are also on that side – and we never learn quite how he got out of his home station alive. But it’s canon he was fairly close to an explosion (not spoilering it for people here), and he could have easily knocked himself out. Meaning it’s possible the Kabane missed him since he wasn’t running and screaming.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Chapters, or episodes? I’ve only seen the subbed anime.

        And frankly, for a nation of people who’ve managed to survive 20 years of zpoc, I found the behavior very plausible. Note the people who’ve grown up with the reality of Kabane are handling things – sometimes brutally, but handling them. Older people like Ayame’s father? Some of them, I think, just crack.


  6. I haven’t seen the series, but any of these reasons sound plausible. Pick whichever you prefer, really, though I favor the eye injury reason just for the plot possibilities.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Glasses are important if you really need them. I’ve known people who can take theirs off and put them back on depending on what they’re doing, but I’ve never understood that. I can’t even find the bedroom door or the toilet without mine.

    That being said, headaches are a thing. A big thing. Every time my prescription gets a little overdue or changes, there are the headaches. If my glasses need to be replaced, I tend to develop a constant, mid level, diffused pain that follows me everywhere. If I’ve just gotten new glasses, then I am prey to about a month of adjustment, when focusing too hard, turning my head too fast or blinking while I walk can trigger an instant migraine. Taking my glasses off has been a suggestion, “to relax my eyes,” but that doesn’t help at all. The difference between my natural sight and my adjusted sight – as in the difference between “if I squint a little, that might be a slightly darker square” and “Wow, the Mona Lisa really does have a snarky little smile” – is large enough that it doubles the adjustment range.

    I actually have two pair of glasses, one regular pair and one actual pair of sunglasses. They have the same prescription and everything, but my eyes are sensitive to glare. The important thing that I’ve noticed about tinted lenses in the meantime (because who hasn’t put cheap sunglasses on over their prescription glasses before) is that prescription sunglasses are completely different from regular sunglasses.

    The tinted lenses that I’ve seen and often wished were good enough for my eyes are just what they look like, an actual colored glass or plastic that filters light and makes everything darker. My prescription Ray Bans, on the other hand, look like everyone else’s dark lenses, but don’t actually make anything darker. Whatever coating or pigment they put in the prescription lenses doesn’t change the actual level of light, definition or range of colors that I’m looking at, it just peels all the glare out. In fact, they change what I’m looking at so little that I forget that I’m wearing sunglasses indoors because everything looks just fine until I’m trying to see an electronic screen. I doubt I would notice if I were wearing different lenses unless I were looking at a computer screen or suddenly surrounded by a lot of glare.

    It seems unlikely that it could be caused by a surface injury, though. The flaw that causes a need for glasses is usually in the actual shape of the eyeball, with it being either too long or too short for the lenses to focus the images properly. Surface injuries would be more likely to damage the lenses themselves, which would more likely result in partial or full blindness that at the very least requires surgery to fix.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not sure if Ikoma is one of the Kabenari, but if he is, it is a weird medical condition. They wear something around their neck that somehow prevents an illness from traveling from their body to their head. That seems ripe for all sorts of potential for minor brain damage, which might screw up the operation of one or both eyes.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. There are plenty of cases with a head injury causing damage to eyesight. That’s why there’s a standard check on pupils after anything impacts the head hard. Just because the lense is in perfect working order, doesn’t mean it can send that information to the brain perfectly.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Eh, I have vision as bad as yours(or maybe worse, it’s always hard to tell once you hit that point), and it’s a result of pure nerve damage(from scarlet fever, yes, it still exists). Including the increased glare from light, though at least it makes for excellent night vision. And I did know someone with a head injury that had vision issues from it(mostly halos, from what I recall.) I never bothered with sunglasses myself, though I’m thinking about buying some of the newer colored covers that are different colors to go over my main lenses for this summer, I’m having to do a lot more driving.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. A blow to the head does sound like the most likely cause, if he didn’t have them in his early years. Either creating or worsening an injury…

    I wear glasses to see distance, and I need them when driving (because having to stand within four feet of a roadsign is impossible when in a car) but it hurts to wear them too long or leave them off too long. I know my elder brother was colored-blind and had gotten a corrective rose-pair (my mom says he was red-blue colored-blind) to work at his factory job. He lost them, eventually, even though they were all sorts of expensive, but he only needed them for the one job. And I know some people with an injured/missing/blind eye will sometimes wear a dark-tint lens on the one side to telegraph to people that it’s a blind spot.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if your guy was any number of these, or a combination of them…

    I don’t know this fandom. Looks like you’re going to get me into another.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This is not a bad thing! I love finding new fandoms because awesome writers said “Hey, this is interesting.” :3 Don’t feel bad about it. I have yet to find a bad one that I’ve followed you into.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. So, when I was watching Kabaneri it was quite late. I know in the very last episode, he was blind in one eye. The cinematography was pretty clear about his reduced feild of vison.

    But… when? I spent half my time going “is it his glasses or is he blind in that eye? He’s blind. Totally blind. They’re doing the hair thing and not showing his eye. Blind! Wait. That was an eye close-up and he is seeing. So… glasses. But… wait.. ????”

    Also, is no one ever going to comment on how he gets progressively more greenish? Why do I hope that’s important later? Because I really do hope that’s purposeful and important.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the reduced field of vision was mostly effects of burning through life force. Otherwise he seems to have clear vision, glasses or not.

      As for the greenish… heh. Depends a bit on how hungry he is. I’m voting for usually very pale.

      …Or people could just insert geek jokes, he is a bit of one when not fighting. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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