A recurring story element that I've noticed is the accessibility of certain evil/dark devices at midnight.

A few examples:

  1. In the third episode of Sailor Moon, girls listen to a midnight radio show that is hosted by the antagonists illegally. Girls that wrote into the show and are read on air receive a brooch which steals their energy.
  2. In Persona, there is a midnight channel which broadcasts the shadow of the person that is currently missing.
  3. In Jigoku Shoujo, there is a website that is only accessible at midnight, which will allow the user with a grudge to send someone to hell.

Why do all three of these anime use midnight as a time for evil? What is special about midnight that sets it apart from any other time?

  • 2
    Come on. Midnight is a time obviously privileged by the fact that it is, as the name suggests, in the middle of the night. If night is spooky and evil, then clearly midnight - the most nightish of all times - is the most spooky and evil.
    – senshin
    Jun 3 '16 at 0:01
  • 3
    its not really limited to japanese culture, either. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witching_hour
    – ton.yeung
    Jun 3 '16 at 1:05

This is an example of pathetic fallacy, more specifically an empathic environment. i.e. giving an environment a percieved emotion. It is a common literary technique.

Some other examples include:

  • Rainy scenes when a character dies / delves into depression.
  • A calm breeze after turmoil has subsided.
  • A big storm buffets the castle walls as the evil king rages
  • The sun appears from the clouds as the characters see a new path to follow after being downtrodden
  • It snows and the land is harsh when a man is exiled from the city.

In this case, midnight - is commonly associated with spookiness, feelings of unease and the supernatural.

It also conjures images of darkness, which is commonly associated with evil - where light is usually a good force.

  • 4
    I would be really interested to know if this association came from Western influence or if it existed in pre-contact Japanese literature.
    – Torisuda
    Jun 3 '16 at 1:04
  • 1
    @Evilloli I don't know for sure, but I believe a lot of Japanese poetry like Haikus feature the seasons/setting almost as a character Jun 4 '16 at 8:52

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