‘Tis the season of excessive jargon: technobabble in three fall 2018 sci-fi anime

They don’t just “sound” complicated, pal…

One of my biggest annoyances with science fiction is exposition-dump technobabble: meandering, meaningless jargon that seems to enjoy itself for its difficult sounds rather than its actual utility in the story. Technobabble doesn’t have to be bad: the most iconic example I can think of off the top of my head comes from Back to the Future, which lightly satirizes big science words by introducing a nuclear-powered “flux capacitor” that requires “one point twenty-one gigawatts of electricity” to induce time travel. It’s funny when blabbered out by Back to the Future’s kooky, mad-scientist parody, (especially because the old man came up with the idea after knocking himself unconscious by falling off a toilet) but only so because so much science fiction uses so much use-less jargon unironically. (Please, use less!)

I don’t really have an argument this week. However, I did notice a few interesting comparisons in the use of exposition technobabble in the three three science fiction anime I’ve picked up this fall 2018 season (Sword Art Online: Alicization, Akanesasu Shoujo, and RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida). With nothing better to do during some office downtime, I thought I would scribble down some spare impressions.

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