Hitting the Wall – anime/drama trope

I was going to write on Gender Issues, but it became too long….  so I’ll write a little bit about “Hitting the Wall” instead.  AKA:  벽치기, 벽쿵, etc…

Most of info and pictures are from Namu Wiki.  (They have a whole section on this.  Scroll halfway down for the one relating to boy/girl – as opposed to boy/wall relations).

 

I’m sure you’re fairly familiar with this meme/trope/cliche if you’ve been a fan of Asian dramas or Anime.  It’s quite old.

But when they re-enacted it in Boy In Luv, people seemed quite shocked…so I’m posting this, to show the origins of this trope.

From Boy In Luv: (or “moya-moya song” as my kindergarten daughter calls it)

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From Pinocchio (K-Drama from 2014)

wall pinocchio

From Autumn In My Heart (K-drama from 2000)

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From Kobato (anime by Clamp)

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Plus many others, especially from the world of Anime.

wall miscc

WTF….apparently a joke instruction manual from Japan on how to do this.

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  1.  standard hitting the wall
  2. wild hitting the wall
  3. romantic hitting the wall
  4. Cicada Block. 

Note that the girl is blushing in all of them, except the 4th one.  (indicating she finds this attractive).

Of course, you’re not supposed to walk up to a random female and do this.  This trope usually shows up when both parties are fairly sure they like each other, and have been circling around each other for a long time.

 

Not to be stereotypical, but  the common pattern I see in birth of relationships in Western culture (and I’m aware this does not apply to everyone..) is:

You’re friends –> go on 1 date and decide to have a relationship/keep dating –> kiss on 2nd date –> have sex on 3rd date. (there is no time for hitting the wall)

 

The way relationships usually start in Korean culture/K-dramas/etc is:

A has crush on B –> A gets tired of crushing–> B starts crushing on A as A is giving up–> They tease each other and pretend they have no feelings –>Sometimes does little skinships –> pretends it never happened –> tease each other some more –> waiting for the other person to confess love first –> somebody gets frustrated with all this waiting and hits the wall —> relationship moves on to the next stage of actual dating.

NOTE:  This is NOT punching the wall in violence, but more like firmly leaning on the wall, forcing eye contact.

Another parody from BTS, the Tension Escalator.

wall tension

 

Takuya Terada said in his apparance at Non-Summit (Korean Talk show) that there are actually restaurants in Japan that will let women experience this.  Good looking waiters will come up to female customers, and “hit the wall” around them…as part of the service.

 

I’ve known women in Western culture, who told me “I wish my husband will not just play video games when he gets home from work.  Why can’t he throw me against the wall and fuck me?”

So, this wish to be aggressively desired as a woman is not a thing that is isolated in the Asian culture either.   The reason it feels weird in Asian media, is partially because it happens between two people who may not be even dating yet. I think part of the reason is that it takes them sooooo long to start dating, in a lot of these anime/dramas (and often in real life in Korea).

Koreans have been known to be a bit less direct with their “yes” and “no.”  It’s like, you know you’re not going to buy clothes from a clothing store, but you say, “I’ll come back after I’ve looked around.”  This kind of indirect communication/trying to read what the other person means between the lines, happen in every aspect of life.

Very often, the girl knows that the boy likes her, the boy knows that the girl likes him, the friends are getting frustrated with their brooding, and …  that’s when the “hitting the wall” shows up as a trope.

Hitting the wall does require a lot of “reading between the lines” to see if it will work.  Unfortunately, there are some men who did not read between the lines correctly, and only end up getting slapped.  But such is the risk you take, if you try this, as women will find some things attractive, if it is coming from an attractive man they like, while finding it disgusting from other men.

 

Personally, I hope JungKook will someday master the Cicada Block.  It looks like he is halfway there.

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EDIT:   Nov. 2016.

The Boy in Luv MV also incorporates the concept of “event” in Korea.  This seems to be short for surprise event, commonly used as  romantic surprise event although not always romantic.

It is strangely a very common thing when they plan a surprise.  They initially plan the first half to be something that will heighten tension or stress.  Then they follow it up with something sweet/romantic.   Definitely, the heightened tension does make the sweetness of the ending magnified……..if it works out well.

A non-romantic example of this would be BTS Surprise Birthday Party for Jung Kook!  I think some people thought this was kinda extreme and mean, but this would be a very normal way that people plan special occasions in Korea.

When I was subbing WGM, there was a couple where the guy planned to take the girl to the baseball game…without telling her.  The bus trip to the game was annoying as hell but was supposed to be paid off by the enjoyment of the game.  This ended in epic failure as the game was cancelled due to weather (not to mention, you never know whether the girl would have enjoyed the game as much as the guy predicted).

This type of thing looks good in K-dramas and even in books and movies, but does not translate well to life.  As a woman who’s had a successfully good relationship for more than ten years, I advise you to NOT plan this type of thing in real life.

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4 thoughts on “Hitting the Wall – anime/drama trope

  1. Oh lol! As someone who is Chinese/Taiwanese and grew up with many Korean friends (and we all went through an Anime/Asian Drama obsession at some point) I never even realised Western fans may view something like this as weird/bad(?)
    (You explain ideas really well, thank you for writing this so my friend could finally understand that part XD!)

    1. (also the Cicada Block caused my to start laughing in the middle of lecture OTL… hopefully my prof thinks that I just find reading lines of code to debug to be extremely amusing.)

  2. Jungkook mastering the Cicada Block…That made me laugh so hard! I would pay good money to see that. Kookie is my bias.

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