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Theory of the Term Deculture, Culture, and Protoculture in the Macross


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So I believe the first time I've come across the word "Deculture" was during the first Human-Zentran war (The Original Macross series). The Zentraedi used the word "Deculture" generally for phrases like "Impossible", "Unthinkable", "Unimaginable" or "Unbelievable". The word also had a different meaning if prefixed with the word "Yakk" as in "Yakk Deculture" meaning "Deplorable", "Disgraceful", "Disgusting".

You'll find that later on in the Macross Universe, "Deculture" becomes a Zentradi slang word for the phrase "no way" (disbelief); for example, say I go to a concert and the band's final song is my favorite song, I might exclaim "Deculture!!!" meaning "No way!!!" which is an exclamation of awe and slight disbelief at such good fortune. The context is important.

An example reference to the slang version of this word is in the Nyan-Nyan song that Ranka sings in Macross Frontier. The Lyrics are

Ho chi, lai, lai

mei kyun,nyang.







Which would translate to (if you use the slang version of Deculture):

Good Eats, come, come,

Pretty Girls too!

meow meow (nyiang nyiang)

meow meow (nyiang nyiang)

Hello meow



No way!!! (or "Unbelievable!!!" if you want to be a little more formal)

The lyrics are a play on words and switch between Cantonese, "english" (romanjinized english), Japanese and Zentradi. This song supports the theory of the slang version of "Deculture"

This also explains what is meant when Sheryl Nome, in the series "Macross Frontier", asks the crowd if they are "Culturing". Since "Deculture" is usually disbelief, "Culturing" can be translated as "Believing" or "Having Faith". Thus it can be said that Sheryl is asking the crowd if they are "Believing" or "Having Faith" in the magic of the show or her "anything is possible" theme.

This also would explain the root word "Protoculture" as used in the Zetradi context. Proto-"foremost" or "earliest form of" and culture. The first race in the (Macross) universe and founders of the Zentradi race are literally the "Protoculture Masters" or "Masters of the earliest form of culture". It's likely that the Protoculture Masters (PCM) saw technology as a part of, and natural evolution of, culture. So assessing a races technology would be no different then assessing the entire culture of the race from a philosophical point of few. Hence why all PCM technology is refered to as Protoculture.

All of this is speculative but that is my theory, What do you guys think?

Edited by miragetetra
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I've always taken zentradi usage of the word 'culture' to be as a generic expletive, with typical use far removed from it's actual definition(which is as in english). 'Yak deculture' is simply a stronger form of the expletive.

'Shiznit' vs 'holy fragging shiznit', if you get my drift.

That it's turned from a negative expletive to a positive one is largely due to their adoption of human, ummm, culture.

In the old worldview, The Culture was kind of like the zentradi bogeyman. That thing that lurked in the shadows, around dark corners, waiting to take down the unwary zentradi and destroy their fleet from within.

Post-War zentradi have faced the bogeyman and found out he's kind of a cool dude, so they can't really use his name as a curse anymore.

Yes, this is a terribly strained analogy. I make no apologies for it.

Protoculture is, yes, first culture. And the word is the name of the race. There is no such thing as the protoculture masters.

The zentradi mistakenly believed humanity to be the protoculture early on, hence the term is sometimes misused to refer to humans.

The term miclone is similarly misused during the Space War era to refer to humans. The zentradi believed XL to be the natural size of humanoid life and that humans CHOSE to be made smaller through the same micloning process that shrank a zentradi down to human size.

Miclone wound up being used basically as a racial slur later, in part due to this early misunderstanding.

Also, welcome to the board.

Edited by JB0
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I think JB0 hit it on the head; the word was formerly used as a Zentradi language expletive, now used as a cultural phrase or meme. For my own website encyclopedia, I wrote a brief entry that details all the official information I know about the word "deculture (de culcha)" and my understanding of it. I'll post it below:

Deculture (de culcha)

  • A Zentradi/Meltrandi expletive statement often spoken to communicate the feeling of shock (typically in context of the Protoculture). Included within the books for the Macross: Do You Remember Love? limited edition remastered DVD set is a list of Zentraedi/Meltrandi words and the Japanese/English translations. "De culcha" is translated as "stupid thing" or "terrifying thing". By themselves, "de" means "no" or acts as a negative prefix, and "culcha" means "wonderful thing". The closest english approximation would be the phrase "What the hell" in response to experiencing something shocking or bizarre. The phrase has since been adopted by the human/zentradi culture for use in a positive context, often spoken as a meme in popular culture.

I hope that helps your analysis. And welcome to Macross World! :)

Edited by Mr March
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Actually, isn't it mentioned/implied in Macross Chronicle's Zentradi Worldguide sheet that Zentradi is a tonal language like Chinese?

"Deculture" could, then, have several separate, distinct meanings depending on the intonation.

EDIT: Yep, looks like... the sheet has a section devoted to intonation markings for Zentradi words, so with the negative prefix De- and karucha being roughly analogous to "wonderful", "magnificent", or "amazing", with one intonation it could be "outrageous!" or "unbelievable!", and with another it could be the more negative version seen in DYRL, etc. where it means "disgusting" or "unthinkable". "Protoculture" is just a near-miss coincidence between Zentradi and English, according to the glossary on the sheet. The Zentradi word literally just means "(the) old/ancient culture". "Yakk deculture" is simply a more emphatic and specific... making the meaning more like "such a disgusting thing" or "such an outrageous thing".

Edited by Seto Kaiba
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  • 3 weeks later...

To me, it just means the Zentradi coming to know what it's like to have men and women loving and loving together again.

The culture of females shopping, men impressing them with sports, Minmays pop songs, ect.

They had been separated for thousands of years or whatever and the shock of our culture gave us an advantage.

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