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Smash no Wabi-Sabi

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is kind of quirky on the whole. You could probably even call it incoherent, incongruous, or inconsistent. The game wasn’t made like this by accident, though. Imperfection was part of the point. The development studio responsible for Smash, Bandai Namco, designed the game around a cultural concept which the Japanese call wabi-sabi.

The critic Leonard Koren describes this aspect of Japanese culture in Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets, and Philosophers as an appreciation for things which are “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.” This hits the nail right on the head. The term is tough to translate because of its complicated etymology, but wabi-sabi refers to the beauty of being a bit rough around the edges. You’ll often see it translated as “flawed beauty.” The idea is basically that something sublime exists within imperfection. The best example of wabi-sabi would have to be the style of pottery which has traditionally been used in the tea ceremony. …

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