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Code Geass is Japanese Nationalism at its best
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Posted 6/2/13
Is 1984 British nationalism? It has basically the same three countries, the same oppressive nature of each, and the same "protagonist against the world" feeling. The protagonist and their rebellion (or mini-rebellion in Winston's case) could have taken place anywhere, and it would have been the same story. You could make the argument that 1984 makes Winston look admirable, and since Winston is a British person, the story makes British people look admirable. That wouldn't make sense because you're applying individual characteristics to things that aren't individuals. But more importantly in this context, it'd be wrong because there's nothing "uniquely British" about Winston's story. It could be the same anywhere. In Code Geass's case, I got the "Japan is rising against its oppressors" vibe, but I didn't get the "Japan is better than you vibe." In order to see whether or not Code Geass's story is trying to make Japan look good, we need to see whether the story has anything "uniquely Japanese." If the story could take place anywhere, then it probably isn't championing the fortitude of the Japanese, but rather the fortitude of people, which is what I think is happening. I can't argue that I'm right beyond doubt, but I do nonetheless have some reasons for thinking this:

1) The story is sympathetic to Lelouch, who is not Japanese. The story takes place in Japan, and it is the Japanese people rising up, but the story isn't about Japan's rise to glory (in fact, this never even occurs), it's about Lelouch's struggles as a person, leader, genius, asshole, brother, friend, etc. If he were Japanese, I might be willing to grant that it's possible that the show is trying to make a culture look great by making a member of the culture look great, but even then I'd still say that it's just the audience being dumb for thinking that. Regardless, even if any of my other reasons don't hold, this point seems very persuasive to me. This story is about a person, not a country, and the person is not even Japanese.

2) If the Nationalism is present in the fact that the nation is rebelling against its oppressors, then Code Geass is also Chinese nationalism, and European nationalism, and I think even maybe Middle Eastern or African Nationalism? (I just remember a scene in a desert, not that deserts are only in the Middle East and Africa) I could see the show being "anti-american" or "anti-british" but I don't yet see "pro-Japan" unless it's also pro-"everything-but-America-and-UK." Japan isn't the only country rising against its oppressors, and thus if there's any glorification of countries and peoples rising against its oppressors, its not just Japan.

3) The show sympathizes with many non-Japanese (after all, the entire school is Britannian)
Posted 6/2/13





Yes, I'm aware of what the Japanese did, you don't have to tell me. Most of them don't know that their whalers are killing the whales. It's not informed to their citizens.
But even so, you can't just go ahead and say something along the lines of, "Japan's the only one doing this, and my proof is this anime: Code Geass".

When you've just wrote it yourself that other countries such as USA and the UK are just as equally guilty.

You say it gets out in the end, what gets out exactly? Why are there still Americans and British think "ALL" Muslims are terrorists?


And basically that's my point when I said

Because it's financial suicide to make an anime/movie that paints Japan in a bad light.

Just like you don't see many Hollywood films depicting about the mistreatment of civilians by the US army in the middle east. Instead you get lots of movies about Killing Hitler/Nazi and whatnot. Those are guaranteed box office hits.



It's obviously not the USA doing this, but that's the PRIME and first example that came to my mind. And nowhere did I say "ONLY" the USA is responsible for this issue like you seem to suggest in your Original Post, that Japan's the only country doing this, and in your subsequent posts, Japan's the only country where the people are blinded by their government's propaganda.



That's exactly my problem - they're not informed whatsoever of the darker things of their country.

I never said Japan was the ONLY Nationalistic country. The topic DID however limit the conversation TO Japan and Code Geass (Nationalism) - not any other country. You just took it the wrong way, and felt the need to bring in other countries to justify.

You might not have said ONLY America, but it surely came across that way since you ONLY used them as the example. You seemed to suggest in your conversation that America alone is the only country like this. You had to steer the conversation away from Japan which is what it should have been limited to.

Like I said before, whenever it comes to something negative about Japan, people always seem to rush to its defense - but they won't do that for any other country.

What movies has Japan EVER made about what they did to other countries? Or how many they killed? Sure, Hollywood may love to make movies about killing Nazis and whatnot, but at least it is known generally about what is happening in the Middle East and the killing there. There are books, TV shoes, mini series, information in general about mistreatment and killings in America's past of various people. It might not always be played up, but it is not hidden like the way Japan hides/denies its past deeds. Maybe that's why other Asian countries keep track of Japanese textbooks to this day.

Big difference.
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23 / M / Ohio
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Posted 6/2/13 , edited 6/2/13
lots of things outside of anime do the same thing and i don't really care becasue code geass is the fuking shit


and now i kinda wanna read some japanese text books always hearing people say they alter whats happened in the past.
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Posted 6/2/13 , edited 6/2/13
This thread has made me realize that CR needs to re-add Code Geass to it's catalog so that I can know wtf is going on and get in on this without having to shell out monies for some dvds I might not like.

I used the search function and found Code Geass: Rebellion..blah blah whatever the rest was, I forgot. But there were no episodes.

Edit: Just checked Hulu, not there either. Also no on Netflix's stream....these are the only 3 places I'm really comfortable with. Sorry CG, guess I won't be watching you ever.
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27 / M / USA
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Posted 6/2/13 , edited 6/2/13

Shmojo wrote:

Edit: Just checked Hulu, not there either. Also no on Netflix's stream....these are the only 3 places I'm really comfortable with. Sorry CG, guess I won't be watching you ever.

I think we have to wait for someone else to pick up the license since Bandai more or less pulled out of the US last year.
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Posted 6/2/13
Most Japanese mediums put in little scenes that show some of their views on the west. America does it to the east as well. Not really a big deal. Plenty of Japanese citizens wouldn't agree with viewpoints on the west that others in Japan have. But most who watch anime aren't exactly politically inclined, except when they get on 2ch.

Code Geass is entertainment. Let them use their imagination to make a compelling story and add some of their views of the west. Then enjoy it. It shows you their perspective on things. I treat it as entertainment with a side of learning experience. Only the gullible will let entertainment influence their world view, and those people don't matter so I'm not concerned.
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49 / M / KC
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Posted 6/2/13
You know, there are plenty of other books and movies that put a similar twist on things. And no, people are not in an uproar over those. This is a storytelling choice, not a recommendation.
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24 / M / Des moines IA
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Posted 6/2/13
I am loving this debate! To bad I am to busy to respond constructively.
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25 / M / houston,tx
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Posted 6/2/13 , edited 6/2/13
this isn't where i parked my car
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22 / M
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Posted 6/2/13
Call of Duty: Most of Them
Russia.
Invades.
America.

But no, please continue to explain how "only Japan gets to do this".
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Posted 6/2/13 , edited 6/2/13
I think theYChromosome pretty much has it down - Code Geass isn't really about Japan.

I mean, look at the title: "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion"
It's about Lelouch and Geass.

Obviously, Britannia is made out to be the enemy, and they are in many cases pretty vile people (though there are still examples of Britannians that are good people). Well, the British make a great villain, as many American Revolution movies can attest.
Gotta love the accent and the tea and the uniforms and the old school sense of honor and fair play and pride.

Anyway, to suggest that Code Geass is propaganda, seems a bit off to me for various reasons:

1) Lelouch is himself Britannian
2) Before Lelouch appeared, the Japanese could do nothing
3) Whenever Lelouch is not around, the Japanese are unable to do anything
4) The only Japanese that accomplishes much without Lelouch being present has an absurdly advanced mech at his disposal - and is fighting the aforementioned incompetents

Ultimately, the Japanese in Code Geass are pawns. Lelouch even calls them such:
P-1, go get killed by that Gloucestor!
P-2, go play decoy!
P-3, go scout and report back on that pretty new white Kinightmare's capabilities!

I'm not being entirely fair though - if you're half-Britannian, you can advance to the rank of Q-1, Queen.
It's almost like being an Honorary Britannian! How cool is that?

Before anybody gets the idea I'm ragging on Code Geass, I'm really not, I enjoyed the show, even have the dvds, despite the bastards splitting the second season into 4 separate discs...

I will admit that I got the impression that to some degree the show may have been inspired by the occupation of Japan post-war - but with the USA being Japan's allies and tensions rising in Asia, the Brits were the next closest nation to play the role of occupier and villain.

Nonetheless, the above reasons cancel out any possibility that this is propaganda - if Lelouch were Japanese, or Suzaku more than just an excellent soldier (all he's good at is completing tasks he's ordered to - admittedly, he's damned good at it), maybe I'd feel differently.
Posted 6/2/13
I do admit that it is quite ironic that Japan is the victim in Code Geass and Britannia (spinoff of UK) is the bad guy, when we all know how it really all went down in WW2. But I think that the show is just about oppression and rebellion in a general sense and not necessarily trying to flat out say that "England is evil" or "Japan always save the day."

Also, if you think Code Geass is nationalistic, why aren't you complaining about Hetalia: Axis Powers, too? That show, if anything, literally takes a shit on history and makes fun of it whereas Code Geass just makes a fictional world of it's own and doesn't reference any real world history.
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Posted 6/2/13

magicuser360 wrote:

Code Geass is Japanese Nationalism at its best. Discuss.




So, what is your opinion?


EDIT - People seem to think I'm offended I AM NOT. Sure, some parts ARE annoying, but it does not OFFEND me, though it DID make me think this in MY opinion.


Yes and No?

The Britanians of Code Geas are a weird mix of British monarchy and nobility transplanted to the Americas under the aegis of 'Lord Britania' It's so absurd on the face of it (that and the vertical tanks, Knees are a design flaw folks. so much for 'intelligent design') that really if you're going to start bringing the real world into things you've lost from day one.

That said. I find the Code Geas take on cultural stereotypes to be... interesting. I found it fascinating how people in.. whatever number Europe is set to become all 'assume' that Japanese are Ninja/Samurai, (violent and good with blades). (reference to the OVA.)

I really don't find it subversively or overtly Jingoistic though... at least not anymore than some others.

I think the Britanian obsession with the purity of their blood and the... chattel nature of foreigners/Numbers. IS actually a reflection of the Japanese approach to imperialism. The Britanians COULD be viewed as a dark mirror of the less savoury aspects of Japanese culture itself. I'm not sure if that's what the author intended or if that message carried but...

Posted 6/2/13 , edited 6/2/13

magicuser360 wrote:


That's exactly my problem - they're not informed whatsoever of the darker things of their country.

I never said Japan was the ONLY Nationalistic country. The topic DID however limit the conversation TO Japan and Code Geass (Nationalism) - not any other country. You just took it the wrong way, and felt the need to bring in other countries to justify.




Excuse me, I never said you said "Japan was the only nationalistic country". The issue is you're making out Japan to be the only government who try to brainwash their population. EXPLAIN TO ME why you said this line:

If ANY other country had made this series, people would be SCREAMING this.


Does that not imply IN YOUR POST that Japan is the only one who puts out anime/shows/movies that paint other countries in a bad light?



That's why I used USA as an example (BECAUSE USA WAS MENTIONED IN YOUR ORIGINAL POST), does the USA hollywood film producers ever made a movie that paint its own country in a bad light?

Has there ever been a film about US soldiers raping little children in the Middle East? Or how their citizens raped their slaves in the past? And their children's slaves?

That was my point. And I'm stating the truth about the USA, unlike you who seems to be BIASED towards Japan and see no other countries doing the same thing.





You might not have said ONLY America, but it surely came across that way since you ONLY used them as the example. You seemed to suggest in your conversation that America alone is the only country like this. You had to steer the conversation away from Japan which is what it should have been limited to.

Like I said before, whenever it comes to something negative about Japan, people always seem to rush to its defense - but they won't do that for any other country.

What movies has Japan EVER made about what they did to other countries? Or how many they killed? Sure, Hollywood may love to make movies about killing Nazis and whatnot, but at least it is known generally about what is happening in the Middle East and the killing there. There are books, TV shoes, mini series, information in general about mistreatment and killings in America's past of various people. It might not always be played up, but it is not hidden like the way Japan hides/denies its past deeds. Maybe that's why other Asian countries keep track of Japanese textbooks to this day.

Big difference.


Don't try to accuse me of attacking/hating only on the USA just because I used USA as an example. Like I said before it's related to my point, I talked about Japan prior to talking about the USA. I NEVER defended Japan for its nationalistic views/anime/whatever. I realise they don't teach their high school students about them attempting to conquer China.

I'M NOT STUPID.

But if you go and look at China, do they teach their students about how they're exploiting South-East Asia right now? Or how, historically in the past, they've raped thousands of villages and ethnics near them? Have you ever wondered why there are more than one Chinese dialect?

Stop making it like Japan's the only country doing this. And stop denying you're trying to make this point, because the evidence is all there in every one of your posts.
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Posted 6/2/13

Teung wrote:

I do admit that it is quite ironic that Japan is the victim in Code Geass and Britannia (spinoff of UK) is the bad guy, when we all know how it really all went down in WW2. But I think that the show is just about oppression and rebellion in a general sense and not necessarily trying to flat out say that "England is evil" or "Japan always save the day."

Also, if you think Code Geass is nationalistic, why aren't you complaining about Hetalia: Axis Powers, too? That show, if anything, literally takes a shit on history and makes fun of it whereas Code Geass just makes a fictional world of it's own and doesn't reference any real world history.


The problem is you're only going back to World War II.

Japan was an isolated nation that didn't want anything to do with the rest of the world until the western empires of the day. (and Commodore Perry most notably but NOT uniquely) forced the issue with a classic example of 'Gunboat Diplomacy' (the term won't actually be coined until referencing some of Germany's actions of the coast of Africa under Kaiser Wilhelm in the lead up to World War I)

Japan's response was to try and out-west, the west. The echoes of imitating British Clothing styles,
German Education systems, and general western Empire industry and well imperialism, Linger today. Any period piece set in the Meji era, shows that quite clearly, with military/police uniforms taken from France by way of the US. High fashion from the salons of London and Paris. etc. The 'Von Trapp family' look of many school uniforms is NOT a coincidence.

Likewise If the west could have colonies. Such as the US owning the Phillipines and the Dutch owning a large chunk of the Indonesian islands. They thought it only fair that the Japanese should play with the big boys and acquire colonies in mainland China, Korea etc...

World War II happened in part from the Japanese perspective because the US was trying to cut off Japanese Oil Imports. Given that Japan is a crowded rock covered in factories with no natural resources of it's own. That action would hardly be viewed with delight.

The idea of out-westing the west continued after world war II where they tried to outdo western post war consumer culture. and largely succeeded. Until it proved non-sustainable.

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