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Anime with an agenda or message?
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41 / M / Oakland, CA
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Posted 12/9/13

iblessall wrote:

Felstalker made a good point in distinguishing between theme and message. windsaigo, I think there are lot of anime with positive themes, but the the thing about themes is that they allow expansion of interpretation. To dig out particular message is difficult, to pull out themes is not so much. I do agree that the question of which anime have positive message is a more valuable one. When the "does watching anime make you a better person" thread was going, the VAST majority of people gave straight up no's. So, for me, the question that follow is: Do people need explicit messages to take positive life movement into their personal experience, and are positive themes not penetrating enough to serve that purpose.

Agendas can be tough to put your finger on, but whether or not authors mean to, I think that most anime have some sort of agenda behind them.


Maybe I'm an old cynic, but I think the messaging in anime is overall negative.

One of the subtle ways that message is presented is in the characterization of the Protagonists.

For instance, I'm gonna take one of the big ones and look at Bleach. Ichiro to me represents some negative messages, becasue he's a) essentially a chosen one who was born with his inborn power, and b) His (the show's) solution is inevitably to unlock another level of his innate power become mighty enough to beat down whatever enemy gets in his way. The first position is antihumanist (if I wanted to be melodramatic, downright feudalistic), and the second point is giving some REALLY bad advice on how to deal with your life.

In direct comparison Kenichi has a mostly positive message. It still treats violence as a solution, which I don't like, but it's utterly humanist and presents an important lesson that what's important is effort and will, and that sometimes that means the will NOT to fight.... and all his work isn't unlocking some hidden potential, it's overcoming his weakness and showing that effort has value.

~~~

A similar, and more timely comparison would be SAO and Log Horizon (although I may grow unreliable on the altter, I'm kind of obsessed with it now).

Kirito, for as much as he Loves Asuna is always in the end exclusionary and elitist, and he's once again the chosen one, to the point that the main villain actually gives him special powers to make it CLEAR he's special and to make a dramatic final combat. The only thing you can do in that world is fight, and it's again the solution to all the problems... to be the greatest fighter there is. (note I'm leaving aside the message of the ending, that's a big issue that I could probably spend 3x the length of this post ranting about)

LH, in comparison takes the exact opposite tack. Shiroe is EXPLICITLY an extremely poor combatant, and his primary skills are intelligence, perception, and judgement. In the one time so far in the show where fighting is clearly the only option, superior planning and teamwork take the day, not the exceptional power of a Godlike hero. This presents some very positive values to the watchers, and has a very positive message. You don't beat your way out of an issue, you try to understand it and make the right decisions.

~~~

Then of course there's the whole romance issue, but that's a big one.
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Posted 12/9/13
Little Busters Refrain reminds us , YOLO/CHoLO end of story.
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Posted 12/9/13 , edited 12/9/13

windsagio wrote:

Then of course there's the whole romance issue, but that's a big one.


Indeed. I don't think there's a positive example of a protagonist handling romance for a long time. It's always gut feelings and impulse-driven with little regard toward the other character other than "do they make me feel good" and driven toward seeking out the next awkward moment that blurs the characters' boundaries. Which, to be honest, is a very dangerous understanding as far as stable relationships are concerned (and why a show like School Days which lets all of these go to their logical extremes has such a vile atmosphere and repulsive plot.)

And considering how many anime are harems now (even though they're rarely based on dating-themed visual novels anymore,) I don't even think I could find a positive message in the way they carry any of their relationships. It's self-indulgent and turns every character other than the protagonist into a source of perv shots, awkward moments, toss-aways, and a narcissist's fantasy.
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Posted 12/9/13 , edited 12/9/13
Just for the sake of another, more recent example:

The Balbadd arc of Magi is extremely political, as will be the current Magnostadt arc. The series tackles economic strife and inequality straight on, no beating around the bush. In particular, the Baldbadd arc has a very democratic message. It explicitly promotes a republic form of government and paints monarchies as tyrannical evils.
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Posted 12/10/13

windsagio wrote:
Kirito, for as much as he Loves Asuna is always in the end exclusionary and elitist, and he's once again the chosen one, to the point that the main villain actually gives him special powers to make it CLEAR he's special and to make a dramatic final combat. The only thing you can do in that world is fight, and it's again the solution to all the problems... to be the greatest fighter there is. (note I'm leaving aside the message of the ending, that's a big issue that I could probably spend 3x the length of this post ranting about)

Oh yes, the ending. See, I think that's important because the deus ex endings to both seem to point out that being the strongest isn't the way to win. But, as you said, that's a whole other thing.

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83 / F / Bite the pillow.
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Posted 12/10/13

Stilgar_87 wrote:


Hairbelly wrote:


Stilgar_87 wrote:

Angel Beats had a message.


What was the message?




Swell.
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