Two children meet.

“That child is not me.”

“I am not that child.”

Conflict occurs when different individuals meet. Conflict is just another one of the wonderful ways people can interact. They’re all part of the same thing.

War is one form of conflict, but not all conflicts are wars. The boys in the village vying to give flowers to the same pretty girl are engaged in conflict.

Conflict is one sort of relationship people can have, but not all relationships people have are conflicts. There are friendly relationships and supportive relationships.

We have wars because it’s necessary for our development. It sounds contradictory, but I think that it’s true.

This is an excerpt, minimally paraphrased, from episode 6 of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. 


For all the readers out there who are foreign to Anime, this is an example of the kind of depth that Animes are capable of. As I’ve said in the previous post, In Praise of Anime and Video Games, Anime can be a testing ground for ideas to be thought-experimented.

After all, Anime is a form of art, one that serves the dual purpose of entertainment / appreciation and reinforcment of ideas in the minds of its audience. I am convinced, through exposure to multiple animes, that many creators of Anime are not normal people. They are, to a surprising extent, rather sophisticated and well-read.

Let’s take the quote from the beginning of this blog post as a case-in-point. The quote consists of multiple assertations, but all of them are parts of a philosophical package owned by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – seriously, what a name to have, have you tried pronouncing this in the best German accent that you can muster up?

Hegel saw conflict as a necessary driver of progress, an assertion echoed by the creator of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. He explained this through the system of the Dialectic where the Thesis will clash with the Anti-Thesis in a conflict to result in a Synthesis. This synthesis is the product of progress. Hegel’s ideas, of course, are much more complex than what I just said but I shall not bore you with my explanations. If you are interested in Hegel’s ideas, you can watch this video instead.

Incidentally, it is not only Maoyuu Maou Yuusha that echoes this conflict theory. Ghost in the Shell praises Hegel’s Dialectic and encourages us to embrace transhumanism as a result; Attack on Titan features a society designed by Nazi philosopher, Carl Schmitt, who based his assumption of human conflict on Hegel’s conflict theory. If all these sound like alien language to you, don’t worry, I didn’t get it the first time either. You can watch the analyses of these animes from the links featured respectively if you are interested in unpacking what I just said.

On top of philosophy, Anime creators are generally also well-read in fields like economics, politics, history and probably other fields that I’m unaware of. Let’s take Maoyuu Maou Yuusha as a case-in-point once again for the next 2 paragraphs.

In episode 10 & 11, we see the merchant alliance’s aggressive purchase of wheat to inflate its price drastically in the Central Kingdom. This will result in many consumers buying imported wheats from the Southern Kingdoms – which is cheaper. Doing so, however, would inflate the price of wheat in the Southern Kingdoms, causing nation-wide starvation. Thus, one of the Kings in the Southern Kingdoms imposed an export tariff to prevent his country’s wheats from being sold in foreign market cheaply. That’s macroeconomics at play here. There are several other demonstrations of economics in this anime, and I would go into it if this isn’t already becoming an economics lecture. If you are interested, check out the anime.

In episode 1, the Demon King revealed to the hero the political necessity in keeping the war between humans and demons going. One of the reasons would be that war has kept the Southern Kingdoms from famine as the Central Kingdom provides it food supply in exchange for security against the demons. Similarly, the field of politics and its role in our human history are consistently explored in the series.

Politics, economics, philosophy, etc… My point is, several creators of anime are pretty dope intellectually and I just want to put this out there, because I think there is a stereotype that Anime are just cartoons with immature content.

So what do you think about the content of anime? Are they, in general, intellectual or sophisticated? What other kinds of intellectual content do you think I’ve missed out? Comment down below and let’s have a dialectical discussion about it in the name of progress 🙂

Signing off,

Jackson


Image credit: http://www.shoshosein.com/index.php?phppage=fiche&id=3926

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4 thoughts on “On the Sophistication of Anime Content

  1. I really loved Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, though it would have been great if the overall narrative had been finished. Still, I love how even though it is set in a fantasy world with a war between humans and demons, it brings in so many very real world issues and addresses them in a sensible and logical fashion. Mostly this is because of the central characters being perfectly reasonable and happy to discuss things.
    There is such a wide range of stories told in anime and soem of them have some really complex themes and real world concepts in them. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but it is always fascinating to see the attempt at making a story be a bit more than just a story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, the last 2 episodes felt pretty rushed and the ending teased a season 2. Hopefully there are plans for season 2 to be made and aired because I cant get enough of it.

      Now that you’ve mentioned how the whole anime was able to keep its narrative going because of the rational and open-mindedness of the main characters, it also made me realize that it is precisely because of these characteristics that made them pretty unrealistic. I mean, look at episode 1 when the Maou convinced Yuusha to join her cause. He was ready to listen and be convinced although he was fed lies about the demons his entire life. I would expect any real life person to at least take a couple of days to recover from that reality-shattering conversation that he had with Maou, even if he is the Hero. But then, the anime doesn’t have the luxury to pace character developments in a 12-episode anime so I guess it is understandable.

      I also agree that it is fascinating how real-life connections are drawn from animes from time to time. I think that Anime is a pretty conducive medium for these ideas to be tested in a hypothetical situation. Anime comes from drawings and so it gives ideas much space to move around without much physical and financial limitations compared to real-life shows. This is what makes anime such a complete form of art in terms of serving its rightful purpose of not just entertainment and appreciation, but also to make ideas stick in the mind of the audience. This is why I’m so magnetized by it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, the hero just kind of accepting that the Maou wasn’t evil was fairly abrupt as were a lot of the character moments, but as you said they only had the 12 episodes and they had a lot of story to get through.

        Like

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