quinta-feira, 9 de janeiro de 2014

[Article] I´m convinced that most shonen anime is a bunch of propaganda - Case number 1 - Naruto.

Well, some of us men like our share of so called shounen anime when growing up, and some, even after reaching adulthood. I´m guilty of liking my share of it, especially when I´m trying to gulp down a delicious pizza, during the weekend, and I want to see flashy, fast stuff going on in front of me while at it. It´s a different kind of time - nothing too fancy or too deep, just turning off the brain and enjoying some good old fashioned 'good guys vs. bad guys in a epic showdown of swords, karate, magical powers and so on. Add also a flashy girl (pun intended) or two and that´s done. It´s pizza time, guys. 

But the thing is, most shonen anime, most of it, like 98% of them (statistics not entirely accurate here), are, with pardon of the expression, garbage. It´s not like I´m criticizing the artwork, the production work, and generally the level of commitment it takes to write down and produce a story, I´m not. That´s not the point here. I appreciate the effort. I really do. But it doesn´t take away the fact that the final product is, generally, just plain stupid; and hopefully you grow out of it when you mature, with exception, of, you know, what I´ll heretofore refer to as 'pizza time'. 

It is terrible that most people in the West only generally know the genre of anime called shounen, and that´s one of the reasons anime is generally regarded as another batch of "kid cartoons". Actually, that´s not entirely correct, but I´ll push through it anyway: that´s exactly because some shounen anime are just this and nothing else, i.e. kid cartoons.

And I´m very sorry if I have to attack a whole genre of animation (which incidentally, takes a lot of effort to be made, as I said before) that is regarded as being targeted to young individuals, but the identity crisis in the West, and I guess, the world over - coupled with another more two or three more issues - is very strong, and once thought mature, grown individuals still muse over some stuff found within those shows (the 98% of them) that should not be regarded with so much importance, and, in some cases, be completely disregard as lunacy mixed with bad faith included in them, as I will try to point out in the rest of this article. 

Shounen anime is stupid from the start (again, most of the time), so this should be clear right out of the bat. But the thing is, the ways it is stupid are not even funny anymore - if you are a conscious, sane and otherwise insightful individual. You don´t even have to go the route of those that hate all "those damn childish drawings". You can genuinely enjoy anime - and even some aspects of shonen animation - and still think that most of time, they are full of crap. 

Who is they, you might be asking? You know, generally, the protagonists. Which is a bummer, if you ask me. The hero is supposed to be courageous, strong and all, but he isn´t supposed to be a dimwit, annoying, loud mouth and yelling individual, right? The fact that the animation in itself is geared towards an younger audience, and young people tend to be dimwits, annoying, loud-mouth and generally noxious individuals, is the fact that links most of them, and makes them relatable to the audience (and vice-versa). But this should be, in most cases, about it - if you see a grown man that really "connects" with the main character from, say, Naruto, I think you may find this person to be a little bit annoying, in the least, and at most maybe a little bit "off". 

It´s like they are made to be disgusting, but are put in front of the show because they are supposed to be, quote, defiant of the status quo, courageous to follow orders and "their dreams", and to be symbols to the young child watching them of hardworking individuals, who in fact represents, in our world, an image of a good student (or a student that 'makes an effort'), a respectful individual (respectful of their parents, of society, etc), and generally, presents an optimistic (while all the same an escapist) view of their lives in the 'meatspace' at the same time, trying to teach them how to live better, all the while exorcizing away all other "bad influences" the kid might receive while growing up. Paradoxically, that´s what it is, in a nutshell.

But the thing is, while they try and cram up all the more "good" and "positive" influences for the young kid that is receiving them unknowingly, they eventually come up with a propaganda character, that, more often than not, just turns out to be a grotesque influence to the children - and also to those more "mature" (put as many quotes here as you would like) people that tend to believe everything that comes out of the mouth of protagonists in those shows. 

To me, it is beginning to take absurd, and even, dare I say it, dangerous levels of stupidity. Because the villains in these shows, are generally more interesting and knowledgeable than the protagonists. Scratch that. They are generally more noble than the protagonists themselves. Naruto´s main "villains" (until now, I´m talking about Obito and Madara) are the most confusing for me, because the title of "villain"is the only thing that´s not fitting with the overall feeling of sainthood and deep spirituality they let on. Take this, for example:

How can you look, in any light, to the words uttered by that man, and not see how profound they are? And to think he is the bad guy, in the story? What? You heard (rather, read) that right! The bad guy. So now bad guys are the profound philosophers and wise men, is that it? What is the message being passed on here, exactly?

We know that no kid is going to react sensibly to pearls of wisdom, so the fact that the kid´s character, in the video, is acting as a stubborn, obnoxious, stupid d*pshit, is at least understandable. Not that I agree with the message being sent, or that this is reinforced in kids through shows like this, but kids are stupid anyways. But the thing is - what actually is the point here? What the old man is informing to the kid, is pure wisdom. It´s what the sages of the world have all being saying since forever. Hell, even Buddhism - you know where there are a lot of buddhists? I´m guessing Japan is a good place to start looking - talks about that, it´s not like they don´t know what those words mean. As an amateur student of religion, I have a book that says almost the exact same words as the old man (called Madara, by the way) is saying, as being words uttered by Buddhas themselves. Buddhas as in, the Enlightened Ones, you know? Does that ring any bells? So, if having the same words from a book that deals about Buddha´s words, being uttered here, all the while being terribly received and regarded on by the stupid youth is not already offensive enough, the plot of the whole thing is that the "bad guy" is the one actually speaking such words??? I mean... what???

It´s like...

And the thought that there are, out there, grown people, grown men, who revere behaviors like those of the boy in the video, and the annoying smile of Naruto as being almost divine, spiritual and noble behaviors, is already enough to make me puke. 

Detractors could try and say this: 
"But there are a lot of dictators and bad people that had very good intentions from the start. They wanted to make the world a better place and well, everybody knows had that turned up. Maybe the whole idea behind Madara´s (the old man) words is that he is going to, I don´t know, kill everyone in a sadistic kind of way? Right? It could be, right? Right?"
Well, you have a point, when you say that some of the so called dictators had pretty good intentions to begin with. Hell is full of good intentions right? I am not going to discuss that, regarding the anime. My point here is very clear. Other than that, I´ve seen the anime - a bit, I´m not so keen on shounen genre to begin with, so I might be a bit wrong here - but I´m guessing the main goal of Madara (the old man) is achieve something like Nirvana, talked about in, I don´t know... buddhism? Yeah. Only he plans to achieve it not by making everyone meditate (let´s be realistic and see that it hasn´t already functioned in our own world) 3 hours a day, but by activating some kind of magical power he has (the animation has names for it, but it doesn´t really matter for the purpose of this essay) that will put people in some kind of dreamlike world, therefore ending theirs and erasing sufferings though wars, differentiation and so. That´s Nirvana, right there for you. 

One more time - he is the "bad guy". Not the "ok" guy, not at all the good guy, but the bad guy. The enemy. The guy that has the same goals (more or less) as Buddha, is the bad guy. 

Let that sink in for a second.

That´s why I don´t enjoy much shounen anime, because the plot tends to be from stupid to downright offensive.

Fortunately, there are tons of different kinds of animes to choose from, and I try to choose wisely. That´s the point of having review guides, right? So we can see what we´re getting into.

Anyways. Post is big enough, so I´m gonna end it here, if there´s something else to add, I´ll create another one. 

If you read it till here, I have to congratulate you, your attention spam is far greater than 90% of the people that use the internet. Kudos. 

Many cheers and until next time!

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