How Anime Deals With History (My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Gundam Wing) – Wisecrack Edition


What’s up guys, Jared again. Today, I come
to you with a simple question: do you ever feel like the more anime you watch, the more
it all starts to seem really familiar? That certain tropes are repeating themselves? That
maybe you’ve seen one too many tournament arcs? Or that all the color-coordinated outfits
are making you feel like you’re staring at a strobe light? Or maybe one too many characters
have learned the value of teamwork to win the day. Now sure, there’s definitely something
good to be said about familiarity. It’s the reason why we have 30 seasons of The Simpsons
and why Always Sunny is still going strong. But if you’re starting to notice some hard
to pin down patterns in anime, it’s probably because you’re picking up on something deep
within the fabric of the medium. And it all has to do with… Imperial Japan? So sit back, crack open a cold one, and join
me for this Wisecrack Edition on the Origins of Anime. And spoiler alert for My Hero Academia,
Attack On Titan, Black Clover, and The Irregular at Magic High School. So, imagine it: you’re a teenager and, in typical angsty youth fashion,
you think the world around you isn’t that great. Maybe your home was smashed to bits
and your mom was eaten by a literal giant. Or maybe you’re just tired of being a fan
and never the hero. Well, to change things, you decide to enroll in a special training
program that gives you all the tools to make the world a better place. It could be a branch
of the military, or a tricked-out high school, or even just some weird scientist dudes who
want you to fly giant robots – you know, as one does. While these may be dumbed down
summaries of Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, and Gundam Wing – they all bear one obvious
similarity: teenagers being trained to fight. And while there are 101 potential reasons
for this, we at Wisecrack think it has to do with a little thing called the IRE. For those of you who aren’t history buffs,
the IRE, or the Imperial Rescript to Education, was an attempt by Imperial Japan, starting
in 1890, to reshape Japanese school life with the aim of making good citizens and better
soldiers. In the IRE’s own words, its mission was to train students to “advance public good
and promote common interests; always respect the Constitution and observe the laws; should
emergency arise, offer yourselves courageously to the State; and thus guard and maintain
the prosperity of Our Imperial Throne coeval with heaven and earth”. And yeah, in a lot
of ways, the IRE simply acted as an Japanese version of America’s Pledge of Allegiance.
In fact, it was recited every day in the Japanese classroom until the end of WWII. But the IRE
also served a crucial political function in legitimizing the sitting government. See, in 1868 Japan old’s regime was tossed
aside, ushering in the Meiji government with its centralized power structure and its much
more powerful emperor. This system was called “kokutai,” roughly translating to a government
forged on the relationship between benevolent emperor and loyal subjects. The question then
becomes how to get your citizens to buy into this arrangement, and that’s where the IRE
comes in. Day in and day out, students are reminded to be loyal to a government that
will take care of them. Where that loyalty ultimately takes you, well, you can probably
guess. Now, you might think we’re going full conspiracy
theory by connecting an educational system that started 100+ years ago to modern anime.
But then again, it goes a long way in explaining why only Japan seems so invested in creating
franchises centered around kids literally fighting wars. Just think about it: how many
Western series can you name where children join military academies? Or regularly fight
wars, either for the state or themselves? It’s not many. Red Dawn? Enders Game? Hunger
Games… Kinda? Or Harry Potter, where Harry has to secretly train an army outside the
knowledge of adults. But these are tenuous examples at best. Looking at our boy HP, Defense Against the
Dark Arts was a single class the students were required to take. And if it wasn’t
for Voldemort showing up, fighting battles and creating a military resistance like Dumbledore’s
Army, wouldn’t have happened. Instead, Harry and crew would just graduate, go work at the
Ministry of Magic or any one of the many private magical businesses that exist in the world,
and war would never be brought up. On the other hand, how many Japanese series
involve school-age children fighting wars? The list is very long. Just to name a few,
we’ve got: My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Black Clover, Gundam Wing, Sailor Moon, Naruto,
Beelzebub, Cromartie, Angel Densetsu, Girls Und Panzer,The Irregular at Magic High School,
Kill La Kill – it goes on. And here’s the crazy thing, when you start
to peel back a lot of the plot elements common in these shows, you start to see a – a unique
– relationship between education and the government military. In My Hero Academia,
for example, the profession of pro Hero is sponsored and regulated by the state. And
specialized high schools like UA Academy, which train children to fight, and enforce
strict rules of conduct, all again, coming top-down from the government. For example,
when Iida goes after the Hero Killer for hospitalizing his older brother, Stain reminds him of the
Hero Creed. Likewise, Midoriya and Todoroki are almost expelled for using their powers
to save Iida – again, in violation of government rules. Similarly, in The Irregular at Magic High
School, we find out our hero, Shiba Tatsuya enrolled in an elite, state-funded school
for training magicians. But did we also mention that this world also saw a literal WWIII break
out, which left nations scrambling to grow their magical firepower? We also see this state-military educational
complex play out in a much more literal fashion in Attack on Titan, in which Eren and co.
join an army training camp at the ripe age of 14. And did we mention the state directed
value system at play here? And sure, while Attack on Titan might be a bit more on the
nose, both series are predicated on young children essentially sacrificing themselves
for the state. In this sense, the IRE is very much alive; “should emergency arise, offer
yourselves courageously to the State”. Keeping all of this militarized education
in mind, we start to see how clever variations of Japanese school life seem less than innocent
in a lot of our favorite shows. For example, while many schools in Japan have a Cultural
Festival and a Sports Festival, these festivities take on a more militaristic tone. In My Hero Academia, the UA sports festival
seems innocent enough, with students running an obstacle course, competing in team-based
combat exercises, and finally, fighting in single battle eliminations. This may seem
more like an Iron Man event mixed with a UFC tournament, but it’s also very visibly a
military skills tournament. The team-based event, which requires three members to carry
the fourth, evokes real life platoon based combat competitions – such as the Swiss
Raid Commando. In this context, Midoriya, sitting at the
top, would be akin to the captain of his platoon, in this case Hatsume, Uraraka, and Tokoyami.
Midoriya would then have to decide how best to use the squad’s different abilities to
achieve victory against other platoons. And this is exactly what Midoriya does. In the Irregular at Magical High School, this
militarism is turned up to the max in their sports festival equivalent, the Nine Schools
Tournament. And yes, some of the games students compete in seem innocent enough, like this
weird, flying ball collecting game, but the main attraction is literally a combat simulation.
It’s essentially capture the flag, but with magical weapons. And tellingly, Tatsuya’s
biggest rival Masaki – a combat veteran despite being a high schooler himself – even
uses lethal force by accident in this event. Of course, Tatsuya’s ridiculously overpowered,
so I guess it was alright. Hell, if we really wanted to, we could take
this militaristic spin on the tournament arc one step further with Black Clover. In it,
teenager and magically inept Asta competes in the Royal Knights Selection exam, which
amounts to a series of 3v3 battles. The whole purpose? To be selected for an elite squad
that would take on a terrorist organization. But across all these franchises, kids are
rewarded in the same way: state-sponsored prestige. In My Hero Academia, they get offered
exclusive internships with pro-heroes; in The Irregular at Magic High School they get
military offers, or even opportunities to marry into prestigious families. In Black
Clover, their performance earns them a spot in what essentially amounts to the magical
marines. Think of all these tournaments kind of like trying out for a school team… or
being recruited by a private military contractor. But there are also more subtle variations
on Japanese school life that harken back to Imperial Japan, the IRE, and its military
focus – such as costumes and uniforms. In anime, costumes often serve to both unify
the team, while simultaneously distinguishing the members. Think Sailor Moon, or even the
non-animated but still Japanese Power Rangers. My Hero Academia, though, really takes the
cake on this one. As the great hero All Might, explains, a costume is meant to enhance the
individual quirk of its wearer. Bakugo’s crazy grenade hands help him gather the nitroglycerin
in his sweat, and Deku’s reinforced boots, well, they keep him from going all floppy
noodle again. However, in combat, the emphasis is rarely on the individual in My Hero Academia.
Instead, Class 1A is expected to work as a group, harkening back to the Meiji idea of
Sentai. While initially coined to describe a unit
of the Japanese Navy and later Airforce, sentai has been broadened in modern times to mean
“team.” Power Rangers, for example, is called Super Sentai in Japan. And unlike a lot of
modern American franchises that focus on the individual (not you Avengers), My Hero Academia
and Japanese media as a whole is largely concerned with stories of a team pulling together. In
My Hero Academia, this translates to heroes using their individual costumes and quirks
to achieve a common goal. It’s like when Todoroki cools down Iida’s boosters so he
can take another hit at Stain, while Midoriya performs a nimble rescue mission. Or, when
Midoriya makes use of everyone’s quirk to rescue Bakugo from the League of Villains. Of course, a broader emphasis on “sentai”
is seen across all our franchises here, costume or not. In more literal takes on this idea,
series like Attack on Titan and Black Clover aren’t predicated on individuals winning
or losing battles, but rather the team overcoming adversity together. We saw this particularly
in the latest season of Attack on Titan, in which all of our characters have a small role
to play in securing a bigger victory, even if this comes at the cost of their life. For
example, when all hope seems lost in the fight against the Beast Titan, Erwin must choose
between his dream – finding out the truth of this world — — and the Scout Corps
only chance of victory, a last ditch cavalry rush led by Erwin himself. Of course, Erwin
chooses the latter at the cost of his own life, which allows Levi to turn the tide and
give the Scouts a victory. And yeah, that scene was epic. On top of embodying the concept of Sentai
in motion, these shows also function as microcosms for the greater Imperial government. In the
same way that the emperor was good and therefore demanded loyalty, the cause – whether it’s
defeating villains or reclaiming your freedom or protecting the kingdom – also demand
your loyalty, and sometimes your life. Now if this all vaguely sounds like anime
is a mouthpiece for these imperial ideas, it’s not entirely a coincidence. Around
the 1930s, Imperial Japan’s Cultural Ministry actually dictated that films must promote
“national polity themes.” In other words, films had to advance the wartime cause, and
true to form, the first full-length anime film ever made has the war efforts’ fingerprints
all over it. A 74-minute blast from the past called Momotaro: Sacred Sailors has everything
an American would ascribe to mid 20th century animation. Black and white graphics, plucky,
cute cartoon heroes, and… yeah, a lot of disturbing sociopolitical commentary. Momotaro was actually commissioned by the
Japansese Navy in 1944, right at the height of the war effort. In the film, a band of
animal friends say goodbye to their homes, become high ranking generals, and uh, “liberate”
an island of – let’s say “primitive” – animals from British rule. And to really
give the finger to the West, Momotaro tacks on an epilogue with children pretending to
parachute into America. Obviously there’s a VAST difference between modern anime and
its propaganda-inspired predecessors, but that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize some
echos from the past. Yeah, we might mock the literal and figurative black-and-white depiction
of good and evil in Momotaro, but this same simplistic binary plays out in anime all the
time. It all comes back to the last statement of the IRE: students must “guard and maintain
the prosperity of Our Imperial Throne coeval with heaven and earth”. In other words,
your emperor isn’t just your emperor – he’s chosen by the heavens. He is your God, and
He is good. Conversely, of course, is this is your enemy, and he is 100% certified evil. Now in the real world, you might realize how
this logic of sacrificing yourself for the godhead might be less than ideal when it ends
up with you dive-bombing your plane into military targets. But, at least in anime, the implications
of this relationship are a little less apparent. You might recall a specific father-like, godhead
in the form of Zordon, which is a literal floating head bossing around our aforementioned
teenagers in Power Rangers. Then there’s My Hero Academia. On one level, the explicit
superhero framing of the show lulls the audience into a sense of comfort about the stark divide
between heroes and villains. In fact, the world of My Hero even indulges in this framing.
Instead of running from danger, citizens of this world flock to see who’s fighting in
the latest battles. These fights end up being broadcasted on a blow-by-blow basis, turning
what is best described as a warzone into a live TV spectacle. But when we pull back this super hero framing,
we start this same simple divide. In the world of My Hero, the all benevolent emperor is
seemingly replaced by All Might, i.e. the literal symbol of peace. Yet, by having justice
abstracted into a single symbol, the world of My Hero enshrines this binary. If All Might
is, well, All Good, that implies that his enemies are the opposite, or All Bad. Sure,
the Hero Killer, Stain, has a unique philosophy on what makes a hero, but this philosophy
only further enshrines All Might as the moral center of this world. When it comes down to
it, no matter how interesting Stain’s motivation is, it in no way endears him to the audience
and in no way makes him less of a ruthless killer. And the other villains aren’t much
better. Shigaraki literally kills anything he touches and has his sights on destroying
all of society; and All for One is so evil that he has attracted a nearly mythic origin
story. Of course, some series try to deconstruct this dichotomy a little
bit more. I think Attack on Titan has perhaps had the most success in this degree. Early
on, the show sets up a strong central conflict: humanity is besieged by literally unthinking
Titans and locked in a battle for survival. Again, we see our two binaries standing firm:
all that’s good in humanity and the military on one end, and all that’s bad in the Titans
on the other. But once it’s revealed that Eren can transform into a Titan, the show
blows this conflict wide open. As Erwin shrewdly asks Eren: . And over the course of four seasons,
we start to see the truth of Erwin’s words. Their enemies aren’t just titans, they’re
other humans. Humans like Annie, who feel compelled to fight against the people of the
walls for family reasons. Humans like Reiner, who under the weight of being a double agent,
has literally experienced a psychotic break. Eren and co. even discover their own government
– including other divisions of the military is in fact has been part of the problem, bent
on keeping humanity locked within its walls. Even when it’s revealed that the whole world
views the people of the walls as their enemy, Eren seems to hint at his discomfort at fighting
the rest of humankind for his freedom. In doing so the show chips away at its initial
promise that the government is good and that the enemy, the Titans, are bad. Instead, we’re
left in a moral grey zone, one which accurately reflects the complexity of war. There is no
clear good and bad, just people. So, what do you think, Wisecrack? Will we
always see echoes of Japan’s imperial past in anime? Or are we going to see a growing
self-awareness in the medium, kind of like we see in One Punch Man or Attack on Titan?
Let us know what you think by dropping us a line in the comments below. Thanks to all
our patrons who support our channel and our podcasts. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe
button, and before you go, I wanna give another shoutout
to Wix.

100 thoughts on “How Anime Deals With History (My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Gundam Wing) – Wisecrack Edition

  1. Broke: Trumpism is Peronism reborn
    Bespoke: Trumpism is IRE

    Is this why the Pepes love them some anime? I mean.. Besides the whole inceldom thing

  2. In Cromartie and Angel Densetsu they dont go to war, at least as far as I know

  3. Tokyo Ghoul also does a great job at destroying the binary of good V evil

  4. these examples would hit harder if you used english……because we speak english

  5. Not sure how much this is true, but Allmight is essentially a captain America figure in red white and blue. And if that's not really true, I'd like to see some examples why not. Weirdly shows the contrast to how Japans politics and military has changed.

  6. To give a further sense of depth, one could look at the Prussian influence on Japanese culture, saying back to their Iwakura Mission in 1873. In fact most of the world's primary schools are based on what's called the "Prussian System," and the militaristic intent of our regimented schedules has not been lost on its discontents. From the Boy Scouts to actual military academies, this influence is commonplace. I'd argue why it affects Japan more is that they have not rejected this past like Western nations in the wake of WWII. Prussian influence is rather obvious to discern in anime, even on a purely aesthetic level. So one shouldn't blame the IRE itself, but the global militarism of the turn-of-the-century that built it. With that in view, you're looking more at divergence after WWII, rather than before or during. With a deeper look, this appears to be a more recent, yet somehow more understandable phenomenon

  7. I wish they would actually be up to date on the BNHA manga. Horikoshi really does criticize the HeroGOOD VillainBAD argument a lot. It is not just Stain. The morality of the whole society is a huge point of the series.

  8. I have to disagree on your point of My hero academia. While All Might is seen as good in all aspects, it also talks about his errors. While it does start on the formula you speak of, the show evolves our viewpoint and, in contrast with Attack on Titan, shows us not an evil system but a misguided one: What if the One symbol of hope All Might was wrong? Not evil, just not as powerfull as everyone thought.

  9. Very normal country that USA. Keeping the same traditions of proto-fascist Japan in the mid 19th, early 20th century to the modern day. The US is a normal country and if you dont think so, get the fuck out. We believe in freedom

  10. 7:21 I just realized that the western part of Europe is labeled East EU and the eastern part West EU….

  11. Legend of the Galactic Heroes offers a fairly stark juxtaposition of Japan’s pre and post ww2 governmental and military philosophies.

  12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans is literally a take on a group of child soldiers in World War 2.

  13. Was shocked to see how little Gundam Wing was actually referenced. Much disappoint.

  14. I think another good look into moral grey areas would be the new show Fire Force or Enen no Shouboutai. They haven't quite gotten to it in the anime with only 3 episodes having aired so far but looking at the manga you can see some of the problems of going through a war with a very black and white outlook the firefighter brigade which is run by "The Tokyo Empire", the holy church, and companies with large monopolizes. I don't want to spoil anything but would highly recommend the series rn.

  15. My plan is simple, I want to make animations of known anime, animate scenes that have never happened (ace or shirohige revives for a fruit to revive) or (naruto becomes bad) or (kisses that never happened), https://www.gofundme.com/f/i-want-to-make-anime&rcid=r01-1564674911,87-d8a3f22977d244b4&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_m If you could share it or donate $ 1, I would be very grateful, thanks for your attention.

  16. I think the concept, even if not always challenged, has been evolving very nicely. More often than not, the enemy in modern anime is not an outsider seeking to do harm, but members of a corrupt system of the present or past trying to gain power. Ryuuko prizes her individual freedoms and stands up against Satsuki's military-like school system; All for One wants to return to the days when the only thing seemingly keeping the peace was his command over all super-powered humans; so on and so forth.

  17. It would be awesome if you could do a video about JoJo's bizarre adventure particularly part 5's golden wind and/or Diavolo

  18. The echos of the imperial past will only be come stronger as the political parties of Japan continue to push for re-militarization of Japan and as the populist movements in Japan attempt to bring back pre-WW2 Japanese nationalism.

  19. Well the us military used to have numerous youth organizations that were sort of like the Boyscouts but centered around the various military branches.

    I memba being in something called the Navy Seal Pups. It was basically a youth group led by off duty and retired sailors (my granddad was one of the instructors/chapparones) in the times before assholes blew up government buildings and flew planes into buildings because their god said so, we would do cool shit like ride on Navy ships doing manuvers, we got to go out on a aircraft carrier and watch the Navy pilots do touch-and-goes. I got to ride in a Seahawk. It was fucking awesome.

  20. Taps and Toy Soldiers want a word. And Child's Play 2 I think was at a military academy.

  21. My Hero Academia and One Punch Man seem set in similar universes as The Boys…

  22. please do the philosophy of frank zappa! I know you'll be surprised 😀

  23. A great video…. except for the fact that you keep confusing how Power Rangers was adapted from Super Sentai. The Sentai came first, and Zordon is a 100% Power Rangers invention, not featured in the Sentai at all. So you're trying to attribute a Japanese cultural trend to something entirely American, only using the in-suit stock footage from Japan to sell the toys.

  24. I am sorry, maybe I am crazy, but….. Isn't using Chromartie Highschool, CHROMARTIE HIGHSCHOOL, as an example of teams entering an academy to go to war a bit absolutely bonkers? Did I miss a crucial arc of the manga where the plot suffers Ceberus Syndrome and it goes all serious and dark?

  25. ok… half those anime you listed about school aged children going to war were a bit of a stretch. I'd call a few of those more like domestic conflicts or random weirdos picking fights

    Keep going with My hero… things change. Lately we've hardly seen any chapters of the heroes and been instead getting full story from league of villains perspective. From their training and growth to their back stories and what their actual motivations/goals are. Spoiler most of them I wouldn't even necessarily call bad let alone evil. I'd even call a couple of them good people. Even Shigaraki is… well complicated and hard to really put into any kind of box but lets say you start to understand where he's coming from at least

    Speaking of deconstructing take a look at bleach. On the surface it's heavily all those themes you speak of… but the more it goes on the more you start to question if the authorities are actually the baddies. Or more like you start to wonder if every antagonist that fought them because they thought they were the baddies could all really be wrong… especially when the points they bring up are right and you see some of the shady stuff they do/did

  26. Jared, I dont how you keep outdoing yourself with each video topic and analysis. Great job!

  27. Wait… so we are watching #JapanesePropaganda or #AsianCollectivistPropaganda of loving and defending the state… and all the other bullshit! Jeezus! 😳

    Good deconstruction of this somewhat cultural programming!

    Oh yeah… I #Confucianism might related to this one.

    I'm Asian… Southeast Asian… we don't these cultural programming bullshit like Japan or China has.

  28. If you think about it, Saint Seya plays on the same themes: becoming a powerfull warrior to protect the reincarnation of a goddess on earth… I love it, but… You know…

  29. I think you see echos because you dont make myths like the ones that Empires used to use without a hint of truth, Im libertarian and Im sure youve heard the phrases collectivist and individualist play out quite often- these are parts of human society with advantages and disadvantages. They dont always meet each other morally in fun ways but id say to make a society wholly obsessed with one or the other is uncomfortable for everyone. this is why Ive always considered myself a "moderate" or republican-libertarian. because I cant imagine true objectivity being wholly good. Objectivism plays well with rights and constitution and of course self-actualization. but its opposites tend to handle Law, community cohesion and teamwork better. I played hockey as a young kid and while Im all about freedom and not being controlled sometimes you should just listen to others to get better results. usually this plays out better when you both want the same goals- A job, sports, projects.

    my capitalist dreams dont happen without other people investing their time and labor into what I do- You cant forget that. in which case you should always feel like you owe them, which many others have failed to do as they climbed the wealth ranks.the irony of them is that they all eventually become the worst socialists as corporate heads. A tragedy of always imagining the world as dog eat dog- is you never truly credit the people who got you where you are. and I think that makes the self-actualization of capitalists a hollow one. the trumps of the world got to the pinnacle of what capitalism can do and wasted it on their ego. fueling the black and white viewing of collectivism and individualism. Im not gonna be a centrist brat and say both are bad, cause I still think individualism is the realm of morality after all- its where consent, rights and all of those useful moral tools center; I think perception however is exactly why something can go wrong-

    think onthe bioshock 2 vid- Im pretty sure many would agree that your assessment of the villain is rather typical of socialist regimes- a contrarian who is either llying about her philosophy or appropriates it. I think this is true of many people who simply falsely accredit the system for their success, rather than the people. and the same happens to the critics as they attack capitalism rather than the misuse of capital for these things. If you can say; the USSR wasnt true socialism- than you can say the same about corporate interest not being true capitalism; as theyre being used in ways that only restrict access to them- and do not properly spread to people.
    under corperations wealth doesnt trickle down- under socialism rights and security dont equalize. is it really cause the systems are wrong inherently- or rather that theyre being used by people who dont believe in the good of man- but feel they must enforce good? if thats the problem- can any system truly account for this? I think the answer is no- for all the goods of capitalism people will still misinterpret their place in it. because people are fallible and a good tool misused- is waste.

  30. For Americans thinking our films and media don't do this – you should know the US military funds the creation of videogames like Call of Duty and movies about war knowing full well they further the myth of US exceptionalism – of being the "good" guys – and that they will improve the recruitment of poor and vulnerable young men and women into the war machine.

  31. also makes me wonder why a shitty hero like endeavour is seemingly redeemable and a mentally ill, ill-treated villain like twice is seemingly iredeemable in my hero academia

  32. Theory: Dudes in hentai always cum inside so Japanese men develop impregnation fetishes to help with the declining birth rate. Milf hentai is also such a popular hentai category so women over 25 have another chance to get pregnant by younger males for the same reason.

  33. the basement changed the fucking genre of the anime 😀 aot s3 part 2 FTW ..

  34. I don't think it's the case that shounens are reflecting imperialistic ideals per se. Imperialism was basically fascism (simplistic dichotomy of good/evil, resolution through power/fighting, respect for hierarchies, uniforms, etc). Kids generally think in fascist terms by lacking abstract thinking and grey area thinking, and by unquestioning hierarchies like the state and schools. So shounens, by catering to kids, naturally shares the same ideals and themes as fascism. It's not so much that Japan's fascist past is influencing modern shounen but that both fascism and shounen themes come from the same source which is "simplistic storytelling that resonates with naive unsophisticated people".

  35. Maybe wayyyyyy too much My Hero Academia and Attack of Titan, there's thousands of other anime material you could've referenced besides the latter.

  36. I don’t think Zordon Counts for this analysis. Since you know he didn’t even appear in the Japanese version of the show only in the American version.

  37. all these comments so triggered and whining like "not this anime… not that…" but y'all….. if you want to be that SURE about what kind of anime industry is trying to say, at least dig deeper. Look at Japanese politics, the country history. at least READ Japanese literature classics, and think a little how Japanese culture has been coping with wartime Japaense wartime. You will KNOW they HAVEN'T ACCEPTED that facsism and racism are bad, how they've been coping is to look at their own citizens, their own kinds, and grieve on how much damage THEY've taken. yall gotta remember it was japanese EMPIRE, not a COLONY.

  38. 7:20 the actual fun part is that the East EU is in the west and the West EU is in the east 😄😄🤣

  39. this is interesting imo. i'd love to see a similar analysis on how the US military has infiltrated American media with their own propaganda. things like the pentagon having a direct influence on hundreds of movies being made in hollywood etc.

    @ ppl in the comments: while i do think the title is misleading (as this rly should be about how shounen anime deals with history as these are shounen tropes), it's good to be critical of the media you enjoy every once in awhile. does this mean you can't enjoy shounen anime? no.. and nowhere in this video does it say that.

  40. I'm surprised you didn't go into Gundam Wing's being a commentary on European colonialism, specifically that of Leopold II and the Dutch in the Congo.

  41. Uhm actually girlz un panzer are not fighting in a war. In their universe the Art of the Tank is merely a sport to train girls to be a strong woman
    Also My hero acedamia is not in any sort of official war. Their universe and training is more on the scale of cops and robbers type of heroism.
    If we are vaguely defining war like that, well then we can include much of american superhero media. Sure maybe not always teens, but nearly always young adults entering the heroes journey that centers around fighting and force.

    Also this is just shonen anime (mostly) that you mentioned. I expected better from this channel, propogating the generalization that all anime is shonen, FOR SHAME

  42. What can I say, fam? Another great video essay. I've been trying to understand the underlying meanings of anime ever since I read "Robotech Art 1" and that "Starlog" magazine article, both back in the '80s
    As an enthusiast of both Japanese animation & Chinese martial arts, I try to know at least something about the histories and culture nehind them, but this is my first time learning about the I.R.E.

  43. When kids fight in Western fiction, they fight against the system. When kids fight in Eastern fiction, they fight on behalf of the system. Katnis fights against the system, but when she becomes part of another system she ends up fighting that system as well, to a lesser degree. As a Westerner who grew up on a lot of anime, it's hard to reconcile.

  44. I recommend looking up Ground Defense Force! Mao-chan. Three elementary school girls fight for the Japanese military in a bizarre parody of the kid-in-military premise.

  45. Observation. Not to get into the whole dubs vs subs argument, but as someone who likes to put these analysis videos on in the background while I work, it's a lot harder to consume the anime topics with Japanese dialogue. Have you guys considered using any of the English dubs for your viewers who like to listen to your videos?

  46. Naruto and Boruto do deconstruct this by focusing the struggle into a struggle for lasting peace.

  47. 15:08 I'm not sure about that. The nationalists are a constant, vocal element of Japanese society.

  48. "The list of anime about fighting wars is endless"
    rattles off a list of mainly series with fighting, but not wars is he just conflating action with war?

  49. Ppl think FMA is an exception but the idea behind it is literally individuality is an illusion
    You’re wrong, simple, it’s just another one

  50. well you can't put it all on just that, there is no doubt it contributes to thevway anime is made but therevis something deeper, you start with a childish and weak character that grows to become wiser and stronger in order to face the ultimate struggle, this narrative structure is pretty natural and deep in us because we project the characters on ourselves, and we have a deep need to grow

  51. We have 30 seasons of a the Simpson, because a Sub-culture that is a counter-culture to the American Paradigm, have used "Springfield" as a form of coded communication, dog whistling initiatives before they occur.
    Hidden in the open.

    ———————————————————————–
    And how does recognizing cultural history which influences Fiction seen as a "Conspiracy theory".
    Is it an "Conspiracy theory" that modern Japanese often represent the Ainu in their fiction too?

    Stop brow beating your audience with subtle psychological tactics that you've PROVEN to comprehend and use, or prepare to lose them. History is DEFINE by conspiracy. Stop being dishonest with the token "CIA" mind warping of perceptions.

    "Tin foil hats". How low brow.
    ———————————————————————-

    Why did you leave out MARVEL content, which is now all Paramilitary, Intelligence organization and clandestine operations?
    Pretty sure Spiderman has been turned into a recruit for Marvel's version of the CIA and Oligarchs, and he recruits other Minors to join them – The Ultimate Spiderman cartoon.

    An American suggesting that American fiction isn't heavily housed or influenced by the military and CIA worship lol who are you kidding???????
    Its pretty much ALL American video games.

  52. wait, why you dont said that in the majority of shounen anime in the end all these structures are revelead to be rotten and the protagonist bring them down?
    like the message is exactly the contrary, no?

  53. The main reason why Japanese teenagers are fighting for the world is because of all the Japanese adult is too busy fighting in bad making Japanese AV

  54. i do not agree and here's why:
    all the examples you put in tge video was about kids in highschool fighting but if you take a look to other anime genres like sports anime you'll see that 90% of them about highschool sports and not college or professional like : kuroko no basket, hikyuu, slam dunk…and the list goes on
    also the romance genre alot of them is romance in highschool
    like: au haru ride, your lie in april, clannad.

    so in my opinion the anime target audience is tennagers so most of anime stories about teenagers even the action ones and not because the government or anything like that

  55. 7:16 that map tho
    "The Federal Republic of Soviet"
    "The Great Union of Asian"
    got me good tbh

  56. Except that some of the show mentioned (Gundam, AoT) have a profoundly anti-war message. And IRE was clearly an attempt to manipulate long-standing cultural values into militaristic propaganda.

  57. I am trying to draw parallels between the USA and Japan during the WW2 time-period but the US never had any sort of imagination about it… the G.I. Joes, Super Heroes, good and bad dichotomy… the only difference between the US and Japan in their respective idolizing of violence (both state sponsored) was that the US never had a good sense of imagination about it.

  58. Hey Wisecrack. I wonder if you can take a look at Great Teacher Onizuka anime series on the philosophy itself. It seems to be more than comedy.

  59. I can't believe you brought up Gundam without mentioning that the whole series has been staunchly anti-war since it's inception. Gundam has always been about "war sucks." The original series positioned Zeon originally as the enemy, but it quickly becomes quite clear that Zeon are not bad guys (and arguably, Zeon was right, fight me). It's just all politics.

  60. wasn't attack on titan created by an imperialist sympathizer who doesn't think south koreans are people tho

  61. I like how their are comments that argue the contrary, but I can definitely see how the state is valued in these series.

  62. Maybe do a video on One Piece? Or a series since it's so long lol…it critiques fascist governments, class systems, etc. Kinda of turns the pro government thing on its head.

  63. This is the most contrived fucking video I've seen in so fucking long, holy shit. The cherry-picking is insane. The dude fucking says that All Might is based on the emperor as a symbol, when SUPERMAN IS A FUCKING THING.

  64. This is what happens when you let a Westerner try to explain Eastern culture and philosophy

  65. Try research in broader genre first (seinen, josei, etc.), then make up with the title.

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