Frankenstein Myth and Anime

Topic started by Lan on Dec. 10, 2008. Last post by Lan 6 years, 3 months ago.
Post by Lan (621 posts) See mini bio Level 13
I'm currently being a busy academic (a.k.a procrastinating), and I'm working on a paper about Frankenstein. Frankenstein has obviously become a huge part of popular culture; hints and direct references to it can be found all in the movies, tv, books, etc. Lately I've been watching Soul Eater and one of the main characters Dr. Frank N. Stein. So, I started thinking, who else in anime resembles Dr. Frankenstein? What other animes have references or relation to Frankenstein? I've only got two at the moment:

-Dr. Frank N. Stein (Soul Eater): The most obvious character of course. He's named after the main character in Mary Shelley's book. He' s a technician and a scientist who is quite mad. His body looks as if it's stitched together, and he's got a giant bolt going through his head (the bolt part isn't a part of the traditional 19th century monster description, but part of the modern ideal description). He actually resembles more the monster than Frankenstein himself. He possesses great strength and power (also characteristics of the monster).

-Professor Tomoe (Sailor Moon): He's a mad scientist all right much like Frankenstein. Frankenstein is fascinated by and closely studies alchemy and the occult. Frankenstein creates the monster out of bits and pieces of dead bodies, animal bits, and who knows what else. He brings the monster made of dead parts to life through electricity and chemicals. Professor Tomoe is a scientist, so he should be familiar with alchemy; as for the occult--I would say he becomes involved in that when Pharaoh 90 comes into the picture. Hotaru dies as a child, and is brought back to life by Professor Tomoe (and the help of Pharaoh 90 and Mistress 9). Her body, in the manga, is made up of parts of machinery; surely, along with magic and demons, it took some electricity to get her back to life. Frankenstein rejects the monster, his creation, his "child." He's cold and unfeeling. Professor Tomoe typically ignores Hotaru as his daughter;. As a "creation" Hotaru's only a tool to be used for experiments. Professor Tomoe is quite distant and can even be cruel (as seen in the manga) to her.

As I said, I've only got two so far. I need some more ideas as this is going in the file in my head labeled: potential nerdy paper topics to write when I have a job and tenure. So I ask you guys, what animes/manga do you see the Frankenstein myth in? How do the themes/characters tie in with Frankenstein?Who is more prevalent the scientist Frankenstein or his monster? For those of you familiar with the book, do you think the connections draw more from Mary Shelley's book or from 20th century culture?
Post by AHoodedFigure (37 posts) See mini bio Level 7
I wrote a bit about Frankenstein's monster (and the doctor) on giant bomb if it'll help at all:

It also helps to read the original story again, to get an idea on how they deviate from the archetype.  As far as examples, I can't really give any unless you considers Darkstalkers within the domain of your paper.

As far as your last question, I think the connections largely stem from the culture.  There is a great misunderstanding about what Frankenstein's Monster is supposed to be, as well as Dr. Frankenstein himself.  Beyond the "mad science assembling a living creature" theme, people have largely built up their own mythology around these elements.  Most people think of Frankenstein's Monster as Lon Chaney's depiction, a mumbling brute, when the original was erudite almost from the get-go, and the suggestion that you could create an intelligent being was all the more frightening and complex (if harder to buy) than the monster of popular myth.

Also, it's interesting that another one of the fetishistically adhered-to Frankenstein's Monster accoutrement, the stitches, suggest that Frankenstein was assembled from previously living matter, when the depiction in the book is vague and open to interpretation.  I go to it in detail in my essay, but there are allusions to older belief systems in the original book that are lost in this pop-culture retelling.  Please write back and tell me what you think, I'm interested to know what you learn as you research your paper.
Post by Lan (621 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Sorry, this response is getting back to you late. Once my last paper was done, I passed out on Friday and spent the rest of this week recuperating. Actually, my paper that I wrote for my class was arguing that Frankenstein's monster was female. However, I am very much interested in writing a paper (hopefully for publication somewhere) from a "cultural studies perspective" in which I show the connections in anime and/or manga. I'll check out your article on GB and let you know what I think. I'll also go poking around a bit more and let you know what I find.
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