I'll analyze it since you'd rather not

Topic started by thekokapelli on Feb. 29, 2012. Last post by Ace829 2 years, 5 months ago.
Post by thekokapelli (98 posts) See mini bio Level 9

There are a few anime that I have seen that I enjoy dissecting and analyzing. I'm a literature buff, and I relish complex symbolism, extended metaphors, motifs and allusions. A few of the ones I've seen that have these are:

Wolf's Rain

Haibane Renmei

Revolutionary Girl Utena (mostly the series, but the movie too, I guess)

FMA (no really!)-The original, not Brotherhood. Not that Brotherhood isn't good, it's just not deep enough to warrant an introspective reading. Also, don't ask me to talk about The Conqueror of Shamballa. I honestly hate that movie too much to even make fun of it.

RahXephon (although I've only seen the first few episodes, I can tell, and I'd be happy to go ahead and finish the rest of the show if someone wants it explained. The same goes for Darker than Black)

Princess Tutu

Kino's Journey

Trigun (seriously!)

GITS has a lot of philosophical allusions but those are really really freaking obvious so I doubt anyone needs me to explain those.

From what I've heard of Madoka Magica it would count as well, but I don't know where it's available and I don't like to watch things illegally, so that one will have to wait.

If you would like me to analyze an anime, or if you have questions regarding the ones listed here, please reply. I am ready to rise to your challenge! Also, feel free to put together your own interpretations of ones you've seen. I'd love to get a discussion going.

Post by sickVisionz (4,258 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

I vote Utena.

Post by Destinyheroknight (10,239 posts) See mini bio Level 21

What about Speed Grapher, would like to see an analyze of that. (Also maybe Digimon Tamer)

Post by PenguinDust (1,008 posts) See mini bio Level 13

RahXephon gets my vote. I haven't seen it all myself either but I'd like to start it again. Something like this might motivate me to return to it.

Post by ComicMan24 (8,759 posts) See mini bio Level 12

How about Casshern Sins? And from the ones you have listed, FMA.

Post by thekokapelli (98 posts) See mini bio Level 9

@sickVisionz: Would you prefer to talk about the series or the movie? Or both? They're very different. The show is a perennial favorite of mine, but I do actually kind of enjoy the movie too. It's very funny. It's just very style over substance, while the show has a lot of substance to back up its style, and the show is deep, while the movie is merely clever. Like I said, I do still like the movie though.

Post by Neurotic (41 posts) See mini bio Level 6

OMGZ, you should totally do Evangelion!!1!1! /joke

I have not seen any of those anime all the way through, except GITS which I never much cared for. I started some but moved on. I like clever stuff though so I'd be interested to see an analysis of any of them. It might prompt me to pick them up/try them again. I'd be interested to see your thoughts on Magical Madoka once you can get hold of it. I'm a few episodes in and that shit is pretty insane.

As for my own suggestion, maybe FLCL? That's a got a whole bunch of crazy stuff going on and I could only get half of it.

Perhaps you could do Paprika? I hated it and didn't finish it, but apparently it's pretty important and raised a lot of issues. I'd kinda like to know what they are without ever going near that film again and people who liked it might be interested too.

Post by sickVisionz (4,258 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

@thekokapelli: I've only seen one or two episodes of the TV show so talking about either would be new for me. To be honest, I only voted that over the others because I like the box art of the DVD release.

Post by thekokapelli (98 posts) See mini bio Level 9

@sickVisionz: The art is very beautiful, and the animation for the series, for as old as it is, is stunning. Great music too, just as an fyi. In fact the music is sort of a motif in the series. If you are interested in watching either I would recommend you watch the movie first because it is enjoyable, but it's not nearly as good as the series and a lot of the fans of the show can't stand it. It's a little hard to enjoy if you've seen the show. I think it might be easier to start with the movie because it's shorter and easier to find. I can discuss the show but I'd have to see at least a couple episodes again, and it's VERY hard to find. It's recently been re-mastered on DVD and I'm in the process of collecting it, but it's sort of expensive, so I've so far only bought the Apocalypse Collection.

@Neurotic: Actually, FLCL isn't really metaphorical, it's more an explosion of images and creativity and different ways to convey a very simple and straightforward message: Growing up is hard to do. I love it, though, I think it's Gainax's best work. It's not exactly smart, but it is honest. Also, I would love to do Paprika, as I'm a huge fan of Satoshi Kon, but Millenium Actress might be a better choice, honestly. And again, Paprika isn't really metaphorical so much as surreal and psychological. I love Satoshi Kon but he's kind of like David Lynch in that he is sometimes guilty of putting in images not because they mean anything, but just because it looks cool.

Post by Neurotic (41 posts) See mini bio Level 6

@thekokapelli: I see. Well, all that surrealist stuff was kind of the reason I didn't like Paprika, I found it too opaque and impenetrable. If it actually means very little then I feel I am vindicated :P I have wanted to watch Millennium Actress for a while now but haven't got around to it yet.

Post by thekokapelli (98 posts) See mini bio Level 9

@Neurotic: Millenium Actress is terrific, it's definitely Satoshi Kon's best movie. I don't know if you'll like it though, if you didn't like Paprika, but Millenium Actress is definitely the better film. Basically the main character's life revolved around her movies, and the line between what really happened to her and what was just in a movie becomes blurred. Satoshi Kon often liked to explore that theme in his work, and Millenium Actress is his best example of that.

Post by thekokapelli (98 posts) See mini bio Level 9

@sickVisionz: I can go ahead and give you a sort of run-down of the Utena movie and shows, although there may be spoilers. Would you prefer to watch them first so we can have a more mutual discussion, or would you not mind spoilers and just like to hear my take on the movie and the show respectively?

Post by sickVisionz (4,258 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

@thekokapelli: You can spoil it. It's unlikely that I'm ever going to watch anymore than I've already seen so I don't mind. No BS, there probably won't be much of a discussion from me. I'm sure the series is good enough but nothing I saw in the first one or two episodes made me interested enough to watch the rest of them and I only voted for it because out of the ones you listed that I hadn't seen, Utena had cool DVD covers and their outfits look neat.

Post by thekokapelli (98 posts) See mini bio Level 9

@sickVisionz: Ah, let's see. I guess I should gather my thoughts for a moment.

Brief rundown: Utena originally began as a concept project called B-pappas, branching out into a comic series and a tv show, neither of which had much to do with each other. The very eccentric but talented director, best known for directing Sailor Moon, was frustrated with the lack of creative control he had over the shoujo, the tropes of which he helped to establish, and was also under a lot of pressure. He was also under pressure, so he thought Utena would be his last project, so he decided to make it his opus. He created the series Revolutionary Girl Utena, which realized shades of adolescent self-actualization, deconstructed shoujo tropes, and functioned as a postmodern fairy tale. It subverted and exposed traditional gender roles, sexual repression, and fairy tale archetypes. While watching the premiere of the show's finale, he was struck with the idea to create a stand-alone movie called Adolescence of Utena, which was a different version of the story. It had a bigger budget and seemed to leave more of an impact than the show, but unlike the show, which offered much in the way of style but even more substance, the movie showed no artistic or narrative restraint whatsoever.

The series is about a girl named Utena who attends an extravagant cyberpunk/turret fantasy high school who vows to become a prince after her life was saved by one after her parents died. She's not mannish, and she doesn't want to be a boy, and in this version it is important to note that she is heterosexual (not b/c there would be anything wrong with it if she wasn't, but b/c to mistake her for a lesbian would be to miss a large point of the show) but she prefers to dress like a boy and asserts herself. In the Japanese version she refers to herself with the boyish pronoun "boku." While defending her friend's honor in a sword duel and defeating the boy she challenges, she inadvertently wins the "hand" of a girl named Anthy, whom the Student Council Members call the Rose Bride, and must keep dueling to defend Anthy and her champion title. But that's...not really what the show is about...that's just the best I can summarize it in a few sentences.

I'll start with analyzing the movie because it's much simpler.

In the movie, Utena isn't exactly straight; she dated a boy named Touga a long time ago but now dresses like a boy and denies her femininity. She goes to a magical turret school but she doesn't pay it any attention. In the original series everyone had a different hair color; Utena's pink hair was symbolic of the feminine mystique as well as being part of the color brand of the Kaballah. Green (the color of Saionji's hair) was foolish pride, and that symbolizes Saionji's personality quite well. Orange symbolizes intellectual curiosity, and orange is the color or Juri's hair. Juri is a strong, complex young woman who fights to accomplish her own dreams. However, none of this applies to the movie, because the characters were much better developed in the series than here. In the movie, the rainbow colors of everyone's hair are just that, rainbow anime hair. This happens a lot in anime, as we all know, and it was exposed and gently subverted in the series, but it only worked in the show because the characters were better developed, (like actual people) and the characters in the movie are more strawmen than actual people. In the movie the hair doesn't really mean anything. Moving on! =)

Utena goes up to the roof, where she meets a girl named Anthy taking care of a rose garden. Roses are used heavily as a motif in the movie as well as in the series. It has different meanings in the show, but in the movie it's a bit more straightforward: the roses here symbolize feminine sexuality and how, in order to have a sexual/romantic relationship on equal terms, two women have to approach each other free of a position of servitude towards a man to feel validated, which is why Anthy is tending the roses herself. Basic summation: Anthy and Utena are lesbian loverers

Post by thekokapelli (98 posts) See mini bio Level 9

Sorry, something happened to my computer and it sort of shut me off. Anyway, continued! =)

Anthy and Utena are lesbian lovers because it's meant to show that female love is pure and men will always fall short because women can only approach each other on equal terms. I'm not saying that's what I think, I'm just saying that's what the show is saying.

Okay, I will continue this tomorrow. Can't expect you to do all that reading all at once, and I need to rest my fingers and my brain! =)

Post by Neurotic (41 posts) See mini bio Level 6

Hm, interesting stuff. I think you might be better off if you migrate the actual analysis to a blog post and use this thread for suggestions or shorter analyses. Seems more organised to me that way but if you prefer it this way, go for it.

By the way, I recently finished Madoka Magica and you're right, there is a whole lot of stuff to work with. The TV Tropes page is a mile long. If you look at that series and you're not a fan of downloading then you might have to push it off till summer. Assuming you're an American, the series is being released in two volumes with the second one coming out in June. Apparently, the first is already out. If you're in Europe, like me, then God knows how long it'll take for it come over.

Post by thekokapelli (98 posts) See mini bio Level 9

@Destinyheroknight: Speed Grapher? I saw that one but any kind of symbolism must have gone over my head, b/c I didn't notice anything. Care to elaborate?

Post by Destinyheroknight (10,239 posts) See mini bio Level 21

@thekokapelli:

I believe the symbolism in Speed Grapher is repress human desire, that what I got from it

Sorry, I couldn't go into more detail

Post by Natendowii (35 posts) See mini bio Level 10

Can you interpret Black Lagoon? My friend and I have had fun dissecting everything about that series.

Post by Ace829 (52 posts) See mini bio Level 7

I can't believe it hasn't been said yet, but... Umineko no Naku Koro ni? WAIT! Not the anime because they butchered the source material. The Visual Novels are the best way to go.

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