“Everyone, have you heard of the trolley problem?”
Over the last few years, I recall numerous times seeing folks on Twitter crying for politics, social issues, and “SJW”s to be kept out of anime. Comments and sentiments like these have been around for quite some time, even though they may not use the same language or platform to disseminate those ideas. Hilariously enough, however, one can easily look back to some of the oldest anime we have, or some of the anime considered to be in the canon of the medium, and see that there is a solid history of series that have worked to discuss issues that are deeply important and relevant to the human condition. So when I hear people complaining about the so-called “tainting” of their entertainment media, I can only think about how many shows have worked over the years to actually be about something, even if it isn’t right in your face, and how the medium has always, in some ways, been political or about real-world ideas.
With that being said, I think that it is important to consider how shows actually work to approach more serious concepts. While a lot of shows might want to be about some loftier or more important ideas, the inclusion and handling of them might not always be handled well, which honestly may be worse than not talking about them at all. Considering this, I have a small selection of shows from the current and previous anime seasons that I feel highlight the two different extremes of this concept – shows like Stars Align and The Case Files of Jeweler Richard, which effectively highlight current social and cultural issues that don’t get much attention in anime, as well as shows like Babylon, which try and fail miserably to be about mature moral and political issues.
The last two 12 Days of Anime posts may have been about changes occurring on a personal level by how particular lifestyles unfold, but this time let’s look at some other changes that can occur during our lives that are on a grander scale. Less personal changes that still affect us happen all the time, and sometimes we really only play a small role in being able to control these things. An easy example of this would be how laws can cause these sorts of wide-scale changes, but sometimes the amount of input into preventing or supporting those particular laws can seem meaningless or futile. This can be disheartening, especially when these things can affect us so much.
Aldonoah.Zero is that sort of story. The stakes are high, changes in how the different governments view things happen frequently, and those changes have direct impact on the world at large, especially on the future of humanity.
Another episode, another reason to like this show. I have no idea how they’ll tie some of the threads between these different cases together as we’re now working our way towards the ending, but I’m enjoying the ride nonetheless.
While definitely a departure from the emotionally charged last episode, this one is just as good in what it attempts to do. Going from sadness to peppy optimism this episode, our group of spy girls attempt to stop a nerve gas assassin by going undercover in a laundry mill, blending in with the other poor girls who are tasked with washing the military’s uniforms. I have to say, every scene in this episode exudes the feelings and ideas of Rosie the Riveter, women working hard together and accomplishing great things by their own hands and effort, and the wonderful ways in which our main characters help these girls in the mill succeed and even buy out their own business to run it themselves was fantastic. The ending then nicely tied the bow by the cast commenting on how they’ve left their friends in the mill empowered and able to take care of themselves now. This is a great idea to see expressed in this show and Princess Principal never seems to drop the ball in representing some kickass female characters.
She is adorable but believe me. She is insanely kickass.
With episode 9 leaving off on the heated moment of Tanya and her armed forces launching several rockets into key Republican areas, I fully expected this episode to be the way that it was. The foreshadowing of Sioux in episode 8 and the beginning of this one heavily screamed “He’s got a bone to pick”, and I felt this whole episode was a build-up to his anticipated appearance. Earlier in the series, I wrote about the fantastic battle between Anson Sioux and Tanya in episode 7 and how it became this battle of ideological differences on war. Sioux was once a noble man, being one of few “morally good” characters we’ve had in the show. However, after his battle with Tanya, it’s obvious now that his mindset has completely changed, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that this change was brought out by Tanya.
His inevitable confrontation of Tanya was something that was bound to happen, but the way it was handled so far seems a bit hollow and empty compared to previous ones. Because of the episode attempting to build up to this key moment, there was an immense amount of focus on the incline to the climax, rather than exploring the other ideas that this show normally never hesitates to bring up. That doesn’t mean this episode didn’t have its high points though.