Proselytizing in anime and media
I would have to say that this post will be my coup de grace to my consistent blogging, because class (sadly) starts tomorrow for me. This post may be longer than the 800 words I have hovered around with these past posts – kindly allow me this deviance.
I was actually searching for Neliel pictures but they are in short supply :<
Because of Totali‘s recent participation with this blog, I have come to appreciate his way of writing about series I like. I opened his full blogroll recently, however, and his description of my site was that I do not write about anime.
On a lingual basis, I would agree – I do not write about anime, but rather on it. I myself cannot describe it well, but it would suffice to say that I do not write about specific or certain series, but about the medium of anime itself in relation to the other medium that pervade us. I guess this post would be another one of those posts that will exemplify what I mean.
That lady on the right (yes, that one with those big breasts) is the only reason why I am once again reading Bleach
After reading the division I found pertinent on that book of advertising I mentioned on a previous post, I tried reading a book on H. P. Blavatsky. In case one does not know, and does not want to search, Miss Blavatsky was among the founders of the Theosophical Society. I tried reading the book expecting an explanation about what theosophy was; instead, I got a lot of allusions to obscure religions as well as use of words not even found in the English dictionary! (What the hell does akashic mean? I know of Akasha as a hero in DotA, but the closest assumption I have is that maybe it is the adjective form of akasha, which is ether in Sanskrit. Perhaps it is synonymous to ethereal, but I am not sure.)
I really tried plodding through the tome, and the frustration has arrived at the point that I was wondering whether I was merely dumb or that the book was impenetrable for one unaccustomed to theosophy’s basic ideas. I guess the Wikipedia entry would more than suffice for those more curious than me, but going back to topic, I asked a friend who was also knowledgeable in books. He had exactly the same opinion as I had. The book was full of knowledge, but the author assumed that everyone was already familiar with theosophy, which was untrue. In the final analysis, it became more of a proselytizing than anything comprehensible. How will we understand what is spoken of when we do not understand the words that make up that which is spoken?
I guess this is the same problem with Lions for Lambs. It is a new movie, and it started airing on theaters about three days ago. Critics bombed it, and despite the fact that it has not yet aired here in the Philippines I have obtained it (through the usual conduits). It has a star-studded cast: it has Robert Redford, a veteran actor who has time and again proven himself in great movies; it has Meryl Streep, who if I remember correctly was nominated the most in the Oscars, and it has Tom Cruise.
Yet despite this, the movie simply flops. It flops from most critics’ point of view, and it flops from my point of view as well. It was arguably the longest hour and a half of movie watching I have had endured. Like the book of Blavatsky, it assumed (and this is their fatal error) of the viewer or observer having full knowledge of the matter at hand. It did not show by example, and thus, in the end, it merely proselytized.
Those that cannot do, teach. I guess this is the failure of both examples mentioned. They equate teaching with doing, which are two very different things. In the end, they both leave the viewer unsatisfied and discontented.
This is not, however, the end. To top it all off, and to relate all of these to anime, let us mention another quintessential example of proselytizing: Ergo Proxy.
I assume most of serious anime viewers have heard of this show or have watched it. And why would not one? Like Lions for Lambs, it was star-studded. From Dai Sato to manglobe, it had everything in terms of technical excellence to produce one of the best anime series that could ever have been produced.
Why had it failed?
It was because there was too much dialogue. There was too much talking; there was no action. There was too much proselytizing, without anything even happening. Even I, once a strong fanboy for that series (because of Rei), had given up because it became nonsensical. Beautiful women may sustain me for some time with regard to anime series, but in the end it is still the story that grabs me and enchants me. The story is still the singular factor to make me appreciate and forge through a series until it finishes. I found almost nil in Ergo Proxy.
Media in general is not one-dimensional. Other than the philosophical treatises of Plato and Socrates of olden times, it does not merely deal with dialogue, or focus on proscenium dialectics: its focus is not only what is said. It is dynamic and more importantly involving: rather than teaching, it shows by example. It drags one in, not pushes one out. This was primarily the problems that plagued the different examples mentioned because the observer is not merely an onlooker – he is the scene and within the scene himself. He is the stage. He is not merely a student being spoon-fed by the teacher: he is the ubiquitous observer and judge.
P. S. In the end, I still hovered close to 800 words. I guess the robust lessons by our great English teacher have really inculcated themselves within me. Say more in less, he says, and I have always tried to write within 800 words. I guess it is second nature to me now.