AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > Anime Related Topics > General Anime

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2009-01-01, 17:02   Link #1
wontaek
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Planet Earth
Age: 44
Depiction of Evil in Japanese Anime

My wife has mentioned several interesting difference of background of evil and how it is handled compared to Western media or even in comparison to Chinese or Korean dramas and mangas. Before I list her observations, I would like to know what you think so I might get to hear your response before it be tainted by whatever I write.
__________________
wontaek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 17:14   Link #2
Thingle
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Imperial Manila, Philippines
In western media, people usually have some sort of power against evil. Look at dracula, people were able to kill him using knives to the chest and neck, or night of the living dead, where humans can defeat zombies. You won't see this in oriental evil. More often than not, people are helpless against evils in oriental fiction, look at mononoke or ringu. They do not defeat or kill the evil, but merely appease it.
Thingle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 17:20   Link #3
wontaek
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Planet Earth
Age: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thingle View Post
In western media, people usually have some sort of power against evil. Look at dracula, people were able to kill him using knives to the chest and neck, or night of the living dead, where humans can defeat zombies. You won't see this in oriental evil. More often than not, people are helpless against evils in oriental fiction, look at mononoke or ringu. They do not defeat or kill the evil, but merely appease it.
You immediately raised one of the point my wife has made: inability of people in Japanese animation to resist evil. I do like to point out, that in Korean manwha or Chinese drama, this isn't usally the case as characters often show much more fortitude or defiance to the evil, even though this resistance is often depicted in a cheesy way.
__________________
wontaek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 17:58   Link #4
Mushi
Hopeless Dreamer
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: On bended knee asking Belldandy to marry me
I'll venture a guess and say that in eastern stories evil is more likely to be of a spiritual nature and it often requires spiritual power or strength to overcome.
__________________
Mushi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 18:10   Link #5
Sonae
A l i c e
*Graphic Designer
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
In western media. Mostly the evil is simple to defeat and rarely needs the spilling of blood. If there is. There isn't much.
__________________
A l i v e
[.eternal. W I S H.]
Avatar by Rinmei
Sonae is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 18:17   Link #6
wontaek
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Planet Earth
Age: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mushi View Post
I'll venture a guess and say that in eastern stories evil is more likely to be of a spiritual nature and it often requires spiritual power or strength to overcome.
How about concepts of evil in society or the 'Raoh' character, a character who does evil to bring about good? This is a concept that is much in vogue in Japanese animation, much more than even nearby Korea or China. Also, I just remembered one of the experts in Korean literature saying that concept of focused spiritual evil entity became popular after introduction of Christian Theology to China and Japan during 16th century.
__________________
wontaek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 18:31   Link #7
jedinat
フリーター
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Age: 28
I don't think generalities really work here... I mean there are examples of all kinds of personifications/characteristics of evil in, I'm sure, both eastern and western media...

Evil within, evil without, evil above, evil below, no evil at all, evil everywhere... I think it best that you give your(her) take on the differences so we might comment.
jedinat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 18:39   Link #8
Thingle
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Imperial Manila, Philippines
Resident evil is Japanese btw.... hmm.
Thingle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 18:51   Link #9
wontaek
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Planet Earth
Age: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jedinat View Post
I don't think generalities really work here... I mean there are examples of all kinds of personifications/characteristics of evil in, I'm sure, both eastern and western media...

Evil within, evil without, evil above, evil below, no evil at all, evil everywhere... I think it best that you give your(her) take on the differences so we might comment.
There are exceptions in every society, but there usually is a prevailing cultural tone for a given period of time; otherwise we would have hard time discerning influence of one culture on the other. One of the things that troubles us is how often evil is justified in some way in Japanese Animation. One of question that I was eventually hope to ask was whether or not this general trend in Japanese Animation is merely a reflection of its culture which is partly responsible for the last 1,000 year of Japanese History, or is this cultural trend a way of coping with the last 500 year of history in Japan? There always is a interplay of history and cultural environment, and I was hoping to get your perspective concerning this interplay for the last 500 years of Japanese history.

Another example is how supernatural evil is defeated. In Korea and often in China, supernatural evil being usually hides itself among the human and is often forced to flee when its existence is discovered. In Japanese anime, more often than not, supernatural evil is already known to exist, and is actively be engaged in destruction of society, while in Korean and Chinese folktales, these supernatural evil beings are usually tamed or defeated by social entities like government officials and police.

An extreme example is the legend of nine-tailed fox. In one of many Korean version, other than secretly snacking on the liver and hearts of chickens, the girl/fox lives as if desiring a peaceful coexistence among her family member. When confronted about her nightly snack, she first feigns innocence, but is exposed by a traveling monk's charm, which forces her to flee. When given a chase and be pelted by stones thrown by her former family, it is at this moment she swears revenge, one she partly extract before being defeated by another charm from the traveling monk. Compare this to the Nine-tailed Fox legend depicted in Ga-Rei Zero, and I believe you can see a huge difference in many levels.
__________________

Last edited by wontaek; 2009-01-01 at 19:03.
wontaek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 19:07   Link #10
Mushi
Hopeless Dreamer
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: On bended knee asking Belldandy to marry me
Quote:
Originally Posted by wontaek View Post
How about concepts of evil in society or the 'Raoh' character, a character who does evil to bring about good?
Wouldn't Lelouch fall into that category? I've only seen season 1 of CG, so I'm just looking at that for a possible example there.

Quote:
Also, I just remembered one of the experts in Korean literature saying that concept of focused spiritual evil entity became popular after introduction of Christian Theology to China and Japan during 16th century.
That's interesting. The devil made me do it?
__________________
Mushi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 19:21   Link #11
wontaek
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Planet Earth
Age: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mushi View Post
Wouldn't Lelouch fall into that category? I've only seen season 1 of CG, so I'm just looking at that for a possible example there.


That's interesting. The devil made me do it?
Yes, Lelouch would fall into this, and to some effect, perhaps even Reinhard in Legend of Galactic Heroes. Closest example outside Japan I can think of is Darth Vader in Star Wars.

And Yes, The devil made us do it became more frequently used excuse after 16th century in Eastern Asia. In fact the concept of devil in Asia is much less refined compared to European philosophy and stories. You don't see something in par with The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis in Asia.
__________________
wontaek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 20:04   Link #12
BetoJR
D-d-don't look!!!
*Artist
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Fortaleza-CE, Brazil
Age: 37
Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by wontaek View Post
Closest example outside Japan I can think of is Darth Vader in Star Wars.
That's just so wrong I don't even know where to begin.
Darth Vader, insofar as he was acting under the guidance of Emperor Palpatine - or, more to the point, of the Dark Side of The Force - was only interested in ruling the galaxy. Not in doing evil to bring about good.
If you want to pull out an example of this behavior from the Star Wars universe, I'd suggest you look up the series of books entitled Legacy of The Force. Nine books in all - there, you'll actually get a character who tries to bring about good through (very) evil acts.

Now, as to the point of the topic: I think the concept of evil is actually somewhat universal. The proper categorizations of such concept, however, are prone to localization.
__________________
It's always a great time to immerse yourself in Deculture love!
All hail the Empress!!!

BetoJR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 20:29   Link #13
onehp
Banned
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
What is evil? I may do something rational that is seen as evil
onehp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 20:42   Link #14
jedinat
フリーター
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Age: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by wontaek View Post
There are exceptions in every society, but there usually is a prevailing cultural tone for a given period of time; otherwise we would have hard time discerning influence of one culture on the other.
I think perhaps that is a difficult thing to discern, lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wontaek View Post
One of the things that troubles us is how often evil is justified in some way in Japanese Animation. One of question that I was eventually hope to ask was whether or not this general trend in Japanese Animation is merely a reflection of its culture which is partly responsible for the last 1,000 year of Japanese History, or is this cultural trend a way of coping with the last 500 year of history in Japan?
Well you are already making a judgment call by referring to something as "evil." Take Mushishi for example. Bad things happen to people as a result of these mushi, happenings that can perhaps be seen as evil. Yet there is no conscious intent behind them; the problem arises from ignorance and the absract "rules" these creatures are subject to. They aren't apart of man's world, and can't live in the same conditions. I don't know much about Japanese folklore, but I believe this idea, the concept of the "other," is similar to themes found in medieval folklore. Fairyland where elves, fey creatures and whatnot dwell are governed by different rules. There is no conscious "evil" intent behind the calamities that can befall those who come into contact with fairyland. You either know those rules and act accordingly, or you suffer for it. Many of the Japanese folkore-heavy anime/manga if seen seem to be in line with this.
And I don't know if I've gone completely off topic or not...
jedinat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 20:44   Link #15
wontaek
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Planet Earth
Age: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetoJR View Post
That's just so wrong I don't even know where to begin.
Darth Vader, insofar as he was acting under the guidance of Emperor Palpatine - or, more to the point, of the Dark Side of The Force - was only interested in ruling the galaxy. Not in doing evil to bring about good.
If you want to pull out an example of this behavior from the Star Wars universe, I'd suggest you look up the series of books entitled Legacy of The Force. Nine books in all - there, you'll actually get a character who tries to bring about good through (very) evil acts.

Now, as to the point of the topic: I think the concept of evil is actually somewhat universal. The proper categorizations of such concept, however, are prone to localization.
I stand corrected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onehp View Post
What is evil? I may do something rational that is seen as evil
This is a good question. The answer to this tends to be different from one culture to the other, and may even be different within culture, if it consists of several distinguishable parts. The question I like to ask is what does Japanese animation usually perceive as evil, how they portray it, and perhaps most importantly, how does it evolve as something that seemed evil may evolve into something not, while something that is good may evolve into something that is evil.
__________________
wontaek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 20:52   Link #16
wontaek
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Planet Earth
Age: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jedinat View Post
I think perhaps that is a difficult thing to discern, lol.

Well you are already making a judgment call by referring to something as "evil." Take Mushishi for example. Bad things happen to people as a result of these mushi, happenings that can perhaps be seen as evil. Yet there is no conscious intent behind them; the problem arises from ignorance and the absract "rules" these creatures are subject to. They aren't apart of man's world, and can't live in the same conditions. I don't know much about Japanese folklore, but I believe this idea, the concept of the "other," is similar to themes found in medieval folklore. Fairyland where elves, fey creatures and whatnot dwell are governed by different rules. There is no conscious "evil" intent behind the calamities that can befall those who come into contact with fairyland. You either know those rules and act accordingly, or you suffer for it. Many of the Japanese folkore-heavy anime/manga if seen seem to be in line with this.
And I don't know if I've gone completely off topic or not...
This is relevant as it goes to core of what a society might call as evil and how it can be accepted. Of course, evil is a over generalization of many things, which requires case by case treatment, but there are some themes more common in Japanese Animation compared to nearby cultures, and this may be is due to many things, which include history and well known works of literature.
__________________
wontaek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 21:27   Link #17
Mushi
Hopeless Dreamer
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: On bended knee asking Belldandy to marry me
Quote:
Originally Posted by wontaek View Post
...and perhaps most importantly, how does it evolve as something that seemed evil may evolve into something not....
Suigintou of Rozen Maiden comes to mind. Perhaps Hecate in Shakugan no Shana, as well? The evolution of that usually involves interaction and influence from something that is "good"... usually seen as unselfish and concerned about the well being of another or the many. Megu and Yuuji in those two examples.

I consider evil, in it's most basic form, to be that which willfully causes destruction and suffering for selfish gain.
__________________
Mushi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 21:44   Link #18
Ash Falls Town
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Adelaide
Age: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by wontaek View Post
There are exceptions in every society, but there usually is a prevailing cultural tone for a given period of time; otherwise we would have hard time discerning influence of one culture on the other. One of the things that troubles us is how often evil is justified in some way in Japanese Animation.
While there might be sinister motives in some works I believe this is mainly evident because it is interesting. Take Princess Tutu, we have the Raven, Herr Drosselmeyer, Princess Kraehe and various others. Out of all these villains the least interesting is probably the Raven ie. the pure evil one. Herr Drosselmeyer is interesting however because he isn't pure evil, he is evil but also crazy and obsessed. In this case we find out why he turned evil but it's never really used as justification for his actions just an explanation.

Kraehe on the other hand does get her evil justified through parental abuse and jealousy. Now she is probably a troubling character to you, the show would still be interesting if she was mercilessly killed in episode 13 (It wouldn't be as long admittedly). So why does she get a chance at redemption? In my opinion it's 1) to demonstrate a greater evil (The Raven or more obliquely parental abuse) and 2) to demonstrate that people even things like love can cause evil acts and 3) to demonstrate that redemption can be possible.

So I don't think it is a big conspiracy caused by the collective guilt of the Japanese people. It's just interesting. Of course things like Pretty Cure can get away with irredeemable pure evil characters and still be interesting by virtue of humour and the characterization of the protagonists but even then it tends to get over looked by fandom.
Ash Falls Town is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 22:29   Link #19
C.A.
Absolute Haruhist!
*Artist
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Age: 27
I'll just throw out something before I go to sleep.

In the west I believe, is said that the good truimphs over evil, mostly comes from teachings of Christianity.

In the east, good and evil must exist in a balance, all things have a Ying and Yang. For good to exist, there must be evil and so forth. You don't 'defeat' evil, you put the balance of good and evil back into place.
__________________
No longer a NEET so I'll not be online as often.
Ignore gender and kick sexuality to the curb!
I'm a big mecha fan, who keeps playing the SRW series.
When I say 'My god...', god refers to Haruhi-sama.

My art album updated 11th May 2013, Science.
Deviant Art: http://ca0001.deviantart.com/
C.A. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-01, 22:40   Link #20
Sonae
A l i c e
*Graphic Designer
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mushi View Post
Wouldn't Lelouch fall into that category? I've only seen season 1 of CG, so I'm just looking at that for a possible example there.
Not as much in the first season as R2, but that's actually somewhat of a quote of his

"I will commit evil to destroy the greater evil"
__________________
A l i v e
[.eternal. W I S H.]
Avatar by Rinmei
Sonae is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:19.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
We use Silk.