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Old 2009-01-29, 17:16   Link #1
Guernsey
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Animated Heroism

When I was a kid, I used to enjoy heroes and villains because no matter what happens the good guys always win and the bad guys always lose as according to the Judeo Christian western culture Good always trimuph over evil but now that I am an adult, I learn that there are no real "villains" in life and everyone changes constantly. I know I should be seeking wisdom from TV shows but I had sought after wisdom from other people and I learned that no one does any bad and that in their world they are always "right" unless proven "wrong".

I just want to ask how the West, East and anywhere else view their heroes whether in anime, tv shows or real life? What do they expect their heroes to be and when they "fail" to meet such expectations they are automatically called "wimps", "emos, or "pussies"? I do not expect my heroes to any thing less than human as I know that they are human and are not perfect but still when they fail to meet certain standards, I somehow get mad. I learned not to expect too much or too little of anything or even at all but still I want to know how other cultures, society and people view their heroes.
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Old 2009-01-29, 19:08   Link #2
Shadow Kira01
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Due to different cultural perspectives, it is actually difficult to define the meaning of "hero". Supposedly, if an individual sacrifices his/her life to save another person either from the train tracks (accidental slipping) or drowning would be considered as a "hero". However, in most situation. The "hero is usually the one who dies early" as opposed to the concept of which the "hero always win and never dies". On the contrary, this isn't always the case.

Examples of heroes in anime:

Asu no Yoichi!
Ayakashi
Blassreiter
Code Geass
Death Note
Kekkaishi
Kurogane no Linebarrels
Prism Ark
Shounen Onmyouji
Star Ocean EX
Tales of the Abyss
Tokyo Majin Gakuen
Tokyo Underground

There is almost no such thing as a "hero" in anime. After all, the whole concept of "hero" is unrealistic itself. More over, the term "hero" was frequently used by the Western military as a method of propaganda to recruit new soldiers. Thus, these examples are nowhere near the Western definition of "hero".
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Old 2009-01-30, 02:22   Link #3
SkyLight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow Minato View Post
There is almost no such thing as a "hero" in anime. After all, the whole concept of "hero" is unrealistic itself. More over, the term "hero" was frequently used by the Western military as a method of propaganda to recruit new soldiers. Thus, these examples are nowhere near the Western definition of "hero".
I have to agree on you on this part. And the last link is nothing btw no biography :/
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Old 2009-01-30, 11:45   Link #4
TinyRedLeaf
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Your question may be slightly different, but its answers are roughly the same as those discussed in this thread: Depiction of evil in Japanese anime.

If you focus on anime alone, it's difficult to generalise what fans expect, because anime covers a broad spectrum of genres. Fans of shounen action series such as Dragonball, Inuyasha, Naruto and Bleach tend to expect heroes with superhuman abilities. They might have some human traits, but still, no one seriously doubts that they would emerge victorious from every battle. At most, all it takes is for them to "level up" or discover some new trick or magic spell, and then they'd be back to their usual business of bashing hapless, "evil" enemies.

Then, you have seinen series such as Berserk, Black Lagoon and Kurozuka, where anti-heroes are much more the norm. I'm not so sure how to classify Death Note, but that's clearly another phenomenally popular series that features a decidedly "non-good" hero.

So, it's clear that — just like any other form of media entertainment — an anime fan, be he a Westerner or Easterner, gets to choose his own poison. There is no marked difference in heroic expectations, regardless of which part of the world you're from.

But when you broaden the discussion to include perceptions and expectations of real-life heroes, the discussion becomes more interesting, because you'd essentially be comparing ethical standards, which do differ from society to society.
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Old 2009-01-30, 12:08   Link #5
C.A.
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Anime that depicts heros do exist. In Japanese, hero = yuusha(which literally means a brave person), and there was an entire series of super robots called the 'Yuusha' series. And the crowning the series is Yuusha Ou Gaogaigar, literally King of Braves/Heroes Gaogaigar.

And Gaogaigar is probably the only show I've watched that I felt that the characters are truly heroic. The theme of the show is courage.

On the surface its a very generic secret organisation fighting against invading aliens. But when it demonstrates heroism and courage in such simple but deep ways that not just kids can understand, but even adults feel greatly inspired, you know the show is sincere in its message.

Even though the show is a good vs evil story, it tells you that its not defeating evil that makes you a hero, saving and protecting others is what makes you a hero. When something stands before you and the safety and lives of others, what you need is courage to bring salvation. It has a really simple message but displayed in awe inspiring ways.

The heroes don't win all the time, heroes do fall. But when they fall, they don't give up, because there are others who require their courage. And if your hero is not around to save you, you have to bring out your own courage to save yourself.

The message from Gaogaigar is very simple, but not all that easy to put in words. You just have to watch it yourself to know why this is one of the best mecha anime ever.
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