AKB0048: Work, Play, and Life Fulfilled

Management:  While my opinion of the show is generally positive overall, this essay, by no means, is meant to serve as a comprehensive review, but rather, as an articulation and analysis of some of what I feel is this series’ most integral and interesting themes.

AKB0048 1

Idols doing battle in space. It’s not as though this eccentric premise is especially unheard of in anime history (See: Macross). However, its eccentricity seemed to demand something thorough explication of its setting’s cosmology. I demanded one, anyway. The show’s backdrop is one of conflict between the forces of play and the forces of work. At the vanguard of the forces of play is the idol battle group, AKB0048. The armed guard of the forces of work are the Destroy Entertainment Soldiers, DES.

While the audience during the show was treated to insider information  about the motivations of the idols and the mission of idols’ organization, the DES was treated, more or less, as this large, amorphous, and ambiguous force that sought to destroy singing and dancing and idols and entertainment. Why? Because EVIL? Because the show treated them as clear EVIL,  AKB0048’s mission would be seen all the more as GOOD, because the alternative is EVIL? Is play all good then, and work all bad? Musing on the show more, I would say the answer is neither.

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One Punch Man and Paranoia Agent: Between Histrionics and Heroics

Management: While my opinion of the show is generally positive overall, this essay, by no means, is meant to serve as a comprehensive review, but rather, as an articulation and analysis of some of what I feel is this series’ most integral and interesting themes. The essay references One Punch Man’s Episode 8, “The Deep Sea King,” and Episode 9, “Unyielding Justice,” as well as Paranoia Agent’s Episode 11, “No Entry” and events from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Speaking of Paranoia Agent, the essay also borrows from musings I’ve written on Paranoia Agent before, linked here.

One Punch Man 10

What makes a hero? A flurry of inquiries comes to mind related to the aforementioned question. What makes strength? Do heroes have to be strong? If they do, what kind of strength or strengths should they possess? In the context of a show like One Punch Man, or perhaps any media or literature that prominently feature superheroes, we may be tempted to say that heroes have to be strong, and that superhero strength has to be of some destructive kind. But are these assumptions true? Perhaps there’s a distinction between superheroes and heroes? And if there is a difference, are heroes the lesser in value for not being all super?

A look at One Punch Man, Episode 8, “The Deep Sea King,” and Episode 9, “Unyielding Justice,” asks these questions. While these questions were mouthed a bit on the nose, they certainly had me thinking of a post I wrote a while back on Paranoia Agent, Episode 11, “No Entry.” I staked a less obvious definition of strength then, of what it means to be strong, and who the strongest person was in that show. For this piece, I want to expand on that definition.

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