Re: Zero – Starting Life in Another World-: The Star of Kararagi, and the Race for Capital

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.

Re Zero 8

Of the numerous tangential things an anime could inspire me to write something extensive, Re: Zero’s possible showcase of environmental storytelling is one thing that has. I don’t know whether or not the creator of Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World- actually intended to comment on this obscure point of political economy theory in his narrative, but hell. As much as it may irk the political leftists I know online, I’m not going to pass up the excuse for talking about a positive about capitalism and meritocracies, by extension.

It’s a theoretical positive, mind you. I’m fully cognizant of the blurring that tends to occur between free markets and free-for-all markets in the absence of government regulation. To quote Alexander Hamilton, men are not angels. To quote myself, men  don’t always act as rational actors. The people who’ve first acquire a disproportionate amount of power to distort the market and media to suit their own profit and prejudice. They can engage in monopolistic practices to crowd out competition from small business outsiders in the workforce by threatening price wars, and set up normative barriers to crowd out competition from minority outsiders in the workplace by enabling the continued propagation of toxic stereotypes. I’ve already spent some time and type making the case for Railgun’s critical attitude towards meritocracies in practice. So in using a narrative element of Re: Zero as a springboard, I want to talk about how capitalism (via the precursor merchant form of it in this medieval fantasy) was theorized to function in the ideal. And it starts with the Fang of Steel, Anastasia Hoshin’s merry band of demihuman mercenaries.

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Spice and Wolf and Maoyuu Maou Yuusha: Politics to Economics

Economics to Politics

Management: While my opinion of the show is 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. This essay, in particular, takes from Episodes 8-10 of Spice and Wolf and Episode 1 of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha.

Spice and Wolf 4

Calculus courses and statistical computations don’t come easily on me, and you can’t pay me enough to retake another year on physics. Needless to say, I’ve never been big on math, and one of the reasons I prefer studying the social sciences is because of my admittedly petty aversion to number crunching. I prefer studying the humanities partly because I loathe numbers. I had a dream once where I was attacked by numbers.

It seems somewhat contradictory then that I invested all this time learning about the breath and depth of political science if a major, if not the major component understanding political science is understanding economics. Economics, after all, is typically characterized by myriad accounts of large and every changing numbers lining across stock market monitors.

I’m admittedly apprehensive of the complicated numerical calculations I may inevitably have to force myself to rote and, eventually, cognitive memory, but understanding the fundamental waves of economic currents doesn’t actually require a complicated understanding of numbers. I mean, economics use numbers, but they’re only important for general comprehension in so far as they demarcate the relative values of concepts such as the magnitudes of rates of flow in trade, the concentrations of disparities in assets, and the prices of goods and services for examination. From these comparative studies, we get headings and directions, trends and patterns that, boiled down, are often ultimately the result of politics.

The variety in anime has produced two good examples that demonstrate the interconnectedness of politics and economics: Spice and Wolf and Maoyuu Maou Yuusha.

Though not strictly defined by numbers, some economics concepts need some explanation. Economics can be roughly divided into two general fields: microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics deals with the localized environment of economics, the behavior of individuals and organizations in reaction to events that perpetuate or challenge the status quo of the local market. Macroeconomics deals with the overall environment of economics, the trends and patterns of economic activity derived from the sum of microeconomic transactions.

Within both of these fields, economics, including in both Spice and Wolf and Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, is generally dictated by two basic principles: supply and demand and the rational actor model. Individuals and organizations react to periods of stability or fluctuations of instability in the supply of goods and services from suppliers, and the demand of goods and services from consumers. Reactions are based on the paradigm of a rational actor. In the marketplace, suppliers and consumers are generally benefit heavy and cost averse in terms of profit, the most net gain of money or capital for the supplier, and the least net loss in both money and quality for the consumer.

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Of Political Dimensions: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha and the Factors of Liberalism

Management: While my overall opinion of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, is fairly positive, this essay is, by no means, meant to be a comprehensive review. It is rather an articulation and analysis of what I feel are its most integral and interesting themes. It touches on the actions and ideas of some key modern and postmodern political revolutionaries, but their beliefs, by no means, are meant to be completely representative of mine.

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Here are several ideas that Maoyuu Maou Yuusha brought up that interested me enough to jot them down in a somewhat organized essay form.

Freedom

“I… as one who has a soul like your own, I have something I must tell you. I was… I was born as a serf. I was the third of seven siblings.”

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha began its airing by utilizing a not too uncommon fantasy trope: a human hero and a demon king facing each other in a pitched battle that would decide the fate of the world. The Human Hero would win, and the Demon King’s forces would crawl back into their hole, disappear into thin air, surrender unconditionally, or all drop dead. The Demon King’s war would be over, peace and prosperity would return, and happily ever after.

Shortly after its introduction, the trope was then subverted though inquires challenging its premise. Why demons weren’t simply evil, why war wouldn’t simply end, and soon enough, the show became an overarching study on the whys of conflict. Truth be told, beneath its fantastical exterior, the show is a narrative chronicle of history. History? Why, the history of revolution. A revolution of liberation from what was effectively feudal, a feudalism of landed noble lords and landless serf peasants, to what’s effectively more egalitarian. More… liberal.

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