Girls und Panzer and Stella Women’s Academy: High School Division Class C3: The Moe-Military Anti-War Complex and The Death of the Engineer

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.

Girls und Panzer 1

So I was having a chat with Frog-kun one day about politics in anime. The conversation ended up veering away from Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There and towards the question of military moe, how both this kind of show and that kind of moe is the cultural product of, maybe, a growing sense of nationalism in Japan. For the longest time since the end of WWII, there was this disconnect between many Japanese leaders and much of the Japanese public over the question of revising/repealing Article 9. Imposed on Japan by the US during the American Occupation, Article 9 is a provision in the Japanese Constitution that effectively prevented Japan from waging wars of aggression ever again. For the most part, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the party dominating politics for the better part of the post-WWII era,  favored Article 9’s revision or repeal. The public,  in keeping with memories of the horrors of war on their homeland, for the most part favored keeping Article 9 as is. The leadership featured a continuity of wartime leaders who wanted to normalize the country (starting with its military).

C3-bu 2

It’s been many decades since the end of WWII, and emerging from the intervening period of a belligerent past and the peaceful present is a budding subculture of military history and military hardware enthusiasts. They love guns and fawn over tanks. Is this enthusiasm by these Japanese enthusiasts for things military evidence that the Japanese public is becoming cooler to their previous pacifism? Is military moe evidence of this trend? I can’t answer the first question, but I can provide a response to the second. I will do that by analyzing the following moe military shows, Girls und Panzer and Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3 (henceforth, C3-bu).

Military Moe

Are Girls und Panzer and C3-bu examples of moe military promoting military revival? Just the opposite.

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Terror in Resonance: Voices Beyond Violence

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. This essay is meant to take the place of a previous review on the show.

Terror in Resonance 1

I want to address a rather easy prejudice people end up giving in to: Terror in Resonance is about terrorism. No, Terror in Resonance is about the terrorists. It was about empathizing with the two terrorists of the show. Well, I suppose now it’s a bit reductive to fully separate “terrorism” from “terrorists,” not least because both terms have “terror” in their names. I’ll concede that show is parts “terrorists” and “terrorism.” What I do want to divorce from the conversation is the inordinate attention people pay towards the morality of terrorism. Should terrorists deserve our empathy when, to us, they show none for their victims? Many, if not most, of these victims are “innocent people,” innocent people insofar as they have no direct connection to the causes they are committing terrorism for. Many terrorists know they are targeting “innocent people.”

Well, now we’re talking about the morality of terrorism. Conflating the motivations of one particularly amoral terrorist with the motivations of all terrorists is problematic. It’s just as dehumanizing to the terrorists as to the people they terrorize. And yet, this kind of oversimplified heuristic still operates on a public level. Terrorists are people. The people who are inspired to terrorism are people. The people who are vulnerable to becoming terrorists are people. Most terrorism doesn’t happen spontaneously because most terrorists don’t decide to become terrorists spontaneously. This drive to terrorism comes from somewhere on the lines of freedom and faith, somewhere filled with grievance and resent. It comes from somewhere human.

Nine and Twelve are human.

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Uncivilized Fish Eyes | An Original Story

Management: Here’s the result of trying to come up with a flash fiction using (and taking some liberties) the key words or phrases “hiking across Europe,” “fish eyes,” “crows,” “breathing loudly while eating,” and “facedown on a desk,” in about 10 minutes during a creative writing session of English Practicum. In a nutshell, I made a funny. I decided that I might as well post what I came up with and have people praise, heckle, and/or criticize me for it. Feel free to provide feedback, and please enjoy.

You may think that hiking across a continent like Europe, the food available would be relatively civilized fare to the a civilized American. Europe’s a developed, metropolitan, civilized place that serves hamburgers, spaghetti, and country fried steak: German-American, Italian-American, and American-American… civilized fare like that. But then this civilized American sits in a European-American seaside restaurant, and, thinking it would be civilized, orders the waiter to get the special.

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Humanity Has Declined: Monuments to Hubris

Management: While my opinion of the show is positive overall (broken records all around), 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, is a breakdown of Episode 9 of Humanity Has Declined, “The Fairy’s Survival Skills.”

Humanity Has Declined 7

Monuments to Humanity

On the surface, Humanity Has Declined is a rather wacky, individual two-parter arc to singular episode based series employing a plethora of absurd scenarios and characters to carry attention and interest. The absurd’s certainly entertaining in its own right if executed with enough consistent finesse, but that’s definitely not the show’s end all, be all. Those moments are referencing something, satirizing something. Satire uses the oft ridiculous, but always the comic and sometimes even the surreal to make a critical statement about something or someone. Individuals who are otherwise dismissive of critical statements would find more palatable and receptive under a comedic framework. The creative angles afforded by a comedic framework may likewise encourage individuals consider issues in different lights.

What Humanity Has Declined is satirizing is humanity, and one of the human things Episode 9 of Humanity Has Declined, “The Fairy’s Survival Skills,” is satirizing is exceptionalism.

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