Hunter x Hunter: Evolution and Roses

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 post comments on the events of Hunter x Hunter’s (2011) Chimera Ant Arc. 

hunter-x-hunter-25

Meaning in language, connotative meaning especially, is not fixed. Folks possessing historical perspective are probably aware of at least a few words that, at one time, were once universally regarded with positive or neutral connotations and, at another, ended up being seen by many as negative or controversial. “Progress” is one of those words, associated as it was during the periods of Enlightenment and Modernity with those once unequivocally righteous virtues of industry and science. Industry and science have since been problematized by discoveries such as carbon footprints and nuclear energy — the stuff that could end worlds. “Evolution,” a concept related to “progress,” is another.

Hunter x Hunter (2011)’s Chimera Ant Arc  frames the concept of evolution in both its more strictly physiological and more expansively utility-driven understandings. The show then ties evolution to the traditional shounen battler theme of self-improvement. Out of this relational framework, a powerful statement about evolution is made that ends up reflecting the general ambivalence the Japanese psyche has with such a concept, much like its mixed-feelings with the word “progress.” Like the word “progress,” evolution is not a concept that should be understood as an uncritical good. For evolution — like progress, industry, and science — has the power to create and inspire… and destroy and harm.

Continue reading

Methodology, Content, and the Interconnectedness of Disciplines

Management: Final exams ended up tearing me away from working on new posts, but I didn’t want to leave the blog unattended for too long, so here’s this abridged version of a thing I had to type for my class on religion and politics you can read. It’s not about anime per se, but hopefully me laying out my epistemology to academics, the methodology and content I approach political science and other disciplines with, might be interesting.

Perhaps it might be useful approach for digesting media such as anime. Perhaps it might be useful for digesting life. I don’t know. That’s up to you. Also, it’s laying the preliminary groundwork for a piece I’m later planning to do.

It is part of the social sciences, and in a way, the discipline of political science is much a science as physics, chemistry, and biology. Political scientists are supposed to apply the scientific method. Political scientists attempt to explain how people tend to act and react whenever they respond to a particular stimuli socio-politically. When faced with a scenario characterized by specific conditions and circumstances, we attempt to observe, analyze, and illustrate how the specific conditions and circumstances a people face lead them to form, interact with, and topple the governments that they do. We study governments because of their ubiquity throughout much of human history and the impact their policies have had on human society. We formulate a hypothetical model of thought based on the results of the scenario observed. We then attempt to apply it to other scenarios similar, if not quite exact to, the original scenario.

Continue reading

A Certain Scientific Railgun: A Tale of Which True City

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 covers material from the “Level Upper” and “SisterS” arcs, found in both seasons 1 and 2 of Railgun.

A Certain Scientific Railgun 9

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. She made the best of friends. She met the worst of enemies. She fought with the best of them. She was beat by the worst of them. She saw her dreams fulfilled. She watched her aspirations shatter. She experienced elation. She experienced despair. She felt powerful. She felt powerless.

She loved. She lost.

The gleaming skyscrapers that line the urban canopies. The vandalized streets that strewn the urban dirt. Where the iconic windmills turn. Where windmills still iconic don’t. A place where aspirations come true and people become extraordinary. A place where dreams die and people struggle being ordinary. It is the fount of achievement. It is the source of resentment and exploitation.

Two sides of Academy City. Which side is the true Academy City?

Continue reading