Anime Heroes Make Poor Role Models Part 1
First and foremost, if you are reading this and you watch more than two hours of anime a week, stop doing that. It will get you nowhere fast. I could say the same thing about world of warcraft and any other MMORPG, and if I were discussing those right now I would.
Japan has a problem; people there aren’t reproducing enough. Like any problem that involves 120 million people the causes for this problem are complex. Maybe the problem is with the women. Maybe it’s with the men. Probably both. Because this site tells the story of men we’ll focus on the men.
One of the biggest problems relates to “otaku,” Japanese anime nerds. They are anti-social and isolationist. When they do socialize they lack basic social skills. Women have no interest in them even if they have interest in having children and being good wives.
It is impossible to know just how many otaku there are in Japan but an exact number is irrelevant. If Japanese boys grow up and learn masculine lessons from male characters in anime they are going to have trouble socializing no matter the extent of their watching habits.
This is why in 2010 the governor of Tokyo signed in to a law a bill that allows the government to restrict manga and anime with certain characteristics (i.e. too sexual, tales of incest) from being distributed.
There are many types of anime, not all of them bad. But you should be skeptic of spending too much time watching them and emulating almost any of the characters portrayed in these shows.
Here are five reasons why.
For the purposes of simplicity we will stick with one anime example, Attack on Titan. Not only is it very popular, it also demonstrates well the tropes common to anime characters that are damaging if emulated in real life. Understand that these tropes are common. There are many more examples of anime that portray men and women in these ways.
Males Are Often Outclassed Physically By Females
Many of the male heroes, especially in the more fantastic settings, fight evil along side girls or women. Often these men are outclassed physically by these women.
Now, in real life an overwhelming majority of men could, if they tried, physically overwhelm a vast majority of women. This is why we have laws protecting the weak from the strong. What’s to stop a man from taking what we wants from a woman by force? Only the threat of lawful punishment or the threat of a physical confrontation from another man on the woman’s behalf.
Sure some women could mop the floor with some men.
But those are exceptions to the rule. All things being equal a man through his biology will be much stronger than a woman.
This is not the case in anime.
Take Attack on Titan for example. The protagonist Eren, joins the army with his sister to kill titan monsters. Eren has the heart for it, but his sister has all the skills. She kills better than any of the men of her generation. And despite almost never expressing her hatred and determination to kill these monsters, as Eren does, she kills them better than almost anyone.
Not only is Eren outclassed by his sister, he is outclassed by another girl similarly aged named Annie. She mops the floor with him in hand-to-hand combat.
Later in the series, when both Eren and Annie have turned in to titan monsters (Eren being a good monster and Annie being an evil monster), Annie continues to dominate Eren.
Eren is the protagonist. He had dedicated his life to killing evil. Yet he is so easily molly-whopped by girls/women that it’s embarrassing. Not only is this unreal, it sends the message to men that women are more fearsome than they are.
In Anime, Strength Comes From Emotional Intensity
Attack on Titan is a gruesome, gory show. It depicts people being eaten alive by humanoid titan monsters. The characters that witness the destruction experience intense emotions as a result of what they have seen. This is especially true of Eren.
Eren gets so emotional that it somehow makes him transform in to a titan himself. As a titan he is driven like a rabbid, unstoppable animal to kill titan monsters. He is so powerful and driven that he easily defeats all of the titans, except Annie, who can transform in to a titan at will.
How Eren can transform in to a titan is a mystery. It is discovered that for him to transform his blood must come out of his body in some way. So what does he do when his emotions start stirring? He bites his finger until blood flows.
He only does this when he is in a state of extreme emotional duress.
There is no doubt that when a man’s emotions are focused and intense he can do incredible things. But does he gain more strength because of his emotions? Of course not.
Strength and skills are grown through rigorous training and experience. Through years of diligent effort and focus. Even those with a gifted, possibly innate ability to do something well only master that skill after years of hard work.
Mozart was composing symphonies at age six. He didn’t get any good at it until he was 18.
Emotions can provide great motivation. But they are not the source of strength or skill. They can even be a detriment to a man’s motivation. In real life intense emotions are as likely to cripple a man or cloud his judgment as they are too bring out his inner strength.
A man should take a more tempered approach to things when possible. Let emotions motivate you to hit the gym, the training room, the guitar, the practice pad, the books, etc… and hit them hard. And finally, when you have sufficient strength and skills to accomplish a task, let the emotions drive you in to deliberate action.
Part 2 will be published next week. Stay up to date by entering your email in the box to the right.