Anime – Just for Children?

I ask for your indulgence for my intrusion on this wonderful site.

I have only recently discovered Anime, and I admit that I was reluctant at first.  I started watching on the recommendation of my friends (the other Senshi on this site).  I thought watching was a good way to re-claim my innocence and nurture my Inner Child.  Once I began watching, I found myself amazed at how deep these shows were on a metaphysical level, and I have been watching with even more interest as an adult.  I have found them extremely valuable in my studies.  

One might ask, what do animated children’s show have to offer in the study of metaphysics?  Should not one learn these important concepts through serious writers such as René Guénon or through books such as The Feminine Universe.  Should we not be studying Plato and Ptolemy to teach us these concepts?  Is that not a better way to learn metaphysics?

Miyuki finding Cinderella BookI am not suggesting replacing adult studies of these subjects with Anime, but I think that Anime provides an important supplement that teaches in a way that more cerebral studies can not.  The difficulty for Western adults is that we have been taught a doctrinally rationalist world view from early childhood.  When we study subjects such as metaphysics and astrology, we tend to do so as Modern Westerners.  We really have as much to unlearn as to learn.  There are basics that we have missed.  In learning these subjects on an adult level, we are trying to learn a language without having learned basic vocabulary and syntax.

Japan (and the East in general) did not go through the movement into rationalism that the  West did.  Of course, Western thought has found its way into the East and into Japan, but there is not hundreds (and thousands) of years of development of rationalist philosophy as there is in the West.  There are matters treated in these supposed children’s shows that confound even very learned Western scholars.

Primordial CinderellaAn example of this is contained in Episode 39 of Smile Precure.  In this episode, Miyuki-chan (Cure Happy) finds herself in the book which contains the Primordial Cinderella.  This is the Cinderella story from which all Cinderella stories are derived.

Cinderella Mishap Cure Happy (and the other girls) had to preserve the essential elements of the story: the wicked stepmother and stepsisters, the ball, dancing with the Prince, leaving at midnight, the glass slipper, and the glass slipper fitting the foot of Cinderella.  Other details of the story were changed due to interference by the Bad Enders and other mishaps.  The fact that the non-essential details of the story were changed did not cause any difficulties so long as the essential elements were preserved.

Glass SlipperOf course, having an adult understanding of these principles is good and helpful, but I also think that watching these shows helps to really reshape our thinking and to bring these concepts home on a very deep level.   They can help provide us the syntax and grammar that we did not get in a Western education.

So, please forgive me if I have introduced an overly serious element to this site.  It is perfectly good and acceptable to just watch Anime for fun.  For serious students of traditional sciences and metaphysics, however, Anime can also provide good, solid grounding in Traditional and Essentialist philosophy, which are valuable supplements for our studies.

About Cure Yasashiku

I am a student of Japanese, an astrologer and a housewife. I also knit, crochet, garden and study Swedish, Latin, and Classical Greek. My 正体 (shoutai) is Cynthia Thinnes and I write for the blog, Mormor's Backporch. はじめまして。占星術師や主婦です。趣味は編み物や庭いじりです。下手でも日本語が出来ます。スウェーデン語もラテン語も勉強しています。よろしくお願いします。

4 thoughts on “Anime – Just for Children?

  1. Westerners are taught to think about media in a way that makes no sense. They’re taught to think of the characters either as “real people,” or as “fake people” who are “better characters” the closer they are to “real people.” But in fairytales and in many anime, this isn’t how you’re supposed to interpret the characters. You’re supposed to see in essence the SAME person, repeated. The representative of a Primal Form, a Divine idea. A “god incarnate.”

    Now…I don’t precisely agree with Traditional/Essential philosophers about Darkness. It’s too consistently represented in exactly the same way to be solely an aberration or corruption of the Divine. I think it acts as a tester, or challenge to the Heart in order that it might grow and triumph over Darkness.

    But I have been long irritated by how Western thought interprets fiction, as if it were ONLY a form of escapism and nothing more. Hardly! Fiction does not instruct about the material, but the more primal spiritual condition of things.

    I have learned more from fairy stories and cute anime than I have from most things. :3

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and kind words, honored Luminas-san. Anime and fairy tales are truly wonderful, aren’t they?

      I think that words get in the way of really describing metaphysical concepts, and English is a difficult language to use for these things, because it unnecessarily forces one into boxes that are not precisely accurate. Now that I am learning Japanese, it is becoming more and more clear just how limiting English is in these matters.

      The Essentialist view on these matters is rather complex, and we know that there are parts of it we can not understand from an Unenlightened State. Yes, Evil is an aberration and a corruption of the Divine. Yes, in the end, all must return to the Divine and the Source (even Evil). There are several Precure in which this very thing happens, by the way. Yes, Evil can act as a tester or a challenge to the Heart for us to choose the Divine. Heee….it is always after the really difficult battles that the protagonists “level up,” isn’t it? I do not think that any of these ideas are opposed to each other. They are all different facets of the same idea, or at least it seems that way to me.

      Thank you again for your comment!

      1. Thank you for your quick response! 🙂 That’s a hard thing to find on the Internet. ❤

        "I think that words get in the way of really describing metaphysical concepts, and English is a difficult language to use for these things, because it unnecessarily forces one into boxes that are not precisely accurate."

        This is part of why one of my own writing peculiarities is capitalizing words like "Heart" (In order to try to convey "soul, True Self, heart, and purity" at the same time) and why "zetsubou" seems to have a couple extra meanings that are somewhat different than "despair." The English language is great for more materialistic discussion but pretty useless for metaphysics. I have to try and get a meaning out of it that doesn't exist.

        "The Essentialist view on these matters is rather complex, and we know that there are parts of it we can not understand from an Unenlightened State."

        People are always trying to isolate parts of a whole and figure out what narrow category something fits into. Me included! It is difficult to accept what seem to be sides of the same concept that contradict one another. Yet that's exactly what happens, over and over again.

        We try to reconcile what we see and justify our desire to "make it simple," yet the simplest things are also the most complex. The things I never tire of examining. :]

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful contributions, honored Luminas.

    Part of the problem with the English language stems from the way the current Western outlook thinks about language itself, what it does and what it is for.

    One of the things that unite Christianity and Atheist/materialism (apparently in opposition but fundamentally similar) is their belief in the “word”. By which I mean the idea that all things are speakable ‐ that everything can be reduced to verbal formulae.

    The Japanese language is at times apparently vague for a very fundamental reason. It inherently recognizes the limits of language itself.

    Only some things can be reduced to discursive words. The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao. That is the reason why stories are so necessary. Stories (when rooted in Truth) can tell things that cannot be paraphrased by abstract statements.

    Japanese though does manage a little better than English. Partly because it is humbler than English and does not imagine that language is all‐powerful and can express anything. It can express some things. Physical things. Things that exist in time and space. But the most important things it can only hint at.

    But if it is aware of that it can do a better job at hinting. Your own capitalization of Heart is a good example. Of course many readers would not understand what you mean by Heart as opposed to heart. In Japanese it is much simpler. The fundamental word for heart, 心 kokoro, means Heart (and all its figurative extensions). For the physical organ the more complicated and less fundamental word 心臓 shinzou is used.

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