Tag Archives: Anime

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.  For a description of these changes, please see the article I wrote (in my civilian identity) here.   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 philosohy, which are valuable supplements for our studies.

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“Guilty Pleasures” and Conscience-Inversion

Suite Precure - too true to be good?
Suite Precure – too true to be good?

A friend was recently telling me about how many review sites for the kind of anime we watch complain that they are “unrealistically good” or that the conflict between characters is based on misunderstandings and not “real conflict”. The latter remark was made in the case of Suite Precure.

Many of the same people refer to Magical Girl anime as a “guilty pleasure” because they see them as vacuous largely because they are “too good”, lack “real conflict” between the good people and operate in terms of good vs evil.

Now actually, as we try to show here, the values of the best magical girl anime are actually metaphysically quite deep. Much deeper than the average adult Western movie. Suite Precure, to take an example, has a theme of music. Music is metaphysically symbolic of the cosmic harmony, of which human harmony is one part. Therefore it is natural that the show should explore the themes of discord vs. harmony. And because (unlike post-modern culture of the Western petty-intelligentsia) its values are not inverted, it is naturally on the side of harmony.

To the inverted pop-Western sensibility, harmony and goodness are naïve and therefore enjoying anything insufficiently “dark” is a “guilty pleasure”.

Interestingly (although I do not claim to have read a lot of this kind of Western chatter), this is the only way I have ever heard the term “guilty pleasure” used. It appears to mean that something is “too decent”, and therefore the writer is ashamed of liking it.

As such “guilty pleasure” seems to be almost a technical term of conscience-inversion: that process by which modern Western pop-society makes people proud of their worst instincts and ashamed of their best ones.

I am interested to know, am I correct about this? Is this how the term “guilty pleasure” is generally used? Do pop a comment below!

Is Your Innocence Lost Forever?

Is the age of innocence lost?
Is the age of innocence lost?

Is innocence actually possible? Once we grow up, have we outgrown innocence because we know “reality”? Is everything we do to recreate innocence false and foolish? That is what the world will try to tell you. And we are here to tell you why that is so wrong.

To a lot of Western people innocence = ignorance. We are only innocent because we don’t know or haven’t experienced what they like to call “real life”.

From this view a lot of other things follow, so it is important for us to understand what innocence actually is.

What are the things that follow from the innocence = ignorance equation? Let’s look at some of them.

• If innocence = ignorance, then once we “know” it is gone. It cannot be recovered.

Therefore:

• If we do “know” then any attempt at innocence is false.

Therefore:

• People cultivating an innocent style and enjoying innocent things are

either:

• Deceiving other people and putting up a false front.

or:

• Deceiving themselves and imagining they can return to a more childlike state when in fact their knowledge of “reality” has trapped them forever in non-innocence (or, to use the terms of those who dislike innocence “given them a realistic view of the world”).

This view of innocence as ignorance is deeply embedded in the modern Western view of the world. It accounts for a lot of the cynicism that we see engrained in the entire current western culture.

What is the answer to this?

Well let us begin by asking, what is this “reality” that the West is so proud of.

On the surface it consists of two things.

1. A belief (founded on the “Freudian revolution” of the early 20th century) that “sex” is central to the human psychological condition.

2. A belief that the world is inherently hostile and therefore we have to be constantly on our guard.

However these two already-dubious assertions have become largely excuses for something else. That something else is what the Narnia-professor, C.S. Lewis called the “Saturnian” culture of the 20th century. An attraction to things that are dark and negative.

Let us take just a few things at random. An acquaintance started a beautiful fashion boutique, and named it “The Dubious Armoire”. A blogger presents absolutely beautiful anime-inspired wallpapers and wonderful information on Japanese language, and calls it “The Jaded Network”. A reasonably charming Lolita site contains an implied swear-word in its title.

dark-and-gritty
We’ll turn the world to darkness!
Anime villainy or standard modern culture?

If these were isolated instances, they would not be important. But you, dear reader, know they are not. You know that it is almost compulsory to include a “negative” or “dark” element in anything that aspires to be beautiful or bright. An art network full of lovely things must be called “Deviant Art”. This cynicism, this belief that anything beautiful must also be “warped”, “twisted” etc. is deeply embedded in popular culture.

Now compare this with Japanese names for places where we may find beautiful things. “Angelic Pretty”, “Fairy Wish”.

Now here is the fundamental point: Which of these two sets of attitudes is natural? What does a normal, healthy person want? Does she want happiness or does she prefer sadness? Does she want things to be pure and good, or does she want them to be warped and “deviant”? Does she want Light, or does she want Darkness?

I think once we put it this way, the answer is clear. The pure, open, innocent happy things are what we naturally want. The yearning for darkness and twistedness is not natural to us. It is something we learn, and it is wrong. Really it is as simple as that.

So – it is true that once we learn to like nasty things, our innocence is gone, and to that degree, innocence = ignorance.

BUT, here is the point: Innocence does not equal ignorance of truth. It equals ignorance of certain falsehoods. If the opposite of innocence were the truth then innocence would be lost. In order to keep innocence we would have to deny the truth. So we would either be deceiving others or deceiving ourselves.

But what if the “knowledge” that denies innocence is a lie? What if innocence is natural and true – the simple longing for what is good and light and pure? What if cynicism is just the willful embrace of darkness?

the-trap

In that case, “knowledge” does not destroy innocence. Because we can know the lie as much as we are forced to. But we do not believe it. Only if the lie were true would knowledge destroy innocence.

So are we saying that modern western popular culture is based on a lie? To a large extent, yes, we are. The pursuit of darkness, selfishness, “sex” and coarseness are deeply ingrained in much of the culture. And this is not natural, it is not right and it does not represent any kind of truth.

In seeking innocence, happiness and beauty, we are seeking the things a person naturally wants. The right and true things. And in doing so we find a deeply cynical and unnatural culture opposed to us. That is why we call ourselves musume senshi. Because in order to be innocent and pure one has to have at least a little of the heroic warrior spirit.

When we see magical girls in anime, sometimes we may think it a bit odd that there are always these cackling villains with plans to take over the world and turn it into a dark place – to make the heart-flowers wilt, to drain everyone of her energy etc. It may seem like a rather awkward plot-device. But actually it is rooted deeply in the nature of things. Wherever there is light, darkness will oppose it. If we want to be good and pure, there will be cackling villains telling us that only darkness and coarseness and “twistedness” are real.

We do not have to go out and defeat those villains. But we do have to do something that requires courage and fortitude. We have to defeat them in our hearts.

And if we do that, then we can regain our innocence with absolute authenticity, however much it has been assaulted and battered by the forces of darkness.

Like the Magical Girls in the anime, we can triumph through determination and fortitude, even when defeat seemed certain. We can expose the lie and return to our true, natural, and pure state of innocence.

Ganbatte kudasai!

The enemy looks strong but Purity WILL win!
The enemy looks strong but Purity WILL win!


Continue to our other Keynote Pages

Happy, Innocent and Fighting Evil
Group Self-Policing: How Innocence is Arrested
Magical Girls are for Real!