Mugen Monday - Eleventh Edition
For Those Who Dare Dream.
One of the pivotal article angles we in the Spiel Anime team have covered since the ancient beginning has had to do with the definitions of Anime. For example, what exactly is it?
On the forefront, it seems like an easy answer. But ask yourself really, what exactly is Anime?
Is it the location?
Is it the source material?
And what about Anime such as God of High School, Tower of God, or heck, even the upcoming Solo Leveling? Aren’t they based on Korean Manhwa/Webtoon? If so is the source material a defining factor of what an Anime is?
Is it the voice dub?
Let’s go a step further. Many say that the Chinese example stated above can simply be eliminated if one distinguishes Anime through its voice dub.
But again, Korean-source-based Anime like the above mentioned (Solo Leveling, etc) are easily dubbed by Japanese voice actors presiding within the country, and easily recognizable by many fans.
As it seems, it’s been quite a hell of a task to differentiate what Anime is and what isn’t. But for the vast amount of fans, they are quite relentlessly unconcerned about such distinctions.
May pique your curiosity: Investigating Spain’s Attempts at Making Anime
A peak in curiosity goes a long way
While on a similar scale, a vast number may also be equally emotionally responsive to the categorisation.
Simply due to the reason that I am quite used to the Japanese dub, entirely entailing the fact that it’s not that the language is the thing I am biased against. Quite honestly, I would prefer Japanese over English dub, simply because I am (again) too used to the former.
The reason I have written about this is not to state an answer, but merely to peak the curiosity of your mind. To perhaps make you reconsider - am I watching Anime, and if so what exactly is it?
Why this discussion helps us, and you (Ahem)
This helps me in many ways, but the main is this - you figure out what exactly Anime is to you, and then you find out why you love it so much, consciously. And then you find that the best place to have emerged into this world is by reading what Spiel Anime has to offer.
Yes, that’s my job, quite literally. Welcoming you to the magnificent eleventh edition of Mugen Monday. Light Speed!
For those who dare dream.
- From the Editor’s Desk
Rhytham Das, Editor-in-Chief, Spiel Anime
Are we currently in the era of Dark Shonen?
Presenting again some quite curiosity-raising thoughts by Laveena.
Dark themes were always present in anime. Lately, they've taken a visual form as opposed to the more abstract form they leaned towards earlier. This visual form comprises lots of blood, numerous deaths, and everything gore.
Presently we're in the Dark Shounen era of anime. Where brutality and blood take the front seat shoving everything behind, perhaps creativity too?
At this point, every new Shounen attempts to overthrow its predecessors by inserting more deaths, giving fans a series of similar-feeling Shounen anime.
Are shonen becoming ‘dark’ to cope with the competing high supply of other series of similar structures?
A glimpse from Chainsaw Man Manga, image rights belong to Viz Media
No doubt about the fact that they are dark, but extremely edgy as well. If we take it a step further beyond the gruesomeness, what is it exactly that we've been classifying as dark?
The appeal of dark shonen lies in the range of emotions it evokes. Presenting to you a world of the unknown which is thrilling and intense. Here's a look at how this has been done over the
Starting with Berserk, everything is right in your face. The worst that can happen does happen. From Guts' life before joining the Band of Hawks to the deeds of Griffith, we're not spared at any point in time. The detailed and intense imagery amplifies the feelings of discomfort that you feel while reading Berserk.
Madoka Magica isn't as gruesome or explicit. At the same time, the magic girls get lured into the world of magic without knowing the cruel nature of their work and the fate that awaits them is enough to shake your magical girl dreams.
From the current lot, Chainsaw Man has phenomenally defined how dark can be so simple yet so uncomfortable. Denji's dream is as simple as having a good meal, an actual meal. He gets killed while trying to earn that. Further on the dynamics between the characters and the way all of it comes to an end is cruel, to say the least.
Image of Berserk Anime
With that said, all these anime also have bloody scenes and that is not a problem. But when bloodshed and cruelty are the only boxes you tick with no lore, the darkness loses its ability to be as impactful as it could be.
The Dark Shounen anime at present is declared dark on the basis of the number of deaths and the blood splatter. While deaths are dark, they are inevitable as well. The turn of events following these deaths makes them truly dark and horrifying.
A recent (2021 feels recent!) example of this would be Junpei's death in Jujutsu Kaisen. Just when the poor guy found a ray of hope for his future, Mahito turned him into a curse.
You feel hopeless along with him. Itadori's anger and reaction make it sting even more. Now the high standards set by all these anime are barely met by the new additions if ever.
We see a number of deaths right off the bat and bodies lying in the pools of blood. We've finally reached a point where we expect blood and deaths from every Battle Shounen we come across.
Let the darkness slowly creep in not in the form of jump scares but rather as consequences. This brings us back to the question, are we ever going to find substantial creative backing to the bloodshed (which is inferior to Higurashi anyway) or will the standards set for darkness forever remain unmet/unchanged?
Well, we do not know. One thing we do is that our loyalty to you remains unhinged. Once again, for those who dare dream.