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Promare, BNA, and the Outrage of the Oppressed


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Zeino



Joined: 19 May 2017
Posts: 791
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:52 pm Reply with quote
Part of the problem is that Japan in itself has always been a very homogenized and insular society in which real radical leftism has been continually smothered since the Cold War. Thus revolutionary writings from the West are as well-known to their general public as most Japanese novels are to ours. And that is to the benefit of the ruling classes.
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Arale Kurashiki



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 629
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:36 pm Reply with quote
I mean, it's Trigger. I like Imaishi's work a lot, but in no way is Trigger at all a replacement for Gainax like everyone always suggests it is.

People describe Promare as a "cute, fun ride" precisely because it doesn't really have a core point behind its use of a discrimination plotline. Not that we shouldn't put potshots at ICE in our spectacle movie, of course.

What I don't get is how much of this article is just recapping story stuff. Sure, I agree with the conclusions that "the oppressors are just closested oppressed people" and "killing in self defense would be as bad as genocide" are stupid tropes, but more than half of this is just describing the story like a book report, as if every plot point is meant to be objectionable.
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El Hermano



Joined: 24 Feb 2019
Posts: 304
Location: Texas
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:44 pm Reply with quote
99% of Promare's online popularity and discussion I see is shipping and posting Galo x Lio art. I assume that's what they mean by "cute, fun ride".
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dm



Joined: 24 Sep 2010
Posts: 584
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:40 pm Reply with quote
Both works are a kind of "oppression tourism". Well meaning, but.... oh, god. Arale Kurashiki is close to the mark in saying that the discrimination plotline is close to window dressing.

I don't think the villains are intended to end up spoiler[self-hating (except that they are)], what Imaishi is trying to do is show that the villains' bigotry is empty/invalid/pointless spoiler[using a short-cut of it being based in hypocrisy] --- as though being evil isn't grounds enough to reject it.

As I watched Michiru's evolution in BNA, I saw the cliche of spoiler[the white savior] coming through.

I almost feel like Trigger is moving backwards from the rebellion/resistance-based stories in Kill la Kill and Gurren Lagann, but it's been ages since I've watched those.
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tojikomori
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 08 Jan 2017
Posts: 64
Location: Minnesota
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:36 pm Reply with quote
I didn't see Promare until I got my hands on the Blu-ray, which was the weekend after George Floyd was killed. I wonder how differently I would've taken the film if I'd seen it a week earlier, or a few months before that. My hunch is that I'd impress onto it whatever oppression scenario was top of mind at the time.

One thing the Burnish inescapably represent is America's brutal immigration enforcement, and under that reading I took the ending differently. The relevant difference between myself (a card-carrying foreign-born resident) and an "illegal alien" is ultimately bureaucratic – the US government recognizes one of us but not the other. That's a distinction that could certainly be removed without eradicating the oppressed's identity.
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andyos
ANN Associate Editor


Joined: 27 Oct 2008
Posts: 226
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:06 am Reply with quote
Japan has its own oppressed peoples, and Japanese writers may have them more in mind than the oppressed groups in America. An obvious case, rooted very deep in Japanese history, is the "Burakumin" - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-34615972 . I've seen previous anime that could be easily seen as referring to the Burakumin - for example, Princess Mononoke, Claymore and Towanoquon.

Japanese public figures have made appalling racist comments about black people, but my impression is that far right rhetoric in Japan is likelier to be aimed against Korean immigrants. This recent article seems useful -
https://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/d00534/can-japan-embrace-multiculturalism.html

Another recent article from the same website concerns the experience of black people in Japan -
https://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/d00591/
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Arale Kurashiki



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 629
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:30 am Reply with quote
Quote:
"japan is insular and doesn't know about world issues, man"
is pretty demonstrably false, lots of anime and manga comment on worldwide social issues. In particular there's been a good number of JP works making direct reference to post-2016 America and criticizing it (Touhou Project, Death Stranding), and in light of this I don't think Promare's literal verison of ICE is unintentional. Though I agree that this article's actual writing is pretty half-baked.
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borobor



Joined: 05 Sep 2019
Posts: 18
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:03 am Reply with quote
Arale Kurashiki wrote:
Touhou Project

What's this in reference to?
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Horsefellow



Joined: 01 Jan 2020
Posts: 144
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:58 am Reply with quote
Arale Kurashiki wrote:
"japan is insular and doesn't know about world issues, man" is pretty demonstrably false, lots of anime and manga comment on worldwide social issues. In particular there's been a good number of JP works making direct reference to post-2016 America and criticizing it (Touhou Project, Death Stranding), and in light of this I don't think Promare's literal verison of ICE is unintentional. Though I agree that this article's actual writing is pretty half-baked.


I think trying to draw parallels between at he Freeze Force and ICE based purely on the name is a bit simplistic. Not only would the pun be missed on any non English speaking people, but they use actual cold-based weaponry on fire people so them having an ice-based name is not exactly out of the ordinary. If they named it anything remotely to do with the cold or temperature people would probably be making this same assertion, despite the fact ICE doesn't have anything to do with the cold or temperature and it's just an acronym of Immigration & Customs Enforcement

In general, i'd like to ask this question. Why would a Japanese writer talk about American immigration issues over Japanese immigration? All countries have their own immigration police, Japan is no different. They all do essentially the same thing, so to criticize America's but not their own would be hypocritical. Now, it'd certainly be an interest take if there was a message of "America deporting illegal immigrants is wrong, but when Japan does it it's okay!" and that might be an interesting look on how a Japanese writer feels about Japan's ethnic homogeneity compared to America's more melting pot society, but that's probably better done elsewhere and not intentional. If people want to say Promare is allegory for immigration that's fine, they're free to interpret works however they want, but I just want to ask them why they think it specifically has to be about America's. It's a bit ethnocentric to think everyone in the world prioritizes America over their own country. Japan has much stricter immigration laws than America does so I would think that would be a topic a Japanese person would focus on before anything else if they were truly concerned with the subject since it's not like it's not a thing in Japan either.
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Arale Kurashiki



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 629
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:19 am Reply with quote
borobor wrote:
Arale Kurashiki wrote:
Touhou Project

What's this in reference to?

"Alternative Facts in Eastern Utopia".

"If you build a giant wall somewhere, that wall is definitely coming down someday, and if you exclude people you consider "unnecessary", then you're definitely setting up your own downfall."

Though, in both this and Death Stranding it is definitely a foreign view of the situation, not really seeing the more insidious movements underneath the literal statement of intent of "a wall".
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FilthyCasual



Joined: 01 Jun 2015
Posts: 1463
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:56 am Reply with quote
Horsefellow wrote:
Why would a Japanese writer talk about American immigration issues over Japanese immigration?
Why would an American writer talk about sexism in Victorian England instead of sexism in America?

People write what they want to write.
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Megiddo



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 8140
Location: IL
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:04 am Reply with quote
Arale Kurashiki wrote:


"If you build a giant wall somewhere, that wall is definitely coming down someday, and if you exclude people you consider "unnecessary", then you're definitely setting up your own downfall."

What does the Berlin Wall have to do with post-2016 America though?
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tojikomori
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 08 Jan 2017
Posts: 64
Location: Minnesota
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:36 pm Reply with quote
Horsefellow wrote:
Why would a Japanese writer talk about American immigration issues over Japanese immigration? All countries have their own immigration police, Japan is no different.


International headline news has made America's Immigration & Customs Enforcement famous for disproportionate tactics in a way that Japan's Immigration Services Agency simply isn't – not even domestically. Trigger's productions (and anime in general) are full of references to American pop culture and politics, and Freeze Force is such a blatant and on-the-nose parody of a famous police force that I'd find it hard to believe it's a coincidence even if Nakashima came out and said so.

And yeah, "ice" is an almost universally known English word in Japan. アイス is a loanword used for ice in drinks and ice cream.
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Psycho 101
Moderator


Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 15299
Location: Inn of the Last Home
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:58 pm Reply with quote
Cleaned this up some. I suggest everyone forgo any further insults to others or conspiracy theory soapboxing.
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SS723



Joined: 08 Aug 2020
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:43 pm Reply with quote
I'm sorry, I thought Promare was about a bunch of little aliens who come to Earth and give people superpowers...
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