My fellow Americans, I know that at a time of upheaval overseas – when the news is filled with conflict and change – it can be tempting to turn away from the world. – Barack Obama
The recent Libya bombing, tsunami, nuke leakage, and chronic poverty at home, I want to turn away from 3-D. Enough of tragedy. So, I watch anime.
Puella Magi Magica Madoka. Its drawing style is as cute as Lucky Star. Yet, the show is a complete tragedy. It’s like Anpanman suddenly turns tragic, becoming Real Anpanman. But Real Anpanman is still more like gekiga, otherwise, the original style of drawing doesn’t match up heaviness and seriousness of tragedy.
Just like maho shojo, Anpanman is a modern pageant, i.e., a moral tale for children. Anpanman is very Christish. Anpanman’s head is made of anpan (red bean paste bread), which is his life source, and he tears a piece of his own head and gives it to starving children. And he protects the community from terrorism of Baikinman (germ-man). So, Jesus, red wine and bread, and Anpanman, red bean and bread. Moreover, red beans, a.k.a. small beans (小豆), are better for heart than red wine. In fact, red beans contain polyphenols twice as much as red wine. So, Anpanman is twice as powerful as Jesus. How awesome small beans are! Yes, that proves my point that small is beautiful! By the way, FYI, big beans (大豆) are soy beans.
But whenever Anpanman shares his bread with starving people, his incubator, the bread baker Jam Ojisan (Uncle Jam), has to replace his head. And then, recharged Anpanman will beat the crap out of Baikinman. It’s poetic justice. The good guy always wins. And the good is cute, and the evil is ugly, even evident from Okoroshi masks of Igbo. And the story always ends in a happy ending.
Cuteness is associated with happiness. But in real life, it isn’t. I came to realize that awful truth during my painful adolescent years. Yes, 3-D girls rejection. Cuteness is attraction, and becoming one with cuteness is the happiest thing on earth. So, there is cognitive cacophony (a.k.a. cognitive dissonance): how come beautiful can be cruel? Beauty and cruelty are supposed to be antithesis. Cuteness inspires unity. Divine unity seen in romantic comedy, aka divine comedy. Cuteness incubates oneness, while ugliness incubates segregation, separation, secession, isolation, alienation, and estrangement. Cuteness is acceptance, kindness, and gentleness, while ugliness is rejection, discrimination, prejudice, and hate.
Therefore, I seek cognitive symphony in 2-D, because 3-D itself is cacophony. But now, 2-D is also becoming cacophony like Magika Madoka. Just like Dr. Osamu Tezuka‘s works were saturated with sentimental tragedy. We got tired of that, and finally have invented moe. However, animes are once again getting tezukanized. I thought we’ve long graduated from Tezukaism, and also Miyazakism, even Andoism. Is this the direction that the anime industry as a whole is taking, going back to basics? I hope not, otherwise, I don’t know where to turn to. 2-D is the only place where I can become puer (puella is girl). Yes, puer aeternus, eternal youth. Seventeen forever. And that is moetic justice!