Disposable generations mandated by unseen authorities
The young are on the front lines across TV screens
Abductions from schools to teach them to be gladiators or assassins
What kind of government would copy this tournament of death?
Its all sanitized keeping it PG-13 despite the dystopian realms where people starve
How foolish to volunteer to kill
The guise of arrows and secret lands were paltry
The governance claims to be originators, but that’s a bloody ruse
The first mandate only involved killing, but this one stole from it
Stealing and killing as they disguise themselves as angels of light, yet soar with blood-drenched wings
They fly mocking at these conscripted warriors as their tournament is an expensive sham
You think you’re so royal(e)
Whenever mainstream media isn’t ripping off stuff from the African diaspora, they rip off things from Japan. This song deals with something that has become one of the biggest go-to references when it comes to book and film plagiarism. For this edition of Ospreyshire Origins when it comes to Dear Innovare, we’re dealing with Koushun Takami’s 1999 novel that got adapted into a movie a year later called Battle Royale.
If you haven’t heard of this book or movie adaptation, the plot goes a little like this. In a dystopian Japan, juvenile delinquency skyrockets in the schools nationwide. The government came up with a horrific solution to whom they consider to be worthless youth: Project BR AKA Battle Royale. This mandate involves the government selecting various teens from across the country against their will to take part in a sanctioned death match in a remote location. The contestants get a randomly assigned weapon and shock collars. If anyone decides to escape the Battle Royale game, then the collar will explode on contact. Even though people are forced against their will to take part in this sci-fi gladiator sport, some students can even volunteer as an option, too.
DOES THIS REMIND YOU OF A CERTAIN OTHER BOOK/MOVIE SERIES?!
The Hunger Games is nothing more than a PG-13 American Battle Royale with crappy YA drama and romance. Yes, I’ve seen the first movie and I know what happens in the story. Susanne Collins is nothing but a literary thief. I don’t buy that she didn’t know about this. Sure, the Battle Royale movie didn’t get licensed until literally the same year the first Hunger Games movie came out, but the book and manga adaptations have been around in America since the early 00s. People can’t be this ignorant that she came up with the idea of teens being forced to slaughter each other because of a government sanctioned death match in a dystopian environment by herself. There’s a reason why Battle Royale always gets mentioned when it comes to film plagiarism controversies especially when it comes to Japanese works. Say what you will about Quentin Tarantino, but at least he acknowledges the existence of that Japanese movie and got one of the actresses to play Gogo Yubari from the Kill Bill series. He even considers Battle Royale to be one of his favorite movies. Besides that issue, this Japanese series spawned influenced several anime like Juuni Taisen, Future Diary, and even a subgenre of survival games is called Battle Royale, too!
Here are some funny memes I found about this issue. 🙂
Hahaha! I needed some humor there.
Making the song was quite insane. I did some noisy electronic programming, distorted hand drums, acousmatics, keyboards, and I get to use some death metal and hardcore vocals much like how I did on Nonet #2 in Pathos Formula Wave if one remembers that. I wanted to go straight up digital hardcore for this to represent the ultraviolence of Battle Royale.
May the odds be in the favor of those who are original.
The Battle Royale DVD cover is from Honolulu Pulse and is property of Anchor Bay.
The Hunger Games picture is from The Independent and is property of Lionsgate.
All memes belong to their respective websites.
Stop believing that you own all the dreams
2010 degrees of lies aren’t fooling us
You don’t need a DC Mini or an appealing alter-ego
To shatter deception or the world around you
We’re not ghosts though we can float in hotel hallways
We made the spice to delve into dreams within dreams or converging reality
Years before you had a thought
The mass’s perception is flawed
Because they see your take on caped crusaders
We’ll keep the real dreams alive though our creator passed on
Awards won’t save you, deluded thief
You’re another soul in the demented parade
Soshi-sha ja nai. Anata wa akumu da.
Soshi-sha ja nai. Anata wa akuma da!
To all my otaku friends and followers, REJOICE!
I, Ospreyshire made a song about an anime movie! [M. Bison Voice] YES! YES!
For those of you know know about my tastes in Japanese animation, this probably shouldn’t surprise you, but having a song about Paprika made way too much sense given the concept of the album even though I didn’t want to make an anime-based song so soon. I hope I did it justice with the dream-like aesthetics how it feels hazy and otherworldly with the effects on the instruments and my voice for this one. Also, Satoshi Kon, FTW!
If you don’t know anything about Paprika, let me give you a brief synopsis. Paprika takes place sometime in the near future. The main character Dr. Atsuko Chiba is a psychiatrist who is typically cold and has a lot of deadpan snark. In her industry, there’s a brand new machine called the DC Mini used for patients to try and understand their mental health issues. The DC Mini is a machine that people put on their head which allows them to go into the dream world of sorts. Dr. Chiba does this and crafts a bubbly an extroverted alter-ego in this dream world called Paprika. Unfortunately, the DC Mini is stolen and it is used for heinous crimes, so it’s up to Dr. Chiba/Paprika to save the day in both the dream world and real world. Also, the concept of dreams converging in reality comes up including the ability of dreams happening inside dreams happens.
DOES ANY OF THIS REMIND YOU OF A CERTAIN MAINSTREAM MOVIE?!?!
Christopher Nolan, you are a freaking hack! There is no way he made this movie without watching the final film from one of the most innovative animators in Japan, dare I say the world. The concept of it being Kon-sensei’s final film is important because Paprika came out in 2006 and Inception came out in 2010…the same year that Kon died of cancer. To this day, Nolan has never ever owned up to plagiarizing major concepts from Paprika. Okay, he didn’t rip off any characters like a certain other anime that got plagiarized by Hollywood (Don’t worry…we’ll talk about that series in a future post when it comes to Dear Innovare), but he couldn’t possibly steal scenes from Kon’s last movie and…
Oh, who am I kidding?
Does anyone else think this is some fluke that Nolan would do this? This blatant thievery needs to be called out. I saw Paprika first and I then saw Inception, so the similarities were blatantly obvious when I was in that movie theater. Stop giving this guy a free pass just because he made The Dark Knight trilogy or Memento. How would you feel if the situation was reversed and if Kon stole from Nolan? Yeah…that’s what I thought.
Fun Facts: The title and lyric translates to “You’re not an originator. You’re a nightmare!” from Japanese. The final lyric is switched from “akumu” to “akuma” which means “devil” or “demon”.
Also, if you want my full thoughts on this experimental/sci-fi anime flick, then you can check out my review on Iridium Eye.
The Paprika poster is from Minitokyo and is property of Satoshi Kon, Madhouse, and Sony Pictures Classics.
The Inception poster is from CBS news and is property of Christopher Nolan and Warner Brothers.
The Inception and Paprika GIFs are from thumbpress and are property of Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures Classes respectively.
Welcome back to my Representation Matters series! For those who are new to my blog or only occasionally read my posts, you can check out the first one here and my second one about me creating my own characters here. Now we’re going to get into part three.
This is no secret, but I have an appreciation for Japanese animation. I’ve talked about that subject a few times on this blog and I have a whole separate blog called Iridium Eye Reviews where I critique that form of animation in addition to obscure movies, short films, and documentaries from all over the world. My first exposure to it was when I was very young and saw Teknoman (the English-dubbed edited version of Tekkaman Blade) on UPN. I thought the show looked really cool and wondered what that kind of a cartoon it was. I watched more of the stuff that was on TV back then and when I was in high school, I got into renting and owning various DVDs of certain series. What I liked about some of the anime that didn’t get played on Toonami or the other channels was the uniqueness of the stories, finding pieces of animation with actual artistry, and finding different stories I would never get from Western animation. If you think all anime is just DBZ, Pokemon, Naruto, or god forbid anything that’s hentai, then please slap yourself. There’s so much more than what the mainstream talks about.
One thought that I had during my teens was that some anime was a bit of a consolation prize of sorts for me. Because these series were made by nonwhite animators and featured characters who would be considered POCs in different contexts, I subconsciously settled for this despite not being of Japanese descent let alone Asian. It’s probably no wonder I was a Japanophile during my high school years not just because of some shows I thought (some I still think are) were legitimately good, but it even got to the point where I took Japanese classes at a community college during my last two years of high school. I can still remember numerous words or phrases to this day and would technically be my “2nd best” language next to English. Sure, I didn’t always think “Most of these characters aren’t white, so I can find them to be more relatable!” all the time, but I can’t lie to you that it was something in the corner of my mind at times during that point of my life. That interest faded out later in college and I had a hiatus of sorts until not long before I started Iridium Eye a couple of years ago.
While I still like certain anime series and movies, the Japanese animation industry has been marred with racist aspects, too. As much as I give a ton of crap to Disney and other American media companies for their bigotry and they deserve to be called out on those things, I can’t pretend that even the Japanese companies don’t do anything like that. Sure, they’re not going to do racist things against their compatriots or even other Asian ethnic groups most of the time, but they’ve had very questionable things go on. There’s obvious examples like Mr. Popo from the Dragon Ball franchise, Jynx from Pokemon, or even Pyunma/008 from Cyborg 009. The backlash got so big that the creators eventually changed their character designs by changing skin colors for the first two and for 008 shedding the sambo imagery into a more realistic African man (okay, I think the Call of Justice version looks like an anime version of Childish Gambino/Donald Glover, but I digress). This problem hasn’t gone away. There’s a more recent anime called The Promised Neverland which did look like it had an interesting plot, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch it when I saw pictures of one of the characters called Sister Krone.
I felt legitimately uncomfortable and that’s one of the less offensive images. She’s shown as this unstable psychopath while at the same time being subservient to a white woman who’s one of the villains in the show. Her character design is much worse in the original manga. This anime came out in 2019 and there is no excuse for this. If you don’t see what’s wrong with this kind of imagery, then let me remind you of this.
Those would be mammy figurines from the Jim Crow museum. This is the same kind of garbage that permeated the imagery of black women being servants, stupid, and being undesirable. That imagery has been around since even before the Emancipation Proclamation, and this is the same kind of stuff that people bash a certain Tom & Jerry supporting character or Gone With The Wind for. I know the creators of The Promised Neverland know better than this and they would NEVER write a white or Asian woman that way.
Here’s how anime can do better. They can write characters who aren’t Asian or Caucasian into characters one can take seriously across the board. They need to consult other ethnic groups for making certain characters. Don’t make race their only defining characteristic. They can also ask themselves this question: How would they feel if someone incorporated Japanese stereotypes in a character?
I know there are some anime series that are better at positive representation than others which I do appreciate, but I’d be lying if I said there was no bigotry in Japan. I’m not into anime as much as I used to even though I still review it. I think it can be sad that I do a better job at positive representation of multiple ethnic groups compared to animators on both sides of the Pacific at large.
All photos are under “fair use”.
The photo of Sister Krone is from The Promised Neverland and is property of Aniplex of America.
The photo of the mammy figurines is from Wikipedia.