Archive for April 18th, 2008

Allison & Lillia: Sleepy Allison & War Humanism

There are two things about this episode I liked. One of them is pictured above. The other I’ll get to in a bit.

The second episode of Allison & Lillia (subbed) struck me much better than episode one of Allison & Lillia (raw), which was probably due to the subtitles again. Maybe I should just stick to watching Chi’s Sweet Home raw, but…

I almost felt like, somehow, production levels had gone up. The coloring style which felt flat in the first episode seemed to be much more natural and nuanced than in episode one. The characters also seemed to be drawn slightly better. I don’t really know if this actually happened or if I’m just making things up, but the art did strike me much differently.

On a seiyuu note: I almost feel like Allison is one of Mizuki Nana’s best roies. I mean, I’m a big fan of Fate Testarossa, but most of that comes less from a character standpoint and more from a aesthetic standpoint. Allison is a charming, lovable girl, and quite genki, and I always love genki girls.

Okay, that’s the end of short paragraphs.

I found it most interesting in this episode to see the portrayal of nationalism at work. Although she’ll probably only exist for this single episode, Radia portrayed an interesting issue in the mechanics of two countries with open or not-so-open hostilities towards each other. Radia, here, hated Roxche because the war claimed the lives of her two sons. This is (and feel free to shout “No shit, Sherlock” at the screen any time here) the product of any conflict between two people: enmity between one person and an entire country in general. We see this today in America with Americans’ perspectives on the MIddle East,. i.e., they’re a bunch of <offensive racial epithet possibly involving towels, camels, and/or burkas> and we should toss a couple nukes their way and save everyone a good deal of headaches. This may not be how you feel, but surely you know of at least one person who does. This is nationalism at work.

Nationalism, however, breaks down on the personal level, as Radia demonstrated here. When confronted with Allison and Wil, two wayward children from the hated Roxche, she intially treated them with hostility and threatened to turn them into the police. She took care of Wil through simple human courtesy, and fully intended to turn them over to the authorities, where Wil would probably be taken care of in a rather permanent fashion along with Allison. Even the most stalwart hatred, however, breaks down when confronted with an example of the hated object which exhibits none of the signs of being anything like the nebulous entity which you hate. And, so, when Radia discovers that Allison and Wil had known her friend Grandma Moot, who had migrated to Roxche to open an orphanage, she quickly realizes that Roxche is just like her country, Sol Beil: it’s made up of a large number of individuals, who all have their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and, when dealt with on a personal level, seem much less threatening. Unless they’re belligerantly pushing you around or something of that nature, in which case you probably don’t think too much about their humanity.

The realization that the enemy is always human can go both ways: in the case of the world of Allison & Lillia, the people of Sol Beil could hate Roxche less, and vice versa. Nationalistic-based pride and scorn is a self-feeding machine–you hate them because they allegedly hate you, and they hate you because you allegedly hate them. It’s how people work, unfortunately, and there’s always people on both sides of an enmity like this who really do feel this way, but there’s also people who feel differently. The only thing that you can do about it as a person is to not hate the enemy you’re told to hate, be it the tyrants of Roxche or those cotton-pickin’ terrorists that hate our freedom.

Yes, in terms of the story, this might just be, for the jaded viewer, a ho-hum plot device designed to waste time before the actual plot starts, but, this being a Sigsawa Keiichi story, I highly doubt this was done for little reason. It’s a small message that serves both as a plot device and something that you  can extrapolate out into the larger scheme of things. Messages in fiction don’t have to be grand, sweeping, and life-changing to provide some kind of insightful comentary, no matter how small.

That, or I’m just bonkers. One of the two.

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NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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