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Old 04-07-2009, 08:51 PM   #1   [permalink]
John Faulkner
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Does Anime Tackle Racism?

The thought occurred to me that I don't recall seeing any anime that has touched upon the issue of racism as it is manifested in the real world - e.g., the slave trade, the tensions between Muslim communities and Caucasians in Western societies, or the conflict between Aborigines and Caucasians.

I've seen "racism" being portrayed in fantasy settings, such as big giant dudes VS little dudes in Macross/Robotech and lion-men/hyena people VS normal people in Escaflowne but these settings do not directly relate to the racial conflicts that happen all the time around the world.

Can anyone else come up with an anime that tackles racism in a realistic way? If there are no such anime, does this show how anime creators like to shy away from hard issues in reality, with the danger of sucking children into a false reality?

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Old 05-07-2009, 12:23 AM   #2   [permalink]
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Off the top of my head I can't think of any, but Gasaraki's opening, watched during the Iraq invasion's early days, was plain ol creepy.


"Now and then, Here and There" sort of touches on child slavery and meglamaniacs. I think the anime itself though was due to the maker being so depressed about the situation in Africa or something he wanted to show what it'd be like if an optimistic boy really did show up in the middle of hell.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:58 AM   #3   [permalink]
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Right now there is Valkyria chronicles, where there is a war between the empire and the republic, the darcsen a minority is caught up in the middle of it. They pretty much get abused for being of a different race and are put into concentrations camp, doing hardlabors in the mines.

Black lagoon, well the main character gets verbally abused almost all the time cause he is a jap on a mercenary vessel, not always cause he's jap.

Then there are all the aliens vs humanity, where we humans always plays the underdog.

Scryed, discrimations of class/power.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:56 PM   #4   [permalink]
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To suggest that Black Lagoon correctly incorporates racism is ridiculous. Its less about the main character being a Jap than it is about the main character coming from a bubbled off world where the daily realities of being a pirate are unbelievable.

I think it'd be hard to sum up what racism is like..too easy to fall into stereotypes or fail to make the viewer understand just how undefeatable prejudice can be. I think "To Kill a Mockingbird" did it so well because it convinced the reader there was no way the jury could go against the evidence.

Hmmm, did anyone ever read Gunnm? Or Battle Angel Alita or whatever it was called? I don't think it had racism but it had a segregated society.
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:55 AM   #5   [permalink]
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I did say it not always cause he's jap, but they did mock his way of life, his bowing down to other attitude which is almost inherent to the japanese culture, that is in a sense racial profiling(self mockery?) and again I know I am stretching it real wide with this.
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Old 14-07-2009, 03:32 PM   #6   [permalink]
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Code geass is a series I can see how they sort of separate between two groups of people "Britania" and "Elevens" which is pretty similar to racism.
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Old 17-07-2009, 05:07 AM   #7   [permalink]
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Originally Posted by JapanAni View Post
Code geass is a series I can see how they sort of separate between two groups of people "Britania" and "Elevens" which is pretty similar to racism.
I just thought of that when re-reading this thread. That group of Brittanians under the bitchy woman were all about being pure blooded, and the system often selected against suzaku because they didnt want an eleven to be victorious (kind of like how the French didn't want any black soldiers in the pictures of the allies marching through the arc de triumph after evicting the nazis).
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Old 17-07-2009, 06:56 AM   #8   [permalink]
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Maybe not anime, but manga is used as propaganda against Koreans in Japan. Don't hear about that too often.

I seem to remember one being translated.

Astro Boy (especially with the manga Pluto) touches on the subject of discrimination in ways that seem influenced by racism.
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Old 27-07-2009, 09:59 PM   #9   [permalink]
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Sometimes, Anime is afterall a way to express people's kindness, and dreams
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Old 20-08-2009, 08:20 AM   #10   [permalink]
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LOL... I havent been here in awhile. Being a black man, all I have to say is Mr Popo is a fucked up character!
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Old 20-08-2009, 08:22 AM   #11   [permalink]
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Oh yeah, and the only black character in Berserk is not scared for the duration of the series. Why couldnt Corkus get butt fucked? Excuse my language...
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Old 20-09-2009, 02:19 PM   #12   [permalink]
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I honestly don't see why it would. Japan hasn't had to deal with racism like many Western countries have. I think it's pretty much a non-issue over there since the country is so xenophobic. I don't see why they would tackle that in their entertainment. I could see class struggles being a more likely candidate for being dealt with than racism.
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:53 AM   #13   [permalink]
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Hmmm ... of the top, I have noted that Anime in general tends to use metaphor to examine otherwise controversial issues... much in the way that the original star trek examined such issues during the 70's. An example of this would be something like Battle Angel Alita with issues on class and free will.

IMO, traditional anime tends to distill down things like "racism" a bit more to something like "equality".
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