Saturday, July 22, 2006

Japanese Dramatic Æsthetic in Anime

A classfellow offers this summary analysis of the import Anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion
The story becomes very involved with the characters and what is happening to them both mentally and emotionally as well as the effects their choices have on other characters and the world. Near the end of the show it starts to focus more on Shinji, a 14 year old boy who is very afraid of his father and of himself. It shows his development as the plot rolls on. The plot itself is involved withShinji's father who leads the government organization Nerv, which was created to defend Earth from an alien threat called angels. He has his own secret agenda though which comes into conflict with the government committee called Seele. The story does not have a very satisfactory ending, much like Madame de Sade, as it leaves something unfinished at the end. I guess that is the'ketsu' of the anime. The aesthetic elements of Japanese culture we have gone over in class can be seen in the series the more I think about it as there is a sudden break in the last 2 episodes and then sudden action. It also could be attributed to the fact that the creator suffered a mental breakdown during the series due to the stress of the plot elements becomingmore deeply involved and complex.
I love the, uhm, ambiguity in the concluding reflection....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Buddhism & Suffering

The two Buddhist concepts which infuence the mono no aware sensibility in Japanese drama, poetry & literature are the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path (the latter elaborates the fourth of the former.)
You will see that mono no aware is a very real & powerful mood in Yukio Mishima's play Madame de Sade.
This is not, I should clarify, not to say that these Buddhist doctrines influenced Mishima. The contrary, in fact, since hedonism violates the fourth noble truth. Rather, the doctrines are the historical background to mono no aware -- a mood which Mishima does deliberately invoke in his drama.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Japanese Æsthetic Concepts

For summary detail on the some of the Japanese æsthetic concepts presented in lecture, click on this link. I will have the article on the ki sho ten ketsu composition form, by John Hinds, on Course Reserve next week.