Akira and Ranma 1/2 The Monstrous Adolescent

In understanding this article I felt that it was very important to know exactly what it was that Susan Napier was discussing in her article Akira and Ranma 1/2 The Monstrous Adolescent. In doing so I believe it visually gave me a better understanding of what Napier was attempting to get across to her reader. In the beginning she discusses and I believe really is dead in describing the emotional and mental state of an adolescent in his or her teens, one who is forced to deal with all these emotions that are new, confusion, hurt and love. I know those emotions all to well not long ago I was a teen too. I thought that it was interesting that cartoons, as what I was used to calling it but now I must correct myself and call it anime because that’s what it is, dealt with more than fighting evil monsters and collecting balls in order to have the most power. In the case of Akira which came about in 88′ a time when Japan began having a heavy global influence while other nations viewed Japan as a power to be frightened of Napier relates Tetsuo’s gigantic fearful figure as a metaphoric manner in which to view Japan’s power. Tetsuo a young man who is brought up in an orphanage and as result joins a motorcycle gang where he is only seen because of his friend Kaneda who was also in the orphanage with him is pictured as the youth who is weak and lacks identity and is only known because he is in this motorcycle gang. Luckily as he is attempting to handle Kaneda’s bike he is confronted with a force that has the ability of telekinetic energy, not surprisingly this force is a child who was part of a government experiment that terribly went wrong. As result Tetsuo’s inner energies his telekinetic powers are activated and then he becomes this great ball of power. He is captured and further experimented on by the government who when escapes becomes this power that could be used for good but as result of his treatment by the government seeks to get revenge against anyone without any feasible reason for doing so. He fights his friend Kaneda for apparently trying to help him and try to pull him back but this is not the case and he continues to morph into an ugly creature emblematic of his inner emotions and all the many things that he must of went to as a youth. Then he is gone. What’s left of him is a light from the sky that symbolizes one at peace. It’s hard to believe that he’d be at peace after all the havoc that he wreaked but hey aren’t we talking about a teen. I can’t help but to connect this to the recent tragedies in the news of youth who have felt alienated, confused and hurt who have taken that and like Tetsuo have gone and lashed out against the world not only taking other lives but their own as well. I can’t help but to think that this image of the confused, alienated, emotional youth can be one that is not so tragic.

3 Comments on Akira and Ranma 1/2 The Monstrous Adolescent

  1. Michael Villata
    December 14, 2007 at 3:18 PM (12 years ago)

    i really like your comparison at the end to the current events to akira, i never really thought about it that way, of the teen unlashing against society in akira can be related school shootings, but it makes sense now. And it also adds to the discussion about globalization and global messages, this film made in 1988 about this transforming monster boy can be related to school shootings in 2007, almost 20 years later the message still rings out, and people can still relate, probably what makes Akira a classic anime to the people that consider this a classic.

  2. Miss Merli
    December 16, 2007 at 10:17 PM (12 years ago)

    Micheal I couldn’t agree more than I do now about globalization and the kind of toll that it is taking all over the world. 20 years later and these problems are beginning to become a normal headline on the news. When does it end and how do we find a solution?

  3. Samantha
    December 17, 2007 at 12:31 PM (12 years ago)

    I like your analsys of Tetsuo with the metemorphasis of adolecent bodies. I remember when I was going through puberty, I pictured my body getting ‘monsterous’. Like Tetsuo, we literally grow appendiages (breasts instead of monster arms) and the battle for control of that new body is always in question. For most of us, our parents had a hard time letting go of their adolecent child and watch them change into an adult. This constant power struggle mirrors the government trying to control Testuo. In the end what we want is to feel independent and free, ultimatly rebelling and “dystroying” everything in our path.

    -Samantha Blum


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