The Virtue of Bloody and Violent Tales

For this post, my dear readers, I’ll let you into the workings of my scrupulous mind.  You see, for a long time now, I worried whether manga like Akame ga Kiru and Silencer actually carry a benefit to the reader.  In general, a fascination with blood and violence for their own sakes obviously manifests a disorder of the soul.  At the opposite extreme, squeamishness at the sight of blood and the refusal to countenance the existence of violence must also count as defects.  So, do Akame ga Kiru and Silencer fall in the mean between these two extremes?  And if they are in the mean, what is their particular virtue?

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A couple of quotes I found recently appear to show the value of such works.  One derives from Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s Leftism: from de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse and the second from one of Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries.  After describing a horrific and monstrous scene from the French Revolution. Kuehnelt-Leddhin writes the following:

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Freezing Zero: Carrying Gender Reversal Too Far?

If any of you remember my post from that series of chain posts in the summer of last year, you’ll remember that I gave Freezing as an example of how ecchi can turn people away or cause them to dislike a solid show under question five.  (At least, I consider Freezing a solid show.  For an accurate review from someone who disagrees, click here.)  I consider myself an avid fan of both the show and the manga.  This is despite the fact that I often find myself skipping pages: for all my fears that I might be missing out on character development, it is possible to see too much of the character!  The characters are unusually likable and complex.  The grim and lethal fighting constantly make me fear lest any of my favorites are lost–even though surprisingly few of the main characters are killed in action.

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One thing which lends particular interest to the series is gender reversal.  Young men are limited to a support role and are less bellicose and concerned about honor than their female counterparts–which, if one remembers the Spartan mother’s pithy command: “This or on this,” might indeed reflect reality in certain societies.  Their female counterparts, Pandoras, serve as warriors against an alien invader and have an iron-bound sense of honor and esprit de corps.  Until now, I held this arrangement to be unique and tragic, but reading Freezing Zero, a spin-off of the main comic, has shocked me with its boot camp chapters.  Here I was, thinking that gym classes, martial arts training, tournaments, and instructional courses sufficed to transform a young woman into a Nova-killing machine.  But, a boot camp of U. S. Marine-level hardship exists for this purpose.  The instructor even strikes her trainees and physically torments them!

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As one who believes that even male trainees ought not to be struck, these chapters proved too cruel for me to read.  After all, the discipline of extra duty, punitive exercises, public shame, peer pressure, and reprimands suffices to punish infractions in the greatest military in the world.  Seeing women beaten–maybe even especially if by another woman–generates a feeling of horror and perversity.  Women are supposed to symbolize gentleness, beauty, civility, and compassion after all.  On the other hand, if this were a male instructor dealing blows upon men, I would find his conduct tyrannical; but, the feelings of horror and perversity would be absent.

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I suppose that this lies in the nature of men to strive after physical courage and hence endure blows, while the nature of women aligns itself with enforcing the norms of decency.  Indeed, the very idea of women being beaten impresses itself on the mind as the violation of the sacred.  One can understand men as fighting barbarity from without, women as fighting it from within, and thus both preserving civilization as a whole.  Some would say that I’m a sexist reactionary holding defunct mores from the past.  I say that exponents of feminism (Or perhaps I should say extreme feminism?  After all, what kind of man thinks that women ought to be relegated to a second class position in society?) sacrifice the nature of both masculinity and femininity to their idol of equality, which constantly sees female repression by their male counterparts.  Reading certain opinions makes one wonder if they think that God made a mistake in creating two sexes.

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The preceding remarks point out that men and women are complimentary not congruent.  There are certain roles which one side is more capable of doing than the other, and only an arrogant ideologue or bigot would despise the other for its incapacity.

Anyway, I shall still read and watch Freezing, because the characters are so lovable and the action so thrilling.  The scenario indulges in fantasy, but if it were necessary to save the human race by using young women as battlefield infantry, the scenario would need to be dire indeed.  One cannot but imagine that it should change the entire face of humanity and even lead to the abolition of mankind as we know it.

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