dendritejungle: (Default)
Warning: there are minor spoilers for Fullmetal Alchemist.

I've had a scene running through my head from Fullmetal Alchemist, an anime television show currently running on YTV. It's very good, but rather dark in parts and this particular scene is no exception.

The scene is a flashback to an uprising that took place some 15 years before the "present time" of the story. In it, one soldier who we have come to know as driven and rather arrogant, is so distressed that he executed two doctors that he comes very close to taking his own life. He is stopped by another soldier who is himself so guilt-ridden over his role in the larger action against the "Ishbal Uprising" (which basically turned into a massacre by the military) that 15 years into the future, he remains haunted by his actions.

This short scene, only about 30 seconds long, brought a few different things to mind.

Firstly, given that most anime plots generally revolve around fights or violence of some kind (*sigh* I guess we can't all love anime like Haibane Renmei all the time), I've been impressed with the number of anime shows I've seen in the last little while that don't glorify the violence itself. The main characters in Gundam Seed, for instance, are drawn into battle with the greatest reluctance, and only to protect their friends. The show makes very clear not only the psychological toll on them, but the costs on both sides of the conflict. Then there's Vash the Stampede from Trigun, a committed pacifist who resorts to using his gun as a last resort, and refuses to kill.

Aside from these basic ideas, there are the various moral and ethical dilemmas which the shows spin out: how do you react when you realize too late that you've committed an act you can never take back, even if you thought it was the right thing at the time? How do you live you life from that point forward? What actions are worth taking to defend peace? What are the moral responsibilities of a pacifist, if his actions (or lack thereof) lead to more people being injured or killed?

We HAVE to do an anime discussion day with the youth groups. And people wonder why I find these shows so interesting!


dendritejungle: (Default)

October 2010



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