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Kommentarer An Anime Subculture’s Twist on Fascist-Era German Design

  • DKoK_Grenadier Colonel-Commissar
    citrus3 månader sedan#79220352I recommend further reading about what fascism entails (I'd say it's more of a mechanism than an ideology). Fascism is, essentially, unification through militarization against an enemy to elevate (typically rebuild) the power, influence, and prestige of the in-group. Each part involves aesthetic appeals to pride, fear, insecurity, strength, etc. Fascism can't manifest as anything other than an aesthetic.

    Thanks for replying! Now, I would like to have an amicable discussion about the nature of fascism and aesthetics. I hope you can read my arguments, and tell me what you agree or disagree with.

    I realize the existence of that mechanism. In many countries, politicians have used the military in one way or another to advance their political agenda. However, I don’t agree that all ideologies that apply that mechanism are fascists. Why? Let’s check the definition of fascism:

    The dictionary definition of Fascism is “a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” (Merriam-Webster)

    Here’s another definition: “a form of far-right, authoritarian ultra-nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.” (Wikipedia)

    So, as we can see, Fascism is not that ambiguous, it can be defined, and while there may be many slight variations in different regimes, we can catalog them as fascist if they share this “core ideas”.

    Let’s make an example. The United States of America have used the military for political ends many times throughout its history. A recent example could be Trump. He has demonized an enemy (anyone who has different ideas, Mexicans, the Chinese, etc.), he has used the military for political ends, (like the recent case with Germany, the case of the Mexico-US border, Middle East, etc.). He constantly criticizes his political opponents, not with well-reasoned arguments but with “mean words” and outright lies. He pushes the idea that he wants to “rebuild” (The whole “make America great again” thing).
    However, this does not make him a fascist, since he is not trying to create a “centralized autocratic government” (…yet), nor is he a dictator (…yet), nor is he regimenting society or the economy, nor is he forcibly suppressing his adversaries (…well, some exemptions here and there, but they are exceptions not the norm). Now, on a more serious note, while he could easily fit into your description, it doesn’t fit into the historic nor the widely accepted definition, thus, we can not call him a fascist.

    Now, let’s define “aesthetics”, it relates to the “nature of beauty, art, and taste and with the creation and appreciation of beauty”. It relates to our perception of visual imagery. That’s why I can’t accept that we catalog a whole spectrum of aesthetics as “fascist”. Aesthetics can only transmit abstract ideas, not complex ones. Thus, our interpretation of aesthetics is subject to how we interpret those abstract ideas.

    For example, tell me, what comes to your mind when you hear “poverty, inequality, abuse, and exploitation”? Personally, I immediately think of unchecked capitalism (don’t worry, I’m no commie). However, capitalists that are well-off and don’t directly experience the vices of capitalism may think that everything is fine and instead think of communism upon hearing those words. There's no "correct" interpretation of abstract ideas. We are not perfect, that's why all our interpretations are biased in one way or another; they are influenced by our perception and limited by our knowledge.

    That’s what I wanted to say. Fascism is not ambiguous, aesthetics can only transmit abstract ideas, and the way we interpret those ideas is up to each individual.
    When I see “Fascist” Aesthetics, I don’t think of a vicious regime that did more harm than good (as it was, I’m not whitewashing history), I think of MY ideal, my ideal world, my ideal government, my ideal military. Why? Because I’m totally on board with idealized order, discipline, elegance, camaraderie, strength, resilience, unity, etc. That which the “fascist” aesthetics conveys.

    I hope I got my point across, feel free to say anything, I like this kind of conversations and I love to learn about different points of view (as much as I love getting my viewpoint across).
    (BTW, I use UPPERCASE to emphasize, not yell, just wanted to clear that out)
    3 månader sedan
    marcourielRL013 månader sedan#79043140I don’t think this is necessarily the case.

    I recommend further reading about what fascism entails (I'd say it's more of a mechanism than an ideology). Fascism is, essentially, unification through militarization against an enemy to elevate (typically rebuild) the power, influence, and prestige of the in-group. Each part involves aesthetic appeals to pride, fear, insecurity, strength, etc. Fascism can't manifest as anything other than an aesthetic.
    3 månader sedan
    DKoK_Grenadier Colonel-Commissar
    gundamuk3 månader sedan#79044198 …when connecting historical symbols used in art to their actual origins, the aesthetics in figures, for example (and as arpaso noted early on) can potentially offend and become a cause for concern and even division. And then the art can get lost in the ensuing debate, which unfortunately seems to happen all too often these days…
    I totally agree with you, this happens. However, I’m against complying with this reality. I think this is something humanity should overcome; I think that we need to teach other people to be more analytical and logical on their judgment, to be more open to other ideas, etc. I don’t think everyone will listen to us, but if we keep trying, maybe, more people will grow up and be mature enough to have a discussion about aesthetics and the abstract ideas it represents without confusing it with whole ideologies.

    gundamuk3 månader sedan#79044198 Taking it back to figure collecting, this hobby is very much an escapist one. And one of the aspects of MFC that's so neat is that people take their escapism in so many different directions, with none of them right or wrong.
    I totally agree with you. Figure collecting, along with Anime, Mange, Games, etc., are an escapist hobby. And I actually find very interesting that you mention it. While I knew this about Anime, Manga and Games, I never considered that collecting was also an escapist hobby. I began collecting just because I found some cool but cheap figures without that much thought (and then I went down the hole and purchased a LOT of figures just “because”). However, I have shifted that superficial focus to only collect characters that are either actually inspiring to me, or are representative of a story that has a deep meaning to me.
    And as you said, in this nobody is right nor wrong. I usually prefer watching entertainment that I can learn something from, however, I also like to sometimes space out watching whatever when I’m tired. The whole idea of entertainment is to make you happy and relaxed, in order to allow you to work hard for the sake of mankind the next day.
    So… thanks for making me think about this.

    gundamuk3 månader sedan#79044198 All of your references to Warhammer 40k, which I didn't know much about, resulted in my doing a little research on it. I had no idea it's such a complex and detailed game world. We can all learn more about our interests when we're open to it, and I'm going to look into Warhammer 40k a bit more now thanks to all of your references.
    Ehm… I’m sorry. When you are a Warhammer 40k fan, the love for the Emperor leaks out of you (If it doesn’t, then, you are either a Xenos-lover or tainted by Chaos, and you might get- *BLAM* There’s no such thing as Chaos, THERE IS NO GOD BUT MAN!).
    While the books and videogames (only some of them, like 40k Space Marine, Space Hulk Deathwing, Dawn of War II, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada, and very few others) are really cool, I hope you don’t get into the tabletop game, because, holy heavens, it can get really expensive. And if you do get into it. I’m am deeply sorry, getting a figure collector into ANOTHER expensive hobby is a crime that must be atoned with the transgressor’s own life. I’ll go commit seppuku… (*BLAM* Taking your own life instead of giving it in service to the Emperor is HERESY punishable by death!)
    3 månader sedan
    DKoK_Grenadier Colonel-Commissar
    arparso3 månader sedan#79044214 …The problem is: Whatever good you put on one side of the scale, it is going to be outweighed heavily by all the bad stuff - so much that even the strongest scale eventually gives up and tips over… …Of course, you can talk about any of the good things they may have achieved or tried to do, but if you leave out all of the bad stuff, then you've stopped being balanced and run the risk of misrepresenting that terrible regime…
    I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear enough. I’m not trying to “justify” any ideology, group, or person, nor I’m trying to put the good and bad in a balance scale (I mean, this topic originally was about aesthetics and I’m at fault for getting sidetracked into other topics). And of course, I’m against whitewashing history. In any academic field is unacceptable to write biased content (However, in fiction, I think the author is free to do whatever the author wants to do. They can change history (like Zipang) or oversimplify it to the point of misrepresentation it (like Hetalia), I’m not against doing this in fiction.
    Also, I agree with you, Nazis along with many other groups were not “good people” by any definition.
    arparso3 månader sedan#79044214 I guess, most people already understand, that real humans are not comic book villains.
    I’m happy that you are mature enough to realize this. However, I do think that many people are not like that (I mean, most of my family are not particularly well-versed in any kind of science and they are VERY religious, they have some… “particular” ideas that would surprise you). While I’ll try to not make this topic about religion, it frequently plays a big part in misconceptions on human nature and the nature of “evil”, and since a big part of the world’s population is religious, I really think this kind of misguided thought process is not uncommon (I live in Mexico for heaven’s sake, we have a president that does this on a daily basis, and hordes of people swallowing it and preaching it like it was gospel).
    arparso3 månader sedan#79044214 And that is what bothers me with anime, that just take the dashing uniforms, advanced military tech and cool-sounding German names for characters and factions without bothering to contextualize it properly. I'm not trying to ban that, but I still find it weird, creepy or just unhealthy when I see stuff like that.
    First and foremost, thank you for being mature enough to know that banning is never the answer. We might be right, but as soon as we set the basis for banning opinions, someday, it might backfire and end up banning us.
    However, I don’t agree that (at least in most WW2-themed anime like GuP, KanColle, Strike Witches, etc.) a representation of the aesthetics of the Axis powers is something bad. Mainly, because it isn’t even an exact representation of the historic aesthetics, they usually make small changes to the design and they remove all controversial insignias. Also, since true originality is not really a thing (because artistically, everything is based, derived or inspired on many existing artworks or ideas), I don’t see why can’t we see those aesthetics as separate entities from the historic uses of it.
    Take for example Warhammer 40k: many people find disturbing that the Imperium of Man, the once glorious (now not so much- *BLAM*) representation of humankind in that universe, uses a style of aesthetics that reminds you of fascism. However, many of them fail to realize that the imperium is not only not fascist, but the farthest thing from it (well not THE MOST, but far enough). The Imperium gives LOADS of freedom to each individual world, and only demands tithes to sustain itself and prevent humankind from being buttf- annihilated in the most horrible way possible. The effed-up things they do are actually justified in the name of the greater good (sometimes they err on the side of caution- The Imperial Inquisition never errs; it is better that one hundred innocently fall before the wrath of the Emperor than one kneels before the Daemon.).
    Anyway, my point was that aesthetics represent abstract ideas, not ideologies. The snazzy WW2 German officers’ uniforms are not in themselves a representation of Nazism, but of more abstract ideas, like: order, discipline, superiority, elegance, etc. That’s why I think is such a waste to let the “bad guys” claim those uniforms only for themselves. While I agree that a historically accurate representation of the uniforms with their respective insignias might be pushing it too far if you are not portraying anything related to the real thing, I think that using the designs is not bad in itself, and we should not feel bad for seeing them or liking them.
    I also don’t think that the artist nor the fans look at a Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B "Königstiger" and think: “Hmmm… you know what? Nazism wasn’t that bad” or “the invasion of Russia was justified”.
    We sometimes like things because they look and sound “cool” without any kind of deeper reasoning, thus, I don’t think it is fair to attach ideologies to aesthetics that can only convey abstract ideas.
    When I see the Death Korps of Krieg Grenadiers uniforms I don’t think about Nazi atrocities, or French incompetence (the joke that was the Maginot line), I only think about men that have renounced their own lives and identity for the sake of the survival of mankind.
    Phew… that was long… anyway, it’s a pleasure to discuss this kind of things with people that can read different opinions without laying EXTERMINATUS on anyone who dares challenge his/her opinion. Thank you.
    3 månader sedan
    marcourielRL013 månader sedan#79043756however, the media doesn’t like to talk about it, because then, they would be accused of trying to minimize his evils. But I say we can see how wrong he was on his many atrocities, and also that he wasn’t inhuman, he was just either knowingly or unknowingly scapegoating Germany’s problems away. We need to keep a balanced outlook on all things; however, this requires maturity, something the average person lacks.
    See, that's a very dangerous route to go down in this particular case at least. Trying to have a balanced look at things is usually fine and you can certainly try it with regards to Hitler and Nazi Germany. The problem is: Whatever good you put on one side of the scale, it is going to be outweighed heavily by all the bad stuff - so much that even the strongest scale eventually gives up and tips over. It's nice, that the Nazis campaigned against smoking, but they also gassed millions of Jews and other people they deemed unworthy of living. Introducing animal rights is a great cause, but on the other hand he took away the rights of many ordinary Germans and murdered thousands of his political enemies. Oh yeah, and the coward had his own dog murdered, too, shortly before giving in to suicide - so much for animal rights.

    I guess, most people already understand, that real humans are not comic book villains. Of course, not everything in Nazi Germany was terrible for everyone and even Adolf Hitler was a human being - he did not personally step over Jewish corpses all day while twirling his little mustache and laughing maniacally, thinking about how to take over the world. He was a complex human being with both good and some very, very bad sides. People know that. But trying to explain the few good things the Nazis achieved is kinda missing the point. If you see terrorists ramming planes into skyscrapers, you don't really talk about how the local construction companies will benefit from this during reconstruction of the towers, how this will lead to an improvement for future security measures in the air travel industry or how nice it was of the terrorists that they did not crash into a nuclear power plant with potentially much more catastrophic results. You talk about them killing thousands of innocents and all the horror they caused.

    Same with the Nazis. Of course you can talk about any of the good things they may have achieved or tried to do, but if you leave out all of the bad stuff, then you've stopped being balanced and run the risk of misrepresenting that terrible regime. And that is what bothers me with anime, that just take the dashing uniforms, advanced military tech and cool-sounding German names for characters and factions without bothering to contextualize it properly. I'm not trying to ban that, but I still find it weird, creepy or just unhealthy when I see stuff like that.
    3 månader sedan
    gundamuk Lewd, but never uncouth...
    marcourielRL013 månader sedan#79043660gundamuk3 månader sedan#79030630
    gundamuk-san
    Please, could you read my comments and tell me what you think of them? I'm interested on reading your opinion. I used to support the “sanitization” of art. However, as I grew older, I began to think about the implications of doing it, and I found that it didn’t even make sense in the first place and it was counterproductive in second.
    I may be wrong, but that is what talking is for. If we discuss a topic, we can both learn about different points of view and improve our own viewpoint.


    Ciao marcourielRL01-san! Thanks for all your comments, particularly as you covered a lot of ground there.

    One can dive into these themes pretty deeply, and so much is subjective and based on personal perspective. However, when connecting historical symbols used in art to their actual origins, the aesthetics in figures, for example (and as arpaso noted early on) can potentially offend and become a cause for concern and even division. And then the art can get lost in the ensuing debate, which unfortunately seems to happen all too often these days.

    In drafting this article I tried to keep the tone lightly ironic given the content, particularly as the genesis was an over-the-top GK mod for a 1/12 figure.

    Taking it back to figure collecting, this hobby is very much an escapist one. And one of the aspects of MFC that's so neat is that people take their escapism in so many different directions, with none of them right or wrong. And we may discover something new when we're open to it. -- All of your references to Warhammer 40k, which I didn't know much about, resulted in my doing a little research on it. I had no idea it's such a complex and detailed game world. We can all learn more about our interests when we're open to it, and I'm going to look into Warhammer 40k a bit more now thanks to all of your references.

    Cheers!
    3 månader sedan
    DKoK_Grenadier Colonel-Commissar
    arparso3 månader sedan#79043729
    I agree with you in that some people are not mature enough to separate a style of aesthetics from their historical use, and it is normal, the human mind is hardwired to link ideas to visual representations. However, I also think that as long as they are writing a fictional universe, they are free to do whatever they want with aesthetics. Even if the group's, person's or ideology's doings are recent, we need to separate appearance from ideology. I know it’s hard, but we have to do it. I agree that using exactly the same appearance as something bad is off-putting, however, I think we need to mature to the point where we can look at something and see the good things and bad things together instead of just looking away. For example, the media likes to Satanize Hitler (and he kinda deserves to be), but it makes us overlook that he introduced animal rights and limited hunting seasons, had public campaigns against smoking, authorized medical research on several diseases and medicines, introduced very good labor laws, promoted sports, supported newlyweds financially, etc., however, the media doesn’t like to talk about it, because then, they would be accused of trying to minimize his evils. But I say we can see how wrong he was on his many atrocities, and also that he wasn’t inhuman, he was just either knowingly or unknowingly scapegoating Germany’s problems away. We need to keep a balanced outlook on all things; however, this requires maturity, something the average person lacks.
    There’s nothing wrong with wanting justice and condemning evil, but we need to analyze everything from a neutral standpoint and condemn what needs to be condemned and give credit when is due, even if we just condemned the person for something. (for clarification, when I say "condemn" I mean morally, we should strive to rehabilitate “bad people” not banish them from existence)
    We need to understand that there’s no truly “evil” (nor a truly “good”) human, people try to do what they believe is right, they may be right or not. And these beliefs are created through a variety of factors. If we want to eliminate a bad ideology, we need to eliminate it from its core, not just silencing its promoters and banning its aesthetics. We need to attend to the psychological and psychiatric causes people behave this way, once we understand them, we need to make amends to all our systems, be it social, economic, medical, etc., to compensate for it. And only then, we may “eradicate” the evil from mankind.
    3 månader sedan
    I don't mind if artists get inspired by fashion, architecture or technology of the Third Reich and do their own thing with it, maybe create an alternate timeline or a completely fictional universe, borrowing some aspects here and there from real history.

    But sometimes they do it a bit too literal and while art certainly is allowed to do its thing, I still find it weird and in some cases inappropriate. It's not ancient history, it's fairly recent. And it's a particularly awful episode of recent history, too, involving industrialized mass genocide and global war.

    And don't get me wrong: I don't want to ban the use of elements of that time period in any way. You can certainly use or reference Nazis in games, books, movies, anime shows or whatever - even in lighthearted contexts in comedy or satire. I just don't particularly like it when they're not contextualized properly. E.g. when you just put cute anime girls in dashing SS uniforms and the viewer goes all like "Awww, they're so cute - man, those Germans were sooo cool back in the day". Of course, I'm exaggerating a bit here, but I do honestly believe that some shows or games are running on a very thin line there and absolutely run the risk of downplaying or even glorifying the whole militaristic and fascist Nazi culture. Getting inspired by these aesthetics is fine, but some take it a bit too far for my taste.

    It's like... talking about the great fashion sense of Charles Manson without ever even mentioning or hinting at the awful things that that psychopath did. If enough would follow suit, we might soon start to forget why he's in prison. And people should never forget about the Nazis and what they did.

    And that has nothing to do with the Swastika and it's traditional use in religion. As far as I'm aware, most animes do not even include the Nazi swastika in their WW2-styled designs, anyway.
    3 månader sedan
    DKoK_Grenadier Colonel-Commissar
    ZoidsFanatic23 månader sedan#79038429I mean... except Iceland. I don’t think Iceland has a history of mass atrocities.
    That being said, I do get the point of art being separate from reality...

    Well… a quick read through Iceland’s history tells me that, while not on the same scale as other nations, they did harm people, both from their own country and beyond. And that was my point, there’s nothing perfect.
    Anyway, I agree with you, it is a problem that certain groups associate a certain style of aesthetics to their ideologies and in turn many people end up associating that aesthetic with that ideology or group. You are right, in our current reality this is true. However, I think this is something humankind needs to overcome, not comply with.
    I think that we need to erase superstition and prejudice as much as possible, and get a more progressive mindset.
    What do you think?
    3 månader sedan
    DKoK_Grenadier Colonel-Commissar
    gundamuk3 månader sedan#79030630
    gundamuk-san

    Please, could you read my comments and tell me what you think of them? I'm interested on reading your opinion. I used to support the “sanitization” of art. However, as I grew older, I began to think about the implications of doing it, and I found that it didn’t even make sense in the first place and it was counterproductive in second.
    I may be wrong, but that is what talking is for. If we discuss a topic, we can both learn about different points of view and improve our own viewpoint.
    3 månader sedan
  • 38 kommentarer
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