Sasami-san@Ganbaranai: Religion, Tradition, and the New Age
There’s this stereotype commonly associated with the teenager. They’re at this age where they become rambunctious and rebellious, and it becomes this struggle between parent and progeny characterized by whether or not the latter will be properly disciplined by the former before it’s too late for them to integrate in and contribute to society. Underlying the assumptions behind this stereotype is that the teenager is completely in the wrong. In response to this stereotype is another stereotypical conflict of the underdog teenager being oppressed by the authoritarian parent.
Sasami Tsukuyomi is in her teenage rebellious streak as well, having rejected her mother’s expectations, run away from home, and becoming and becoming an otaku. Like perhaps many teenagers in the real world, Sasami is at the crossroads of adolescence, suspended between the world of past (embodied in Sasami’s mother) and present (lived through Sasami herself), trying to find a lifestyle that suits her temperament as a girl from a traditional family who has grown up in more liberating new age. Opposite of a functionalist scenario of the mother successfully reeling in the daughter, or the conflict scene of a daughter successfully rejecting the mother, is a negotiation between social obligation and individual freedom.
Through its negotiation between the expectations of Sasami’s mother Sasami’s own experiences for a lifestyle, a set of values, and a (nevertheless Shinto influenced) spirituality that works for Sasami, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai is a show made for the traditionally raised Japanese youth of the new age.
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