The Theme of Transformation in Japanese Popular Culture

Whilst transformations can be seen in many cultures, but i’ve noticed that it seems most prevalant in Japanese work. From popular cartoons such as Dragonball, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, through Studio Ghibli to video games like Super Mario, the idea of ‘leveling-up’ and improving as a physical transfomation, rather than just a skillful one, is very strong. Why is this the case? I would be intrigued to see if there is a link to Japanese theatre and mythology, and whether the use of such transformations in Western culture has been more common since such programs have become popular here.

  • Hmm, because many of them originate as video games? – Justin Wu 9 years ago
  • I think this could also have an interesting cross cultural-psychological spin. – DClarke 9 years ago
  • "Natsume Yuujinchou" has Madara, who can transform between a visible-to-the-human-eye maneki neko and an Inugami (dog-spirit) visible only to the spiritually aware. The anime/manga goes into a lot of Japanese mythology, though I'm not sure how accurate it is. – lnr1772 9 years ago
  • I would imagine that the whole idea of "leveling-up" or "transforming" reflects some of our human desire to become better. – AbeRamirez 8 years ago

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