Violence in Anime: Helpful or a Hindrance?
There are multitudes of anime series out there, many of which feature violent themes or aspects of gore that some may find to be excessive or unnecessary. But is it? Violence presented in anime is varying, and typically the level of gore depends on the genre of anime being viewed. Anime that is included in the Shoujo genre, for example, will likely feature little to no violence; if violence is featured in a Shoujo anime, it is often mild and lacks the shock value gore may offer. However, what is present in many Shoujo anime- Ao Haru Ride and Tonari no Kaibatsu-kun, for example- is romance. Romance is a trope typical of the Shoujo genre, and is a way to immediately identify an anime as being included within that genre as well. When one considers the Shoujo genre’s repetitive use of romance as a driver of the plot, it becomes easier to see why anime that fit more into Seinen and Shonen also have their own plot driver: Violence.
So is violence really that unnecessary for anime to use; and does it, as many have argued, detract from the plot of the show in question? This article will explore themes of gore and violence present in anime, and how this violence contributes- or potentially detracts- from the plot and the enjoyability of the show. In order to explore this idea further, this article will investigate the presence of violence in several popular series; each of these anime uses violent themes in vastly different ways that are unique to their respective storylines, and so it is first essential to understand the plot of each.
Tokyo Ghoul and Attack on Titan: Violence and Character Development
Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul has been popular in recent years. It is an action packed horror thriller anime that revolves around the life of Ken Kaneki, a young man who is studying literature. He is first introduced as a mild-mannered human boy who has a crush on a girl he sees at a coffee shop that he frequents. As it turns out, the girl (whose name is Rize) is a Ghoul; Ghouls in Sui Ishida’s fictional world are humanoid creatures that must eat humans in order to survive. After surviving a Ghoul attack, Ken is horrified to discover that he has become a Human-Ghoul hybrid as a result of a life saving transplant surgery. It is interesting to watch Ken’s transformation from a timid human, to someone who views himself as “half-n-half”, to a full-fledged Ghoul. By the end of the series, it seems that Ken has come to identify much more with himself as a Ghoul than himself as a human.
The rhetoric that humans use when mentioning or discussing Ghouls is one of placing the Ghouls as “lesser than”, as mattering less simply because they are predators that need human flesh. In the first few panels of the manga, one reads as Ken and his best friend Hide are discussing Ghouls, wondering if they “even exist” while airily accusing Ghoul specialists featured on the news as being Ghouls themselves. While this may seem like harmless curiosity, it can also be viewed as a form of implicit structural violence that subtly places the Ghouls in a position of a mystical and threatening “Other”, one that is not real, or if they are, do not belong in the world at all. To make this verbal mistreatment more obvious, one could also refer to Ken’s first meeting with Touka, the female lead, who is a Ghoul working at the coffee shop Anteiku. Upon seeing Ken’s distress about eating human flesh, Touka attempts to help him. She is brutally rebuffed by him, and he screams at her about not being “one of you monsters”. This interaction, and several others following, is an example of the violence committed by regular human citizens toward the Ghoul community. This sort of violence is less obvious than the blood and gore that comes to mind when fans think of the show, and perhaps the violence that the show is more known for acts as a way of making these subtle acts of violence more obvious.
The height of Ken’s transformative journey occurs during his stint of being captured and tortured by Yakumo Oomori, a member of Aogiri Tree and a prominent figure in the Thirteenth Ward that many of the series’s main characters inhabit. During this time Ken is subjected to various forms of torture, most of them being extremely gory (the list varies from run of the mill torture methods such as the removal of fingernails, to more insidious methods like having a centipede inserted into his ear). Whilst Yakumo is busy torturing Ken, Ken has receded into the depths of his own mind to escape the violence occurring. Thus an internal narrative emerges as he faces his inner Ghoul in the form of Rize, who he has spent the better part of the series desperately trying to reject; Rize begins to goad him while Ken has flashbacks about his mother who died when he was young. The juxtaposition between the way his mother taught him to live- passively and, more notably, peacefully- and how Rize is insisting he should live his life now– independently and violently- further highlights the pivotal role that violence plays in Ken’s narrative. It is only after Ken rejects his mother’s views and “eats” Rize that he is able to give into his Ghoul side and accept himself for who he is.
The role that violence plays within Ken’s narrative is absolutely necessary. While some may argue that the gore of cannibalism, torture, and fighting in general is over the top and detracts from the plot, without the violence could Ken have transformed and come to see himself as a Ghoul at all? The violence in Tokyo Ghoul in many ways acts as a catalyst for Ken’s metamorphosis. Additionally, as a Ghoul Ken is for the first time able to observe the implicit and explicit violence directed toward the Ghouls by individuals, government bodies such as the CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul) and the Doves (Ghoul investigators), and even from Ghouls themselves (the Qinx, for example, who are half-Ghoul hybrids that work for the CCG to incapacitate and eliminate other Ghouls).
Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan and the way violent themes present themselves is strikingly similar to Ishida’s use of violence in Tokyo Ghoul. Like the fictional world Ishida creates, Isayama’s series focuses on a post-apocalyptic world in which humankind has been pushed to the brink of extinction by humanoid creatures called Titans. Like Ghouls Titans also feed on humans, although Titans do not need to eat in order to survive. The main protagonist of the series is Eren Yaeger, whose life we follow from his time as a young boy to the present day of the series where he is in his early teens. Eren’s personality is unlike Ken’s at the beginning of the series in that he is brazen, outspoken, and could be considered very brave in the face of the tough conditions that he lives in, even though he is arguably just as physically weak in the beginning of the series as Ken Kaneki. Following his parallel with Ken Eren undergoes a transformative journey both physically and mentally, sparked by witnessing the gruesome death of his mother at the hands of a Titan.
The start of Eren’s transformation is marked by his witnessing the death of his mother at the hands of a Titan. Although his mother’s death is extremely gruesome, it is almost overshadowed by the violence surrounding Eren and his friends, Armin and Mikasa, once the wall is breached and Titans begin to pour into the city. Eren is shown being dragged away from his mother surrounded by rubble, blood, crushed bodies and the screams of other people in the city; he watches over the shoulder of the man who saved him as his mother is bitten in half. This sparks a viceral need for revenge deep in Eren’s psyche, and is the driving force he uses to push himself through tactical training and make it into the Scout Regiment. Without this violence in his youth, Eren very likely would not have become the character that everyone has followed eagerly throughout the series.
After joining the Scout Regiment, which is a group of soldiers who venture out beyond the protective walls that guard humanity from the Titans, Eren is discovered to possess the power to turn into a Titan himself. Like Ken, Eren’s transformation from a weak young boy to strong warrior whom the fate of many rests on is sparked by violent actions that result in a transcendence to a new realm of existing where he is neither human nor Titan, but somewhere in between. Similar to the Qinx featured in Tokyo Ghoul, who are Human-Ghoul hybrids who assist humans in subduing the looming Ghoul threat, Eren is constantly subjected to acts of discriminatory violence at the hands of his fellow Scout Regiment soldiers. Despite being an ally, the other soldiers often mistreat Eren simply on the basis that he can transform into a Titan. At various times he is kept chained in a basement, is constantly verbally berated, and on several occasions he is attacked by his fellow countrymen. The discrimination performed by Eren’s allies is a violence that is much more subtle than the Titan’s treatment of the humans. However, once it is revealed that the Titans may actually be humans, one has to wonder if human and Titan behavior is really so different.
Psycho-Pass and Elfen Lied: Violence and Emphasis
Gen Urobuchi’s Psycho-Pass uses violence in a somewhat different way from Attack on Titan and Tokyo Ghoul. Psycho-Pass takes place in a fictional world where the citizens of Japan are governed by a totalitarian entity called the Sibyl System. The regime that Sibyl has put in place is blatantly utilitarian, allowing people to remain in society only insofar as they behave themselves according the laws of Sibyl and continue to be useful members of society. With Sibyl as the primary mode of governing in this new world, the people of Japan have sacrificed human agency in favor of an omnipotent technological sovereign entity. The Sibyl System uses a panoptical collection of cameras and sensors placed all over the cities in order to monitor citizens’ psycho-passes. A person’s ‘psycho-pass’, which is the series’ namesake, is a twofold system of measurement that includes a person’s ‘hue’ (overall psychological state) and a ‘crime coefficient’ (a measurement of how criminally inclined an individual is). Sibyl also uses the psycho-pass system to dictate what sort of job you are able to get, if you are allowed to remain in society at all. By using the psycho-pass system, Sibyl is not only able to control the citizens’s thinking and behavior, but is able to dictate their lot in life based on how closely individuals align with Sibyl’s ideals. Whereas Tokyo Ghoul and Attack on Titan utilize violence mainly as a catalyst for the necessary evolution of the hero, Psycho-Pass employs gore to highlight the more subtle structural violence present in the series’s dystopian setting.
There are several ways in which the obvious violence of the show parallels and highlights the more subtle methods of violence present in the world of Psycho-Pass. Firstly, we have the violence that Sibyl is performing upon the citizens. Sibyl’s method of control, using constant surveillance in order to stamp out humanity’s free will, successfully destroys the threat of potential resistance from the citizens of Japan. As a sovereign entity, the way in which Sibyl governs is reminiscent of a term coined by Michel Foucault: Biopolitics, or the social and political power over life. As Foucault explains throughout his work, sovereign entities of the past often exercised their power through their ability to take away life, or to allow its continuance. In the same way, Sibyl is able to order the execution of any citizen at any time. If they behave, they are granted continued life within Sibyl’s dictated limits.
The arm of Sibyl’s law in the world of Psycho-Pass is the Public Safety Bureau (hereon the MWPSB). The MWPSB is dictated by a hierarchy organized by Sibyl. There are Inspectors, people who have been placed in the MWPSB after careful assessment, and Enforcers, who are people that Sibyl has determined to be “latent criminals”; as latent criminals, Enforcers would typically not be allowed back into society. However, Sibyl grants them limited freedom in exchange for doing the dirty work that the Inspectors are not able to perform, for to do the Enforcer’s work is to fundamentally fall outside of Sibyl’s laws and become a criminal. Although Enforcers play a pivotal role in keeping the peace in Sibyl’s world, they are constantly subjected to discrimination. Likewise, other latent criminals who are not granted the status of Enforcer are subjugated to discrimination as well as physical violence. The brutality to which these criminals are subjected is best illustrated by the primary weapon of the MWPSB: The Dominator Portable Psychological Diagnosis and Suppression System, simply known as the Dominator. The first function of the Dominator is to measure a perpetrator’s psycho-pass in order to diagnose whether or not they may be integrated back into society. However, if the Dominator concludes that the person is beyond help, it switches to an offensive mode called Lethal Eliminator. When used, this mode annihilates the perpetrator in a brutal way, oftentimes leaving behind only a puddle of blood and guts.
The violent themes present throughout Psycho-Pass, therefore, may have more to do with bringing the subtle violence employed by Sibyl out of the shadows than for dramatic effect. Not only does Sibyl structure its new society in Japan around the constant threat that at any time it may remove you from society, either by incarcerating you permanently or simply by killing you, but Sibyl also constantly displays its apathy for citizens that do not fit its constraints through the necroviolence which pervades the show. Necroviolence, a term first used by Achille Mbembe, describes the treatment of the [human] body as it is killed, or after it has been killed. Since the Dominator for all intents and purposes implodes its target, this method of killing is not only extremely violent (highlighting further Sibyl’s disregard for humanity), but it also acts as a method of erasure since there will not be a body to mourn. Sibyl’s blatant devaluing of the human- alive or dead- is captured best by the serial killer Rikako Oryo, one of the show’s antagonists. Mirroring Sibyl’s disregard for the post mortem human form, Rikako’s artwork- which she creates with the bodies of her victims- is disturbing not just in of itself, but because it draws attention to the violent world that Sibyl, a technological entity meant to uphold the peace, has created for humanity.
Lynn Okamoto’s Elfen Lied is arguably the most violent of the anime explored here. This series’s release left behind a notorious legacy unlike any other, and was the subject of several controversies due to its overtly transgressive content which some called “over the top”. Despite the blatant gore and in your face nudity Elfen Lied may be considered an extremely influential series, having been cited as an inspiration to the creators of Stranger Things. Like Tokyo Ghoul, Okamoto’s fictional world also features humanoid creatures who are rejected by society and treated as the threatening “Other” due to fear. These creatures are known as Diclonii, which are marked by telepathic powers utilizing invisible arms called Vectors. Diclonii are shown to be extremely oppressed, either being brutally murdered or caught and experimented upon.
Depending on how one views the show, the Diclonii may be considered the protagonists or the antagonists. Throughout both the show and the manga Diclonii are often portrayed as being at odds with humanity; the reason for the tensions between the Diclonii and humans is never quite pinned down, but can most easily be pinpointed to the treatment of the Diclonii by the humans. As explained in the series the Diclonii are subjected to extreme oppression by humans, and it has even been mentioned that many were euthanized at birth. However, though it is emphasized more in the manga, many Diclonii claim to hear a voice in their heads commanding them to kill humans. Due to this some humans postulate that God has chosen the Diclonii to inherit the Earth, claiming that the violent tendencies of the Diclonii towards humans is in their DNA, driving them to wipe out humanity and repopulate the Earth with their Diclonii offspring.
While it becomes cloudy throughout the series whether the Diclonii originate from a genetic mutation, a virus, or (somehow) both, one cannot ignore the overt themes of racism that are present throughout the series. Like other minorities today the Diclonii are constantly oppressed and are subjected to intense discrimination from their childhood. While Diclonii are often looked down on by humans and are teased for being “freaks”, this illustrates the paradoxical space that a Diclonii occupies for humans: one that is simultaneously less than, un-human and non-threatening, but also more than human, and thus overtly threatening to the continued existence of humanity. Lucy, the main character of the series, is a Queen Diclonii, which means that she is able to reproduce. As such Lucy is viewed as the greatest threat to humanity, since other Diclonii women are unable to sexually reproduce and are instead limited to infecting human males with a virus that ensures any children of their’s will also be Diclonii. As a child Lucy suffers a lot of trauma at the hands of human children, which eventually leads her to give into her murderous instincts, kiling not only her fellow classmates, but also the younger sister of Kouta, another pivotal character in the series.
Many have criticized Elfen Lied for being too violent; indeed, within the first eight minutes of the anime several characters have already been brutally dismembered as Lucy attempts to escape the research facility where she has been held for much of her life. The transgressive nature of the show is sometimes too much for viewers to handle, the series being dominated by scenes of decapitation and dismemberment that oftentimes is accompanied by nudity from the Diclonii featured in the episode. While the series is indeed extremely violent, one could argue that this is simply the method Okamoto chose to illustrate the themes of her work. Social alienation and oppression, racism, grapples with personal identity, etc., are all themes that are present throughout the series and are made more obvious by the overt presence of gore. This may not be a thoroughly convincing argument; surely the creator could highlight these themes while not resorting to popping characters’s heads off left and right? However, it may be important to consider that when two opposing forces (the humans and the Diclonii) clash, and grapple with one another for survival and, ultimately, dominance, it may very well be impossible to avoid displays of violence such as this. The racial tensions present between the Diclonii and humans only makes this conflict more insidious.
Naruto, Samurai Champloo, and Aldnoah.Zero: Politics and Temporality
While series like Elfen Lied and Attack on Titan are overtly gory, not every anime uses their themes of violence as obviously. The final portion of this article will touch on series which express violent themes more subtly, but still have themes similar to those present in the previously mentioned series. While Naruto, Aldnoah.Zero, and Samurai Champloo all have vastly different styles, stories, and aesthetics, each of these anime employ violence in one or several of the following ways: to express the nature of a political order, to accentuate the time period in which it is set (as well as the social nuances that accompany that time period), or to create a commentary about the social situation of the audience itself.
Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto is a series that is both well known and popular. While it has not received much criticism for the violent themes that are present, fans of the show cannot ignore the fact that the world of Naruto is fundamentally rooted in violence. In the interest of those who are not familiar with Naruto, the show follows a young shinobi, or ninja, named Naruto. Naruto lives in a world which strongly resembles feudal Japan in its political structure; it is divided into various lands (Fire, Wind, Lightning, Water, etc.), each having its own daimyo, or lord, as well as a “hidden village”. Hidden villages represent the backbone of each land, since the structure of these villages specifically hinges on producing young shinobi who make a living carrying out missions, fighting, and protecting the village. The political structure of the world of Naruto is particularly important, because one quickly discovers that there are few treaties, if any, in place to keep the peace. Rather, any form of peace that has been achieved has been gained through a stalemate similar to the Cold War between America and Russia: Each land resigns to not attack another based on the strength of their hidden villages.
At the center of this stalemate there are the jinchuuriki, humans who have had a tailed beast (bijuu) sealed within them. The bijuu, which were created by a legendary shinobi of the past, are some of the most powerful beings in the world of Naruto, and thus a village that is in possession of a jinchuuriki, or has the power to control a bijuu, are at a clear advantage; indeed, there are many fan theories out there which liken the tailed beasts to nuclear bombs. In addition to possessing an immense amount of power, those who have had tailed beasts sealed within them are under constant strain, whether it be from the beast within or the outraged humans on the outside. It is depicted in the show quite frequently that housing a tailed beast comes with extreme psychological turmoil- there has been many a scene where Naruto, who is a jinchuuriki himself, must face his own beast who is struggling to free himself by breaking Naruto’s will and taking control of his body, often offering Naruto power in exchange for his freedom. Additionally, those who are holders of tailed beasts face constant oppression and discrimination from their fellow countrymen. Naruto himself, who grew up without parents, is shown to be constantly ignored or ridiculed by his fellow villagers, with only a select few ever showing him any kindness. In addition to the belittling nature of a jinchuuriki’s existence within their own village, they are also targeted by outsiders who lust for their power; the terrorist organization Akatsuki makes it their mission to capture and extract all of the tailed beasts from their containers, the process of which results in the jinchuuriki’s death, in order to achieve their ideal “world peace”.
Aside from the tailed beasts and their holders, the Uchiha clan is another one of the main aspects of Naruto where violence rears its head. Having been around since the formation of the first hidden village- Konohagakure- the Uchiha have been consistently oppressed and reviled by their cohorts since before the day Konoha was formed. The Senju clan, a former sworn enemy of the Uchiha, forms a coalition with them to end the fighting and form Konoha together. However, the Senju seize power within Konoha following this, putting the Uchiha on the back burner due to their fear of their visual prowess called the Sharingan. The Sharingan, a powerful clan trait though it is, was a source of fear for the Senju specifically because such a power grants the user the ability to control a tailed beast. As such, the Uchiha represent an existential and continuous threat to the social hierarchy that the Senju have put in place in Konoha. Tensions rise as the Uchiha grow to resent their lot in life, forced on them by the oppressive Senju, until it reaches a breaking point: the Uchiha are slaughtered in the name of “peace”.
Aldnoah.Zero, on the other hand, is a mecha anime released in 2014 and created by Gen Urobuchi, who is also the creator of Psycho-Pass. Like Urobuchi’s other works, Aldnoah.Zero provides an interesting commentary on political strife and racial tensions with which many of us are uncomfortably familiar.
Taking place in an alternate universe from our own, the world of Aldnoah.Zero is one in which an alien hypergate was discovered on the moon in the year 1972. After discovering more alien technology (later on referred to as Aldnoah) part of humanity migrated from Earth to Mars, hoarding the technology from the rest of humanity. Tensions rise between the Earth humans and those on Mars, and eventually in the year 1999 the Vers Empire (the Martians) declare war on the people of Earth. The two forces battle on the moon until the hypergate that links the Martians back to their home planet is destroyed. The day marking the start of this war is later referred to as “Heaven’s Fall”, referring to the falling debris of the moon that devastated Earth’s landscape and killed many. Unable to return to Mars via the hypergate, the remaining members of the Vers Imperial Army establish space stations which orbit Earth and house both the generals and their underlings, and establish a ceasefire with Earth. This story is thereafter whispered tensely between Earthlings when discussing the humans on Vers, that day having instilled fear and resentment in the hearts of the humans on Earth.
In addition to illustrating the tediousness of the relationship between Earth and Mars as a whole, the themes of violence which are present in the series may also be used to illustrate the emerging racial tensions between humans on Vers, and those on Earth. Despite having both originated from Earth, Vers has developed technology vastly superior to Earth’s, and surprisingly quickly. Due to this, the Martians have begun to view themselves as an enlightened state of humanity- the next step in the human evolution. This prejudiced view held by the Martians is mainly illustrated through how they speak about Earthlings, as well as their treatment of them. The character Eddelrittuo, a maid to the Princess Asseylum of Vers, displays her distaste for Earth humans frequently; in one of the first scenes of the show she is shown speaking with the Princess about her upcoming trip to Earth. She warns Asseylum, who is fond of Earth humans, that they are a “lower breed” than the humans of Vers, and she would do best to be cautious around them. Additionally, Slaine Troyard, one of the main antagonists of the series, was born on Earth but lives with the Martians. As such, Slaine is the subject of constant derision, ridicule, and abuse, and is often pinned with the blame for the wrongdoings of others.
While it is obvious that Aldnoah and Naruto are completely different on many grounds, the two series do share a few things when it comes to the violent themes expressed in each story. Like Naruto, Aldnoah’s violent themes are the result of unstable government relations; additionally, both series take place during a time where one faction (whether it be the Senju and the Uchiha, or the Martians and the Earthlings) have wronged one another in some way, thus opening up what John Locke calls a “State of War”. A state of war is brought about by a culmination of “enmity and destruction” that results when one makes an attempt on the life of another; the wronged party is thus allowed to take action (perhaps more aptly called revenge, here) until the offending party is dead, or makes peace. Without this resolution, the state of war continues between the two parties involved in a rather tedious state wrought with tension. Following this model, both the worlds of Aldnoah and Naruto are rife with turmoil, which displays itself in the form of violent tendencies and a propensity for war.
Samurai Champloo is an animated series which ran from 2004 to 2005, directed by Shinichiro Watanabe. Like Naruto, Champloo has a setting that is meant to be reminiscent of historical social and political structures. In addition to Champloo’s legacy of its anachronistic mixture of the Edo era and modern American hip-hop, the show is also extremely violent, since it centers around a rogue swordsman named Mugen, a ronin (masterless samurai) named Jin, and their traveling partner Fuu, who is going on a quest to find “a samurai who smells of sunflowers.”
Because Champloo is neither as long nor as intricate as Naruto or Aldnoah, it would seem that the main reason for the show’s displays of violence is to illustrate the perceived brutality of the time of the samurai, as well as for dramatic effect and entertainment value. Despite Champloo‘s aesthetic propensity for violence, there are scholarly musings that indicate this stylistic choice was in fact extremely pointed. As Paul Dunscomb writes in The Dynamics of Cultural Counterpoint in Asian Studies, Watanabe’s series was released during a time of economic and spiritual crisis in Japan during the economic downturn following the burst of its so-called Bubble Economy. During this time, Dunscomb points out that the question the Japanese were desperately trying to answer was one of identity; “There was no unified message about what the Japanese should transform themselves into and the most fascinating aspect when examining this debate is the way in which it highlighted areas of hope and optimism, as well as resignation and despair, over the potential of the Japanese people to reinvent themselves.”
As such, the journey of Mugen, Jin, and Fuu may in many ways represent the journey of the Japanese people during this time- that is, one that was full of hope for the future, but was also wrought with difficulty, anger, and strife. There is possibly no better vessel for these emotions than the concept of the samurai, which early modern Japanese historian Mary Elizabeth Berry “notes that in return for the values of loyalty and selflessness which they supposedly embody we grant the samurai the privilege of resorting to unlimited violence.” These emotions are laid bare through Watanabe’s choice of juxtaposing bright colors and an innovative, hip-hop inspired aesthetic with brutality and bloodshed. When compared to the other anime featured here Champloo may appear to break the mold, or perhaps the entire argument. However, had the show not been executed in this manner, one may wonder if it would have been as popular and artistically striking as it turned out. First and foremost, Champloo is present in the article to articulate the value of violence in art and entertainment, especially during times of spiritual and cultural upheaval. While many of the series investigated here use violence to illustrate the turmoil and dynamics of individuals in the show, Champloo uses violence to illustrate the social unrest of its audience.
The violence that is so often present in Seinen and Shonen manga and anime is often accused of being over the top and detracting from the plot. The point those who support this argument are trying to make is that you don’t need violence in order to make a successful and enjoyable show. While certain series do indeed utilize violent themes for solely for excitement, by delving deeper into the worlds of these series, it becomes clearer that the purpose of violence in shows like these is not merely entertainment value. Rather, transgressive themes and gore in these series is used to develop pivotal characters, as seen in Tokyo Ghoul and Attack on Titan, or to highlight more subtle themes of violence that viewers might miss otherwise, like in Psycho-Pass or Elfen Lied. Further still, violent themes may in fact be necessary to properly illustrate the state the world of the series is in, as one may see in Naruto or Aldnoah.Zero; still further, the violence in certain Japanese animation can provide important social commentary for its audience, as seen in Samurai Champloo. Perhaps, then, the question should not be “why is there a need for so much violence?” but rather, what is it about its presence that bothers some viewers, and what does that say about the themes that creators like Lynn Okamoto and Sui Ishida are attempting to bring to the forefront of the viewer’s mind?
What do you think? Leave a comment.