Montag, 13. Mai 2013

Shingeki no Shōnen - Why Shingeki no Kyojin is no deconstructional Anime

Sometime last week, I read that Shingeki no Kyojin is a deconstruction of shōnen-manga, basically because it kills off important characters all the time.  Friendship! Effort! Victory! Those are the three basic principles of shōnen-manga. And Shingeki no Kyojin is deconstructional because victory is not in sight? One could compare it to Madoka Magika, or even to Mohiro Kitohs Narutaru or Bokurano, which are some of the best ones when it comes to taking cliches or whole genres apart. But if one takes a closer look, this just isn't accurate.

Shingeki no Kyojin contains so many cliches, beginning with its protagonist's sense of justice, or the training sequences, the thought of effort leading to success or melodramatic flashbacks. Its typical stuff you can read in almost every other shōnen. More important, these building blocks of shōnen-manga are not used in an ironic way, the cliches are not questioned. What makes it special is the combination with the horror-genre, so combination is the word, not deconstruction. If you think that, for example, the combination of Pokemon and lots of cruelty results in Narutaru, you might as well use the term deconstruction, falsely however. Narutaru utilizes the idea of Monster Animes and applies it to Real Life, which is one of the most common ways to deconstruct a genre. A more accurate definition of the term can be found under this link. It is the ironic element, reversing and perverting familiar settings, characters or whole genres to turn them into something new and creating disilliusionment and shock to the reader, especially those who expected stereotypical entertainment. Some people feel disappointed after reading or watching Shingeki no Kyojin because they cannot bear seeing characters die, others think of it as an extraordinary and ground-breaking concept. Both somehow misunderstood the point of the series.

It comes down to this: Shingeki no Kyojin cannot be lined up with Anime/Manga like Evangelion or Narutaru. Its difference from other shōnen is due to its use of horror-elements and its difficult power levels when it comes to enemies, but no more. One could call Shingeki no Kyojin the Touhou or the Sekaiju no Meikyū (Etrian Odyssey) of shōnen-manga, but no more. People may call it exciting, mediocre, cruel, epic, ground-breaking, yet, in the end it is just one of the better shōnen-manga out there, not more and not less.

"Hey Kubyey, people tend to misunderstand us, don't they"