Anime: Why two nukes on Japan wasn't enough

Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Image via Wikipedia

Two days ago, New Hampshire state representative Nick Levasseur wrote this as his facebook status: “Anime is a prime example that two nukes just wasn’t enough” . (Click here to watch a video compilation of  the local media’s take)

The medias coverage has focused on him either being a racist (another right wing media link), or on how this is an insult to anime.

Nick appears to be around 26 years old. Nick looks like he watches anime. I think Nick was telling a joke. A really bad one, but nonetheless, a joke.   Would you ever hear a Japanese politician joke that they should bomb Pearl Harbor again because they just can’t stand our summer blockbusters? Absolutely not.

This isn’t the first time Nicky has made really bad jokes though. Back in 2007, on his Myspace page he listed under his interests: “the hunting of neo-conservative Reaganites” and in 2008, also on his Myspace page, he described himself as “the magic mushroom. Shove me in a dark place, feed me a fist full of shit, and watch me grow!”  This latest attempt at a joke, by insulting the Japanese tragedy, reveals his under developed sense of humor.

No other country in the world has been attacked with nuclear weapons, and if you know ANYTHING about Japanese history, or culture, you know to this day they still struggle with that happened to them (hello, Godzilla films?).  Consider the new book, ” The Last Train from Hiroshima” or even this  recent gem about Hayden Panettiere’s efforts to save dolphins in Japan:

As the group arrived, a truck of right-wing nationalists blasted slogans, saying Japan should not be singled out for whaling and dolphin hunts because Westerners “are killing cows.” They also demanded President Barack Obama apologize for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

‘Heroes’ Actress visits Japan dolphin hunt town via Associated Press

Japanese society has long used the arts to deal with their nuclear past, and if you are going to include anime in this artistic realm, you have to mention the famous manga-turned-anime-turned-American-film Astro Boy. Astro Boy was born in 1951…. just years after the bombs were dropped. Astro Boy’s name in Japan is “Mighty Atom” and is a direct reference to the nuclear attacks. Astro Boy was made to appeal to little boys, perhaps to help the children cope with new post-war reality?

Sadly, this joke also reveals that Nick has never seen any good anime. Action movies tend to be really bad too, but I don’t go around advocating the bombing of Hollywood…. and every once in a while, an action film does comes along that I can appreciate (Fifth Element, for example…). The same applies to anime.

If you’d like to watch some good anime films, I’d recommend anything by Oscar winner Hayao Miyazaki, as well as the films Paprika, Ghost in the Shell (which Spielberg is remaking), and Perfect Blue. For anime series, I’d recommend Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Lain (though the last two do get creepy later on).