“From the 2000s to the 2010s”
How is it that the trends of entertainment have changed?

Interview with Mr. Sayawaka. Part 2: “Doing over” and “Separation of the Masses”

Continuing on from last time, we asked writr and critic Mr. Sayawaka about entertainment trends from 2011 to 2015. In this part, we mainly talked about “trends reflected in society,” one of Mr. Sayawaka’s three points of view, the other two being “business trends” and “expression trends.” What impact did the state of society after the Tohoku earthquake and events during that time have on entertainment?

*We gave Mr. Sayawaka results of FRI analysis before the interview and had him talk about transverse trends based on those results.

■ “Trends reflected in society” Three theories

Compared to “business trends” and “expression trends,” “trends reflected in society” is more critical. We asked Mr. Sayawaka about the three aspects of society that have become more prominent in the 2010s that he mainly focuses on ? “impossibility of righteousness,” “conservatism/rightward trend,” and “desire to do over.”

■From the 00s to after the earthquake. Flow of “trends reflected in society”

Kan:
Are there any trends that became stronger or came about based on the state of society in the early 2010s?

Sayawaka:
Japan was in a state in which people couldn’t decide what was “right,” and that had continued since before the Tohoku earthquake. Everyone’s values were turned upside-down on the Internet, especially, and nobody knew who was the best or who was right. When that happens, humans tend to bet on what they are forced to think is worth betting on, which is “decisionism.” Tsunehiro Uno (critic) gives “Battle Royal” and “Death Note” as symbolization of this movement. In any case, those works are based on the main character doing what they want without worrying what is right.

 

 

Left Source:(C) OHTA PUBLISHING COMPANY ”BATTLE ROYALE”
Right Source:(C) Shueisha Inc. ”DEATH NOTE“

Sayawaka:
This state of society has continued from the 00s and reached its peak when the earthquake occurred. The same applies to other earthquakes, but people temporarily become more interested in politics, saving lives, and public safety. This decisionism trend continuing from the 00s made it easy for a conservative trend to come about and, as a result, the trend of “doing over in a story that repeats itself like a loop” was born.

■“Doing over” at the forefront after 2011

Sayawaka:
Until around 2016, there was a strong trend to redo things in order to get rid of that feeling of being unsatisfied or in a slump. One specific example is “Puella Magi Madoka Magica,” which can be called a general review of content of the 00s. But this show was canceled after 10 episodes due to the earthquake, and the following 11 episodes that aired showed the largest “witch” facing some trouble. Although coincidental, it was like it knew the earthquake would happen.

Stories seeking do-overs of the past, like a loop, already existed as a trend until 2015. Although there was some conflict regarding looping in “Puella Magi Madoka Magica,” the loop in “Kimi no Na wa,” which was a bit hit in 2016, really only meant trying your best to overcome struggles. “Shin Godzilla” was the same. And although “In This Corner of the World” differs from its original story, the movie is about interpreting the Pacific War and the bombing of Hiroshima in everyday life. So, they can also be interpreted as “do-overs.”

 

Left Source:(C) 2016“ Your Name.”production committee, Right Source:(C) 2016 TOHO CO.,LTD.

■“Separation of the Masses” symbolizing the state of society after the earthquake

Kan:
Are there any other works that reflect the state of affairs after the Tohoku earthquake, including accidental works?

Sayawaka:
Probably “Dark Night Rising,” which was released in 2012. Its predecessor “Dark Night” was a story about making ultimate choices. Harvey Dent, who is the two-faced Two-Face, is the depiction of two types of suffering. Righteousness is torn apart after making that decision, and this is really a 00s theme. Things are sorted in the end by Batman taking on a bad reputation, but many critics believed that this was not a solution at all and merely postponed the problem.

 

(C)2012 WARNER BROS.ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND LEGENDARY PICTURES FUNDING, LLC
“Dark Night Rising,”

Sayawaka:
Probably “Dark Night Rising,” which was released in 2012. Its predecessor “Dark Night” was a story about making ultimate choices. Harvey Dent, who is the two-faced Two-Face, is the depiction of two types of suffering. Righteousness is torn apart after making that decision, and this is really a 00s theme. Things are sorted in the end by Batman taking on a bad reputation, but many critics believed that this was not a solution at all and merely postponed the problem.

Specifically, it’s revealed that Harvey Dent’s a bad guy, which makes the people angry and creates anarchy. What’s important here is that anyone nowadays is capable of making a decision like Harvey Dent. But that aspect of the film is ignored and is jut treated as “evil” that another person uses to stir up the masses. This is the state of the 00s.

It was released in 2012 so I can’t say that an answer to this problem has been reached yet, but it showed the problem early on. Decisionism after 9/11 lead to mobilization under the name “righteousness” after the “Arab Spring.” Looking at trends of stirring up the masses by using the impossibility of righteousness after 3/11, I believe that “Dark Night Rising” can be interpreted as having pointed out that global affairs and domestic affairs overlap. It’s perfect for talking about the state of Japan from many angles.

 

≫First half

Sayawaka
A writer, critic, and manga artist. Has written for “Yuriika,” “Quick Japan,” and others. Has regular publications in “AERA,” “Da Vinci,” and “Big Gangan.” Critic of novels, manga, anime, music, movies, plays, and Internet content. Author of “Our Game History” and “Theory of 2010’s Culture.”

■Interviewer
Nanae Kan
Research and Development Office
(Fields Research Institute),
Fields Corporation

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.

 

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