Is war in fact a beach? (Yes this is still Gundam. I know my head hurts too…)
Well since my graduation date has been immeasurably delayed I am most keen on graduating soon. In order for this to happen I need to finish one class that has the right to demand that I do some research of sorts. Suffice to say I humbly request any assistance that my fellow good netizens might be able to offer me. All I require of you is a simple quotable comment regarding how you an otaku views war. Yes it is a needlessly serious subject, but hey otaku are people too and since the internet is vast I hope to get many opinions and comments from people from different cultures and locales. No need to e-mail me or anything just post your thoughts as a simple comment. That way the good and noble professor can verify everything. (To my good professor if you are reading this please excuse our rough language and grammatical errors. Sorry this is not class nor a graded paper and as such web speak is going to make you cry…)
As intelligent members of various societies I am sure that we can all agree that anime does use war as a plot device. However even as fantastic as big robots fighting each other with beam sabers and death rays of incalculable power, there are some, dare I say it, basic and valid principles of war that anime promotes. Ignoring the gigantic war machines and flashy space ships for a moment, there is some thought given to how a war ought to be prosecuted and how it is prosecuted. This in turn does affect the viewer in some ways explicitly or surreptitiously regardless of whether or not we reject the premise and ideas put forth in the anime series we hold dear or in contempt. So without further delay here are some questions that I would like to pose to you, feel free to answer as few or as many as you wish:
1. Does anime promote the notion that youth (3-18 years old) can view war with a more dispassionate eye? Can a young person, as a rule, grasp the full meaning of a conflict better than any one else, be it a veteran, statesman, mother, or officer? Is this a valid assumption?
2. Should war be fought with a large degree of discrimination in regard to the civilian population of one’s enemy? Does precision weaponry and the ability to make the majority of targets military lessen the impact and sin of war?
3. Is the best way to fight a war is to have one competent or genius strategist oversee every minute detail of a battle, a sort of uber micro if you will? Is the function of the lowliest soldier to merely carry out orders without question or decision making on his or her part? Is the greatest strength of an army it’s commander? Are all soldiers largely interchangeable?
4. Does the ability to predict the enemy’s actions a guarantee of victory? Do armies that prosecute wars act in a rational and methodical by the book manner? Is there a large degree of uncertainty is war?
5. Is the only good thing in war, simply the end? Does anime depict war as hell or something else entirely? Is anime for the most part antiwar, if so is it really good at espousing an antiwar agenda?
6. Is a professional military something to be despised versus a militia made up of locals or are both liable to commit heinous acts in prosecuting a war?
7. In war is the most important thing is the will to fight and the will to win? Does human will ultimately and inevitably overcome technology, economy, and numbers? Is actual fighting the only aspect of war of any consequence?
8. Is the use of WMDs a mere plot device, an act of spite, or a calculated decision in anime?
9. Should rank be dependent on how many of the enemy one kills, or should it be determined time in service, deeds, training, or evaluation by superior officers?
10. Should an ace pilot be kept on active service indefinitely or are there other uses for an ace? Is personal combat the norm or is war a team effort? Is one on one combat more honorable than any other form of fighting?
11. In warfare is there is always one preeminent weapon system that makes all the others obsolete or largely ineffective?
12. In war are all civilians reasonably well behaved and generally able to adhere to basic human decency? Do civilians exert some influence on state and military policy, and if so do they share some responsibility for a conflict?
13. Is it better for a war to end without significant changes to both sides, or does a war need a clear victor in order for a conflict to end? Does lasting peace hinge upon a limited amount of destruction and death on both sides or does it require a huge expenditure of blood and treasure of one or more sides?
14. Does a revolution entail infighting amongst the rebels, or does a rebellion coalesce into a untied front without much blood shed if any at all? Is the ultimate goal of a revolution more important than how those goals are attained? Is the destruction of the “old” a necessary perquisite? Is a revolution inherently a good thing and counter revolution a bad thing?
15. Is war a necessary evil or it it something that can be ended for all time? Are all wars inherently immoral or amoral? Do nation states that can prosecute wars follow a moral code of sorts or are they all immoral entities that take advantage of a neighbor’s weakness? Does every nation-state hold dreams of empire at one or more points in it’s existence or are there nations that are noble and just?
Last Note: please be advised that an outsider maybe reading, so please act accordingly. The last thing we want is to soil the good name of otakudom by doing something unseemly. Also please respect the opinions of others.