“Colors” refers to people of color in anime. For this monthly topic, we will be discussing how people of color or characters of different “races” (a literal alien race) are represented in anime. Some topics we considering is the dangers of stereotyping, bi-racial characters, and the importance of racial inclusion.
In this topic, I will be talking about the importance of color in the real world and in the anime world and manga world of Akihisa Ikeda‘s series Rosario + Vampire. (I will be mostly using the manga instead)
(Might have spoilers of the series but are very minor, it cover mostly volumes 1 and 10 from the season 1 manga.)In January, I talked about Bleach and the positive view of disrupting society, In February, we talked about the importance of flight and how Yuri on Ice teaches people to grow and mature, and last month, I talked about how Sword Art Online teaches people that sanctuary can be found in places that gives you peace. Now, I will be talking about the importance of “colors”, or race, and discuss why is important to know what is race and how dangerous it could be when using it in a negative tactic by using Rosario Vampire. But first, let me give you something to consider before we begin from Disney.
Man or Monster
What makes a monster and what makes a man?
– Clopin from The Disney Hunchback of Notra Dame 1996
This quote came up to me after listening some songs from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notra Dame. In the movie, the antagonist, Claude Frollo raises the deformed baby of a dead mother gypsy. He names the child Quasimodo, meaning half-formed, and casts him away from society. In the film, Frollo tells Quasimodo that he needs to stay away from people because they might consider him a monster based on appearance. Also in the movie, Frollo tells him and the soldiers that gypsies are evil people. However, when the gypsy Esmeralda, meets Quasimodo, she doesn’t call him a monster but calls him a friend. Overall, we see that the true monster is none other than Frollo, a man who labels different people as monsters and tries to justify his actions. Take that and apply to the real world, monsters are those who hurt others with no regards to feelings. Now with that out of the way, let’s finally talk about Rosario + Vampire.
Rosario + Vampire – A harem story about monsters
To those who don’t know, Rosario + Vampire is an series created by Akihisa Ikeda. The story is a Shonen, action, harem series about a high school boy named Tsukune Aono who enrolls into a private school called Yokai Academy. He later realizes that the school teaches monsters (disguised as humans) to coexist with the human world and bring peace. The first friend and crush he meets is the cute pink-haired girl Moka Akashiya, a girl that is actually a vampire. Later on the series, he attracts more friends (more like girls) and they are different too; he makes friends with a succubus, witch, snow fairy and werewolf. At first, the story pretty much follows like a cliche harem series where the boy of the harem must decide who will be his girlfriend and also try to survive against people who wants to kill him because of his popularity; however, according to the manga and also a bit in the anime, the story gets dark when certain monsters don’t want to coexist with humans and they want to be the dominant species.
For the sake of this blog tour, I will be focused on talking about “Colors” and how it applies to this series. I will be talking about the dark colors of stereotyping and the pain of labeling.
Stereotyping equals pain
Point A: “I was alone.”
Mentioned in the first chapter, Tsukune, after experience Yokai Academy, tells Moka that he wants to leave Yokai Academy and go back to a regular public school. Moka tries to stop him because she been to a public school in the human world and she felt alone. She tells him that the humans don’t believe in monsters and they exist in stories; this caused her to feel isolated and insulted at school. When Tsukune revealed he was human and tells her he doesn’t like monsters, this shattered Moka’s hope to find a friend.
Point B: “Get away from me!”
Later in the story, Tsukune’s cousin, Kyoko, decides to visit Yokai Academy because she is suspicious on his friends and the school he goes to. After encountering the Lilith Mirror, she finally realizes the the school is filled with monsters because of the mirror’s powers; the ability to reveal monster’s nature under disguise. Fortunately, Tsukune’s friend Moka was there to save her but Kyoko was not impressed and was actually more scared. She called her a monster and automatically doesn’t trust her compared to the other monsters that wanted to kill her.
Different but we are alike
Taking in account in these points, you could probably tell that the ones who are really the monsters are the humans. That sounds pretty harsh to say but when you think about it, humans can be hurtful to one another. If you take out the rom-com themes and harem of the series, you can see that all the characters just want to be able to live in peace with humans. It’s sad to see that they have to go to school and learn how to become human to fit it in, and if you reveal your nature or true self, you will get rejected regardless.
“But I like you”
However, there are some people who actually like different people. In Rosario + Vampire, Tsukune was first afraid of Moka and the other girls; however, once he learned about their personal struggles, he ignored their differences and focused on their feelings. In Point A, even though Tsukune was afraid of monsters and even said he didn’t like vampires, he came back to Moka and was willing to protect her. Why? It’s because he cared about her and she respected him. With love and respect, anyone can be friends and get along.
Going back to Point B with Kyoko, after seeing Moka save her from the monsters of Yokai, Kyoko realized that not all monsters were evil and some were willing to save others. You want to know what Moka and Kyoko have in common? They both cared about Tsukune. Kyoko cares about him like a brother and sister relationship and Moka is love with him. They put aside their differences and actually became friends. Sometimes, if you have something in common with others, you shouldn’t let the little things separate us.
In Rosario + Vampire, if you ignore the whole harem romance elements and look at a different angle, you can see that it’s a story about a group of different individuals coming together and respecting each other. They are different but they don’t focus on the difference. Instead, they look at something that is similar; they people with feelings and they seek love and attention. Some of the characters have felt loneliness and all they want is be loved and feel important. Thanks to Tsukune, a regular human, he brings these girls together and makes friends with them.
Conclusion – Be the good neighbor
Going to back to earlier, what makes a monster and what makes a man? I believe a monster is someone who hurts people without any care for the world. A man is a person who has feelings and logic and knows about compassion and morality. We live in a world where there are many people with colors and some get either respect or not. In the United States, he had our share of disrespecting colors either from no rights in the Civil Rights movement towards African Americans or discriminating Japanese during World War II. If you guys think right now it’s scary because of Donald Trump and Muslims, I bet it’s not bad compared to Adolf Hitler and the Jews. Hitler and the Nazi stole their homes, separated the men and women in camps and killed millions because he thought his kind (Germans) were the master race. Overall, we are controlled by fear and dominance.
However, if you are someone who loves people unconditionally and regardless to appearance, you can bring people close and become friends or family. In the Christian belief, we are supposed to love another. In John 13:34, Jesus quotes this: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”; This commandment tells us that we know to respect each other without question; this also includes loving your enemies.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
- Matthew 5:44
This is a hard thing to do especially since you don’t want to be with the people who disrespected you but remember, God loves everyone and Jesus came down to save those who are lost. In a parable He spoke, Jesus told a story called The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. In this parable, Jesus tells how a man was beaten and robbed near Jericho. He was nearly killed and when other righteous people like a Levite and Priest saw him, they left him to die. The one person who helped him was a common man known as the Samaritan. The Samaritan healed him and gave him a place to rest.
The point is this, just because we are different doesn’t mean we should stay separated. We have something in common and love is the answer. We need love and need to help each other. We are humans and let’s not be monsters. Think of it like this, what if we were like the students at Yokai Academy. We different type of monsters but all we want is to be together. We are different in appearance but deep down we have a similar interests.
Be sure to check out Venus of Japanime Talks for her blog tour on Wednesday April 5th.