Japan and America both have a long history with the superhero genre but despite obvious similarities, the differences between the way the cultures have approached the genre make for some pretty different stories. One only needs to look at the Japanese Spider-man TV where our hero Tatsuya gets his power from an alien from the planet Spider, as well as a giant robot instead of a radioactive spider. Despite the massive differences between the way the two cultures treat the genre, there’s still an immediately recognizable core that makes a superhero. It’s something that makes My Hero Academia, the new anime adapted from the manga by Kohei Hiroshi and Hirofumi Nedi, a fascinating look at the evolution of the superhero genre as our fiction crosses borders at an unprecedented level. It doesn’t hurt that My Hero Academia also represents the best of what it means to be not just a superhero, but someone who loves them as well.
This is part of a series of essays on RahXephon. This particular essay covers episodes 1-3. I do not summarize plot on these essays as they are meant to be running commentary, meaning that if you are interested in penetrating these rambles and rants, I strongly suggest you watch the show along with the essays.
Most stories are about the meaning of home, if we expand that definition to mean “An emotional place of contentment” as well as “Place of origin”. Most fictional characters are either desperately looking for the earlier and trying to run from the latter. In most cases, these two goals are correlated. That is the particular case of RahXephon, probably one of my very favorite TV shows and my nomination for “Greatest Anime of All Time”. RahXephon follows the story of Ayato Kamina, a young student who dabbles in painting and finds out that the city he calls home (Tokyo) is actually an alien colony as he’s exfiltrated by the resistance fighting from the outside to retake to Tokyo.