OWLS Diplomacy Blog Tour: Because Words Are Still Mightier Than A Fist
Hey guys! Thanks for coming back to another one of my OWLS posts! If you were linked here by my fellow yaoi lover Mistress of Yaoi (and this is your first time here) WELCOME. If this isn’t your first time at my blog for one of these, welcome back!
For this month’s tour we are talking about “Diplomacy”
Whenever we have a disagreement with someone, we use our words to express our thoughts and opinions. However, there are those who would rather use fists instead of words, those who forget that being “right” isn’t the most important thing, and those who lose sight of compromising and acknowledging differences in opinion and belief. Diplomacy is an important skill and tactic that not many of us have or are able to utilize properly especially in “social media wars” for sensitive issues and anime discourse—we just express our opinions without really listening. For this month’s prompt, we will be exploring some of the best negotiations scenes in pop culture media and discuss how effective these diplomatic moments are and what we can learn from them. We will also discuss why communication and listening are important traits to have and whether or not there are other means to enforce peace.
When I think of diplomacy, I always imagine someone in a suit and tie, someone who talks all this complicated jargon, and someone who knows what they want and knows how to go about getting it. Moonid actually talks about Shiro from Log Horizon and aside from the fact that he wears a cape and carries around a staff, he is what I imagine a diplomat to be. He’s ruthless and manipulative, but he also knows what he wants and luckily, he’s on the “good guy’s” side
But of course diplomacy isn’t as easy as sitting at a table and talking about our grievances. If so, we wouldn’t have things like wars, which Matt touches on in his post where he talks about Tokyo Ghoul and how Kaneki has to grow as a person. Kaneki starts off wanting to be a Shiro but later learns that talking and being passive isn’t an option. Sometimes brute force is the only option. When I read his post my thoughts started to shift on what “diplomacy” could mean
And then everyone else just did such a fantastic job at adding their two cents about the topic that now I’m left wondering, well, what can I add to this?
MOB PSYCHO 100
This question actually got me thinking about Mob Psycho. Possibly because it’s a recent rewatch but also because I felt like it tied into what everyone else was already in agreement with: sometimes physical force is the only way to go when our words don’t get through to people
In MP100 we follow the life of Kageyama Shigeo, aka Mob. Mob appears to be your normal middle school student and he would be rather average except he’s also the strongest esper in existence (that we know of). He can generally control his powers and uses them in his part-time job where he exorcises spirits for Reigen who owns Spirits and Such Consultation Office, but on the off chance that he’s under emotional strain, he can lose control and sometimes hurt others
It’s said that with great power comes great responsibility and Mob experiences this as a child when his brother and he are attacked by thugs. Losing consciousness after he’s pushed, Mob comes to to find that their bullies have been taken care of but that his brother has also suffered a bad injury (possibly to the head as we see blood pool around him). I think it’s this moment that really shows Mob how dangerous he can be if he doesn’t have “the right training” and so he goes in search for help. Help he finds in the form of a conman/psychic who many would argue (myself included) is a great man
Listen well, we are different than regular people because we are born with special powers. But that shouldn’t give you the illusion that you’re a special being. We are part of humanity. Besides our rare power, we are no different than them. People who run fast, people who can sing well, people who study hard, people who are funny, and people with psychic powers. Are we different from them? Having confidence in your strength is good thing but do not get carried away. Our powers are a dangerous weapon. -Reigen
Because of Reigen’s mentorship, Mob grows into a person who doesn’t take advantage of his powers. He wants to work hard like anyone else, as we see that he struggles in the Body Improvement Club even though we all know he could easily do everything they do if he were to use his powers. But we could also argue that Mob is too soft. He never seeks out conflict and when made to choose something he often hesitates. And we also see that he is easily swayed by people’s words (how he went from joining the psychic club to the body improvement club when the student council president made his speech)
In contrast to Mob, we actually end up meeting another natural esper named Hanazawa Teru who believes that he is much better than a normal human. He uses his powers to hurt others and he doesn’t feel remorse. It makes him popular and makes others fear and respect him, so it must be ok, right?
It’s actually in this battle where Mob loses control again because he won’t fight Hanazawa. After being nearly strangled, his powers go out of control and he ends up (basically) slaughtering Hanazawa and destroying the school grounds they were on. Because of his non violence stance and Teru’s stronger conviction, things ended up worse. In a way it’s like what Matt talked about in his post where Kaneki refuses to make a decision when Yamori is torturing him and two innocent lives end up paying for his indecision. Because Mob’s stance wasn’t strong enough (or because Teru’s notions of espers vs humans were too ingrained), things ended up worse than what they could have been
Of course, it all “ends well enough” since Teru and Mob do end up becoming friends
Now that I’ve sort of introduced Mob, Reigen, and Teru, and more or less where they stand in terms of diplomacy, let’s skip to the end battles. Later on in the series, Ritsu, Mob’s younger brother, ends up being kidnapped by adult espers calling themselves Claw’s 7th Division. What they do is take child espers, experiment and brainwash them for their group in hopes of taking over the world. Believing that Ritsu is actually Mob, they end up taking him and it’s here that we see Mob “willingly” using his powers. In Arria’s example, I believe Mob is exercising diplomacy as self-defense because he’s been cornered. He’s trying to protect his brother from these men who are attacking them for no reason
As this arc continues, we see that Mob is under a lot of stress and he doesn’t know who to listen to. Teru is quick to fight Claw, saying that it’s the only way to save his brother and to get them off their backs (as Claw would just return if they didn’t destroy them). We know that Mob doesn’t like to use his powers to hurt others but now he’s being told this is the only way to do things by his friend and his brother?
But does forcing ourselves to be something we’re not, something that goes against our principals count as true diplomacy?
One of the things I loved about the end battle (though I did have a teeny big criticism for it) was that Reigen tells Mob it’s okay to run away. It’s okay to not want to fight and hurt others and it’s not his place to do what others want him to just because he has the means. In this fight it’s very clear that this battle is a children vs adult scenario and Reigen is quick to intervene in a “pick on someone your own size” mentality. And by that I mean that as adults, Claw shouldn’t be battling Mob and his friends, and Reigen takes a stance as the only adult on Mob’s side
As someone who is used to having words be his weapon, Reigen realizes that it’s not enough. After having Mob’s powers transfer to him, he’s able to level off the playing field but he never lets this power take over. He still continues to use his words to fend off Claw and only uses Mob’s powers to stop attacks on his person
“He dragged them out of their delusions and back into reality by force…” – Ritsu
I think the internet and debates are dominated by people like Teru who are very vocal about how they feel. Who say they represent those who can’t speak but that don’t exactly listen to them either. Because some people are more hotheaded than others, it can build a bad image even when, technically, we’re on the same side. This can even create a rift between people who are fighting for the same thing. We see and hear about this all the time in fandoms and I’ve seen people like this on the news that I would not want to be associated with even when we have similar views. And it’s not just about being physically aggressive, but verbally as well
I also think that the internet is also filled with people like Mob and I’m going to go ahead and lump myself in this category. I feel like these people have their own convictions but because they’re less extreme (or overall prefer to walk away from conflict), they’re overshadowed by the Terus. It’s not necessarily a bad place to be, but it also is. If we don’t speak up then nobody will do it for us. People will assume we are of the same mindset as the Terus even though the big difference is the means. While the Terus don’t mind getting a bit aggressive if the situation calls for it, the Mobs will only do so if they’re cornered
But I think the real MVPs are the people who listen like Reigen. One of Reigen’s greatest strengths is that he always listens to Mob and so he was the only one to realize how stressed out he was in the end battle. And I think this is what diplomacy is all about. It’s not just about shouting what we want and what we think, but also listening to others, helping them when they need it, and being given that trust and permission to be represented. I think a lot of great leaders fall into this category because they weren’t just fighting for what they wanted, but what they believed was best. They listened to the people around them
I guess my point is that I side with words more than I do with fists and aggression in general even when I can see where this could be the only choice. Something physical stops hurting after awhile but words can stay buried within you even when you think they’re not. It’s like a double edged sword and should be wielded with care
This is a super oversimplification of the types of diplomacy I’ve seen on the internet but hopefully I’m making some sense! And if I didn’t make any sense, I am so sorry (lol)! Don’t forget to check out the next stop which will be over at Gigi (Animepalooza)’s YouTube channel