[OWLS] What Does It Mean to Be a Hero?
Can you guys believe that the last time I wrote about an anime for these OWLS tours was back in February and before then on March 2018?! But to anyone who might not be familiar with OWLS or what these posts are even about…
OWLS is a group of content creators who promote acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. We emphasize the importance of respect, kindness, and tolerance to every human being. Every month we discuss real-world topics through online tours, sharing personal experiences and analyzing pop culture, literature, and other forms of media
And this month our topic is Technology (submitted by Aria)
For this month’s topic, we will be discussing how technology impacts our relationships with others and how it improves our lives (such as in communication, education, and etc.) by exploring the technology used in various anime and pop culture worlds.
Even though I was really excited for this month’s tour, I also had some trouble figuring out what to write. Not too much because I couldn’t find an anime to write about (is there even an anime that doesn’t deal with some form of technology?) but because I didn’t know what to say about technology that wasn’t already said by everyone else
Takuto talked about Kino’s Journey and how technology can be used to connect with others and on the flipside, Hikari talked about how that connectivity can be harmful if we become too dependent. A really neat take on technology was when Shay talked about interactive gaming like the Pokemon Go game (though she focuses more on its predecessor Ingress) and how it can help improve our health in a fun way. Then Matt brought up the pros and cons of technology between generations, which I felt Auri expanded on with a talk on prosthetics
And of course, Neha posted right before me and talked about the series Ridebacks and the pros of being involved in an adrenaline-pumping hobby
But perhaps the reason I had a lot of trouble with this one is that I’m not a very technological person. I can use my laptop and cellphone for basic things like blogging, checking up on social media, and doing quick internet searches, but anything more than this and I go into a panic. I mean, just the other day my printer got disconnected and it took me forever to figure out how to “make it work”! And how the heck did you know I was at X place at Y time?! What do you mean it has something to do with my phone and tracking services?!
Likewise, I’ve done the OWLS livestreams three times (I believe) and I still always mess up with something (which then is corrected by the actual tech guy at our house)
So without actual knowledge on anything technology, what can I say that isn’t a general technology has really helped out humanity but has also really hindered it? Unfortunately, I’ve yet to figure it out, so why not just jump into some cute gay shenanigans?
Like always, this OWLS post contains spoilers
Tiger and Bunny is an anime that’s been on my radar for YEARS but that I never got down to watching. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. One time I tried but for some reason, I wasn’t feeling it, but with this tour looming over my head, I decided to relax with a bit of bantering. Imagine my surprise when I press play and I end up watching a tv series inside of a tv series…is this what they call inception?!
Tiger and Bunny is set in Stern Bild City, where people with superpowers began to appear in the last 45 years. These people are called NEXT (Noted Entities with Extraordinary Talents) and unless they are heroes, it’s very likely that they are facing prejudices. In fact, this is how Kotetsu (Wild Tiger) became a hero. As a child, he believed that he was a danger to people and could only hurt them, but after meeting Mr. Legend, he came to learn that he could use his powers to help people, which he has been doing diligently for years. In fact, he’s the oldest hero in the business and also the one who is at highest risk of losing his job, what with his popularity declining
His only hope in keeping afloat is partnering up with Barnaby Brooks Jr., a new and young hero who happens to have the same ability as him! Of course, that’s easier said than done with their very different personalities and philosophies on hero work
When you think about a hero, chances are you think about someone who risks their life to protect people in danger. This can be someone who you don’t know, like people in the army who fight for the country, or it can be someone very dear to you, like a parental or another familial figure. Perhaps a hero can even be a teacher or a celebrity that you really look up to and “protecting from danger” can mean much more in our non-fantastical setting
But in fantasy anime, a hero is usually someone with a superpower who fights against someone else who has a much stronger superpower (usually bent on world domination? possibly part of a group). You might end up having that story about the young underdog against the Final Boss. Inexperience. Naiveness. Wanting to be the best. Usually having sudden bursts of power when they most need it. You know how it is
In Tiger and Bunny, we have an interesting setup of what it means to be a hero, and while Kotetsu does have to face-off against a few Final Bosses, he also has to face-off against the high-tech society that values heroes based on how much excitement they can offer the people
What does helping someone have to do with our jobs? Listen, no matter where we are we carry the names of our Heroes with us. So we have to make sure we don’t do anything to drag those names through the mud. –Agnes Joubert
In Stern Bild City, when you’re a hero it means you are being sponsored by a big company and when you are called out for duty, your priority is to rack up points. Points are mainly won by saving people and catching criminals so if your points are always high, your sponsors are happy (well, if you also make sure to not create damage to the city)
Once you’re a top hero, chances are you’re doing more promotional work like multiple interviews, attending parties, having underwear photoshoots…And, you know, non-heroic things
When I first saw the video drones flying over Stern Bild City, I asked myself, if they have the technology to be following these criminals and shooting the whole program live, why not use it to stop them? And why don’t the people feel the same way about it? Instead, heroes are set up around the city during criminal activities by the producer of Hero TV, who cares less about saving people and more about the ratings for the show. In fact, we often see Agnes (the producer) telling the heroes to wait for the commercial breaks before they do anything or that they have to wait until a certain time so that Hero TV can finish setting up their program
As we come to see early on, this mentality is widespread and accepted among the other heroes and with Barnaby, Kotetsu’s new partner. Instead of working together to capture criminals, each hero is working for their company names, always trying to one-up each other on the screen and with points. After all, none of them want to fall from the ranks of top hero
Once you do, well, you end up being Kotetsu
Being like Kotetsu is actually one of the best things in this series but the other heroes and this society that’s governed by Hero TV don’t seem to understand. While it’s true that Kotetsu is at the bottom of the Hero Chain (poor guy can’t even get the kids to want his hero trading cards…), we come to see that he’s the only one with a really strong sense of moral justice. He refuses to wait for that commercial break because yo, this armed criminal just took the monorail hostage and you want me to wait?! What about the people in danger?!
Yes, it does land him in very unsavory situations (like being constantly threatened to be fired) but he never wavers in the things he believes in and he’s always looking out for the best interests of others
In a sense, I think of Kotetsu as the “old technology” that still retains the struggles of growing up in a place where people with superpowers were shunned. He lived in a world where Hero TV was only just starting to make a name for itself and where technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now that he’s “an old man”
While everyone else keeps working towards the next big piece of technology (and don’t care for the sense of ethics that is being lost), Kotetsu is fine with inspiring his coworkers and his fans to be good humanitarians. This sense of justice has saved his friends on multiple occasions and has made them happier people
Blue Rose had been struggling for a long time over why she should continue being a hero when she just really wanted to sing, and it was only after Kotetsu’s constant butting in that she found her way. Barnaby had been consumed by hatred for his parents’ murder and didn’t care to what lengths he had to go to avenge them, but Kotetsu helped him on his journey, which made Kotetsu one of the first people he could truly trust. When everyone forgot about him (courtesy of the bad guy because yeah, even he realized how awesome Kotetsu is), Kotetsu never lost faith in his friends and even turned to his old hero suit for help
When everyone was under mental duress, it was Kotetsu’s words and actions that always helped guide them
And you know what. I realized that you don’t set your own limits. Even after I lose all my powers and get mocked by everyone, or look ridiculous, I’m not going to let that stop me. I’m going to stay a hero till the very end. I’m not going to give up
It’s not a bad thing to move towards more advanced technology, as we saw with Wild Tiger’s new suit, but with certain technology, there’s the possibility of losing proper ethics and morals (as we saw Jack and Mel mention) and it’s old technology that can keep us grounded. Unfortunately, everyday people like me aren’t usually privvy to what big technology is being made and the people who create it are sometimes not looking out for the greater good of the people. We should be aware of the advances that are made, what might be lost in the process, and never just freely accept things as they are. Complacency can lead to future problems that are much harder to solve once they become every day
Well, that’s all the rambling I’ll do for this post. We hope you all enjoyed the technology tour this month because yes, I’m the one closing this tour! If you missed any of the tour stops, no worries, OWLS has you covered with this here roundup post