Summary: Anime and manga creators love to use references to folklore and mythology. Norse gods pop up everywhere from Belldandy and Mythical Detective Loki, to the names of attacks in Final Fantasy games. Japanese and Chinese folklore is the basis for many series like Mushishi, Saiyuki, and Requiem from Darkness, and also makes its way into innumerable other series with stories like the Journey to the West, the snow woman and the Peach boy.
If I got a 2 hour slot I could cover a broader range of related topics, going more into some of the ghost stories, and potentially touching on religion and how often religions such as Buddhism, but also Catholicism get referenced in anime.
So, my question is, are people interested in attending? Also are there some series that you would like to see referenced? I already plan to mention some classics like Saiyuki, DragonBall, Inuyasha, Ah My Goddess, as well as series like Mushishi, Requiem For Darkness (Hundred Stories) and Hell Girl.
Edit! I'm gonna post my outline too! It's kinda messy and all. Email me for the powerpoint if you want pretty pictures:
Japanese culture- a strong history of incorporating a lot of things from other cultures. Much of their writing system came from China, and today Japanese love elements of western culture such as baseball and classical music.During the 6th century Buddism came to Japan and has since been practiced alongside Shintoism and other Japanese traditions. The Japanese have no problems combining beliefs from many different sources, happily celebrating Christmas and Valentine's day alongside their traditional New Year's festival and Obon. This tradition carries over into their popular media in which they draw on a huge variety of beliefs and stories which helps the viewers relate to the series.
Types of Usage - There are three main ways that series use mythology.
Shows about a myth - These shows pick a character, story or body of stories from legend and that is the main basis for the show. Saiyuki and Mythical Detective Loki
Shows that reference myths - These shows have a main plot that is not based on any particular myth, but they reference different myths in filler episodes or as asides to the plot. Inuyasha, Soul Eater
Shows about mythology - these shows tend to be collections of short stories each of which is presented like a folktale. Mushishi, Hundred Stories, Ayakashi:_Samurai_Horror_Tales
Nurarihyon no Mago, Mokke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mokke
•Dates back to Ancient Persia and Greece.
•Name “Vampire” came from Serbian “Vampir”
•Widespread during 18th century Europe.
•Popularized by “Dracula”
Hellsing, Vampire Princess Miyu, Vampire Knight, Castlevania
CHRISTIANITY: (Omitted from panel)
Evangelion (Lance of Loginus, angels, adam and eve)
Chrono Crusade, Trinity Blood, Eternal Sabbath,
Psalms - Chevalier d'Eon
Noah's Ark - Spriggan, Pokemon (Ash and friends are out in the middle of the ocean, so he sends out his Pidgeotto to find land for them because they mentioned that Noah did it in the Bible. )
Angels: Trigun, Wish, Macademi Wasshoi, Wish,
Cain and Abel (When did it become associated with vampires?): Nightwalker, Persona: Trinity Souls (Main character's personas are Cain and Abel http://en.wikipedia...._-trinity_soul- )
7 Deadly Sins: Fullmetal Alchemist, 11eyes (superbia, luxuria, Acedia)
Grimm Fairy Tales:
Snow White - Pretear, Tenchi Muyo, W Juliet
Shinigami aka Grim Reapers.
•Personification of Death commonly hooded with a scythe
•“Shinigami” coined in a Japanese play based on Grimm fairy tale “Godfather Death”
•Candles representing remaining lifespan
The personification of Death is a common theme worldwide and dates back to ancient times. The idea of the Grim Reaper as a hooded skeleton with a scythe originated in the 15th century and was introduced to Japan during the Meiji era. The first recorded use of the term "shinigami" came from a play by that name which was based on a Grimm fairy tale, Godfather Death. In this fairy tale, Death agrees to be the godfather of a young boy who later becomes a physician. Being able to see death standing at the foot of the bed of someone about to die, he knows when to give them treatments and when to let them go. He tricks death into letting a king and his daughter live by turning their bed and pays for his trickery by losing his own life. In the story, each person's remaining life is represented by a candle that is burning down and burns out when that person dies. Ref - Death Note, Bleach, Full Moon, Soul Hunter, Soul Eater.
•Dullahan – Male version of Banshee, a headless horseman, driver of a Death Coach. (NEED IMAGE! They're carrying their severed heads whih are rotted and have giant mouths from ear to ear and black eyes darking around randomly) Durarara
•Geas: a celtic word for a vow or obligation - Code Geass
Rental Magica (It has a celtic witch as a main charactor: Celtic witch= celtic magic and summons, The celtic witch and her witch rival are one of the main charactors. Since it has omnyouji, it has japanese mythology as well.)
King Arthur – King of Camelot, Knight of the Round Table.
Excalibur – Arthur’s sword. Ref: Soul Eater (Excalibur), Fate/Stay Night (Arthur and Lancelot), Code Geass (names of the Britannian Nightmade Frames), Tears to Tiara
•Diana/Artemis – Moon and Hunt Goddess
•Adonis – Love or Aphrodite, represents beauty.
•Medusa – Snakes for hair, turns people to stone.
Saint Seiya (Characters are knights defending Athena), Cyborg 009 (cyborgs based off of Greek myth.) Fate/Stay Night (Medusa), Golden Sun Game, Ulysses 31, Historie, Fire Emblem
Phoenix (possible confusion with Fenghuang ) - Hi no Tori
The valkyries are choosers of the slain, taking heroes back to Valhalla to prepare for the final battle of the gods, also known as Ragnarok. When the valkyries, whom are all women, are not out in the fields recruiting, they are in Valhalla serving mead to the dead heroes.
References: Valkyrie Profile- A game based loosely on Norse Mythology where the player takes on the role of a valkyrie who recruits slain warriors to eventually fight in Ragnarok.
The Norns are the goddess of fate. They pull the strings of fate for every man, god, giant, pretty much every being from the day he is born until the day he dies.
The Norns consist of three sisters: Urd who represents the past, Verdandi who represents the present and Skuld represents the future.
While the Norse gods often consult the Norns regarding their fates, a secondary function the Norns have is to provide water out of the well of Urd to Yggdrasill which is basically the tree that supports the world.
There is a myth that the Norns visited a noble man when his first child was being born. The first two Norns promised that the child would be brave and strong. There were a lot of people present and Skuld was pushed out of her chair. Slighted by this, she announced that the boy would die once the candle near the bedside burns out. Urd put out the candle and instructed the parents to tell the boy not to light it again until he was ready to die. The boy grew up and lived a long time until he came upon a king that forced him to be baptized. The king also forced the man to light the candle that he had protected all these years. Despite his recent conversion, it’s said that once the candle burned out, he died.
References in anime: Oh My Goddess- Belldandy (Verdandi) is the lead female for the series and her older sister Urd and younger sister Skuld are also present. Yggdrasill is also present but as a complex computer system used to help process wishes. Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok- Urd, Verdandi and Skuld appear mid-series and are manipulated into attacking Loki by Odin.
Loki is the Norse god of fire and mischief. Loki is technically a giant, the enemy of the Norse gods, but he is accepted and allowed to live among them. This proves to be a fatal mistake in time as he is one of the key players in the destruction of the gods.
Loki’s role in the world of the gods is to solve problems the gods have. Often he is the cause of these problems and even if he is not, the gods assume he is. He is promienent in many of the myths however one of his more famous ones would be the Poetic Edda Lokasenna.
In Lokasenna, all of the gods are at a dinner party having a great time until Loki shows up and slanders everyone. Despite the attempts of the gods to diffuse the situation, Loki does not stop until Thor shows up and threatens him repeatedly. Knowing that Thor will follow through with his threats of violence, Loki decides to finally leave.
The gods are obviously enraged by Loki’s behavior and chase after him. They finally catch up with him, bind him to a rock with the entrails of his sons and put a snake over his head so its venom will drip down into his eyes. This is how he will remain until the day of Ragnarok.
References in anime: Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok- Loki is the main character of the series, being banished to the human world by Odin in the form of a child.
One of the more distinctive features about Norse mythology is that they believe in an end to their gods. This end is referred to as Ragnarok which means the final destiny of the gods.
The beginning starts with a horrible winter called Fimbul-winter. Loki and his wolf son Fenrir escape from their bindings and make their way to Asgard, the home of the gods. They are joined along the way by Hel, Loki’s daughter who rules over the dead, and the Midgard serpent, also another one of Loki’s children. The giants also use this opportunity to attack the gods. A large battle ensues between the three forces leaving only a handful of the gods left when the war is over.
References in anime/games: Rangarok manga, FFVIII- airship used is named Ragnarok, Ragnarok Online- MMORPG, Harlock Saga
Ishtar: Babylonian goddess of love, war, and sex. One of the most important gods in the middle eastern pantheon. She a strong but promiscuous woman with many lovers. – Red River, Tower of Druaga http://mythology.wikia.com/wiki/Ishtar
Egyptian: Gods, Ra - Sun, Osiris - Death, Seth - storms, Aten - creator. Ref: Yugioh esp 5th season
Mythical Journey to the West – Saiyuki, Dragon Ball
Fushigi Yuugi: Suzaku....fire, Seiryuu....ice
Zodiac – Fruits Basket
Collections of folk takes – Mushishi, Requiem for Darkness, Ayakashi:_Samurai_Horror_Tales
Nurarihyon no Mago, , Mokke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mokke
Youkai: Vampire Princess Miyu, Shounen Onmyouji Ushio to Tora, Gegege no Kitaro, Natsume's Book of Friends, Ushio to Tora, Naruto
Kitsune (Fox Spirits)- Tricksters, or sometimes lovers who turn out to not be human. They gain tails and power with age. They transform into human form, often using a leaf. Tactics, Wagaya no Oinari-sama
Oni (Ogres)- Often wearing tiger skin and with large clubs, they were originally evil unseen spirits that caused disasters. Associated with Northeast, the unlucky direction which correlates with the tiger on the zodiac. Oni are exceptionally strong but deformed.
In Rumiko Takahashi's Urusei Yatsura, the female lead, Lum Invader is an oni alien depicted wearing a tiger-skin bikini.
Chie Shinohara's manga Ao no Fuuin uses oni as a main theme when the female protagonist is a descendant of a beautiful oni queen who wants to resurrect her kind.
Takahashi's Ranma 1/2 features a story in which one of the characters, Kasumi Tendo, is possessed by an oni, causing her to behave in uncharacteristically "evil" (yet humorous) ways.
Kamen Rider Hibiki, Japanese tokusatsu series, uses oni as a main theme of the series. It tells the story about ancient battle between the Oni and the Makamou. In another popular tokusatsu, the Ultra series, it is not uncommon for Oni to appear and do battle with an Ultraman.
In The Venture Brothers season two episode "I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills", Dr. Venture is haunted by a floating oni which has followed him from Japan. Venture and Doctor Byron Orpheus, a necromancer, attempt to banish the spirit using "tempest tongs" but the effort fails. Venture then attempts to trap the oni in the trunk of his car, at which point the demon possesses the automobile. The oni attempts to lead Venture to Myra Brandish, Venture's former bodyguard and love who has kidnapped his sons. At the conclusion of the episode, the oni leaves with Dr. Henry Killinger, for whom the spirit has been working throughout the episode.
In Capcom's video-game series Onimusha, the Oni are a clan of monsters who help humanity in their fight against the evil demons called genma.
Inugami (Dog Demons)- Inuyasha, Her Majesty's Dog, Inukami,
kappa - appearance similar to ape/turtles, they have beaks and scales and shells and a bald head that is filled with water. Eat cucumbers and Children.
Tanuki - Pom Poko, Iuyasha, Naruto, the one-tailed demon Shukaku that is sealed inside the body of Gaara is based on the tanuki. Renkin 3-kyū Magical ? Pokān
tengu - Often translated as demons, the name came from China from Tiangou meaning a heavenly dog. The Japanese version quickly became associated with birds of prey and are usually shown as a humanoid with a long red nose, or a beak, and sometimes with bird wings. Often they are wearing the robes of a Buddhist monk, but they often seek to trick people or to lead monks astray. They are often believed to be the spirits of religious souls who were too arrogant to go to heaven and some chose to be protectors for forests or Buddhist holy places while others take on the role of vengeful spirits causing harm. (Black Bird, Tactics)
Yuki Onna (Snow woman) - a classic Japanese tale about a ghostly woman or youkai who appears to travellers during snowstorms. Sometimes she leads them astray, sometimes asks them to hold a child, but the traveller generally ends up frozen to death. She is rumored to be the spirit of a woman who died in a snowstorm, or possible the spirit of snow itself. She is often accompanied by children (Inuyasha filler episode, Vampire Princess Miyu)
Wanyūdō - A youkai in the shape of a burning wagon wheel with a monk's head on it. It is said to roam about and take people to hell. You can protect yourself from being taken by putting a charm on your door saying "This is the house of a winning mother" http://en.wikipedia....i/Jigoku_Shoujo Hellgirl
Enma: The Judge of Hell, a buddhist god. He gives out punishments to people who committed misdeeds in their life. Ref: Hellgirl, Naruto, Dragon Ball, Demon Prince Enma
Momotaro (Peach Boy) - A woman who wants a son is doing her washing in a stream when a peach floats down the water. When she tries to cut the peach to eat it it splits open and a boy pops out saying he was sent from the heavens. When he grows up he sets off to fight the oni on an island and along the way he finds 3 companions, a dog, a monkey and a pheasant. Together they defeat the ogres and return home with a cart full of wonderous treasures. http://www.japanippo...tales/index.htm (Inuyasha - filler episode, Urusei Yatsura - Jariten arrives in a peach, YuYu Hakusho - Kuro Momotaro, Samurai Jack - bedtime story, Samurai 7 - Shichiroji's nickname since he was found in a pod in a river, Ouran High School Host Club (manga) - the club cosplays as momotaro and companions, Amatsuki - mentioned in a rap song, Magical Princess Minky Momo, Gokudo, Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, etc.)
Kintaro (Golden Boy) - Kintaro was raised in the mountains of Japan and his only friends were the animals. He is usually depicted as ruddy and plump wearing only an apron that says "gold" on it and is often accompanied by a tame bear. He was very strong and wields a large axe and figures in many tales of his adventures fighting or wrestling monsters. As an adult, Kintarō changed his name to Sakata no Kintoki and he bacame a great warrior for the samurai Yorimitsu. (Golden Boy, One Piece - Sentoumaru, Prince of Tennis, Gintama - Gintoki, Otogi Zoshi, Yu Yu Hakusho - Makintaro)
Urashima Tarō: Story of young fisherman who rescues a turtle from children. He is then invited to the bottom of the sea by a huge turtle since he saved the daughter of the sea king. After 3 days he returns home and the princess gives him a bx that he's never to open. He finds that 60 years have actually passed and when he opens the box he lets his old age escape. Ref: Dragonball Z, YuYu Hakusho, Urusei Yatsura, Love Hina (whose lead male character is called Urashima Keitaro), Doraemon, Kamen Rider Den-O (the namesake of the Imagin Urataros, given by Naomi), Cowboy Bebop, Ghost Sweeper Mikami and RahXephon. It is retold in and used as the basis for the short story “Another Story” by Ursula K. Le Guin, published in her story collection A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, named for the character of this story. Urashima Tarō is referenced in the video game Policenauts, and is a character in Ōkami.
This post has been edited by Elf From Space: 21 May 2010 - 01:07 PM