3 Political-Themed Anime Movies

Legend of the Galactic Heroes



This time, I tried to watch an anime with the theme of “politics” on sites, but surprisingly I could not identify it. There are many sub-themes such as directing to bring out the reality of the work, but there seem to be surprisingly few animation works in which “politics” itself becomes the main theme (maybe it’s just that I’m a shallow scholar).

Therefore, this time, I would like to introduce the following three works. By the way, “military” is inseparably related to “politics”, but there is still a borderline there, so I excluded it this time.

As Clausewitz said, “War is a means of politics,” and there is a master and servant there.

Galactic Heroes Legend

A future far beyond the Western calendar.

After the failure of democracy, humanity was under the tyrannical rule of the Lowengram Empire, the first despotic dictatorship in the unified government of mankind.

However, the Republicans who resisted this led to the formation of the Free Planetary Alliance, and the two sides fought fiercely.

After 150 years of stalemate, history changed dramatically with the emergence of the immortal genius of Reinhard von Lowengram in the Empire and Yang Wenli in the Alliance.

Yes, everyone loves Gin-Eiden.

It is too famous to talk about it in detail, but it is an animated version of the long-selling novel of the same name by Japan space opera. The original author is Yoshiki Tanaka, the unfinished Vice Emperor (Daisuke Sato, of course, is the unfinished Emperor).

Like Yoshiki Tanaka, who is well versed in history (especially Chinese history), he is a fierce battle (Starfleet battle in which 10,000 ships clash) and an on-parade of conspiracy numbers (Oberstein like the incarnation of Machiavellianism!), and the anime version is also finished as a history picture scroll colored with classical music.

“Zeke Kaiser Reinhardt, Zeke Reich!”

One of the themes of this work is:

“I think the worst democracy is better than the best tyranny.”

It is in the words (thought) of Yang Wenli. Especially after Reinhardt defeated the Goldenbaum Dynasty and crowned himself, this theme (conflict) is brought to the fore.

The more benevolent Reinhardt’s rule becomes, the more corrupt the Free Planet Alliance becomes, the greater this dilemma will be, and the greater Yang’s anguish.

Viewers will also be fascinated by the New Galactic Empire.

In political science, there is a concept called “Miranda”, which appeals to the passions and sentiments of the ruled person rather than reason (flag, ritual, etc.) in order to procure the obedience of rule (authoritarianization). A dynasty is the greatest instrument of authoritarianization.

On the other hand, there is also the political concept of “Credenda”, which is a rational way to appeal to human reason (political theory, etc.). This is where a democratic republic will be established.

The democracy that Yang Wenli manages to survive is also fragile and ephemeral because it relies on reason.

People chanted “Sieg Kaiser Reinhardt! It is much more pleasant and easier to shout and cheer.

A regurgitation of history?

In this connection, I am reminded of the “end of history” theory by the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama.

Fukuyama, relying on Hegel’s philosophy of history, believed that “history” was the process of achieving “freedom.”

In the beginning, only one king is free, and the rest is slaves. From this state, the idea of “equality before God” appeared with the appearance of Jesus Christ, and through the three major civil revolutions, “freedom” was realized (expanded), and the freedom of all members of “liberal democracy” was established.

This system is the final and best form of government and political system in human history, and the end of history.

Fukuyama also spoke of “regurgitation of history” such as the history of Gin-Eiden (Galactic Federation ⇒ Galactic Empire)

In many cases, the uncivilized society that is regarded as the future image of humanity in science fiction is not just a recreation of a time when society was still undeveloped, but a strange mixture of ancient social forms and modern technology, such as royalty and nobles traveling through the solar system in a spaceship.

Fukuyama’s theory dates from the early 1990s when the United States won the Cold War, so we have to discount that, but it is true that there is a question as to whether humanity, once learned the “taste” of concepts such as “democracy,” “human rights,” and “rationality,” would abandon the democratic republic itself and “retreat” to the despotism, no matter how many problems and paths it has.

As Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst political system, except for all the political systems that mankind has experienced in the past,” and no matter how disgusted you may be, the Democratic Republicformat・・at・IS・I feel like I’m barely stepping on it.

However, once the “American victory” of the 1990s has passed, we cannot be optimistic because in the 21st century we can see signs of a “historical retreat” (the Trump phenomenon and the rise of China).

This can also be seen in Japan and is thought to be reflected in “political messianism” in particular.

More on the issue of politicians in another article (Japan, is it really a problem? ~ Think of Political Messianism), but if you make the “political messiah” a special case outside the system or a solution that transcends the system, the political system, or rather, the political culture of that country, will begin to rot from the inside.

By the way, speaking of silver biography and “politics”, we cannot talk about it without the rare Machiavellian Oberstein. He is a person who embodies the very reason why “politics” is.

By the way, in Yoshiki Tanaka’s novel Soryuden, his toothless political irony is directed at modern Japan and is in full swing, so if you like.


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Yushiro Gowa, the fourth son of one of Japan’s leading conglomerates Gowa clan, becomes a Self-Defense Force officer and becomes a test pilot of a bipedal walking weapon (TA = tactical armor) developed by Gowa.

However, the TA technology has been hidden by the Gowa clan since ancient times”Bone-p’a-shantyKugai. I know that there is such a being involved.

Eventually, Yuushiro becomes embroiled in speculations and intrigues involving international secret societies, the United States, and some forces of the Self-Defense Forces secretly plotting a coup d’état.

It should be a robot anime.

It is a work with a taste of ×× bizarre robot military, but from the middle of the film, the shadow of the protagonist Yushiro fades, and it rapidly takes on the aspect of political suspense with a strong political color.

In the second half, it is a unique anime in which “Japan-U.S. relations” becomes one of the major themes.

Because it is a work from 1999, it has a taste like “Japan-U.S. equality”, and it is not without feeling the ethos of Shintaro Ishihara of yesteryear.

Mobile Police Patlabor 2: The Movie

The Ground Self-Defense Force’s PKO dispatched labor unit is annihilated by an attack by local rebel forces.

Three years later, the Yokohama Bay Bridge bombing incident occurred due to a plot by someone. As a result, a series of disturbing incidents led to an increase in the degree of tension in the country.

Finally, the SDF was ordered to deploy to Tokyo.

Will the end result be a civil war?

Yes, everyone loves Pato 2.

Everyone loves it, but I feel that there are few anime that is misunderstood so much.

As right-wing people say, “That’s why the Peace Constitution is useless! We have to become a normal country (sense of mission).”

As people on the left say, “It’s an anime glorifying war” or “The Self-Defense Forces are dangerous” or something like that.

All of them are either irrelevant or superficial.

Throughout, this work expresses “war and peace” in “post-war theory” or “Japan theory” and in political philosophy (as an academic discipline, not as an expression of personal beliefs).

Director Mamoru Oshii himself says that “the film is more like a thesis than a feature film”*1, but this film requires the viewer to have a reasonable level of intellectual reading comprehension.

Article 9 of the Constitution and the issue of the Self-Defense Forces as metaphysical laws, institutions, and political situations are only a stage set, and the main focus of this work is on the metaphysical and ideological dimensions, so what is “post-war”? What are “war” and “peace”? This is the problem that I am putting on the table.

Isn’t this ideology the real reason why it is unrivaled and distinguished by other similar works?

Since the circumstances and considerations around here have already been done a lot, please read the following article

Is it possible to study political science in anime?

How was it? If you dare to link the “political themes” of the above three works to the specialized field of political science,

  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes ⇒ Political History, Political System Theory
  • Gasaraki ⇒ International Relations (Japan-U.S. Relations)
  • Patlabor 2 ⇒ Political Philosophy, Politics, and Military Relations

Or something like that. In a sense, even anime works can be a respectable object of study and a method of expression.