A story about a big green killing machine born from an atomic blast? That's so Japanese; it's basically Godzilla with a hairpiece. So, Japan, what's YOUR comic book take on The Hulk?
Apparently in Japan, The Hulk's power doesn't arise from rage, but uncontrollably sobbing?
Every time he goes heroing, he must have his girlfriend break up with him. Watch out evil doers, when The Hulk updates his Facebook status to "single" you best lay low.
Hear that sound? That sound of Coldplay? It spells your doom.
As anyone who didn't waste their high school years having sex or making friends can tell you, the original Count of Monte Cristo is a heart wrenching story of betrayal, revenge and redemption set in 19th century Europe. The Japanese version, on the other hand, is about a blue elf from the year 5053 who might possibly be a child molester.
OK, more than "possibly."
Because the anime is a sci-fi re-imagining of the Alexandre Dumas novel, it updates a lot of its elements like replacing horses with cars, scenes taking place on different planets and naturally the characters gentlemanly duel out their differences in huge-ass battle mechs.
Seriously, can the Japanese even so much as head to the 7-Eleven for a pack of smokes without transforming into a giant robot?
Also, because the anime is anime, the main character of Edmond Dantes is portrayed less as a broken man obsessed with revenge and more as a broken man possessed by an ancient cave demon. Apparently the concept of revenge doesn't exist in Japan, but ancient cave demons are plentiful.
Oh, and the demon might also possibly be a child molester.
Kids today know so little about history that they probably couldn't even tell you what year Abraham Lincoln defeated Napoleon during the Battle of World War I. The anime series Hetalia aims at fixing all that by presenting anthropomorphic versions of the world's countries interacting with each other in a manner meant to simulate their relationships through history. It's educational! Also, check out Poland feeling up Lithuania up there.
The problem is... we don't think the people behind Hetalia actually know anything about history. Or human decency for that matter, as evidenced by these scenes which depict the horrors of WWII like a nutty summer camp. Here's the Normandy Landing (243,000 dead):
The Soviet occupation of Latvia (290,000 dead):
The Italian Campaign (651,000 dead):
Here's the three bestest friends, Germany, Japan and Italy during WWII just clowning around (the Axis Powers were responsible for 61,000,000 deaths):
Hey, the Axis powers should totally form a boy band. Italy could be the tough one, Japan could be the one with a secret and Germany could be the funny one harboring genocidal rage.
So... Manga Jesus? Yes, Manga Jesus! Japan is going to hell anyway for all the tentacle/Lolita porn so turning the Christian savior into a big-eyed, spiky-haired prepubescent boy probably doesn't matter at this point. Then again, it's not like the West's image of Jesus makes sense, either.
Still. Look at the beard.
Oh man, we refuse to believe that he didn't give himself that thing with a Sharpie pen. We also think it's perfectly acceptable to assume that this comic's battle between Satan and Jesus in the desert lasted for 100 issues, 70 of which they spent just looking at each other, screaming and preparing their plasma balls.
Later, he achieved Super Jesus level and presumably flew off to fight Super Hitler.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a freelance online journalist and Japanese-English-Polish translator. Contact him via email@example.com
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For more reasons to steer clear of Japan and its exports, check out 6 Japanese Subcultures That Are Insane (Even for Japan) and 20 Japanese Robots Probably Intent on Murdering You.
And stop by Linkstorm (Updated 07.26.10) to cleanse your eyes of what you just witnessed.