9 Beloved Characters Made Horrifying by Japan
Japan can take apart other people's inventions, like radios or TV sets, and put them back together better, cheaper and likely in the shape of Hello Kitty. However, the Japanese skill for reverse engineering works less well when it comes to reconfiguring our beloved pop culture icons.
(Watch Cracked take Star Wars apart and put it back together in our new Adventures in Jedi School mini-series.)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT: Legend of the Supermutants)
It seems almost impossible to out-"wha?" a show already titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but after muttering something about our lack of faith disappointing them, Japan outfitted the Turtles in flamboyant armor that looks like a LARP party on their way to a convention for Liberace Impersonators with an S & M fetish. Because giant, mutated turtles with mastery in martial arts don't make sense without robo-armor and glittering codpieces.
Obviously Japan isn't content until your head is spinning with questions. But if you think they're gong to rest at mere costume-related questions like, "Why is Raphael wearing a bejeweled version of the murder dildo from Se7en?" or "Is Michelangelo about to be devoured by a giant metallic spider?" then you obviously don't know what happens when the turtles get their hands on the magic stones. Yes, the magic stones.
Alpha, I need four mutated Dolph Lundgrens! Don't worry about the body paint, he always brings his own.
Of course, once that's done you simply must have them combine into a gigantic, winged robot...
...after Shredder turns into a city-destroying demon Godzilla because all other types of plot have been outlawed in Japan.
Star Wars (Star Wars Manga)
So you want to take Star Wars, and filter it through the magical lens of Japanese manga. Clearly the first step has to be to replace the original cast with 11-year-olds. Clearly.
Here's Leia, looking young enough to make millions of gold bikini fantasies that much more unsettling...
... Luke looking a few years shy of a T-14 learner's permit...
... and Han, looking too young to smuggle anything that's not a dirty magazine.
And now the characters have the respect and dignity they deserve. Except Chewie, because you can't have something that furry in a Japanese comic book and not turn it into a goofy gag-mascot. It's in their constitution, apparently.
In the movies this guy could rip your arms off. In Japan he's Marmaduke with a blaster rifle.
While giving the cast of Star Wars the Muppet Babies treatment might make us ask WHY? Japan has other questions on its mind. Specifically, if you shrink all the characters down to half their previous size, what happens to all that left over blood?
Answer: It sprays all over the goddamn place at the slightest provocation.
We also get some slight tweaks to the ending. For instance, Luke still honors his dying father's request, and removes Vader's helmet. He just doesn't bother removing it from his head...
But hey, at least they didn't replace the cast with big-titted anime girls!
Alice in Wonderland (Miyuki-chan in Wonderland)
Oh, Japan. We knew you'd come through.
Sometimes you don't get the true meaning of a piece of art until you get an outsiders view of it. For instance, you probably thought Alice in Wonderland was a tale of childhood wonder as a young girl adventures in a mystical land where talking animals and magic abounds.
Of course you're way off. Alice in Wonderland, as the Japanese show us, is really about a little girl lost in a world where she is hunted down viciously by whip-cracking dominatrixes and hordes of lesbian furries. Hey, the subtext is all there in Lewis Carroll's original.
Let's meet the cast! The White Rabbit:
Tweedledee and Tweedledum:
The Mad Hatter:
The Cheshire Cat:
And, best of all, the Queen of Hearts:
It's probably worth mentioning that basically every one of those characters is out there to molest the titular Miyuki because that's the entire plot of this cartoon. And because it's girl-on-girl, that means these rape attempts are hilarious instead of deeply disturbing.
It would appear the Japanese have stripped away all the magic from Carroll's tale. But to be fair, in Japan, Lesbians are magical creatures, like leprechauns.
By now the world has seen vampires that scare, amuse, arouse, teach math, peddle cereal and practice abstinence. So what new element could the anime series Hellsing possibly bring to the table? The answer: a pair of guns that you'd need Hammer pants to conceal.
There's a place at the mall where you can get your gun engraved.
OK, so Alucard (not Dracula, mind you) now works for the Hellsing family after Van Hellsing defeated him one hundred years ago. And his guns have crucifixes on them. Sure, why not. By this point in the article no one should expect the Japanese give a damn about character integrity. Though they must be concerned about some kind of copyright infringement as they insist on adding an extra "L" to Helsing and only refer to Dracula by his lame backward name. Do the Japanese know what public domain means? Never mind, don't tell them. It's more fun this way.
Anyway, this here Dracu- sorry, Alucard, works for a supernatural evil fighting agency run by the Hellsing family. (Yeah, there's a pretty big pinch of Hellboy in there.) Nevertheless, say what you will about this version of Dracula, but he is rocking that Zoot Suit.
And you've got to be a total pimp when you're facing a giant dog made of eyes commanded by a pedophile with bitchin' shoulder-pads.
Interestingly, Alucard's enemies include vampire WWII Nazis and a KKK regiment.
Various World Leaders (Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku, The Legend of Koizumi)
Yep, that's Kim Jong Il up there. The Legend of Koizumi is a satirical manga poking fun at the world's politicians, featuring something like two million of them as characters (rough estimate).
The idea here is that these comic book politicians settle the Earth's geopolitical differences by playing mahjong, with each round represented by a Dragonball Z-style attack with its own special name and over-the-top look.
Still, apart from the concept and the fact that Bush, Sr. is a nine-foot tall wrestler...
This guy only got one term?
...there's really nothing that bizarre about the comic...
Ah, there we go. Why Hitler looks ready for the cover of Tiger Beat, we don't know. Nor can we really explain this:
Bam! Super Aryan Hitler!
The Incredible Hulk (Hulk: The Manga)
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.
The Count of Monte Cristo (Gankutsuo
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.
World Nations (Hetalia)
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.
Jesus (Manga Bible)
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.
We can't promise Super Hitler, but we can promise lots of lightsabers in Cracked's Adventures in Jedi School.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a freelance online journalist and Japanese-English-Polish translator. Contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org
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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.