The Bizarre Anime (That Came From A Real-Life Death Cult)
At times it can feel like everything is wrapped up in some kind of messaging. This week at Cracked, we're taking a closer look at propaganda and how it has shaped the world in ways that may not be so obvious.
In the past, we've talked about cults of all kinds, even the video-game kind. We thought we'd done it all, but it turns out at least one kind was still missing: the anime cult – relax, we assure you this isn't about 4chan. It's about Chouetsu Sekai, which google-translates to "Transcendental World," a somehow totally real anime-shaped propaganda series from 1984 produced by Aum Shinrikyo, a death cult that would later use sarin gas to force innocent Japanese subway riders to transcend from this world to the one of the dead.
Both the cult and the anime are the brainchildren of Shoko Asahara, someone we've previously profiled as someone more horrifying than any movie villain. The good news is that he's now dead; the bad news is that he has somehow become even spookier.
You may have noticed how the main character looks less like the actual Asahara …
… and more like a really hot dude.
Usually, you could attribute that to the poor quality control common among dubious animes, but it's actually a stylistic choice used by Asahara to affirm his real-life belief that he was the real Jesus Christ.
And that pretty much spares us the trouble of going over the show's plot and themes because all of it is about Asahara telling you he's the Jesus.
Whether or not he succeeded in recruiting his army through the power of Jesus and anime, 11 years later, Asahara went on to plan and get his goons to carry out the '95 Tokyo subway attacks. 13 people died, and over one thousand were left injured. This terrorist attack naturally caused the people of Japan to fear cults (as well as anime to a degree).
If that somehow wasn't enough to kill your interest, we're happy to inform you (and the authorities) that Chouetsu Sekai has 10 episodes and currently sits at a surprisingly high score of 5.7 out of 10 on MyAnimelist.
Top Image: Chouetsu Sekai