Politics in Space

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One of the many amazing things about stories, and anime in general, is its ability to explore ideas and possibilities that may or may not ever exist. Science Fiction in particular delves into the realm of what may be possible as well as the problems and consequences that come about with technological development. as well as the politics that exist behind them all

Which is why I find it so interesting that despite all the possibilities that might exist, why so many anime stories do so little in terms of exploring potential political structures. Certainly the dangers of dictatorship and corruption are explored in plenty of dystopian stories, but we move through a large volume of stories set in space, as humans and aliens alike roam amongst the stars and explore new worlds, what we see is a rehash of earth based political systems with very little originality or variation.

Welcome to my stop in the Space is the Place blog tour organised by Scott over on Mechanical Anime Reviews. Hopefully you caught Lynn’s post yesterday and be sure to catch up tomorrow with Crow’s post.

space is the place banner

Now when I first heard the name of the tour ‘space is the place’ I immediately got Kate Miller Heidke’s song ‘Politics in Space‘ stuck in my head, which has nothing to do with anything except that as I thought about it a bit more I decided that was what I wanted to talk about. Not the song mind you, but the idea of how politics have been represented in sci-fi anime set in space. Incidentally, if you clicked the link and listened to the song, I apologise but good luck ever getting it out of your head.

And moving on.

It seems space politics very much reflect the earth origins where the creators are based. We have monarchies set up, usually with a space princess as the focal point of the story for some reason because why focus on the actual king or queen when you can have a princess floating about. There are authoritarian systems and various democracies that always closely resemble various real world countries right up to the spiffy uniforms they put some of these characters in. But there’s nothing new of fresh coming out of these systems.

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And it makes sense. While the story might be set in space and the technology and conflicts might be based around fantasy or future possibilities, the audience needs to connect with the story. By having recognisable political frameworks the story remains grounded in the viewer’s reality and they can make sense of the situation and even relate it to various real world events.

If we look at pretty much every Gundam story ever we usually have three or four factions with various needs and rivalries fighting over some resource or technological development. If based on Earth. We usually have one group that seems to very much reflect western values and attitudes and another that might stand in for Russia/China or similar and then there are usually some smaller factions that represent either private corporations or more independent ideals.


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Through this the story doesn’t have to give us complex explanations about these groups and how they operate. A few key scenes and discussion between members and we get the gist of what kind of system is at play and the basic values and attitudes at work. Because the political situation is grounded in something we are at least semi-familiar with the story doesn’t need to take a rest stop while they give us a lesson on it.

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Still though, I’d love to see something truly innovative and a political system we hadn’t seen before on display, or at least a fair variation or refinement of existing political systems, rather than just transporting all our current issues into a new location.

All of this however, is nowhere near as important as this question:

Why are there so many space princesses?

There are so many anime set in space that involve a princess of some sort who for whatever reason is at the centre of whatever conflict is going on. It all seems a little anachronistic to be honest.

Now if you are thinking I’m just exaggerating the frequency of this, let’s look at some examples and I’m positive you will think of dozens more than the ones I include.

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The most obvious would be Sailor Moon, Princess of the Moon. Surrounded by the Princesses of all the other planets in the solar system who were her guardians because the moon is super important. The guardians who happily and at numerous times put their lives on the line to save the Princess because she’s the most important.

You know, as a kid I didn’t question that. Of course you have to save the Princess. That’s what you do. Rescue Princesses. However, now I’m seriously wondering why the other Sailor Scouts, raised in the modern world, thought that sacrificing themselves was an acceptable situation for the life of a reincarnated Princess who didn’t do anything to help herself back then because she was all ga-ga in love with some Prince, and who, despite being able to sue some crystal, isn’t all that strong.

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Moving on, we have Aldnoah.Zero where the Martian princess visits Earth and in the process is targeted by her own people in order to create a pre-text for a war with Earth. Why does Mars have a Princess? Did humans leave Earth, get to Mars and just think they’d really like to have no say over who lead them again and they’d like to hand power over their political system over to one particular blood line for the foreseeable future? Or were they just the first one’s there?

The Price of Smiles Episode 1

More recently we had Yuki from The Price of Smiles, another young Princess trying to keep the peace despite the fact that no one else seemed all that interested. She also had dead parents and was only still a Princess due to her young age, though the number of people who ignored her orders was kind of absurd. It almost made you wonder why they bothered with the figure head Princess at all given everyone else seemed perfectly capable of making decisions whether they conformed with her will or not.

Actually, Yuki gets a second eye-brow raise because for almost a decade everyone around her blatantly lied about the state of relations between her kingdom and the other group on the planet they were on and she was all but clueless as to the actual state of politics on her own planet.

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Next we have an Empress from Tenchi Muyo War on Geminar with Lashara Earth who at the age of 12 has been crowned but faces hostilities from within her own government. However, Lashara isn’t so much interested in keeping the peace as she is in making a profit and luring out her enemies so she can crush them. Maybe that’s why she moved up from being a Princess because she wasn’t peaceful enough.

So yeah, why are there so many space princesses?

But back to the point at hand, what are politics in space actually like? Well apparently they are just like politics on earth only with some slightly different names and symbols attached to them.

Remember to check out the rest of the tour.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Scott and Karandi Discuss Attack on Titan Part 2

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Welcome to part two of the collaboration between Scott and myself as we discuss Attack on Titan and its latest developments as well as ask those pressing questions that have been on our minds. I had a lot of fun with this particular collaboration and it was a long time coming because Scott and I have had a number of scheduling conflicts. Hopefully this isn’t the last time we work together because this was a really fun conversation. That said, let’s get into the second part and if you missed part one, be sure to hop on over to Scott’s blog and check it out.

Watch out, there are spoilers below if you are not up to episode 5 of Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two.


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Mind blown.

So, I wanted to ask you what your thoughts were on the Beast Titan. Mostly because I’m utterly confused by that character.

That’s a good question. I guess he’s related to Eren somehow? Maybe? Not knowing about him is kind of frustrating. I’m even confused on whether or not he knows about baseball because he’s been using pitching throws to chuck a bunch of rocks.

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Yeah, the baseball references were a bit… let’s just call them odd. They absolutely didn’t fit with the rest of the world given we’ve been given no indication baseball, or team sports of any kind, are a thing. But I’m even confused as to his motive. He showed up all big and bad and then just disappeared for huge chunks of time only to conveniently show up at times when it is really inconvenient for the scouts. I just feel like if his objective was simply to destroy the humans he probably could have accomplished it a fair while ago without all the games.

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A Titan sports anime would be kind of entertaining though. But in general, I definitely agree. There is something more to his interactions then just eliminating humanity. I don’t mind be left in the dark when it comes to some things and all his actions are guided in some way, but I wish Attack on Titan at least gave him more than flashbacks that only last a minute or two that let us in on him. The only thing that comes to my mind is that Attack on Titan is leaving us in the dark for a reason. I hope it’s a good reason.

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Me too. Attack on Titan has this tendency to drag things out a very long time before getting to a reveal though so I’m not expecting answers any time soon. But there is one question I need answered by the end of this season. And that is of course, what is in Eren’s basement?!

OMG, yes. The question that has been there ever since the second half of season one. Eren’s dad was hopefully up to something interesting and extravagant for making us wait so long. Probably not though. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a combination of a mad scientist lab and carry some important historical documents about this world. What do you think, Karandi?

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 8
Wouldn’t we all like to know why.

I think that would be nice. I keep having this horrible feeling that after dragging it out this long they’ll get there and find the house completely collapsed in on the basement or it all burnt up in the most recent explosion/fire in the town. That would be so cruel to the viewer and so typical of Attack on Titan.  The other option is that it is something completely game changing only I have no idea what that would be. Maybe a new syringe that gives Eren’s titan the ability to disintegrate other titans with a look? I’m mostly joking about that.

It’s still possible though. Definitely would be the longest and most aggravating shonen power up I’ve ever seen to achieve if that was the case. Whatever it is, I definitely feel like it would hopefully change everything that we know so far even more. Didn’t even think about it all being ruined until you brought that up for some reason or another, even though that is an obvious thing that could happen.

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I know this is the wrong side of the wall but the damage on the other side was worse. These houses do not look like they are going to be standing much longer.

Maybe I just have too negative an outlook on life at this point. Then again, I have sat through three seasons of Attack on Titan and I can’t think of one time when everything actually went their way without some casualty.

Completely fair. Definitely not the kind of show you watch casually or when you need something uplifting. Still, I find it so captivating for some reason. Dang, it’s been such a long road.

Agreed. Season one grabbed me with its first episode and while I found a lot of the second half of season one and a lot of season two meandering, there’s something compelling about the story here and the world they are in. Then season three started building on all of that and now I’m completely hooked again with this second part. What’s really true is that none of the last couple of episodes could have happened without all of that previous stuff as even though it wasn’t as fantastic to watch there’s really nothing at this point that we could discard and have the impact we’ve been getting. This one is definitely one where we have to take a long view of it and episodic reviewing doesn’t really fit with the story and yet we’re all trying to do it anyway.

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I’ve been generally more positive with Attack on Titan’s second season then some people, because it had enough good character moments to make it at least passable as a watch, but I agree. Throughout most of season three so far, it’s been mostly hit after hit with. While still having issues like the Beast Titan being there for some reason, everything else has very worth it. I really like how the ending of this part of season three has been focusing on the Scouts training because it really fits with everything that has happened this season and is a big reminder of what the humble beginnings were like.

Anything else you want to discuss before we wrap this up?

Not much comes to mind for me, how about you?

Super important question: who do you think would win a fight between Mikasa and Levi?

Somewhat biased opinion, but I am leaning towards Mikasa a little bit because she’s  younger and probably has more energy to spare when it comes to combat. A little bit of that younger and plucky vs experienced and veteran sort of thing.

You don’t think Levi’s experience would give him an edge?

Oh dang, you got me. Still, I know that combat is somewhat about the same with swinging from at each other and attacking with swords, but maybe Mikasa could come up with some attack that Levi wouldn’t expect. Of course, then again this me thinking on the fly here about this. Gah.

Attack on Titan Episode 7 - Mikasa

Not that it matters. Unless Levi kidnaps Eren in which case I’d put money on Mikasa winning the fight. Don’t stand between her and Eren under any circumstances.

Agreed, Not even Levi could withstand that rage.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 3

But I think we’re done. I’m so glad we finally managed to organise this and I had a lot of fun even if we’re still both stuck waiting for the next few episodes to find out what actually happens. Want to bet all our guesses turn out wrong?

You know what, I would take that bet. This show can throw some curveballs at us (hopefully not from a beast titan), so I expect that is what is going to happen. I’m glad we finally got around to doing this.

Guess now we’ll wait and see what Attack on Titan throws at us next.

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But hey, Attack on Titan has just been great to watch this season and if you want to join in speculating about what will happen throw Scott or myself a comment or a question. I’m just going to ask you keep them spoiler free for those of us who haven’t read the source.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Anniversary Special Post – Finding Time with Scott

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I want to thank Scott for being a part of the anniversary this year. Scott’s been following along for most of 100 Word Anime’s life and he’s such a great member of the ani-blogging community. If you’ve never come across his site, Mechanical Anime Reviews, you should definitely check it out. While there are a lot of mecha anime covered there, particularly during Mecha March, Scott covers a wide range of anime and anime related topics and puts a lot of thought into his posts. He’s one of the many great people I’ve gotten to know since starting the blog and so I was really happy that he decided to be involved with the anniversary celebration. Scott decided to write about ‘Finding Time’ as a blogger and I’m glad to share his words of advice.

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In 100 Words:

Finding time for writing for my blog came from a combination of a couple things. The first one is obvious, actually find time to write. The other one is knowing my limitations of what I can write in a week’s worth amount of my free time. I am a busy person, but I want to come up with the best posts that I can write.

Finding time is simple. Whenever I am not doing something, like watching anime, working, sleeping, or playing an instrument, I should be coming up with ideas for a post or writing post. It’s as simple as that. By limiting myself to writing a few posts a week, plus one constant collab thing, I can put out the best posts that I can write in a good amount of time. Not psyching myself out is an important part of finding time to write.

I think Scott makes an excellent point about knowing our limitations and what we have time to write and making sure we don’t rush content and end up not writing something we are happy with.

If you want more from Scott, be sure to check out his blog. Here are some posts to have a look at:

Check back later today when we Mei shares some advice on Interaction and remember all week there will be anniversary special posts so be sure to check them out.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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