The Real Life Inspirations behind Indivisible

Welcome to Art-Eater! I’m Richmond Chaisiri. You may remember me from such articles as “Darkstalkers and the 12 Principles of Animation” or “A Buddhist’s Guide to Asura’s Wrath.” Today I’m here to tell you about the real world influences behind the colorful cast of Indivisible, an upcoming RPG from Lab Zero, creators of Skullgirls.

(This is a Simpson's bit. Do kids still know bout Troy Mcclure?)
(This is a Simpson’s bit. Do kids still know bout Troy Mcclure?)

You can download a very impressive demo of the game here: http://indivisiblegame.com/

And if you like what you see, you can fund the game here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/indivisible-rpg-from-the-creators-of-skullgirls#/

Now let’s get to analyzing!

Ajna


anja_punching

The main character of indivisible is Ajna, a young martial artist who draws on South East Asian cultures for inspiration. In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, “Ajna” is the name of the 6th primary chakra. Chakra are 7 points running down the center of the body that regulate spiritual energy.

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The Ajna chakra is located between the eyebrows and represents wisdom and intuition. It is believed that spiritual energy enters the body through the Ajna. It is often referred to as the “third eye” and often depicted as such in art.

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The Ajna chakra appears frequently in Buddhist and Hindu imagery

Many Buddhists and Hindus wear a bindi, a bright red spot of color applied at the center of the forehead to represent the Ajna chakra. Continue reading “The Real Life Inspirations behind Indivisible”

Words That Kill: Metal Gear and the Genocide of Native Americans

The following is an analysis of the latest and final Metal Gear Solid V trailer, cut by Hideo Kojima himself. As with the previous E3 trailers, this one beautifully sets up the themes of the game set to awesome music. This analysis will focus primarily on the theme of language as a tool of subjugation and how that relates to the Native American experience.

The characters in the trailer make many bold statements about how language is core to human identity and also the most powerful tool there is for control over society. I’d first like to focus on the passage spoken by Code Talker.

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“Since ancient times, every civilization’s ruler has had the same idea: When people unite under one will, they become stronger than the sum of their parts. And what do rulers use to bring people together? Language.”

Code_Talker

Code Talker is described as “a wise man denied his homeland.” It’s very important to note that he is Native American. His name is a reference to real life “code talkers,” who used Native American languages to transmit secret coded messages during World War 2.

Real American heroes. Navajo code talkers during WW2.
Navajo code talkers during WW2.

Code talker is played by Jay Tavare, an actor who has previously won “Best Actor” at the American Indian Film Festival. He is also a notable blogger and supporter of Native American non-profit groups.

Also he totally played Vega in the classic 1994 film Street Fighter: The Movie
Also he totally played Vega in the classic 1994 film Street Fighter: The Movie

So why is it so important that Code Talker is the one delivering this message to Big Boss? Because every statement about language in this trailer has directly played out in the real life history of the various Native American peoples. Continue reading “Words That Kill: Metal Gear and the Genocide of Native Americans”

[spoilers] We Are Not Things: The Themes and Imagery of Mad Max: Fury Road [spoilers]

Warning: This post contains many plot spoilers for the film Mad Max: Fury Road. Please don’t read any further if you don’t wish to learn of major plot points and themes in this wonderful film.

We (Richmond & Andy) were lucky enough to catch Mad Max: Fury Road in Thailand a few days before most of the English speaking world. Here’s a quick brain dump on the themes and imagery in this fantastic film.

Also, here's some awesome art from Weigy
Also, here’s some awesome art from Weigy. Check out more of his work at:
http://weigy.tumblr.com/

Mad Max: Fury Road is a story about human beings fighting against objectification in the most literal interpretation of the word. The desolate earth of the post apocalypse is a cruel place where simply surviving is a constant struggle. In this harsh environment people have  been reduced to objects valued only for their utility.

The film opens with Max being caught by Joe’s henchmen as he is very literally driven to madness by hallucinations of past failure. Max is stripped down, shaved, and his back is tatooed with his nutritional information. We hear from the excited chatter of one of the captors that Max is a universal blood doner, which is important to the plot and also has great symbolic value (more on this later). He is very literally reduced to a commodity to be consumed.

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We are introduced to Immortan Joe looking down on high from his mountain citadel upon hordes of disheveled worshippers. The peaks of the citadel are covered in lush greenery seen nowhere else in the wasteland, the only way to reach there is by a gigantic lift powered by children turning cogs. Within the citadel are stables full of women milked like cows to provide nutrition for a chosen few. Immortan Joe himself is part machine, kept alive by a breathing aparatus. In this world, the common person has been reduced to a literal cog in a machine while Joe sits on top and is very literally kept alive by this machine.

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Just like Lord Humongous, Immortan Joe is also associated with military imagery

Continue reading “[spoilers] We Are Not Things: The Themes and Imagery of Mad Max: Fury Road [spoilers]”

Naruto and The Red Thread of Fate

 

 

I recently saw The Last: Naruto the Movie in theaters. Thought I’d share some quick thoughts.

Warning: minor spoilers ahead!

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Still with me? Good!

One of my favorite things about Japanese animation and comics is that on top of plot and characters, the stories tend to be very theme driven. And those themes are often reinforced with consistent symbolic imagery. One of the central images in The Last: Naruto The Movie is the “red thread of fate.” Longtime readers of Art-Eater (is there such a thing? :O) will already be familiar with this classical allusion when we first wrote about it as a central motif in Kill La Kill.

Read about it here!
Read about it here!

Continue reading “Naruto and The Red Thread of Fate”