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”

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Song

The latest trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain uses the song “Nuclear” by Mike Oldfield to GREAT effect!

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Just wanted to post some quick thoughts on the music choice behind the rad new trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain that was just unveiled at E3 2014.

Here’s the trailer:

The song used for the trailer is “Nuclear” by longtime British prog rocker Mike Oldfield.

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Oldfield is best known for his 1973 album Tubular Bells which was used as the theme of the classic horror film The Exorcist. This album also inspired a JoJo Stand.

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Tubular Bells is one of the WEIRDEST stands to ever grace JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (which is truly a feat if you’re familiar with the series)

“Nuclear” is a track from Oldfield’s 25th studio album Man on the Rocks which was released on March 3 2014, only a few months before the Metal Gear E3 2014 trailer. The song fits the trailer in an amazingly layered fashion. Aside from setting the perfect tone, the song’s lyrics very literally describe what’s happening on screen while also emphasizing the themes of MGS V: The Phantom Pain.

“Nuclear” is very clearly a song about war, which has always been one of the main themes of the Metal Gear series. The first stanza goes:

“Standing on the edge of the crater
Like the prophets once said
and the ashes are all cold now
No more bullets and the embers are dead
Whispers in the air tell the tales
Of the brothers gone
Desolation, devastation
What a mess we made, when it all went wrong”

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This perfectly describes Big Boss following the destruction of Mother Base in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. His life’s work has been destroyed. His comrades have been slain. Where he once fought for his ideals and the dream of a world where soldiers could determine their own fates, in The Phantom Pain he fights for revenge. The line “the ashes are cold now” has particular significance as it’s revealed that instead of giving his slain comrades a burial at sea (a time honored military tradition), Big Boss has their ashes compressed into diamond knives which are used in cold and violent fashion to avenge their deaths. Continue reading “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Song”

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Analysis

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E3 has revealed to the world yet another stunning Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain trailer:

What speculation can we brew from this footage?

Eli- A youth who curses his fate

But the Lord spoke of Samuel’s sons: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7)

Continue reading “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Analysis”