Last Ditch Propaganda Effort for Marmalade Boy
Shoujo mega-classic Marmalade Boy is is so full of earth-shattering events and revelations that I can’t really induce you to watch it by telling you about it because anything coming out of my mouth will be spoilers. And if I spoil it for you you won’t enjoy it as much, which is my whole intention with this post so–what to do? Basically, you have to take it on faith. But as my street cred is nil and my rhetorical bling is rusty, I’ve decided to enlist the help of 7 great German thinkers. These Lords of Thought have watched and thoroughly enjoyed their Marmalade. Hopefully their testimony on each of 7 important Marmalade characters will persuade you to watch at least the first 3 episodes. Since back in the heyday of German thought it was forbidden to put spoilers down on ink and paper, you can read without fear. I’ve italicized the interpolated relevant phrases, as these guys tend to write kilometric sentences.
1. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz on Arimi Suzuki:
“One must realize that it follows from what I have said that not only is the world in which I date Arimi physically (or, if you prefer metaphysically) most perfect, but it also follows that the world is morally most perfect.” (from On the Ultimate Origination of Things)
COMMENT: What’s interesting is that people mock Leibniz for saying that our world is the best of all possible worlds when in fact, if you look closely at what he’s saying, well, he obviously had the hots for Arimi. I think he adds that a Leibniz-Arimi couple would be morally perfect because she’s the only wife he cannot see himself cheating on. That’s the power of Arimi Suzuki.
2. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel on Ginta Suou:
“Woman is the consciousness that exists for itself, but no longer merely the Notion of such a consciousness. Rather, it is a consciousness existing for itself which is mediated with itself through another consciousness, for instance Ginta’s, a consciousness whose nature it is to be bound up with an existence that is independent, or thinghood in general.” (from Phenomenology of Spirit)
COMMENT: Hegel saw Ginta’s plight, no doubt about it. He says that woman is independent, but that she chooses to see herself through the eyes of a man. Not the eyes of any man, however, but the eyes of that man who is bound to her. That means Ginta is guaranteed a girl in the end, but he’s bound to end up being her slave. I myself would have put it more gently, but Hegel was not at all a gentle man.
3. Sigmund Freud on Miki Koishikawa:
“If the tenderness of the parents for the child has luckily failed to awaken the sexual instinct of Miki prematurely, i.e., before the physical conditions of puberty appear, it can then fulfill its task and direct Miki at the age of maturity in the selection of the sexual object.” (from Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex)
COMMENT: A yucky statement, yes, but true nonetheless. Miki Koishikawa is the perfectly functional child, perfect social pubescent product of a perfectly normal spouse-swapping household, and her hormones are starting to kick up a storm. Who will she select for a sexual object? Aha, you have to watch to find out. (Freud was Austrian, which means he’s German, please let’s not argue)
4. Immanuel Kant on Yuu Matsuura:
“Yuu Matsuura in his entire perfection contains not only the expansion of all the essential properties belonging to human nature, which make up our concept thereof, to the point of their complete congruence with humanity’s purposes [but he] contains also everything that, besides this concept, belongs to the thoroughgoing determination of the idea.” (from the Critique of Pure Reason)
COMMENT: High praise from Kant, and I should add that Yuu can dunk the ball like no one I’ve ever seen before. All the girls adore him, but notice that Kant calls him an idea and a concept, indicating that we haven’t reached the Yuu in itself, but only the appearance of a stud. Secrets abound, people!!
5. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche on Shin’ichi Namura:
“Namura-sensei, with all his restraint and proportion, succumbed to the self-oblivion of the Dionysian state, forgetting the precepts of Apollo. Excess revealed itself as truth. Contradiction, the bliss born of pain, spoke out from the very heart of Nature.” (from The Birth of Tragedy)
COMMENT: Nietzsche, always the rebel, came perilously close to giving us a flat-out spoiler. Let’s just say if you feel the intensity of Nietzsche’s words, you need to watch this show.
6. Martin Heidegger on Meiko Akizuki:
(take a deep breath) “Entangled flight into the being-at-home of publicness is flight from not-being-at-home, that is, from the uncanniness which lies in Meiko’s heart as thrown, as being-in-the-world entrusted to itself in its being.”
COMMENT: So Meiko, with serious issues at home, thrusts herself out into the world in order to find her true home. But the uncanniness in her heart will lead her into dangerous paths, and people get hurt along the way. Oh boy do they get hurt!!
7. The Fuehrer on Kei Tsuchiya:
“Not in his intellectual gifts lies the source of Kei Tsuchiya’s capacity for creating and bulding culture. If he had just this alone, he could only act destructively, in no case could he organize; for the innermost essence of all organization requires that the individual renounce putting forward his personal opinion and interests and sacrifice both in favor of a larger group.” (from Mein Kampf)
COMMENT: Sound advice from one tortured mind to another. Kei Tsuchiya is a brilliant pianist with a problematic attitude, but to do a concert it takes more than one (well, I guess you could do a solo concert, but then you’d miss the other guys playing guitar and bass, and godly Yuu…). Will Kei find himself in a group? I’m not telling. Watch it.
So now are you ready to watch Marmalade Boy? If you don’t, I might have to bring out the Greeks, or even (!) the French. So watch it!