Sunday, 26 January 2014

Disney Diversity: Mental illness

With frozen in cinemas, it has received its fair amount of criticism from the internet. With it being so loosely based on ‘the Snow Queen’, people are asking how is it really an adaptation, especially after losing all the strong female characters that the story had and seeming to replace them with male characters instead. It seems to some that Disney has a lot to answer for.

But with one of its main characters having serious depression and anxiety, it seems Disney is finally realising that people aren't all the same. But if you look back it becomes more obvious about their changing stance on mental illness. Starting with Wreck it Ralph, with Vanellope Von schweetz, Calhoun and Wreck it Ralph himself having some sort of mental illness or metaphor for it. Ralph has depression from the 30 years of neglect, with his light being Vanellope in the film he starts his journey to recovery. Calhoun has a more interesting and rarely seen mental illness. She experiences a trigger from the words 'Dynamite gal' causing her to relive those traumatic memories from her past, it was amazing to see post traumatic stress disorder being shown in such a strong female character. But Vanellope is the most interesting mental disorder. While it's half a metaphor and half a character trait, her 'glitching' extremely resembles a mental disorder in the tourettes scale. It's uncontrollable and random, but the greatest thing about Vanellope is how relatable she is. She is absolutely loved by the public, with children to fully grown adults identifying with her, because of her experience of her disorder and the bullying it caused.

And Frozen with Queen Elsa, the girl who was told by her parents to hide her skills and fear them, not to nurture them. She developed anxiety by the pain she caused Anna and became depressed because of the shut in life for Anna’s protection. Elsa is not a typical Disney princess, she is scared and hurt. Even in her main song she sings about herself letting go, but really she is running away from her problems and shutting everyone one out even more than she is. By embracing her Ice powers, she decided to shut the doors again. Elsa isn’t perfect, anything but, she almost kills three people in the course of the movie and lets not count the people stuck in Arendelle, who would of died if the winter had not of thawed. Her face becomes strained in anger at points, and is all about self-preservation for a section,  creating a giant snowman fuelled by her anger to protect her from everything. Elsa is incredibly flawed, with the majority of her flaws being in her mental illnesses. But she is loved for these flaws. Elsa gets angry, Elsa gets anxious, Elsa is powerful and amazing and people want to be like Elsa, able to realise that she needs to take responsibility for what she has done and that she can no longer hide in her head full of worries and depression.

And so maybe Disney is behind other animation companies on diversity, but they are taking baby steps, with such a loved and powerful character being loved. They’ve come a way since snow white, but Disney have still a way to go till they catch up with their competition.

Dangan Ronpa; It is what it says on the tin.

So my first thoughts about Dangan Ronpa were, why is there pink blood?  Why is there a bear running a school?  What the hell is going on?!?

Well that's the thing about this anime, I can tell you nothing will make sense till you get to the last episode, where everything will be explained, and you end up face palming due to the pure stupidity and how you didn't see that earlier.

Following the adventures of 15 students, who are the best in their respective field for their age, that attend Hope's peak Academy. It is set from the point of view of Naegi Makoto, the super high school luck, who won a draw to attend the school. The students are trapped in Hope's peak academy, with cameras watching their every move, windows bolted shut that not even the super high school fighter can't open with her insane strength. Then the headmaster appears, and tells them if they want to graduate, they must kill another pupil and move the blame to another pupil, which will result in all non guilty pupils to be executed. But if the murderer is revealed and voted guilty, only they will be executed.

You watch him and yourself, develop attachment to these characters and then watch them die, in growingly dramatic and gruesome deaths.  You'll find your anger soar at these characters who murdered your baby, and rejoice for a spilt second when everyone votes for the murderer, but then have your heart pulled by them as they show their humanity, and their reasons, and you find yourself torn between screaming at them for killing your baby and cuddling them saying it'll be okay as they get pulled to their execution.

This anime is skilled in character development, with each and every character having a redeemable quality and they all have a defined reason for everything they do. And while the anime does not explore all of the characters as far as they did in the game of due to it's short season, you can still see how well developed they are and the relationships they gain through out the events.

Dangan Ronpa is gruesome and murderous, with a hidden agenda and amazing characters, it is incredibly short but beautifully adapted from game to anime. It is easily one of my favourite animes ever and I will never forget my favourite little baby's death and his strength in it. It's a beautiful anime, that I recommend to anyone.