(Second semester of college, as it turns out, can be quite a busy time, so this one will be just a short extension of my Conrevo post. Granted, with better time management I can still write a better quality post, but eh.)
For the longest time I’ve dabbled on why superhero is such a compelling figure to me. Truth to be told……I just like them. They’re guys with extraordinary abilities like shooting laser beam out of their eyeballs and they get to do cool stuff like saving bunch of people. For the most part, those tangential qualities is the reason I often look forward to movies and series about them.
I once chat with a friend of mine about this, and according to him, one of things that he finds interesting about superhero is how similar they are to the white knight archetype. The type of characters who keeps pursuing impossible ideals. Those are fair assessment, but I’m not sure that’s how I see superhero (given his actual phrasing and tone, it seems like he sees them like a sort of tragic figure). So often, the supposedly “smart” superhero stories are the one that imagines superhero as some sort of mythological figure or embodiment of a certain ideal (which in some case, they went on subverting), but it’s kind of a depiction that I find very remove from the humanistic quality that endear me to superheroes. They’re people striving to do good sure, but it kinda lacks emphasis on the “they are people” part.
So, thinking that, I often reflect from what I’ve watched of Conrevo until it suddenly hit me. If you think about it, superheroes are really just people who has been gifted with power with responsibilities that comes along with them.
Stories about superhero are really just stories about being an adult (just, you know, with laser eyeballs).
It’s really no surprise. Strip off its fantastical circumstances, superhero are really just another form of authority figure. This is something that I think Conrevo very acutely aware of. Underneath its more political and socially aware rambling, Conrevo is also a story of growing up, through the journey of its main protagonist Jiro. Growing to know that the world isn’t as simple as you like it and “adults” (parents, authority figures, superhero) does things that seems “wrong”, coming to understand why adults do what they do, and ultimately, keep on struggling to do better. There’s allusion of this throughout Conrevo: The Evangelion reference in the end of season 1, the depiction of people in help as “crying children”, Conrevo’s incisive focus on youth disaffection and generational gap on multiple characters.
In a way, Jiro spouting about justice and idealism does seems childish, but its childish because not that he’s wrong per se.
He just doesn’t realize (during the earlier episodes) the true weight of actually doing those things.
Yes, the world is grey, but people often say that as an excuse/comfort of not doing anything. An act of trying to truly search for and fight for justice, I would argue, is a very adult work full of hardships and sacrifices. Its messy, its complicated, but someone has to do it.
- I can finally say that I’m busy because of college stuff, hurrah
- Stories of superheroes as authority figures is also at the heart of Gatchaman Crowds and The Watchmen. Although, two of those work are more interested in challenging them, rather than depicting them in a more evenly-handed matter lile in Conrevo (with varying result)
- To a degree, I’m wondering if when I grow old, bitter, and cynical, I would look back on this post and thought to myself, “What the f was I thinking?”