Sail under the banner of Freedom.


Postby animekritik » Fri May 04, 2012 5:42 pm

I'll put Helen's post here:

iskra wrote:
I thought about the Greek Theseus, but he was the hero that actually saved those men and women! Unless it's indeed a subtle reference to the fable that the knight who kills the dragon often starts growing scales and tail himself. The mask comes in handy again (maybe I'm making it all up on the spot, but I think I read it somewhere that the bull's head was a ritual mask).

Saved the tribute, killed the beast but betrayed the woman who helped him (Ariadne, who led him into the Labyrinth) and later caused his father to throw himself off a cliff because he forgot to put up the "it's ok we're coming back alive" sails...! Later has his own son murdered for sleeping with his trophy wife, and generally doesn't end up quite as heroic in his old age (rather like Jason...)

There are parallels with other Leiji mythology referencing, if obliquely, classical heroes: - in SPCH Harlock's very like Jason - even down to the "clashing rocks" trap (with added skanky-ho mazone twins! <g>), and of course as a representation of the classic female anima-menace the Mazone ARE the sirens/dryads/rhinemaidens of myth - not lost on Rin Taro who makes a lot of use of the legends! Then of course the's the "Ulysess nebula"...

...which brings me to Endless Odyssey, and the one question I want to ask Rin Taro: Did he have Tennyson's "Ulysses" in mind when he put this together with Murai?? Harlock certainly fits the image of the weary hero/seafarer considering the past glories and reflecting on one last voyage...


I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone
I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence,


And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

And further on:

Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I'll not comment on the text - I think everyone here can draw their own conclusions well enough to debate this! - perhaps we need another thread? <g>) To me Tennyson was the first thing that came to mind watching Harlock in this...

But I WAS reminded by that last episode of a chapter from Homer - where Odysseus visits the land of the dead to get information from (IIRC the shade of a comrade) and pours out a libation of blood to call the spirits to him! (If we'd seen Harlock do his trademark pouring a bottle over Tochiro's grave in this the symmetry would have been obvious - but I wonder... I REALLY wonder!!)

Dragging this belatedly back on topic - even if we don't have 'Theseus' as a character per se in Ozuma, perhaps there is a resonance with the myth that maybe we're supposed to pick up? Parallels and images that sing out to those who can see them, and not detract from the story for those who don't?

I'm probably over-analysing... as it happens mythical resonance is something of a hobby-horse of mine, in study and especially in my own writing - I know *I* would put in enough hidden meanings to sink a battleship - especially when it comes to names, so maybe I'm just reading too much into someone else's work! Who knows?!

Perhaps at the end of the day it's simply what Shelley (Percy) called "the spirit of the age" wherein it's simply a matter of people with similar reading/educational backgrounds simply picking up on the same themes, rather than a deliberate attempt to USE those themes.

BTW - for those interested in a historical re-telling of the Theseus story, I recommend Mary Renault's wonderful Bull from the Sea/The King must die duology. For the mythical take, try Graves Greek Myths (with footnotes!) - and Graves again for Jason "The Golden Fleece"...
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:43 pm

Re: Mythologies

Postby animekritik » Fri May 04, 2012 6:09 pm

What you say about the twins and the wandering rocks (in the context of the Ulysses nebula) is so totally awesome.

I must confess that was my least favorite arc of the series (and that's putting it mildly). Now, though, I wonder if this whole Ulysses Nebula thing is replicating the Odyssey. For example episode 28, which I absolutely abhorred, could be a Lotus-Eaters kind of thing, and so on and so on. None of these episodes are in the manga, right? so this could very well be a Rin Taro setup, and it would dive in perfectly with the name Endless Odyssey of course..

Never gotten into Tennyson. I'll try to have a look. Also, never read the Argonaut story, mostly because (and this is a silly reason, but at least it is true) Homer & co. never wrote about it. There's no Golden Age account of the legend and I don't tend to like Hellenistic stuff (which I guess is when the first account we have today comes from). To top it off, I did read about Jason and Medea in the Euripides play, and I don't like Euripides very much. Prejudices, prejudices :D
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:43 pm

Re: Mythologies

Postby Helen Fayle » Wed May 09, 2012 12:16 pm

Spot on - none of the hunt for Mayu is in the manga (for obvious reasons!) and I do suspect Rin Taro of upping the ante on the mythical imagery here... for example even that last but one epsiode with the showdown between Rafresia (I'm going with that spelling given that it's a real plant and "Lafresia" isn't...!) and Harlock - the bit where the slain Mazone rise up from the ground has a few echoes of the bit from the Argonautica and the "Dragon's Teeth"! (Though Ray Harryhausen's version sets the standard here for me! :P )

As for Homer - my favourite translation is Pope - for me it has the grace and richness of language and form I've been told is part of the charm and enduring appeal of the original Greek!

Tennyson's usually a bit too much for me - not a fan of the Victorians myself (Swinburne only wrote one poem I like and even that's a bit overblown!) I'm more of a huge Shelley fan (which is proably why I tend to zoom in on resonance and clever use of imagery - it's his trademark, and the little git was a master of it!)

Try Wm. Morris' "Life and Death of Jason" - he's one of the few Victorian poets that's got some real power to his use of words (his "Sigurd" is a masterpiece of epic poetry - hell, even Tolkien was a big fanboy of William Morris!)

Rin Taro's got a knack for finding images - not just from mythology - there are illustrations Matsumoto did for the Catherine Moore's Northwest Smith stories back in 1971 et seq [1] that have scenes in SPCH that are strongly reminiscent (Harlock relaxing lying back in the grass = "Song in a Minor Key"; The aforementioned Mazone slain rising from the ground to grab Harlock = Northwest drawing a bead on a group of skeletal, ghoulish women crawling towards him from "Quest of the Starstone"; Harlock's shooting of the pitiful Shizuka at her own request is mirrored by NW shown shooting Vaudir the minga-girl from "Black Thirst"... ) and if you look at the end of the Matsumoto drawn Yamato manga (vol2) there's a scetion where a mysterious rabbit-eared lady is sending nightmares to the crew of their dead (Okita gets a group of corpses including Mamoru Kodai that looks suspiciously like the bit in Endless Odyssey where the commander of the scaffold (IIRC) is menaced by the dead... Yuki is suspended by grasping skeletal arms in a scene reminiscent of Kei suspended by threads during her time in Noo-space (though that last is also in the QM manga and happense to Selen...)...)

Blast it - is there a place to upload jpegs? My website won't take many!

Internal imagery aside there's also the maiden/mother/crone triumvirate of Kei/Mimay/Masu (rendered Revi/Kei/LaMimay in SSX - and please note in the latter it's Kei sitting down over tea with the Captain in the epsiode where they first board the SSX base, having moved up to companionable status! <g>) - though this is present from the manga, as is the nature of the Mazone... however it's Rin Taro I suspect of adding in the Tir-na-nog/fairyland parallels in "Witch castle in the Sea of Death" - the Japanese version of which was new to me the first time I watched it! 100 years pass in the outside world but only a day passes for the crew? That's an old, old one...

...and yet, I've seen it recently... could it be... perhaps... in the CGI Harlock blurb...? Hmmmm.... and, let me see... the disparity in the on screen dates in Endless Odyssey also suggest 100 years on from the original SPCH story...

Nah. Now *that's* reaching! ;-P

[1] And thereby hangs a tale... If NW wasn't a direct influence for the Harlock we know and love from the mid 70's onwards I'll eat my entire collected Japanese translations of Miss Moore's stories!
Helen Fayle
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:29 am

Re: Mythologies

Postby animekritik » Sat May 12, 2012 2:31 pm

You can upload jpgeg pictures right here (use the Img button, I think).

Shelley?? No!!! Keats, then Blake, then the rest.

Lots of interesting stuff. Rin Taro is definitely a magpie of Western media... I wonder what he's up to these days..
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:43 pm

Re: Mythologies

Postby Helen Fayle » Sun May 13, 2012 3:37 pm

Keats over Shelley? Oh my... not even close! ;) Mad as a sackful of weasels on bad acid, mind you, but I do love my Shelley! It's noticeable Byron's poetry only becomes tolerable under his influence, and his editorial meddling with the text of "Frankenstein" shows one of the deftest minds of the 19th C... Arguably one of the greatest "technical" writers in the English language... if nothing else, you've got to hand it to anyone who can simulate an orgasm in print... ;-P

...*without* using any naughty words, before anyone sticks their hands up. It's all in the rythym...!

Never been a fan of Blake, personally - I prefer Milton - or at least those parts of Paradise Lost before Satan turns into a whiney cry-baby...! ;) But I also prefer Yeats to Eliot - so what do I know!

(Researched most of the early 19th C poets for a piece that ended up published in a weird little tome called "The Book of the War"... quickly ditched Keats (my first choice) as protagonist and inspiration (not least because Dan Simmons got there first!) and Coleridge/Southey and Wordsworth quickly got my back up, and dismissed Byron as an idiot - although he does provide some great quotes and manages to be in the right places at the right times. Shelley otoh stood out as perfect for the material I was using. Then I found out Tim Powers had beaten me to *that*. AFTER I'd been published. (They don't have a smiley for tearing your hair out do they?!) )

Rin Taro co-founded Studio Madhouse, so whatever they're up to these days?? I somehow doubt he'll be working with Matsumoto again anytime soon after that Endless Odyssey snafu!

...Damn, must finally get round to watching Dagger of Kamui... It's been in the to-watch pile for 6 years!
Helen Fayle
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:29 am

Return to The Leijiverse

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest