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For anyone who’s taken the Anime Research Survey, some of you may have wondered about the characteristics the research team thought about when it came to defining anime/manga fans. One of the following answer choices that many of you may have not thought about was intriguing. It involved our sense of apparel. There was a question about chosen characteristics and one of the choices was "Most of my clothes are dark (black/grey colors)." Are anime/manga fans similar to other subcultures that are associated with dark clothing?
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“True, your luster may not have been as bright as gold…You only shined on occasion. You were always arguing and fighting. You had wavy hair. You were lazy. You were the king of sexual harassment. You never paid the rent. You paid your people late. Still, you were brighter than the fake glint of gold plating. When you were angry, your entire soul was enraged. When you laughed, you laughed with all your heart. Your silver was much more beautiful.”
In a world where things are taken completely at face value, perhaps we need to re-evaluate what is of true value. The beginning of Gintama Season 6 adapted a highly-touted arc from Volume 43 of the manga and highlighted a world where gold captivated it. Despite its amazing allure and beauty, the gold portrayed was tainted and corrupt. The battle between Gintoki Sakata (silver) and Kintoki Sakata (gold) reflects society’s obsessions with perfectionism and how being first place in one area doesn’t always translate well to other aspects of life that are far more important.
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If there’s one color that seems to be a constant favorite, most people will tell you the blue is the color that rules them all. Blue is loved by many people of both genders. Case in point: we have a manga heroine that radiates the aspects of what makes blue a popular color. Princess Sapphire, the lead heroine of Osamu Tezuka’s Princess Knight, appears to be a character that could suggest Tezuka has some deep fascination of the naturalness of blue.
First off, let’s explore the origin of Princess Sapphire. Sapphire was a girl who was given a “blue boy’s heart”, when she was supposed to receive only a “pink girl’s heart”. She ends up with both hearts and lives her life under the guise of a prince to inherit the throne of her kingdom. An angel named Tink is responsible for the blue heart transplant and is sent down by God to correct his mistake. Sapphire, however, refuses to give up her blue heart to Tink, while she struggles with love and a variety of persistent threats upon her visage.
What emotional aspects does blue represent? Blue is usually associated with calmness and focus for the most part. Of course, blue can also represent depression and being sad. When you look at the character of Sapphire, you see that she is strong, independent, courageous, determined, and calm. Despite her strengths, Sapphire has shown feelings of sadness and loneliness, as she struggles to be with Prince Franz Charming and to attend social gatherings as a “proper woman” (i.e. wearing a lovely dress). Sounds “blue” enough for you?
Another important note to point out is that the shades of blue have significant impact in people’s moods. Dark blue is considered a shade that represents power and integrity. Light blue is considered to be soft and understanding. You can say that dark blue is a lot more masculine than light blue. Sapphire appears to be an even mix of both shades, as she is an individual who demands respect, but also show compassion at the same time. There’s also the fact that Sapphire’s name herself is a shade of blue that happens to have characteristics that describe her perfectly.
I’m very curious about whether Tezuka used the psychology of the color blue when writing Princess Knight. Was he trying to point out that we all need a hint of blue in our lives to be stable? With regards to Sapphire, was Tezuka trying to inspire women using the traits of blue? The pink (a color that is considered to be the stereotypical favorite color associated with women) heart that Sapphire has was heavily targeted by an evil witch named Madame Hell. She desired it for the purpose of making her daughter, Hecate, popular. However, Hecate doesn’t show any interest in having the pink heart and was willing to give it back to Sapphire at one point. It seems as if Tezuka is trying to say that women should associate themselves with and/or appreciate colors that have better traits. If you’ve read Princess Knight, do you think Tezuka may have thought about the impact of color for the story?
In today’s world, blue still remains a constant and important color in life. Look how many logos of important companies are blue. Our skies and seas are blue. Blue is a color that will always finds a place in people’s hearts.
May blue be the color to continue enhancing our minds and bodies as it has Sapphire’s.
For more commentary on Princess Knight, you can check out Manga Bookshelf’s Off the Shelf column on the title.