Artifice Article – Philosophy in Anime

A few days ago my latest article was published on the Artifice. Titled, Philosophy in Anime, I wrote about the relationship between philosophical themes and anime. I focus on philosophy in Mob Psycho 100, Ghost in the Shell and One Piece. Many of the greatest anime series have had significant philosophical themes, such as Attack on Titan, Evangelion and Death Note. With so many different anime I could only focus on a few. Regardless, I worked really hard on this article and I hope that you guys will take the time to check it out. If you have the time read some of my other articles as well:


Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions. Philosophers ask questions about knowledge, reason, values and human existence. I may surprise many, but anime often tackle these complex questions as well. Philosophy is one of the many influences commonly found in anime. By including philosophical themes anime series can have more complex stories and characters. This is likely one of the many reasons that the most impactful and revered anime series tend to have some form of philosophy. Mob Psycho 100 is an anime series from the creator ONE, this series focuses on the philosophy that no one is special. Ghost in the Shell, a series created by Mamoru Oshii, focuses on post-humanism philosophy. Finally, I’ll discuss how Adam Smith philosophy applies to One Piece, one of the most acclaimed anime series of all time

the Artifice (Jiraiyan)
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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 19: Recap & Review

The bond between Tanjiro and Nezuko has already been established a close. However, due to her being a demon and staying in the wood box she can be forgotten. Tanjiro manages to escape terrible damage from Rui’s thread, only getting a scarred on the face. Meanwhile, Inosuke is impressed with Giyu abilities. Giyu is annoyed by Inosuke and ties him up in a tree. Shinobu injects Zenitsu with an antidote, while other Demon Slayers arrives to free the others. Tanjiro is finally cornered by Rui’s web of threads, Nezuko jumps out of the box. She saves Tanjiro, but is severely wounded.

This event stuns Rui, who claims that he wants that kind of relationship. His pretend sister, becomes insecure. She asks “what about me,” he cuts her into pieces. She begs for a second chance, he tells her to kill the other Demon Slayers on the mountain. Rui tells Tanjiro that because he’s so moved by their bond, he will let Tanjiro live if he gives him Nezuko. Obviously, this isn’t going to work. Tanjiro refuses and tells Rui that he’ll kill him first. Rui finally reveals that he’s the member of the Twelve Moon. His eye says “lower five,” which is an odd way of to number between one and twelve. We still don’t know a lot about the Twelve Moon’s, but it seems that maybe the numbering isn’t quite straight forward. Regardless, he simply takes Nezuko. She slashes him with her claws.

None of this seems to bother Rui. He tethers Nezuko in his threads, cutting into her limbs as punishment. She falls to sleep in order to heal herself. Meanwhile, Tanjiro uses the Final Form of his Water Style. He’s able to cut the threads now and creates a water dragon. Realizing the threat that Tanjiro possess, Rui uses his Blood Art to strengthen his threads. We get a flashback of Tanjiro’s family, mainly his father. His father was frail and was able to dance to pray to the God of Fire. His father told him that he was able to dance because he was using “special breathing techniques.” Tanjiro transforms his water dragon into a fire one. He now able to cut the more enhanced threads.


Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 18: Recap & Review


Tanjiro moves closer to Rui, who finally moves into striking range. He accepts that he will likely die from their encounter. Nezuko is awakened by a vision of her mother asking her to save her brother. Nezuko uses her Blood Art: Blood Ignite, burning the blood on the threads. The fire travels along the threads, destroying the webs that Rui created. As Tanjiro says that “the bond between he and Nezuko can’t be severed,” his sword with Nezuko blood on it severs Rui’s head. My review won’t give this episode any justice. We’re talking about anime here. The animation and the music created a experience that gave me chills. To say I was hyped would be an understatement. If you can watch this episode, you won’t regret it.

Vinland Saga Episode 5: Recap & Review

Askeladd’s men rape and pillage a village

Episode 5, The Troll’s Son

It’s my understanding that this episode of Vinland Saga wasn’t adapted from the manga series of the same name. This can sometimes backfire, but in capable hands can be a seamless addition to series. As predicted, Thorfinn is still enraged and dead set on getting revenge. He’s also saddened by his fathers death. A bundle of conflicting emotions, Thorfinn is determined to kill Askeladd. He has failed to learn the entire lesson his father wanted to teach. Violence isn’t any way to live one’s life. It’s my belief that he will live a life as a warrior then he will learn what his father taught him, but only after experiencing life ruled by violence.

Ylva crying

Askeladd and his Vikings, rape and pillage a village. There is no since of regret, guilt or even blood-lust from Askeladd. He largely, muted in his emotions. While, Thors was a good man, he didn’t have much time to be a hero. He went from violent killer to pacific living at the end of the world in a quite village. Are there any heroes in this series? Most people might assume that Thorfinn must become one. Will he? So far it seems that for the time being he’s going to become a single minded killer. While, Askeladd isn’t a good guy by any stretch, but apparently he won’t kill children. That’s the only reason Thorfinn remains alive. Twice he challenges Askeladd to a duel, and of course he loses. His second duel sees him take a step forward in his fighting ability.

Thorfinn promising to kill Askeladd

Askeladd is a complicated man. I think he regrets that Thors is dead, but NOT that he killed him. It might be a thin distinction but a significant one. When Ylva learns of her fathers death she quickly pretends that it doesn’t really matter. This muted reaction from her was clearly a front. I could almost feel her sadness and was waiting for her to finally collapse into that sadness. It’s hard to tell if Thorfinn immaturity will continue or will he grow out of it. Finally, will his family ever be told that he’s survived. I don’t think there’s any form of mail, so he would probably have to go back. My best prediction is he will return when he’s grown, in the meantime he’s off to the battlefield.

Dr. Stone Episode 5, Recap and Review

Senku “death”

Stone World The Beginning

Dr. Stone is a series that plays with our expectation. Initially, characters are placed in archetypal positions. Senku, the cold hearted genius, Taiju the dumb brute, Yuzuriha the damsel and Tsukasa the villain. However, all four types have been challenged. While they behave as their typing suggest, there are moments when the deviate from expectation. When Senku “sacrifices” himself for Yuzuriha, he proves that he isn’t so cold hearted. Taiju uses his intellect to devise a plan that requires him to assume a bias that Tsukasa has, regarding the dynamic between, Yuzuriha and Taiju. Tsukasa is very much the villain, however, he’s not nearly as simple as that role suggests.

Senku breaks free

His intellect rivals Senku (even if the later is still smarter) and he’s not without compassion. Finally, there’s Yuzuriha, who I was afraid would be relegated as simple the “damsel in distress.” In this episode she takes a small step towards being more relevant. She figures out that Senku wanted to provoke Tsukasa into hitting him in the neck. Together she and Taiju are able to deduce that Senku isn’t dead, but used some petrification on his neck. They heal him with revival fluid. This proves that not only are they not useless without Senku’s intellect, but as a trio they are formidable. Each with have their strengths. The trio is strongest when they work together.

Senku building a home

The later half of the episode shows how Senku was freed from the stone and how he survived. Senku spends a great deal of time trying to acquire fire. While under the watchful eye of three condescending monkeys that think he’s stupid. The montage is informative and funny. Time will tell how long it takes for Tsukasa to learn that Senku survived, but it would be in the best interests for the trio to lay low for now. They have to find the other survivors and determine if they’re friends or foe. I’m still not certain that Tsukasa will remain the main villain though. I think they might have to join forces against some other threat.

Dr. Stone Episode 4, Recap and Review

Gunpowder exploding

Episode 4, Fire the Smoke Signal

After 3700 years of being in love with Yuzuriha, he decides that he wait even longer to tell her. Senku manages to collect the ingredients for gunpowder rather quickly, first is sulfur, second charcoal and finally potassium nitrate. Dr. Stone breaks the fourth wall several times in this episode. Particularly to inform the audience that the ingredients were accurate and should not be repeated. This is find and all, but I think Dr. Stone should have just left an ingredient out. Regardless, Taiju accidentally blows up the first batch of gunpowder. Senku believes that the gunpowder would be useful to negotiate with Tsukasa. However, Senku is willing to kill him if needed and Tsukasa is will to kill him if needed. While putting out the fire, Yuzuriha notices a smoke signal.

Smoke signal

Senku is excited. The possibility that there’s more people in the world is in a game changer. Senku fires a smoke signal in return to get the people attention. The problem is that said smoke signal will also give away their position to Tsukasa. It does. He captures Yuzuriha and holds her hostage. Tsukasa make a very good case against gunpowder. The weapons of science that Senku hopes to create, have been used to destructive ends in the “old world.” Tsukasa argues that he doesn’t want that world again and is willing to kill to avoid it. Tsukasa threatens Yuzuriha, in exchange for the recipe for freeing people from pertification. Senku claims that he doesn’t care about Yuzuriha. Tsukasa calls his bluff, cutting Yuzuriha hair. He believes that Senku does care about both Taiju and Yuzuriha.

More people are alive

Yuzuriha decides that she will sacrifice herself for the “greater good.” Senku gives the revival fluid formula to Tsukasa. This means that Senku no longer has any value to Tsukasa and he can kill him. While, gathering wood, Taiju sees three smoke signals. we get a glimpse of another female character. Meanwhile, Tsukasa get closer to Senku, asking him to “allow civilization to grow.” Tsukasa asks Senku to “abandon science.” Senku flashes back to his childhood learning science, with Taiju and Yuzuriha helping him. Obviously, his answer was always going to be no. The episode ends trying to suggest that Senku was killed, but we all know that didn’t happen.

Senku’s “death”

Tsukasa continues to be an interesting villain. He makes a lot of good points regarding the world. He wants to make a new one that’s better than the previous one. He willing to be violent to do so, but if you think about is science really better. As mentioned in this episode, science has been used to help people but also for tool of war. Far more people have been killed by bombs than weapons made of stone. Who actually serves more of a threat, Senku or Tsukasa. The introduction of new people to this series is really going to get interesting. As I mentioned before, the trio don’t have a way to determine whose “good” or not without taking risks. It’s possible that a new threat could emerge from the other people that could make Tsukasa and the trio have to work together.

Lupin the Third Part 5 – Episode 2-5: Recap & Review

Episode 2: The Lupin Game

Lupin, Daisuke, Goemon and Ami arrive at the airport. They steal an electric car. However, they are trapped by Zenigata and the police. Ami hacks an AW609 airplane and they use the plane escape. They manage to board a cruise ship to the non ICPO member Bwanda. Zenigata cannot follow as he doesn’t possess jurisdiction in Bwanda. Lupin encourages Ami to join them, as she still need protection from Marco Polo. The group become targets of bounty hunters, as a new online game allows people to bet on the day Lupin will die.

Episode 3: The Killers Gather in the Wasteland

Lupin and Ami are trapped by 3 bounty hunters. He manages to shot their way out, but they’re followed by a quad-copter that’s feeding images to Happy Deathday, the new online game. A group called the “Rat Clan,” corners them in a car manufacturing plant. Ami is able to access the German CPS (Cyber Physical System), using the building’s protection to their advantage. Ami gets shot as they try to escape. Zenigata plan on going on a “vacation” to Bwanda.

Ami informs the team of her past. Lupin decides that he will fight, announcing that he’s in the ruins of an old town. Lupin figures that he can play the bounty hunters against each other. They turn on each diminishing their numbers. Daisuke and Goemon take care of the rest. Lupin and the leader of the Rat Clan face each other in a shoot out. Lupin manages to win with his hidden gun shoe. Lastly, Fujiko parachutes down aiming to be the one to kill Lupin.

Episode 4: Zenigata’s Pride and the Desert Dust

Zenigata rescues Lupin and Ami from Fujiko. He intends to bring them to justice by getting them across the border. The Bwandan military attacks them by helicopter. They work together to escape and head to the border. However, they come under fire from a sniper. Lupin acts as the decoy drawing the fire of the sniper, he appears to have been shot in the head despite Zenigata camouflage.

Episode 5: A Crook’s Resolve

Lupin is declared dead. Meanwhile, Ami is taken in by Zenigata. Ami contracts Marco Polo and decides to work out a deal. She meets with Marco Polo’s CEO, Chuck Glay. He traps her and threatens to kill her if she doesn’t tell him about Lupin. Of course he wants the location of the money that Lupin stole. However, it turns out that this was all apart of Lupin plans, together with Ami, Fujiko, Goemon and Jigen. Zenigata isn’t surprised that Lupin survived. He arrest Glay. Ami enrolls in a boarding school, hoping to have the real life she missed.

This seems to be the end of Ami’s time with Lupin and the team. I’m disappointed by that. While, the Lupin team has a number of members they don’t have a computer expert. Maybe, Ami will become a recurring character. I wonder if the series will shift away from the tech focus to more traditional bank robbery type heists. It appears that what makes this Lupin series different is that it’s more modern.

Cop Craft Episode 1: Recap and Review

Cop Craft is an anime adapted from the Light Novel, Cop Craft: Dragnet Mirage Reloaded. Written by Shoji Gatoh and illustrated by Range Murata, the series takes place fifteen years after a hyperspace gate opened in the middle of the ocean. Within the gate is the “realm of faeries and monsters.” The story takes place in the city of San-Teresa that has a population of 2 million from the realm. In episode 1, Sergeant Kei Matoba and his partner Rick engage in a undercover sting. The sting goes badly when on of the criminals turns out to be an “alien.” He snaps the neck of Rick and escapes with the fairy.

After, Matoba informs Rick’s wife he returns home and is told that he will be meeting with a “VIP from the Farbani Kingdom.” The next morning he retrieves this noble from the gate. Her name is Tilarna Barsh Mirvor Imsedalya Lyeh Tebreina Devol Nelano Seiya Nel Exedilica or Tilarna Exedilica. She was sent to recover the fairy and is partnered with Matoba. Being unfamiliar with the world, Tilarna is a “fish out of water,” unaware how the elevators and cars work and what a Mexican is. She also has a hard time understanding the human concept of “justice,” as Matoba was working with an informant. While in the elevator Tilarna smells “latena.”

She explains that this means that “someone controlled by an evil wizard was present.” She utters an incantation of some sort, “Shield of law, protection of the war god.” Her costume changes into a warrior’s garb and she races down the hallway. They are attacked by someone with a machine gun. I rarely into anime cop drama’s. The dynamic between Matoba and Tilarna are typical in the veteran/rookie cop genre. Cop Craft seems to balance it’s cop show elements with it’s fantasy elements. While none of these dynamics are new they’re done very well in this series. Some may suggest that this series is has to many tropes but I think this episode is a promising start.

Vinland Saga Episode 1: Recap & Review

Thors in a dream state

Episode 1: Somewhere not here

If you watched Game of Thrones then you may have felt some instant similarities in this series. Generally, I don’t watch a lot of Historical Seinen anime. Actually, Vinland Saga is my first. This episode begins with Thors (everybody seems to be named after the god Thor) daydreaming in a wheat field. Turns out he’s on the battle field. We get a glimpse of the stunning animation and brutal violence. Thors dominates, killing enemies with ease as he travels from boat to boat. In a fury of slashes and blood, Thors appears to be unfazed and unafraid. At the end of this scene he washes up on shore, leaving the burning boats behind.

Thorfinn listening to Leif

We move forward to years later on Iceland. Thorfinn is doing chores. We hear a likely false or exaggerated story from his Grandfather, Leif Erickson. Thorfinn lives with his father Thors, his mother Helga and his sister Ylfa. The next morning Ylfa and Thors begin shoveling the snow off of their room. Ylfa falls off and lands on a slave that was under the snow. The man is malnourished, badly scared and seemingly has frostbite on his limbs. Thors tries to save him from death. Meanwhile, Grandpa Leif tells Thorfinn a probably true story of being marooned on ice and having 6 of his crewmates die. He also explains why they left the warm Norway for the freezing Iceland.

The slave

They fled from a strongman named Harald. Thorfinn calls him a “lair,” and runs home. The slave begins to speak and explains that he’s from Halfdan’s. Halfdan arrives to collect his slave. When one of his men steps out of line, Halfdan wraps his chain around his face and pulls. The man is severely disfigured as a result. The slave talks about his family as he becomes delirious. When Halfdan comes to get him, Thors offers ewes for the dying slave. He ends up trading eight for the slave. He quickly dies, leaving Ylfa distraught . . . over the sheep. It was a dark moment but a funny one. Finally, we see a boat with a blond man with a scar approaching what we can assume is Iceland.

King of Norway, Harald

Like many of the series I’ve review this summer, I really liked Vinland Saga. I’ll review the other two episode released in the coming days but this episode was well done. The animation was amazing, and so far I like the characters. It’s hard to know the tone of this series just yet, but it feels like there will be a combination of dark themes (slavery) but also humor. I already know that Thors isn’t going to live very long. That’s why I referenced Game of Thrones before. The warrior with a heart of gold dies early in the series. The characterization of Thors had such an powerful effect on me I’m already dreading his death.

Enen no Shouboutai Episode 1: Recap and Review

Episode 1: Shinra Kusakabe Enlists

Enen no Shouboutai (Fire Force) is an anime based on the manga series of the same name. From what I can tell the reception for the manga was lukewarm. However, I can’t imagine that this anime will be received in such a way. I’ll keep it simple. This series checks every one of my needs for an anime. Interesting story, interesting characters, great action and most importantly (for me anyway) amazing animation. The art style, the sound (I rarely notice sound) are all impeccable. Basically, I LOVE THIS SERIES.

While I’m familiar with the initial story arc, seeing it animated was great. Shinra Kusakabe joins the 8th Special Fire force. He dreams of being a hero, but is view as being a “devil.” This is due to an accident that resulted in the death of his brother and mother. Shinra has unfortunately developed a weird smiling tick. I makes him look creepy and evil. What separate Shinra from other shonen protagonists is that he’s not considered “good” by society (a least not yet) and he doesn’t appear to have to learn his power. While, I believe that he will continue to learn new abilities, but the tutorial phase was skipped.

The current team of the Fire Force consists of five members (including Shinra), Oubi Akitaru, Sister Iris, Oze Maki, and Hinawa Takehisa. So far it seems that Sister Iris “just” prays for the Infernals. It doesn’t appear to have any real effect and she seems like she’s in the way to be honest. Oze Maki is my favorite so far, but I would like to learn more about her ability. It seems like she has some nullifying power, but there’s probably more to it. I don’t like Hinawa at all, he’s just rude. Regardless, I could go on and on about this series. I’m excited for what this series has to offer in the next 23 episodes.

Dr. Stone Episode 1, Recap and Review

Yuzuriha

Episode 1, Stone World

As I’ve stated before the premier episode of series is largely about laying the groundwork. You have too establish the world and introduce the characters. They can be a little dull sometimes but are always necessary. Taiju Oki decides that he’s going to tell the girl he’s been in love with for 5 years how he feels. At this moment a bright green light appears in the sky turning everyone into stone. As a result the world is plunged into chaos. As people turn to stone the planes, cars and buses crash. The human population appears to be the only one that is turned into stone. We see dogs, wolves and monkeys that are still “alive.”

Taiju professing his love

What is terrifying is that it appears that the people are able to think while encased in stone. One woman asks for “help.” Taiju keeps talking to himself to maintain his sanity. As years go by nature takes over the world destroying what was once human civilization. Taiju eventually breaks free. Having not aged, he searches for Yuzuriha and finds her by a tree. He finally tells her that he loves her. She’s still stone of course, but we know that people are still aware while stoned. What is interesting or even romantic is that Taiju literally has loved her for over a hundred years.

Senku welcoming Taiju

He sees above her head a message to “follow the river downstream, big oaf.” He meets with his old friend Senku Ishigami. It’s October 5th, 5738 and Senku has been free for six months. Turns out that Senku used his time in stone to count the seconds. Obviously, we have to suspend disbelief with this series. It’s hard to believe that neither, Senku or Taiju wouldn’t go insane from the isolation. Regardless, Taiju was waiting for a “meathead.” Senku will handle the “brainy stuff” and Taiju the “heavy lifting.” Senku plans to “take the world back,” and “figure out the science behind the petrification.”

Shishio Tsukasa is gonna be a problem

Taiju is the typical dumb jock type with Senku appearing to be an egotistic genius. Time will tell if these archetypes hold. While foolishly eating berries, Taiju stumbles on what he calls the “strongest primate high-schooler,” Shishio Tsukasa. Afterward, Taiju sees the cave that he was freed in. Senku is collecting a liquid from bat guano, “nitric acid.” Senku has been experimenting on a way to free people from stone. He’s been using the stoned birds. Senku tells Taiju that he needs “liquor.” Despite Taiju lack of intelligence he does give Senku a good idea, make wine out of the aforementioned berries.

Senku proclaiming his mission to save humanity

I loved this episode it was a perfect introduction to this series. Senku doesn’t seem like a traditional main character for a Shonen series. The main protagonist of the shonen series is usually the air headed, dark haired brute. Although, you could make a case that they’re both the main characters. The most pressing question at the moment is who will get freed next? I think it’s clearly going to be Yuzuriha and Shishio. It makes sense that Taiju would want to free Yuzuriha but Shishio is clearly a bad idea. However, Yuzuriha did seem to like Taiju all that much to me. Would it work out the way he thinks?