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An Existentialism View Toward Batman and Naruto Essay

I. Theory of Existentialism Existentialism is a philosophical movement that posits that individuals create the meaning and essence of their lives, as opposed to deities or authoritites creating it for them. It emerged as a movement in twentieth-century literature and philosophy, though it had forerunners in earlier centuries. Existentialism generally postulates that the absence of a transcendent force (such as God) means that the individual is entirely free, and therefore, ultimately responsible. It is up to humans to create an ethos of personal responsibility outside any branded belief system.

In existentialism views, personal articulation of being is the olny way to rise above humanity`s absurd condition of much suffering and inevitable death. Existentialism is a reaction against traditional philosophies, such as rationalism and empiricism, that seek to discover an ultimate order in metaphysical principles or in the structure of the observed world, and thereby seek to discover universal meaning. Existentialism originated with the nineteenth-century philosophers Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche. It became prevalent in Continental philosophy, and literary figures such as Fyodor Dostoevsky also contributed to the movement.

In the 1940s and 1950s, French existentialism such as Jean-Paul Satre, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir, wrote scholarly and fictional works that popularized existential themes such as “dread, boredom, alienation, the absurd, freedom, commitment, and nothingness. ” Walter Kaufmann describes existentialism as “The refusal to belong to any school of thought, the repudiation of the adequacy of any body of beliefs whatever, and especially of systems, and a marked dissatisfaction with traditional phylosophy as superficial, academic, and remote from life.

” Existentialism tends to focus on the question of human existence – the feeling that there is no purpose, indeed nothing, at the core of existence. Finding a way to counter this nothingness, by embracing existence, is the fundamental theme of existentialism, and the root of the phylosophy’s name. In existentialism view, they asserts that a human finds oneself already in a world and prior context that the human cannot think away. In other words, the ultimate and unquestionable reality is not consciousness but existence.

A central proposition of existentialism is that humans define their own meaning in life. Such a view might be phrased technically by philosophers as existence precedes essence, that is a human’s existence conceptually precedes the essence or meaning that may be ascribed to the life. Satre, in Essays in Extentialism, further highlights this consciousness of being thrown into existence in the following fashion: “If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be.

” Emphasizing action, freedom, and decision as fundamental, existentialist oppose themselves to rationalism and positivism. That is, they argue against definitions of human beings as primarily rational. Rather, existentialists look at where people find meaning. Existentialism asserts that people actually make decisions based on what has meaning to them rather that what is rational. A further type of existentialism is agnostic existentialists, who make no claim to know whether or not there is a “greater picture”; rather, they simply assert that the greatest truth is that which the individual chooses to act upon.

II. What is Superhero A superhero – sometimes written as super hero – is a fictional character of extraordinary physical ability dedicated to acts in the sake of public interest. Since the debut of the prototypal superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes – ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas – have dominated American comic books and crossed over into other media. A female superhero is sometimes called a superheroine or super heroine.

By most definitions, characters need not have actual superhuman powers to be deemed superheroes, not, although sometimes terms such as costumed crimefighters are used to refer to those without such powers who have many other common traits of superheroes. The two-word version of the term is a trademark co-owned by DC Comics and Marvel Comics. There have been successful superheroes in other countries most of whom share the conventions of the American model. Examples include Cybersix from Argentina, Captain Canuck from Canada and the heroes of AK Comics from Egypt.

For this Western area, I will take Batman as the representative. Unlike many superheroes, Batman has no superpowers and instead relies on his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, an athletic abilities. Batman is physically at the peak of human ability in dozens of areas, notably martial arts, acrobatics, strenght, and escape artistry. Rather than simply outfighting his opponents, Batman often uses cunning and planning to outwit them. Batman’s costumes incorporates the imagery of a bat in order to frighten criminals.

Japan is the only country that nears the US in output of superheroes. The earlier of these wore scarves either in addition to or as a substitute for capes and many wear helmets instead of masks. Moonlight Mask, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Super Sentai (the basis for Power Rangers), Metal Heroes and Kikaider have become popular in Japanese tokusatsu live-action shows, and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Casshan, The Guyver, and Sailor Moon are staples of Japanese anime and manga. However, most Japanese superheroes are shorter-lived.

While American entertainment companies update and reinvent superheroes, hoping to keep them popular for decades, Japanese companies retire and introduce superheroes more quickly, usually on an annual basis, in order to shorten merchandise lines. In addition, Japanese manga often targets female readers, unlike U. S. comics, and has created such varieties as “magical girl” (e. g. Cardcaptor Sakura) for this audience. For this Eastern area, I will take Naruto as the representative. Naruto whose full name is Uzumaki Naruto is a young boy who dreams of becoming the leader of his Hidden Village.

It will be difficult though for Naruto, because when he was a baby an evil demon was placed inside him to stop its rampage. As Naruto grew the townspeople saw Naruto himself as the demon, even though he was merely its container. Naruto lives in a world populated by ninja villages. The ninja serve as the armies for the countries that inhabit the world. Most of the countries have their own Hidden Village, which serves to train and manage the ninja of the country. Also the ninja in the series are able to utilize jutsu techniques, which are the secrecy, body and illusion arts of the ninja.

These allow the ninja to perform many amazing skills such as the manipulation of the surrounding elements. III. Batman and Naruto: Their Differences and Their Revelance In Existentialism The true feature of Batman as a common people is Bruce Wayne, a millionaire industrialist. He inherited a big corporation, Wayne Corporation, from his father. The ego ‘Batman’ was born because of two accident. The first was the murder of Bruce’s parents. Bruce witnessed his parent killed in a gun-accident. A street-criminal shot them to death. The second was Bruce falling down into a cave in Wayne’s manor.

He fell into a dark and humid cave where a hundred of bats lived. Those two accidents led Bruce to learn about martial arts and gadget-operating skill in order to fight the crime in Gotham city. His fear of bat made him wear a bat-costume in doing his operation. Thus, Batman as a superhero who fight a crime has born. This is the very purpose why Batman wants to fight crime: a personal vendetta against criminals. Since Batman does not have any superpowers, he relies on his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, an athletic abilities. Also his wealth enables him to get much modern and sophisticated gadget in order to beat his nemesis.

In other hand, Naruto, instead of his lack of intellectual ability in solving a problem, his friend still considers some of his actions brilliant. Naruto does all of his action by intuition, not by a precise step as a ninja should do. What makes Naruto a superhero is that he possesses massive abundant chakra energy inside his body. This chakra is originated from a Nine-Tailed Demon Fox that is sealed inside his body. Together with his friends and mentor, Naruto solve the problem and fight with the evil ninjas. They act in a group of 4 ,3 ninjas and a mentor.

They perform a close combat by using martial arts and ninjutsu, and a long-range combat by using flying dagger or shuriken. Once they accomplished a mission, they report to the hokage, which is the leader of the village. Yet, the very important thing that makes they both become a superhero is that there exist some nemesis, villains, that must be eliminated. They both make some struggles to get rid of those system distracted. What differentiate them is the way they make these struggles. Batman eliminates crime in Gotham by his own rule. He does not obey the rules prevailed in that city.

He intentionally takes action againts criminal without involving the authorities. It can be concluded that Batman makes his own system to fix the system. However, Batman – intentionally or not – does not kill his enemy. He just sents those criminals to the authorities, to be prisoned or not. Batman’s worst nemesis, The Joker, is still alive until now. Although they often have some ‘fight’, but neither Batman or The Joker is condemned to death. While Naruto’s job is to keep the system in his village to be kept save. He does not violate the system prevailed in his village, instead he is forced to obey that system.

His acts are being ruled by Hokage, the highest authority in the village. He is a kind of ‘paid’ superhero that acts upon a mission that is given by that Hokage. Once they accomplished that mission, they have report to that Hokage. Here, Naruto biggest enemy, Kabuto, is remain alive until now. What makes this difference? It is because the different culture that affect the people in West and East. Why Batman have a nerve to make his own system to fix the main system prevailed in his city is due to the Western way of thinking. Western culture tends to emphasize critical thinking.

They are learned to break the rules if they think that there are some errors in those rules. Their new ideas are being welcomed, even they are supported to make new inventions. While Eastern country tend to ‘close their eyes’. They have to accept what the older people says. They are not being couraged to make some critics toward the culture. They tend to give high respect (sometimes not in a proper measure) toward conventional ideas. Here it implies in the way Batman and Naruto makes their struggle to fight crimes. Then another point where existentialism takes place also emmerges. Why those superheroes do not kill their enemies?

It is because they ‘need’ their nemesis so that they can be a superheroes still. Let’s we go back to the question of what makes those superheroes superhero? What do they pursue? They want to eliminate crimes. Then we come to the question of what causes this crime? Criminals. So superheroes exist because there are some criminals. If there are no criminals, so there are no superheroes. Like what Satre has said, “If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefineable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be.

” Thus, superhero is nothing if there is no criminal to make him defineable. This is the meaning of existence preceding essence. I would like to use the term that coined by Heidegger, “throwness”, that is human beings are “thrown” into existence without having chosen it. Whether superhero or the enemy do not have the power to choose what they want to be. First they just exist in the world, then they just do the thing that they believe as a greatest truth. This is that greatest truth that they choose to act upon to find the essences of their existencies. Noviana Indah Tri Wahyuni a paper for Comparative Studies Superhero Theme.


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