Have you ever been so spooked out by a dark passageway you ran down it to get into a lot area? Or have you ever walked down a dark road, covered in dry leaves and have the extreme paranoia that something or someone is following you when you hear leaves cracking behind you?
That is the human emotion of fear, a survival mechanism built into us (and most animals too) to safeguard our sorry arses when we’re in the middle of a s**tstorm.
For today’s post, I will be having the usual “surgical” dissection of a topic with brute force ideology and for today, we have the topic of “The compelling power of Fear” and I will be referencing Tasogare Otome X Amnesia.
There will be many various posts in the near future where I speak of various aspects of Tasogare and similar manga/anime (like Sankarea).
Warning: Spoilers for Tasogare. And pic spam
I started reading the Tasogare manga 2 months ago, just shortly before the anime was released for the Spring season 2012. Rather surprisingly (or unsurprisingly since it was rather highly recommended), I got addicted to it quickly. Which is surprising as one of its genre is Horror and I’m a wuss when it comes to Horror (shocking revelation!!).
One of the most interesting incidents (where there are many incidents but I’ll use this one since its a rather strong and vivid example) where the power of fear was demonstrated was in the chapter (and anime episode): Akahito-San. A supposedly benevolent spirit that sacrifices humans to appease the gods, there is a ghost story that Akahito-San is exploring the grounds of the school and attacking students, rendering him red from the blood spilled. The main link of this story to all the other ghost stories of the school is that Akahito-San is supposedly looking for Yuuko-San as his sacrifice (Yuuko-San is related to every ghost story of the school. Just a snippet for those that have yet to read/watch Tasogare).
The main complication of this chapter/episode is that it also follows the story of another individual, Kirishima Yuuko, who had the poor luck of having a name that is infamous on the school, for which she gets teased off endlessly, tormenting her. Henceforth, she despises all ghost stories and doesn’t belief in them. As it turns out, she was the one who hatched the story of Akahito-San to scare the other students and to convince them ghosts don’t exist by dressing herself as this supposed monster.
This plan backfires in spectacular style when the other students, mortified by their fear, decide to follow the story fully and offer Yuuko-San as a sacrifice for Akahito-San. Which means Kirishima was captured and tied up, about to be killed by her now illogical classmates.
This demonstrates the power of Fear rather aptly. There are few emotions that can effect human behaviour to this extent. Greed and Anger would be 2 other I can think off and they too, bring about drastic and sudden changes when the right buttons are triggered.
The human emotion of fear has been utilised throughout the ages to reach many varied aims. One of its more profound effects is to make the unseeable, visible. In other words, to “see” what isn’t there, like ghosts or spirits. It boils down to our human imagination and the media, which influences our thoughts, That we think we’re being chased by a restless sprit when walking down a dimly lit alley. Combining these irrational fears with the right prods and you can create mass hysteria, subverting huge numbers of people to your control. The medieval ages would be a good example, where they burnt “witches” for many years in fear that they were the ones bringing peril to the land.
There are many other uses of fear And worries to being benefit to those who incited the fear. Climates of fear by rulers can keep the population in line, punishment is used to deter criminals and rumours, myths and other supernatural stories can be used to influence the naive, like children. (if you’re Chinese, I’m sure your parents have probably reprimanded you for pointing at the full moon and many other little tales).
It might even extend to the manipulation of the human fear of death that the medical industry reaps in huge profits.
So fear has many usages and influences. I think I’ve run off a tangent for long enough now. Either way, I just find Tasogare an immensely intriguing manga/anime and I’m really enjoying it and it’s little psychedelic moments.