And the Wolf ate the Little Red Riding Hood
August 26, 2009
I like fairy tales. What I like even more are reinterpretations of fairy tales, usually in a form of reversing the childish moral values. There’s something strangely attractive about that feel of ‘tainted innocence’, where the initial expectation of sugar-coated innocence is overturned by confronting something more real and cruel; “wolf only gets killed in the stories that humans tell” (Jin-Roh). Here are few memorable examples from some of my favourite anime titles.
We are not born a wolf or Riding Hood. We become one by who or what we associate with, and the path we choose to take. Fuse can not escape who he is as part of the Wolf Brigade, and Kei can’t undo her past involvement with the wrong crowds. Once a wolf, And once you’ve wandered off to the forest and meet the wolf, there is no farmer to save your skin. Kind of differs from the original version of the Little Red Riding Hood, where the girl is saved even though she disobeys her grandmother and wanders off into the forest.
How joyful was it to watch the little bird grow to become a beautiful swan in The Ugly Duckling? But what if the bird was born a duck? Is our self-worth and destiny really determined by fate or other circumstances beyond our control? And yet, despite having lost her pendant and magical powers, Tutu danced to her last strength. She saved the life of a person she cared for even if it meant she would never become a human again. Even as a duck, her ballet at that moment had more magical power and looked more beautiful than any dance she performed wearing her swan costume, because the power and beauty came from her uncompromising passion and determination, not a simply granted magic.
We all had dreams. To become a talented pianist for example. But the reality isn’t that easy. As you grow up, you forget what’s important to you. You convince yourself that you are happy with what you are doing. You break the promise with the child inside you, betray what’s truly important to you. Poom Poom offers you a balloon. Like Pied the piper from Hamelin, he takes your childish phantoms away, along with all your hope and dreams. How many adults of our world today do you think still have their child phantoms with them?
Of course, as usual, feel free to share any other interesting element of fairy tales you’ve seen in anime.