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Disney Versus Anime Essay

2110 words - 9 pages

In the examination of the technological innovations, themed plotlines, and evolving characterizations throughout the near-century of Disney history, one fact becomes inherently apparent: the Disney franchise and its productions have both impacted and been impacted by the circumstances during different cultural eras of American history. Whether it be the incorporation of multiracial princesses in films such as Mulan (1998) and The Princess and the Frog (2009) in the past half century’s age of improved racial relations; the evident austere transformation in the character of Mickey Mouse throughout the Depression days; or the incorporation of wartime propaganda in Donald Duck shorts1, the Disney name has eternally and inevitably become intertwined with the surrounding culture. Walt Disney’s extreme nationalism and attention to politics become manifest when he states, “If you could see close in my eyes, the American flag is waving in both of them and up my spine is glowing this red, white, and blue stripe.” Additionally, Disney often emphasized the necessity for intellectual and spiritual freedom, and the need for the resistance of tyranny and oppression2 (Mongello). Ultimately, this Western individualistic thinking largely influenced Disney narratives, character development, drawing style, and overall productions in comparison to the analogous relevant Anime cartoons and respective collectivist mindset of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
The primary difference between Eastern and Western philosophies concerns the overarching concept of the person. “Collectivism” and “individualism” are ultimately psychological terms used to describe and explain how human beings identify themselves among society, prioritize their goals, and act on their desires. Collectivist peoples—found predominantly in Eastern cultures—identify themselves in terms of a larger group and put the team’s mindset ahead of their private ends, focusing on themes such as brotherhood, cooperation, and sacrifice; individualists, on the other hand, are typically associated with affluent Western cultures in which individuals care more about bettering themselves in relation to society and emphasizes independence, noncompliance, and achievement (Finkelstein). The implications of this philosophy can be seen across mass media in the presence of rebellion in popular novels such as Harry Potter, superiority themes in slogans such as Nike’s “Just Do It,” and originality throughout pop music lyrics. For purposes of comparison, Coca Cola’s ad campaign to a largely collectivist Islamic population featured a mother and son donating to an orphanage with the slogan “Always in Good Spirit. Always Coca Cola.” Alternatively, their U.S. commercial advertised the refreshing beverage as a personal reward for a task completion (“American Library of Congress”). These examples highlight the way in which these principal philosophies can subliminally influence citizens on a daily basis....

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