"The human whose name is written in this note shall die"
This is the very first rule we are introduced to in perhaps the most famous and fan-favourite anime of all time, Death Note.
And as soon as the first episode of the epic thriller ended, it had captivated and created thousands of anime-fans and redefined the genre, story-telling and even anime as we know it.
But why? I mean, its story is by far the most intruiging in all of anime as it dwells into the more secluded and darker parts of Humanity, questioning Morality and using topics that would normally belong to a philosopher and thinker.
But isn't that a great point into why Thrillers in general are so captivating and interesting to watch?
Let's start off with
What a Thriller is
Raw, mindblowing and thought-provoking, Thrillers is the wildcard of genres. Not only is the presentation in media
(especially anime) often quite unique and ground-breaking in its own right, but it's greatest strength lies within the way they convey the story to us and often its execution of its original plot. And that's just nothing when considering that Thrillers heavily rely on their characters to move the story forward, react and discuss events and
walk down into questions that the plot and characters may be directly involved with.
In thrillers, the question "What if?" is just the tip of the iceberg for us viewers. And it therefore requires a great amount effort into the thought-process, both for you, the director and characters to succesfully pull off a masterpiece.
And its technical aspect reflects the plot and characters as well:
- Its stories; thought-provoking and original
- Its characters; proactive while reactive
- Its animation; experimental but conveying
- Its music; simple yet deep
Often bringing up themes and statements that we humans normally would want to avoid or think too deeply about, Thrillers goes the other way around and forces you into changing your mindset to follow along with the story. It's really the opposite of Parody, which its greatest strength lies within self-accknowledgement, the cornerstone of Parody. Only that a Thrillers strength and cornerstone are the more darker themes around the human thought, ideas and entity, and embraces them.
Often, these themes lead directly to ourselves as Humans, Morality, Survival and Death but also questionable and subjective thesis' like Justice, Sacrifices and "For the Greater Good".
And when witnessing our protagonist and antagonist battle each other out, you often see them stand on the opposite side of each other on any given opinion.
Here lies the core of Thrillers, as you get to hear BOTH of them out and letting you yourself take a stand on the given matter, even if you may have to stand against the (anti-)hero at certain times as Thrillers most likely blurr the lines between good and evil extremely well whilst adding a layer of grey on top of both sides.
You question the question itself. You participate. You take a stand!
Its themes can also variey depending on what the anime has as its second focus/genre (A stand-alone Thriller are a rare sight to see, like Death Note). When mixing in a second genre, let's use Sci-Fi, the themes usually shift towards a more Sci-Fi directed topics, like Time-Travel and how you get affected by it, hence Steins;Gate.
Or how about Psycho-Pass (Sci-Fi, Police), having a focus on Justice (thereby police) set in the the future (thereby Sci-Fi).
Want another example? Take magic and you'll get Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica
More? Add romance and action and you'll get Zetsuen no Tempest
So what makes them great in anime in particular?
There is a reason why we all love anime despite the genre. Because it is ANIMATED!
That, in-and-of-itself is a huge advantage towards live-action shows!
It allows the creators to create vivid worlds, epic battles and unbelievable events. And Thrillers takes this into their advantage. They tone down the colours, adding a grey-scale and letting the narrative, plot, characters and the important colours to take over.
Ever wondered why blood is so visible in Thrillers? Red itself is an unnatural colour, very often associated
with blood and therefore, Death. By adding a darker and more grey template, the colour red is highlighted (see my "Colours in Anime; The Basics and Why?" for more info).
In fact, objects that carry a heavy meaning to the plot are coloured with a contrast to the colours of the greyscale.
And this could be any colour.
Another thing is that it's animation is focused upon the characters, and showing them their true emotions and motives (again, see my "Characters in Anime; A Connection to Us and Why?" for more info). Every action they take, the animation simply amplify and focus on as actions speak a characters motives more loudly than words, and often, these words come after the action itself.
Oh, and Thrillers aren't afraid of showing us our more darker sides and more mature content.
A Thrillers Impact
Thrillers have the amazing initiative to make you see your world as you know it completely differently after ending the anime. The hardest part about Thrillers is that it sticks with you afterwards, and you can start using and coming up with an answer to the questions and topics that it has taken up. Who knows? Maybe you can come up with the universal and objectively correct answer!
But one things for sure: A Death Note in your hand and an apple in the other and a new god of death and justice is born! XD
Here's just a simple list of Thrillers in anime (if you'd like to, add your favourite in the comment section below):
- Death Note
- Mirai Nikki
- Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica
- Zetsuen no Tempest
- Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
- Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi
Of course, the genre is a very wide and individually interpertable as your definition and picture of Thrillers
may differ from my own (Cue Micheal Jackson's "Thriller" | RIP MJ) and that's fine :)
Now, this Card is a part of my own series where I put up more anime-related posts such as discussing, analyzing and showing you parts of Anime that makes an Anime an Anime! Every topic from the technical aspects, core elements and even entire shows are collected there so make sure you check out and follow "Why anime?" collection for more posts about and around anime! :D
Please feel free to comment your thoughts on the topic or suggest one! :D
And if you want to leave a direct feedback, you're more than welcome to message me :)
And a like on this post would be very much appreciated :*
'til next time!