Very few people seem to be aware of Nietzsche’s influence on contemporary Asian culture which dates back to books being translated to Japan shortly after his death, his profound critique and reverence for Buddhist thought, and his influence on US popular culture. In an effort to bridge this gap and show that the surprising amount of influences that his work has made, I’ve made a short list in orders of magnitude from sloppy critiques to the critiques that are based upon his philosophical ideals and arguments. However, it should be noted that the majority of these depictions center around Friedrich Nietzsche’s Ubermensch philosophical concept from the philosophical fantasy novel, Thus Spake; Zarathustra.
Fair Warning: There’ll be massive spoilers for each of the links for their respective games, anime, and so forth.
The strawman version. A complete trash character:
An actual good reference to the Ubermensch concept:
A genuine critique of the Ubermensch concept’s strengths and weaknesses when taken literally:
For more on Berserk’s amazing usage of Nietzschean philosophy:
A phenomenal metaphorical representation of the Ubermensch concept:
Sam Hatting: “Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne and Nietzsche’s Übermensch”
A amazing allegorical representation of the Ubermensch concept:
The first two were written and uploaded by me:
Thematic Analysis of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse II Jarin Jove’s Blog
A Transhumanist critique of the Ubermensch concept:
The Ubermesnch Concept in terms of embracing our humanity, each of the character dialogues represent a Nietzschean form of criticism:
In fact, here’s one of a critique of Nietzsche’s Slave Moralist, the type of person we should avoid becoming as depicted by the main villain of the series, and then after that Nietzsche’s Ubermensch who accepts and celebrates their human origins as depicted by Edward Elric, the main character of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood:
In US films, 2001 Space Odyssey is an exploration of the Ubermensch concept, even making it part of its ending and the main theme song:
The famous music piece Also Sprach Zarathustra:
A metaphysical critique of the Ubermensch philosophy from the famous Japanese film, Akira:
Update: I’ve been informed by a reddit user, WeAreABridge, that Gurren Lagann also contains philosophical reference to Nietzsche, here’s their argument below:
Alright, then a few things are there.
Kamina and Simin can both be seen as examples of Ubermenschen, in that they constantly affirm their lives and create their own paths.
The idea of the destruction then construction of values can be seen in the transition of Simon’s line “My drill is the drill that will pierce the heavens”, to “My drill is the drill that creates the heavens”
The Anti-Spiral are pretty obviously Last Men, they specifically say that they’ve locked away their bodies to prevent any chance of evolution or growth. And when fighting the gang they trap them in alternate realities where they have everything they want, which I think echoes the idea of the warning of the “religion of comfortableness”.
I think some thought could even be given to “Believe in the you that believes in yourself”
Plus Spiral power is basically the Will to Power.
I’ve also read of many athletes, some psychologists, and philosophers who truly love his philosophy. Here’s a few books:
Amazon.com: Nietzsche and Asian Thought (9780226646855): Graham Parkes: Books
The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche by H. L. Mencken
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Kindle edition by Angela Duckworth. Health, Fitness & Dieting Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
To finish this up, here’s a quote from Thus; Spake Zarathustra:
“What is the greatest thing ye can experience? It is the hour of great contempt. The hour in which even your happiness becometh loathsome unto you, and so also your reason and virtue.
The hour when ye say: “What good is my happiness! It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency. But my happiness should justify existence itself!”
The hour when ye say: “What good is my reason! Doth it long for knowledge as the lion for his food? It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!”
The hour when ye say: “What good is my virtue! As yet it hath not made me passionate. How weary I am of my good and my bad! It is all poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!”
The hour when ye say: “What good is my justice! I do not see that I am fervour and fuel. The just, however, are fervour and fuel!”
The hour when we say: “What good is my pity! Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loveth man? But my pity is not a crucifixion.”
Have ye ever spoken thus? Have ye ever cried thus? Ah! Would that I had heard you crying thus! It is not your sin—it is your self-satisfaction that crieth unto heaven; your very sparingness in sin crieth unto heaven!”
“Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the frenzy with which ye should be inoculated? Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that lightning, he is that frenzy!”
– Friedrich Nietzsche, “Thus Spake; Zarathustra” Page 23. Common version.
*Correction: A previous version incorrectly listed FMAB’s Father as representing the Last Man when in fact he acutely represents the Slave Moralist.
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