Ric O’Barry is driving around Taiji, Japan, pointing out the various artistic portrayals of dolphins and whales displayed everywhere in the town. “If you didn’t know what went on here, you’d think they love them,” he says. In his 2009 documentary The Cove, O’Barry focuses on the hunting of dolphins in Taiji. What O’Barry doesn’t understand is that the town’s display of dolphins and whales is evidence of their love for the creatures; however, it’s a different kind of love. The Japanese appreciate these animals. The fishermen know that without whales, dolphins and other sea life, they would be out of a job as well as out of food. Japan’s relationship with sea life is different than how we in the U.S. regard sea life. I’ve had two experiences of visiting aquariums in Japan, and both times have given me a glimpse of this difference. As people stand in front of the glass and marvel at the creatures on the other side, in addition to the exclamations of “Kirei! Beautiful!” I’ve also heard many individuals, from young to old, exclaim, “Oishisou! They look delicious!”
Filed under Essays, Japan
One of the newest Disney princess movies1 that has been released is Enchanted, which has probably one of the most original premises for a Disney princess movie so far. Giselle is a girl who dreams of “true love’s kiss” and the man who will come with it, but when she meets the Prince Edward and they fall in love, the prince’s evil stepmother, the queen, doesn’t like the idea of giving up her throne. On Giselle’s wedding day to the prince, the queen sends Giselle to a place where “there are no happy endings,” which happens to be New York City, our world. Giselle is forced to leave the animated realm she has always known and is thrown into a live-action world. She befriends lawyer Robert and his daughter, and as she waits for Prince Edward to rescue her and take her back to Andalasia, she tries to understand the strange and different place she’s now living in. She and Robert are very much opposites—Giselle believes in true love and happily ever after, but Robert is very realistic and systematic about love. Over the course of a few days, they butt heads because of their very different ideas about love, but soon it’s apparent that they’ve fallen in love with each other. Prince Edward comes to rescue Giselle, but now she doesn’t want to go back. Before she tells Edward this, the evil queen appears and convinces Giselle to bite a poison apple. She is awoken by true love’s kiss, not given by Prince Edward but by Robert, which shows that he and Giselle are meant to be together. Giselle, Robert and his daughter become a happy family, Prince Edward marries Robert’s fiancée, and everyone lives happily ever after.
Enchanted is full of references to and themes from past Disney movies, both princess movies and other varieties, and is definitely an homage to them. The movie starts off the same as the other Disney princess movies with all the same problematic messages, such as a woman’s happiness is dependent on love and marriage, women are helpless without men to help them and save them from dangerous situations, and that people fall in love and marry way too quickly to be realistic. Then Enchanted starts to steer away from the standard way a fairytale would unfold. Because the former-animated characters are now in the real world, they become to act a little more realistically. I think this was the film makers’ intentions. However, in the end, the audience still winds up with the main messages and themes that the other Disney princess movies have, for example, that true love exists, that you can fall in love within a few days, and that fairytales do happen.