“Muv-Luv” The Pursuit of Knowledge

"Muv-Luv" The Pursuit of Knowledge

Madmen are always keen on enterprising, fools are ever complacent” these are the closing words of Major Jinguuji Marimo on the old chapter of her life in Muv-Luv TDA. Again, to understand what does she truly imply is a great endeavor by itself, and for that sake, we take a look into the past of one of Japan’s most distinguished intellectuals, who devoted himself to the pursuit of knowledge and the honorable reform of all of Japan, Yoshida Shōin.

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The Father of Restoration

Muv-Luv Yoshida Shōin

Anime fans might know the name better from the anime Gintama, as he was portrayed there as a character with similar roles and convictions. Shōin is not as famous as historic heroes like Oda Nobunaga or Tokugawa Ieyasu. In fact, he’s kind of a controversial figure who’s known as the Father of the Meiji Restoration. (The event when the Shogunate rule ended and power was restored to the Emperor). He had at that time a thirst, a madness for knowledge that could not be easily quenched.

Back then, a samurai could not travel in japan (or outside of it) without written permission from the daimyo, a feudal lord. On top of that, travel abroad and foreign books were banned. In an act of defiance, he travelled all of japan without permission, and even tried to jump on an American ship where he frankly confessed that his object was to be taken to the United states, where he might gratify with his friends the desire of travelling and seeing the world.

While the Americans were enamored with the Japanese’s desire for information, the laws of japan did not permit that, and they were later imprisoned. That didn’t stop Shōin from studying everything he could get his hands on, and teaching everything he could to anyone, even the prison guards. Later after he was moved to House arrest, he started being a dedicated teacher who studies along his students and treats them as friends.

The two-room building that housed Shōin’s private school Shōka Sonjuku is still standing in Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture until this day.

Muv-Luv Yoshida Shōin

But, infuriated by the unfair terms of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce signed between the United States and Japan in 1858, Shōin became involved in an ultimately unsuccessful plot to assassinate a senior shogunal official, which later became an inspiration for many of his students and reformists to overturn the current political system and prevent japan from turning into a colony.

Many of his students after that became prominent figures in the Meiji government, and his legacy lead to a quick modernization of japan and its recognition as a world power by the west. He was not remembered only for his strides in overthrowing the shogunate, and his eccentrics, but the last impression he left because he was a teacher, that cared about providing the next generation with knowledge more than anything else.

Madness and Folly

Muv-Luv Marimo Madness

Yoshida Shōin left many great texts and inspiring poems during the time he spent teaching. One of his poems contain the phrase Major Jinguuji used in Muv-Luv TDA 02, which is : 狂は常に進取に鋭く愚は常に避趨に疎し / The mad is always keen to advance, but the fool is always satisfied with the way things are. The teacher did not only encourage the act of absorbing knowledge, but also emphasized how it should be put into proper practice.

He called himself “Madness“, hence the name mad fool, but he used that alias positively, because anyone who criticizes society is deemed as mad. He was in despair with how young people do not have a strong dissatisfaction with today’s society, they accepted everything just as it is. A self sufficient human face is for him, not beautiful, because how long will they be able to support their self sufficient way of life? and the current economic power? but this kind of thinking is treated as “Crazy” or “Mad” by the ever complacent society.

If you look closely at how Japan’s history went, you will find a great deal of similarities between the situations of Shōin and Marimo, in how they both acted in defiance of current established rules, and then decided to act with the interest of the children and the future of japan in mind. Many of the technical advancements in the world of Muv-Luv happened because a small number of enigmatic Japanese figures decided to broaden their horizons and gain the help of the west, in order to establish their own identity and honor.

Muv-Luv Yuuhi People

I am moved by the single-minded way of life that rushes towards a single thought, and once you look again at all the facts, you will find that Muv-Luv TDA is a great reflection of what humanity needs the most in order to keep moving forward, with underlying hints about the overall political situation and how its very similar to the historical restoration movements. A person who is sincere, foolish and honest, who acts positively with “madness” is the only one capable of making a true change.

The ones who lead japan towards honor and independency were Shōin’s students, and Marimo’s Mad dogs. To live in awareness of the foolishness of the world, or to accept yourself as mad and paint over the world. The defined criteria is not really clear, but I could only admire the fact that Major Junguuji is always thinking ahead, maybe even way more ahead than we thought, and I also would love to be the same, a part of the world and an advocate for knowledge, especially for the children of tomorrow.