Welcome to the May OWLS tour!
If you are new around here and doesn’t know what is the OWLS group, let me tell you about the most awesome group of the Internet.
OWLS stand for Otaku Warrior for Liberty and Self-Respect, we are a group of blogger and vlogger promoting the acceptance of everyone regardless of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or disability, in other words, no matter where you are from and what you like, as long as you are a nice human being we will welcome you with open arms.
Each month, we are talking about a different subjects, last month prompt was “Melody” and we shared about song that we like and mean something to us. You can read my OWLS post for April here, the tour schedule here and you can find the full schedule for May tour here.
This month the prompt was requested by one of our follow OWLS member Auri from Manga Toritsukareru Koto
We join movements, organizations, and systems that align with our own personal values and beliefs. Sometimes we join these groups because they believe in doing good and making positive changes in society. However, these movements can turn sour when a dictator arises or behind the good intentions, there’s a hidden agenda of oppression. It is in these groups that individuals start to shape their identities by questioning their values and beliefs or conforming to the system. This month, we will be examining “real and/or fictitious” movements, organizations, or systems in anime and other pop culture mediums, and the positive and negative effects they have on individuals and society
Now time to embark for the road of Eldorado
El Dorado, City of Gold,
El Dorado, City of Legends
Since the Europeen conquested the south american continent, the mysterious city of El Dorado feed the imagination. More than once stories were written about it, since centuries, the myth, the legend is used as setting for incredible journey.
In 2000, the studio DreamWorks produced the animated movie “The Road to El Dorado” and in 2007 the video game developer Naughty Dog released the action adventure video game Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, where we follow Nathan Drake through his quest to find El Dorado.
The anime world also have is share with the French-Japanese animated series “The Mysterious City of Gold” (Taiyo no ko Esuteban), series co-produced by Studio Pierrot (Naruto, Tokyo Ghoul, Black Clover) and DIC Entertainment (Inspector Gadget, Popples) counting 39 episode airing from June 1982 and March 1983.
If DreamWorks with “The Road of El Dorado” and Studio Pierrot in collaboration with DIC entertainment with “The Mysterious City of Gold” decide to take the same approach, El Dorado is a lost city filled or made of/with gold, Naughty Dog decided to get closer to the original legend which refer to a man made of gold.
However even if those three decide to all take the same direction by talking about a the material wealth that is gold, not all story choose the same direction to talk about the mysterious city of El Dorado.
For this month OWLS tour, I decided to pick a fairly recent series as support for this prompt, Garo: Vanishing Line which look at the quest for El Dorado differently.
Garo: Vanishing Line, is an original series from the studio MAPPA (Terror in Resonance, Yuri!!! On Ice!, Kakegurui) that aired between October 2017 and march 2018.
The series follow the story of Sophia (Sophie) Hennes, an orphan, who is looking for her older brother. The latter disappear a three years prior the beginning of the series leaving behind only one clue, a password “EL DORAD”.
While looking for informations concerning her missing brother around Russell City, Sophie have a life changing encounter when she met Sword, a Makai Knight, who is also looking for informations related to “El Dorado” for the Makai Order, since “El Dorado” seems to be the reason behind the Horrors (manifestation of negative emotions feeding on human) apparition.
During their researches, something became apparent, people were leaving Russell City on their own accord and they were all leaving for the same destination, a city where the could gain the eternal happiness.
These people all got the same invitation, the same promise, the promise of an eternal happiness in a city where they will never miss of anything.
This must be a great city right? A city where sadness, loneliness, envy and anger are just a myth, a city where it is fun to live, the kind of place where everyone would like the live.
These people left without asking question, they leave on the promise to live better days, on the promise to reach their ideal. Getting an invitation to El Dorado was liking getting an invitation to the Promised Land.
However, not everyone can enter such marvelous city, only the one getting the invitation, in the series, we see the road leading to the beautiful city surrounded by shantytown, the inhabitants looking with envy the black bus bringing the people who got the invitation inside the city. They wanted to get inside too, they also wanted to live a better life, however without the precious invitation they couldn’t, instead they are gathering around the road in the hope that one day they will be able to get the other side of the gate.
The invitations were all sent by the same company, the GarEden Corporation, this company control every facets of El Dorado, from the politic to the industry, passing by the communication system (ELDO Net), the city is completely managed by it (as you probably guess, the name play on the Garden of Eden, the paradise of the Catholic religion).
It is such a great city that it’s make tragedy meaningless, your friend disappeared? why being worried about some friend disappearing without leaving any traces when you can still make a thousand more, everyone think the same as long as they are happy, nothing matter. No one see the true behind El Dorado, no one see what is the real El Dorado is, everyone only see the surface, only the good side, the dark one is well hidden.
This is what Martin Hennes, Sophie big brother, was also thinking. Martin was one the person working on the El Dorado project, to help to the creation and the completion of the fabulous city, He agreed to work on it for Sophie’s sake, he wanted a place where his little sister will forever be happy, never sad again. As administrator of the El Dorado system, he could control everything, he was the one at the top of the chain of command of GarEden Corporation, but in truth he was only a pion, to help to the completion of the truth El Dorado, a place where the Horror could feed, a giant buffet and soon, with Martin’s help, this buffet would take the size of the world, the size of the Planet Earth.
Upon realizing the truth about El Dorado, Martin Hennes was shocked, the only thing he wanted was to create a place where his little sister could be happy. Like everyone who lost their life by accepting the invitation to El Dorado, the invitation to a place always at peace, where everyone is happy, Martin was duped, like all the poor soul living in that “perfect” world, he never had his doubt about what was happening outside El Dorado. Brainwashed, he never imagined that his perfect world was tainted with blood.
This is how strong the call for an eternal happiness was, the call brought (kill) thousand people, people who never realized they were death.
Everyone want to be happy, it’s one of the primal wish people have since the beginning of the time, through the years, the decencies, the century, the call for happiness, for peace, for freedom, created more wars and tragedies the human being would want to remember. All those tragedies had all that one thing in common, a promise for better days. Selling the idea for better days is easy, that’s how cult work, that how cult master recruit member, however the better days is not always the one the member would want to live.
Just take the Order of the Solar Temple as example, mass suicide and assassination are part of their reality, part of their way to create a new world, create a world where all religion would coexist in peace together. The promise of the ideal was strong enough to let parent their 3 months baby to be killed because the infant was identified as the antichrist.
The story of the Order of the Solar Temple, is just one among a lot of other story, story that doesn’t normally end well for the protagonist.
~ thank you for reading ~