I have been a fan of a few Anime shows for a while, two of which are Bleach and Naruto. I am also working towards a masters degree in communications and have a class on the topic of media and society. Through this class I have learned about decoding messages and meaning from media content.
Riatsu and chakra, in Bleach and Naruto, are interesting aspects of the show; a primary detail separating these Anime worlds from the societies out of which they emerge. These details can be seen as a commentary on the society, or can reinforce the norms and ideals that make up commonsensical beliefs about the way things are.
Without much, or any, background knowledge on asian cultures, it is difficult for me to pick up on the intricate depictions, however here are some things that are easier to notice:
- The importance of rank and responsibility reinforces hierarchical norms.
- The strongest characters usually fight one on one, representing ideals of individualism
- The characters who are captains, or Hokage (or Ju-nin), reach that level through discipline, hard work and utilizing their individual talents
- Inequality - not all talents are equal.
What do you think about Riatsu and chakra? Do these elements of the shows embody characteristics like willpower, compassion, concealed strength?
I may try to publish a paper on this topic, so these responses would be very helpful.