Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda – Conquering the World, One Stabiliser at a Time


screenshot-00297

When the idea of world conquest is brought up one generally thinks of historical empires from Rome to the British Empire, even through to the Japanese Empire and the Third Reich. These empires were a demonstration in ruling over the entire known world, or perhaps controlling major trade routes and supplies of material wealth. They certainly weren’t the complete totalitarian dictatorship over earth’s population that world conquest would entail, with such visions often confined to the pages of comic books and Bond villains. World conquest is therefore the domain of the criminally insane, utterly delusional comic book villain; the kind who thinks a hollowed out volcano makes for an excellent inconspicuous evil lair.

One certainly would not immediately think of a young girl riding a bike that still has the stabilisers on as the perfect candidate for world conquest, which is precisely what Sekai Seifuku decided to do. Zvezda have the image that any evil organisation would die for; black, over the top costumes, minions who hide their faces behind gas masks, and the entire government after their heads. Much of the humour comes from the bizarre nature of Kate’s quest to conquer the world, doing so for reasons that have yet to be revealed. While world conquest for comic book villains, or the criminally insane may be merely a past time, something that they do because they are bored at being evil, Kate’s quest appears to have a far more personal significance, something that she has to do or else she would not be who she is. What makes this humour, and Kate’s focus on world conquest so interesting is the comparatively dark, dystopian world that Sekai Seifuku presents us with.

screenshot-00318

In this world martial law and night time curfews are commonplace, with military patrols down the streets, and implied harsh punishments for those found breaking the curfew. Our introduction to Asuta finds him homeless after an argument with his family – in other shows we might see similar characters spend their nights in clubs, or Internet cafes – however, his immediate problems are further intensified by the curfew and his inability to find anywhere to stay or anything to eat. Seeing Tokyo (we assume) without the bright neon lights and street signs on, a city that is quiet, without life is actually rather startling, it has become a ghost-town that teems with life. The world of Sekai Seifuku is as dystopian, and possibly as self destructive as anything from cyber punk series such as Ghost in the Shell, Metropolis, or Ergo Proxy, but instead of the overtly destructive nature of society in those worlds, Sekai Seifuku is tempered by the humour of Kate and her followers. But, while the world of Sekai Seifuku is not as grey as others, it is no less heavy and dangerous, in fact, the antics of Kate, Pepel Shougun, Plamya-sama, and Um Kyouju only enhance the depressing state that the world has found itself in.

There is also something to be said for the character relationships within this first episode. Whereas in other series characters might meet through pure chance and create a lasting friendship, in Sekai Seifuku Asuta is forced through the necessity to live to take up Kate’s offer and become part of Zvezda. But, what was particularly interesting about this first episode was its introduction to the world, a world that Kate clearly conquered, but instead of a glorious civilisation we see a man walking through the desolation of a society that has collapsed. The slapstick comedy, whacky characters, and dystopian world all meld to create a first episode that was comedic, dark, slightly edgy, and very entertaining to watch. That we know Kate succeeded in her conquest of the world, only to see the desolation that remains of her achievements further points to a story that is rather interesting.

screenshot-00531

About illogicalzen
An Illogical anime fan in a very Zen-like way.

3 Responses to Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda – Conquering the World, One Stabiliser at a Time

  1. hemicyclium says:

    What’s your take on the ‘message’ of Zvezda? I found the psychology of Zvezda more interesting than the surface features; there’s a tl;dr and a link to my full write-up below.

    Zvezda is an anime about child psychology and has far more Chuunibyou than demo Koi has. It appeals to the child in all of us and makes us look back fondly, or at least nostalgically, on our childhood and ponder where we came from and where we might go. It’s also anti-suicide propaganda, quite appropriate for Japan at this time, saying that things aren’t as bad as we make them out to be, so instead of keeping our eyes focused on the goal, we should pay attention to how we get there and make sure the goal is worth the journey.

    Explanation (please read me?): http://pastebin.com/a87CfVSG

    • illogicalzen says:

      I have absolutely no time for psychology and what it sees within such things – to me the world of Zvezda is the natural result of a strict society where the state has gradually increased its control over its citizens to the point of enacting martial law. Similarly, Asuta finds himself in such a predicament because of his own intransigence, as well as his fathers unbending will and wish for his sons to continue the family business regardless of their own wishes. Japan in Zvezda is strict, too strict, resulting in acts like Asuta’s that ultimately leave him homeless and without any food. I do not see any anti-suicide propaganda, but instead a look at some of the end results of a society that places too much importance on control and social safety, thus forgetting about free will and peoples wishes to try something new and different.

      I also wouldn’t use Chuunibyou as a term to describe this series, yes it is a term used to describe peoples behaviour during adolescence, but in this case the behaviour of Kate and her compatriots is not a case of the imagination, but that of reality. In Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, Rikka uses her rolepaying to escape from reality (at least initially), although later it becomes another part of social interaction with others. But here I do not see any elements of Chuunibyou – except perhaps in the writers minds – instead Kate is not escaping from reality, but we are seeing a fantastical setting that allows her to aim for world conquest. Using the idea of Chuunibyou to describe much of the episode, and plot of Zvezda seems to me to be similar to using psychology, it becomes an easy way of explaining everything rather than looking at the social and cultural elements of the society we are seeing and the reasons behind Kate’s ultimate plan for world conquest.

  2. hemicyclium says:

    I concede your point with Chuunibyou; perhaps I was trying too hard to simplify my construal. I can definitely see Zvezda as a satire, or a look at what could happen, as you say, though I still prefer my interpretation. To each his own, I suppose. Thank you for elaborating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: