Thursday, November 10, 2011

The School's Trees: Jun Maeda and Allegory

... but the Clannad Fanpage had a link to something I've meant to see for a long time: an interview with Jun Maeda, one of the chief writers of Air, Kanon, Clannad, and Angel Beats:

I have to admit, I'm a remarkably jaded person. I think authority is a corrupting influence at best, people and ideals should almost never mix, and never mistake a creation for its creator. The popular series Death Note is a good example. From what I've heard from my friends the anime is a lot better than the manga it was adapted from. Why? Because apparently the writer has said the story doesn't have any symbolism beyond a boy who finds a notebook that can kill people. Now, one of these days I really will write a note about how Death Note is an allegory for the human psyche. So to say that I was disappointed by that revelation was a bit of a let-down. JRR Tolkien also stated multiple times that Lord of the Rings was not an allegory, but was just a story about at a hobbit. Now don't get me wrong, the story is very much so about a hobbit. But just consider for a moment the sheer symbolism in Lord of the Rings. It's a huge letdown. Considering how much I like Lord of the Rings and Death Note it's rather difficult to accept that the authors didn't intend a meaning beyond what they had written. It's hard to take allegories seriously when two of the strongest allegories you know of were never intended that way. So it's nice that at least one of my favorite pieces of fiction was meant to be a symbol of good, that it wasn't just a paycheck, that there's someone out there who wanted good in their stories.

Corny as it sounds, a part of me needed to hear what Jun had to say in this brief snippet. A lot goes into writing a story, and it's nice to know that someone who is not only successful but still looking pretty idealistic can believe. Maybe that's what I needed to see: Maeda's belief that he was doing good with his writing.