Raging obesity is not such a huge issue in Japan compared to countries like the USA or Russia (though I hear McDonald's is gaining foothold). Ironically enough, they nevertheless have a strange obsession with Sumo Wrestling over there – two incredibly fat guys basically turning into a big mass of jelly.
Aa Harimanada apparently began its life as a comic book which later managed to take the leap into an animated cartoon and from there into this console game. What the plot is exactly, I can't tell you as all these publications (including the game) are available in Japanese only (a language I don't speak at all). It probably doesn't help that I'm also no expert at the rules of Sumo Wrestling (still an understatement). What I do know about this sport is that it is basically about pushing the opponent out of a confined circle.
This also appears in this game: whoever is out is beaten. There is also a lot of grappling between the hulking masses of flesh. The similarities end there, though. At least I doubt that any real Sumo Wrestler of the real world has ever made a jump, let alone one like this. Which is to say that this one uses pretty much a standard Street Fighter inspired gameplay, complete with acrobatic stunts, punching and kicking.
Now, that actually does sound more exciting than an accurate simulation of the sport, doesn't it? Well, probably, but on the other hand, this pits it against huge competition in this extremely popular and crowded genre at the time. And, boy does Aa look bad in this competition! Where to start? With the almost completely interchangeable opponents? With the severely limited set of moves? With the rather unresponsive controls? With the sparingly framed animations?
Whether this has anything to do with the comic book, as I said, I cannot say. Between the fights, you basically get the regular taunting (I assume…), but that's as far as the “plot” goes. One can only hope that the material which inspired it has got a little more meat to them…
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Sure, I agree. Then again, they have other media where things like kindness, sympathy, modesty and respect are embraced and cherished. So, go figure... I think it has something to do with the two religions dominating Japan - Shinto and Buddhism along with their great many subcategories. I believe they historically derive more despotic and violent traits from the former, which is a pagan religion, while the noble, kind and merciful from the latter. It's only a shallow assumption, of course, but it could've well played a part in it.
That's what I said; it may appear strange to you or me, but I cannot speak for others. Particularly if their cultural background is vastly different from mine.
It's not even necessary that he is considered a relateable characters. "Respect-inspiring" may also be a category applicable. In our societies, the two are linked to a degree. Though are they everywhere? No sure.
To me it's a demonstration of vainglory and some deep-rooted victim complex. It's a behavior of someone severely and repeatedly abused in the past and who has now come with a vengeance which surely emancipates him from morals because his power, pride and godlike figure excels them. I mean, I have nothing against ambitions and strife for supremacy in certain fields, but only if you treat others with respect and not deride and scorn them with some morbid kind of disgust on the grounds of their weakness. Next stop - annihilation. I don't suppose you would advocate Hitler, now, would you? He also had his own ambitions and philosophy in mind. Only those were oppressive and genocidal and I have zero tolerance for anything that would even slightly remind me of that. Maybe I take it a little too seriously, but I have problems with such martial nihilism, just like you probably have some issues with religion
After the matches he would taunt and insult the defeated wrestlers, like "Fool! You're not even half as good as me!" or something along those lines. Most of them would have their own special skills which they attempted on Harimanada, but they would always fail or backfire on them. When I played the game a bit I noticed that each opponent acts very differently and some moves would be either more or less effective on them, which is what the anime itself hints at and could probably serve as a good walkthrough for the successful completion of the game.
I happen to have watched this anime recently, and its non-traditional scenario with pretty unfair turn of events as opposed to "good guys always win" one shocked me quite a bit. And here is why.
It appears that the protagonist is a boastful and self-assured sumo wrestler who literally terrorizes the wrestling studio on the first day of his appearance and claims to surpass any wrestler in both skill and strength no matter the size and weight. That is, he comes off as a downright negative character from the very off and everyone begins to hate him (except children who share a strange liking for him) as he also violates some of the rules by wearing various deity masks when entering the wrestling circle thereby making a cheap provocative show out of 300-year old japanese tradition and mocking the veterans.
The kicker is, he really beats everyone in this anime in a number of humiliating ways and remains forever undefeated, even though his utterly obnoxious temper and actions suggest he should go down sooner or later and despite the fact that some of his opponents seemed like very positive, humble and hope-inspiring characters. Nope, they would all fall miserably. Needless to say, I was very disappointed with that, but then again, I admit it's at least somewhat original, yet, unfortunately, very much life-like. A lot of douchebags tend to be very enduring, steadfast and quite unaffected by the bad karma whether instant or delayed. Just look at the politics.
I guess, this again has to do with the japanese culture and their peculiar way of thinking as they have a very controversial image of a would-be national hero, which, if anything, fits the characteristics of your typical tyrant. Boorish, immodest, eccentric, unruly. Some remnants of semi-barbaric authoritarian culture amidst modern world, part of which, I presume, makes the japs so unorthodox as a people.
Don't be surprised with the dimensions of this post, I just thought it would be an interesting piece of info as the very subject provoked me personally a good deal. I still remember your "Sure, that looks fair" screenshot in the news post, and I must say it's definitely wrong... that the bigger dude had to wrestle that brutal maniac and lose to him By the way, in the anime he was a black guy from Hawaii. It seems that the game also reflects the correct sequence in which his opponents appeared, at least the first few of them.
P. S. Thanks to this anime, now I know what the white powder-like substance is that those guys toss on the ring when the match is about to start. It's merely salt, and it's only a small ritual of consecrating the circle.