Friday, October 10, 2014

It's Finally Friday: Arthurian Mythology in Anime

Once again continuing my examining of various mythologies in anime, I've decided to show off some instances of Arthurian mythology.

Example 1: Soul Eater

Soul Eater is a series that contains many references to various mythologies, primarily in the naming and general roles of multiple characters or objects; of these, one of the most notable examples is the character Excalibur. As the name would suggest, he is based on the legendary weapon of King Arthur that he pulled from a stone it was embedded in as proof of his right to be king; in Soul Eater, the character is an enchanted sword capable of taking on a vaguely humanoid form and communicating with others. Amusingly, despite the character sharing the legendary history of the weapon, he is an extremely arrogant and maddeningly annoying person to talk to, thereby making it almost impossible for anyone to bear to wield the sword despite its immense power. Aside from this unique take on the weapon, Excallibur nonetheless shares the history of the weapon of legend (as he so very frequently likes to remind everyone) and his tales of his adventures with Arthur are for the most part accurate as far as the mythology goes.

Example 2: King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table

Easily the most direct example on this list, King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table is a direct adaptation of the many tales of King Arthur, from his pulling of Excalibur from the stone to his adventures with the Knights of the Round Table. Of course, the series does differ slightly from the original mythology; while the general story remains the same, the overall nature of the plot is considerably lighter than its original presentation, and several additional characters are added in the anime in order to advance the plot more easily. However, the overall story concerning Arthur, his Knights, and other notable characters such as Merlin and Guinevere remain largely unchanged, making the series a fairly accurate adaptation.

Example 3: The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins makes several references to Arthurian mythology, albeit somewhat obscure ones. Most notably, several characters are named after the parental figures of famous Arthurian characters; the protagonist Meliodas is named after the father of Tristan, and both Ban and Elaine are named after the parents of Lancelot. Additionally, the famous wizard Merlin is present in the story, albeit as a woman, and maintains their role as an ally and mentor to Arthur Pendragon, himself a character revitalizing his role as the king of Camelot. Lastly, the entire story takes place in a land known as Britainnia, a land heavily based on Britain's depiction in Arthurian legend, including the kingdom of Lyonesse and the legendary castle Camelot. Although the series takes many liberties with how it applies these references, it nonetheless maintains a very strong influence from and style of Arthurian mythology.

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