Often, when talking about the influences of globalism, trade, and international affairs; the effects of these institutions and ideas are thought of as impersonal and on such a scale that they couldn’t possibly directly influence the life of an individual. While policies and relations on an international level do drastically affect societies and cultures, they also heavily influence the stories that people experience. Here are five monolithically popular and successful pieces of media that could not exist without the influences of globalism, trade, and international policies.
Samurai Jack draws influence from nearly every corner of the globe and depicts these elements to western audiences in a way that is both dignified and inspiring. The man most responsible for Samurai Jack, Genndy Tartakovsky is a Jewish, Russian-American creator and animator whose family immigrated to America in the seventies due to concerns of growing antisemitism.
Tartakovsky’s world travel appears numerous times in Samurai Jack as the show borrows elements from Japanese, Chinese, Scottish, and American culture regularly. The show is not only incredible in its own right – the recently-released fifth season is one of the greatest pieces of animation ever crafted (I’ll admit it, I’m a fan.) – it is a celebration of the growing global culture that’s expanding through online connectivity and immigration.
M*A*S*H was one of the most popular and influential television series ever created. Viewers wept when its series finale finally aired after eleven years of production. This series has been hailed as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, launched dozens of careers, and captivated the American people for over a decade.
The show was also an allegory for the Korean and Vietnam war and used humor to mask issues relating to PTSD, inevitable civilian casualties, and how bureaucracy reduces soldiers to statistics. Because the show was about war more than anything else, it could not have existed without the horrible Korean and Vietnam wars having taken place.
‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure may be the most popular and successful media franchise you’ve never seen or even heard of. This manga and anime has been in publication since the 1980s and centers around the multi-generational exploits of the Joestar family. It also would not be nearly as good as it is without the influence of international trade.
Series creator – Hirohiko Araki – is a massive fan of western music. So much so that the majority of the characters in JoJo’s are named after bands, songs, musicians, and albums. He’s not exactly subtle about it either. His character’s have names like Foo Fighters, White Album, Vanilla Ice, and Super Fly. Not only are these naming conventions a fascinating insight into what inspires this creator, they are also a testament to how trade and cultural diffusion can create original stories and ideas.
‘My Little Pony’
My Little Pony today is a massively popular and profitable brand including toys, shows, movies, and games. The brand is so huge, though, primarily due to politics. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan loosened restrictions that prevented children’s television programs from becoming glorified commercials. Around this same time, the company that owned MLP – Hasbro – started making tie-in animations for their toys by hiring cheap Japanese and Korean animation teams.
Essentially, My Little Pony may not even exist today if not for political and economic forces that allowed it to be promoted so cheaply for several decades. Another fun fact is that the studio that made the first MLP show – Toei Animation – would go on to create countless influential animated works. Such as…
Dragon Ball, and its many iterations, could not exist without globalism. This Japanese series originally started as a loose parody of the Chinese classic novel, Journey to the West. It grew and morphed into an unfathomably successful franchise at the same time as its creator – Akira Toriyama – was influenced by everything ranging from the Terminator movies to Indonesian architecture.
The Dragon Ball series almost certainly impacted nearly every young person in America today. Moreover, every person reading this article was at some point influenced by a fictional work that could only exist due to international and cultural forces interacting with one another.
In understanding how these global institutions and practices affect us on a daily level, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the effects of globalism, trade, and international affairs.