In this week’s episode of World Conquest, we see Kate and Zvezda attempt to rid West Udogawa of all smokers, and in doing so they create a fascist regime of civilians who form mobs to assault people. How it all goes down is pretty silly and Zvezda is still portrayed as the “good guys.” I notice that some people are getting riled up about this extremist view that the episode presents, but I don’t think World Conquest is trying to say that the dangers of second-hand smoking justifies dehumanizing and annihilating an entire group of people. Rather, this sort of behavior for Zvezda falls pretty in line with the fact that this is supposed to be an evil organization.
In Kate’s eyes, smoking is a criminal offense; those who smoke don’t deserve to live, and those who quit smoking merely get a chance to be “third-class citizens” in the Zvezda utopia. And so after Zvezda inspire the masses to “fight back” against smokers, as the narrator puts it: “the tensions built from long years of oppression exploded with unexpected force.” The mobs of anti-smoking citizens begin to attack smokers—throwing rocks at them and beating them up in alleyways. Then eventually, the now oppressed minority of smokers get forced into hiding for their lives, before finally being confronted by Zvezda one last time.
Basically, the smokers are the Jews during the Holocaust, and Zvezda are the Nazis. The above quote from the narrator sounds a bit like an analogy to how oppressed Germany felt after the financial devastation they faced after World War I, and how they then ended treating Jews as a scapegoat while trying to create their Aryan utopia. As I pointed out last week, the members of Zvezda even vaguely resemble Nazis, which at this point there’s probably more to it than just for the sake of making them look cool.
Note too that Kate is so great at giving speeches, so inspirational with how she passionately articulates her points, that the fact that she’s a little girl has no bearing on how others perceive her. She can make a grown man cower in fear after lecturing to him about what filthy scum he is for attempting to smoke in a family restaurant. And midway through the episode, she manages to score the hearts of hundreds of townsfolk just by giving one of these lectures in the middle of an outdoor shopping center. You know who else had an impeccable ability for handing out speeches? Yeah, that’s right, Kate is pretty much Hitler.
Also, while we’re comparing this to the Nazis, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the bomb that the White Light’s drop towards the end might have be an analogy for Hiroshima. After all, the U.S. arguably had to bomb a bunch of civilians in order to keep Japan from continuing with the war and amassing even more casualties, which was White Light’s reasoning behind bombing Zvezda even though they were surrounded by civilians.
World Conquest in part seems to be about showcasing just how childish the ideal of conquering the world really is, but now there’s also a clear theme pertaining to actual fascism. So what exactly is it trying to say at the moment? Like I said, I doubt this is actually trying to be a serious message about smoking, and that’s not really what this episode is about. For now it’s just establishing that Zvezda really is capable of inciting some truly evil deeds, and there’s more to them than what the saccharine surface level of the story would imply. This also seems to be their real first step in conquering Japan; as the post-credits scene notes, they did still conquer 30% of West Udogawa, so presumably the events of this episode won’t just be swept under the rug in favor of a status quo.
I’m going to give this format another try, where episodic posts have a “notes” section for minor points that I don’t feel like trying to weave into the main post.
- lol, I love how Kate’s transformation sequence is just the characters putting her supervillain clothes on for her.
- Huh, so before joining Zvezda, Yasube was a gangster working for his boss, Gorou. That explains how he got dragged into Zvezda despite not really caring about world domination or anything. I also like their purple and yellow suits.
- The smokers ended up not being human anymore, which is why they for some reason didn’t have any pupils in the confrontational scene between them and Zvezda. I wonder what that could be about?