Anger frequently plays a major role in conflict, especially violent conflict. In one of my favorite stories of all time, Boys Over Flowers, almost every conflict that occurs throughout the story is driven by one character’s inability to express his anger in ways that do not involve assaulting people and/or punching walls.
If you are asking “what is Boys Over Flowers?” then you are asking the WRONG question. The correct question is “which Boys Over Flowers?” Originally a Japanese manga, Hana yori Dango by Yoko Kamio, this story was adapted into an anime, Taiwanese drama, Korean drama, mainland Chinese drama, and more. As a disclaimer, please know that I have only read the manga, seen about half the Korean adaptation, and about half (so far) of the Taiwanese adaptation. (Also, please keep in mind that I viewed these stories from a Western cultural perspective.)
Domyouji and Makino are the main male and female character of the manga, and their mutual anger is really the heart of the story; it is the main trait they have in common and is the ultimate reason their paths cross in the first place.
As the son and heir to an elite Japanese family, Domyouji has been obeyed by others his entire life, and when a young woman from a poor family challenges his tyranny over their school, he is enraged and “seeks to violate [Makino’s] integrity, safety, and security” while Makino’s anger is caused by the injustice of Domyouji’s cruelty to their classmates, and it is her anger that leads to the first, central conflict of the story: her anger “seeks to challenge the structures of control” (Augsburger, 1992, p. 130).
This story is a really interesting look at two ways that anger can influence violent conflict. On the one hand, Domyouji allows his anger to immediately escalate into violence, even to the detriment of his own goals and happiness. Makino is also quick to anger and does engage in violent actions, but is generally more controlled in her use of it. In general, she only utilizes violence in self-defense, or as a calculated method of resolving a conflict. Domyouji’s anger caused him to become a tyrant at his school, bullying both the faculty and the student body with physical and psychological violence. Makino’s anger allows her to overcome her fear of Domyouji and challenge the institutional violence at the school.
Eventually Domyouji’s respect for his only opponent develops into love for Makino, and he gradually learns how to better control his anger and restrain from violence due to her influence. (This doesn’t mean that the manga and all adaptations aren’t filled with a deliciously problematic relationship between two angry, violent people, that, by comparison, makes Edward and Bella’s relationship look totally healthy.)
Luckily for me and my cognitive dissonance, I am not here to judge stories, just to look at their conflicts! So go read or watch Boys Over Flowers and decide for yourself whether their romance should end with a wedding* or an entrance into the witness protection program.
(*No that is not a spoiler)
Hopefully now that NanoWrimo and the holidays are over, I will be able to get back into writing this blog regularly. I never did finish American Horror Story’s fourth season, life just got too busy… but I had fun with my horror kick and hopefully will do a better job with it next year.