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‘Crayon Shin-chan’ and the Dangers of Toxic Nostalgia

Here’s what the ninth installment of the ‘Crayon Shin-chan’ series can teach us about the pitfalls and limitations of nostalgia.
Crayon Shin Chan nostalgia
Shin-Ei Animation
By  · Published on October 19th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video about what the ninth installment of the Crayon Shin-chan series can teach us about toxic nostalgia.

There is an important distinction between memory and nostalgia. The hint to the difference is right there in the word itself. Etymologically, the word nostalgia means a morbid longing to return home — a strong, and even painful desire to go back to familiar territory. In other words, nostalgia is more of an emotional issue than a temporal one. It is a sentimentality for how things were, tinged with the implication that the past is worth pining for because it was better.

Most of us have a place in our hearts reserved for a piece of media that was especially formative and dear to us. For Accented Cinema, that media is Crayon Shin-Chan, a sitcom anime series about the adventures of a precocious five-year-old.

The video essay below unpacks one of the franchise’s many features films: Crayon Shin-chan: Fierceness That Invites Storm! The Adult Empire Strikes Back. The film follows Shin-Chan as he and his family visit an exposition about 20th-century Japanese culture. Literally hypnotized by the desire to relive their childhoods, the adults in town begin to regress to a point where they abandon their children to live at the expo, permanently “in the past.”

It is a film explicitly about nostalgia. And, more specifically, about the toxic pitfalls of idolizing our memories of the past. It offers a gentle reminder that, while there is comfort in familiar things, the past is far greater than just the parts we put on a pedestal.

Watch “Crayon Shin-chan And Nostalgia“:

Who made this?

This video was created by Accented Cinema, a Canadian-based YouTube video essay series with a focus on foreign, and specifically East Asian, cinema. You can subscribe to Accented Cinema for bi-weekly uploads on YouTube. You can also follow them on Twitter.

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Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.