(Re)(De)Construction

OK, so if you are familiar with the basic idea of a Deconstruction and Reconstruction in the context of a piece of media, then feel free to skip this post as I am pretty much defining terms.  They are interesting terms and are often not understood, but still, there is not much to see here if you already understand their meanings.

Alright, with that out of the way, lets start with the idea of a Deconstruction.  Effectively what a Deconstruction is is a examining of a certain trope or idea and a finding of all of the flaws and problems that would occur if such a thing were to actually occur.  That definition is a bit obtuse, so I’ll use an example, perhaps the most iconic example.   

Lets start with the basic idea of the Super Robot genre.  The basic idea of the genre was that some group of chose pilots would end up driving super special robots in order to save the world.  Often times these pilots would be kids.  There are many examples out their of shows and manga and such in which the basic idea of “kids pilot giant robots to save the world” is the premise.  One of the most famous anime of all time, Neon Genesis Evangelion was a deconstruction of the genre.  While a typical show might have the kid hero’s reject the call of heroism for an episode or two, ultimately they would pull through and save the world with little mental stress or psychosis.  This was not the case in Neon Genesis.  The question that the show asked more than anything, was, “How crazy would the situation of piloting a robot to save the world make you?/How crazy would you have to have already been to get into that situation.”  The main character is extremely apathetic about his job of world saving pilot, and all of the characters have very serious mental issues.  These issues are not immediately apparent, but as the stress of saving the world every few days adds up eventually everyone cracks and you get to see what all of the stress has been doing to everyone.  It is a very good show and a lot of fun in my opinion, but it is also highly depressing in many spots and has one of the most well known mind screw endings out there.  Another classic deconstruction is Watchmen.  It is a comic book about what the world would be like if it had super heroes, and all of the messed up reasons that people would have to become super heroes along with the grisly ends that many who chose that path would meet.  

Now that a deconstruction has occurred, the Reconstruction can occur.  Reconstructions are often either reactions to specific deconstructions or turn out to be the overarching ending of a piece of media that first deconstructs and then reconstructs a genre.  Basically, what a reconstruction does is accept the criticisms of the deconstruction and then either show how the basic idea can work anyways, or alter the premise just enough that the fundamental idea of the work can still be functional.  To complement the Neon Genesis example, one of the most iconic reconstructions in modern days is Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann.  It is a show about super robots.  Lots of sucky things happen to the main characters, and situations develop that mess with their ideology and such, but through determination and talking to people and the physical incarnation of manly spirit, the hero is able to remain sane, save everyone and lead the universe to salvation.  Gurren Lagann is a very powerful reconstruction in that it shows how all the crazy awesome stuff can still happen even in the face of some of the cruelties of life, but reconstructions can be more subtle, finding ways to show that the worlds in deconstructions aren’t as bad as they look, or even deconstructing deconstructions to show that the basic idea can work as long as you don’t make a few key assumptions.  

All in all both deconstructions and reconstructions are a part of the way that ideas and media work, and tend to strengthen ideas by analyzing them closely.  Ultimately they are a bit of a cycle, with flaws being found by deconstruction being fixed by the reconstruction.  Then more flaws are found and then fixed.  I would recommend reading the tv tropes article on both subjects if you want some more examples and a better idea of both.  

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