I’ve spoken before of how fandom for villains can be very unhealthy. Now, as reported by Kyodo News, there’s been a violent crime this week committed by a man who’s gone insane in more ways than one over of comicdom’s most notable supervillains:
A man arrested in a knife and arson attack that injured 17 people on a train in Tokyo on Halloween night has told investigators he adores Batman villain character the Joker, police said Monday.
Kyota Hattori, 24, who was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder on Sunday night, was also quoted as saying that he “wanted to kill people and be given the death penalty” and that he had been “thinking from around June of being sentenced to death.”
Photos and videos posted on social media by eyewitnesses showed a man at the scene wearing a green shirt and purple suit in what appeared to be a Joker costume.
About two hours before the incident, Hattori visited Tokyo’s Shibuya district, a hot spot for costumed partygoers to celebrate Halloween, the police said.
Hattori told the police he chose a limited express train bound for the city center that makes few stops because it is generally crowded with passengers. He expressed regret at failing to kill anyone in the attack, the police said.
It’s a miracle nobody was murdered, as happened when a maniac arsonist attacked an animation studio 2 years ago. But this is still a terrible case where you have the wrong kind of pop culture figures being worshiped by basket cases anywhere in the world, and we could honestly do without it. Also chilling is how the Japanese criminal in Tokyo wanted to martyr himself.
It may not be a fictional villain’s fault for what a real life villain ends up doing. But if we don’t teach our future generations why this kind of “fandom” is a poor example, society is bound to be ruined. What we need are more heroic examples emphasized, yet over the course of 2 decades, this is pretty much where we are (definitely in the western world), with desensitization to violence becoming a norm, and hardly any real emphasis on actual heroism. Film critic Michael Medved saw this coming years before, and hasn’t done any good since, what with an increasing emphasis on the notion that men are “mansplaining” and poor examples for women are just as prevalent. That’s practically why Hollywood is a place the sane person must distance themselves from for a change, and now, the mainstream comics industry’s proving they too have to be kept away from.
This incident may never make headlines in the USA, but either way, it casts embarrassment on anything Batman-related, and could end up demonstrating how the franchise has been way overplayed, and needs to be downplayed or toned down for a change.
Originally published here.