Heavy Catholic Influence?

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Heavy Catholic Influence?

Post  redroses2 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:46 pm

The third game especially seems pretty heavy with Catholic allusions, if warped and twisted in the context of the Silent Hill universe. Heather being both a Christ figure and the Virgin Mary is what makes me say it's more of a Catholic influence than a more general Christian influence. Catholics tend to have more of an affinity to the Virgin Mary than any other figure in the Bible, and it's the Christian sect that is the most well-known in Japan (hence why there are so many Catholic priests in anime and manga as opposed to Protestant preachers).

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Re: Heavy Catholic Influence?

Post  Cephalotus on Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:20 am

I agree completely, but I honestly don't have an explanation as to why that might be. Perhaps someone went digging, and decided a Catholic backdrop would have a more dramatic impact in a survival horror context. I'd say they were right. It worked beautifully, didn't it?
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Re: Heavy Catholic Influence?

Post  redroses2 on Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:47 pm

I completely agree; it works really, really well. And as someone who was raised Catholic, I'd have to say that Catholicism might be the easiest of the Christian religions to turn into something dark and scary. The imagery we had in our church frightened me as a child and gave me nightmares. But as to why a Japanese group of people would pick Catholicism, it would probably be out of a desire to use something foreign and less understood. Fear of the unknown and all. But whoever decided this did a lot more research than a lot of other Japanese media that draws from Catholicism. The symbolism isn't just there to look pretty; it has a purpose, and that's a big step above a lot of anime with allusions to Catholicism. I know Silent Hill is a video game series, but with the first four games being Japanese and anime being a Japanese medium, I don't think it's much of a stretch to compare the two in terms of symbolism and storytelling.

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Re: Heavy Catholic Influence?

Post  Cephalotus on Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:58 pm

@OP: I haven't had much exposure to anime and this is actually the first time I've sat down and thought about the Catholicism>Japanese perception relationship. Now that I'm sitting down and thinking about it, I realize that I actually don't know as much about Catholicism as I originally thought. Smile Did you notice anything with a Catholic flavor from the third game that a layperson might have missed? I know there were the more obvious things; saints, feminine focus, sacrifice, whatnot. I already love the real life occult references they shimmied in, and I'd like to know if there was anything deeper on the Catholic wavelength. Not that I really need yet another reason to enjoy SH3 any more than I already do, right?
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Re: Heavy Catholic Influence?

Post  Taylor the Impaler on Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:00 pm

Silent Hill in general absorbs many different religious symbols and references and combines them into something of its own. It's one of the top things I love about the series!

And yes, Catholicism/Christianity appears to be one reference.

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Re: Heavy Catholic Influence?

Post  redroses2 on Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:46 am

It might not have been anything deeper than a "it looks cool" reason to add it in (I'd have to do some research into it that I'm not currently in a position to because of finals), but the focus on birth, death, and rebirth in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th games is clearly a call-back to Jesus Christ. Alessa/Cheryl/Heather being Jesus in the 1st and 3rd games and Walter being a very interesting subversion (aversion?) to the Christ figure.

Then there's simply the way that Dahlia dresses. In both the 1st game and in Silent Hill Revelation (and maybe the first film? I don't remember very well), she is in a dress with a shawl over her head. While not very similar to the Virgin Mary's clothes, it gives a general sense in terms of the amount of space it takes up and how it forms her silhouette. So despite Dahlia not having much else in resemblance to the Virgin Mary, she has a similar silhouette and she's the mother of the Christ figure, Alessa. Dr. Kaufman would be a Joseph of sorts, whether he is actually her biological father like some suspect or not.

I don't know much else about other religions, unfortunately, so I can't really offer any insight into what other religions contributed to the look, feel, and lore of Silent Hill.

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