So. Out of all the villains I’ve ever seen, Shyamalan from “Birdy the Mighty: Decode” stands out as probably the most reminiscent of Nazis (at least, of all the villains who were not literal Nazis—that’s a whole different ballgame entirely). I’m well aware that other villains exist that are SUPPOSED to be based on the Nazis but only Shyamalan comes across as being anything like the way Hitler and the rest of the Nazis appear to have actually thought and behaved (from my admittedly limited understanding). I’m not sure whether or not I think this was deliberate (knowing Kazuki Akane it could go either way), but that’s what comes through.
First of all, there actually are a few similarities between Shyamalan and Hitler themselves. I admit I’m not an expert on Hitler by any means (and have no compelling interest in being one), but from what I understand, as evil as he was he was outwardly respectable and even charming. Just like Shyamalan. It is true that in Shyamalan’s case most if not all of that charm is implied to be a ruse, which isn’t what I got from reading about Hitler—but this is confounded by the fact that nobody alive today knows what Hitler was really like. We also see that Shyamalan, for all the wealth and power he possesses at the time his story takes place, was likely born socially-disadvantaged—if the old photo of him was any indication, he was born poor if not on the streets. In Hitler’s case, too, his family was not ruling the roost at the time he was growing up, and this apparently led to clashes with his father about how to best succeed in life. Finally, we know that Shyamalan was deeply traumatized as the victim of a terrorist attack, and that this explains to a large extent why he is the way he is. With Hitler we don’t have anything that is exactly equivalent, but we do know he was involved in World War I, where he would have witnessed a lot of death and destruction, exactly the sort of thing Kazuki Akane is so fond of weaving into Freudian excuses. Finally, it’s revealed at the end of the first season that with Shyamalan gone, his followers don’t know what to do with themselves. In a similar vein, after Hitler died the Nazi party as a whole just dissolved.
Moving beyond that, though, there’s the issue of Nazi philosophy itself. Just how well do Shyamalan’s views match up with it? Well, it is true that Shyamalan does not come across as particularly anti-Semitic, racist, sexist or homophobic. Admittedly we don’t learn much about his politics, but we do see that he’s willing to accept, interact with, and protect people of other races than his own (i.e., Japanese, aliens), as long as he views them as members of the Chosen like himself (sometimes even if he doesn’t, if those photos in the video are any indication). We know he treats Sayaka as a doll, which might hint at some sort of sexism (particularly given his collection of creepy dolls), but he doesn’t advocate sticking wives at home to raise children the way the Nazis did—indeed, he’s perfectly content to treat Capella, who is female, as a partner. As to his sexual politics, we get no information at all beyond the fact that he himself appears to be straight (which is hardly indicative of anything).
At this point it might help to define what exactly the Nazis believed. What they really were were social Darwinists, who believed that the strong ought to oppress the weak, and that all people apart from one or a few “master races” were parasites who ought to be exterminated for the greater good of the elite. It should be noted that as horrible and barbaric as that might seem to you or me, Hitler and presumably at least some of his supporters firmly believed that their plan was in their country’s best interest.
Now consider Shyamalan. Shyamalan, too, is a social Darwinist—only rather than divide the superior and inferior along racial lines he distinguishes those superior as having been “chosen.” The “Chosen” can, it would appear, be any race, religion, or sex; but their unifying feature is that they’re just better than everyone else, and that those who are not “Chosen” will simply slow down and burden those who are. Shyamalan seems to believe that his plan is in the world’s best interest—even if some of his claims to that effect are propaganda we do see that he’s willing to take in a “Chosen” baby he finds buried in some rubble, and he also expresses pity for Sayaka (although it’s more creepy than anything else). Then there’s the speech he gives in the last episode or two of “Decode’s” first season, which is very interesting. He starts off by getting natural selection wrong, then he says that the great wars and disasters of our time are good things because they wiped out inferior people (curiously, he doesn’t mention the Holocaust, even though presumably it would fall into that category—again, by his own logic), and so forth. There’s one particular line I’d like to call attention to; in the English dub it’s rendered thusly:
“Even to this day we still have many weak, sick, and feeble-minded individuals living among us.”
Feeble-minded, huh? That word, or at least a rough German equivalent, was found in Nazi propaganda videos calling for the forced sterilization and euthanasia of people with mental illnesses and disabilities, which you can watch at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC (that’s my memory, anyway—it’s been years since I was there). Coincidence?
Finally, it’s interesting that when Kaori Sonada and Muroto correspond about Shyamalan’s propaganda video and plans, they jump to the conclusion that he’s planning a genocide of some sort (though they don’t know about the Ryunka, of course). Muroto’s first impulse is to start documenting it, with Kaori Sonada’s assistance, stating that “It may not do anything to help us now, but maybe it can prevent something like this from ever happening in the future.” I bring this up, because this was pretty much the Allied reaction to what they saw in the concentration camps they liberated, and just generally behind enemy lines in the occupied territories. This is admittedly a bit of a stretch, but if nothing else it’s an interesting coincidence.