A Review of Steven Lim and Max Mao's Flash Animation: "Xin"
Flash animations have been becoming popular within the last few years. There are plenty of sites where you can watch various flash animations some examples are I-Mockery and Newgrounds. Whenever I'm bored I go onto Newgrounds and watch all sorts of flash animations from horror, to action, to comedy, etc. I stumbled upon this flash animation series by Steven Lim and Max Mao called "Xin." It's a pretty interesting animation with a very interesting storyline.
The premise of Xin pretty much explores the various problems of the public school system. It mirrors the problems in today's school system in the United States. As a substitute teacher, I felt that I could definitely relate to the premise and characters presented in the Xin series. Xin presents a problem that's currently unaddressed which constitutes to the United States public education system as being one of the worse systems in the world.
It looks as Xin takes place in the year 200X with X being algebraic at this high school named Varron Academy. With the constant violence erupting in schools, legislature passed new laws allowing for teachers and faculty to take matters into their own hand when the students get out of line. As a former substitute teacher, I've dealt with many students that had gotten out of line. With the law passed, the teachers would physically punish students either by physical assault or making the students do various strenuous activities similar to a "smoke-out" session in military basic training.
With the teachers being able to take action into their own hands, it serves as an alternative to giving unruly students detention, suspension, and expulsion. Meaning, follow the rules and you'll be physically fine. Because kicking unruly students out pretty much beats the purpose of school which is teaching and reforming. At first it seemed like a perfect solution. But once you kick them out, they pretty much have nowhere to go and they end up joining gangs and becoming criminals in the future.
There have been instances where I've wanted to smack a student upside the head for being unruly.
But with each "solution" comes a "problem," which is a living example of Murphy's Laws. Keeping the unruly students in happened to be detrimental to the other students that want to learn and make good grades. As a harsh counter-balance, the academics of the schools were declining. The concept that's introduced is somewhat relatively new but there are some Japanese anime that have it where teachers are allowed to physically assault students.
What really appealed to me is was the concept of the "Pillar System." When you go to school you have the student counsel with student counsel president, vice-president, secretary, etc and you have class counsel from freshman to senior. In Xin, the student counsel is done away with instead you have four positions of power: the School Captain and the three Pillars. School Captain is the head of the student body and in charge of the Pillars. To ease things for the teachers and faculty members, the Pillar System allows the student body to self-regulate.
At first it seems like a good thing, like any political system, the Pillar System has its flaws and major flaws they are. The School Captains and Pillars are supposed to act as "pillars" of the student body such as setting the example for the other students. Just like police officers, law makers, politicians, and rulers are supposed to be pillars of society and setting the example for its citizens.
But like lawmen, law makers, judges, politicians, and other people of power, the School Captain and Pillars are just as fallible as any other human being. They are just as susceptable to corruption as any other person. And that was a major flaw that's exposed in Xin. Especially when there are factors such as the introduction of money for bribery on various parts or the abuses of power. In turn the Pillar System became a student dictatorship.
And the makers of Xin did a good job of exposing the consequences of the Pillar System becoming a dictatorship. More students start to become unruly as a result of rebellion. At the same time, it gave rise to gangs forming within the school walls. It also exposes corruption on the administrative side of things where the main antagonist Dimir coerces three students into becoming Pillars to serve his personal agenda.
The corruption of a school government system mirrors the corruption that's going on in today's government such as the hunger for money and power. Which is why the Xin series appealed to me so much. Asides from the political aspects of Xin, it's jam packed with lots of martial arts combat which you would see in your typical martial arts school anime. In short, it's corruption at a high school level.
In a sense, it's very similar to the anime Real Bout High School where fighting is a huge part of the school curriculum.
Overall, Xin is definitely a flash animation worth viewing. There are eighteen episodes in total with the last one being the longest one. The premise of Xin isn't revealed until the very last episode. But all the episodes are worth watching. If you're into anime, flash animations, martial arts, political science, or education, Xin is definitely you should watch.
Though Xin is only eighteen episodes, the series has gained quite a loyal following. Various role-playing boards that are a combination of a role-playing game and a message were spawned off from Xin.
Xin gives a very interesting perspective towards the applications of a policy of "Corporal Punishment" and the flaws it represents.
As a final note you can catch the Xin series on Newgrounds.com or the main site Lifepoint1.com. When you go to Lifepoint1.com, be sure to check out their other flash animations they're worth watching as well. Xin is definitely a series to look out for.
Tags: Xin , Flash Animation , Martial Arts , Steven Lim
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.