Why manga fans compare Mélenchon and Quatennens to the heroes of “One Piece”

The two politicians are the subject of many memes on social networks, which compare them to the heroes of the popular manga “One Piece” and “Bleach”. Well-established communication.

The best adaptation of One Piece is not produced by Netflix, but by social networks. For several days, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Adrien Quatennens have been erected as manga heroes One Piece, Bleach and My Hero Academia in many memes and diversions posted on Twitter.

It all started on Sunday April 10, after the results of the first round of the presidential election. The “do better” launched that evening by Jean-Luc Mélenchon during his speech immediately inspired Internet users: “I only know my duty and I call on you to do the same: the fight continues. So of course, the younger ones will tell me ‘So we haven’t got there yet?’ It’s not far, huh? Do better, thank you.”

If some, on social networks, compare this final speech to Goku’s sacrifice in dragonballmany have seen an echo of the last words of the legendary pirate Gold Roger at the beginning of One Piece. On the verge of being executed, this tutelary figure from Eiichiro Oda’s manga calls on his supporters to go in search of his treasure, the “One Piece”, launching at the same time the beginning of the era of pirates.

“What makes the success of a diversion is its immediate readability, but also its ability to correspond to the emotional dimension of the appropriate event, and it is easy to understand the success of these diversions,” summarizes Philippe Maïsetti, culture and humanities streamer specialist of One Piece.

Through these diversions with manga sauce, it is a sacrificial hero Jean-Luc Mélenchon who is put forward. The candidate of France Insoumise missed the march of the second round by a short head. Its score, around 21.95%, better than in 2017, confirms the central role on the left of La France insoumise. And only accentuates the enthusiasm of his supporters.

heroes of the resistance

This sacrificial role is accentuated in several parody videos of One Piece produced for social media. A clip made by content creator @DylanKujo2, published overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, already exceeds 600,000 views. Another, imagined by videographer Glupatate, has been viewed more than 31,000 times. Both mix images of One Piece to the speech of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. These sequences with guaranteed dramatic effect transform the politician into a hero of the resistance.

This is not the first time that the leader of La France Insoumise has inspired fans of Japanese animation. In 2012, Balak, the co-author of Lastmanhad already had fun revisit the credits of Ken The Boy Who Lived by replacing the face of the hero of Tetsuo Hara by that of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, renamed here Mé Len Shock.

The politician had also been the hero of Jean-Luc No Revolution, a manga by David from the Ganesh2 channel where the leader of La France Insoumise does kung-fu. “He is aware of his impact on manga culture”, reveals Balak, who details the reasons for the attachment of comic book authors to the figure of Mélenchon:

“When we do comics, we tend to be on the left of the political spectrum. And since we are often very poor, we tend to be even more on the left, and Mélenchon is the one who best represents this genre interests. I liked to follow his political rise, because there was a David versus Goliath side to his career. There is a Luffy side to Mélenchon! His notions of social justice are very close to shōnen [ndlr: mangas pour adolescents]. That’s why it has had such a resonance for ten years in the manga community.”

In the age of social networks, this process is accelerating and sees the names of Mélenchon and Quatennens affectionately Japaneseized as a sign of support. Adrien Quatennens is thus renamed Ichigo, in reference to the hero of the manga Bleach.

For Aurelie PetitPhD student at Concordia University in Canada, this phenomenon is “proof that the culture of Japanese animation and manga (especially shōnen) are part of a semantic universe common to French youth, which they use to rationalize , illustrate and laugh at politics”.

Philippe Maïsetti believes that “the penetration of motifs from Japanese pop culture into the French social imagination is undeniable and these motifs – anime music, manga characters – accompany the new variations of the language in the era digital, thus opening up multiple horizons of appropriation and diversion.”

Well-established communication

These diversions are also the result of well-rehearsed communication, which relies on social networks and the Twitch platform to seduce a young electorate who does not find themselves in the traditional candidates. And also to change the image of the party, while Jean-Luc Mélenchon no longer intends to run for president, decrypts Philippe Maïsetti:

“The watchword was there: ‘the FI is not a vertical party whose militants would be subservient to the leader.’ The next generation, the youth, the backbone of the project, the vision of the leader more than his magnetic person… these were the elements of communication that had to be put forward as quickly as possible. appointment.”

La France Insoumise is not the only party to have relied on manga in its communication for the presidential election. Emmanuel Macron has already tried to seduce the young electorate with One Piece Last year. A copy of volume 100 appeared in a tweet announcing the opening of the Pass Culture to 15-17 year olds. And in June 2021, the president had published in story on Instagram a poll asking his subscribers to decide One Piece of The attack of the Titans.

But the supporters of La France Insoumise are more connoisseurs of the works in question than the members of LREM. They experienced this campaign like a shōnen and see Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s speech as a key scene in these initiatory stories, that of the handover between the mentor and his apprentice. “When Mélenchon said ‘do better’, he was speaking directly to Adrien Quatennens, like All Might who passed the torch to Deku”, noted the twittos @GWDVLin reference to the characters of My Hero Academia.

Several memes take up a key scene from this anime, one of the most popular of the moment. “Adrien, I hope Méluche’s message arrived well”, wrote the twittos @cicibi13ichek by posting an image where All Might points to his successor. Because in this presidential shōnen, the successor of Jean-Luc Mélenchon is already found: the deputy Adrien Quatennens, current coordinator of La France Insoumise.

Revenge of Ichigo Quatennens

Her red hair, in brush, evokes that of several warrior figures of contemporary popular culture. Some go so far as to compare it to Duke Nukem, the famous testosterone hero of video games. For the overwhelming majority, he is either Shanks le Roux, mysterious pirate who puts Luffy on the path of piracy, or Ichigo Kurosaki, main hero of Bleach who fights evil spirits.

According to the montages broadcast massively on social networks, Adrien Quatennens would look like two drops of water to Shanks and Ichigo. “The worthy heir of Mélenchon, the future of this country is a redhead, I had never seen such charisma since Ichigo Kurosaki!” Exclaimed in particular Twitter @Karamelos4. “Only Shanks can save this lost country, let the propaganda begin,” added de his side @Baronerie.

Philippe Maïsetti wonders about the absence of these diversions of the hero of One Piece Luffy” and more generally [de l’absence] of the revolutionary pirate utopia”: “There are two reasons for this absence. On the one hand, young people have understood, the FI is a social democratic political force that has never called for a social third round in the streets. And on the other hand, above all, its activists have skillfully steered the thread of hijackings in the direction most granted to a need for communication for them.

Tropism of the savior

On Twitter, messages linking One Piece, Bleach and Adrien Quatennens multiply to the point of giving him the appearance of a providential man. “Ichigo you have until 2027 to learn how to awaken your Bankai and master your Hollow”, wrote on twittos @okidacorin reference to the powers of Ichigo’s character in Bleach. “In 2027, do you say that the fachos will perhaps face the Bankai of Ichigo Kurosaki”, added user @Squarr3L.

A myth well anchored in French society, the providential man is a concept defined by the historian Jean Garrigues. This figure, embodied in the past by personalities like Vercingetorix, Joan of Arc or General Charles de Gaulle, is particularly exacerbated in the age of social networks, noted Jean Garrigues in a recent interview granted to the Figaro:

“It is not surprising to find this tropism of the savior in the current presidential campaign. The over-personalization inherent in the institutions of the Fifth Republic and the over-mediatization of campaigns favor the resurgence of providentialist mythology.”

La France Insoumise is in tune and consciously plays with this iconography to reinforce the providentiality of Adrien Quatennens. David Guiraud, leader for the 8th district of the North (Roubaix, Wattrelos), notably changed its Twitter banner at the beginning of the week by putting an extract of One Piece.

A not insignificant passage, from chapter 434 (in volume 45), where Shanks le Roux confides in making “a bet on the future”, embodied here by Luffy. In this scene, one of the most famous of One Piece, Shanks shows great wisdom in showing that he knows when to give way to the next generation. A gesture that obviously recalls the now famous “do better” of Mélenchon.