Colloquium: Anime We Would Really Like to See

I expect the storyboard on my desk by next Tuesday.

tiboreau: Last week We Remember Love aniblogger Ghostlightning challenged his readers with an ultimatum. Don’t like some of the anime that airs each season? Well, what type of anime would you like to see—and be creative! Inspired by both the challenge and Ghostlightning’s own creative anime concoction, a few of Altair & Vega‘s writers were motivated to share their own anime concepts. We hope you enjoy!

ajthefourth: Here are the parameters as set by Ghostlightning himself:

  • The series must be for television. Episode count would be nice if included, but is not necessary.
  • Namedropping is meaningless. If you do it, provide context, i.e. if you have a favorite director, what is it about his/her style that makes you want them to take the helm of your dream anime and steer it into greatness?
  • Don’t simply repeat ideas from elsewhere.

With that said, let’s all hop on our imaginative magic carpets and away we go!

The Anime That AJtheFourth Would Really Like to See

My anime that I would really like to see addresses the needs of a very specific viewer, one who is underserved in the anime medium: a woman in her late twenties.

There are very few anime targeted at women in their twenties and thirties, in spite of a seemingly profitable josei manga market. The only animated josei series that I’ve seen attempt to target this age bracket specifically was Princess Jellyfish. Since it had to wrap itself up with an anime-only ending (the manga is still ongoing) it devolved a bit too quickly into wish fulfillment, although I personally love it nonetheless. This isn’t to gripe and say, “My gosh, why does anime never make anything for me?” I know that it’s simply not profitable; however, in spite of loving anime and watching it happily, I rarely see something that really resonates with me on a personal level. The last series that so struck me was the aforementioned Princess Jellyfish.

Therefore, I want to see a realistic portrayal of a working woman in her late twenties, and what personal or societal issues she struggles with.

As another small demand, I would love it if within this anime the main character will develop herself outside of the realm of romance. The lead character may have a relationship—actually, I would prefer it if she were in a steady relationship; however, I would want her character to evolve outside of any romantic involvement. The relationship would be yet another thing in her life that she has to balance, not the main catalyst for plot movement or character development: a factor in her life, and an important one, but not the factor.

I would want the setting to be in or around a major city. It’s important to note that the main character would already be very familiar with said location, and that the setting would have to be realistic, almost a character of the series in its own right (think Ikebukuro in Durarara!!). The cast would be small, but well-developed and nuanced: the lead character, her closest friends, a few co-workers, and a family member here or there. Having a family completely intact and functional would be a welcome change, unlike in Princess Jellyfish, where Tsukimi’s otaku tendencies stem from the loss of her mother.

This series based on its nature would be a short one, only one cours, or approximately 12 episodes, since its message is something more easily dispensed through a slice-of-life setup. Although it would be complex in character development, it wouldn’t need 24 episodes as many plot-heavy series tend to demand. The production values wouldn’t have to be anything outstanding; however, again, with a character-driven series such as this, attention to detail is key. Instead of wowing the audiences with astounding visual feats, something simply stylized, detail-oriented, and well-storyboarded would suffice.

The Anime That Bitmap Would Really Like to See

I’m not one for long, elaborate stories. Of course, there are long and epic tales that I love, but to this day what I really love to read are anthologies of short stories. From the brilliant science fiction of Ray Bradbury to the Sherlock Holmes mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, these bite-sized tales have proven time and again that you don’t need hundreds of pages to create captivating characters and situations.

One of the greats of the form is O. Henry, a writer whose stories ooze style and wit. His stories are perhaps best known for their twist endings (“The Gift of the Magi”), but what really stands out in my mind is the diverse yet uniquely American nature of his stories. If there ever were a work that best captured the spirit of New York around the turn of the century, I think The Four Million would be it.

Give me an anime like that, but for Tokyo. Show me the lives of the people in the biggest metropolitan area of the world. But not just any part of Tokyo: give me a show that centers around Akihabara. Screw your schoolboy protagonists and your magical girls; have the stories be about the real people in Akiba: the maid who passes out tissues, the electronics store owner who’s seen the town transform, the cosplayer in the street. And naturally, there are the otaku: the gamer looking for that rare 90s title, the businessman who wants to keep his anime obsession a secret, the foreigner making his first pilgrimage, and so on. The focus here should be on short, self-contained stories, so I’d like no recurring cast of characters outside of background cameos.

The thematic focus here would be the interplay between the reality of the lives of the characters and the wonderfully manufactured fiction that surrounds them with Akiba as a backdrop. I think it would really give the series the cohesion that a short story anthology needs to be more than a disconnected series of stories. The real main character of the show here is Akihabara, and how people are affected by its presence. A realistic portrayal should also be an important aspect; think something like Bartender or similar seinen shows.

As for the episode count, a standard one-cours show of 13 episodes is fine. Each story should be short enough to split an episode up into two or three parts à la Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei. That’s anywhere from 26 to 39 unique stories, all in the course of one season.

So yes, the anime I want to see is a show primarily featuring otaku that takes place in Akihabara, and yet forgoes the tropes of boob-groping and fortuitous skirt-blowing for a more mature look at how Akiba culture affects people, sometimes in surprising ways. Quite the tall order, perhaps. . . .

Oh wait, I want MOSAIC.WAV (NSFW) to do the music for it, though. Because I mean, c’mon, it’s about Akiba. . . .

The Anime That Blackholeheart Would Really Like to See

I, like Ghostlightning, have a fascination with history and feel the Middle East is a largely untapped source of story. But my personal fixation is on early to mid Bronze Age Mesopotamia and specifically the last twenty years of the reign of Naram-Sin, third king of the Akkadian Empire. He was the grandson of Sargon, who was the basis for the biblical Nimrod, and ruled a polyglot multi-ethnic kingdom at the height of its influence and the beginning of its fall.

This was an information driven, Technocratic society that in many ways would provide a plethora of opportunities to draw parallels between our worlds. At the same time, a large portion of their mindset would be alien to us today. Even though there are a number of facts, cultural tics and personal habits that came down to us from them, their understanding of religion was utterly different than the discrete concept we possess. For the Akkadians, every aspect of life was filled with the supernatural, the numinous. Religion was the lens through which they understood the world.

It’s this that I would like to see as the core theme of the show as it follows a pair of siblings through their lives. It should run two cours alternating between our two main characters. One, a young man who because of his facility with languages joins the Imperial Messenger corps. This is a character that would give us glimpses into urban home life, farms, battlefields, royal courts, temples, and even exotic cultures like the Indus Valley civilization. I see his story as being episodic in nature like Mushishi. A unique feature of Akkadian life was that women weren’t locked in the role of mother and housewife, so our second main character would be his older sister. As a merchant who is running a pottery near the temple market, her story would explore economics, city politics, and temple social life. This part would be more Spice and Wolf meets slice of life.

I’m going to bend the name dropping rule and say I would like for the show to be animated by a studio such as Production I. G. or Manglobe that has experience with doing detailed “real world” settings. And they could handle making the supernatural elements of the story ambiguous enough that the viewer could see the characters’ point of view and their own at the same time.

There would be events of great importance happening in their world, such as the king declaring himself a god and his ordering the Ekur temple of Enlil sacked at Nippur. The choices our heroes make would matter but they aren’t at the center of the events occurring around them. Most of the action would be on the personal level, and the big events would be more about how a normal person of that era coped with the extraordinary, letting us reflect on how we would handle the same.

The Anime That Tiboreau Would Really Like to See

As a recent anime convert whose visual arts foundation was built on the live-action classics of Hollywood and abroad, the one experience I’ve missed in anime is the marriage of the hard-boiled, cynical heartbeat of the American crime novel and German Expressionist cinematography that film critics have dubbed film noir.

The rain-soaked streets of an urban labyrinth. The play of light and shadow, obscuring profiles, bathing the screen in the silhouette of a banister, or venetian blinds. Dizzying shots at low, wide, or Dutch angles. Night filming. The Femme Fatale. Voice overs. Flashbacks. Anti-heroes & cynical fatalism. Paranoia and shifting societal mores. These are some of the tropes commonly associated with the style of film noir, crime melodramas that expose society’s underbelly while drenched in style. Born in pulp novels and honed by the melodramatic gaze of German imports, film noir‘s influence spread from the hotbed of American B movies of the ’40s and ’50s to Europe, even Japan, across time and the boundaries of cinematography as generations of filmmakers aped, even parodied, its distinctive style and tone.

While a few anime have mimicked film noir, adding a twist of science fiction or the supernatural, this film noir anime will return to the period roots of the genre, born in the criminal fiction of the 1920s, with a twist. We’ll take Dashiell Hammett’s iconic detective, the Continental Op, pluck him from the San Francisco streets and plop him in Taishō era Tokyo. Or rather, our cynical private eye will be Japanese. Kimonos and western clothing. Burgeoning democracy and traditional attitudes. The Great Kanto Earthquake. It will be a mixture of cultural traits, viewed from the backdrop of the era, and film noir tropes, depicting the ethnic, economic and political insecurity of the industrial modernization that forced moral flux and birthed film noir.

The criminal detective concept is flexible enough to accommodate multiple seasons; however, our film noir anime will be restricted to between 11 and 13 episodes, providing its viewers just a taste of period Tokyo. Each episode will begin with a cold open, portraying an aspect of Tokyo life fatalistically awry. From the poverty-stricken to the upper-class oujo-sama, we’ll witness the complex twists of the seedier motivations of survival as our workmanlike P.I. is visited by desperate bishojo and bishounen. While laced with momentary optimism, the series will be saturated in tragedy as our detective attempts, at times ineffectually, to navigate an urban labyrinth obscured by fog and shadow. Simply put, it will be animated film noir, steeped in period style and drama.

The Anime That Vucub Caquix Would Really Like to See

There was a game in development more than half a decade ago by the name of Imperator. It aimed to be an MMORPG in a sci-fi setting when the majority were of the sword-and-sorcery variety. In all honesty, gameplay footage shows that it was canceled with good reason. But the setting of it is another matter entirely.

Can you imagine a Roman Empire that never fell? Possibly even a Roman Empire that united enough of the world to guide humanity into the stars?

That was the premise of Imperator, one that I would very much love to see animated. Specifically, because I would love to see different worlds and settings that are impossible to film traditionally, and may be too expensive to realize digitally. Worlds that are limited only to the extent of the imagination of the art directors and background artists. Worlds of vastly varied settings, united by certain common architectural flourishes. After all, the Roman Empire was known to forcibly spread its culture through conquest and concrete.

This anime would be exactly 24, or 27 episodes, because I envision it playing out over in three distinct arcs. The main character would be an adult male who works in politics, the military, law enforcement, or some kind of investigative organization. Something that gives easy pretense for traveling throughout the Galactic Roman Empire.

The first arc would be what introduces the audience to the setting, characters, and themes of the show. I’d like for the stories to be mostly self-contained, possibly in some kind of procedural format like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. It’d be through these encounters that the show can examine how differently society played out had Rome never fallen. Western civilization draws a lot of its customs and conventions from Rome and Greece, but not everything. Is fatal violence still a viable form of entertainment? Gladiators murdered each other for the sake of the mob that was Rome. What of race relations and social stratification? Slavery was a common occurrence. What of women’s suffrage and equality? I know Cicero did not think too highly of the “weaker sex.”

The second arc would show greater continuity between the episodes. Perhaps the character is showing advancement in his field? Rising in the ranks of the Senate, advancing and garnering more command among the Legions, promotion amongst the Vigiles, or just gathering greater renown for their investigative scoops. Whatever it would be, it would also mean deeper insight into the society at large and possibly expose the dangerous problems that underlie.

The third act would be the fall of the Galactic Roman Empire. The military in disarray, the economy collapsing, some strange religion from one of the remote provincial planets taking hold, conflicts with other civilizations becoming more severe. The Emperor, deposed. And there we would end, with an uncertain future for the provincial planets, and new governments forming to take the place for the fall of Rome. Our main character, only a small entity, amounting to nothing more than a witness to the upheaval of everything around him.

The kind of fanservice I’d wish for this show would be scenes of the main character and his traveling companions just having conversations about the great thinkers of Greece and Rome. Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, bonus points if the philosophies they discussed were pertinent to the themes of the episode. Yes, I would like that very much.

Oh, and Hans Zimmer would do the soundtrack. Just because.

52 Comments

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52 responses to “Colloquium: Anime We Would Really Like to See

  1. Dop

    AJtheFourth should really seek out the 2006 Noitamina show “Hataraki Man”, about a woman (don’t be confused by the ‘man’ in the title!) who juggles her busy career as a magazine editor trying to balance her career and her personal life.

    • Yep, I rushed to the comments to say exactly this! Watch Hataraki Man, Emily. It is EXACTLY what you describe.

      Also, if I were super rich, I would personally fund Tiboreau’s anime.

    • @Dop- Yeah, during the editing process, Tiboreau recommended this to me and thanks to yours and Shinmaru’s recommendations on top of that, it has skyrocketed to the top of my “must watch” list. Thanks, all! ^ ^

      @Shinmaru- Isn’t his idea fantastic? I could *see* it in my head while reading his section.

      • I actually wrote about HM this week. And yes, I think that would be a nice one for you. I wanted to recommend it on Twitter to the A&V bloggers since you all might find the weekly publishing theme interesting.

  2. 2 things I’d really love to see animated.

    1. A collaboration with ufotable and Games Workshop, where they animate the everloving cutiemark out of one of their big-name novel series. Preferably Gaunts’ Ghosts, but knowing Games Workshop, they’ll just force ufotable to churn out a 13-episode trainwreck involving… the Ultramarines.

    But if the forces of Matt Ward and swarms of teenaged youth flush with cash do not get their way, I’d totally love to see ufotable do justice to any of the novels involving Gaunt’s Ghosts. Necropolis would make a nice big 4-cour.

    Failing that, SHAFT to animate… CIAPHAS CAIN, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!!!!!! (caps and exclamations are NECESSARY.) Yes Cain, headtilt like you’ve never headtilted before, because Shinbo’s gonna animate the everloving cutiemark out of your misadventures in Imperial SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE.

    2. I’m gonna cheap out and just scream this.

    TAKASHI MIIKE. DISCWORLD. OP BY ANGELAAAAAAAAA. SUGITA AS RINCEWIND, JOUJI NAKATA AS MUSTRUM RIDLEY, WAKAMATO AS THE PATRICIAN, SEKI AS SAM VIMES. BECAUSE IT’S DISCWOOOOOOOOORLD.

    • Most of what I know about 40K is from playing Dawn of War and a bit of Dawn of War II. It’s pretty cool, and I do dig the really fatalistic cynicism of the world that it’s set it, but what I was really interested is in is the alternate history aspect.

      But man, I’d be TOTALLY COOL with the battles in Imperator looking something like this:

      The thing is, what I’m really after is the alternate history angle. Basically, it’s the same world we live in right now, except all of us would be speaking Latin and reading up on literature about Jupiter, Hera, Pluto, and Saturn.

      As for Discworld, man I have to admit that I’m a pretty bad sci-fi fan. Hell, I’m a pretty bad literature fan to begin with. If it isn’t dead white guys talking philosophy or something out of A Song of Ice & Fire, then chances are I haven’t read it.

      Thanks for commenting though!

  3. I want Yoko Kanno to be given a show that highlights her music direction and composition. The director from Cowboy Bebop would be competent to direct.

    I also want Ali Project to act as musical directors for a series. The only rule is that Ali Project must recruit and coach the musicians and composers – Ali Project members are not allowed to compose or perform any of the music.

    • The idea of Ali Project being in charge of everything EXCEPT performing the music is incredibly funny to me actually. I think @ajthefourth was telling me about how it wasn’t until they scored a hit with a particular song that they then became “locked in” to that particular aesthetic.

      But yeah, more music anime please. Even if Ali Project.

      • The reason I want them to be forced to work as music directors is that it’s a time-tested way of forcing musicians out of stagnation.

        I love Ali Project, but they are stagnant. They desperately need to snap out of it. Teaching younger musicians would do the trick. IMHO.

  4. Becca

    Totally unrelated question, but I am so curious (as Ray Bradbury is my favorite author ): Bitmap! What is your favorite short story by Ray Bradbury?

  5. Jim Butcher’s modern supernatural series The Dresden Files. It’s ongoing and is currently at 13 books, but the latest one provides for a good twist ending. At about 3 to 4 episodes per book, with some of his related short stories thrown in, you could have a big 4 cour series. Harry Dresden lives in Chicago and advertises himself as an investigator and a wizard, to boot. His specialty, getting ten different kinds of crap kicked out of himself, but still coming back and winning the day. Seriously, he and Araragi Koyomi should meet and compare notes.

    • Man, I’m terrible at keeping up with books and contemporary literature (even genre pieces). The Dresden Files was another series of books that I meant to pick up solely because of the fact that I live in Chicago (the city proper, not a suburb) and I’m very receptive to fantasy/scifi/cyberpunk.

      Another one to add onto the pile…

  6. @AJ I believe that has already been made: Hataraki Man. I haven’t seen it, but I gather that it’s exactly what you have described

    • Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it now. I’ve heard mixed reviews from people I trust (on both the positive and negative ends of the spectrum) so it has definitely skyrocketed to the top of my watch list. After I finish up with ah…Heartcatch Precure…haha.

  7. This was a great idea for a post! I loved reading everyone’s ideas. It looks like everyone’s hoping for some more serious shows that focus on settings and target audiences that aren’t given as much attention. I always appreciate it when anime rolls with really unique concepts–which fortunately happens a lot more often than I’ve seen in other fictional mediums. Hopefully we’ll keep getting some fresh story ideas in anime in upcoming seasons.

    • Honestly, the thought of creating a comedy didn’t even cross my mind. That’s interesting now that I think about it. Because while a comedy can be just as affecting as a drama, I think there’s more cognitive-investment one puts into a show that’s a drama. You’re kind of letting the story and the characters in, and you’re paying them back with your attention, hoping that they’ll entertain you or ruminate on something “worthwhile”.

      In that sense, I think comedies are sometimes easier to digest, as what they have to do at the end of the day is get a laugh out of you. Of course, tastes are all different, and one person’s slapstick is another one’s epiphany, but it’s these kind of drama and adventure-type shows that are overtly trying to connect with the audience and impart some kind of lasting impression on them.

      Thanks for commenting!

      • dm00

        I think comedy has all the potentialities of drama — perhaps more so, since the bit of honey helps the medicine go down. Jonathan Swift, perhaps? In the realm of anime, Nadesico has always been my chief example of a comedy that succeeds in having many layers: at the surface, it is a goofy comedy, but as the series goes on you begin to notice the prominent place memory (in all its forms: personal recollection, nostalgia, the way stories shape a culture, and history) has in the series. And yet, it remains a comedy throughout.

  8. @Bitmaps I think Inio Asano would be able to write this well. Check out the oneshot Hikari no Machi for the kind of feel I think you’re talking about.

    @blackholeheart Totally agree on Middle East. The focus on a pair of siblings would be great, as would the atmosphere you describe with being caught in large events of an era.

    @Tiboreau So stylish. I want to say Kar Wai Wong has explored similar things in film, but I’d really like to see the final product of this in anime. Also have you seen Baccano!?

    @Vucub I find it fascinating the Byzantine Empire was still around in the middle ages. I want to say these themes around an empire, and especially space (and Hans Zimmer), really reminds me of Crest of the Stars. But it would be interesting to see Earth’s history in this way.

    • Ah, the person who does Oyasumi Punpun? I spent a bit of time today reading Hikari no Machi and it kind of blew my mind! Heck, adapt that into a show!

    • tiboreau

      Ah, Wong Kar-Wai’s films–I enjoy his lighting aesthetics, those neon colors, and kinetic camera movements. One of these days I must fill the gaping hole in my Wong Kar-Wai experience by watching In the Mood for Love. . . . I’m also curious about his forthcoming flick, The Grandmasters, especially after seeing Ip Man a few months ago.

      I have not only seen Baccano!–I consider it among my favorite anime! I love how it captures the aesthetic of early ’30s Chicago. It’s a great combination of gangster homage & anime sensibilities–such as the over-the-top humor, one of the medium’s best examples of its inimitable comedy style, IMO.

  9. @AJ it’s not exactly what you’ve described, but i think you may like chihayafuru if you’re not already watching it. it’s a josei series that i’ve really enjoyed so far about a card game called karuta :)

  10. From these Bitmap’s idea is my favorite, as Akiba is a place I heard a lot about but will probably never be able to experience first hand (at least in the near future, who knows maybe I’ll get rich). I also like stories that deal with otaku and their lives, like Genshiken and Otaku no Musume-san and how they interact with other otaku or normal society.

    Second would be Vuc’s, and what really interested me was the last arc to see a world fall apart around the character.

    • Hmm, I’ve never actually seen Genshiken or Otaku no Musume-san. Well, I started Genshiken a while back, but I couldn’t get into it for some reason. I’m sure I’ll try again soon enough, though!

      • When I watched the Genshiken anime at first I didn’t get into it either, but I really got into the manga and read it non stop until the end of the first Genshiken. The manga extends beyond the two anime seasons. I don’t think Otaku no Musume-san was made into an anime, I read the manga. I love both of them, so maybe you’ll end up liking them!

  11. @AJ

    Thirding or fourthing Hataraki Man. It’s really good stuff.

    @Bitmap

    Have you seen Aoi Bungaku? This should fit your parameters well.

    @Blackholeheart

    Put in the giant robot armies with some sexy set-piece battles and you got yourself some funding.

    @Tiboreau

    Not quite my kind of thing, but I’ll watch it.

    @Vuc

    Put in the giant robot armies with some sexy set-piece battles and you got yourself some funding.

    • I have not! Looks like another show for the ol’ To Watch list, even though I’m barely even keeping up with the airing shows I want to watch…

      • dm

        I second the recommendation for Aoi bungaki. It took me forever to get around to watching it, but it is one of the best series of the past several years. It’s worth setting aside most current series for.

    • tiboreau

      Ah, thank you. As someone who can, at times, be picky about my viewing choices–there’s only so much available leisure time, after all–I do consider it a compliment for one to go out of the way to see a concept to which they’re normally not attracted.

      Also, much thanks for inspiration of the post. It’s obvious from both the comments on your blog & here that you tapped a creative spark, opening an opportunity for fans to talk about their passions. Kudos!

  12. @ Aj – I love your idea! And a Durarara!! Type of setting sounds great! I haven’t seen past episode one of Princess Jellyfish…I probably should get on that sometime huh? Anyway back to your idea I like the idea of a character driven series with nice character designs maybe Idolmaster designs? Or go all the way with Durarara type character designs and their amazing background animation.

    @Bitmap- Yes! That idea sounds great maps I think it should be one hundred episodes…just kidding! Well maybe? Anyway I like the idea of using Akihabara as a location, maybe a bit like Nichijou? Short stories like five or six “stories” in a span of 13 episodes. Also BEST SONG EVER! It was really catchy <3

    @Blackholeheart- Whoaaaa that idea sounds like a lot of fun! Two separate stories reminds me a bit of Black Rock Shooter, but not each story going back and forth confusing everyone…Production I.G. sounds perfect, they do great work on background animation and special effect work like in Guilty Crown.

    @Tiboreau- I like your idea and it sounds perfect for Shaft to animate with all those crazy camera angles and creative flashbacks they love to do in their series. I keep thinking about Baccano when you describe the setting for your anime with lots of twists and turns! I imagine lots of character deaths…yes…

    @Vuc- I love this idea I do enjoy some sci-fi settings with some space travel thrown in! The Galactic Roman Empire! Hell yeah I like the sound of that and twenty four to twenty seven episode range probably works. So would it be like Last exile in space? I do like the idea of a Ghost in the shell format for the characters! I guess there would be a lot of people getting killed off? Hans Zimmer for music that is a excellent choice right there, you should have a Lucius character from Thermae Romae for those baths…yes…space baths oh and his famous reaction faces.

    My idea would be more of a shounen style series and I would go with Nichijou style character designs because I loved those action scenes in Nichijou, I would give the characters some over the top super powers from like Index, Railgun, and One piece? Those series have some really creative abilities and skills. Setting wise probably a scifi one due to all the special powers and I would take a page from Railgun having various schools compete against each other. Eventually it would lead into a huge tournament style arc for some big prize or a way to gain more power/rank like in Fairy Tail…

    • Hnnn…I’d love for the city setting itself to be a character of sorts, so competent but stylized character designs with lifelike and lively backgrounds (less like Idolm@ster and much like Durarara!! as you said ^ ^).

      You should watch Princess Jellyfish. I have a deep affinity for that series in spite of its many flaws. Let me know what you think when you do!

    • tiboreau

      Why thank you, kind sir! Shaft does love its flashbacks & odd camera angles, don’t they? In fact, it seems that the anime medium in general loves to toy with orientation. . . . I must admit that I, myself, am not certain about the combination film noir & Shaft’s visual sensibilities, though. Shaft does tend to be self-referential & self-aware, at times. . . .

      This is where I expose my limited knowledge of anime & studios, but if I were to picture one tackling the subject it would possibly be Bones, due to their handling of general tone Un-Go or Darker than Black, or Brains Base, with their character design sensibilities in the aforementioned Baccano! & Durarara! Of course, this game could continue interminably–Production I.G. due to their work on Ghost in the Shell, etc. Im sure that most studios if they treated the story with respect–as they should with any decent idea–would produce work beyond my humble imagination. . . .

      I do love Baccano! Its aesthetics, its characters–even its bewildering story construction. I do imagine a film noir anime to be more muted in its violence & humor than Baccano!– and heavier in tone & atmosphere–but I enjoyed its sentimental depiction of period costume & style.

  13. Stephen Hunt’s Steampunk Jackelian series. It has cosmic horror, steam powered robots with voodoo like powers, a Victorian England style nation in a cold war with a post revolution France style nation. Alternate technologies, alternate histories, weird genetic powers, young heroes and heroines…seems a natural for anime.

  14. OK, curve ball. SHAFT doing Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery as an OVA.

  15. I’ve said it once and I’ve said it again, but I’d REALLY go for an adaptation of Liarsoft’s Sekien no Inganock, ideally by either SHAFT at it’s A-game, or perhaps White Fox or even David Productions, depending.

    It’s about a doctor fighting to save lives in a sealed off city designed to be self-sufficient but horribly failing, seeping with poverty and starvation and drug abuse, where even the people are horrifically mutating into bizarre human-animal hybrids. Then a mysterious girl shows up and the doctor becomes embroiled in a ritual involving Lovecraftian horrors, spiral staircases, the truth behind what sealed away the city ten years ago and what pretty much amounts to a surreal shonen tournament arc. So basically the exoticism and grittiness of something like Perdido Street Station mixed with the deliberate repetition and ceremony of Revolutionary Girl Utena, with brilliant atmosphere and a cast of complicated but lovable characters.

    Alternatively they can adapt Forest (which would take some sort of mad genius) but since the creator of Forest is writing the upcoming Girls’ Work we’ll probably have more than enough Hoshizora Meteor-patented insanity in the years to come.

  16. For years I’ve dreamed of Akiyuki Shinbo and SHAFT adapting Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Magarita, a story set in a mental asylum in the 1920s Soviet Union. The Master, we learn, is a writer whose works are disapproved. Margarita is the woman who sells her soul to the devil to save him.

    It starts with a man whom we gradually come to recognize as the Devil informing two good Communist Atheists in Moscow that, yes, Jesus Christ really did exist, as the Devil was there on the first Good Friday. The Devil’s minions (a man in broken pince-nez and a talking cat) go to work creating chaos.

    It is very funny.

    Why Shinbo and SHAFT? They are masters of the absurd. Also, one of the major scenes is a fantastic ball on Walpurgi’s night. If not Shinbou, then Kenji Nakamura (because the director of Kuuchu Buranko and Mononoke could do interesting things with Bulgakov’s book).

    This is probably a 2-cour series.

    I’d also like to see what either Shinbo, Masaaki Yuasa, or Tatsuo Sato could do with some of the plays by Tom Stoppard. One episode per play (maybe two) for one or two cours. Oh, it could be an anthology series, with different directors (and styles!) for each play/episode — rather like Aoi Bungaku. Shinbou because of Shinbou’s work on the Nisioisin titles shows he knows what to do with word- and concept-play like Stoppard’s (and, frankly, I think Shinbo’s talents are wasted on Nisioisin material). Yuasa because I think a lot of Stoppard could be handled like Tatami Galaxy. Sato because I think the director of Nadesico knows how to handle many simultaneous layers of meaning (Sato should be the one who takes the Stoppard play about quantum physics and espionage).

    Juunichi Sato (director of Aria) directing Kaoru Mori’s The Bride’s Story, though maybe that one should be done by PA Works, because the art is so beautiful.

    And Vucub, being a reader of “dead white guys spouting philosophy” or “game of thrones” puts you right in the middle of the Discworld demographic. Hmm. Maybe start with Night watch.

  17. Really glad to see you all rise up to the challenge!

    @aj

    I really approve about what you want WRT “developing outside of romance”. I’d watch the hell out of any show that pulls that off remarkably. Hataraki Man also has this side effect of PUMPING YOU UP FOR WORK, too.

    @bitmap

    Interesting. I’d particularly be looking forward to the stealth otaku and gaijin-on-a-pilgrimage stories. Would be amazing if they get the latter right (i.e. none of those crazy stereotypes).

    @Blackholeheart

    EPIC. I’m in. I might be skewed more on the guy’s side of the story, though.

    @Tiboreau

    Have a hard time visualizing this, but it’s very novel and original.

    @vuc

    2 cours for this kind of ambition is a bit too short, I think. 3 would be great (36 or 39 episodes). Also, Gundam AGE has a similar format, featuring three generations of a family. That show’s 4 cours, though.

    The last arc, the fall of the Empire, reminds me of Warhammer 40k’s The Horus Heresy. It’s an epic tale of human triumph and failure (mostly failure, oh glorious failure). At the cost of being labeled a neckbeard, I recommend reading Horus Rising (from the publisher imprint The Black Library), which sets up the whole tragedy to come.

  18. The anime we would like to see may already be out there, we just have to be flexible on the details.

    @AJ – You’ve already been alerted to Hataraki Man, as well you should since it fits exactly the description you set forth. I highly recommend the live action Hataraki Man also, since the material fits the live action format so well, and fleshes out many plotlines of the anime/manga. Another anime for a mature woman in her 20s is Emma: A Victorian Romance. It’s a down-to-earth portrayal of a housemaid in 19th century England, about her work, her love, and her life.

    @Bitmap – If it’s Akihabara you want, Steins;Gate captures the essence and lifeblood of the locale as well as any. If it’s the examinations of otaku you want, there is no more genuine and relatable story of the college otaku than Genshiken. And if its an array of slices of lives in modern, urban Japan you seek, Trapeze has this with spades of anachronistic style.

    @Blackholeheart – Anime set in the Middle East is scarce if one exists at all in anime. But I read in your words a general desire for probing of an other, Old World civilization. For you, I recommend two anime: Seirei no Moribito and Beast Player Erin. Both come from the pen of the same author, who takes great pains to detail the settings, both modeled on pre-scientific age East Asian cultures with a touch of fantasy. Farmers and scholars, soldiers and nobles, myths and religions are all explored within the structure of a grander overarching plot.

    @Tiboreau – Film noir is so unique to western cinema, evocative of a specific time period and style that both are hard to match. The closest thing I can think of is Paranoia Agent, Satoshi Kon’s foray into TV anime. Though missing the P.I. and period piece angle, it does follow two police detectives trying to unwrap the chain of psychological traumas visited on tangentially related individuals. It has that hard cynical eye on Japanese social mores that’s rare in TV, and resonates strongly on a number of modern social topics.

    @Vuc – Just watch Legend of the Galactic Heroes already. Fuck. I mean really, its about Space Prussians, with all the pomp and architecture and fancy names, expanding their empire with spaceships and axe battles. There’s government and politics and philosophy and lots and lots of classical music. You’ll love it.

    • Not-so-coincidentally, I’m planning on beginning Emma: A Victorian Romance tonight. I’ll let you know how I like it. I’ve become more and more intrigued by Hataraki Man since many people, whose opinions I trust, have voiced their opinions on it, some negative, some positive.

      You speak of live action, which is interesting. I hadn’t heard of the live-action Hataraki Man; however, a friend of mine had pointed me in the direction of Hotaru no Hikari, which is about a woman in her twenties who excels at work but leads an incredibly sloppy home life. It’s not exactly what I had asked for in this post, but it’s charming nonetheless.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • I don’t watch J-dramas. so it was only an accident that I discovered the live action adaptation. I downloaded a Hataraki Man torrent that turned out to be the 2007 drama, not the 2006 anime. But my curiosity was piqued, and I ended up seeing both.

    • Tiboreau

      Ah, thank you for the reminder that I have been derelict in my duty to Satoshi Kon. I enjoyed Millenium Actress and love Tokyo Godfathers, but that is the extent of my Kon experience. This needs to be rectified. I will begin with Paranoia Agent.

  19. Yi

    Some really nice stuff. I feel like what AJtheFourth wants to see can be more readily found in manga, but I wonder why it rarely makes the leap to anime. But yea, I’d totally love to see that, since, well, I’m approaching my mid-twenties now, and frankly disconnected from high school. Give me some quarterlife crises… or something almost Solanin-esque.

    I also really like Tiboreau’s idea. Film Noir, femme fatale, and such are all stuff I love. I enjoy the occasional gritty, stylistic stuff.

    Everyone else’s ideas are all pretty cool too. This has sent me into a daydream… ^ ^

    • Tiboreau

      Indeed! As much as I enjoy series like Aria & Usagi Drop it is fun to explore the seedier side of life occasionally, and to do so with style.

      Thanks for the compliment, and I hope we will see the light of your daydream sometime!

    • If I had to venture a guess, and please bear in mind that this is completely conjecture, it would be that the market that purchases anime is wildly different than the market that purchases manga. Manga’s genres range from the stereotypical Shounen Jump to the incredibly eccentric and specific (I’ve heard of everything from schizophrenic detectives to urology being used as manga themes), which means that it encompasses a greater audience. That greater audience is also the buying audience, which means that if someone is willing to pay for it, chances are that it could get made as a manga, since manga is far cheaper to produce.

      Price points also play a huge part in this. If I take a risk on buying one volume of, say, Black Jack, and decide it’s not for me, I’m only out $15 tops as opposed to the at least $30 that I would have to spend on an anime DVD (and that’s using U.S. pricing not Japanese, which I’ve heard is more expensive on the anime side). This goes back to the fact that anime is more expensive to produce than manga and, especially in today’s economic climate, studios are less willing to take risks (honestly, I’m still shocked that Princess Jellyfish was even made, never mind licensed for the U.S.).

      I’d love to see it too! Apparently, I have to watch Hataraki Man and see what that’s all about. Thanks for the comment! ^ ^

  20. jreding

    Dear writers, thank you all for your inspiring collaboration! I particularly liked your ideas, dear Tiboreau. Anime which by its very nature places emphasis on expression and contrast would imo be well suited to give film noir a new take!

    One show on my personal wish list would be the following:

    I would really like to see a show that deals with the changes people were faced with as Japanese society adapted Western concepts and customs in the late 19th/ early 20th century.

    It must rich material how a highly developed civilization like Edo-era Japan bascially over night adapted ideas which were quite fundamentally different from its own ones and generated something new and unique out of it.

    I would particularly be interested in seeing the changes of aesthetic perception. E.g. Junichiro Tanizaki in “In Praise of Shadows” deplores the spread of electric light in Japan eliminating his beloved shadows in people’s homes and more in general opposes clear, Western astethetics with opaque Oriental ones (Jade, shadows, Miso soup). I don’t know if his theses really are valid but such ideas could imo better be illustrated in anime than in live action.

    The only show I’ve seen which deals with some of this (e.g. changing from lunar calendar to solar calendar, starting to drink milk etc.) is Otoma Youkai Zakuro and it does so only in passing and as a background to its Youkai plot. I would put these changes of lifestyle in the foreground and observe a bunch of people, maybe a family (like in Taisho Era Monogatari) or a group of friends dealing with them. I’m sure a lot of cute, funny and also somewhat melancholic situations could make up a nice episodic slice-of-life story!

  21. I’m sorry to have to inform Tiboreau that if you mention Hammett and Japan in the same space you must also mention Yojimbo. It’s a rule.

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