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.