Horizontal Adaptation of Ideas in Original Anime Concepts

If I smack Anohana with a Nagiasu-shaped noodle press repeatedly, what shakes out of it follows:

  • OKADAAAAA
  • People in love with people in love
  • How more things change, more things stay the same, except things still change.
  • …and as a┬ácorollary, themes about passage of time in the physical versus passage of time in the emotional

It’s all really signature. I mean I don’t think the two shows have any overlap other than Okada, so it’s a good exercise in picking out what makes her writing tick. Nagiasu in many ways is a superior version of Anohana, except they have different goals narratively. [Edit: NISA licensed both shows for US distro, which might be the only other overlap!]

I was thinking about this while walking down a sidewalk in midtown NYC during rush hour. Invariably what happens is that you walk with a pack of people and someone is smoking. Then you think about Zvezda.

anzukate

Zvezda episode 3 almost justifies the existence of this anime. It is the sort of thing that makes me go “Original anime are the best.” [read it like "SHOW YOU GUTS COOL SAY WHAT" is the best.] I don’t think about it so much when watching Anohana or Nagiasu, but the thought simply confirms by those things. Similarly I can look at all my favorites this season, and majority of them are original. I’m not even sure that I included Kill la Kill or Space Dandy in that list.

I think what makes original anime good is actually not that they are anime-original. It’s because of the telephone game factor. If Shinsekai Yori was an anime original it would have been gangbusters awesome. You wouldn’t have people who looked it up and get all icky because of the highly sexualized manga, and I wouldn’t had to suffer through the slog of the thing that is the current anime, simply because they could have applied the narrative structure better. Of course, the trade off is that fewer people vet any given concept, none the least are the audience for the original work. Although arguably that is kind of not the point in a lot of cases in the late-night category. Also it isn’t to say original works don’t get that committee’s touch, to put it nicely; that can happen to anything.

Makes me think what Kawamori had to deal with when he was creating the core items in the AKB0048 anime.

I remember reading some interview with the creator of Rahxephon and Mamoru Oshii. This was a part of the US release of the movie, I think? Anyway, the point I want to repeat here is that a part of Evangelion’s greatness comes from the contribution of many of the animators there. There were a lot of talented creators pitching in little things that made it great. This is kind of what I’m referring to by my earlier comment on Witch Craft Works. And I think it is this sort of originality that makes original anime neat.

And to give things some orthogonality, you can track original creators like Okada across works in this way. It’s like she’s basically refining her thoughts on the topics and coming up with new ideas. It’s not just her, either. I think Madoka’s success is largely due to this factor, tracing Shinbo, Kajiura, Urobuchi and even Aoki (albeit a lot less than the others). I also like how Madoka’s PR purposefully hype and hide, so to speak. Nagiasu took a different route by hiding it entirely, and its sales reflects this (other than the obvious genre gap here). Both shows are better for it, I think, sales aside.

And Zvezda too. If the November 11 joke wasn’t enough for you…


One Response to “Horizontal Adaptation of Ideas in Original Anime Concepts”

  • rikuo06

    Yes. This. Great thoughts about what makes original anime so attractive. And horizontal enjoyment of works has really grown on me in the past two years or so. Since Madoka, in fact. This Hoshizora Meteo guy is really exciting me, elusive as his works are. That magical realism. That metafiction. Not to mention possibly being a major influence on other big-names like Nasu, Tanaka, and Urobuchi over a decade ago!

    Futaba Anzu’s just about the only iM@S girl I can name and recognize on sight. Glad it came to use here though.

    May the light of Zvezda shine throughout this world!

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