Hello everyone and welcome to another addition of The Anime Pulse! If you haven’t seen it yet, my colleague, Clinton Bowman, started a brand new feature here on The Outer Haven called the High Five where we will take turns, on a weekly basis, giving our own personal Top Five (insert something from the world of geek culture here.) With that being said, this week’s Anime Pulse will be my own version of a Top Five.
Whoa.. wait a minute, didn’t you just say everyone will be taking turns on this each week?
Why, yes… yes I did, however, there’s been something that’s been nagging me for a while that I want to get off my chest and rather than just do a rant about it (which was the original intent of this column) I figured I would capitalize on our new-found feature and turn this into an organized, bullet rant rather than just a regular rant.
So, what do I want to rant about? Well… first I will preface this by stating that I understand how the anime industry works. You can’t just barge into someone’s office and say, “I HAVE AN IDEA!” because they’ll probably tell you to go commit Seppuku with your idea. Anime companies are a business, just like anything else in the entertainment industry and ideas are a dime a dozen. What an anime company wants is something worth turning into a show that can be marketed all for the sake of profit and unless you’re a proven individual and with a marketing strategy including time slots, tv demographics, viewing markets, product ideas, etc, you’re probably not going to make it past the receptionist’s desk of any anime studio.
But deep down, whether it’s in physical form or through the unsolicited fan-translated sites, there are times where you’ve read a manga that was, in your (in this case… my) opinion that was really good, but a television anime will never see the light of day because people with more power and money than you decided it wasn’t worth it (probably for some justified reasons.) So instead of doing a rant about some of the manga I’ve read not being turned into anime and just having it a great big jumbled mess of angry fist shaking, I’ve decided to steal… ahem… borrow Clinton’s idea and do my own High Five… but I guess maybe it’s a Low Five since these manga never made it.
Whatever this is.. ONWARD to number five!
5. Enigma – Here is a manga that got cancelled just when things were starting to get good. This was another one of your typical high school survival manga where a bunch of teenagers are trapped inside of their high school and they must solve Saw-like riddles in order to survive. Solve all of the riddles and you will get the code to the door allowing you to escape. Escaping also grants you a single wish which means everyone has something they want to wish for and because as such, drama can and does ensue from time to time. The characters were a bit flat, I will admit, but some of the scenarios they were put in were pretty creative. The reason I was a bit miffed with this one getting wrapped up is because Danganronpa got a television anime, yet, Enigma got cancelled (and in a rushed fashion at that.) Both works had pretty flat characters with little differences in personalities, but Enigma, I felt, had some better gimmicks when it came to their puzzle solving.
What made Enigma a bit unique, however, was that a lot of the students had special powers that aided them in their puzzle solving. Sumio has the ability to dream about the future, Moto has the power of invisibility, Hiina has an invisible third hand, Jirou has the power to shrink objects and return them to original size, etc. Sometimes someone’s power along was enough to solve the puzzle, other times it took a combinations of powers. Their personalities were run of the mill, but it was their abilities that kept things interesting. A fault of the story, however, was that when a character’s power was introduced, it was usually the key to solving the puzzle, making it a bit predictable. Sometimes it felt as if some people’s abilities were given to them just for the sake of beating the puzzle and for no other reason… kind of like some of the weapons in Mega Man.. or the items you find in the dungeons of the later Zelda games.
Still, I read it from beginning to end and it was a pretty good read despite the flaws. I’ve seen worse in anime and this, I felt, would have done fairly well. It spanned 56 chapters across 7 volumes. If you have some spare time, I urge you to check it out if you’re into this kind of genre!
4. Chronos –Deep- – Here is a manga about Titans! Sorry, Shingeki no Kyojin fans, not THOSE kind of Titans. The story here revolved around Io Nanasawa, a boy who has lived his life as an outcast after his parents died in a mysterious fire. The big twist here is that the fire was started by Io himself, or more accurately, by the Kage that resides inside of him. The Titans, in this case, are a group of hunters/investigators who are specifically trained to defeat the Kagetsuki (people who have become possessed by these demonic beings.)
Not all Kage are evil, however. Many of them are given names from mythology and some are even willing to help and cooperate with the humans.. it’s just those that are full of hatred and malice are the ones that need stopping. Obviously, Io joins the Titans, but they are pretty suspicious of him. Once they learn of his Kage, Chronos, things get a bit more complicated between him and the group.
Sadly, this story was rushed… WAY RUSHED, in fact. It only spanned 25 chapters over 3 volumes before it got cancelled, which is quite a shame because they had a very good concept here. Shadowy beings with unique powers hiding and taking over humans and a team with their own shadows and powers dedicated to hunting down and destroying them? Makes for a pretty good shounen battle anime if you ask me, but apparently the readers didn’t like the story, or the characters, and it met the sad and unfortunate demise of cancellation, never to see the light of day in the anime world.
3. World Embryo – Speaking of things that just scream Shounen Battle Anime… World Embryo is the very epitome of that. A virus outbreak has spread across the world and it is turning people into demonic beings known as Kanshu. I know the whole virus outbreak has been done to death a million times over and that’s probably why this series didn’t get animated, but it was good enough to last 97 chapters on a monthly release schedule running from April 2005 to May 2014. You can’t sit there and tell me that this manga was cancelled because it was dull… otherwise it wouldn’t have lasted for NINE YEARS.
So.. when you have demons running amok, of course you need a group of uniquely designed characters with special abilities to take them down.
The members of F.L.A.G. use powers known as Jinki which are specially designed to neutralize and defeat the demons. Our main character, Riku Amami, discovers that his adopted little sister, Neene, is the embryo or seed to these demonic creatures. He ends up trying to protect her when he gets infected with the virus. Since he’s the main character, however, his plot armor kicks in and instead of becoming a Kanshu, he gains some pretty nifty abilities to help fight the Kanshu. So he ends up joining F.L.A.G. but he’s not exactly welcome with open arms.
Seems very familiar.. like I read this in Chronos –Deep- or something, but nevertheless, it is a tried and true formula, but World Embryo had a lot going for it. A very good and interesting story, well-designed characters that would have translated VERY WELL into the world of anime and merchandising, great powers and abilities among the jinki users, and your standard fare of questionable characters that set themselves apart from the ragtag group you’re introduced to. Since it ended a year ago, there is still a little bit of hope for this to be animated, but when I say little, I do mean just that. If it were going to be animated, it probably would have done so while the manga was still being published.
2. GE: Good Ending – Okay, so I’m a sap for RomComs… sue me. I love things like Love Hina, Mysterious Girlfriend X, and Toradora so this one felt right up my alley. The one-shot came out in 2009 and did exceptionally well. So well, it got turned into a series that lasted 158 chapters over 16 volumes. Utsumi is the main focal point here in this story. He’s basically your well-mannered teenage high school boy who falls in love with a girl… then another girl.. then the first girl again.. and then the second girl again… while having other girls have on/off relationships along the way. The guy is really a player.. except for one thing… he doesn’t even realize it because he’s too busy trying to play the role of the good guy who, incidentally, end up in embarrassing situations that get taken out of context which make and/or break some of his relationships.
The way this manga read… it felt as if the author wanted you to experience every possible romance combination at least once and then have you decide who Utsumi should end up with. Would it be Shou-sempai? Would it be Yuki, the girl on the front cover of the manga? Would it be Amamiya from his photograph job? Those are the questions you constantly ask yourself as the story progresses and since you get to sample those relationships throughout the manga, it kind of gives you the choice if you ever want to write a fan fic, but in the end we do get an ultimate conclusion, but the journey along the way to that conclusion was pretty damn good.
It has your typical snafus and tropes in there, though. The hated ex-boyfriend, the overprotective brother, etc, etc. Some of those end up becoming plot points to help develop Utsumi’s character, and he does actually go from being very timid to growing a set of balls by the end of the manga. So not only do you get to see different relationships, but you see the growth and maturity of the main character, which I felt was pulled off rather well. How this didn’t get an anime is beyond me, but this one deserves one, but not as much as my number one choice…
1. Psyren – If there was ever a manga that read like it was made for anime, this was it. Ageha Yoshina received a calling card one day. No, not a metaphorical one, an actual calling card. He goes to a pay phone and uses it and all of a sudden, he’s transported to an alternate dimension where he and a group of people are trapped. In order to escape, they must solve a riddle to find the exit. The time spent in the alternate dimension is subtracted from the calling card. Ageha has to keep going back until the time on the card expires, however, while he is in there, he makes a shocking discovery: the alternate dimension is actually the future.
The shift of the story between alternate world and the future is amazing. There is some really good character development and characters that you actually care about. Everyone has their own quirky personality and they all tie in well with the story elements. Plus, I’m a sucker for time travel. It is my favorite genre in science fiction and I love the mind games you can play by utilizing timelines, parallel worlds, etc. This is also why Steins;Gate is my favorite anime of all time (and no.. I don’t like Doctor Who.)
I would have bet money that this manga would have gotten turned into an anime. It was interesting, the characters look like they could have been created by Tite Kubo himself, the artwork was fantastic, and the story really got you hooked. Out of everything I have read, everything that I have watched, this is probably one of the biggest disappointments I’ve experienced. To see something like this not get made into a manga makes me clench my fist, grit my teeth, and go TCH.
So that does it for my High (Low?) Five. Now it’s time to move on to last week’s question!
Q: Out of everything you watched, what was the most shocking moment in anime to you?
I will admit, I only had two responses this week, but I will include them because they deserve to be in here!
John Stromm wrote:
The most shocking moment in anime to me was when L died in Death Note. I thought it was going to last the entire series but when L was killed it was pretty shocking to watch. I didn’t like Near at all so I thought the series really went downhill from there. I wish they just kept L the entire way through.
Mike Schmitz wrote:
The whole opening to Elfen Lied. Just made me go WTF!!!
Thanks to those who wrote in. I will now answer the question myself.
As I earlier stated, Steins;Gate is my favorite anime. I could easily pick a whole bunch of things like Mayes Hughs death from Fullmetal Alchemist, Eren getting eaten in Attack on Titan, Tobi first announcing he is Madara Uchiha in Naruto, Ushio’s death in Clannad, Kanade’s death in Angel Beats, etc, etc, but every time I watch Steins;Gate, there is one scene that I keep looking forward to. The one scene that makes you say “Oh shit…”
That is the ending to episode nine when Mayuri wants to go buy an Ai Sword Doujinshi and needs to go to Akihabara because there is a Tora no Ana there that sells it. Okarin says “what are you talking about? There’s a Tora no Ana right over th….” And he looks and it’s gone. He then looks around and the entire city has changed as a result of the D-Mails he was sending through time. He changed the entire world around him and it finally hit him that they’ve gone too far. It was a big shock to me and it stands out above anything else I’ve seen because it’s different. It’s not a character reveal, it’s not a death, it’s nothing that you can find in a lot of your typical animes. This was really unique and I still love that moment to death!
This week’s question is…
Q: Do you avoid certain animes because of their art style no matter how good they are?
That’s going to do it for me this week. To answer the question, send feedback, make general comments, or just to say hey, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org! You can also DM me on Twitter if you wish, but first you’d have to follow me! You can do so @PulseIn.
Until next time,