The Anime shows I Would NOT Want to Live in

“What if Pokemon were real?” Is a question that I hear tossed around a lot. The replies range from unicorns-and-rainbows happiness to hilariously destructive scenes.

"if Pokemon were real" by Inkydragon of DeviantA

“if Pokemon were real” by Inkydragon of DeviantA

Wanting to live in the universe of your favorite show is a common thread of discussion in any fandom, so it would make sense that over the years many people have asked me what Anime I would want to live in, if given the choice. There are plenty of good options, like Free! Iwatobi Swim Club where drowning-but-always-recovering is the only danger and not much could really go wrong like in the Pokemon scenario.

I find it much more interesting to focus on the question of “What anime would suck the most to live in?”. It reminds me of the rather new adage “I wouldn’t want to live in the Hunger Games universe NOPE NOPE NOPE”.

hunger games

So here is my list of the anime shows I like to watch but would never want to actually live in because of the near-certainty of a horrible death.

Btooom! – First off, you’re trapped on a deserted island with limited rations. Then you’re told to kill other people with miniature bombs to gain your freedom as they also try to hunt you down the same way? Fun to watch as an Anime, no really fun in practice. Statistically you would probably get blown up. Not to mention that this universe also implies a high possibility of rape, or the fact that this little psycho is on the island with you.

Kira Kosuke, Btooom!

Kira Kosuke from Btooom!

Dangan Ronpa – It’s another trapped-somewhere and kill-or-be-killed situation! Except this time with a twist, if you get away with murder for long enough you’ll be let go, but if you get caught you die. The participants are all high schoolers, and all the blood is PINK!

Junko Enoshima from Dangan Ronpa
Junko Enoshima from Dangan Ronpa

Attack on Titan – 3d Maneuver Gear would be super sweet to swing around on, but really, so many people get eaten by Titans, you would probably meet a very grisly end like many of the named characters.

Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan

Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan using 3d Maneuver Gear

Attack on Titan

Your likely death if you lived in the Attack on Titan universe

Madoka Magica – It would be pretty awesome to get a wish granted, be Magical Girl and to have all those Magical Girl powers. But the reality of the how the Witches are created would result in a really un-fun universe to live in.

The Witch Charlotte from Madoka Magica

The Witch Charlotte from Madoka Magica

 

Closing note:

Future Diary, similar to Btooom! and Dangan Ronpa, is another a murder-elimination game, and another universe I wouldn’t want to live in. But living in the Future Diary universe would be a bit less horrible than Btooom! or Dangan Ronpa in my personal opinion, because the magic involved in the Future Diary premise would make it a little bit more fun and also make you feel as if you really could win. Part of the point of Dangan Ronpa is feeling despair, and the same with Madoka Magica. The feeling of being hopeless in your outcome is important and if I was in the Future Diary universe I wouldn’t be in despair since I would like to hope that my Future Diary’s specific power would help me win. Sooooooo, anyway, I didn’t really feel like Future Diary deserved as much a place on this list as the others, but it wouldn’t be fun and desirable to me to live in that universe, hence why it is mentioned down here- mostly because it IS another murder-elimination game and I’d like to think that being in one of those would generally suck.

 

Pokemon Origins: Reviving the Pokemon Anime Franchise

Even though I’ve played every generation of the Pokemon games, like many people in the Pokemon fandom I stopped watching the anime many years ago. Many people found that the anime was getting stale and formulaic. It started having characters which I couldn’t connect to the same way as in the first few seasons and the conflicts had little depth. While I still watched the movies, I had basically given up on watching the actual anime series, waiting for a revamp that never seemed to come.

Pokemon Black and White Anime

Pokemon Black and White Anime

When Pokemon Black and White came out, more fans of the game began to watch the anime again. Encouraged, I watched the first few episodes but I still found myself disappointed.

It was okay, I guess. But, could the Pokemon anime ever be engaging and cool again?!

Everything changed when I saw Pokemon Origins.

Red and Green from Pokemon Origins

Red and Green from Pokemon Origins

This beautifully animated and 4-episode short series used a lovely updated art style and goes back to the original Pokemon games as source material. It follows the journey of Red and his rival Green as they beat gym leaders, fight team rocket, and discover the mysteries of the Pokemon world. As soon as I finished it, I watched it over again- its just that good.

Over all Pokemon Origins is concise, well animated and made me cry several times. I would explain in detail exactly when and why it made me cry but then I would ruin a lot of the plot-points since the series is only 4-episode.

Red and his Charmander from Pokemon Origins

Red and his Charmander from Pokemon Origins

In my friend group Pokemon Origins has been hailed as “super super awesome” and “an hour-long commercial for mega evolution that is full of nostalgia”. Spoiler: I totally agree with both statements. Even though my first Pokemon ever was a Pikachu, and Ash’s main Pokemon is Pikachu, I still feel like the little yellow rodent is over-rated as the mascot of the franchise. My favorite original starter evolution chain is Charmander/Charmeleon/Charizard, so it was exciting to see Red and his Charmander set out together, and to watch it evolve into a Charizard as the two fought together.

Pokemon Origins restored my faith that the franchise is capable of working on their anime to make it good again. Due to that restored hope and a few positive reviews I’ve decided to watch new the Pokemon X & Y anime series to give it a shot. The art style is also different in the X & Y incarnation from the previous series (though not the same as Pokemon Origins) and Ash is still the main character with his Pikachu.

I still highly recommend Pokemon Origins! Watch it!

Anime-Style: Avatar the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra

The Legend of Korra

Anime-Style shows that aren’t made in Japan are a trend in American animation. Avatar the Last Airbender and its currently airing spin off series The Legend of Korra, look, feel, and act like anime shows. With the success of these shows, which are hailed within the general anime community, I hope to see more anime-style shows in coming years. There are several reasons that these AtLA (Avatar the Last Airbender) and LoK (The Legend of Korra) break away from the typical ‘American cartoon mold’, so here is the 5-point rundown.

1)      Art Style

Suffice it to say, the most obvious of the reasons that AtLA and LoK come off as being anime-style is that the art is similar.  Here are two sub-examples to help illustrate the point.

Breathtaking Backdrops:

AtLA and LoK compared to Attack on Titian.

Western Air Temple from AtLA

Western Air Temple from AtLA

A bridge in Republic City from LoK

A bridge in Republic City from LoK

Overview from Attack on Titan

Overview from Attack on Titan

Realistic Portrayal of the Elderly:

Compared to  iconic anime movie Howl’s Moving Castle by Miyazaki.

Uncle Iroh from AtLA

Uncle Iroh from AtLA

Tenzin from LoK

Tenzin from LoK

Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle

Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle

2)      Martial Arts

Not every anime has martial arts, but a notable number do, and an asian, though not specifically Japanese style is shown in the ‘bending’ of the elements in AtLA and LoK. In this video we can clearly see the martial arts influence in the series:

3)      Spirits

The view on spirit beings in Avatar and Korra is an interesting interpretation, one that is based on a division between the human and spirit worlds. It isn’t uncommon for anime to use this spiritual division of worlds as the basis for which magical occurrences will begin. Bleach predicates most of its concept upon on the idea of a separate spirit world and human spirits turning into monsters call Hollows.

Koh the Face Stealer, a spirit from AtLA

Koh the Face Stealer, a spirit from AtLA

Concept art of a Spirit from LoK

Concept art of a Spirit from LoK

Hollow from Bleach

Hollow from Bleach

4)      Strong Female Characters

More female lead characters, and stronger female characters have been seen in recent years in American animation, such as the trend in Disney to improve the independence and toughness of the Disney Princesses. However, magically powerful female characters have been popular in anime for much longer, in fact it is a running joke that Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon is only good for distracting the villain, giving pep-talks, and being the love interest. Anyway, given the anime influence it make sense that Avatar and Korra would have powerful female characters as well.

Toph Bei Fong from AtLA

Toph Bei Fong from AtLA

Title character Korra from LoK

Title character Korra from LoK

5)      The ‘misguided villain’

Rather than having a villain who is clear-cut evil without really going into it, like a lot of American cartoons, AtLA and LoK have villains who wind up having understandable or even pitiable pasts which explain their misguided views. In anime its pretty common that one of the most beloved characters would be the villain.

Prince Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender

Prince Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender

Amon from Legend of Korra

Amon from Legend of Korra