Something else a little bit different this week, next week expect my first editorial in months!
This was just a neat little idea I thought up during one of my more laborious work-shifts. My job’s quite physical, giving my mind much opportunity to wander you see! This idea was born from the observation that there are plenty of video-game adaptations out there, plenty of VN adaptations and plenty of LN adaptions but, very few anime adaptations of media created outside of Japan (Except those terrible Madhouse x Marvel adaptations, which, from what I’ve heard, people would much rather forget existed!) This struck me as being a cryin’ shame ‘cause many books I’ve read would make a bloody great show! Below are a few of some of those books. Maybe you guys could let me know if you know any books, (or any other type of media) that practically beg for an adaptation?
Uglies- Scott Westerfield
It goes without saying each of the following books on this list would make a great show ‘cause of their amazing storylines but, in my opinion, Uglies easily possesses the best of the three! Uglies, and its 2 sequels, Pretties and Specials, are science-fiction novels set in the future in a dystopian society where everyone is turned “pretty”, (supermodel gorgeous and completely flawless) through compulsory surgery at 16. It focuses on Tally, who is on the cusp of turning 16 herself, and her friend Shay, who rebels against their society and claims that the surgery doesn’t just change one’s appearance, but also the way one thinks- interesting, huh? What makes this fascinating story really leap off of its pages is its tone. Right from the very start of the book you get the real impression there’s something deeply wrong with the society in which Tally lives in, even though, to begin with, there’s no real evidence to support this. It’d be really great to see the anime format add to this tone as, because anime is more of a visual and auditory experience (obviously), music and animation can be used to add to the overall feel of scenes. I think Hiroshi Hamasaki, the director of Steins;Gate, would be more than competent in capturing that sense of unease that pervades the series- that’s what he excelled at in Steins;Gate and Texhnolyze, another one of the shows he has previously directed. I think the greyish filter used in Steins;Gate would also be effective- having this futuristic city, hailed as a problem-free utopia, masked all in grey would also help reinforce the sense it’s not quite as perfect as it is made out to be. Hmm, or perhaps it’d be best to go for a more colourful look? Something like in Dead Leaves or Redline? It’d certainly make the world Tally and Shay inhabit seem futuristic! Another reason I think this would make an interesting adaptation is that it would make for an interesting character study. Throughout the 3 novels the characters really develop. Tally, for example, starts off a typical, vain, selfish teen, but ends up a mature, brave woman, whilst Shay’s character does a complete 360- she ends up defending the very regime she used to so vehemently oppose. It’d be great to see that development up on screen, I think it could rival even the likes of Infinite Ryvius in terms of character development!
Maximum Ride- James Patterson
Whilst Maximum Ride also has a great storyline that’d be brilliant to see up on screen- the sheer epic-ness of it, (it’s about a band of mutant bird kids, 98% human, 2% bird, who are on the run from the sadistic scientists that created them, who travel across America and occasionally battle other mutants) makes this perfectly suited to an anime adaptation- its presence on this list is largely due to its characters. I don’t think there are enough anime with casts of characters that gel as great as the ones in Maximum Ride do. Even though the six members of the flock are mutants, and even though they each have completely unique personalities, the interactions between them feel completely natural- they look out for one another, they tease each other, they bicker, love even blossoms between two of them- which is great- there’s none of that stiffness I so often see between characters in anime. One of the few casts of characters in anime I’ve seen with a dynamic that comes close to the one between the characters in Maximum Ride is the cast of Persona 4, which is why, in an ideal world, I’d have the script-writers of P4 work on the adaptation of this book. I also think the anime world could do with some more kick-ass heroines, and Max certainly fits that bill! She’s outspoken, strong and witty, like a Bleach woman, but (again, despite her being a mutant) easy to relate to on many levels- particularly her feelings of being ostracised from society and normality- setting her apart from many anime heroines out there. My only concern would be that, as much of the interaction between the characters, and the setting itself, is so obviously American, I don’t know how adept Japanese producers would be at working with that! Perhaps it’d be best to let bygones be bygones and let Madhouse work on it- at least they have experience in adapting American sourced material already, perhaps this’d turn out less disastrous a venture than their various Marvel adaptations- practise makes perfect and all that jazz!
Kira-Kira- Cynthia Kadohata
Whilst the other two books are part of a lengthy series, Kira-Kira is a relatively short book with no sequels, so I think it would better suit movie format. Also, as its main characters are Japanese-American, (though, Lynn and Katie’s parents were probably born and raised in Japan), so behave in ways more typical of the Japanese, it may be easier to adapt than the previous two books I’ve mentioned. Kira-Kira is about the bond between two sisters, Lynn and Katie. Lynn is the older sister who’s something of a genius and is very popular at school, Katie, on the other hand, struggles to get but average grades, and is much less outgoing than Lynn. But, instead of her fostering resentment for her sister because of these things as you might expect, she worships her. However, this bond is really put to the test when Lynn becomes sick with lymphoma, (a type of cancer which affects the immune system). It’s a really beautiful book, one of two to have ever made me cry. Now, if a load of words organised on a page were enough to make me cry, imagine if there were moving images, or sounds to go along with that? Just how many tissues would I need to mop up that mess? That’s the main reason I think this’d make a good adaptation, it’s powerful as hell! But, this book isn’t just about the bond between the two sisters but, also the importance of being able to see beauty in the world you live in. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can think of no-one better suited to produce an adaptation focusing on the bonds between two people and the beauty in the world than Makoto Shinkai. I know opinions on this guy are mixed, but surely we can all agree, if there’s something he does well, it’s these two things!