Futurism

The first anime I ever watched was Macross, except that it had been recontextualized and repackaged as part one of the enduring Robotech Saga. I remember always waiting with baited breath for 4:30 pm to arrive, so I could plop myself in front of the tube and wait for the theme song to start. I followed Rick Hunter and the SDF-1 into the space beyond Pluto's orbit. I still dream of cities inside spaceships. I really liked, and still like, the terminology for FTL: folding. It totally fits Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. I never really watched Southern Cross, better known as part two of the Robotech series. But I dug Mospeada (part three of  Robotech), although I felt unfulfilled when we never saw Admiral Rick Hunter return from space to save Earth. While purists are horrified by Robotech, I find it wonderfully post-modern. Everything worth making has already been made. All that's left to do is to juxtapose all the elements in new and surprising ways. But I misremember. Actually, the first anime series I watched was probably Voltron. Even to this day, I am disappointed that we don't have outposts in all the water-bearing planets in the Solar System: the Moon, Mars, Europa, etc. But, embarrassingly, I didn't get really enamored by anime until Sailor Moon was released in the U.S. My brother and my sister were really into it, and I got sucked in as well. This quickly lead to Ranma 1/2, which eventually caused me to spread out in all sorts of directions. Some of the various series that I remember are El Hazard, Blue Seed, Gunsmith Cats, Tenchi Muyo, Lum, Neon Genesis Evangelion. But the ones that I find most haunting are Hayao Miyazaki's movies. Nausicaa absolutely stunned me. I was captivated by Spirited Away. And I fell in love with story of Laputa. What is most interesting is that a little known animated film called The Last Unicorn, which is one of the most bittersweet stories that have pierced my heart, happens to be animated by a Japanese group called Topcraft. Miyazaki ended up hiring them, and they formed the seed for present-day Studio Ghibli. While The Last Unicorn is technically not anime, you can definitely see the Japanese influence, particularly with regards to the Lady Amalthea. In any case, probably thanks to William Gibson and his prophecies regarding the so-called Matrix and the interconnected world we live in, I've come to regard Japan as the new leader in all that is the future. Gone is the era when American ingenuity ruled the stars, and my dreams. The future will not be the retro visions first arising in the '50's and '60's, of Saturn V rockets taking us to colonies on the Moon, living in the skies a la George Jetson. Americans seem to be regressing back into the Dark Ages, finding more meaning in superstition, and intent on divorcing themselves from science. So it has been left for the Japanese to carry the torch. And, man, can they envision the future! Where would we be without Nintendo, or the Sony Playstation? Hell, where would we be without the Walkman? I can think of all the various industries where Japan far outstrips the U.S. in innovation. Think of Toyota and Honda running circles around Detroit. Ironically, Mitsubishi, the company that once made planes that fought in WWII on the side of the Japanese Empire, now sells us TVs and cars. Other common influences in our daily lives include Toshiba, Hitachi, Canon, Nikon, Yamaha. Computers and computer parts. Cameras. In many ways, the future has come to pass after all. I am fascinated by Gibson's depiction of the hyperkinesis of Tokyo. If you think NYC is fast and furious, he makes it seem like Tokyo is faster-than-light. Ideas come flying around like whirlwind, electronic trends rise and fall like waves in a tsunami. Guess where cel phones and texting started getting popular first. In all seriousness, while the U.S. fantasizes about ubiquitous computing, it's already a reality over there. This sense of optimism about the future, this realization that it's the idea that counts, the innovation that wins customers, used to be the American spirit (and I suppose companies like Apple probably still embody this) but I guess those are by-gone days. I think this is why anime enraptures me so.
victorious victorious
26-30, M
1 Response Apr 29, 2007

I always loved Jap. Animation. The colors and all the natural effects for all characters. I especially enjoyed Ranma 1/2, Angel Sanctuary, Card Captor Sakura and D N A Angel. Love it all actually ^_^