2001 – I remember the year because it was my 1st year of Intimidate School when Neon Genesis Evangelion stopped airing on Cartoon Network’s Adultswim. Replacing it was 3 shows that I didn’t give the warmest welcome to because there were still episodes of Eva I hadn’t recorded on videotape (this was before DVD or Internet became popular). When seeing the beginning of ‘Tank’ to Cowboy Bebop I had never had such an opposing mix of outrage and interest, but needless to say that the show warmed on me.
I watched to the last 2 episodes when my parents made the decision to get rid of our Sky TV. Now before the internet and anime became widely sold in NZ, to my 11 year old mind, I was convinced I would never be able to watch it to its conclusion. But this wasn’t what surprised me, what surprised me was that I actually missed the characters. This wasn’t something I had ever experienced before in anime. This was dominantly because the shows I had watched up till then didn’t have very realistic characters (Pokemon, DBZ, Shinji… *shiver*).
With most episodes of Cowboy Bebop being standalone it gave the illusion that you had spent a long time with this odd mishmashed family of space bounty hunters, and with the roles they fill they really are like a family. Jet is the fatherly voice of reason, Spike and Faye acted closer to teenagers than their actual ages and Ed… well I’ve met kids that are less kiddy than Ed is. There are scenes that really resonate this point such as when Jet is telling Ed a fairy-tale story and how Spike and Faye find it terribly hard to express their feelings like a couple of awkward teens. I became so entranced with these character that I truly remember bawling my eyes out on the episode Ein decided to leave with Ed on my second watch of it.
A few years later Shinichirō Watanabe, the director of Cowboy Bebop, created Samurai Champloo. In my mind I thought ‘This is it, let’s see if this guy really is a genius at creating characters or if Bebop was just a fluke.’ Samurai Champloo was brilliant, counteracting his style of old jazz music with a future space age setting with modern rap music in an old Chanbara setting. Once again the characters were excellent, the action was excellent and it wasn’t just a copy of Cowboy Bebop either. Not only this but after watching this series I realized that Watanabe had a ‘feel’ to his work, an atmosphere that allows watchers to really get to know different dimensions to his character that really appealed to me.
Now a lot of directiors try to apply a style to their work, Tim Burton’s Gothic style, Guy Ritchie’s British underworld style, but the only thing I could relate this ‘feel’ to was Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy. Here the characters are just as real and fit in the world just as naturally and as sad as this sounds many of them I would weep at their deaths more than anyone living. If I could ever request an adaption of any book or manga or visual novel, it would be an anime adaption of the First Law Trilogy by Shinichiro Watanabe (that or G-senjou no Maou by Tetsuro Araki direction of Deathnote and Attack on Titan *drool*).
I guess my point is that certain artists bring a ‘feel’ to their art, something that makes their work unique and can only vaguely be emulated by others. But when the ‘feel’ of some artists are the same or similar and the authors collaborate it’s like a geeks fantasy.
Now tell me; What adaptions would you like to see and what directors would you like to see work on them?