Monday, February 7, 2011

Escapism : The alternative world

One of the pleasures of fiction is that it allows readers a temporary getaway from cold, hard reality – if its a good story, that is. And most usually, by ‘fiction’ I meant of both books, shows and movies. However books and TV shows (anime) offers the best alternative world to escape into, 1 1/2 hour movies are just simply too short for us to explore deeper into the mysterious parallel universe (Read : What if)

Therefore, my list of priorities in an anime series goes like this, 1.Concept/Background, 2. Storyline 3. Male characters. I used to have #3 as ‘female characters’, but after a while i realised that all female characters are pretty much the same, the male characters seems more important because if he gets too cocky and irritating I quit the show even if I’m watching halfway. The best concept stories are those that makes you go search on their wikis and read all of their specific terms and background story. And my preferences is also biased to those with a slight psychological inclination and references to history/literature.

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1. Neon Genesis Evangelion – Of course this will come up top, the psycho aspects of this show is just essentially mind-blowing. If you watched the show (anime series), chances are that you’ve done your research after that about the bio-mechanic aspects including LCL, sea of consciousness, Human Instrumentality Project and so on. One of the taglines in this show ‘God’s in His Heaven, All’s right with the world’ is an extract by a poem ‘Pippa Passes" by Robert Browning. The train scene along with the last two episodes experiments with psychology and its visualisation.

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2. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Storyline is irrelevant in this series, the concept of a schoolgirl having omnipotent-like powers and three factions of aliens, time travellers and espers is already enough to like this series. In this story the ‘aliens’ are actually human representations of the Integrated Data Sentient Entity, this echoes something that I read before that apart from matter and energy, there exists a third form of substance called the ‘data’. Whereas ‘time travellers’ utilise something they call the ‘time plane theory’ to travel through time. As I read the light novels (further stories from the anime) they mentioned paradoxes and the need for time travellers to resolve paradoxes as they travel in time. In the shows itself as the story goes on the ‘timeline’ of the characters gets more and more intertwined, and one of my favourite is the ‘John Smith’ event (Read: A point in 3D is called a location/point, a point in spacetime is called an ‘event’) and how much it mattered to the progression of the story.

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3. The Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko

The story set in Moscow, Russia with a ‘layered’ parallel world (similar to reality) which has seven levels. People with the power to enter these parallel worlds are called the ‘Others’ and they are separated into two factions, the Night Watch and the Day Watch. There are no righteous or evil side. The story goes across four books in total, with citations of mythological creatures and historic events to enrich the fictional world and make it more believable. Of course, that’s fiction. Hailed as the ‘J.K.Rowling’ of Russia – Sergei Lukyanenko. But actually, I think he is much more better. Harry Potter is for kids. Oh, and the lyrics of the songs that the main character Anton listens to, Sergei states that they were real and actually exist (In Russian). Too bad I don’t know Russian, I would really like to hear those songs too!

4. Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni series

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A tragedy in a 50s era small village called Hinamizawa experiments with parallel universe storytelling and it was fantastic. When it was in the ‘first round’ nobody knew what happened, me too. But persevere, I tell you, and it will be one of your favourite shows ever. The story focuses on different characters in each ‘round’ or parallel universe, and slowly the pieces started to connect just like a jigsaw puzzle and… the plot thickens from there.

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And the latest show that had potential I think would be the Puella Magi Madoka Magica series. Although storyline kinda lacked, the repeated references to Goethe’s Faust was interesting. The unique runes in the show had fans skilled in cryptography attempting to decipher the code and they succeeded. Some even compared the characters in the show to some of the characters in Faust such as Mephistopheles. These are exciting times, ha ha as this is the first time I’m actively ‘chasing’ such an interesting show in the aspect of concepts.

Oh yeah, do you think that Physics is also kind of escapism, with all the mind blowing theories of the really small and the really big too!  :D

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