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Saturday, 7 November 2015

Editorial: Four Anime That Need Sequels.

Editorial: Four Anime
That Need Sequels.

Sometimes, things should get sequels, but then they don't get sequels, and that's terrible. While I've spoken in a general sense about things being unfairly robbed of sequels before, in a post that covered video games, anime, and films, it never hurts to get a little more specific, especially as my brain is always churning out a constant, semi-nostalgic desire to see a continuation of things I enjoyed - or sometimes of things I didn't enjoy much.

So, here are four anime that need sequels. Or, at least, which I wouldn't mind seeing sequels to. 


It had its problems, but I actually really liked Aldnoah.Zero - but in spite of that, the whole Earth-Mars war plotline is definitely over, and it would feel cheap to do that again. So what I'm suggesting instead is to not have Earth in the equation at all (or maybe not until near the very end) and instead have a Martian Civil War.

Just about everyone agreed that during the second half, the Martian characters were more interesting than the Terran ones, after all. There was a degree of politicking, of backstabbing, and they just had the more interesting culture of the two groups. With the series ending on a note in which many Martians were potentially unhappy with there being peace, the setting is set up extremely well for a civil war.

It'd also mean that the giant robot battles would have an entirely different tone to the first series. Instead of it being a plucky genius with a sub-par mass production model facing off against super robots, it would be a (more typical, maybe even cliche) super robot vs super robot story, and in the hands of a skilled writer, that could be taken to interesting places: With limited Aldnoah drives available, would counts start harvesting them from their defeated comrades and enemies to upgrade their own Kataphrakts? Would an enterprising count revive Saazbaum's Stygis project and attempt to overwhelm his or her enemies with numbers?

Super robot vs super robot shows can be quite boring, but by applying a little realism to it and using your imagination, you can create something pretty new and exciting out of it, and I'd love to see the Aldnoah.Zero team try.


Yes, I know, the last series came to a pretty definitive finish, with the fates of most of the cast wrapped up. But consider this: It's a medium that can totally be repeated with a slightly new cast.

Think about it: Rei, Nagisa and Gou are still part of Iwatobi Swim Club, and it wouldn't freshen up the formula to add two new characters to join that team; meanwhile, you could have a plot thread following Haruka and Rin, with Makoto's support, trying to make it as professional swimmers. Free! has already shown that it's more than capable of handling multiple plot strands and different groups of characters, while still giving each group enough overlap that it feels like one coherent show, after all.

In general, I think television - and especially anime - needs more works like Free! in it. It skilfully handled that most difficult of tasks: Building tension and conflict in a story where there were no real villains or antagonists, and where the stakes were, actually, fairly low. It did that quite masterfully, actually, and I'd like to see it do that more. 

Also, let's face it, they'd be fools not to. Free! was blisteringly popular while it was airing, and time has only dulled its popularity slightly - a new series would rake in fans like nothing else on this Earth. Also, I need more stupid dorky fishguys being unhappy in my life.

Nobunaga the Fool.

Okay, let me rephrase that: I want another series set in the world of Nobunaga the Fool, or a spiritual successor set in a world very much like it.

Nobunaga the Fool was a unique creation that I'm not sure can really be reproduced, but many of the things which I loved about it: The weird historical-figures-combined-with-science-fantasy angle, the vibrancy of it, the interesting meshing together of mystery and action and philosophy - those are all worth giving another shot at, and maybe trying to render in a way that isn't as horribly, deeply flawed as Nobunaga the Fool was.

So, when I say I want another Nobunaga the Fool, what I really mean is 'Try this again, but do it better.' I don't know, give me Wuffa the Hanged Man or something. 

Sword Art Online (Sort Of).

"Murphy, you hate this series. You absolutely despite Sword Art Online," you might be saying. "Why are you advocating for a sequel?" 

Not so, I say! I hate approximately thirty-seven of its forty-nine episodes. The last twelve episodes of it, where they were primarily adapting side stories and putting the focus on either an ensemble of characters or on often overlooked characters, with Kirito being fairly firmly in the background, I thought were excellent. The Mother's Rosario arc, in particular, was some of the best anime programming of the season.

So that's what I want a sequel to: Just those twelve episodes. I want a fun, sometimes emotional, occasionally dramatic story about a party of players messing around in a virtual reality MMO. I want Kirito's role to be reduced to just one character amongst a large group, and for the show to do more with lower stakes. 

The melodramatic 'people are dying because of this game!' storylines always felt forced, and a little bit ridiculous, and Kirito's absurd wish-fulfillment God Mode every-woman-he-meets-falls-for-him Gary Stu antics only made that worse - but when the stakes were much lower, such as 'we really want this neat sword' and 'this young girl is dying and we need to make her last days the best we can', I actually felt the stakes, and I felt the emotion.

Sword Art Online does its best work when it's not being Sword Art Online, and I want to see it do that more.

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