Tuesday, September 09, 2008

AUUUGGHHH! NOT MORE!: A commentary by Kip

If you've been paying attention to... any entertainment industry, the trend is the same. Go with what is safe.

Strangely, I'm not sure what provokes this mentality. The movie industry has hit a ridge of producing only time tested favorites and making sequels or remakes of them. Consider this summer's comic book blockbusters, Indiana Jones IV or whatever, Get Smart, and Speed Racer even!
Though Speed Racer, it is said, will mark just the beginning of many live-action anime remakes to hit theatres with a live-action Ghost in the Shell coming soon and, of course, a live-action DBZ coming next year. The reasoning for this, it is said, is because all of the good comic books have been made into movies, so what's left is manga and anime! I'm still less than enthused.

Television has followed much the same trend as past hits like Bionic Woman and... that show about trendy California kids... in that one zip code... what's the name... these shows were remade and aired this year, based on their popularity a decade or more ago.

Sounds familiar.

But what of anime itself? This summer the first new season of the infamous "Slayers" series in around ten years, went to air. Despite dismal ratings of the sequel series this season, a continuation of this season has already been announced. That's right, Slayers is greenlit for yet another season.
I wonder why. With old fans like myself saying that the series feels nothing like the originals, and newcomer viewers saying the characters and art looks dated (same designs as from a decade
ago!), how can they possibly keep this going this way?!
Someone must know something, because the trend is continuing elsewhere.

Fullmetal Alchemist has been confirmed for another season, and there are rumors Inuyasha will be back again in ([sarcasm] oh joy! [/sarcasm]) new adventures. Again to point to Speed Racer, which was a pretty alright, somewhat groundbreaking series to begin with, this program has been milked into two spin-offs over the decades since its airing, not to mention one that airs on Nickelodeon now, that's not even an anime!! 

In every proceeding generation the series needed to get edgier, Speed's tracks got to be looking more like Hot Wheel loops, and now, I wouldn't even recognize the new series were it not for the name (to be fair, I didn't watch much of the new Speed Racer show since it pained me to even try to watch it, in the first fifteen seconds they introduce Racer X, and... ah, it just turned me off, so I did the same).

Let's draw a parallel now. The Adventures of Scooby Doo has spawned many, many different spin-off series and movies in its lifetime. Throughout its history the feel of the show and some characters (ie: Scrappy Doo), and even some basic elements of the show were changed to suit different tastes and audiences. Time and time again old fans will watch this because they know what it's about, they grew up with it, fell in love with the characters, etc, while children... will watch just about any cartoon that is on, in the present moment.
Toei Animation in Japan recently brought back a time-tested favorite series
 about paranormal sleuths going on wacky adventures called "Gegege no Kitaro". The series has been compared to an anime version of 
Scooby Doo even, and has seen much the same amount of spin-offs and sequels, if not more than the Hannah-Barberra counterpart (just look at this list!).

Certainly if these series can see time after time followings, there must be some formula to reviving them in these ways. For me at least, and for most of the examples I cited, it's not so much that I'm welcoming back an old favorite with open arms, but turning them away in disgust of a grey-haired Harrison Ford, and a tired and recycled concept.

Of course, I welcome your thoughts on this prospective. Maybe you're excited at the prospect of the X-Files movie or a new journey for Ed and Al.

Whatever the case (and maybe these anime should take a clue)... I'm history.

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At Sep 16, 2008, 12:00:00 PM, Blogger Zaku-sama said...

WHERE IS LIVE ACTION GUNDAM?! WTF IS SUNRISE DOING?! *takes a breath* Seriously...I mean honestly DBZ is stupid to begin with, give us a reason to go watch something epic. Michael Bay did Transformers which was epicsauce, SHOW US THE GUNDAM!


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