Welcome, all, again. Today’s discussion will focus upon the pilot episode of Indigo Ignited, a brand-new (released 08 August, 2017!) anime based upon an original manga by David Pinter and Samuel Dalton. But wait–those don’t sound like Japanese names! What’s going on here? Well, just slow yourselves down for a minute. Let me review the show first, after which I’ll address the elephant in the room. (Seriously, did that “Most Interesting Man in the World” really bring an elephant? Well, you better believe he ain’t leaving it here!)*
Indigo Ignited is Kieran’s story, following his existence as the last of his race in a post-apocalyptic world. Kieran is an Indigo, beings who are able to manipulate gravitational fields and are thus also able to manipulate physical objects. (Drawing a blank? Think of Yoda lifting the X-wing fighter from the swamp of Dagobah. Really lost, now? Then think of Terra tossing–and wearing–rocks on Teen Titans Go!) As might be imagined, this power over gravity is something that others wish to control. And the pilot episode introduces us to our first contender for Kieran’s powers, called simply The Alderman.
But The Alderman is no ordinary foe, bragging that he has long been a hunter of Kieran’s race. Moreover, The Alderman rules his town of Annalise through magical means, controlling the townsfolks’ minds through masks he requires them to wear. But isn’t it the way of the world that those with some little power almost always seem to desire more? Sad then that the lessons of even an apocalypse seem incapable of changing basic human nature. Greed, prejudice, discrimination, and downright villainy remain in full flower. And so Kieran and any who stand with him are in for a rough time.
Now, to be fair, this pilot is barely over 8 minutes long. That said, don’t expect a lot of character exposition or development, backstory, or even plot progression. What we get is a snapshot of evil being unleashed upon innocents and the promise of broodingly dark fantasy. This pilot is meant to grab our attention, and it does. The fun will come in seeing what they do with it as the story progresses. So for now, go watch: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3p-5gTtXnA&t=10s]
*OK, so back to that elephant. The original manga authors hail from the Albuquerque area, but the anime is being produced by D’ART Shtajio, a new animation studio in Tokyo that was created by Henry Thurlow and Arthell and Darnell Isom. So, wait–is the anime a Japanese production or not? It is a Tokyo company, so yes. But those names don’t sound Japanese. They’re not. But other names associated with the project are, such as Asuka Tsubuki (Detective Conan) in Animation Direction and Yoshiharu Ashino (Cross Ange, First Squad, D.Gray-man) with Storyboards. OK, but how can the original work be called manga if it was made in New Mexico? Because that’s what its authors call it. Look, I’ve heard the arguments that a Japanese origin is essential to the correct application of the terms manga and anime. And I both understand and respect the purists’ position. But as a writer, I think that type of thinking is just too limiting and constrictive in today’s globalized society. These artists recognized a particular form (in this case foreign) which they wished to emulate, and they did so, to the exclusion of more local ideals. Does not their application of such form to their work mean that the form consequently applies to that work, at least somewhat? But then at what point does cultural exchange become cultural appropriation? I don’t know, but I personally don’t think that comic vs. manga or cartoon vs. anime is the venue in which to decide the question. Instead, why don’t we just call it cross-pollination and settle back to see what beauty it might offer us.