Exploring the Many Worlds of Transmedia

Posts by jdawson4

Go Nagai’s Contributions to Transmedia

Go Nagai’s Contributions to Transmedia

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

If you live in the United States, it is unlikely that the name ‘Go Nagai’ will ring any bells. Nonetheless, many people throughout the world, from Spain, Latin America, France, and most notably, Japan, grew up with his characters. Uncle Go, as his fans call him, is responsible for many of the genres and tropes we see in anime and manga today. He is credited with popularizing the mecha genre with his 1972, super robot series, “Mazinger Z”; the protagonist of his manga “Cutey Honey” was the first heroine in a Shōnen (manga marketed to a young, male audience) series and one of the first magical girls; And, his manga, “Abashiri Ikka,” and “Gakuen Taikutsu Otoko,” pushed the boundaries of censorship for their time, resulting in greater creative freedom for manga artists. However, Go Nagai’s work is also notable in how it applies to transmedia. While many of his manga, like Gakuen Taikutsu Otoko, remained on print, many more enjoyed success through anime adaptations. Nevertheless, these anime adaptions almost always differed from their manga counterparts. One notable series that saw this change was Mao Dante. Published in Kodansha’s “Bokura Magazine” in 1971, Mao Dante was a unique manga for its time. Drawing inspiration from Christianity, Mao Dante told the story of the demons’ battle against the malicious, Christian god. The demons in the manga were the people of Sodom, who had been transformed into hideous creatures through God’s wrath. God, in the manga, is an invading mass of energy who wishes to use the people of Sodom and Gomorrah as vessels to materialize himself. When those people fight back, however, he creates a new lineage of mankind by altering the evolution of apes and using them as his vessels. The survivors of Gomorrah (God destroyed Gomorrah in a way that did not transform its people into demons) became the Satanists, while the demons became dormant, waiting for a moment when the newly evolved humans would forget about God, so they could kill the invader and his vessels once and for all. After the manga was canceled, due to “Bokura Magazine” closing its doors, Go Nagai was approached by Toei Animation to do an anime adaptation of the series. However,...

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Mobile Suit Gundam and Media Mixing

Mobile Suit Gundam and Media Mixing

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

In his book, The Art of Immersion, Frank Rose briefly mentions the mecha series, Mobile Suit Gundam as an example of the Japanese concept of “media mix,” the “idea that a single story can be told through several different media at once.” However, Rose’s brief mention of series does little to convey just how massive an example of media mixing it actually is. Gundam started its rise to relevance in 1979 with the release of Mobile Suit Gundam, a 43-episode anime series directed and written by Yoshiyuki Tomino, previously known for his directing work on the anime series Triton of the Sea, Brave Raideen, Invincible Super Man Zambot 3, and Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3. The series featured character designs by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and mech designs by Kunio Okawara, both of whom had worked with Tomino on previous series. Mobile Suit Gundam is notable, in that it introduced the concept of using mechs as mass-produced, weapons of war to anime. Up until its release in 1979, mechs were treated in a similar vein as Japan’s tokusatsu heroes, such as Ultraman. An anime would often include one, titular robot piloted by either one pilot or a crew that would fight off whatever “monster of the week” was thrown at it. Mobile Suit Gundam, however, was billed as a serious attempt at creating a believable, fictional universe where mechs known as mobile suits were the main weapons of war. The anime opens with a narration that introduces the Universal Century, a fictional calendar era that succeeded Anno Domini as humans moved into space to live in space colonies. The year is 0079 of the Universal Century, and a group of colonies known as Side 3 have proclaimed their independence as the Principality of Zeon and launched a war against the Earth Federation. According to the narration, “initial fighting lasted over one month, and saw both sides lose half their respective populations.” The series begins eight months later as an experimental, Earth Federation battleship arrives at the colony of Side 7 to perform field testing and load several prototype mobile suits. However, their plans are interrupted after Zeon scouts piloting MS-06 Zaku II mobile suits attempt to destroy parts belonging to the...

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