Japan Seems to Have a Monopoly on Awesome Premises

At least, if they don’t, then writers outside of Japan need to make their crazy premises known more.

THE best premise to grace this plane of existence.

Its one of the reasons I like anime. They’re not afraid to start with a ridiculous idea and play it so ridiculously straight that you’re laughing and then feel weird for not taking it as seriously as the characters do. A particularly good example is Ben-To, which somehow flew under the radar of all North American licensors. It’s about nightly brawls in supermarkets across the nation just before closing time, over half-price food. And it’s awesome! I honestly wonder why not a single group licensed it for streaming, nor why its sales in Japan were so… weak.

Only he can see the ending.

Then you have stuff like The World God Only Knows (Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai in Japan), which has its anime licensed, but not the manga, for some reason. Well, sure, it’s been licensed in France and Italy, but whatever. For those of you who haven’t heard of that, either, it’s about a guy who can get any girl he wants… in games. Hell misinterprets this and tricks him into assisting the Runaway Spirit Squad to capture loose demon spirits. To do this he must… make real girls fall in love with him. And if he refuses, he’ll be beheaded. So what does he do? Simple. Use his game strategies on girls. It works.

A more recent one, Symphogear (Senki Zesshou Symphogear in Japan) was actually picked up for streaming by FUNimation. It’s fairly generic, aside from the few defining features it has… but then look at what the main defining feature is (Warning: Spoilers for the first episode after the 2-minute mark, and I’m not the one who put up the video):

If you can’t tell, the characters sing their own theme songs while fighting. And yes, the lyrics do get messed up when they trip over things and stop when they’re too busy talking to sing. I can only hope this gets approved for a DVD/BD release, because if FUNimation dubs this, singing and all…

I suppose what I’m saying is that more non-Japanese writers need to adopt the idea of using ridiculous premises. The results tend to be great. XD

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2 thoughts on “Japan Seems to Have a Monopoly on Awesome Premises

  1. I agree that anime and manga hold a lot of potential to come up with incredibly strange, unique and creative premises. However, the one failing point that keeps both from becoming popular (as in mainstream popular) with audiences in general is that they stick to a kind of narrative that appeals to a very niche audience.

    There’s also the negative perception people have of this, but that’s another story altogether.

  2. One could argue that the premise of any work of fiction, when you break it down to its basest elements, sounds ridiculous. (Explaining Avatar to someone, I’ve learned, is one such case.)

    But let the records show that Japan has a monopoly on brilliant insanity. They made FLCL, Gurren Lagann, and Panty and Stocking. The threshold of insanity has been crossed, with no qualms about looking back. And they have transcended because of it.

    …Anime is pretty cool, is what I’m getting at here.

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