Through the Looking Glass

Alas, the title does not mean I’m going to review the Lewis Carroll story. Instead, the title was just one that popped into my mind when thinking of a what I should call this entry. Recently, I saw a question – If you could live in any anime world, what would it be? – and I was surprised when I couldn’t come up with a quick answer. I did find an answer in the end though.

The first thing I realized was the question asked for which world and not which anime you’d like to live in. This had profound consequences in my choice because, for example, even if I’d really enjoy being a member of Haruhi’s SOS-Dan and hang out with Yuki, Kyon, Mikuru, and Haruhi – what are the chances of me actually being there? More than likely, I’d live nowhere near North High School.

For the purposes of this entry I’m going to assume that my circumstances are not that different from what I’m living here so I’d be living in a small city, part of a middle-class family, and a resident of the US if it exists in the show.

This cuts out a lot of shows since how is the world of Maid Guy different halfway around the globe in America from the one I’m living in now? Or, unless every boy in high school gets the chance to have 3-6 girls go after him as a boyfriend at the same time, how is the world of a typical harem anime or even a show like Kanon or Clannad that different from our own?

This leaves SF, fantasy, historical or alternative historical worlds as really the only ones to choose from. I went through my anime and came up with 3 strong contenders to pick from.

The first is the world of Planetes. I suspect that I was born a generation or three too soon to have a realistic shot at ever going to space. Consequently, picking an anime world where space flight is more common place is obvious. What sets the world of Planetes apart from say Crest of the Stars or other space anime is that humanity is on the verge of something big. With humanity using the gas giants as an endless source of energy, it wouldn’t be shocking to see us taking the first steps to terraform Mars and Venus, colonizing the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, or mining the asteroid belt within the lifetime of Hachimaki and Tanabe. It would be an exciting time to live through.

The second is the world of Someday’s Dreamers. The existence of magic in a world would be a cool thing to have and if I happened to be able to use magic, it would be even cooler. What sets this world apart from other magical worlds is that magic in this world is used for things outside of throwing fireballs around and also magic is just part of everyday life.It seems that humanity has gotten to a point there they can accept magic users, if not perfectly, at least better then I think we could here.

The third is the world of Kino’s Journey. I hesitated in listing this one because when I thought about it, the idea of different city-states living independently and at vast differences of knowledge and technology seemed very unlikely. Why is there a lack of nations in this world? It seems too artificial but at the same time, I would greatly desire the chance to explore it like Kino. (Incidentally, will there ever be more Kino’s Journey anime and why can’t I buy the light novels over here?)

Two other shows, Dennou Coil and Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, earned honorable mentions in my book. The reason why I didn’t include Coil is that I think that within a couple of decades there is a good chance that I’ll being living in a world similar to it. As for YKK, the manga and anime made living in it’s post-apocalypse world seem enjoyable and relaxing but in reality it’s probably not as fun as it seems.

In the end I would choose the world of Planetes. It’s not without it’s problems but then again can human society ever be without it’s problems. Probably not, but I think the best chance of overcoming our problems is for us to continue forward. I also like this world because problems we’re facing now like global warming and running out of fossil fuels seems to have been answered or at least become more manageable. And, of course, I think even I could visit space and do something (space garbage-collector seems like a fun job).

I’m curious what other people think. Does anyone out there want to live in the world of Death Note or live in the historical world of Kenshin. Or maybe the world of Pokemon catches your fancy. And I’m sure long time viewers of anime know of many other places to live that I’m not even aware of.

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