Thursday, February 11, 2016

Warhammer and Anime

Last night I was watching an anime called the Heroic Legend of Arslan, a story based on a Persian epic called Amir Arsalan.  One of the characters, Narsus, has certain superficial similarities to Fulgrim prior to his corruption.  Narsus is a master strategist and warrior.  He also considers himself an artist first and foremost, even though his paintings are terrible.

 This made me think a little about the relationship between Warhammer 40K and anime.  On their face the two genres should have very little to do with each other.

Warhammer is characterized by its heavy, gothic, grimdark mood and nihilistic outlook towards the future.  Everywhere in the 40K universe, people are being corrupted by demonic possession, exterminated by Xenos, or oppressed by tyrants.  There is very little that is beautiful or joyful in this reality.

Anime is a much broader genre that Warhammer, given that it is the product of an entire culture instead of a single company.  Anime can be dark and brooding as well, but it is still radically different than 40K.  I think that at its heart, anime is a type of animation which is willing to forego realism to express a story in a primarily stylistic, artistically exaggerated manner.  It presents a reality in which characters are impossibly cute, can jump impossibly high, and can swing a weapon impossibly fast.  This art style presents to its audience a reality of extremes, which in turn evokes a powerful emotional response.

So both 40K and anime are similar after all in that they deal with extremes.  Extreme grimdark and extreme artistic presentation.  It is perhaps not surprising therefore that although at their bases are so different, many people seek to cross pollinate between the two.

Personally I think that this is a good thing.  By blending two genres and taking the best of each, one can provide an even more fertile possibilities for creativity and imagination.

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