We all seek that “diamond in the rough” when it comes to great stories we can all relate to. As an anime lover, I tend to seek out stories that flip the genre on its head. Don’t get me wrong, I love the style and the traditional look of vintage anime, but I like where the genre is headed.
Authors and artist are taking a risk with the look and feel of their stories, thus, making the genre appear a bit more universal. Anime lovers all over the world are creating original work within the genre and that includes stories that speak to every facet of society. Having been on a wide search for new content to explore, I stumbled upon a goldmine and found some powerful stories and fantastic art that needs to be shared with the world. Here’s to hoping you find something you are interested in.
Urbance is a dystopian love story filled with sex, drugs, and violence. The backdrop is a wasteland city where all types of sex are outlawed. Men and Women are kept divided and are not allowed to interact per city ordinance. If you dare to break the law, you’re likely to meet a violent and untimely death. The main characters Kenzell and Lesya give the middle finger to the law and spark a friendship against all odds. But they must be careful as COEVO, the omniscient company trying to “cure” the public and keep order, rules over the city and have their eyes everywhere. Can Kenzell and Lesya continue their budding relationship under the watchful eye of COEVO?
Written and directed by Joel Dos Reis Viegas and Sebastian Larroude, and art by Studio Ghibli animator Hiroshi Shimizu; Urbance is a beautiful work of art. The show combines Japanese anime influences, with jaw-dropping animation. The trip-hop soundtrack helps to bring everything full circle to create one trippy ride during the eight-minute Urbance pilot.
LOVE! LOVE! FIGHTING!
Creator Sherean Morishita is on to something truly powerful with her new manga series Love! Love! Fighting! This is the story of Oriana, a plus size bi-racial (Korean/African-American) woman with a strong outward appearance but is battling mental illness and is afraid to discuss the issue with others. Her story unfolds while working and living in South Korea, so as she adjust to the environment she slowly learns to trust others and communicate what she is feeling to others close to her.
Morishita wanted to create a ‘slice of life’ story with a character whose look is outside the norm of your typical anime/manga character. The Iowa native has been a lover of manga and comics for 16 years. Being in the fandom fueled her passion for writing and art. Love! Love! Fighting! is an emotional tale that speaks to everyone dealing with inner demons and loneliness, while living in a foreign country.
Cannon Busters can be described as a mix of fantastical elements, the influence of Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress, and the action of hit anime series Escaflowne.
LeSean Thomas is best known for working on shows such as The Boondocks, Black Dynamite, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. His experience allowed him to pursue his own passion and thus, Cannon Busters was born. This animated show has been a labor of love for Thomas as he’s been working on it since 2005. Cannon Busters also boasts the unique talents of Joe Madureira, (Battle Chasers), Thomas Romaine (Space Dandy), and Producer Tim Yoon (The Legend of Korra).
Cannon Busters is a special breed of anime because there is a wide array of characters. It is important to continue to have shows with good quality content and diverse representation in Japanese animation.
This is a coming-of-age comedy/action story crafted from the mind of writer Stephane Metayer and artist David Tako. Set in New York City during the golden age of hip-hop, Inez Jozlyn is on a journey of self-reflection. Growing up in the projects can make anyone desperate enough to do things they don’t want to do. To get out of the ghetto, Inez seeks out the local drug dealers for a possible job, but a chance encounter may give Inez the “out” she’s been looking for.
Originally, set to be a television anime series, Tephlon Funk! has opted to go the manga route. As a long time fan of anime and manga, author Stephan Metayer used that influence to inspire him to create Tephlon Funk! He set out to create a story that would evoke questions in the mind of the reader. What is Tephlon Funk? Will the main characters ever escape poverty? Metayer has been working on the series since high school and is excited to finally see the project come full circle. You can find out more about the series on the official website here.
This list is small compared to vast options available out there. All you have to do is take some time to look, and you will find something unique that really resonates with you. Did you find something on this list that you want to explore further? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!
Image Credits: Steambot Studios, Makestuff, LLC, S-Morishitastudio, Metayer Ink LLC
Feature Image Credit: Makestuff