I think this counts as navel-gazing.
Well, I’ve been doing that a lot lately. This whole “me me me, my opinions my opinions my opinions!” shtick, as I kvetch about why X, Y, and Z suck while Q, R, and S are the best things since instant shit. Good lord, damn aniblogging shit, all this OPINION stuff! Whatever happened to objectivity, huh? Sitting quietly, assessing shows soberly and with an even-hand. Bros, objectivity. Where has it gone? Where has it gone?
But, then, what is truth? What is beauty? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet? If I handed a rose and called it cow piss, would it? WHAT IS TRUTH?
These are things I want to be animus. I did a post like this once before, quite a while ago. Shockingly, both Aoi Hana and Wandering Son got anime adaptations. I also put more effort into that one than I will here, by helpfully linking to the Wikipedia pages for the various suggested options. But I’m much lazier than I was three years ago. So it goes. But obviously I also think you’re smart enough to find the Wikipedia yourself! So it goes!
A Separate Peace
Of my suggestions listed here, A Separate Peace is the one which to me is best-suited to an anime adaptation… were this, y’know, 1987 and someone was making this into a moody, BL-spectrum OAV, preferably the staff who worked on the seriously bowlderized movie for Kaze to Ki no Uta. Which sort of sounds negative, but I didn’t mean for it to at all.
A Separate Peace, for those of you not in the know, is a book that at least as recently as five or six years ago was widely assigned as reading in high school English classrooms in the U.S. Its a melodramatic tale concerning the nature of evil, taking place on the campus of a private boys’ high school circa WWII, and focused around narrator Gene and his Manic Pixie Dream Boy friend (but not boyfriend, although even the author allegedly later on copped to the fact that the damn thing was basically a love story), whom Gene knocks out of a tree one day in a fit of jealousy and lack of impulse-control.
I’m simplifying quite a bit, obviously; there’s a lot about what evil is, about adolescent boys contending with the looming reality of their military service, and about identity. There are also some stupefyingly moronic moments of melodrama (the climax of the novel is utterly maddening), and Gene spends most of the time being a royal asshole. But, seriously – find those folks who worked on Kaze to Ki no Uta, give them twelve TV episodes, and set them loose with the stipulation that they must channel their 1980s selves. Its a perfect fit.
I’ll be honest – the only reason I would want Main Street, by Sinclair Lewis, to be made into an anime is that it would likely drive slice-of-life detractors mad. Published in 1920, Main Street was criticized as being without a true plot and as lacking direction. It is about a young woman named Carol Milford from St. Paul, Minnesota who marries a country doctor and goes to live in Nowheresville, USA, which she finds dull and where she is routinely mocked and ignored by the locals of her own social class as she tries to better the small town. My copy, standard paperback, mass-market release-sized, clocks in at 584 pages.
So, I’m thinking 76 episodes. Carol at one point moves to Washington, D.C. with her child, works there for a while, and then returns home. Other than that, and the beginning of the book wherein she graduates from college and meets her future husband, its all small town antics. I really enjoyed it myself, but, again, the only reason I’d love to see this done in anime land is to listen to the howls of the Aria and Asatte no Houkou-haters. I’m fucking mature as fuck.
Ok, this one is sort of cheating – Twin Spica did have an anime adaptation after all. However, it was only twenty episodes long, and aired five years before the manga concluded. In fact, at the commencement of airing, only five of an eventual sixteen volumes had been released. Given how highly I think of Twin Spica, I consider this to be pretty unfortunate. A few folks have told me to check out Space Bros given my love of TS, but the fact is that part of why TS is so awesome is that it is about a little girl who becomes a young woman who is pursuing space. Forgive me if I’m less enthusiastic about a story about a man pursuing his dreams in a medium that is packed to the gills with stories about men and boys pursuing their dreams and desires.
The Remains of the Day
The Remains of the Day actually isn’t about me. I know this will likely shock you. I’m sorry if this was traumatic as a revelation. Instead, Remains is told from the point of view of an aging English butler as he travels across England to visit an old friend and former fellow co-worker. The bulk of the narrative is flashback to his younger years, as he recalls his times working with said former co-worker and slowly begins to face up to the fact that his previous employer did not behave as admirably as he wants to believe he did in the years leading up to WWII.
Perhaps part of my interest in seeing this adapted into an anime springs from a curiosity about watching a Japanese studio staffed with Japanese people adapt a very British novel written by an ethnically Japanese man who is an Englishman through and through.
Of other interest is how the fact that Remains is very heavy on inner-thoughts of the protagonist would be handled in an anime, and how people would react to that. It seems that inner-monologue heavy shows are not well-liked by most viewers, after all.
To me, this would be a noitaminA show, handled by the Madhouse staff that brought us Mouryou no Hako and Aoi Bungaku, and hopefully one of those rarer noitaminA’s that manages to get twelve episodes instead of the paltry eleven that prior to Sakamichi no Apollon and Tsuritama appeared to have become the standard.
Milk Morinaga’s Girl Friends as a yuri manga about two girls who become, you guessed it, girlfriends. Its one of those yuri that actually manages to give resonance to the gay and bisexual ladies who read yuri, while still keeping that moe-aesthetic intact, for better or worse. And it is also quite good.
It is also never going to become an anime. Even though Milk Morinaga seems to sell pretty solidly in the yuri market, it does’t seem she sells quite enough, as none of her work has even popped up in anime rumors, even as Yuruyuri frolics about with a second season and things like Project ICE and Shoujo Sect happen. But a Day can dream. And Day will dream big here, because anything short of twenty-four episodes would leave me cold in this case.
Oshaka-sama mo Miteru
As long as we’re talking yuri, might as well talk… well, not BL exactly. But, let me explain.
OshaMite is the younger brother of Maria-sama ga Miteru, amusingly in more ways than one – the OshaMite light novels began to appear long after MariMite’s debuted, and there are many fewer volumes. They are also centered around Yumi’s younger brother Yuuki.
OshaMite takes place at Hanadera and it follows the Student Council there. Basically, it is MariMite, but with teenaged boys instead of teenaged girls. It is also a bit gayer than MariMite, although its probably most honest to say that it is so since it contains more actual homosexuality than MariMite does (hello Suguru).
As a person who thoroughly enjoyed MariMite, and whom found Yuuki to be endearing enough to like to see more of, I would love OshaMite to get its own adaptation… by Studio DEEN! Y’know, one of those studios everyone loves to hate! But they did a great job on MariMite, so just have those staffs get on this one.
Wrapping up the manga and light novels I want animu of, we’ve got solanin. I’ve reviewed the manga here before, but as a refresher: Meiko is a few years removed from graduating from college, is living in Tokyo, and hates her job. Her boyfriend lives with her, contributing mere peanuts to expenses from his illustrator job. Meiko quits her own job one day, as she is sick of her lack of direction, her boyfriend freaks out, then tries to re-unite his band, and life actually goes as it usually does – which is to say, no, they don’t become rock stars. Its an excellent manga, and I wish to hell that more like it would get licensed for the English-language market, since I have little taste for heroic yet generic boys on quests and teenaged girls with shitty love interests.
solanin is another one that would feel pretty at home in the noitaminA block.
The Haunting of Hill House
It feels appropriate to close out with my favorite book. As the title suggests, this one’s horror, although much more in line with, say, The Others, than with the likes of Hostel or the seemingly endless Saw series. In it, the shy Eleanor Vance escapes from her oppressive life in her sister’s household in the city to the sprawling Hill House of rural Massachusetts, where she is to participate in a Dr. Montague’s scientific research on the supernatural. Even as we watch Eleanor ease up as she leaves the city behind, we know it can’t end well.
Plot spoilers! Eleanor unravels steadily across the pages, and begins to slide into unreliable narrator territory – it seems clear that some of the weirder things have happened, but then there are so many other bits and pieces which elude definite categorization as fact or delusion. And when I say “some of the weirder things have happened”, I can only say so insofar as they are experienced by more than one character. It might be ghosts. It might be the atmosphere. It might be the collective expectation of the “unearthly” combining to either summon something or cause a shared hallucination.
Grab the Daume staff that did Shiki for this one. (Interestingly, one of the title pages for an early chapter of the Shiki manga had an image of the Kirishiki manse which made me think of one of author Shirley Jackson’s other works We Have Always Lived in the Castle.)
Also, more generally, don’t mix it up with Hell House, which is crude and over-the-top where Hill House is quiet and thoroughly unsettling.