The Power of the Prologue

One of the titles I have been watching here and there is Soul Eater released by Funimation. Check out the trailer below if your looking for a fun title to watch.


Anyways, I’m not here today to write up a review on the series, that will come much later. What I wanted to talk about today, was the use prologues as the first 3 episodes of the series. In Soul Eater, there are characters that are reapers and characters that act as weapons for the reapers. In the first episode we look at reaper Maka and her death scythe Soul. We get a chance to see the interaction between the 2 characters and also learn a bit about the universe the story is set in. Soul has to eat 99 souls and the 100th soul he eats needs to be a witch for him to become a death scythe.

In the second episode we meet the team of Black Star and Tsubaki. Again we get a chance to see the dynamic between the two characters and learn about them as well.

The final episode of their prologue is the team of Death the Kid and his two weapons Liz and Patty. We learn some of the perks of Death the Kid’s personality in this episode and see his weakness based on asymmetry.

Now some people may feel that prologues aren’t needed. Information in prologues could be integrated into a story, but on the flip side, by using a prologue, you can cut down on filler and recap segments. Another benefit of using a prologue, is that the story teller can tell a story and use a prologue to fill in some blanks as the story progresses.

For instance, I am toying around with the idea of utilizing prologues to flesh out more of the characters backstories before each episode. I haven’t committed to the idea yet, but I like the idea of being able to add additional information to the story and characters without having to dedicate an entire episode to it or by writing an extended paragraph.

You don’t see a lot of prologues for series these days, so it was great to watch a series and see them utilize essentially 3 prologues for each team of characters. I personally felt it was a great way to connect with a character before seeing how they interact with others and the decisions they will make in the universe of the story. Generally this type of episode, in anime series, tend to happen mid series or the later half. The series that tends to come to mind with this approach is Wolf’s Rain.

Another different series that uses prologues is the Crest of the Stars franchise, which would play a small prologue before each episode. Which is the approach I may take. Stay tuned for another update on Monday!

Production Update 11 SGMS and Inspiration

Its that time of the week that production updates are to be discussed. The week has been a little bit of a whirlwind. I started the week being able to complete a couple drawings for the final scene. I also spent some time rehearsing and tweaking my presentation at the 2012 Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits (SGMS) conference. Outside of the conference I had some travel time in and also some freelance work to complete. So to be blunt and honest, I didn’t get a whole lot done in terms of production. Having said that, I did have a great time at SGMS, met a lot of very cool people, saw some new anime and finally I met Dai Sato and was able to ask him some questions that I had had and had developed over the conference ( I even got my picture taken with him 🙂 ).

So today’s production post is going to be hijacked with a short recap of the SGMS conference. For those of you that don’t know what SGMS is, it is a conference where presenters are allowed to present topics from animation, culture and manga from Japan.

I tend to try to present ideas and findings from an artistic standpoint. This year I shared my findings of not only the history of CGI in Japanese animation but also the use and techniques. The presentation went well and it meshed well with the other presenters in the panel. The presentation was inspired by my desire to combine 3D with 2D for the Cosmic Rage motion comic. Did you know CGI was shown in Japanese animation back in 1983? Now you know 😉

This year, just to name a few, I went to a panel that talked about pre and post 9-11 terrorism as reflected in the Gundam Franchise,  Rock Music as a Cultural motif in Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys (Which made me want to read the series), Vocaloid music and Hatsune Miku, and also a presentation on the politics of dismemberment in manga or more specifically Blade of the Immortal (another want to read now). Those are just a few of the ones I attended.

We also had anime screenings where we viewed some of the episodes that Dai Sato had written for such as Cowboy Bebop, Lupin the 3rd, Samurai Champloo, Ergo Proxy and Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Just think, that’s not including titles such as Wolf’s Rain or Eureka Seven. The second night we also viewed a J-drama and an animated feature called Brave Story.

There was also a fashion show on Saturday night as well. I attended my first one last year and it was amazing and made me wonder why my sister never took me to one before that. It really is a great way to see alternative fashion, but more importantly it inspires clothing design for characters and worlds that you may be creating. I have went to several fashion websites and clothing encyclopedias for several of the character’s clothing designs in Cosmic Rage.

The weekend closed with an amazing group panel which people asked questions regarding various aspects of culture, animation and manga. Topics included pitching ideas, cross studio collaboration, of course Japanese animation, kick starter projects, small collaborative projects and so much more.

This was my 3rd consecutive year attending SGMS and every year I continue to meet amazing new people, learn new things, gain more things to add to the “must watch/read list” but most importantly it inspires me to keep working on this project. The thought of quitting it has never crossed my mind. I enjoy working every second on this project and I can’t wait till I am able to complete a couple more things so I have things to take around and further reach audiences and grow the fan base. And who knows, maybe more artists will join in on the project as it grows and develops. Stay Tuned for another Japan Adventure Update later this week!