Fanart Friday returns, practically worshipping Carl Sagan. Last week, we started off 2014 with our now-traditional trip through CR's anime library, but this year it's back to new themes with a visit to SPACE! Specifically, we're looking at stories that take place in space, or involve space in some way.
We've already looked at sci-fi as a whole in To Infinity and Beyond Edition, and outed our alien visitors in Interstellar Interlopers Edition--who will show up this time? Strap in and prepare for liftoff!
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Of course, you can't get to space without a ship, and one of my all-time favorites is the Yamato. Also, when you're talking about timeless guaranteed-to-have-a-good-time classics, Space Battleship Yamato (or Star Blazers if you wanna go all early-American-anime localization on us) should be one of the first titles you mention for true space opera.
Or you could go with another seminal Leiji Matsumoto work with Galaxy Express 999. Protip: don't just Google "Galaxy Express" when you're looking for this series, because then you'll get the smaller-sized version of Samsung's hilariously huge smartphone.
Y'know an easy way to get people interested in a retelling of a classic story? Set it IN SPACE! Gankutsuou is a glitzy, stylized retelling of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, complete with planet-to-planet travel and mecha combat!
A couple readers (and a friend of mine) asked if Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet counts for this theme. Personally, I say it only tangentially does (as only part of the first episode takes place in space), but Ledo's previous spacefaring life defines his every action as he learns to live with all the normal folk. I love how the crazy neon colors of Gargantia's space scenes contrast with the more natural colors when he ends up on the seaborne fleet.
Now here's a series I'm not 100% sure what to call. I've only seen Crest of the Stars, but from what I hear, Banner of the Stars is much longer (Crest is based off two novels, Banner is based on three and has three separate anime). Anyway, this is a really cool sci-fi epic dealing with the aftermath of a complete alien invasion and takeover--check it out if you can!
Like I talked about back during By the Power of the Moon Edition, I'm not all that familiar with Sailor Moon, so imagine my surprise when I find out that pretty important parts of the series take place in space--specifically on the moon. And here I thought it was just a space-related series in name(s) only!
Outlaw Star is one I recently rewatched a couple months ago, and I have to say that it holds up pretty well! I don't think Earth is even mentioned at all in the series, with people living on other worlds or space stations, with a pretty cool variety of different races populating the galaxy.
Macross will always end up taking the fight into space. Sure, it'll start at "home," wherever home is (Earth, or colony planet Eden, or a giant habitat ship maybe), but the crazy dogfighting aerobatics eventually end up in the void, which shouldn't be as scary as it sounds since there's no gravity.
There's been a huge outpouring of love lately for Legend of the Galactic Heroes online, as there rightly should be! A massive epic of war and life and death and politics, it's one of the few series I've seen that maintains a semblance of grounding-in-realism while simultaneously being over-the-top and awesome. It's also nice to see a war story with no real "bad guys," just two very human sides of a conflict.
This gorgeous Space Brothers piece actually has a companion here--go check it out! One thing I really appreciate about the series is that it shows real-world space exploration to be just as exciting, challenging, and awe-inspiring as any science fiction adventure.
Cowboy Bebop is one of a number of shows that portrays Earth-of-the-future as a ruined, polluted husk that's surrounded by orbiting garbage and satellites. Nobody wants to live on Earth, so everybody lives in space. So far, no aliens, though--I can imagine the chaos if intelligent alien life (that doesn't come from leaving food in the fridge) showed up.
While there are a ton of RPGs that take place in space and have you scouring every inch of the galaxy for side quests (Mass Effect is my personal favorite), a reader brought up Star Ocean last week, which was a nice change of pace during the PS1 days when everything was trying so hard to be Final Fantasy (looking at you, Legend of Dragoon and Legend of Legaia). Then again, there was also Phantasy Star a generation prior...
Have I mentioned how hard it is to find Martian Successor Nadesico fanart that isn't of Ruri? I mean, she's hilarious and all, BUT THERE ARE OTHER CHARACTERS! There are really cool mecha designs! There's a really sleek-looking ship that only kinda resembles White Base! And seriously, there's Daigoji Gai!
I recommend looking through this artist's gallery and checking out his awesomely detailed mecha art. Gundam Wing 2 Gundam 00 was more like G Gundam than you'd think--it almost completely took place on Earth, save for a few key battles in space. All Gundam series have important ties to space and the people who live out there (hint: they're usually "bad guys"), but because space was still generally unexplored, 00 treated it with a cool feeling of trepidation and wonder.
...wow, it is the Prince. Katamari Damacy is a game series that came, peaked, and went, but it's still loved for all the right reasons, like its goofy characters and great soundtrack. Long story short, the King of All Cosmos goes on a drunken rampage (multiple times across several different consoles and handhelds) and destroys all the stars and planets in the sky, so the young Prince (who is normally not this shota-riffic) must roll up balls of stuff on Earth and launch them into space to fix everything. If you haven't played it, do it now, it's genius.
H.P. Lovecraft seemed to be pretty terrified of space, since the fearsome deities of the Cthulhu mythos were incomprehensibly powerful terrors from deep space. While I'm sure he's currently spinning in his grave thanks to Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos, it's nice to know that his legacy lives on, albeit much cuter now.
Two classic flavors combined! Kamen Rider Fourze not only celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the Kamen Rider franchise, but also the fiftieth anniversary of human spaceflight! Yuri Gagarin--the first human being to ever go into space--sadly died just a year before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon.
There are so many different visions of the future and living in space thanks to TV and movies, but the only one I think that would even come close to reality is Futurama. Not so much with the suicide booths and suspended-animation celebrities, but more with the "life goes on just like it always does, people can still be jerks but we're all okay on the inside" kind of attitude.
When you're out in the cold, lifeless void of space, you need a leader, someone who knows what they're doing, someone who can make fast decisions and keep everybody alive. Thankfully, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor does not go to the dark places I'm thinking of and stays an upbeat comedy, but seriously, idiots + space travel = death.
Another "IN SPAAAACE" follow-up, Lost Universe is basically Slayers... but IN SPACE. It's a fun series that never quite reaches the heights of its predecessor--keep your eyes peeled for Gourry's Sword of Light in a box of random stuff!
I thought it was kinda cool how important proficiency in piloting was for Bodacious Space Pirates. Even driving a car takes a measure of skill and awareness, so imagine what it's like having to stay aware in three full dimensions while doing complex calculations in your head.
Of course, it's hard to argue with the sheer epic fun of two titanic beings standing on the Milky Way and having a fistfight. A totally unabashed love letter to super robots and pretty much the anti-Eva, Gurren-Lagann blasted off to the far ends of the universe and never looked back. It's such a damn fun show.
Doctor Who is mainly about time travel, but being the last Time Lord, the Doctor goes everywhere, from present-day Earth to the recent past to the far future on a distant planet. Star Trek seems to be at its finest when it's heavy and political (like "The Measure of a Man"), and Star Wars is at its best as a big goofy action-fantasy romp, but the Doctor's adventures always seem to strike that fine line between taking itself too seriously and having just the right amount of cheese.
And that's everything for this week! There's no way I could have included everything space-related--what are your favorite titles that take off for the great black unknown? Sound off in the comments!
As always, your art is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just send me a PM with a link to your work, and I'll be sure to include it in a future installment! For those of you getting ready, here are the next three upcoming themes for Fanart Friday:
-Next week, on JANUARY 17th, we're re-reading the rules and gathering 'round the coffee table for a GAMES-related Fanart Friday! Can't believe the fate of the world rests on a freakin' card game! THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-Then, on JANUARY 24th, we're going as plain as possible with our favorite GENERIC PROTAGONISTS! I just watched the first episode of I Couldn't Become a Hero, so I've added another to the list...
-On JANUARY 31st, we ring in the Chinese New Year--the Year of the Horse--with, uh... I'm not sure. I have HORSE? written on my calendar, so we'll see how that plays out. This'll be interesting.
Thanks again for coming by to check out Fanart Friday--have a great weekend, and I hope you swing by next week!