So as I mentioned in the previous post, there were a lot of things that made my childhood and gave me a plethora of entertainment that inspired my love for storytelling. And for those who are curious as to which stuff gave me ideas for The Mannamong growing up, I’ve made a list that details certain aspects of these anime, cartoon shows, movies, and games that brought me to where I am today. Take note, however, that not everything mentioned here actually made it to the final product, but they were instead the catalysts that gave me the light bulb dings in my head growing up.
I put these two together under the same discussion because they’re quite similar, and both share the same reasoning in how they influenced me.
These two shows aired around the same period right when I was initially inspired to create The Mannamong. I was in middle school at the time, and the protagonists in both shows were roughly my age at the same grade level. Both shows were about the main hero interacting with the magical world that parallels with their suburban environment as the chosen ones responsible for maintaining balance. Funny enough, both shows featured a Chinese protagonist with magical powers too.
Anyway, these two were the biggest inspiration that molded The Mannamong’s setting and genre towards a fantasy and slice-of-life mixture. I originally had my protagonist, Kali, set to the age of a preteen, too, at this stage like Jake Long and Juniper Lee. I decided to switch her to a child instead and possibly have grown older as the story progressed. Nonetheless, if you haven’t heard or seen these shows, I suggest taking a quick look at them. If anything, they both execute the same world-building charm, kind of like I am aiming for with my stories.
I initially wasn’t too invested in anime, but it kept drawing me to continue watching for some reason. Unlike the previous shows mentioned above, Cardcaptor Sakura’s pacing and presentation left me with a more calming feeling after watching them. Something I would like to discuss further in a future post, Cardcaptor Sakura, felt more like a cruise than an exciting adventure, which I didn’t mind really. I think that’s what mostly drew me to continue watching it. Now it’s one of my favorite shojo anime. Cardcaptor Sakura gave me a relaxing and charming atmosphere that expanded my creative muscles to think more about delivering stories that could be as soothing and adorable as this series could be.
And the settings… Oh my goodness, the settings are breathtaking. It is placing so much detail into each location with a story to tell of its own. It captures the history of the said set piece with its rustic medieval design. Just looking at the concept art alone astonishes me how much time went into penciling every stroke to these sketches. I could go on and on how much the story touched me and how it blends masterfully with its characters and their personal stories, but I just wanted to emphasize the art and its level of creativity.
Final Fantasy games all have their invigorating stories and elaborate fantasy settings. Still, IX, in particular, feels more concise and memorable to me, which may have to do with Nobuo Uematsu’s fantastic music to accompany it as I played the game. Call it biased if you may, but I had a lot of fun playing this game. Exploring the entire world, meeting its charming characters, and getting lost in its lore was, without a doubt, what drove me in wanting to create something as massively enchanting as this.
Not a very well known video game, especially by today’s standards, but let me tell you, this game was addicting during my younger years. Before Final Fantasy IX, this was my actual introduction to JRPGs. And thankfully, I was blessed to have been gifted with this little gem by my parents. I remember first playing it excessively as a demo in stores. My mom must’ve taken note of my playing because I don’t ever remember telling her about the game, but I knew it was super fun to play. And it still is to this day because of its unique gameplay.
Legend of Legaia’s story was the second aspect that grew my love for this game. It’s full of suspense, peril, mystery, and despair in such a simplified way. Legaia is a dark game, surprisingly, despite its E for everyone rating. It takes place in a catastrophic world where monsters roam free under the maddening influence of a toxic mist that plagues the world. Everyone has been struggling to survive by barricading themselves from the mist, reaching them by either forming walls, powerful fans, or hiding underground. The people are paranoid and deathly afraid of the monsters and the mist lurking around. And they have every reason to be. These monsters can attach themselves to humans and turn them into mindless monsters themselves if surrounded by mist. Making the mist invested ghost towns, you encounter the equivalent of visiting something from a horror movie. And fighting these things in the game is pretty tough, even by JRPG standards. The only way to stop them is for the heroes to revive these mystical trees called Genesis Trees, which have the mysterious power to repel the mist.