L: Consulting Detective and Other Great Anime Spin-offs

hisuiconA common complaint I hear about series is that the main characters are bland but the side characters are far more interesting and nuanced. It seems almost epidemic in shonen fighting. In fact Shonen Jump just started a spin-off magazine whose whole purpose is to put the spot light on some of the more popular minor characters in their magazine. The announcement of Super Strong Jump was just the catalyst we needed to bring out one of our post ideas from the back burner about our favorite side characters who would do just as good if not better in their own feature title. Remember that Gunsmith Cats’ Rally Vincent is a spin-off from the original Riding Bean series and look how far she has come.

This post has been brewing for a while, and is by no means a complete listing. But before it got totally out of hand, we had to think of which characters could really use their own stories beyond the fact that we just like them a hell of a lot. This is mere sampling of some of the great side characters that we’re pretty sure could hold their own in a series. Eventhough the title of this post mentions L, he already has a spin-off albeit a bad one, so we’ve come up with a list of other great spin-off options! Oh, yeah, 1/3 of our picks are still detectives though!

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NYICFF 2010: Oblivion Island, Waiting for Cotton Gaiden.

As a person who tends to be absent minded I get a certain amount of dread whenever I cannot find something and wonder if I have lost it forever. So I acutely understand the pain and loss of losing track of something precious. But I think that it a universal misfortune that everyone has faced at one time or another. Oblivion Island taps into this feeling while tying it into a fantasy adventure story that uses Japanese myth to tell a tale of friendship and the bonds of family.

I wasn’t very interested in Oblivion Island, but really I don’t know why that was. I had heard of the film, but not really gone out of my way to learn more about it. The real draw in the end was that it is by Production I.G. And considering the fact that you shouldn’t look the gift of a film festival in the mouth, I ended up with a ticket to the last-minute-added showing.

The opening scene is a young girl named Haruka being read a picture book while visiting her sickly mother in the hospital. The story is about foxes who take things which people no longer appreciate. We then fast forward to Haruka in her teens. Haruka notices that the mirror her mother gave her, who has since passed away, has disappeared. In trying to find the mirror she follows a fox named Teo back to his magical homeland. Teo decided to help her find her missing mirror so he can get rid of her before everyone else realizes he has let a human discover their world. But they soon realize that in the world of Oblivion Island the mirror has great power and its new owner will not give it up easily.

The plot is steadfastly simple, we are taken in by Haruka’s adorable child-self and the very relatable plight of looking for something that was once important only to find it has disappeared from neglect. The world of the Kitsune, who are really all kinds of strange looking creatures who just wear fox masks, is colorful and vibrate with life. The looming evil a foot, which doesn’t ever get a good grip on just what it is doing, adds some stunning machine and battle moments. As the teen Haruka encounters this strange otherworld, she regains not only lost items, but lost feelings and memories as well. However, as the story goes on the connected feeling from the beginning moments is neglected and you never truly feel the what is displayed, you merely see it.

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