City Tech, Fall 2016

“Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun…” with Proposals!

So I’m equally torn between two possible proposal ideas that came to me while thinking about this project. Let’s start with the first one…

The affects (and I guess effects) of Science-Fiction that was aimed at franchising products out of an IP (Intellectual Property).

Two particular IP’s that immediately popped in my head were the Star Wars Prequels (Episode I-III) and Warhammer 40k. These two works have very different reactions that came about from their blatant attempts at marketing their universe into things that people can buy. The Star Wars Prequels went a completely different direction in the way it presented the universe from the original films, attempting to appeal to viewers with more focus towards visual spectacles and an over-abundance of additions to canonical races and Jedi, which was arguably (but more than likely) an attempt for George Lucas to milk out his franchise to appealing to younger audiences to buy Star Wars merchandise; which ultimately is seen as an abuse and failure in the eyes of most Star Wars fans who attributed the success of Star Wars to it’s great story telling and practicality. Whereas Warhammer 40k started out as collectible figurines and the popularity of the lore and written works behind these figures created a massive, in depth universe that many people like and the creator’s dedicate to making quality work. Though niche from the general public, Warhammer 40k has very devoted fans to it and gladly spend immense amounts of money towards collectible figures and other merchandising to keep the IP continuing, all the way since the 1980s. (The lore of Warhammer 40k is responsible for a lot of different games and IP’s, most notably Warcraft.)

I would want to look into other similar cases of this happening with other works and study the reactions the consumer has towards this marketing of science-fiction as a means of making money rather than doing it creatively; moreover, why does it work for some cases (like with Warhammer 40k) and why does it fail in other cases (like with the Star Wars Prequels).

And the second proposal…

Historically looking through the influences of Western Science-Fiction on Japanese manga/anime/other fictional works.

Though I just recently thought of this idea and haven’t had as much thinking about this proposal, I equally find it fascinating to explore this topic. Some of my favourite anime and manga are heavily influenced by Western culture in general, but searching for Science-Fiction themes and concepts that we talked about in class that have been injected in Japanese culture in the form of their entertainment would be nice to look into. Three examples that come to mind for this are Dragonball, Gundam, and Ghost in the Shell. Dragonball talks about “the other” in the form of an alien child who comes to Earth named Goku, which pretty much lends itself from Superman comics and the two often get compared (note, Superman came out way before Dragonball and is believed to have had some influence in Dragonball’s creator). Next, Gundam follows the events of people piloting giant mech robots used mostly for combat; each series is set in a different time or universe, but they all usually have themes about colonization and corrupt governments/societies based in utopias/dystopias, where freedom fighters (also piloting Gundams) rebel against it. And lastly, Ghost in the Shell (which I still have yet to watch) lends a lot of concepts from DADoES? and Blade Runner about what you can view as real and the backlash to technological advancements in AI.

So those are my ideas and the hardest part for me at this point is choosing and sticking with one…

1 Comment

  1. Jill Belli

    Rino, both of these ideas have a lot of potential, as we discussed today during peer review. I think the first idea about franchising is particularly interesting (and I know it was the one that you were initially excited about pursuing), as science fiction as a genre is caught up in capitalism to a great degree (especially in terms of movies, video games, etc.). Your idea to explore the role that “the consumer has towards this marketing of science-fiction as a means of making money rather than doing it creatively” is a good one. Alternatively, there could be a productive way forward with the second option too, though as we discussed, you should be careful to not assume that this influence is unidirectional. Western science fiction has also been influenced too by Japanese culture. Additional research and fleshing out of your ideas for one of these options would help to clarify your focus.

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