In which I had an idea, but someone beat me to it....so I wrote about something else instead.
I had an idea to write about how the JoJo openings work so well as great introductions to their respective parts, especially given that RedStripe118 recently posted an article (rightfully) lauding the first opening, “JoJo (Sono Chi no Sadame)”and how a few days later, ShadowHaken posts up the news that the anime adaptation of part 5 is premiering this fall season.
I re-found one of AnimeNewsNetwork’s Answerman columns with regard to why anime openings are so important. I was thinking of what I could write before writing - such as how the openings for part 1 and 2 spoil huge parts of the story, or how Sono Chi no Sadame’s use of SFX and comic panels showcase the legacy of JoJo and basically acknowledge how ridiculous JoJo will be, but it will still be crazy cool.
I was trying to decide how far to take visual/lyrical interpretation, though I’m not that great at creative critical analysis. So guess what happened when I tried looking for the song on Youtube for reference? I ran into this:
Geoff Thew did it first. And he did it really, freaking well. Far better than I could’ve, seriously go watch them if you’re a JoJo fan, he points out so many details.
Having seen his videos, would I even dare try to do a write up of the first two openings (my original plan), despite knowing that someone else did it *two* years ago? Nope. I wouldn’t be able to bring anything new to the table and whatever I wrote would most definitely fall short of Geoff Thew’s analysis. So instead I’m writing this miniscule post and wondering about originality.
A common phrase I hear is that there is almost no such thing as originality anymore, as an idea has probably been thought of by countless other people. As a result, everything is derivative. If only we can integrate derivatives* together to form something new. However that’s not how things work. While it is true that pure originality probably no longer exists, we can still use tried-and-true ideas and add something a bit different to make it something more. For example, Anthem seems to be Bioware’s take on Destiny, but with Bioware’s penchant for a stronger narrative (in which it is very easy to surpass Destiny).
Another example is of Gunpla, model kits based on suits from the many series of Gundam. While Gundam is solely Bandai’s brand, that hasn’t stopped many third-party companies from creating bootleg copies of their products.
While these bootleg kits are 100% examples of copyright infringement (and shadey dealings), there are also kits that exist in a slightly more grey area...to some people’s minds anyway.
Toward the end of their life and before they were shut down due to copyright infringement, a third-party/bootleg company, Dragon Momoko produced and released a “MG scale” kit of the Gundam Testament. The suit itself appears in a Gundam Seed Destiny side-story manga which was never released in the west, so it is a very obscure design. It has never been produced nor designed by Bandai, so the image you see above is of a product that was designed and made by Dragon Momoko. To some Gunpla enthusiasts, this kit (and others like it) are in a mildly grey area within Gunpla - yes the companies are still infringing on Bandai’s brand, however they’re making kits that Bandai would likely never produce themselves**. In this case, Dragon Momoko is definitely copying something, but they’re also adding in their own originality to the formula and bringing something new to the table.
Is there anything truly original nowadays? Probably not, but I think so long as we can bring something new to the table, whether it’s a new twist, new perspective, or new designs (and provide credit where it’s due), then there will always be new “originals” to take their place alongside their progenitors.
*if you spotted this as a Calculus joke, treat yourself to a cookie, baked with my shame.
**if you’re going to buy third-party original Gunpla, that’s on you. I neither support nor discourage the purchases of these kits, but if you are interested in Gunpla, please consider purchasing the real Bandai stuff. Support the original creators.