A Criminally Underserved Niche

As inspired by a small rant I had in Scott’s comment section.

You know what I want? An anime about coding and/or hacking. Not Hollywood hacking, like Akudama Drive’s Hacker does (warning: TV Tropes link)…a faithful version of it.

I know, I know…no Japanese anime studio is ever going to stumble across a blog in English and go, “Yes! That’s a great topic for an anime!” (Even if I tried translating this into Japanese so that it might have a chance of being read by those parties, I don’t think they would.) However, I think the reason people find certain topics, such as computing or maths, boring is because no one (or not many) people has ever tried to spin something fun out of their passion. Normally, people who make things fun with their passion and become excited about teaching other people things end up being teachers/professors or textbook writers, not animation directors or mangaka. (Then again, I guess even IT people like to not think about work when they want to relax with an episode…)

I guess it’s kind of sad, in the case of computing. Almost everything I’ve tried for the computing aspect fails on that aspect – which is, so far, the very small list of Gridman and New Game – and one anime I did try for other reasons – The Perfect Insider – succeeds by using computing concepts in its mystery.

Sidebar: This also begs the question: Does SSSS.Dynazenon (which is coming this spring, as of this post) fit this criterion…? It’s hard to tell right now, seeing as Gridman has a sort-of-source in the tokusatsu show but Dynazenon is going to be all-new…

IT is one of those topics that’s also seen massively at odds with socialising – and hence it doesn’t look very exciting to a bunch of people – because it’s such a solitary thing to do if you don’t have people you can learn from or with, but nobody ever said that about, say, learning a language now, did they…? (Probably because to practise speaking, you need two people, but you can self-study entire computing languages without having to interact with a real person, I guess.) The Perfect Insider also suffers from a similar plight – it’s mostly characters standing around and monologuing, because its source is a novel, on top of the fact it’s a mystery. People find it boring because there’s stuff being done, sure, but not all of it translates to an exciting and compelling experience because people want to see stuff being done, not necessarily the stuff that goes on under the hood. (…Well, some IT people are interested in that too, or else no one would ever figure out how code works.)

On the other hand, one thing that could be potentially adapted to mitigate this (seemingly small?) demand is Ne0;lation, although that was cut short and so it would need a proper ending to justify adapting it. There’s also Bloody Monday, although that’s mired in terrorism so much that I can only really see an adaption of that succeeding on Netflix or Amazon. Furthermore, Scott mentions in his reply coding as an aesthetic is rather popular, but programming itself is pretty boring…which is, sadly, true if you lump “frustrating” in there as well.

I’m sure there are other manga out there about coding and/or hacking which fit my criterion and I don’t know about and I may even have missed an anime which fits the criterion, so sound off in the comments if you have any recommendations for either.

7 thoughts on “A Criminally Underserved Niche

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  1. I actually don’t see why this couldn’t be done. How many people really deeply care about Karuta, yet Chihayafuru is an immensley popular anime. March Comes in Like a Lion is very beloved, and how exciting is it, really to watch a game of Shogi when you don’t even really know how to play? I joke about how anime can make you deeply CARE about a game, hobby, or sport that IRL you probably couldn’t care less about. I’m a writer and artist, and believe me, no one finds it all that exciting to watch me write or draw… it’s just not an action packed occupation. But there are anime about writers and artists. My coding never went beyond html to put a website together, but I can imagine that more complex coding could be really cool, certainly provide dramatic highs and lows, not to mention frustrations and that’s all you need for a story. I actually hope some great anime studio does see this blog post and gets an idea…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I dunno… The Great Passage made a pretty decent anime (based on a better book) about making a dictionary… But a good part of that is because it wasn’t really about making a dictionary, it was about the _people_ who were making the dictionary.

    And really, that’s what sells a story. Who they are, not what they are or what they are doing.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Very, very interesting article. The Fast Fourier Transform is an incredibly beautiful piece of math, and so are many of its implementations in computer code. But no one can see any of that unless they have spent a great deal of time in learning to program. As Euclid said long ago, there is no royal road to Geometry. One has to pay the piper at the gates of dawn for the tune if you want to dance. Ms Kobayashi in Dragon Maid is a programmer in Python no less, but the anime is not about programming. New Game comes close to the collective group process of writing a game, and even dishes up some technical details but the actual code of the game is no where to be found because it would bore most people to tears. There is no physical embodiment of a program upon which anyone would be able to hang their hat. In a very real sense, computer code does not exist. Does the Diophantine Series exist? Even code that you might write is “encoding for the actual thing that is the algorithm” which has no physical representation at all. This makes it very difficult to create an anime. The closest anyone has come in my opinion is Cells at Work. By making cells into little people with personality and character, then real people can understand. Come on, the Platelets are some of the cutest loli’s in all anime and yet if you were to look at a real one, not so cute at all, rather more like ugly protoplasm. But the point of Cells is that most of us can keep up with the story while we are being programmed with the details of the Krebs cycle. I suppose you could do that with bits and bytes. Disney did it with emotions “Inside out”. But Cells and Inside are about physical processes. There is nothing physical about code. An algorithm can only be seen in the light of pure reason, and it takes years of hard study to gain that insight! I do not believe that it is possible to create an anime about programming that would be even remotely entertaining. They tried in Tron, and you can see the result. An anime would be like that.

    Liked by 1 person

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