Personal Interest - Japan and UK Cultural relations


This blog post is about the Japan-UK season of culture 2019/20. The “Japan-UK Season of Culture” is unfolding in 2019 and 2020, when Japan hosts two sporting landmarks: the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.  It seeks to build on the British people’s keen interest in these events by showcasing Japan’s multifaceted attractions.  They hope that people all over Britain will join with Japan in embracing this chance to deepen mutual understanding, thus helping to create an enduring legacy. I enjoy anime films and tv series, along with I regularly listen to BBC radio. I often listen to drama and comedy programmes. I thought it would be different to speculate about which BBC radio dramas could work as anime. I aim include links to where to listen to these programmes legally if you they peak any interest (note no affiliation if links are to sites that require you too but them). I will include how these dramas would fit into typical anime genre. 

BBC Radio Programmes as Anime

Isekai: translates to "another world." This sub-genre typically has a narrative where a protagonist somehow gets transported to a different world. The new world is more often than not in a fantasy setting, occasionally with traits pulled from JRPG games. This category of anime exploded during the 2010s and arguably dominates. A good portion of isekai anime is adapted not from manga but rather from light novels. The most popular series in this sub-genre may be Sword Art Online. While the world featured there was just virtual reality, it did feature a fantasy setting that would be mimicked in other anime. The type of anime has become so prevalent that there is actually a backlash against it now. Story contests in Japan have actually banned isekai stories from being submitted just because of how saturated the market has become with it.


It is a comic fantasy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 by Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto, and starring Stephen ManganAlistair McGowanDarren BoydKevin EldonSophie Winkleman and Dave Lamb The series takes place in the world of Lower Earth, a parody of Middle-earth from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. In Lower Earth, a band of warriors go forth to search for a mythical sword to save Lower Earth from the evil Lord Darkness (played by McGowan). In order to do so, they must find "The Chosen One" who will save Lower Earth. The Chosen One is Amis, a dog in the real world which belongs to a fantasy novelist called Sam Porter (played by Mangan). The first series was broadcast from 29 March to 3 June 2009 and the second from 18 November 2010. The third series began broadcasting from 17 October 2011. The fourth series began broadcasting 12 February 2013.
ElvenQuest fits in quite nicely with isekai genre with its mix of comedy and parody of fantasy tropes.

Planet B

It is a science fiction drama series first broadcast on BBC Radio 7 (later Radio 4 Extra) on 2 March 2009 as part of BBC Radio's science fiction season between February and March 2009. Planet B is set in a virtual world called "Planet B" in which people play as life-size avatars. Whose tag line is "Planet B, be whoever you want to be". The first series follows John Armstrong who attempts to find girlfriend Lioba Fielding who is dead in the real world but alive in Planet B. As he travels between various worlds he becomes entangled in an array of strange scenarios, teleporting from each adventure to the next with his companion Medley, a "rogue avatar" who has no human controller. All the while, John and Medley are being watched by a dog-like antivirus programme called Cerberus who, along with the Planet B Corporation, considers the rogues to be a computer virus that need to be wiped out. In the second series, Lioba is on the run from Planet B and travels the virtual world with computer games expert Kip Berenger after they are attacked by Cerberus. In the third series, Mark Schwartz, the head of Planet B, announces that the original Planet B is to shut down and replaced by a new service, Planet B Platinum. He claims it is to provide a new service, but it is really designed to kill all the rogues in the old site. Kip and Medley travel between worlds in an attempt to find a code which allow them access to the "reset button" which will restore Planet B to its original state and make it open source thus breaking free of the corporation which controls it.
Planet B is would more mature take within the isekai genre it would also bring a different take to the genre which only focus on a single world or place while Planet B is more like Doctor Who in that it is a different location each week/episode. 

HistoricalThe setting of a historical anime takes place at some point in Earth's past. The level of dedication to portraying the lifestyles, societies, and technologies of past periods and peoples accurately or believably can vary greatly between different works.

Bleak Expectation

 It is a BBC Radio 4 comedy series that premièred in August 2007. It is a pastiche of the works of Charles Dickens – such as Bleak House and Great Expectations, from which it derives its name  as well as adventure/science fiction and costume dramas set in the same period, and parodies several of their plot devices (such as cruel guardians, idyllic childhoods interrupted, lifelong friendships, earnest young people), whilst simultaneously tending toward a highly surreal humour along the lines of The Goon Show. The series has also demonstrated a fondness for allusions to and parodies of the films of Alec Guinness, particularly the Edwardian satire Kind Hearts and Coronets.
It is written by Mark Evans, who plays minor characters in most episodes, and produced by Gareth Edwards. Its opening and closing theme is the main theme from the Mazurka from Three Characteristic Pieces by Edward Elgar, from a 2004 recording by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
The plot revolves around Philip "Pip" Bin, inventor of the bin and his various fantastic adventures as he attempts to thwart the machinations of his evil ex-guardian, Mr. Gently Benevolent. It is narrated by Pip as an old man to the journalist (and his eventual son-in-law) Sourquill, who brings various useless inventions to assist in recording the events.
By crossing muiltpy genres Bleak Expectations has something for everyone. 

An epic saga from John Dryden and Mike Walker, inspired by the Mamluk slave dynasty of Egypt. It is a Game of Thrones-esque, fiction podcast. A story of slaves, spies, armies, betrayals and murder set in the wealthiest city on earth. It is an epic historical fantasy. 
While anime is by and large for family and children, their shows and films that are older or mature viewers. Tumanbay is one such drama. It is a rare kind of original audio drama in this day and age which I think deserves to reach a wider audience thus if it was turned into anime it would do that. 

Sci-fiis a speculative genre which builds on imagination. Sci-fi anime ask, "What if things were different?" They explore a new world, whether it's the world of the future or past, a present Earth with a changed history, a land that was previously unknown, or another planet entirely. The genre commonly features humanity's inquisitiveness and innovation, as they grapple with new technologies, new societies, or new frontiers in Outer Space.
Earthsearch 1 & 2 plus prequel Mindwarp
Earthsearch: A Ten-Part Adventure Serial in Time and Space is a science fiction radio series written by James Follett. It consists of ten half-hour episodes. The starship Challenger has been on a 115-year-long mission, exploring other galaxies for suitable Earth-like planets to colonise. The present crew of four were born on the ship and have never left it. But when the Challenger attempts to return to the crew's home planet, it discovers that the Earth has vanished! It was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between January and March 1981. There is also a novelisation by Follett of the same name. The series has been released on cassette  and audio CD. Since 2003 it has been re-broadcast, several times in the Seventh Dimension science fiction slot on BBC 7 and its successor BBC Radio 4 Extra.
A sequel, Earthsearch 2 was broadcast between January and March 1982. There is also a novelisation by Follett under the title Earthsearch 2: Deathship. The series has been released on cassette and audio CD, and has been rerun several times on BBC Radio 4 Extra beginning in 2003.
Earthsearch: Mindwarp is a 3 part radio series based on the Mindwarp novel by James Follett. This new series was first broadcast on BBC7 from 1 to 15 April 2006 and the episodes were 45 minutes long. Arama - a great domed city encased in rock, deep beneath the surface. Generation after generation of people have gone about their lives in a world of finite space and infinite resources  never pondering the many inconsistencies around them. They have been taught not to.
To them there is only Arama and Diablo - the evil land against which they fight an eternal war. And the outdoors? Well, that's just a myth. Something to frighten children. A threat for those who disobey the Guardian of Destiny. No one questions why things are as they are. No one wonders if there could be something more.
Until now...
While it has only a loose connection to the Earthsearch series, it sets the stage for it, and contains many familiar plot elements and character traits.
The series was produced by Big Finish Productions who are also noted for their range of Doctor Who audio dramas. A number of Doctor Who actors appear in Mindwarp including Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) and India Fisher (Charley Pollard). Coincidentally, Mindwarp is also the name of parts 5 to 8 of The Trial of a Time Lord, a Doctor Who serial featuring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor.
The Earthsearch series as whole fits in with the fantastical story telling elements of anime and the substance of Earthsearch has aged nicely from when it was first broadcast and it being an anime would introduce to a new audience. 


While different I hope this blog post was on interest and maybe you find something new worth listening to.


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