Friday, May 21, 2010

Emeralds Influences: Dorothy

The concept of a young girl being taken from her own world and thrown into a realm of fantasy and adventure is hardly a new idea, least of all in anime. If its not magical girls coming to Earth from Heaven or somewhere, then its the reverse of having girls from modern day Earth being sent to someplace like Wonderland. Once they're there, they usually do quite alot of growing up by becoming more responsible, usually because they were the key figure in some epic struggle of good vs. evil. Alot of these characters were influential to me when I was shaping my version of Dorothy, who is kinda the original "girl lost in space and time". One of the main ones was Hitomi from Vision Of Escaflowne. Hitomi is a highschool girl with the power to see people's fortune with tarot cards, and sometimes gets visions that warn her of impending danger(kinda like Spider-Sense). She gets sent to the world of Gaea which is a missing moon from Earth, and helps the handsome young prince Van in his struggle to liberate Gaea from the ruthless Zaibach empire. Hitomi uses her clairvoyant abilities to help Van and his friends, while dueling with her feelings for Van and the handsome knight Allen. The TV series has alot in common with Oz, including an enigmatic wizard/ruler, a lion man, and a young maiden who was unknowingly transformed into a boy. There was a movie remake too titled Escaflowne that remade Hitomi into a suicidal girl who comes to terms with her existence after her trip ot Gaea, where she's seen as a goddess.Another one worth mentioning(and that most Americans are familiar with)is Kagome from Inu-Yasha. Kagome is the modern day reincarnation of a priestess from fuedal Japan, of which she ends up going back to the past via a time-travelling well that only works for her, and meets up with a half-demon dogboy. On her frequent trips to the past, Kagome becomes psychically aware of the magical energies alive during this time, particularly from the ancient Shikon Jewel. This series went on for over 100 episodes, and was recently brought back under the new title, Inu-Yasha: The Final Act, which concludes the story. A final contender is Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth who is one of three girls who are transported to the world of Cephiro, and have to become the Magic Knights in order to save the Princess Emeraude from a supposedly evil priest. Along the way, Hitomi with her friends Umi and Fuu mature as characters, and become great friends despite never knowing each other before. Once their original journey ends(without giving away any spoilers!), Hikari and Co. get sent back to Tokyo, but return for the second season where they protect Cephiro from a new threat. This is a little where I came up with the idea of Dorothy, Trot, and Betsy Bobbin becoming witches to protect Oz. There is a darker OVA remake of this anime titled simply Rayearth about a slightly older Hikaru trying to stop the forces of Cephiro from invading Earth. I could name a few other anime characters similar to Dorothy, like Chihiro from Spirited Away, but these particular three really made a big influence in my ideas for Dorothy.

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