Fashion Show: Steampunk Powers Hetalia

At Anime North 2010 this weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Steampunk Fashion Show.  The theme this year was “Steampunk Powers Hetalia,” a creative take on the widely popular anime and manga series Axis Powers Hetalia.  I had pretty good seats at the event, so I decided to make a video for everyone to enjoy!

A snippet from the program:

“Axis Powers Hetalia focuses on events surrounding World Wars I and II. But this is steampunk, dear reader, and there has not been one great world war that we are aware of, never mind a second. In the world of steampunk, history progressed very differently, beginning with the age of steam power. The worldwide political struggle of the Victorian Era was known as “The Scramble For Africa,” a period between 1870 and 1912 that carved the European continent up into colonies of various European countries, leaving only Liberia and Ethiopia as independent African states.

“The characters of Steampunk Powers Hetalia are taken from the ruling countries of the various empires who had financial, political, or territorial interests in Africa. Because this is steampunk, things are… a little different.”


Anime and Steampunk

There is no greater contributor to my interest in Japanese Alternate History than my love for Anime.  Today is an excellent time to post this, since it helps explain my absence from the blog.  Guardian is going through some bumps in the editing process, and as such, I put it on the backburner for a different project; getting ready for an anime convention that starts tomorrow!  This weekend, I will be at Anime North, one of Canada’s largest anime conventions.

Oh, and it was my birthday this month, so I treated myself to some time off.

Anyway, I mentioned this because this month, I had become so keen on anime, manga, and light novels, that I had seriously re-thunk the approach that I took to my novel.  In all honesty, the plot, characterization, and writing style is comparable to Samurai Champloo, a widely popular, anachronistic anime about samurai in Edo Japan.  During NaNoWriMo, I had essentially marathoned this series as a means of inspiration for my writing, and should you get your hands on my manuscript, you would probably see the similarities.

Other than the historical element in Japanese media (period dramas being widely popular in 1960’s Japan), there are excellent series from anime and manga that have strong steampunk elements as well.  To name a few, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Last Exile, and Steamboy are my candidates for representatives of their genre in the medium.  However, while the aesthetic is there, the attitude and ethos is widely European in content.  Steamboy, in particular, takes place in Victorian England itself.  There is hardly any anime out there that pertains to an alternate history of Japan affected by technology.  The closest would probably be Samurai Seven, which is an adaptation of the period movie of the same name, but containing more futuristic Mecha, instead of more archaic mechanical walkers or steam-powered suits.

Thus, I’ve come to think harder about what I could possibly bring to this anime community that I wish to also bring to the steampunk community as well.  The anime and manga crowd have recently reveled in a developing literary trend towards Japanese light novels, a serialized form of novella that contains manga-style illlustrations.  Considering that I may find it difficult to expand the wordcount of Guardian, it could very well end up being a novella series with mangaka illustrations.  It would definitely be something to look into.  A Leviathan of sorts, except with spikey-haired protagonists and moe damsels in distress.

After all, if I modeled one of Guardian’s main characters (Hanako) after the Genki Girl archetype, it would seem natural for the project to evolve as such.  It seems more niche than this steampanku genre already is, but I can see the appeal in it for those who would be interested.  Oh well.  Something to think about while I put my finishing touches on my cosplay for this weekend.  Have a good one!