It is not the first time ever that fiction plays such spectacular role in the formation of technology. Many times along human history, fiction has offered a safe space for new and revolutionary ideas to grow without being held too close to the light of ration or practicality. Such an example of this is VR. Virtual Reality has found a very hospitable niche in Japanese manga and anime. And this has happened long before the first developer kit was ever shipped from Oculus. Here are 3 of the most interesting to watch anime series that might just become fundamental viewing in the future, in order to look back into the history of humanity and the times when you couldn’t just pop into another world.
Virtual Reality in Japanese manga and anime
The perfect match between VR and anime is surely the series Sword Art Online (SAO). The action of the story is set in the not too distant future of 2022. The whole plot centers around a virtual reality MMORPG that shares the name. The series presents the adventures of Kirito, a 14 year boy who, uses a fully integrated VR device called ‘NerveGear’to transport himself way from home and into the online fantasy world. Here, in a typical fairytale fashion he possesses unbelievable fighting skills. The turning point of the story starts as they encounter surprising problems when attempting to log out of the game.
Fans of this series are really doing the best they can to recreate the look and feel of their favorite anime: SAO.Their efforts include spawning a VR demo of the inworld GUI, and even their own Minecraft Mod.
Another important representative of the genre is the .hack (dot hack) that has been keeping its fans fully immersed in a virtual world. Taking into consideration that the anime series in question, .hack//Sign, was released in tandem with .hack//Infection (2002) (a PS2 game sharing the anime’s MMORPG backdrop, a place simply called ‘The World’). The story of this anime follows an amnesia-stricken teenage boy, called Tsukasa, in a familiar ‘coming of age while being stuck in VR’ story line that’s more of a spiritual progenitor to SAO, actually.
One of the best examples of quality Japanese weirdness is Accel World. This is definitely one series that has changed things up in the VR anime world. The idea of putting all the characters in a hyper accelerated state, where they are forced to enter into the online battle arena called ‘Accel World’. The hours inside Accel World are really only a split second in the real life. This is mainly how we discover the world of 2046. Story is told through the eyes of Haru, who is also teenage school boy who uses a VR device embedded in his body, to enhance a smooth crossing. With every level gained in the virtual world he increases power and mental prowess in the real world, as well.