Coded azure.

Saturday 8 July 2006

Screenshot anime Kamisama Kazoku

Pic of the day: It is not easy for a high school boy to be the son of god. Hopefully it will be easier to be an alien.

Kami worldbuilding

Another fictive universe for another story. Have to grab them while they are fresh, never know which one could be the topic for this year's NaNoWriMo!

This one is inspired by the anime Kamisama Kazoku, a crazy romantic comedy about a family of gods living in a Japanese town while the son is learning about the human world so he can become a good god when he grows up. Having more respect for theology than that, I could not have written anything like it. But I love the premise too much to just let sleeping gods lie, so I made mine aliens instead.

As always, this is nothing near a fan fiction or plagiarism. Imagine that you try to explain the premise for the anime in a very short paragraph, a couple lines perhaps. Then change a little and expand it into a whole new story as if written by someone who had never seen the first. That's what I mean by inspiration. The casual reader would probably not notice, even if they had already watched the anime. Or if they noticed, they would forget it right away.


Anyway: The main character, Evan, is a high school boy who also happens to be an alien. His friends don't know this, in fact, nobody in town knows it except his three parents who are living with him. (One of them is officially his uncle, but his species is trisexual.) Their body looks completely human down to cell level, below which it is made of nanomachines. Their technology or biology, depending on your view is millions of years ahead of ours, so it is indistinguishable from magic. This alien species, which I refer to as Kami after the Japanese term for spirits or gods, have been mingling with humans for a long time. They are also present on many other planets as guests or observers, but are not very common on each planet. They probably have a homeworld or several, but that are far away and not relevant to the story.

Evan knows that he is an alien, but he likes just as much being human. By human standards, he is almost an adult already. But by Kami standards, he is little more than a toddler: It will take him a hundred more years to master the innate powers of his race, and only then will he have reached youth and begin to study for his calling in life. (The Kami don't so much have careers as "Ways", which are complete lifestyles. In human societies, monk is an example of a "way".) Of course, by then he will be far beyond human comprehension, almost godlike by human standards. Not that they will know.

The core of the story is the duality of the young Evan: Human and alien. Being at the same time more and less than a human, but mostly more, and being unable to share it with those he sees as his friends. Always having to hold back, and it becoming second nature, to the point where he sometimes forgets how different he really is. (Hey, you know the saying: "Write about what you know"... ^_^)


In good anime tradition, there is a girl who is a childhood friend and living nearby. Evan doesn't have a sex drive yet (he is just a toddler, remember) so his ideas of romance are purely theoretical. There should be some good comedy in that, I think, if I mine it for what it is worth. The girl next door (named Alice, of course) is pretty pure herself. I also intend to have a more "worldly" classmate, and probably also a gay boy, have a crush on him. He is pretty cool after all.

But the next major character is Meri, the alien girl. She won't be introduced early, but should be a fairly influential character. Meri is slightly older than Evan, and all her parents were birds so she loves flying. (Remember, their bodies are made of nanomachines, so can be reprogrammed or exchanged. Meri's parents used to live on a different planet where the dominant species was roughly equivalent to our birds. They re-trained to human before moving here and having their child, but they retained their love of flying and she learned it early.) Meri is less integrated in human society than Evan, and lonely for company of someone like herself.

I like the idea of the occasional benevolent alien living among humans. And best of all, it gives me a chance to portray mankind seen a little bit from outside. The small things we take for granted, but aren't if you are an alien. (Or a philosopher, I guess.)

You may see some small parallels with Smallville, where Clark is an alien and has to hide his true nature from his friends too. But this is not really a major inspiration for the story. Evan, unlike Clark, lives in a family of aliens. He doesn't have anyone like Jonathan and Martha Kent to raise him as a human. His parents raise him to fake being human, a very different thing. The temptation to "go native" and identify with humanity is his own, not something instilled in him, and he does not really have anyone to talk with about this conflict inside. Another difference is, as I mentioned, he doesn't have a sex drive (Clark obviously has) and probably if he had, it would not attract him to humans. Although he may begin to think that he is in love with Alice, this is a childish delusion.

For several years now I have written mostly from the perspective of the normal human that becomes a witness to the unusual. I find that I have a hard time writing this from Evan's perspective, but there is really no choice*. He is never going to reveal his dual nature to Alice or anyone else. And I need his unique perspective. But my attempted writing is pretty clumsy so far. I will have to rewrite completely at some future point, I'm afraid. Perhaps for NaNoWriMo this year?

Music that has contributed so far:
Chris de Burgh: Lonely Sky
Sirenia: Meridian

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Toes
Two years ago: SYFG revisited
Three years ago: Hominids & humans
Four years ago: Promethevs, Loki & Lucifer
Five years ago: Lord of the rains
Six years ago: Paying for the plague
Seven years ago: I love being me

Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.

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