Welcome my sweet island guests. It’s time for me to spread my wings again and take you on a little flight tour. It’s gonna be a hoot! That’s right it’s another OWLS Tour. By now you have read the prompt plenty of times in other OWLS post plus it feels really wrong to wish you a happy new year this late in the year. I always wish you a happy life and happy days. Prompt or no prompt though in the month January we talk about visions. How is the future depicted in our favorite anime, manga, movie? How do we see ourselves in the future?
This is what the Otaku Warriors of Liberty and Self Respect discussed this month. To read more about them click on the cute owls cocktail! To me the future can be uncertain and waiting for it can feel keep quite bad . Perhaps something you really want is locked behind “the future”. In the future people might be more accepting of who you are. In the future I might get healthier. When we envision the future it always seems very far away. We might not live to see those moments we envision. It might be not for us. Yet one anime we all know is kind of becoming living proof that sometimes the future isn’t as far off as it may seem and it shows us we might have a big role to play in realising it.
When we first saw Yu-Gi-Oh appear in the early zero’s we never would have believed that we could ever play Yu-Gi-Oh like in that show Plenty of us thought ‘wouldn’t it be cool if one day we could duel like that?’ A lot of people still think do. What plenty of people do not realise is that that future is basically already here. I shall highlight a few technologies that we deemed impossible or stuff in the far far future but that is here already.I would like to begin where it all began. The Duelist Kingdom.
Yes I know there is a season zero but that is something I choose to omit. When Maximillion Pegasus created the Duel Monsters card game it wasn’t much more than the tradable card game we see played in our own world championships. Just some guys playing cards. To earn more money… and to gain all the millenium items in an evil plot … he had to make it a bit more spectacular. So the big holographic machines in the first season came to be. Back in 2001 this seemed like some star wars level of sci fi. Yet in 2017 a group of geeks like us . but waaaay smarter than me personally, managed to created some very impressive hologram table that basically puts Pegasus ones to shame.In fact one bigwig of Namco was so impressed that he joined the team to ready it for gaming purposes mostly for the arcade.Dragon Ball Heroes shows us we can already make cards interact with arcade cabinets very well. So already what seemed like it would be ages away is right around the corner.
The theme of future being closer than we might think is present throughout the series as well. Virtually every Yu-gi-oh character grows up way faster, after an unforseen event . Yu-gi learns from a maturer version of himself, only to find out he surpasses him way faster than he would have thought. Yuki/Jaden has to merge with Yubel which makes him a much more mature character. Yusei had to grow up fast to survive in Satellite and we see Yuma grow from a bumbling fool into a hero that saves the world mere days after disovering Astral. Yusaku lives roughly 10 years into our future, showing us that the noble creators have seen how close we are of having his world in reality. Yet also he was captured and shaped into a grown up faster than would have been normal. Yuya is the one I missed out on but he lost his father and had to step up….sooner than expected. Sometimes the future is closer than you think, for good OR for bad.
When we talk about the future we tend to envision it at a fixed point in time. We imagine where we will be in 10 years, we don’t imagine where we will be when we have a lucky windfall. Yet progress is like a snowball. The further it goes the larger it gets the faster it moves. This means that the future is often not 10 years away but only a series of discoveries. A chain of events once set in motion becoming a fast moving force. Whether you are waiting for your favorite trading card game to become reality or the acceptance of your subgroup becoming widespread. we do not need years..we need events and people starting the motions. While it may seem like a waiting game, in our own way we are the architects to the future.
Kaiba is real
Why are WE the architects of the future? Who is WE anyway? Well with we in this case I mean us geeks. I think geeks have a significant impact on the future. Wether we just buy 7 versions of Skyrim and support Todd coming up with new ways to play it, or if we actively imagine the idea of a star wars droid coming to live. All of us geeks do something on a nearly daily basis that is an absolute requirement to make the future happen faster. That key elements all geeks have in common is that we prefer to enter fantasy worlds on a daily basis. As such our imagination is significant larger than that of those who, let’s saysit in the gym everyday and binge Just Tattoo of Us. While normies contribute in their own way , I think in shaping the future we take a more crucial role. They however serve as the control that keeps us in check. To realise the future I think we need 3 sorts of people. We need a Yugi Muto, we need a Maximillion Pegasus and we need a Seto Kaiba.
For this comparison let’s take Battle City Dueling as their future becoming real. Yugi serves the role as the believer of an idea, the one who fantasises, the “nerd” if you will. Yugi is like us. This is shown throughout the show as well, Yugi is being picked on, a telltale sign of being geeky unfortunately, or at the very least how we are depicted. Yet the spiky haired protagonist is also the one who believes in his cards. He sees them as his friends.He trusts them. Talks to them. Like I talk to my pokémon! In fact basically the entire world they live in is geeky. People would rather watch these complex duels than people trying to take a ball across a field.
Every single duelist practicing their pro sport has some sort of geeky hobby or connection. Weevil collects bugs, rex collects fossils and is into archeology and stuff. Bones is crazy about zombies. Even the Bear Grylls of their world Mako Tsunami is heavily into the children’s card game. Every single duelist who has a connection to their deck is a geek in one shape way or form. Duelist Kingdom even shows this in Yugi’s style of thinking when he destroys the moon. That’s some video game logic style thinking right there. Troughout the entire world everyone is in love with the cards in their deck and has a connection to the fantastical creatures.. Let’s compare this one with star wars fan and also the writers who come up with the story
Then there is Joey and Tristan.,, not sure where they fit. .
Next we need the realist. Someone who sees these people’s needs and gives them what they want….sort off. The people that give us the semblance of an idea we try to achieve. Pegasus fills this role in the yu-gi-oh world. He creates a card game that pleases everyone. From a Chad that uses his machine cards to power trip. to a woman who lives out her sexual fantasies through her harpy cards. From the boy pretending to be an Esper to a tomb keeper of ancient egypt. No matter who you are, there is always a deck for you. You will have to spend a fortune on packs though. Pegasus showed that people that play this sport, want to live their fantasy and that there in fact is profit and glory to be had in making these fantasies as real as possible.
In the real world the game companies fill this function. With current technologies they want to provide something for people either to make a point or to gain a few bucks. The toy companies selling you a fake lightsaber so you can pretend to be a Jedi would also be in here. In a way even the OWLS are part of this category of people. We see xenophobia, alienation, exclusion towards people who don’t have to be shunned or degraded in any way. We see a world where we unite trough our fandoms and with what means we have right now we try to get the message out. Our blogs are the toys we can pretend with that the world is already a great place, we can offer an escape from the harsh reality that we aren’t there yet..
Even though Pegasus could not make his world’s shared fantasy fully real, nor can we reshape the world simply trough blogs and youtube, we inspire the risk taker, the visionaries, to go above and beyond.
Kaiba is the final person we need to bring the future alive. We need a dreamer to come up with an idea, a realist to show this idea is not just a whim and a visionary to actually bring the future alive. Usually the visionary is at least in some shape way or form part of the dreamers as well. Most visionaries are at least somewhat geeky. Like Kaiba they have a love for that idea of the future as well. Kaiba is crazy enough to build a dueling system that works everywhere just because he is in love with the game so much he wants to be able to play it anywhere. Well that and to proof that he is the true king of games.
He loves his cards so much that he builds jet’s shaped like his favorite cards. He hosts tournaments so people can see other people duel and he even pays for a school that inspires people to choose a profession in the world of duel monsters. He doesn’t even own Industrial Illusion’s which make the cards. He just sells the hardware. Yet Kaiba Corp did not start out making what is effectively that world’s most popular console. It started as a weapons company led by his adoptive father. It took courage, bravery and a belief in a different future to make Battle City happen. He also had to scheme his father out of his market shares to make it possible.
Our world has exactly that same type of visionairs. Maybe they are not as edgy as the rival of Yugi but who knows. Elon Musk might have long white trench coats with studs all across in his wardrobe. I bet he’d love to shape his drilling machines like his favorite kaiju or pokémon..with some luck he might one day even make a Gurren. He might conference call with other car CEO’s when he works for Tesla and be like “I am gonna destroy you Audi’ and then people finally will realise I am the king of cars. I can totally see him making a jet for himself shaped like a dragon as well…or something else he really likes. Back to my point, we have visionaries, Elon Musk is our Kaiba and we have other people like him. These people will take huge risks to bring the future of tomorrow into today but nearly all these visionaries are rather unpredictable so again.. the future may be just around the corner.
Get your game on
Yu-gi-oh to me is a great metaphor for how close the future is. Plenty of season show us how the past, present and sometimes future are interwoven. We create our own future! Like how Atem was able to stop Zork. He was able to summon the egyptian gods because he had learned their names in the the future. So by simply imagining things we take huge steps in making them become real. For many transgender, the progress of physically becoming yourself might seem painstakingly slow and far away in the future but by simply knowing you signed up you already give of a signal to the world. I am ready! I need this. Doctors and Visionaries will see this and see more and more people desire to be their true self. This will allow our world’s Kaibas to invent new techniques, better techniques and allows our Maximillions (the plural thing on a surname and Pegasus is kinda tricky) to get who process more streamlined. Dare to take that step even if it seems to take ages! People get information and inspiration from your courage.
The same can be said for tolerance towards whatever niche you may belong to. Show that desire, show the wish and even if it is not you if plenty people wish together some visionary WILL stand up and bring the future sooner than you might expect. Yet be wary, do not splinter yourself off to much. Our voices must be heard and for that we must join together. Do not demand rights for you! Inspire courage towards your niche, towards your desire and do not fight alone. Do not ask for a pink lightsaber that hums like the darksaber, while a regular lightsaber hasn’t even been invented yet. In Yu-gi-oh you will have to optimise your hand, you can not go for an Exodia Strategy if you don’t have enough card drawing power. Win some games first to get the proper cards and THEN go for the endgame. We can skim of years but not ages. If we ask for to much our visionary will not arrived and the future will just stay the future.
Let’s compare two Yu-gi-oh seasons that are very close to each other for example. Yu-gi-oh 5d’s and Yu-gi-oh Zexal. Say we wish one of them should become real, we still have to wish Zexal becomes real first, no matter how much we would like to play a children’s card game on motorcycles. Yuma’s duel disk comes with special glasses that show him the holograms. Basically Yuma’s Yu-Gi-Oh already exists in the form of augmented reality. The graphics aren’t good enough and the computers are just not strong enough to create the full effect. However this is a matter of years. In fact if we look back at that VR-Table I posted above.. it’s possible now most likely.. just not economically viable. We just need the tiniest push and we are in the realm of Zexal (minus the magic eyes and weird energy sources). Yu-gi-oh can happen now! Yet we can’t really expect the technology to be fitted in vehicles yet, let alone to gain a city that will reroute all traffic because people are playing a card game (okay the worldbuilding of 5d’s might be somewhat bad).
The future seems far away at times but it is our imagination what draws it in closer. Our imagination drives others, or even ourselves to invent stuff like it. A lot of Star Trek things, people would never expect to be real yet most off the ‘secondary’ technology has become real. We have view screens, we have virtual reality close to their holodeck, we can 3d print objects, we can communicate like them etc. With Yu-Gi-Oh we already can duel in virtual reality like Playmaker does in Vrains, although we REALLY need to debug it still. In fairness those who made it didn’t make it officially so there is that..It’s kind of a mod-like thing so imagine what an official product could do. We can kinda duel like Yuma in augmented reality as well. Sure there is no duel disk yet that shoots computer driven hologram-projecting robot, so there is still some way to go but that is a rather negative angle. The vision is becoming more and more real. Things do actually change! We are improving, we are ready to duel! However ..like in any dystopian sci-fi vision of the future we also always want to much.
When envisioning the future it’s never bad to think big, to look very far ahead but is also not very satisfying. I could look at at those augmented reality games held at the world championships of yu-gi-oh and go like…. NOPE that is not the future yet. Yet when it will finally arrive I will be surprised and ill prepared. I haven’t build a cool deck yet.. because that other stuff wasn’t worth it. I could also nod and smile as we move in the right direction. Start buying my Yu-gi-oh cards, because I know that it will come soon. I could have fun with the yanky vr simulations or the wooden augmented reality knowing I helped it grow.
I could focus on the intollerance I encounter, when flirting with other girls or when I say I do not want childeren or that I consider myself somewhat asexual and be like “jeez the future isn’t here yet I still feel unaccepted because there are still ignorant people.” Yet I could also feel happy because of the positive reactions I do get, the positive reaction Nikkietutorials shows the world is becoming more and more tolerant. The latter is such more pleasant to do. While I DO look towards my desired future at the horizon, I also embrace everything that passes by. That way the future is not just a vision. It will be a journey!
Other OWL Posts (Click to visit to them)
Healing from the past – Megan – Nerd Rambles
Spiderverse – Matt- Matt in the Hat
Idolmaster Side M – Takuto – Takuto’s Anime Café
Visions of a Brighter Future – Aria – The Animanga Spellbook
Vision for a Better Tommorow- Naja- Blerdy Otome
The Vision of Escaflowne – Fred- Au Natural
BTS Music – Crimson – Cute Boys Central
Akira- Dale – That Baka Blog
Vision of Slice of Life Anime – Scott – Mechanical Anime Reviews
(article goes live on 29/01 Until then click here!)
Star Trek The Nex Generation – Matt – Matt Doyle Media
(article goes live on 31/01 Untill then click here)