So while we're here.
Might as well talk about it some more.
One--that song is drop-dead amazing. It is a stunning thing on its own.
But two--the animation accompanying it is perfect.
It is one of the, if not the, best openers for an anime I've ever seen. It is just. that. good.
So it figures if my praises are that high for the opener, they are equally sung for the show proper.
And that rings true.
As my girlfriend put it, I gave the show my highest possible form of praise:
"The premise is really, really similar to the book I was working on". (Specifically the book before Heroes of Gistou.)
That book featured characters who, as early as their childhood years, plotted to escape a complex ruled by non-human entities. The characters had to show incredible intelligence and wisdom beyond their years in order to orchestrate the escape. (Granted, this happened in the prologue...and all but one of them was killed because while the escape succeeded, afterwards, in the chase, they died. So the similarities pretty much end there, butstill.)
Given how much I pride myself in my writing.
That's about as high a praise as is possible, in fact.
And there's another thing I would like to point out, from a different story of mine--one not intended to be a book.
Emma (and for that matter Ray and whatshisname), The Promised Neverland's protagonist. Is 11 years old...
...The same age as Phyrra and Cyrus.
...Why is that significant?
...Because this show is more or less a validation of "I'm on target" for displaying smart, intelligent, wise, mature 11-year-olds in terms of content. Yes, they are occasionally still kids, but the show displays them actually being smart. Not fake-smart. Genuinely clever and intuitive, prodigies who are geniuses, with ingenuity and quite capable of coming up with amazing strategies.
Which is what Phyrra and Cyrus are supposed to be.
It gets better.
Emma and Phyrra are pretty similar personality-wise. Cheerful, fairly friendly and somewhat polite while being somewhat blunt. (Admittedly, bluntness is more Ray's trait and politeness more whatshisname's trait.) A bit of a doofus compared to the other kid(s) her age, but in spite of needing things explained to her sometimes, by no means actually an idiot, capable of extreme cleverness of her own...while having a charming smile, warm heart, charismatic attitude and surprising level of insight.
Which is more or less what I'm aiming for with Phyrra.
And Cyrus is similarly like whatshisname with a side of Ray, being level-headed, calm, cool, collected, a planner, pragmatic, efficient, cold, yet still understanding and not all-knowing. Someone who prefers thinking rather than athletic flairs, and is lethally calculating in maneuvers.
...But it gets even better.
When Phyrra's body-swapped into Cyrus, and vice-versa. (The state that they stay in most of the series, aside from the twice-a-month times they are in their own bodies past the prologue.)
Because Cyrus's real body looks a lot like Emma, and Phyrra's real body looks somewhat like a cross between Ray and whatshisname.
Phyrra actually looks a lot like Emma.
And Cyrus actually looks a lot like a cross between Ray and whatshisname.
(My girlfriend's probably gonna be ticked when reading this blog and realizing I already forgot his name. Or more specifically, I'm not positive of it. I kinda have 'Nolan' in my head as being it but I'm not sure that was it?)
If you took Ray's hairstyle/length and the expressions/eyes/hair color/etc. of whatshisname, then it'd look pretty darn close to what Phyrra's real body is like, the body Cyrus is trapped in most of the time.
And Cyrus's real body, which Phyrra is trapped in most of the time, being a body that I deliberately modeled to be a stereotypical shonen anime protagonist body.
...Is pretty darn similar to Emma's, because she is a bit of a stereotypical shonen anime protagonist even in her body.
Obviously, they're not basically-identical, but the resemblance is fairly self-evident.
I haven't really drawn Phyrra and Cyrus yet (I should, I know, but I haven't), but I've made reference images of them using various programs, some of which are on this blog. As a refresher, here's a dump of them all.
I can't stress enough how none of these are official.
None of these fully capture the aesthetic.
These are mostly done as brainstorming. Proof-of-concept work. Throwing ideas around for exact iterations of what their outfits look like. I have, in previous blog entries, described their exact look, and these give you a fairly good idea of what sort of look that is, but none of them are exact. You can't even average them all out to get it, either, because some are truer to the vision than others.
These are all just loose references, unofficial things that I use as a shorthand, lazy reference, things I use because I lack any other way currently to give a visualization of the two--until I actually draw Phyrra and Cyrus myself, I don't have any non-text picture of them. I can describe them, but without using these program screencaps, I can't actually show them to you yet because they haven't been drawn yet.
From this, you can probably get where I am coming from with what I am saying. Take a look at this in comparison since while not the best picture of the characters it's enough.
Phyrra's hair is styled almost like Ray's, except removing the emo-covers-one-eye part of it. Pull that hair back so both eyes are visible, and suddenly you have her hair there, albeit hanging back down to the shoulders in the back. Blue instead of black, but you can get the idea.
Her eyes are almost exactly the color of whats-his-name's eyes over there.
And Cyrus, when inhabiting her body as he does for most of the show. Has an expression which is dead-inbetween Ray's and whats-his-name's. Not quite as cynical/serious as Ray, but also not quite as "open" as whats-his-name's. Deadpan, somewhat-serious, but not looking aggressive/dark as much as Ray does here.
So in a sense.
This is me paying the highest of high compliments to the show.
Comparing it to a novel I love and hold dear is high enough praise in of itself.
Egotistical to the extreme, sure, albeit not entirely unjustifiably so. (The novel I can trace its exact origins down to the short story which is still posted online. If I recall correctly, to about 2009ish, give or take a year. Turning it into a novel, I can also track down the exact year of, which I believe but am not sure was 2011. I am pretty sure that whenever the manga this anime is adapting was made, didn't start until after that, so my work comes first, even if it ends up published later. Which I realize doesn't change much, but is why I say not entirely unjustified...just mostly unjustified.)
But hey, I am egotistical so when an extreme narcissist like me says, "this work is like one of my own!", it is as high a praise as is possible because given how high I hold my work to be, the esteem in it, saying it's as good as that is saying it is really good.
...Yet I'm not just comparing it to the novel I love and hold dear.
I am comparing it to my pet project that I hold the highest of high ambitions for.
To the point where I even mentioned it in passing to my mom today, which is a way of kinda sorta solidifying it as "real".
When I mention something online, it can stay online forever and never have a form of "legitimacy" to it.
That doesn't mean that things online for me are illegitimate. But what it does mean is that things online are harder to have be legitimate.
And to say words in real life holds power.
Hearing Bree online is nice; hearing it in person is something which is life-changing.
That's the effect I am talking about, and I think this is something anyone online can understand what I'm getting at here. How what's done and said in real life means magnitudes more, and why it is a goal so much to strive for--because it is so worth it when it is actually done. It feels like the difference between saying and doing (real life), the difference between living it (real life) and not-really-not-living-it-but-not-really-fully-living-it.
I think you get what I mean.
Saying, even as a hint.
That Phyrra and Cyrus as a project exists.
Just had a way of solidifying it.
Not just "this is something I want to do, but...".
"Yeah I'm doing this".
Phyrra and Cyrus, that project of mine that I hold the highest of high ambitions for, the thing where I solidified it as being real.
I am comparing to the show.
That show does basically everything I'd want to do in Phyrra and Cyrus.
So when I say "The Promised Neverland is the quality to which I strive to make Phyrra and Cyrus be".
There really can't be any higher praise than that.
It's higher than the highest of the high praises.