Originality and Ideas

Just moments ago I watched the first episode of Attack on Titan, an anime that is still ongoing and very popular this year.  The basic concept is that a few hundred years ago, these giant creatures, that look human except for the fact that they are two or three stories tall began appearing and eating all the humans.  The humans called these creatures Titans.  Eventually humans managed to build an enormous set of walls that were too tall and strong for the Titans to break through and have been living in safety for the last hundred years behind the enormous walls.  Not going to spoil much, as I have only seen the first episode, but as one would expect in a show like this, the Titans manage to break through the wall in the first episode and shake things up.  

Now when I was watching this show, I was enjoying it, but one of my first thoughts was, “Dang, this is a lot like an idea for a book that I have had for nearly 10 years, if I ever write the book now, people are going to think that I copied this show.”  A few moments later another thought I had was, “The idea of this wall that is being built to stop the giant monsters that popped up out of nowhere is a lot like Pacific Rim, I wonder if they took the idea from that?”  As it turns out, the Manga that the Anime is based upon was written in 2009, years before Pacific Rim came out.  The book idea that I have was also created years before this show or Pacific Rim.  It is possible that Pacific Rim took some ideas from Attack on Titan, but the show only started this year, and the production of Pacific Rim began long before that.  While I am sure that all three ideas probably came from a variety of sources and were not wholly original, their is no super popular piece of media that has the same idea of “Giant Enemy Things appear from out of nowhere, so humanity must hide itself behind walls and must never leave the safety of said walls.”  Thus while none of the three basic concepts are wholly original, they are all original enough that they can not be said to directly derive themselves from something, even though they are all very similar to each other.  Like Calculus, this new idea sprang into existence in several different places at around the same time, but was invented independently in all of these places.  

The question then becomes this:  Are occurances such as this purely coincidence, or do they represent Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times?  Is their some sort of cultural force that really makes the idea of a group of humans trapped inside of a wall or city or what have you, hiding from a force they do not understand appeal to many people right now?  

Much has been said about the strange appeal that Zombies have had to the world for the last decade or so.  Many people have put forth the idea that Zombies represent some sort of force that humans find scary about real life right now, and that that is the reason for the obsession with them.  Could the cultural Zeitgeist be turning away from zombies, towards an obsession with nigh unstoppable, nigh unexplainable creatures that cannot be defeated by the average man?  Could these creatures have their root in something the average human being today is afraid of?  I certainly think it is possible, and can think of a few things that these creatures might represent.  However, as this trend so far extends to two works and one idea, it is perhaps to early to make these wild accusations.  Still, if these sorts of stories become the trend, let me be the first to say, “Called It.”

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One Response to “Originality and Ideas”

  1. hippolar Says:

    Clever! Like the provocative thoughts going on here. And you say it so well. Keep up your enjoyable “philosophical ramblings.”

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