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Almost Otaku: How Much Does THE MATRIX Owe to Anime?

What anime influenced it?


I said that watching EVANGELION was the first time my imagination had been so totally captured by a show in years.  Let me clarify that it’s been captured by comics and novels recently, but the last time a show - - either on TV or in the theater - - intrigued me like this was MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, and that was seven years ago.  Thus, it was definitely a breath of fresh air to follow a sci-fi show that really drew me into its world, that got me discussing the intricacies of its secrets and analyzing its mythos.

A lot of fans have commented that THE MATRIX was basically a live-action anime. I don’t think that comment is really far off because I remember reading some behind-the-scenes blurb about the Wachowski Brothers showing clips of GHOST IN THE SHELL to Warner Bros. and saying that they wanted to pull that off “in real life.”   Hence, “bullet time.” Now, I don’t think that diminishes the creativity of the series, at all. I was around when cartoonists, novelists and unpublished whack-jobs were accusing the series of ripping them off and I don’t buy it. Sure… there are many influences that went into the series.  William Gibson’s cyberpunk novels, Jean Baudrillard’s philosophy, John Woo’s gangster movies and many, many American comics, to name a few. Those are influences, just the same as Akira Kurosawa, Joseph Campbell, Frank Herbert and FLASH GORDON influenced  STAR WARS.

So what I’m curious about is what anime do you lunatics figure influenced THE MATRIX. I remember somebody describing the ANIMATRIX as a “returning of the favor to the world of anime.” What works gave that favor in the first place? Fill me in. I'd love to hear what you have to think.

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Pre-order the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover now on Amazon.com.

hitsusatsu11on May 26, 2010 at 11:08 a.m.
Matrix = Huge Direct Rip off of Serial Experiments Lain
gendo7on May 26, 2010 at 2:35 p.m.
The Matrix was a complete ripoff of MegaZone 23, but the Wachowski Brothers won't admit to it.
No_name_here staff on May 26, 2010 at 2:37 p.m.
@hitsusatsu11:  Didn't LAIN come out only a year before the first movie?
Naruto79on May 26, 2010 at 2:46 p.m.
Everything... plus they got sued for using elements of another person's scrip anyways. Sooo...
hitsusatsu11on May 26, 2010 at 2:50 p.m.
@Tom_Pinchuk: yes a year or so. The later matrix movies seem to heavily borrow from it. (architect ect.)
ReVolutionOfEvangelionon May 26, 2010 at 5:01 p.m.
Animatrix is one of the main things that got me into anime, particularly the well-made 20 minute documentary on "history of anime for the complete beginner" thing they put in.  I had started by watching the Matrix Trilogy as part of my university  English composition class (it was scifi themed; we also covered Blade Runner) and we had to watch the Animatrix.
 
I wrote a whole paper on how The Merovingian is basically Thomas Hobbes.
Lemegeton300on May 26, 2010 at 5:28 p.m.
@ReVolutionOfEvangelion said:
I had started by watching the Matrix Trilogy as part of my university  English composition class (it was scifi themed; we also covered Blade Runner) and we had to watch the Animatrix. 
you got to watch those as part of english class. you lucky SOB, lol.
 
yeah the matrix borrowed heavily from anime. i remember watching the first movie and certain parts felt lifted straight from ghost in the shell
aurahackon May 26, 2010 at 7:32 p.m.
Animatrix was fucking terrible. :/
mewarmo990on May 26, 2010 at 7:41 p.m.
Animatrix = anime based on movie based on anime :P
 
I don't mind that the Matrix series was heavily influenced by anime. No one had made anything notable like it on film before, after all.
Olivawon May 26, 2010 at 8:49 p.m.
There's this thing called Akira...
transgojoboton May 26, 2010 at 9:10 p.m.
The one short from Animatrix that I loved the most was "Beyond", produced by Studio 4℃; it showcased a part of the series' mythology that I really wanted to see more of and was that I did.
Stefanon May 26, 2010 at 9:59 p.m.
In terms of story Matrix was mostly influenced by the 1973 German TV production "Welt am Draht". Though it's a mostly boring movie in my opinion it deals with everything Matrix does.
newaveon May 27, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.
@hitsusatsu11: i agree 100%....on a side note i just watched some 4 part anime called balder force exe....if anyone is into lain or the matrix movies this is along the same lines...and isn't great or anything ...but not a bad watch.
dvorakon May 27, 2010 at 5:40 a.m.
The first scene where Morpheus is teaching Neo to "let go" and make that big jump. That shot is lifted directly from Ghost in the Shell. Even the tiles break upwards the same way they did in the anime.
Boddingtonon May 27, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.
@mewarmo990 said:
" Animatrix = anime based on movie based on anime :P "
That just about distills the issue right there. It's kinda mind-boggling. Not to say I didn't enjoy parts of Animatrix: how cool were the "World Record" and "Beyond" segments?
No_name_here staff on May 27, 2010 at 12:47 p.m.
See this is why I think the claims about it ripping off this and that are kinda bunk. People aren't even in agreement about which anime it is, here. And I've heard as many claims about cyberpunk novels, American comics, and even old episodes of DR. WHO and STAR TREK. The whole notion of simulated reality is really just in the zeitgeist - - it isn't really patented. If that weren't the case, why didn't people accuse all these "source" works of ripping eachother off when they first rolled out? It's not like they all debuted at the same time.
Fabeon May 27, 2010 at 8:30 p.m.
@gendo7 said:

" The Matrix was a complete ripoff of MegaZone 23, but the Wachowski Brothers won't admit to it. "

In that case megazone 23 is a complete rip off of  the 1965 french movie  
"Alphaville"  
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphaville_%28film%29
miva2on May 28, 2010 at 1:35 p.m.
we're talking about the entertainment industry. OF COURSE they use successful parts of what others made in order to make something good.
what matters is that the matrix trilogy has good movies and offers a lot of entertainment.
aren't all anime/movies/games borrowing stuff from other anime/movies/games? they just add their own twist to it to make a new anime/movie/game/whatever. that's just how the entertainment industry works
HawkofLighton May 29, 2010 at 5:41 p.m.

Yeah. ALMOST anything compleatly original is never really that good. But when somthings influenced it turns out to be great. I think the physical fighting in the 1st Matrix was highly influenced by DBZ, as well as the final fight in the 3rd installment. 
Undeadpoolon May 29, 2010 at 5:57 p.m.
While I'd agree that there are no more "original" ideas, the Matrix is a rather blatant rip-off of Dark City combined with the cinematography of Hard Boiled (including some shots they ripped directly from the movie).

Dig Deeper into Ghost in the Shell

A sci-fi police thriller set in the future, the original Ghost in the Shell movie was one of the early anime to achieve critical prominence in the US and influenced all facets of entertainment, including the Wachowski brothers' film The Matrix.

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