There are few Japanese authors with such international success as Haruki Murakami. Responsible for literary favorites like The chronicle of the chord bird, Kafka on the shore, Y norwegian wood, most of Murakami’s work is distinguished because it is clearly his. While his prose is poetic, his ideas are often surreal, and he has been categorized as the author of the “new stranger” subgenre.
Often reminds Kafka, Vonnegut and other authors concerned with the themes of isolation, the dangers of the modern world and dark fantasies, Murakami is difficult to describe for those who have not read it. Kafka on the shore tells the story of a teenager who runs away from home to escape an Oedipal curse and finds comfort in a strange library. Tough wonderland is a weird take on the cyberpunk noir genre, and several of his novels focus on finding lost cats. While it’s not easy to define what it means to be Murakami-style, there are animes that seem to belong to the same universe as the author’s acclaimed works of magical realism.
10 Kino’s journey
In many of Murakami’s works, the characters leave home to find or escape from themselves. Only from other places can characters see themselves clearly, and often the “other place” in question is a fantasy world. Similarity, Kino’s journey it is a disorienting journey through unrecognizable landscapes that are nonetheless familiar.
Finally, the strangeness of the series is no longer recorded. Yes, there is a talking motorcycle and more sentient machines and monsters, but at the heart is a lonely and identifiable character who seeks beauty.
9 Shinsekai yori
Many of Murakami’s books exude a great sense of displacement. Is this the real world or is it somewhere unrecognizable? Shinsekai yori encapsulates this same feeling of unease. Set in the distant future on a highly altered Earth, the story seems not anchored in time.
While some aspects of world-building suggest a savage utopia, of course the darkness prevails below the surface. Like Murakami, the show is concerned with things that people don’t say, things that aren’t quite seen, a secret stream of unspoken things, and a world that could be an enemy.
8 Arakawa under the bridge
Just because Murakami is an acclaimed author who writes bizarre stories doesn’t mean his works are completely devoid of humor. Satire comes in all its forms, and Arakawa under the bridge is an anime that tackles serious issues like homelessness and isolation with flamboyance.
The entire series focuses on the human and inhuman inhabitants who live under a bridge in Arakawa, Tokyo. While often insane, the implication that there are entire ecosystems ignored by the public resonates. Like Murakami’s work, the show encourages deeper thinking.
7 Will last!
Will last! It is often dismissed from discussions of magical realism, perhaps because the series became so popular. But there are few series that so perfectly balance reality and unreality as this series about monsters and humans that thrive in Ikebukuro. These characters, normally present day and night, become a cast as strange as any: a headless Amazon who works as a messenger, a teenager possessed by a sword, and an unemployed bartender with superhuman strength who launches vending machines.
Every “normal” person in Durarara! it’s really anything but. There are few series so rare and fundamentally identifiable. After all, who doesn’t hide a part of their identity behind a facade of daily routine?
6 The flowers of Evil
Murakami is probably very familiar with the poetry of the famous French essayist Baudelaire. Like Murakami, Baudelaire was concerned with concepts of modernity and sexuality, and anime later inspired by Baudelaire’s work falls into that category. Aku No Hana (The flowers of Evil) is a story about human discomfort.
When high school student Takao Kasuga falls in love with a classmate and steals his gym clothes, another classmate catches him in the act and starts blackmailing him. Murakami has been widely criticized for writing women as cartoons, and Aku No Hana suffers from a similar trend, but the series remains a horror staple simply because it’s too plausible.
5 Boogiepop ghost
Like much of Murakami’s work, Boogiepop ghost it is difficult to classify. Part psychological horror and part avant-garde, the show blurs the lines between reality and dreams. After several teenagers witness a series of serial murders, they are hunted down by a figure known as the Boogiepop Phantom, said to be a manifestation of death.
Urban legends are common in the modern world, and too often people dismiss them. But sometimes humans make legends come true, and could that be the case here? Escapism is difficult to achieve when you are trying to escape from yourself.
4 Eve time
Much of Murakami’s work is less realistic and more science fiction or fantasy. While mainstream literary acclaim is often hidden from science fiction stories, exceptions seem to be made for authors who are perceived by critics as elevating the genre.
As troublesome as this is, being too dismissive of the amazing work of sci-fi and fantasy creators, this is also the case in anime. Eve no jikan (Eva time), however, it is a science fiction story that seems to have escaped the stigma of science fiction by relying on realism. Set entirely in a speakeasy where humans illegally interact with artificial intelligence, the series is made up of vignettes that use human-robot interactions to explore deeper issues.
While most of Murakami’s canon reflects the phobias of the modern world, his stories simultaneously feel that they could take place anywhere human beings exist. Mononoke is set in Edo period Japan and follows a mysterious medicine vendor as he takes on supernatural enemies.
But while the ayakashi, or spirits, are Supernatural, they are linked to human emotions in a similar way to poltergeists. To deal with monsters, you must also deal with human emotions. This notion that human feelings can warp the environments around them is frequently captured in Murakami’s writings.
two The eccentric family
In Murakami’s best works, magical creatures coexist with human beings in seemingly mundane places. Such is also the case with the modern PA Works masterpiece. The eccentric family. The series follows the adventures of a shape-shifting tanuki family living in present-day Kyoto. What could be twee in lower hands is deeply introspective as written by The Tatami Galaxy author Tomihiko Omori.
While the show is infinitely bizarre and inventive, it is also deeply concerned for the humanity of inhuman creatures. The family is grieving over the loss of their patriarch, the slow disappearance of their way of life, and the stark reality that members of their species are eaten at hot parties. If that’s not Murakami-style, what is?
1 The works of Satoshi Kon
Millennium actress. Peppers. Perfect blue. Paranoia Agent. All these masterpieces were created by Satoshi Kon. Sadly, Kon passed away and the anime lost a surreal author. Like Murakami’s work, much of Kon’s work transcended cultural boundaries and was acclaimed around the world for its depictions of isolation and social stigma.
While Murakami is often criticized for not writing female characters well, Satoshi Kon set out to explore the female psyche. In a perfect world, Satoshi Kon would have directed an anime adaptation of Murakami’s work and improved it. Unfortunately, his loss remains profound.
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