Harry Potter is everywhere. It is a super successful franchise made up of books, films, merchandise, a Theme Park and various games. When the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone arrived on the scene back in 1997, pretty much the whole world went wild for it. It seemed like everywhere you looked there was an adult or child with a Harry Potter book in front of their face, greedily gobbling up each word that led them deeper into J K Rowling’s fantasy story about the boy Wizard “who lived!”
The success of the books spawned the films and year by year we got to watch Daniel Radcliffe’s, Harry, Emma Watson’s Hermione and Rupert Grint’s, Ron grow up before our eyes. With each film cementing the popularity of the series and bringing it to the forefront of pop culture consciousness, the Harry Potter stories made a deep and everlasting mark on society and literary history.
Love or hate J K Rowling’s mammoth tale of magic and the fight for free will, her stories have achieved a certain status that years from now when people talk about, or go to study classic children’s books, the Harry Potter series will be sure to be rubbing spines (digital or real-world) with the likes of classics such as Alice in Wonderland, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as various books by authors such as Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl.
What’s the next level?
So with the Harry Potter franchise being successful and popular in so many mediums, what could possibly be done next to add another feather to its already considerable bow (apart from the inevitable film reboot in 5-10 years or so…Don’t sigh, you just know it is probably being discussed by some film execs right now)?
I think the answer for this lies in the ‘wide open space’ of a medium that is anime. Anime is so vast with such limitless possibilities. The only limit is your imagination. You can conjure up mind blowing effects that you could only dream of achieving in the real world, which would work perfectly for Harry Potter when it comes to showcasing the more magical aspects of the story. If you think about how beautifully magic can be portrayed in anime (Howl’s Moving Castle) and how epic war can be portrayed (Last Exile) it makes perfect sense for J K Rowling’s tales to be reimagined in a medium that is as fluid and limitless as anime.
The Harry Potter books would work well serialised or as standalone films. They would also be beautiful to look at and would have the capacity to contain more of the details and nuances of the books, which is something that I think on occasion the films lost a little of. For example in the Half Blood Prince, I came away feeling that Dumbledore was just constantly irritated and annoyed with Harry, rather than desperately just seeking to keep Harry safe. The paternal feelings towards Harry that are clear in the book in my opinion, did not translate to the film… This is something that could be portrayed better in anime as there is a little bit more of an element of control and if for instance it was serialised there would be more of a chance to stay true and add more details from the book.
Another example would be the epic battle which took place in Hogwarts during the Deathly Hallows. In the film I felt like I was constantly missing out on what was going on with everyone during the fight. If this was redone with anime then more time and focus could be given to the different plights each character faced (especially if it was serialised) and also there would be more room to watch everything going on at once. Anime has proven that battle scenes, be it war, magic or otherwise can be as grand or epic in scale as you like. I would also love to see how Cedric Diggory’s death would play out in anime. I honestly felt that the film kept skipping forward and missed out so much of the build up that when Diggory died, I wasn’t quite sure I believed how devastated Harry seemed to feel. Again, if this was serialised then more time could be spent on fleshing out Diggory and seriously, when anime characters get upset, they do it well and the Diggory story is a tear-jerker for sure.
Below (along with the illustration at the top of this article) is a good example of what Harry Potter could look like as anime by artist Nakagawa (you can view more of the artist’s work here).
Even if this is it for the Harry Potter franchise (and really when you get your own theme park, you know you’ve made it) it is still an intriguing thought to look at how else this detailed universe of characters could be further explored. Plus, in my opinion (and I am a big fan of anime) it is always good to see what something would look like after being given the anime treatment.
What do you think? Do you agree and love the idea of Harry Potter being redone as anime? Do you hate the idea, think it is sacrilegious or that Harry Potter has been done to death? Let us know what you think in the comments…