I fantasized about 2036 through the perspective of animation: MITSUO ISO
January 21, 2015
This begins a seven-part (four essays and three conversations) series in which we present the future of office devices—in the year 2036—as imagined by animator and screenwriter Mitsuo Iso. In this installment, the prologue essay, Iso presents a well thought-out vision of the future through the lens of anime—a medium with which he is deeply involved.
In the first place, what is anime?
Somebody else has already discussed hardware advancements in the areas of augmented reality and brain-machine interfaces, so I think I will just fantasize about the working environment in 2036, in a sort of manga-ish manner and from the perspective of animation—which is part of my career.
Lately, Japanese animation seems to be nothing more than “cute”. But at its origin, the medium wasn't viewed as just that sort of thing; it has always had many different aspects.
The word "animation" refers generally to any technique that takes things that by all rights shouldn't move, endows them with life, and thus makes them move. The original etymology is from the Latin anima, which means "soul," and "animation" means giving life to something that is inert. The words "animism" and "animal" share the same etymology and have similar meanings—they all convey the idea of a vital force, of things in motion, of change.
Perhaps the reason why anime was originally for children is because a child's innocent curiosity is drawn to things that move and to things that change. In the business world, as well—particularly in areas where the consumer is the key player—isn't it to one's advantage to offer something that changes?
I think change will continue to be a crucial factor in the workplace of 2036, too. Perhaps the answer to the question of how to meet that kind of demand lies within a two-dimensional world—in animation.
Fantasizing about an other-dimensional office using ideas from anime
In some respects, anime and manga have been considered mere entertainment and have not been held in much regard in an age that prioritizes practicality. However, these media, which include the aspect of fiction, are actually related to human psychology and neuroscience, and they have profoundly meaningful elements hidden below the surface.
If this were the workplace of 2036, wouldn't there be other-dimensional information tools of that sort, as well as a generation of "natives" who know how to get the most out of those tools—and wouldn't this revolutionize the way that we work? For this series, I thought I might try dreaming up—in a manner that is somewhat lighthearted, in the same way that a mascot character is—fantasies of around three or so tools that come from a two-dimensional perspective. (I actually thought of more than that, but there is not enough space to discuss them all here, so the rest must, regrettably, be omitted.) In particular, I envisaged a tool that stimulates working people's brains.