Few people know it but I spent about six years working in Japanese Animation.
It was a fantastic time really, basically my first startup experience before I even knew what a “startup” was. This was back in the mid 90’s. I just got outa high school, was working in video production as salesman selling high end video production gear. There’s a whole story there but basically I got in early on one of the biggest brands in the biz to bring anime stateside. Its been a passion for me ever since.
Anime is packed full of emotion, strong characters, stories, crazy concepts, technology, mecha, fantasy, science fiction, romance. The art leaps off the screen! Its engaging and pulls you in. There’s anime for kids, teens, adults, you name it.
During my time in anime I basically edited trailers and I loved it. Making trailers, basically a 1-3 min snap shot of a 2 hour film or 23 episode series is a fun gig. You have to learn how to convey enough stick that makes people wanna go see it. I loved this time in my life.
Skip to a few days ago… I’m in Denver Colorado for a client gig, in the hotel room looking for something to watch and I recalled the insanely good opening song to the anime…
The Last Hero Inuyashiki
This is a classic good vs evil kind of anime full of scifi madness, wicked action and awesome morality introspection. The gist of the story is two human characters are killed by a UFO who then reassembles them with the only tech they have at the time which are weapon systems. While the two character are no longer human their initial imprint reflects who they were personality wise- our hero, an old man, coming to terms with old age, fearful, in doubt, full of anxiety yet bound to order, do the right thing like notions, fitting in etc. The villain, a young student, is an entitled, narcissistic loner type who’s kinda popular but becomes serial killer with his new found powers. Each one is now a machine capable of immense destruction and in classic Japanese morality twist, they cannot “feel” human unless they save a life (the hero) or take a life (the villain).
Where’s the startup moment connection?
Every anime typically has some kind of opening sequence, its basically like a credits montage or mini trailer for the show itself. The relation here to the world of startups etc is that I think every entrepreneur should be thinking and visualizing, thats critical, their own opening sequence. I do this a lot. I love the exercise really. I envision what i’m doing, what makes me excited about what I’m doing, how I feel alive. I visualize the hardships I’m enduring, overcoming, winning. I picture those around me who are critical to me, my plan, my vision.
Visualize your opening sequence. Your startup, your big idea- it has an opening sequence whether you like it or not, it has one. As a bonus, find and resonate with your theme music. What is that song you play when you crush it?
The past few days I could not get this opening sequence song out of my head.. HIT ME ON THE GROUND, just pumped me up the past 2 days, and what happened? Of course, I crushed it. I totally nailed a few proposals, big ideas, momentum! Me and my opening sequence rocked it this week. I can FEEL IT!
Here’s another extended edit where a fan used the song and combined it with the manga- pretty nice.
Find your opening sequence, visualize it, storyboard it, live it.