Many anime series are known for their incredible scenes of action, adventure and ass-kicking. And while these sequences are a lot of fun to watch, sometimes you just wish you could join in and be a part of it all. That’s the idea behind Asterion, a unique project currently seeking funding on Kickstarter that is striving to revolutionize interactive television.
In Asterion the story unfolds in cinematic form just like a regular anime series, but at integral points in the plot the viewer is called upon to take control of the characters and advance the plot in game form. But this is more than just a collection of video game cutscenes strung together on Windows Movie Maker. Asterion is, first and foremost, a story. Therefore, its main focus is on consistently delivering high-quality narratives brought to life by animation powerhouses like Irie Yasuhiro (Fullmetal Alchemist), Shichiro Kobayashi (The Castle of Cagliostro), and Hiroshi Shimizu (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time).
If, for some reason, you’re not a fan of video games, eye-hand coordination, or fun, you can opt to watch all of the episodes on DVD or Blu-ray without the gaming intermissions. While you’ll still get a full narrative experience, watching without playing does remove one very exciting feature: choice. Depending on how the minigames play out, you’ll get to choose one of three alternate endings per episode.
The story follows siblings Kaméo and Mira as they search for the titular Asterion, a magical fish that can grant four wishes and lead them to their lost parents. They’re not the only ones going on a magical fishing trip, however. Standing in their way is the moldy-bearded, metal-armed space pirate Barbozza, who is bent on destroying Asterion before the plucky heroes get a chance to use it. And while the concepts for Asterion originated in France, the project is heavily influenced by Japanese designs and techniques. The final product will blend pieces of both cultures to create something entirely new. Don’t think of it as an anime that isn’t quite Japanese. Or even as a video game that’s not quite French. It’s both. And it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Asterion is currently being funded through Kickstarter and is looking at a release the first 13 episode season on tablets and smartphones, with minigame-free episodes on DVD and Blu-ray. Currently, developers are working on French and Japanese dubs, with subtitles made available in English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese by native speaking translators.