Is Stranger Things Inspired By Anime?

While the west being influenced by anime is nothing new, seeing a popular series take inspiration from Akira and Elfen Lied makes the weab in me proud.

From all the fan theories circulating around the internet, we can be fairly sure that the popular Netflix Original, “Stranger Things” is inspired great movies such as E.T. and The Goonies. But in a recent interview with The Daily Beast, the creators Matt and Ross Duffer, revealed that anime played a large role in influencing the series.

Photo: makeitstranger.com

Here’s an excerpt from The Daily Beast Interview:

You guys play video games too, right?

Matt: How’d you guess? Yes, we do play quite a few video games—have all our lives.

Ross: And obviously there are references in there. That’s the thing: it’s not just ‘80s films that inspired us. There’s a lot of Silent Hill in the Upside Down, which people have noticed.

Have you played The Last of Us? The atmosphere around the entrance to the Upside Down reminded me a lot of some parts in that game.

Ross: Yes! Yes, we have, that’s another one. And The Last of Us is probably, in terms of storytelling, the best story-driven game I’ve ever played. It took a giant leap in terms of character development and how the story was unfolding. But also with the divide and all that, Last of Us I’m sure influenced us.

Matt: Yeah, it was cool, I saw that Neil Druckmann [creative director of Naughty Dog, the developer behind Last of Us] tweeted that he loved the show, which was awesome. It’s great. I’m actually in the middle of playing Uncharted 4 right now.

Nice. Are there images or movies that helped shape Stranger Things that you haven’t seen a lot of people catch onto yet? One I was happy to see somebody point out yesterday was the anime movie Akira.

Photo: The Vulture

Ross: Yes, I saw that. Akira was obviously a big one.

Matt: But then weirdly it’s like, I haven’t seen it for a long time. More recently I had seen an anime called Elfen Lied that is clearly inspired by Akira. And that was really influential. When I watched it I thought it felt like an ultraviolent E.T. There were a lot of things in there that I really liked and that made their way into the show, particularly related to the character of Eleven.

Photo: Geek Dama

While western films being influenced by anime is nothing new (for example scenes from The Matrix and Edge Of Tomorrow were great homages to anime and Japanese literature), seeing an extremely popular and fairly new series like Stranger Things taking inspiration from anime makes the weab in me proud.

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