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Endō Akinori

Entry updated 26 October 2021. Tagged: Author, TV.

(1959-    ) Japanese scenarist and novelist, sometimes using the pseudonym Meigo Endō, who toiled throughout the 1980s and 1990s on Anime scripts and Ties, before finding some respite and creative freedom out of the field.

Endo's earliest credited script work included stints on Mecha shows, such as Chōriki Robo Galatt ["Super-Powered Robo Galatt"] (1984; vt Change Robo Galatt) and Kidō Senshi Z Gundam ["Mobile Suit Z Gundam"] (1985; vt Zeta Gundam). This latter was his introduction to the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise, at a time when the original creator Yoshikyuki Tomino had lost much of the will or time to write his own spin-offs. This led to Endō's first tie-in commission, Kidō Senshi Z Gundam: Four Story (February 1986 Animage; fixup 2001), chronicling the backstory of Four Murasame, a character from the series with Psi Powers.

Endō came into his prime at a moment of crucial disruption in the world of Japanese sf. As chronicled by the critic Yasuo Nagayama, sf in the 1980s was increasingly split between the factions of prose and the wider media, with many cross-overs and detentes, but also a creeping sense that the "otaku" media fans were overwhelming the citadel of prose Fandom. In a sense, Endō might be regarded as a casualty in this undeclared culture war, lured into script work in his younger days after winning a screenwriting competition, and seemingly groomed throughout the late 1980s as a writer of promise, not by the genre's prose-focused mainstream but by its upstart cousins in the closed circle of consumption around anime and manga. Throughout the late 1980s, he made abortive attempts to create an original franchise of his own, conspicuously supported by anime-press editors bringing in celebrity cover artists, as if the mere touch of Haruhiko Mikimoto or Yasuomi Umezu might secure enough critical attention to lure in movie rights-buyers. Endō first original work, Maiorita Tenshi ["Descended Angel"] (1987), was serialized in Animage magazine (dates unknown), and featured a Japanese man who somehow befriends a mysterious ingenue who seems unfamiliar with city life and possesses an eerie ability to be a human magnet. In a set-up already familiar from Green Requiem (September 1980 Kisō Tengai; 1983 trans Naomi Anderson 1984) by Motoko Arai and Urusei Yatsura (1978-1987 Shōnen Sunday) by Rumiko Takahashi to name but two, her Alien qualities become an allegory of sorts for the mutual incomprehension of the sexes (see Women in SF). However, unlike its Animage stablemate Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä (1984) by Hayao Miyazaki, it was not adjudged to be worthy of adaptation into another medium.

Beginning with Nerawareta Hakobune ["The Ark Targeted"] (1989), his Kaiyō Sentō Dyvard ["Marine Battle Dyvard"] series transposed Mecha action to a location Under the Sea, while the later Wild Force series, beginning with Centaurus no Yōhei ["Mercenary of Centaurus"] (1990), was a Cyberpunk pastiche that saw Endō jumping aboard the Technothriller bandwagon. With Shadow Hunter (1992), he displayed his first overt interest in detective fiction with an element of the supernatural, seemingly finding more appreciative readers in the world of Equipoise. In a similar exercise at broadening his genre footprint, he experimented with Disaster fiction in Toku-Shukyū Nantai Shutsudō-seyo ["Dispatch the Special Disaster Task Force"] (1994), a robust thriller in which square-jawed heroes battle to prevent a stricken oil tanker from destroying all the marine life in Tokyo Bay after a powerful typhoon.

Endō's work continued in the Pulp realm of disposable ties to often-forgotten TV shows, or vice versa, adapting novels by the likes of Yoshiki Tanaka and Hiroshi Aramata for the screen. He arguably achieved a greater degree of respect for his script work than for his prose, although it is possible to discern continued efforts on his part to engage with the SF Megatext as a creative rather than a mere peon. Of particular note here are his novels based on the anime series CyberCity Oedo 808 (1990-1991) beginning with Hangyaku no Beowulf ["Beowulf of the Rebellion"] (1990), likely to have been based on his ideas for three unmade episodes, a trilogy that takes place simultaneously, as three separate investigations overlap into each other's stories. He also wrote prose ties to the Ghost in the Shell anime, of which Kōkaku no Kidōtai 2: Star Seed ["Ghost in the Shell 2: Star Seed"] (1998), perhaps inadvisably, took the previously Earthbound cast into space. He was also credited as a creative consultant on Ultraman G (1992; vt Ultraman Towards the Future) (see Ultraman), but even then, he was still working on a Sequel by Other Hands in a milieu long established by others.

By the early years of the twenty-first century, Endō had found the liberty to work in worlds more of his own choosing, with the novel Shin Botandōrō ["The True Peony Lantern"] (2001) initiating an unstated but implicit series of retellings of classic ghost stories. Whereas his name already appeared as the "original author" on several manga adaptations of his anime scripts, he also moved explicitly into manga scripting in his own right, writing his own account of Japanese youth rebellion in the late nineteenth century, and adapting another author's biography of the Japanese yoga teacher Tenpū Nakamura into comic form. However, unlike his prose ghost stories, which retain an element of Fantastika, these recent manga adaptations fall out of the scope of an encyclopedia of sf. [JonC]

see also: Armitage III.

Endō Akinori

born Kanagawa, Japan: 1959



Kaiyō Sentō Dyvard ["Marine Battle Dyvard"]

  • Nerawareta Hakobune ["The Ark Targeted"] (Tokyo: Fujimi Shobō, 1989) [Kaiyō Sentō Dyvard: pb/Haruhiko Mikimoto]
  • Elzas Tōsō ["Elzas in Flight"] (Tokyo: Fujimi Shobō, 1990) [Kaiyō Sentō Dyvard: pb/Haruhiko Mikimoto]
  • Noah no Senshi ["Warrior of Noah"] (Tokyo: Fujimi Shobō, 1993) [Kaiyō Sentō Dyvard: pb/Haruhiko Mikimoto]

Wild Force

  • Centaurus no Yōhei ["Mercenary of Centaurus"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1990) [Wild Force: pb/Yasuomi Umezu]
  • Titan no Bōryaku ["The Titan Gambit"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1990) [Wild Force: pb/Yasuomi Umezu]
  • Pandora no Yōsai ["The Pandora Fortress"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1991) [Wild Force: pb/Yasuomi Umezu]

ties (selected)

individual titles

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