So You Want To: Write The Next X/1999
This page is dedicated to the methods of writing the next X1999. And if you want to do a story like it, just look it up here!
Necessary TropesThe bare-bones idea of X is a war centered around a coming apocalypse, between two groups. Often, battles between the groups are held in a remote location which humans have not noticed, or have been talking about for the past few months, like X's Kekkai. Some of these battles may involve Fighting Your Friend, or fighting your current lover, the romance being implied through either Ho Yay, Les Yay, or if your couple is on opposing sides of the war, Foe Yay. In X's case, those battles involve one group wanting to save the Earth by Human Dieback, and another wanting to save humanity. Many times a Human Sacrifice will be used as part of either a character's backstory, or during the story itself. Then again, there are people who want to stop the war and create a group of their own. Therefore, these now three groups now form the complete war, which in X's case is the End Of The World. But later, the a member of the three groups joins one of the two pre-existing groups composed of Five Man Bands as a Sixth Ranger, and another does the same. The third is usually staying in her post, or is dead. Now for the ending, X's story hasn't been resolved yet due to a hiatus. Suitable options are to have the characters earn their happy ending, and/or supply a Bittersweet Ending.
Choices, ChoicesAs you are making a Spiritual Successor, you must deviate from the source material. In many ways.
- Apocalypse How: How will the the apocalypse come about? Will one side save Earth, another destroy it? You could subvert the sides of the Conflict, just to make it even more original by adding a flaw to each of the groups. For example, if one were to recreate Earth, how would they do it?
- The Groups: Who is fighting for the war? How did they come together? Did they have something in common, or were they all victims of fate as destiny is unavoidable? If you want to subvert this, the same Troper would recommend having one person who deviates heavily from his/her group.
- The Motivation: Why are those people fighting for what they believe in? Could it be because of fate just like why they joined the groups? Don't they have a choice? Did they join the Conflict just because they were Boisterous BloodKnights who like to fight every once in a while?
PitfallsNo one wants to see an apocalypse that's too sudden, right? Doesn't the fate of the apocalypse have a history? It cannot be abrupt and sudden, but it cannot be too gradual too. And people don't want groups who just keep fighting. Aren't there reasons as to why they fight? And no one wants to see a direct alternate retelling of X. Because there must be deviations. Which are heavy. Its best you don't make your story suffer from too little Character Development. The X movie (ironically directed by Rintaro, of all people), was said to have focused on the fight scenes, so you should add some of the rich background to your characters by writing supplementary novels or manga.
Potential SubversionsIf ever you want to deconstruct your group, you must break it down to its components. There may be The Hero, The Lancer, The Big Guy, The Smart Guy and The Chick to one of your Five Man Bands of a group, but why don't you subvert it, by having a Genius Bruiser for The Big Guy, and The Smart Guy only knowing things? Even better if one of the members of your Five-Man Band act like a second Lancer of a group? Have one member of a group disagree with the other members of his clique, just like having a Cynical guy in an Idealist world. That way, your group becomes even more diverse.
Potential MotifsOften, the best thing to do to make your story come alive by beginning with a question. That way, you can set up your various morals and keys to discovering the themes of your story that even questioning something becomes part of the character, to the point of even questioning reality by what the character is doing for the apocalypse. If you want to do a story centered around a fight between those who are religious and those who aren't, take a look at how atheists and religious people view themselves. Add belief into their motivations, and better if those religious people are Christian.
Suggested PlotsRemember that your story is about a coming apocalypse, involving a war between two groups, three people being drawn to it. But how can you liven up that story and make that mess of a sentence a novel or a manga of your own? Here are the recommended sub-plots?
- Have the Sixth Ranger fall in love prior to joining the group, yet the woman or a man he/she is pursuing join the opposite spectrum of his end of the Conflict. That way, as soon as they confess their love for each other that they have to become Aloof Allies just so they can keep their relationship from falling apart due to something in between them.
- This Troper would recommend having the first and second episodes be told as the same episode, yet from different perspectives. But it has to be accurate, so you'll have to copy and paste parts of the first episode to retell the second episode, but make sure the second episode ends on a very different note, because that chapter is basically a Perspective Flip.
Set Designer / Location ScoutIf an apocalypse tells the death of an Earth, then it's recommended that if you want to do an apocalypse X1999-style, it should be based in the real world where buildings of that certain region hold the world together. Better if Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe due to it being based off a certain anime series, or if The End of the World as We Know It takes place in a slightly noir-ized Big Applesauce, as they are both large and urbanized areas. Unless you're doing building-abundant (even moving skyscrapers are there in) Dubai or even Christian-mythos enriched yet very metropolitan Manila as the world's ending place, which makes it more unique, yet all the same.
Props DepartmentAny weapon is fine, as long as its usable and is relevant to the plot. Take a look at X's Shinken. It is heavily used in the conflicts and is notable amongst the major characters. Any prop is fine, just as long as its not too elaborate, nor too simple. And its gotta suit the character's personality.
Costume DesignerSince the people here involved in the apocalypse are ordinary people, their clothing should be a bit more ordinary than what you see in anime. Take a look at what you wear, and what other people wear. And anachronism is only a desperation tactic, but it must be sutbly anachronistic clothing if you want to go that far. But whenever the occasion calls for it, IT MUST MATCH the event. If you want to go for elaborate clothing, it must be a bit like a dance or a ball. Even better if one of the fights for the apocalypse are the true purpose of that ball. But if you do casual, then do casual.
Casting DirectorIf you want to do your apocalypse CLAMP-style, then you gotta focus on people sexier and way more beautiful than you are. Even better than that pretty girl in your school. Because they must be The Beautiful Elite, who will clean up even nicer than that girl. And Bishōnen are a must, especially if the people participating in the conflict are akin to a harem—but they must be mixed when it comes to groupings. Speaking of groupings, here's how it'll work! Often, there will be a Power Trio. Id: The ID will often be a jock, or pretty much a bookish sports buff, who pretty much respects ideals and wants them to happen. Superego: The Ego will be even MORE learned than the Id, who has a more cynical viewpoint on the world, yet respects his best friend. Ego: The Token Mini-Moe of the trio, she's way smarter than you, and often quells the mini-debates the Id and Superego have. But the two more groups are the Five-Man Band. The positions often go through a Deconstruction, along with a dose of Red Oni, Blue Oni to liven up the spectrum. Recommended if your groups are the sheer living epitome of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Here's how! The Hero
- Idealism: Good leader, pretty liberal when it comes to other people's ideals
- Motive for joining: Trying to quell the world's end, dreams of reforming the world
- Cynicism: A little bit of a stern general, straight to the point on his goals
- Motive for joining: Trying to stop the conflict, wants to reconstruct the world
- Idealism: May not always agree with the leader, but still believes in ideals
- Motive for joining: Wants to get back into reality as a better world
- Cynicism: Better strategies due to a higher knowledge of what this story's about
- Motive for joining: Something related to the conflict was unexpectedly leaked
- Idealism: Easily agrees with his leader due to sheer naivety, very strong
- Motive for joining: Forcibly drawn into the apocalypse due to some friendship
- Cynicism: Has a habit of analyzing things and applies strength afterwards
- Motive for joining: Trying to beat a friend into becoming more cynical
- Idealism: Has a knack and habit for learning new and pretty diverse things
- Motive for joining: Loves current events, and has a knack for technology
- Cynicism: Only knows, and prefers not to draw any sort of conclusions
- Motive for joining: Was trained from birth to stop something like this
- Idealism: Likes to participate, but she does not really follow the leader
- Motive for joining: Lover's death happened due to relations to comping conflict
- Cynicism: Very fragile-hearted, yet can be very handy at certain times
- Motive for joining: Needs to prove something right to skeptical people
- Idealism: Aloof Ally, although sees a point in reforming the world
- Motive for joining: Benefits in relationship with the use of the conflict
- Cynicism: Aloof Ally, yet slightly agrees with the reconstruction of the Earth
- Motive for joining: Strong urge to re-do a relationship with the use of the conflict