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What If It Was Anime? - Metal Gear

I'm sure that you've heard of the Metal Gear series if you have been anywhere near the gaming scene, or have had a pulse for any time in the last 10 years. Games in the series typically revolve around mobile, nuclear-equipped, "Metal Gear" tanks that have been crafted as a way to ensure militaristic dominance. Typically, the series' main protagonist, Solid Snake, undergoes a covert-ops espionage mission in order to deal with various events involving the nuclear super-weapon. Recent installments in the series have focused on other characters, such as Raiden, Snake's replacement, and Big Boss, the original "Snake". A word of warning before I get too far into this, Spoilers are ahead; It'd be impossible for me to do the series justice without referencing some pretty big plot points.

First and foremost, I'm unsure as to why there is no Metal Gear Solid anime as of yet. It could be because Hideo Kojima, the man behind the series, has seemed reluctant on the two newest entries into the franchise. In both scenarios, he has been pushed and convinced by both the fans and members of his team, and has only relented his opposition reluctantly (In the case of Metal Gear Solid 4, he was convinced by the fan's unrelenting desire to see the end of the "Patriots", a storyline introduced in MGS2).

Putting aside Mr. Kojima's apparent unwillingness to further the franchise anymore, I think that Metal Gear already has some of the makings of a solid anime. The story is one-upped with the introduction of each new title in the series, and the universe has expanded to quite an impressive size. As a result cutscenes have dominated later entries, causing fans to refer to the games as interactive movies. The series boasts a varied cast of characters, and is able to inject quite a range of emotion. Emma Emmerich's death in Metal Gear Solid 2 left me feeling terribly sad about a character that had only been introduced an hour or so before, while some of the notorious gags in the series have had me in stitches.

So yeah, Metal Gear Solid has the ground-workings of a good animated experience, but what would it take to turn it into an anime series? Quite a bit, actually.

The box would undoubtedly make an appearance, but
it's unsuited for much more than a gag.
First and foremost, the entire premises of the game would have to be changed. While fans can play the game in whatever way they wish, stealth has always been the emphasis, and playing the game without being seen typically leads to a large reward to the player. This simply won't pass in an anime; How long would audiences want to watch Snake crawl around Shadow Moses before they would call it quits? Instead, I think that the series would develop along the lines of Darker than Black. The protagonist Hei often disguises himself or sneaks around a facility in order to uncover information, and inevitably ends up in some kind of fight or crazy situation. In Metal Gear's case, I believe that the initial couple episodes of the season would emphasize stealthy maneuvers and small scale encounters, and later episodes would become larger and larger in scale until the typical over-the-top conclusion.

Otacon's nerdiness could be used to joke about
the anime fandom.
Metal Gear has a great cast of characters, but they're never at the forefront of the action. Hell, most of the time you're just looking at their profile over the nano-communication screen, and even characters as important as Otacon get very little screen time. Now if Metal Gear is going to make its way to the television screen, then Snake can't be the center of attention all of the time. The series would have to highlight and regularly focus on Colonel Campbell and the rest of Snake's support team, Otacon, Rose (unfortunately), and even the villains some times. After all, how bland would it be to only see things from Snake's point of view? We've got to see the struggle from the administrative point of view, and from behind enemy lines in order to fully understand and appreciate it. I'd especially love to see a bit of Otacon, since he's almost always confined to the nano-communication screen, and Otacon segments would be perfect opportunities to introduce some humor into the show.

Now that' we've tweaked the fundamentals of Snake's mission so that there's more action than just an aging man crawling around in his very own cardboard box, and the focus of the show has been shifted to include other characters and perspectives than those of Snake, we're getting to something that is almost workable in an animated form. What happens next is that the nature of the espionage has to change. Sure, straight-up action is great, but it can get boring quickly when it is the norm. Imagine if Lupin III just snuck in and out of a bigass bank vault and only had a little squabble here and there; It would never have become the classic that it is now. Part of what makes amazing anime fights amazing is that there is some sort of reveal during the fight; an "aha!" moment when you know or see that the protagonist has had something up his sleeve all along, or has lured the enemy into his trap. What the Metal Gear anime has to do is turn Snake's into a quick-witted schemer, who creates his tactical advantage by outplaying his enemies. Honestly, this isn't even too much of a stretch from the game, which has typically given you the tools to orchestrate decent schemes, but hasn't given you the gameplay options to perform anything on a medium to large scale level.

Can we please have this Raiden from the beginning?
Just forget about androgynous Raiden all together. 
I know that's quite a bit to change, but I think that the final product would still feel like Metal Gear. And to be fair, there's quite a bit that can stay. Kojima's 4th wall humor is more than welcome in the anime. Fans of Metal Gear Solid 1 will remember the complete and total shock that overtook them when their fight with Psychomantis was interrupted by a fake blank AV screen. Nothing is scarier to a gamer than the idea of losing your progress at such a critical moment, and I'm sure that that sort of gag would translate very well into an anime.

Now for the small stuff. Each game in the series would encompass its own 13-ish episode anime season, starting with Metal Gear Solid 1. The Tanker segment would be a connecting OVA episode, that bridges the gap between seasons 1 and 2, so that Raiden would be the sole protagonist of his own season.

I'm sure that Metal Gear would make a passable anime at the very least, and it wouldn't be too difficult for a skilled director to take it even higher. I highly doubt that Metal Gear even has a chance of making it onto the anime scene, but hey, a fan can dream, can't he?