As many of you know, I’m always on the lookout for Antinous–in art, in scholarly publications, in pagan books, and, on the rare occasions when it occurs, in popular culture.
Well, I’ve stumbled upon something from 1998 that I’m utterly dumbfounded I didn’t know about before: basically, a series about Antinous that takes place in a near-future sci-fi universe. And, it’s anime!
I know, right? It’s exactly what one would dream of…and it already exists! So, hurrah for that! (But also: BOO! for then not being able to do this myself in the future…)
So, I’m sure you’re dying for details, right? Well, let me get you some visuals, then.
First off, of course, you’ve got your main character, Antinous, who is rendered in a superlatively hot style, as you’ll see here.
While they went with “spiky” instead of “curly” in terms of hair, it works with the overall general anime aesthetic, and the futuristic setting, I think.
Then, of course, there’s the reason that Antinous is able to go space voyaging at all: Hadrian.
The allusions to Hadrian’s bad health through the cybernetic enhancements he has is an interesting choice, I think.
Then, of course, you’ve got Hadrian’s wife, Sabina, who they’ve decided to portray a lot more sexually than I suspect most of us have thought of her in the past.
And, something they’ve definitely taken the views of the modern historians on–for good or ill–is the rather strained relationship that Hadrian and Sabina have. She often stomps off on her own, never to return, but Hadrian always happily takes her back. It’s a kind of love/hate relationship, but the dynamics it creates are intriguing.
Then, one of the strangest choices they made in their portrayals is that of the poetess Julia Balbilla, and the only other major female recurring character in the series.
She’s obviously superlatively smart, but also a bit crazy and on a level far different than the others, and is portrayed way younger than she would have been. Oh well–artistic license, eh? If someone can make a manga of Alan Moore in which he is a high school girl with Glykon in her locker, they can make space Julia Balbilla this odd androgynous child who is a computer hacker.
And, the most surprising thing about the series is that there is another character in it that I had thought I was the first one to discover, but apparently not: Paneros of the Tetrad++ Group! I shit you not! Here e is!
I found it really weird, because at first e is just portrayed as “a guy in a bar”; then they reveal or suggest that e is gay–right, closer but not quite. But then comes this amazing scene in which Sabina discovers the truth about em when she walks in on em in the shower:
Nothing happens, of course–Sabina is one of eir mothers, after all!–but it is still kind of a hot scene all the same.
Furthermore, the music in the show is really good, and there’s little snippets of Shinto and Taoist religiosity here and there as well, which is especially intriguing–but, given that it is anime, it’s also not exactly surprising.
And, of course, the culmination of the series is as you’d expect with this particular divine paradigm: Antinous dies, but it’s not entirely clear if that is really the end for him or not…and, apparently, the fandom community around this series hotly debates this matter. Intriguing!
Thus, I’d highly recommend that everyone go out and see this show–which, oddly, is called Cowboy Bebop for reasons known only to those who produced it…I guess if my graphic novel about Antinous and the afterlife is going to be called The Bus Station then “Space Antinous” can be called “Cowboy Bebop“!
The Real Folk Blues…
[I'd turn Julia Balbilla's dog in for 8 million woolongs...!?!]