Not only do Wikia's collaborative writing projects inspire entertaining stories rife with suspense and dramatic tension, they illustrate the collaborative spirit of Wikia's impassioned user base and the platform's unique ability to engage fans in creative ways.
Now, Wikia is trying something new to further bridge the divide between fans and creators. The Masters of Animanga project has anime and manga's most renowned figureheads providing original art, characters, and story outlines to set the stage for a trio of new collaborative writing projects. With the Masters of Animanga CWP, users aren't only collaborating with one another -- they're collaborating with the masters themselves. It's a one of a kind opportunity for fans of anime and manga to play a principal role in the creative process, transcending fan fiction to help build something striking, entertaining and -- above all -- completely original.
The Fading Light: A Tale of Zan, the third and final story in Wikia's Masters of Animanga series comes courtesy of legendary artist Yoshitaka Amano (Vampire Hunter D, Final Fantasy), and it is in the form of an iconic samurai character who first appeared in Amano's graphic novel Deva Zan! The story is executive produced by Kazuo Koike (Lone Wolf and Cub, Lady Snowblood).
The Fading Light: A Tale of Zan has been live since Monday, September 23rd, and there has already been a flurry of activity. Keep reading for a summary of what's happened so far.
Just like last time, the Master got things started by providing a few drawings (which you can check out above), as well as description of the story's characters and world. Here is the backstory, as provided by Yoshitaka Amano and his team:
A samurai warrior with no memory of his past, Zan has the power to travel through all of time and space while riding atop Panther, his animal companion.
The many adventures of Zan could never be chronicled in a single volume. In this story, we follow our hero from feudal Japan to Victorian-era England (and beyond) as he meets a beautiful woman who changes him forever, and faces an adversary unlike any he has encountered before.
Wikia's Brian Linder started the story with the samurai waiting by the Shadow Lair for the assassin that killed his sensei. When he is ambushed by a number of Shadow Clan warriors, he chooses to escape with his animal companion, Panther, and the two vanish in a burst of light. With their unique powers, they jump through time and space before finally ending up in England where we are also introduced to Lord Amadeus Chataway and his daughter, Virginia. Another character enters the story in feudal Japan and the young man is named Ryuunosuke Kageyama by Dragon Slayer Forest Dragon Slayer. He ends up finding and aiding Victoria who somehow ended up near his village.
ScorpionTail then added a mysterious phantom-like creature called Mar'riana, Lord of the Seas of Time who warns Lord Chataway about Zan, calling the latter "the hero of the ages." After warning the lord, the creature summons Tengu to attack Zan, and, during the battle, the samurai has a vision of a young man in simple clothing holding a bow who Zeromaro introduces as a fox named Shokuro. While escaping from the Tengu, Zan accidentally takes Virginia through the time portal with him, and he ends up getting into another fight. This time with the boy from his vision, Shokuro
Virginia and Ryuunosuke happen upon the fight and she is shocked to hear that Zan was the boy's sensei, but, instead of sticking around, she grabs him and Forest Dragon Slayer sends them to Victorian England where the girl explains they needed to avoid a time paradox with her meeting her younger self.
Continuing where we left off with the fight between Zan and Shokuro, Zeromaro ends the battle with Shokuro revealing that Zan did not have all his memories. After Shokuro leaves and Zan makes sure Virginia (this version is 12 while the Virginia with Ryuunosuke is a teenager) is unharmed, they are interrupted by a man who somehow knows Zan that Ezvil calls Yumoa.
Surprisingly, a version of Lord Chataway had also ended up in feudal Japan with Anonymius placing him in the Sengoku period. While he is there looking for Virginia, Zeromaro writes about Lord Chataway hearing a mysterious voice that offers him power to rule the world. Back in England, this lord finds his daughter but she is taken away again by Zan who hears a strange voice telling him to protect her although he does not know why, but Amyar hints at it when he writes that, three years later, Lord Chataway had unfortunately discovered a mysterious statue of what looked like an anglerfish.
In England, ScorpionTail then reveals that Lord Chataway is working with the fish creature in order to have his wife, Isabelle, resurrected, but Virginia seems to be a key component to the plan since Chataway's 2nd wife calls her "the star," and later it turns out that she is actually the star of heaven. If the plan fails, Lord Chataway's punishment would be to lose his body to Mar'riana for the latter to use as a vessel! Before leaving to meet other members of his order that Anonymius calls Legion, Lord Chataway gets a visit from a mysterious hooded figure who warns him that their master is angry and that Zan needs to be found soon.
Back with Virginia and Ryuunosuke, we learn through Shokuro (and Zeromaro) that Ryunosuke is Zan before he lost his memories! Once that is revealed, the fox takes Virginia away and sends the young man to the event in his life that would change him into Zan. When Ryuunosuke opens his eyes again, he is in Japan where he then meets Oda Nobunaga who asks the young man to join his army. Refusing the offer, Ryuunosuke leaves, but we are left with a cliffhanger from Amyar that Nobunaga considered Zan, the man siding with the tyrant emperor against him, to be a son to him!
Mar'riana was in another place, but that didn't stop ScorpionTail from having the creature send a robot called Slash Dragon to attack Zan! Fortunately, thanks to VictoriousBeckFan, Virginia meets a man named Wisuperu who gives her a piece of origami that will allow her to time travel. When Slash Dragon finds Zan and Yumoa, Virginia accidentally uses the piece to send the robot to the time period when Ryuunosuke left Nobunaga! The young man and the feudal warrior teamed up to defeat the robot, after which Ryuunosuke becomes Zan after a head injury and an appearance from his animal companion.
Back with the other Zan and Yumoa, Zan decides that he needs to figure out why Virginia is so important and he time travels again before ending up meeting Nobunaga who, with a journal, helps him to remember that he is Ryuunosuke. Meanwhile, Lord Chataway is still planning Zan's demise which somehow involves a rejuvenation process where he peels off his skin to reveal a younger body in its prime. Zeromaro then thankfully takes some time to explain that Zan and Ryuunosuke are the same person but with different fates since they come from different timelines and Ryunosuke is going to be involved with Amadeus Chataway through manipulation by Mar'riana so that the former will believe that he is his former teacher and that Zan is an enemy who abducted the young Virginia!
As for Zan, Mar'riana decides to send someone ScorpionTail calls the Black Knight to destroy the samurai and the two enter into battle...