That Duterte anime we showed you last week looked like the advent of a new age for Philippine anime, but fortunately here’s something better. One of the biggest TV networks in Japan, TV Asahi, is collaborating with local game development and animation studio Synergy88 to create a new anime series called Barangay 143. Yep, that’s Barangay… I love you.
The series, which is designed by TV Asahi and almost completely produced by Synergy88 here (it’s based on a mobile game they made called Barangay Basketball), seems like your typical teen-centric anime based in a street ball setting. And it seems pretty normal—in the below promo graphic, no one’s got any blue or green or pink-colored hair. They all look like they’re from here. There is what looks like a white guy, but that’s par for the course for a Philippine environment.
Barangay 143 won’t be the first time the country will be portrayed in anime, but it certainly might be the first time such a depiction would be made here at home. It’s but one of the many attempts by TV Asahi to create more regionally-flavored properties in order to sustain the viability of anime abroad, where children still make up most of the audience, according to Nikkei Asian Review. And what better way to revitalize the industry by taking the beloved format and telling more familiar stories with it?
As of now, however, there’s still no word on whether Barangay 143 will be airing here the same time it would be in Japan, but it would be silly for them to not try selling it to a local network. Depending on how it does both critically and commercially, TV Asahi might shop the show around to other Southeast Asian markets.
Meanwhile, all we want from the show is to accurately reflect said culture. Portray local street ball as ridiculously raw and engaging at the same time, as Rafe Bartholomew describes in his book Pacific Rims. Incorporate pustahan and your local barangay ligas. But for the love of Sakuragi, don’t stretch out one basketball game over like five episodes or something.
Image from TV Asahi