An Introduction to Daydream Nation
By: Matthew Langley
When I was a 17 year-old highschooler, I was introduced to the world of Greek Philosophy and Jung's psychology thanks to my teachers. I had read a few texts on these subjects in the past, but it was thanks to school work that I was forced to sit down and study these authors and their ideas. Some of these topics, especially Jung's subconscious and Plato's World of Ideas seemed familiar to me. I was aware of the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona RPGs and their heavy Jungian thematic influences, and this only deepened my interest in the subject. But it was the World of Ideas that struck the heavier chord in my mind. Plato's Theory of Form established that everything that is, was and will be, already exists in the shape of ideas that resides beyond the material limitations of the world as humans can perceive it. That every story, every invention, every end of the world and every possible thought is already out there in an endless void of imagination. An infinite ocean of thoughts and ideas.
This is how the seeds for what would eventually become Daydream Nation four years later were first planted in my mind. Fast Forward to December 2020 and after an uneventfully chaotic year of being locked inside my house with my plans in a constant state of change, I was starting Studio Synkai with the friends I had made during the production of Studio Synkai's Evangelion: Amend. Despite our love for franchises like Fate/Stay Night and Neon Genesis Evangelion we knew that if we were to really make it as a multimedia studio, we had to release our own Original Creations and IP's. I developed two at the time: the dark fantasy series Faithless (which is still in development and will be released in the near future) and Daydream Nation. The series got its name from the classic Sonic Youth no-wave record and it alluded to something ethereal but present in our mundane world. A familiar place you've been to, but vaguely remember at the same time. By this stage of its lifespan, the project already had its biggest plot points and characters ready in my mind but it still lacked that extra air of strangeness and surrealism that a story like this needs in order to fully make its mark on the reader. And so, a few weeks later artist Kristen Lopez contacted us at the Studio for a possible collaboration. It only took one glance at her work and artstyle in order for me to talk to her about the series and once she accepted to work on it, Daydream Nation as it is today was born.
The story of Daydream Nation begins with Ella, a no-wave underground musician with a spunky look and snarky attitude. Ella's world can be perfectly summed up in one word: Grey. It's dirty, rainy and sad. It's habitants hate every block of concrete and every billboard ad, yet they still keep their heads down and stay on their daily commute to a job they loathe. Others are happy and find comfort in a peacefully static and uneventful existence. Of course, this is how our protagonist sees this world. Ella is the art-before-cash rocker who can barely get enough money to pay rent and lives on an unhealthy diet of alcohol, cheap store food and cigarettes. However, despite how stressful her life may be, Ella enjoys the hardships of being an underground artist and she thinks everything is worth it if her music and words end up bringing a new outlook on this bleak world. The message is all that matters to her.
A small, yet passionate studio that's into anime, manga, and all things creative