I periodically review the various sources that I draw inspiration from for Rumors of War. I think it’s an important ritual because each time I revisit them, I think of new characters, story elements, and stuff … and that’s important to keep me chugging along through the story. I have my main influences for the story narrowed down to three: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Wicked, the musical. Over the weekend, I tried to think of more.

There are a number of other works that have a smaller influence on my work, in terms of writing, themes, and characterization, which includes the anime Melody of Oblivion and Claymore. The first is a surreal fantasy story where the protagonist is awakened to the horrors of the world he lives in, then takes up the mantle of a hero and seeks to end the tragedies he sees around him and change the world.

Claymore is a trite retreading of many shonen cliches, but does it with an expanding cast of mutable, if unstable, combat-capable women. It’s a story where Anyone Can Die and characters frequently do. (At least, up ’til the point I read.) The story has lots of pacing problems, and the main character is … generally uninteresting. The most interesting thing about it is probably its large, ever-changing cast.