Ahhh...the alternate universe plot....the o-toro (fatty tuna) of the sushi platter that is science-fiction/fantasy. It's always fascinating to sample but not particularly healthy to have on a regular basis (and no, I didn't get into "Fringe" past the first season). The trope has been there for decades. The earliest example I can remember is from Capra's Christmas classic, "It's A Wonderful Life". But then arguably, the most well-known geek example is that 2nd-season episode from the original "Star Trek", "Mirror, Mirror" when Kirk and some of the Enterprise crew end up in the Mirror Universe and come face-to-face with the supposedly evil Mr. Spock...with the beard.
Anime isn't exactly a stranger to alternate universes either. "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" (2006)? Meet "The Disappearance of Nagato Yuko-chan" (2015). And also this season, I've been watching the epic "Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works" (2014) with a very robust dose of sword & sorcery. Plus, there's been quite a lot of heaviness and darkness during the last few episodes including one episode in which one of the characters meets a very brutal and sad demise. It was so depressing that both my anime buddy and I agreed that we needed to re-watch the much happier and fluffier alt-universe version that starred that dead lass, "Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya" (2013).
When I think of the above two anime franchises, I wonder if anime production houses actually use the alternate universe gimmick to provide solace to everyone involved: writers, animators, audience and voice cast. Your favourite character gets sliced to ribbons? No worries....here's an alt-universe show where he/she buys ribbons!
Then, I found out that there was yet another alt-universe version which came in earlier in 2011 called "Carnival Phantasm" which not only stars the cast from "Fate/stay night" but another franchise, "Tsukihime", all put together in an absolutely madcap set of situations that seems to be a shout out to productions such as "Robot Chicken", "South Park". "Wacky Races" (that's going waaaaaay back) and "Yogi's Gang" (the "Ocean's Eleven" of Hanna-Barbera). If I ever get too down from watching Shirou and Rin bleeding all over the floor on "Unlimited Blade Works", I can just watch them goofing about on "Carnival Phantasm".
And then there is the opening theme which had me at the first WhoaWHOA. To bring in another pop cultural trope, I got hit with an earworm again. "Super Affection" and that Busby Berkeley-like dance sequence in the opening credits was just too much for me...I ended up watching the video a few times since I couldn't quite believe the normally dour Rin and Saber energetically waving their arms and kicking up their heels.
"Super Affection" was written by Aki Hata（畑亜貴）, whom I'm starting to think is on the way to becoming the Yu Aku（阿久悠）of modern-day anime (I just seem to see her everywhere in the credits), and composed by Masatomo Ohta（太田雅友）. Quite the crowded recording studio as well with Minami Kuribayashi（栗林みな実）, Miyuki Hashimoto（橋本みゆき）, Faylan（飛蘭）, Aki Misato（美郷あき）, yozuca* and rino, only one of whom I know because of Marcos V's articles on her. For me, I think it's not only the cheerful melody that hooked me but also because of those WhoaWHOAs. And those WhoaWHOAs even remind me of an old Morning Musume（モーニング娘。）song, "Ren'ai Revolution 21"（恋愛レボリューション21）.
I'm not sure how "Super Affection" did on the rankings but I kinda wonder if the anime fans had a good time with this one in the karaoke boxes.
A very inside joke to finish off the article, but since I have been writing about alternate universes as a form of spiritual reassurance, perhaps it wouldn't be too much to ask for "School Days: Nice Boat" with some cute and goofy and non-homicidal high school students?