So, I recently started watching Bleach. It's a popular anime with 300+ episodes that started airing in 2004.
I couldn't help but notice similarities between Simon (The protagonist in Will Wight's Traveler's Gate) and Ichigo (The protagonist in Bleach):
Ichigo is an adolescent boy who uses a ridiculously big sword. Just like Simon.
Ichigo has a mask that when worn, allows him to get stronger. The main upgrade is his speed. Just like Simon.
Ichigo gets chains around his arms when he uses his maximum power. Just like Simon.
Ichigo has a small, talking stuffed animal doll. Just like Simon.
When Ichigo uses his mask, he risks losing a control and going "mad". Just like Simon.
Ichigo's large sword comes from a dark, brooding, powerful man who's now stuck in his "world". More similarities.
There are even similarities between Ichigo's personality and Simon's...
The fact that Bleach has been running for years before Traveler's Gate was released, and Will Wight seems to be a fan of Anime makes this seem like more than just a series of coincidences.
Here's a link to pictures of Ichigo and other Bleach characters : https://www.wallpaperflare.com/anime-bleach-kurosaki-ichigo-orange-hair-chains-sword-anime-boys-wallpaper-tssqn
Perhaps there's more to this than I'm aware of, so I'd like someone - Will, maybe? - to clear this up, because watching Bleach is starting to unnerve me.
So I love Bleach, but it didn’t actually have any influence on Simon’s design.
Obviously I’m going for a very anime aesthetic, hence the giant swords, but I described them to my artist as Final Fantasy swords rather than Bleach swords. The chains and doll and mask don’t come from Bleach at all.
Chains: I just needed a visual indicator of the increasing influence of the Territory and thought chains would be cool.
Doll: I wanted a prop to show that Kai was crazy, and I thought talking to dolls was a cool way to do that, and then I thought it would be funny if he WASN’T crazy and the dolls actually talked. Plus Simon is alone a lot and needed someone to trade dialogue with, so that’s where that came from.
Mask: I didn’t intend to give Simon a mask power-up, but Malachi had a mask that he would have dropped when he died, and I thought it would be logical if Simon picked it up. Then I was like “Hey, I wonder what would happen if Valinhall took this in like they’ve taken so many other things?” And thus the mask was born.
Bleach did have one major influence on my writing: the Abidan organization that oversees the multiverse was essentially the Gotei 13 in its first iteration. The fact that the Judges have long flowing white mantles of energy now is a nod to the haori of the Bleach Captains.