Acantha/Inspiration

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Inspiration

That says it.

Books

The Silmarillion
Epic stories of superhuman beings fighting dark gods, their servants, and each other for the sake of their creators. It never fails to remind me of Exalted. People like Feanor, Fingon, and Fingolfin are about as epic as you're going to get (Fingolfin fought a god of destruction and evil singlehandedly, and chopped off his foot; Fingon fought the lord of the Balrogs alone; Feanor created jewels that captured the light of the Two Trees).

Anime

Nazca
The single most Exalted-like anime I've ever seen. The basic plot is thus: A young kendo student in Japan finds that he is the reincarnation of an ancient Incan hero, destined to fight his eternal rival for control of the earth. However, his master and mentor turns out to be his ancient rival, and eventually the two of them take sides and gather allies around them, each an incarnation of an ancient hero. Despite their ridiculous outfits, all the characters wear circular discs on their heads, representing the sun god (who gives them their power), and they use magic by manipulating Irryatesse, the power that runs all through the world. The main character is a prime example of a recently Exalted Dawn caste, and his rival is a great corrupted Zenith bent on destruction (so as to better rebuild the world). There's even a kid obsessed with bugs (Lunar!) who attacks people with a cloud of black butterflies. It makes for a great show, even if it takes a little while to get into it. It's also pretty rare. But everyone should watch this show. EVERYONE.
Kyou Kara Maou!
A young man gets pulled into a world where he finds out he's a magical being (king, even!) with the ability to manipulate water. His vassals are a spunky fire manipulator, a stoic earth user, and a somewhat obsessive but very wise air user. It makes a great basis for a Dragonblood game. There's even a few Heroic Mortals thrown in to show you what well-trained mortals can do.
Avatar - The Last Airbender
It borders on kid-like at times, but it's a great Asian-influenced show if you get past that. The Fire nation is a good parallel for the Realm, and the outer kingdoms are very Threshold-like. Plus, the legend of an ancient savior returning to free his people from an oppressive government is a great starting point for any game.
The Heroic Legend of Arislan
Or Arslan if you prefer. You'll have to forgive me for the names; they change so often that I don't really know the official spelling. In any case, the story behind this anime is based on history, specifically a legendary prince of the Persian empire, lending it an exotic feel that would work for the South. So, to begin: Prince Arislan's home country of Palse (or Pars) is under attack by the country of Lusitania, which is known for its religious fanaticism. When the capital of Palse is taken, Arislan escapes with his loyal bodyguard Daryoon and begins building an army to take back his country from the cruel invaders. Among his recruits are Narsus, former advisor to the previous king and self-styled alcoholic artist and philosopher (along with his young servant boy Elam); Pharangese, a holy knight sent by her temple to protect Arislan, the "destined king"; and Gieve, a minstrel with a habit of chasing women and getting into trouble. Arislan is a perfect young Zenith with the Heart of Tears flaw (he falls to his knees in tears at least twice, begging Daryoon to "make it stop, Daryoon! Make it stop!"), while Daryoon is most likely a Dawn with Foolhardy Contempt (Five minutes after telling Arislan that they have to think things over before they attack, he rushes at a hated enemy shouting, "Coward, I challenge you now!"). Arislan is sadly unfinished in anime, but there are fifteen (I think) volumes of manga that are still untranslated from the Japanese. Still, it's worth watching. But do yourself a favor and skip the last installment, "Age of Heroes." It attempts to tie everything up in an hour and fails miserably.

Video Games

Bujingai
Once you get past the feminine-looking main character and the fact that he's obviously Gackt, you can see where it could be Exalted. Lau, the main character, is very Night-like, and his rival is obviously some sort of Abyssal. The acrobatics and general movement of the characters is very reminiscent of Charms as well.
Devil May Cry
Ah, Dante. If Dante is a Solar, then his brother Virgil is most definitely an Abyssal. Throw in Trish the ghost or spirit and it's very Exalted. Dante's even got a daiklave.

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