First published: 5/6/03
This is going to be a jam-packed edition of lainspotting. There's a lot of news, so follow Battle Royale oneesan's advice and "Listen well to fight right and with gusto!"
Lain on TV
As I mentioned in the previous lainspotting, TechTV is going to rebroadcast lain. According to TechTV's website, lain will start again on 5/9/03 at 12AM and 3AM EST. See their full schedule for more details.
Lain merchandise update
Pioneer has announced that it will release the lain OST (Original Soundtrack) and Cyberia Mix Soundtrack CDs in the US! At $14.98 per CD, they're quite a bargain. Furthermore, the OST will come with a booklet that contains comments by Yasuyuki Ueda (lain's producer) translated into English. The release date for the OST is July 1st, 2003. The release date for Cyberia Mix is September 2nd, 2003.
See the following links for more information:
lain Cyberia Mix
Anime watch: Texhnolyze
Texhnolyze is an anime series that recently came out. It was produced by Yasuyuki Ueda, features original character designs by Yoshitoshi ABe, and was written by Chiaki Konaka. This is the first time all three of them have worked together since making lain. So far, I watched the first episode of Texhnolyze. I can't say I'm hugely drawn in just yet. The character designs and oppressively dark atmosphere weren't immediately appealing to me, but I'll withhold judgement until I've seen more. The first episode didn't reveal much at all.
Anyhow, I started a bare-bones Texhnolyze information page last month--just before the series came out. It very much needs to be updated, but feel free to take a look anyway.
ABe to visit the US
Yoshitoshi ABe will be a guest of honor at this year's Anime Expo in Anaheim, California--possibly to promote Haibane Renmei and Texhnolyze. This, of course, is quite exciting. ABe's most recent US convention appearance was at Anime Central 2001. Unfortunately, I don't know if I can make it to AX this year. I kind of had my heart set on FanimeCon. I'm torn between my love of lain and my fascination with Gainax--Fanime will have an army of Gainax guests. Plus, in Northern California, I'd be helping my best friend James move out of his place (he'll be starting business school at Cornell this Fall). Anyhow, to those of you who can make it to AX this year, have fun! For those of us on the East Coast, we can only hope that ABe will attend Otakon this year, as well.
On the home front
A few weeks ago, Carol and I joined a bunch of our CJAS friends in NYC to see the NY Auto Show. During that trip, we also got to visit Ray DiPasquale, the webmaster of Distortion Gallery, at his home in New Jersey. It was only the second time we've met in person, and the first time I got to see his lain collection up close. Needless to say, I was very impressed, and I think Ray had fun showing it to us, too. If you're interested in lain merchandise at all, you have to check out Ray's site. I should also note that he gave me, as an unexpected gift, some rare To-Y (my other anime obsession) merchandise he had acquired on my behalf. I was going tp pay him back, but he wouldn't have it. (Thanks, Ray! I owe you one.)
This semester of school has kept me very busy. In addition to taking three PhD-level social science courses, I was a TA as well. I'm finally done, however, and I'm looking forward to relaxing a little before shifting into high gear again.
For one thing, I've been exploring the web a bit more than usual. I was especially pleased the other day when I discovered the art of Hyung-Tae Kim, whose character designs are featured in the computer games Magna Carta and The War of Genesis. I haven't played those games, but the art is fabulous (the image to the right is an example). Here is a site with nice galleries of his work: http://xcomic.myrice.com/pic/kht/Hyung-Tae%20Kim.htm
I've been reading, too (outside of school). I recently bought The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith. As one might expect, the first story I read from that collection was "Think Blue, Count Two". Interesting stuff. Lain-like protagonists are not uncommon in the stories of Cordwainer Smith.
Finally, I bought the much anticipated Battle Royale novel by Koushun Takami (translated by Viz). At the time of this writing, I'm a little more than halfway through its 600-plus pages. So far, I think it's great, even though the impact of the story has been dulled significantly by the equally great movie--which I discussed in the 12/1/01 edition of lainspotting. On a related note, I bought the Battle Royale Special Edition DVD which, amongst other things, features extra scenes. Battle Royale is a timely and relevant story about resisting oppression, and it doesn't fall into the trap of becoming a male adolescent power fantasy (The Matrix being an excellent example of that). Anyhow, check back here this summer for more detailed movie reviews. ^_~
That's all for now. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you on the Wired!