First published: 12/31/02
"Another year over..."
"...and a new one just begun." On this last day of 2002, I say "hello (again)".
It's been a long time (three and half months) since I wrote anything here. I had a busy semester of school, and it looks like more of the same for 2003. But...this is my Winter Break, and I'm already hard at work preparing new content for my site. Judging from my web tracking logs, there is currently a high level of interest in lain. I strongly suspect this has something to do with the fact that TechTV has announced that it will be showing lain in its new Anime Unleashed programming block. The exact days and times that lain will be shown have not been announced yet, but keep your eye out. It's quite exciting to speculate how many people will be seeing lain for the very first time. I'm almost jealous of them. I suspect, however, that TechTV will be showing the dubbed version, but even so, maybe the new lain fans will be prompted to buy the DVDs (where they can watch the episodes in their original language).
To match the renewed interest in lain, I have a bunch of TEL upgrades in mind. It's just a matter of how much I can get done in these next few weeks. In addition to all the usual updates I do, I have a big project in the works: a serial experiments lain fanart contest. To make it worthwhile, I have some serious prizes to give away. Ideally, it will be up and running within a week or so, so check back soon.
A visit to TEL HQ
In a previous lainspotting, I included a picture of my real life desktop. But that was only my temporary workspace that I set up during the summer months of 2002 (while I was in California getting ready for my wedding). Since then, Carol and I have moved back to my apartment in New York, and I've redesigned my workspace / anime-haven. Here are some pictures (click on the images for larger versions):
Anime watch: Platonic Chain
I used to keep up with new anime fairly regularly, but ever since I started my most recent PhD work, I've been a bit too busy to explore new shows. Lately, however, I've gone out of my way to see some new titles, and one show I liked, in particular, was Platonic Chain (a 2002 TV series based on a novel by Kouji Watanabe). It deserves mention here in that certain aspects of the show appealed to me for some of the same reasons that lain appealed to me. I don't want to overhype the show, of course, and say that it's the next lain or anything like that. I don't think it's necessary to compare the two shows except to say that there are a few conceptual and visual similarities between them.
In a nutshell, Platonic Chain follows the everyday (and certainly interesting) activities of three teenage girls and their associates in 'present day, present time' Shibuya. The anime focuses on what it's like for these girls to live in a society where personal access to massive information networks and databases is commonplace. In that society, everyone is constantly watched and recorded, and that data is saved for people to access and use later (for any number of purposes).
From what I've seen so far (7 episodes, out of 24?), I like how Platonic Chain portrays a) the complex relationships between technology and society, and b) the way youth, in particular, use/appropriate technologies in unexpected (and often humorous) ways as a means of asserting control over their lives. Furthermore, I like the character designs (by Okazaki Takeshi) a lot, and the music is quite catchy--which isn't surprising since avex group is involved in the show's production. The show is pretty much all computer graphics, and some of it looks a little strange, but it's not overly distracting.
Platonic Chain is presented in short (~5 minute) vignettes that are not necessarily connected to each other. For those of you who are looking for a heavy duty plot with crazy twists and turns, Platonic Chain is not for you. On the other hand, if you're more into atmosphere and style, and short-but-sweet glimpses into a fantasy world that mirrors our own in very interesting ways, Platonic Chain is both entertaining and enlightening.
Some Christmas loot
I can't end this installment of lainspotting without mentioning my new Lain doll (given to me by my friends, the Yeh brothers). It's still in its box, right next to my other Lain doll. Kudos to Toynami for releasing these. Maybe one day, they'll release a "Lain's computer room" playset (low-static Lain included, of course). ^_^
In the meantime, here's a picture of my new doll: