A few months ago, lain illustrations by yoshitoshi ABe was released in Japan. Essentially, it's a repackaging of "an omnipresence in wired" with a few new images.
You can order the book from Akadot retail. (Other online sellers might have the book for less. You might want to shop around).
American fans of ABe and lain will be interested to know that Digital Manga Publishing plans to release an English version of the book in 2006. DMP wants to include exclusive content that will only exist in that version, and they are looking for feedback from American fans. Here is the announcement:
We are currently in development of adding an exclusive section to the english adaption of Yoshitoshi ABe lain illustrations: "ab# rebuild an omnipresence in wired"!Here is the forum that was mentioned: Yoshitoshi ABe & Lain's Wired
The thing is, we wanted to try something new and exciting by getting some additional input from the anime and manga fan community!
"Serial Experiments - Lain" has been a cult classic amongst Japanese and American fans alike. This remixed and reissued edition of Yoshitoshi ABe's illustration book is a another example that "good anime never goes bad".
"I was talking this idea over with ABe-san and his Japanese publishers..." says DMP Director of Operations Isaac S. Lew. " and I really wanted to hit a core connection with not the just the fans, but the industry as well... Before FLCL or Boogie Pop Phantom, there was the creepy excitement of Lain. I want people to remember how significant "Serial Experiments - Lain" series was to the North American anime growth. "
This will be DMP first attempt at releasing a full color art book in 2006. Support from the fans is a must! Just go to DMP's forum page and join the "Yoshitoshi ABe & Lain's Wired" section for more details. There is also the possibility of getting mention in the published book.
Aka-san says that DMP has 8 pages to "do whatever we want".
So, any ideas?
My own thoughtsI had a chance to look through the forums and see what people had come up with. The DMP staff came up with the idea of having illustrations of Lain in different outfits/costumes. I think that would be fun, but would these be ABe illustrations or fan-created illustrations? I think that having new Lain art by ABe himself would be the number one thing to add to the American version of the book, but fanart might be a good second option. As some of you may remember, Ray DiPasquale and I (in conjunction with TechTV) ran a lain fanart contest a few years back where we asked people to present their own visions of Lain. If DMP is looking for good fan artists, I can get in touch with the people who submitted to our contest.
Some of the fan suggestions (on the DMP forums) were pretty good. In particular, I like the suggestions brought up by BachFan1977 (more information and insights directly from ABe, lain-related comments and/or illustrations from other anime artists, etc.)
I think the most important thing is that the content needs to be truly new. For six years now, my own site, thought experiments lain, has been offering interpretations of the anime, explaining references (Apple computer references, for example), looking into all kinds of miscellaneous stuff (such as lain merchandise), and (most importantly, perhaps) providing links to third party resources so people can learn more on their own. Plus, there are plenty of other lain sites and discussion venues out there that a lot of us have visited/participated in. As such, I'm not sure if more of the same is really necessary in the new ABe book.
In the announcement, Isaac Lew brought up lain's impact on both American anime fandom and the American anime industry. I think that's a really good starting point. An essay about the anime's historical significance, featuring interviews with anime fans and members of the industry, would be pretty interesting (to me, at least). It's something I'd happily contribute to.
Anyhow, I'm curious what you think. Feel free to comment here if you want or on the relevant DMP forums.