Sunday, November 28, 2004
Anime in the sticks / Lain and Ms. Kuriyama
One of the worst things about relocating back to the UK after a long-spell in Asia - is the lack of immediate access to cool Japanese/Korean horror/anime/manga flicks - not suprising perhaps when I live in such a sleepy little village in the middle of a sleepy little county - still the cider more than makes up for it at times (or perhaps that should read - makes me unable to remember anything - and indeed makes it at times impossible to even stand!) .. so it was with some major suprise yesterday to find in the local paper-shop here in South Peth - a brand new UK mag - dedicated to all things that form (and I quote) "cult action entertainment".
Nothing exactly mind-blowing about this mag - apart from the fact it exists and is available in such a small-nothing-much-happenning place such as I live in .... For the non-enlightened - it gives a pretty decent overview of absolute essential viewing matter (both anime and film) - annoyingly omitting some classic examples (hopefully to be addressed in coming issues - should it make edition 2 that is !) .... I mean - how anyone can produce a magazine of this nature without giving a nod to the mega-beast that is Serial Experiments Lain completly foxes me .... Take the quiz to find out which Serial Experiments Lain character you are .... here.
Lain for me basically hits all bases - it starts with the typical 'hello-kitty-hugging' asian school settings - all somewhat cutey cutey - but immediatly following a school-girl suicide and subsequent email communication from 'the other side' (say Hi to the Wired) jarrs you into a dark undercurrent - of techno-goth, at times throbbing beatz, and all round coolness - as only the japanese seem to manage - whilst all the time somehow maintaing a simple juvenile charm ... this is a 12 part series - and well worth hunting down if you can find the thang - I managed to pick up a japanese bootlgeg in Beijing last year - my english-dubbed copy long ago given to my partner in Beatz - JVS as an xmas pressie (pretty generous or what ?) .
I actually became aware of this series - when sitting at home on Lamma Island, Hong Kong back around 1998 or so - whilst downloading anything with the word 'experiment' in it using Napster (those were the days) - I got a 2 minute clip of the sound track. For the next year or so, I used to repeatedly drop this clip into Digital Cutup Lounge performances (as ya do). Sooo - to recreate those heady Hong Kong DCL Jazz-Club-Dayz - ya can grab it by clicking below:
Serial Experiments Lain - Sound clip.
Back with Neo I suppose - it manages to cover all the old faves: Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Ringu (forget that US remake pap - go for the japanese originals pleaz!!), Ju-On etc - all being total must-sees next time you are in a town/city with suitable rental-outlets... The list of uncovered gems is long - seriously though search out Lain - trust me - I am a doctor !
Perhaps the highlight of the whole thing however - is the centre-fold-pull-out (now now) of none other but uber-cool (and now tradgically hip) Chiaka Kuriyama.
The picture the mag used was a somewhat obvious choice - and one instantly recognisable thanks to Mr "I stole all my licks from cool japanese flicks" Tarentino ... cuz Chiaka Kuriyama is none other than the ball-swinging-psycho-babe from his Kill Bill effort ....
I prefer to remember her in Battle Royal (first one - second part for some reason does not quite do it for me - much more aggrssion/killing etc - but lacks the suprise factor I suppose!) - either however are more appealing than the mega-buks all-star bill-kill crap ...
so in typical rip-off-idea-fashion (thanks mr QT ya tought me all I know ..) ... while surfing for Lain pages - 2 Japanese girls making primitive disco noise ......
Kiiiii - Brown Girl