The debut of the upcoming anime project Despera, from the creators of famed psychological thriller Serial Experiments Lain, will be coming in the next issue of Animage as a “graphic novel”, with art by Yoshitoshi ABe and written by Chiaki J. Konaka.
The new project by ABe, Konaka and Ryutaro Nakamura (the three main creators of Lain) was revealed earlier this year during a panel at U.S. anime convention Sakuracon, but the release date of the anime is still set in the indeterminate future, making this manga serialization our first taste of the story.
Details on Despera are scant, but it has already been revealed that the setting will be Tokyo in 1922, set during the tail-end of the Taisho Era, and will feature a 14-year old girl named Ain who has a penchant for building odd mechanical devices, despite her lack of any scientific training.
Konaka writes on his blog that the manga (he refers to it as a グラフィック・ノヴェル / graphic novel) is planned for a one year run, and that a follow-up containing more information is likely planned on the Animage website.
Animage, which incidentally will be celebrating its 31st Anniversary next issue, is of course primarily an anime news magazine ala Newtype, and does not often house manga serializations, although it has serialized titles such as Miyazaki’s Nausicaa in the past.
Thus, its presence in Animage might suggest a more atypical form of serialization compared to most manga, with differences such as shorter page-counts, an unusual amount of colorized pages, or more infrequent publication dates all being things that lie in the realm of possibility, although we will likely need to wait for the next issue of Animage to find out for sure.
In any case, the project looks to be something to keep an eye on, as the trio’s 1998 Lain series is highly regarded as a psychological and philosophical “cyber-horror” story, and fans of ABe’s art, Lain, or darker anime are all likely to be most excited.