Wired Tea Robits

Well, April is officially underway and this year's celebration of all things Cyberpunk is a little more low key than last. I still haven't gotten around to watching The Terminator Trilogy (not to mention the obligatory screening of all things Matrix), but I have delved into a few new things.

First up is Serial Experiments: Lain, an anime series that originally debuted back in 1998. For being 10 years old it has held up remarkably well, both from an animation standpoint and that fact that the show is all about technology and the Interwebs and something 10 years old could easily feel dated by now.

I am still only about 4 or 5 episodes into this series and judging by the trailer below, the shit hasn't even begun to hit the fan yet but here's what I know: Lain is an 8th grader isn't into computers at all, and doesn't go online, like, ever. This all changes when one of her classmates commits suicide but then starts sending out e-mails from beyond the grave. She says that she has given up her body and found God on The Wired (the Internet) and is inviting everyone to join her. Most people play it off as a sick joke, but Lain stays curious and weirder and weirder shit starts happening to her.

So far, the story and the animation style reminds me a lot of some of the Animatrix episodes, most notably Beyond.

Things I dig: the "sparse-ness" of it all (sometimes it seems like you're just looking at static images or a series vignettes). The presentation of The Wired (or lack thereof), and being creeped out but not knowing why.

Things that suck: Lain's traumatized, wide-eyed, whimpering demeanor (I think this is just a plot device, characters have made reference to her being a completely different person on The Wired, but it hasn't been shown yet. She will probably snap out of it eventually but sometimes I just want to reach out and shake her!)

Next we have Tea from An Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan. I just picked this book up for the first time about 10 minutes ago to read the synopsis on the dust jacket so I'd have something to blog about. But from what I've read, it sounds pretty cool and actually kind of similar to Serial Experiments Lain. It also reminded me of Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (which is one of my favorites), in that crimes are carrying over from a virtual world to the real one. This book also looks interesting because I believe that all of the major characters (the hero, the villian and the damsel) are female. Kind of rare of rare for Sci-Fi. Anyway, I am really looking forward to reading this, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Things I dig: it looks like it will be faithful to the genre of cyberpunk. I haven't read it yet and don't know anything about so all the surprises will be there.

Things that suck: it's a book and I can't read.

Lastly we have Robotech, which isn't really all that cyberpunk, but it is Sci-Fi and giant robots or, as Ryan Davis calls them, robits. I have never been into Robotech, I just never really got it. It also didn't help that the "Robotech canon" is seemingly vast and infinite and very daunting to a newcomer. I did a little research and found the DVDs of the original series (Robotech: The Macross Saga) and have been enjoying them a lot. If you're uninitiated, like myself, Robotech is about a big alien spaceship that crash lands on earth. The Earthlings go and check it out and find all kinds of sweet "robit technology" aka Robotech on board (is it pronounced Robo-tech or Robot-ech? For some reason I can't stop with the Robot-ech). So they tinker with it for a while and finally get the ship humming again. Just in time for an invasion by the other alien race that originally shot the thing down.

I've only watched the first 5 episodes, but it's great. It was originally aired in 1985 and holds up incredibly well. I feel much shame that I did not get into this earlier, but from an outsider's perspective it just seemed uber-nerdy... even for me.

There is also a rumor that Tobey Mcguire is going to be making/starring-in a live action movie adaptation, which could be cool so long as they throw an ass-ton of money at it and make it awesome.

Things I dig: ROBITS! Kids cartoons that aren't afraid to talk about death.

Things that suck: the episode The Long Wait, almost killed it for me. There were no robits. Just a stupid, stupid girl.