Quick update on book distrbution: I’m right at the 75%-mailed mark. That’s good! The last of the internationally-bound paperbacks (and some hardbacks) will be in the mail no later than Saturday, at which point it’s all just down to hardbacks in need of artwork and a handful of stragglers from the orders I took a couple of weeks ago. Believe me when I say that I am way more eager to have these books in your hands than you are.
That being said, the next time I do one of these, the process will be far more painless for everyone involved.
On an unrelated note, I watched the Akira Blu-ray last night and it was kind of impressive! Great sound, and the art is so clear and detailed that any visual softness and flaws come down to problems with the source material that are now clear for all to see. The high-definition transfer here is basically as good as this movie can look, because it reveals the rough edges of hand-drawn animation in startling detail. It’s still gorgeous, of course. And I’ve finally seen it enough times (and read the manga enough) that the whole thing makes perfect sense, too.
In fact, as I was watching last night it slowly dawned on me that Akira (mainly via the Colonel’s perspective and comments) is a critique of the boom-era Japan in which the manga and movie were created, a Miyazaki-esque screed against the decadence that had infected the hearts of post-reconstruction Japan (the movie being set about 35 years after World War III’s cataclysm neatly parallels the way the manga debuted about 35 years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). I was really proud of myself for making this connection until I read the booklet that comes with the Blu-ray and noticed it includes an interview with Katsuhiro Otomo in which he says, “Yeah, this is basically a Miyazaki-esque screed against the decadence that developed over the course of the Showa era.”
What a jerk. Great-looking movie, though.