In which Shingo catches a cold, the best anime of 2007* gets an official site update, and a fine artist passes away. [edit] a bit of happy news at the end, too.

I just went through a three day weekend (Culture Day banzai~) which coincided almost perfectly with the duration of a cold I came down with Thursday afternoon. As a result, instead of all sorts of nifty updates I’d been planning I found myself either in bed or at the computer playing Neverwinter Nights expansions (spec’d out this killer Monk / Fighter / Shadowdancer…) for the duration. A great way to kill time while sick, a terrible way to treat a website that relies on “timely content”. orz

I’m mostly over the cold now, and here to report a few bits of news: first, according to Moon Phase the official site for Seirei no Moribito has recieved a full site renewal. There’s not much in the way of new content, though we do get a bit more info on the characters and a confirmation of the show’s April 2007 start date on NHK. Given my penchant for doing very little research into the story beforehand and judging a show by its production staff and character designs alone this should be taken with due skepticism, but I’m officially dubbing this the Best Show of 2007: “Asian High Fantasy” from the production team behind Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – does it get any better than this?

On a more somber note, I recieved word today (thanks, Envelop) that Haniwadako of circle Octopus Trap has died. A post on this page of his message board contains the official notice; he apparently died of a sudden heart attack and was still in his twenties. For years now an icon among fans of the bizarre side of Japanese 2D erotica, his presence at events and in the visual landscape and consciousness of fans online will be sorely missed.

Personally, my contact with him was limited to a brief email exchange in which he allowed me to link his site for this post a year and a half ago, and laughingly informed me that his nickname was not “phantom” but was Haniwadako (はにわダコ, his avatar being a cross between a haniwa and a tako). Since then I had only encountered him briefly at events when picking up his releases, most recently at ABC on October 9th – just a few days before he died, in hindsight – where I had the opportunity to sit next to his circle’s table for the day. While we didn’t talk, he looked in fine health then… news of his untimely death is particularly upsetting on account of this.

I apologize for ending the post on such a downer, but this is the closest I’ve ever been to the death of someone I admire in this way, and it’s a disturbing and saddening experience. Otaku aren’t known for taking care of themselves well, and this brings home the urgency of looking after the few friends I’ve managed to make here. Life is so very fragile.

[edit] There is an additional bit of timely news to report today: Comiket 71 lottery result notifications have begun to arrive in the mailboxes of artists nationwide, so expect day and space numbers to appear on circle sites soon. A quick glance at Mixi shows that Xiarobo and Sakai Hamachi have both made the cut; further relevant details to be noted as they become available.