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Yoshitoshi ABe's Despera Anime Project Isn't Dead

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Serial Experiments Lain character designer Yoshitoshi ABe's first announced plans for the series' "spiritual" sequel in 2009 under the name Despera. Unfortunately, fans got little more than radio silence for six years as the project's director passed away. ABe said at a convention in New Zealand in 2015 that the project is moving forward with a new director, however there were no more developments beyond that announcement, nor has the new director been revealed by name since.

ABe was in the news again this year as the original character designer for the original sci-fi work Project D. The announcement seemed like a possible tease for Despera's return, but Project D isn't Despera; its full title was revealed as RErideD: Derrida, who leaps through time.

Still, ABe hasn't forgotten about Despera. He appeared in a photo with scriptwriter Chiaki J. Konaka on Wednesday where Konaka wrote that both will continue to try to get Despera made, despite ongoing difficulties.

Yoshitaka Abe (left), Chiaki J. Konaka (right)

Fans responded to the post asking if financial issues were to blame. Konaka responded to elaborate that funding isn't the primary issue, but chaos within the animation industry in Japan as a whole. He wrote:

Thank you for worrying about Despera. In the case of Despera, it is not simply a matter of funds, but now it is in chaos of animation business in Japan.
The old business model has collapsed, and the route to make independent planning as a commercial work has disappeared.
That is a problem. But well, I will do something. Remember The Big O project had spend years and years to the project has been established.

Konaka's comments about the state of the anime industry reflect an ongoing issue touched on by numerous creators. Kemono Friends producer Yoshitada Fukuhara spoke on the problems on the committee system and profit distribution within the anime industry at a presentation titled "A Partnership System Turning Into the Production Committee System" at Josai International University. A program on NHK aired last year discussing the "dark side" of the animation industry and received widespread commentary from anime industry members and viewers. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing director Shinji Takamatsu. believes bankruptcy will lead to major changes in the way anime is currently produced.

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