Chiaki J. Konaka, the writer of science fiction anime Serial Experiments Lain, has provided a small update on Despera, a Taisho era-set science fiction anime project that was first announced in 2009 by Lain character designer Abe Yoshitoshi.
Writing on his Twitter account, Konaka said that Despera had been suspended “for a year and a few months” due to the COVID pandemic. However, the project remains alive and may there may be a potential announcement on it next year.
Konaka wrote, “The production funding scheme is 80% completed. The core staff also did a lot of work up until a year ago. It’s just been restarted, so some kind of announcement won’t be made until 2022. I understand. It’s a long way off.
“But we, @abfly [Yoshitoshi] and others been working on this project for over 18 years now. We’re still trying to do it, so please be patient with us.”
In 2018, Anime News Network reported on a Twitter update by Konaka, in which he tweeted a picture of himself with Yoshitoshi and wrote, “There is no good sign, but we’ll spend our effort for making Despera.” Konaka also mentioned that the “chaos of anime business in Japan” was posing issues for the anime’s creation.
“The old business model has collapsed, and the route to make independent planning as a commercial work has disappeared,” Konaka was quoted as saying. “hat is a problem. But well, I will do something.”
The anime was originally meant to be directed by Serial Experiments Lain and Kino’s Journey director Ryutaro Nakamura, who passed away in 2013. The project would have been Nakamura’s first collaboration with Konaka and Yoshitoshi since their work on 1998’s Serial Experiments Lain. It was announced in 2015 that the project would proceed with a new director.
A Despera Roman Album was released in 2011. Prior to that, the story was serialized in Animage from 2009 to 2013 with a total of 13 chapters.
Anime News Network describes the anime as:
The story centers around Ain, a 14-year-old girl who builds devices despite the lack of the scientific background required for them. The science-fiction story is set in Japan’s Taishō era in 1922 — one year before the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake in the Tokyo area.
Source: Chiaki J. Konaka Twitter