Yoshitoshi ABe is Rakka!!

A couple of weeks ago Yoshitoshi ABe (Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei) posted on his blog that he had overslept on the day of an important appointment.  I sent a comment in (more of a question, really) wondering about the sort of dreams that he had.  A week later he published a long post on one of his dreams (here).    Afterward looking through the site I discovered that this is the third dream that he’s described for his readers this year (!) so I can’t say my comment triggered the post, but in contrast to the earlier dream-posts this one came with a general statement on his dreaming.  I’ll get back to that statement later, but I’d first like to give brief summaries of the three dreams (if you’d like to see the detailed originals they’re all on his blog, in Japanese).  I think my point that ABe-sensei = Rakka (the Haibane that dreamt she was falling) will be plain to see.


The latest dream is set in a quiz show.  ABe isn’t there of his own volition, he has been forced to participate somehow.  He receives a paper with some strange writing he must decipher, plus a mobile phone. 

With the clock running down he manages to rearrange the characters correctly and type the correct code into the mobile.  The phone screen flashes the letters “OK” so he happily turns the phone off, thinking he’s won.  Alas, later on he discovers that typing in the code was just the first part, that the “OK” meant the phone line was working and he was supposed to use to the mobile to listen to the actual quiz question.  So by turning off the phone he’s made a fool of himself.  He feels like running away, and he wakes up.

In the next dream (going back chronologically), Abe finds himself on an operation table.  It seems they’re going to be cutting into his right side.  There’s a TV screen where ABe can see the body of man (much like himself) being injected by a doctor with an anesthetic.  He wonders why they would show him such an image during an operation and the doctor explains.  He says that before the doctor injects the patient, it is important for the patient to look at someone being injected.  That way when the patient goes to sleep he will dream of being put to sleep.  This in turn will make the sleep that much deeper.  ABe is satisfied with this reply.  Then the doctor adds: “By the way, I injected you a long time ago, and you are in deep sleep, are you aware of this?”  ABe wakes up.

deciphering strange

deciphering strange writing

The third dream (first chronologically) doesn’t revolve around one plot like the others.  There are several changes of scene so it’s hard to summarize.  The connecting thread is what ABe calls the “crab mobile”, the latest rage in phone technology, where they actually manage to put a crab inside a cellphone (the crab tends to come out and snap at the owner, I guess this makes the phone exciting)!  In a couple of the scenes, ABe is an engineer in charge of developing the “crab mobile”.  He’s pressured repeatedly by a mobster-type boss who is eager to sell the product, while ABe keeps complaining that it’s way too dangerous for release.

In all three dreams ABe-sensei seems caught in a situation outside of his control.  He’s trying to figure what is going on and there is an uneasiness (angst?) running through the entire experience.  In Heideggerian terms, these are dreams of “thrownness” (good discussion here), a fundamental human condition exemplified very well in ABe’s creation Haibane Renmei, and literally in the character of Rakka.  Three dreams in a year is a tiny sample, to be sure, but the glimpse into Yoshitoshi ABe’s mind is precious IMO.  In his latest dream-post ABe tells us that his dreams are marked by colors ( vivid blue, for example).  At the same time,  they’re almost lacking in sound.  Silent, colorful dreams.

~ by Haloed Bane on December 2, 2008.

5 Responses to “Yoshitoshi ABe is Rakka!!”

  1. As someone who hasn’t had any really imaginative dreams in a while, and as someone who’s a fan of ABe, this is double the pleasure/fun here. And as his dreams appear, I could so see him using them as inspiration for future works if ever chose to do so.

  2. I agree, although I must add that as long as his awesome art holds up, he can come up with any crappy story and I’ll still follow it..

  3. […] visit to his blog here. Of particular interest is his translations of artists’ blogs, such as Yoshitoshi Abe’s entry describing dreams he’s had. But now we return to our impish fuehrer…who has […]

  4. […] visit to his blog here. Of particular interest is his translations of artists’ blogs, such as Yoshitoshi Abe’s entry describing dreams he’s had. But now we return to our impish fuehrer…who has […]

  5. […] don’t stop at comparison between anime characters.  I also wrote a post called Yoshitoshi ABe is Rakka!!, where the title itself is a metaphor identifying an anime character with her […]

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