Kanbayashi Chōhei

Tagged: Author

Writing name of Japanese author Kiyoshi Takayanagi (1953-    ), occasionally romanized as Chōhei Kambayashi, whose tone swings largely between Cyberpunk of conflicts with machines, and Satire involving cats. He has won the prestigious Seiun Award on multiple occasions, for works in both modes.

Ever since his competition-winning debut short "Kitsune to Odore" ["Dance With a Fox"] (September 1979 SF Magazine), Kanbayashi's stories have appeared almost exclusively in Hayakawa's SF Magazine as both shorts and serialized novels, making his name a constant and enduring presence in Japanese sf's journal of record over the last thirty years. Teki wa Kaizoku ["The Enemy is the Pirate"] is his most garlanded creation, in which a reluctant human hero is forced to cooperate with a wisecracking cat (> Uplift) in an ongoing effort to keep the solar system free of pirates.

Kanbayashi's longer-term reputation is sure to rest on his Yukikaze series of Military SF, beginning with "Sentō ga Mau" ["The Sylph Dances"] (November 1979 SF Magazine). In it, Earth is invaded by Aliens who have opened a gateway in Hyperspace that has its egress at the Earth's pole. The titular anti-hero is not a person, but a plane: an artificial intelligence (> AI) conflicted not only by its heuristic superiority to its human pilot, but also by the discovery that it is fighting a race of similar machines, that regards biological life as a parasite (> Berserkers). The series arrived in English translation a generation after its original appearance in Japanese, somewhat diluting its innovation and impact.

Kanbayashi's other major series, unknown in English, is Kasei San-bu ["Mars Third Section"], set in a Keep below the surface of Mars, to which humanity has been obliged to retreat after a nuclear Holocaust. The surface is ceded to Androids, and the status quo is enforced by a Religion that threatens the divine punishment of "the God Endsville" if anyone dares to question it (> Arrested Development). A similarly strong sense of social commentary can also be discerned in many of Kanbayashi's narratives, particularly in the Absurdist SF of Shinsetsu ga Ippai ["Full of Kindnesses"] (1990), set in a Japan so riddled with bureaucracy that even thieves and gangsters must obtain a licence, and Lunatican (1988), which chronicles the aghast reaction of earthbound critics to a couple on the Moon who decide to raise an Android child. His social satire reached its peak with Prism (1985), also a Seiun winner, set in a Utopia where all human needs are met, although inhabitants are forbidden from questioning why.

Yukikaze and Teki wa Kaizoku function as symbolic poles of Kanbayashi's thematic concerns, such that many of his other works often seem like distaff instalments of his two most famous serials. Kikaitachi no Jikan ["Time of the Machines"] (1987) is a Changewar thriller in which a soldier from the future is transported by Time Travel to the author's native Niigata, Japan, in 1976, there to await orders for his mission. Knowing that humanity will be wiped out in a future war with the Magzak machine intelligence, his foreknowledge and desperation is redolent of that of many sf heroes, but seems chiefly inspired by that of the protagonist of The Terminator (1984). Shi shite Saku Hana, Mi no Aru Yume ["The Blossoming Flower Dies, Reality in a Dream"] (1992) is a comedy in which the Japanese army is mobilized to track down the prime minister's missing cat, which is the unwitting bearer of a doomsday device.

Two of Kanbayashi's works have been adapted into Anime form. Teki wa Kaizoku: Nekotachi no Kyōen ["Enemy is the Pirate: A Banquet of Cats"] (1989 Japan vt Galactic Pirates, 1996 UK), sank without a trace, despite featuring a theme song by "Air Pavilion", a super-group assembled from members of Whitesnake, Iron Maiden and Motorhead (> SF Music). More crucially in the history of anime on Television, it was one of the first serials to be made for video but also broadcast on satellite television as an attempt to swiftly monetize. During the 1990s, such shows would become commonplace, creating a bizarre fusion of straight-to-video schlock, but bearing the official designation of a "television series". A five-part anime series, Yukikaze (2002 Japan) was released to coincide with a revised edition of the original book, and it is this format that most Anglophone audiences are most likely to have encountered both Yukikaze and its author. [JonC]

Kiyoshi Takayanagi

born Niigata, Japan: 10 July 1953

died

works

series

Kasei San-bu

  • Anata no Tamashii ni Yasuragi are ["May Peace Be On Your Soul"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1983) [Kasei San-bu: binding unknown/]
  • Teiō no Kara ["The Emperor's Shell"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1990) [Kasei San-bu: binding unknown/]
  • Hadae no Shita ["Under the Skin"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2004) [Kasei San-bu: binding unknown/]

Teki wa Kaizoku

Yukikaze

  • Sentō Yōsei Yukikaze ["Battle Sylph Yukikaze"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1984) [Yukikaze: binding unknown/]
    • Sentō Yōsei Yukikaze <kai> ["Battle Sylph Yukikaze <break>"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2002) [rev of the above: Yukikaze: binding unknown/]
      • Yukikaze (San Francisco, California: Viz Media, 2010) [trans of the above by Neil Nadelman: Yukikaze: pb/]
  • Good Luck Sentō Yōsei Yukikaze (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1999) [Yukikaze: binding unknown/]
    • Good Luck Yukikaze (San Francisco, California: Viz Media, 2011) [trans of the above by Neil Nadelman: Yukikaze: pb/]
  • Unbroken Arrow (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2009) [Yukikaze: binding unknown/]

individual titles (selected)

  • Shichidō Otoshi ["Seventh Fall"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1983) [binding unknown/]
  • Taiyō no Ase ["Sweat of the Sun"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1985) [binding unknown/]
  • Uchū Tansaki Meiwaku Ichiban ["The Most Irritating Spacecraft"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1986) [binding unknown/]
  • Koyoi, Ginga wo Hai ni Shite ["Tonight, A Galaxy in a Cup"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1987) [binding unknown/]
  • Aoi Kuchizuke ["Blue Kiss"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1987) [binding unknown/]
  • Lunatican (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1988) [binding unknown/]
  • Kafuka Toshi ["Kafka City/Overload City"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1988) [coll of linked stories: binding unknown/]
  • U no Sekai ["U-world"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1989) [coll of linked stories: binding unknown/]
  • Shinsetsu ga Ippai ["Full of Kindnesses"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1990) [binding unknown/]
  • Kanpeki-na Namida ["Complete Tears"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1990) [coll of linked stories: binding unknown/]
  • Ware Katarite Sekai ari ["Thus Spake Our World"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1990) [binding unknown/]
  • Shi shite Saku Hana, Mi no Aru Yume ["The Blossoming Flower Dies, Reality in a Dream"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1992) [binding unknown/]
  • Izayoi no Tsuki ["Inconstant Moon"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1992) [binding unknown/]
  • Tengoku ni Sokkuri-na Hoshi ["Lookalike Stars in Heaven"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1993) [binding unknown/]
  • Kototsubo ["Word Jar"] (Tokyo: Chūō Kōron-sha, 1994) [coll of linked stories: binding unknown/]
  • Tamashii no Kudōtai ["Soul Drive"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1995) [binding unknown/]
  • Right Gene no Isan ["Right Gene's Heritage"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1997) [coll of linked stories: binding unknown/]
  • Eikyū Kikan Sōchi ["Eternal Feedback System"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2001) [binding unknown/]
  • Rah Xephon Jikan Chōritsushi ["Rah Xephon: Time Tuner"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Dual Bunko, 2002) [Tie to the Anime series Rah Xephon: pb/]

collections

  • Kitsune to Odore ["Dance with a Fox"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1981) [coll: binding unknown/]
    • Kitsune to Odore ["Dance With a Fox"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2010) [coll: rev of the above: binding unknown/]
  • Kotoba Tsukaishi ["Wordmaster"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1983) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Prism (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1985) [coll of linked stories: binding unknown/]
  • Jikan Shoku ["Time Contact"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1987) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Kikaitachi no Jikan ["Time of the Machines"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1987) [coll of linked stories: binding unknown/]
  • Koyubi no saki no Tenshi ["Angel on my Little Fingertip"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2003) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Bakugekiki no Tobu Sora ["The Crop Duster Takes Flight"] (Tokyo: Hiyoko, 2004) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Kyōzō no Teki ["Enemy of the Mirror Image"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2005) [coll: binding unknown/]

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