(1962- ) Japanese author whose first published work was "Yume no Ki ga Tsugeta nara" ["If Only the Dream Trees Could Touch"] (March 1992 SF Magazine). His subsequent output has been dominated by a single Future History, the intricacies and achievements of which may arguably be said to have been ill-served in translation.
Morioka's chief work throughout the 1990s and 2000s was the Seikai [literally "Star World"] series, a prolonged exercise in Far Future world-building. It won the Seiun Award for its extraordinarily detailed examination of the Abh, a space-faring race, somewhat altered by Genetic Engineering, whose distant ancestors and/or creators, it is implied, were Japanese ultra-nationalists (see Race in SF), and whose fiendishly complex language has evolved from an artificial repurposing of medieval Japanese (see Linguistics). Written off by one critic as "Nazi space elves", the Abh adhere to central dogma of purity, conquest and loyalty that might realistically be said to present an intriguing view of Yellow Peril fiction from the inside, as if the imperialist heroes of Shunrō Oshikawa had made it to the stars (see also Hitoshi Yoshioka). As the title of the first volume Teikoku no Ōjo ["Princess of the Empire"] (1996) inherently suggests, the true protagonist is not the collaborator Jinto Lynn, but his attractive Abh guardian Lafiel; the author has since revealed that the entire series, once complete, will chart the 250-year lifespan of Lafiel from her birth to her ascension to the throne of the Galactic Empire.
The series exists in a multiplicity of forms, with the original prose adapted into Manga by several artists, three Anime Television serials, two fix-up movies edited together from the television version, a Videogame, a one-shot video special and a Radio drama, much of which has been translated. Critical reaction in English, however, largely seems to revolve around finger-pointing, as fans ceaselessly debate whether the shortcomings of Anglophone versions are the fault of the poor translation of a masterpiece, or faithful translation of an over-hyped original.
The Seikai series overshadows all Morioka's other work, both in terms of critical reaction and general marketing. Tsuki to Yami no Senki ["Chronicle of Moon and Shadow"] brings characters from Japanese Mythology into the modern world, and soon turns (thanks to the absurdities of Japanese mythology) into Absurdist SF. Yasashii Rengoku ["Kind Purgatory"] features a private investigator in a town populated by spirits of the dead. Morioka's most recent sf work to date (2011) is Kaze to Tanpopo ["Wind and Dandelions"] (graph February 2009 Yomban), drawn by Sachiko Kawano: a manga series about three sisters, whose peaceful life on an artificial world is disrupted by an Alien Invasion. [JonC]
born Kobe, Japan: 2 March 1962
- Teikoku no Ōjo ["Princess of the Empire"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1996) [Seikai no Monshō: pb/]
- Sasayaka na Tatakai ["A Modest Battle"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1996) [Seikai no Monshō: pb/]
- Ikyō e no Kikan ["Return to a Strange World"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1996) [Seikai no Monshō: pb/]
- Kizuna no Katachi ["The Form of Bonds"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1996) [Seikai no Senki: pb/]
- Mamoru-beki Mono ["That Which is to be Protected"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1998) [Seikai no Senki: pb/]
- Kazoku no Shokutaku ["A Family Dinner"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2001) [Seikai no Senki: pb/]
- Seikai no Senki ["Banner of the Stars"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 2001-2002) [omni: graph: in two volumes: Manga adaptation of the above by Toshihiro Ono and Kazusa Miyakoshi: Seikai no Senki: pb/]
- Banner of the Stars (Los Angeles, California: Tokyopop, 2004) [graph: trans of the above: Seikai no Senki: pb/]
- Kishimu Jikū ["Discordant Dimension"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2004) [Seikai no Senki: pb/]
- Seikai no Danshō 1 ["Fragments of the Stars 1"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō: 2005) [coll of linked stories: Seikai no Danshō: pb/]
- Seikai no Danshō 2 ["Fragments of the Stars 2"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2007) [coll of linked stories: Seikai no Danshō: pb/]
Tsuki to Hono'o no Senki/Tsuki to Yami no Senki
- Tsuki to Hono'o no Senki ["Chronicle of Moon and Flames"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1999) [Tsuki to Hono'o no Senki: pb/Kumi Kosuga]
- Himashi wa Gakebucchi ["The Former Sorcerer on the Precipice"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 2001) [Tsuki to Yami no Senki: pb/]
- Guardian wa Bucchigiri ["The Guardian Wins by a Large Margin"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 2002) [Tsuki to Yami no Senki: pb/]
- Kamisama wa Shiranpuri ["The Feigned Ignorance of God"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 2003) [Tsuki to Yami no Senki: pb/]
- Yasashii Rengoku ["Kind Purgatory"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 2005) [fixup: Yasashii Rengoku: pb/]
- Sawagashii Shisha no Machi ["Town of the Unquiet Dead"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 2008) [fixup: Yasashii Rengoku: pb/]
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