Q: What is this?
A: To Hanzo is an experiment in creating a "kinetic novel", in Flash, out of a story I wrote 5 years ago.
Q: Where did this story come from?
A: In 2001 I took a "Japanese Pop Culture" class at the University of New Mexico. One of the options for the final was to write "a short story about everyday life in Japan, based on the material covered in the class". Naturally, every Japanese cultural reference scored "extra points", which is why the story is littered with them; Hachiko, PHS phones (which are now out of date, but were all over Japan in 2001), ronin, hansei, love hotels, etc. My only windows into Japanese life were the bits of pop culture that made it to the US (anime, manga, and video games mostly), and the precious little I learned from classes at the University of New Mexico (which, as you can imagine, is about as well versed in Japanese culture as the University of Tokyo is in Navajo culture). I filled in the gaps with the universal language of teen angst. I'm sure that it bears absolutely no resemblance to actual life in Japan and is full of inaccuracies, but hopefully it at least makes for a charming story. If anyone from Japan is reading this, then hopefully it'll be a neat insight into what parts of Japanese culture filter down to the US.

The original short story is here.
Q: What's a "kinetic novel"?
A: Visual novels are a very popular form of video game in Japan; they basically amount to an illustrated "Choose Your Own Adventure" story played on a PC, with minimal bits of sound and animation thrown in. As the medium has grown over the past three decades, some writers have wanted to create linear stories with the medium, without any choices on the reader's part, and they called these stories "kinetic novels".

So, basically, a "kinetic novel" is an illustrated short story, with some sound and occasionally some animation.
Q: Why Escaflowne?
A: At the time that I wrote this, it was the only anime miniseries I'd seen.
Q: Where did the art come from?
A: It's all posterized photographs from Google images. I've made an effort to make these photos abstract enough that their original photographers won't feel plagiarized.
Q: Who's "Hide"?
A: Hide (pronounced "hee-day") was sort of the Japanese Kurt Cobain; he committed suicide in 1998, and a few fans committed suicide shortly thereafter. Initial reports were that many more teenagers "followed" Hide into suicide than the two that are officially acknowledged.
Q: Where can I find more of your delicious work?
A: Right here.
Any more questions? Ask me at: hunty ατ studiohunty • com