November 09, 2007
I could just sit and watch (listen to, really) these all day.
November 08, 2007
Oblivious male leads and hyper-shy female leads are a staple of anime. No genre is immune.
In a harem genre full of mediocre titles, the number of males capable of detecting and acting on the interests of a member of the opposite sex (rather than freaking out if/when they finally get the hint) is vanishingly small.
But never fear, Mao-neechan is here!
(It get's a little picture heavy below the fold)more...
October 31, 2007
When this freak...
...started rambling on about adopting Haruka's "children" at about 21:23 into the file, I got the nagging feeling I'd heard that music before. Not on the accordion, but it was just too damned familiar.
Then it hit me.
I've played that before. That's the intro to Dvorak's Carnival Overture from the 2001 ASU marching band.
That's obviously an arranged intro. Here's the real thing.
You know, I was all set to have this post ready to go on time a week ago. Then I made the rookie mistake of not hitting "save" before navigating away. Feeling more disgusted than angry, I've been putting it off until whatdayaknow it's another week later and it's time for the next viewing session. This isn't half the post it used to be.
This(last) week we had one addition to, and two losses from, our merry band. Crest of the Stars volumes 2 ane 3 were on the menu.
The first episode of volume 2 is a bit of a downer.
Crest can come across as extremely dull if you don't find yourself becoming interested in the Abh and the world building involved. I know a couple people were having trouble following the space battles. Plane Space combat appears very cluttered until you start to wrap your head around the concept.
(Something that has always bothered me is if/how they are able to resolve where exactly one space-time bubble will intersect with another bubble. There's an extra undefined variable that they shouldn't be able to magically predict. But then again, I don't remember Gosroth ever turning into a convergence point before "the glow" began to appear on the bubble's surface.)
October 22, 2007
I just finished off the last two episodes of El Cazador de la Bruja yesterday. I can't say it hit me in any profound or meaningful way, but it was at least semi-satisfying. Episode 26 is devoted to wrap-up and tying off a minor (inconsequential really) loose end. The real climax occurs in 25.
Novels have an excuse for this behavior. They can devote pages of text to describing what's happening without mucking up the continuity (I'm looking at you The Illiad, and your six pages describing a damned shield). But I can't be expected to believe the protagonists can carry on a two minute conversation without the villain chiming in to shut them up.
I need to see if they have a trope for this kind of thing already.
October 17, 2007
This is about a week late, but because we had to cancel last night's get-together, I get a chance to catch up.
Crest of the Stars has gone over well so far. We only got through one DVD. There's not nearly so much mystery to the plot compared to Haibane Renmei, so I've had an easier time dealing with questions.
Everybody got a kick out of the prank Lafiel's father pulled on her about her birth secret.
I did have to do a bit of clarifying on the subject of Plane Space, because the explanation given in the early parts of the show leaves a lot to be desired.
We were short one person last week, and we're going to have an additional viewer starting next week. The prior isn't very concerned with keeping up on the plot, while the latter is a fiend about that sort of thing. I hope I can find a way to get everybody caught up.
October 10, 2007
Somehow I missed the recent (9/21/07 isn't exactly recent) release of AMV Hell 4. I can see my cable modem is going to be busy tonight (*ahem* after work of course).
If it's half as funny as the AMV H3, I'm gonna have a hard time breathing.
October 08, 2007
I commited a second cardinal sin. Unbeknownst to me, one of our group is that person who flips to the last page when starting a book. I made the mistake of supplying Miss Last-Page with links to the various Wikipedia pages for the shows in the hopper. I was very clear up front that the links were for after viewing.
I hit Haibane's wiki page to assess the potential damage and discovered that it is at least somewhat thin on plot details. Tragedy not quite averted, but it wasn't a complete loss.
Alright, so we're starting into the hot and heavy of Haibane Renmei at this point: episodes 8-13. People are disappearing, others are getting sick, and back stories are filling in.
I did help out a little with pointing out times during the show that deserve special attention to detail.
At the end of the show, at least one person had come to the prevailing conclusion about what Glie could represent. I did what I could to fill in the gaps with observations based on my multiple viewings of the show and left them all to stew on the show.
I'll find out what they really all thought about it this next week.
Oh, and to pad out the schedule at the end, we watched the first two episodes of Tenchi Muyo OVA 1. It makes for easy fluff to kill time before everyone is present, or afterward if some people have to leave early.
Next week we start into some solid sci-fi / space opera with Crest of the Stars.
So a couple friends expressed an interest in getting back to an old (thought rather sporadic) tradition of getting to gether to watch anime. We managed it a handful of time back in college, but it was always a hassle to get everybody in one place at one time so no one fell behind.
College days are long gone, and a measure of stability has settled in.
So now we're back on something resembling a schedule. Tuesday nights, I put a hojillion miles on my truck and we watch anime.
I get to be the pusher. I have the stash so to speak. I make suggestions, recommend genres, and generally try to guide them toward shows in an ordet that makes sense.
So what do they decide they have to watch the first week (9/25) out of the gate? Haibane Renmei.
It was my fault really. I shouldn't have even taken it along. When the semi-angelic girl on the cover caught their eyes, I refused to say anything about the plot, other than that it is very good, and very very different. That sold them apparently. I tried rather weakly to guide them in another direction until they'd seen a few other things. But they insisted that they wanted to see it, so I obliged.
Week one, we got through the first 7 episodes with only a few raised eyebrows and glazed eyes. Confusion was running rampant, but I kept insisting that, while not everything would be explained before the end, it would start making sense about five hours after the last episode.
The general concensus was a tentative thumbs up, unless of course the ending royally pissed them off.
October 04, 2007
This was what I had to say about Haibane Renmei back in May of '05. Much of it is dated, but that has a lot to do with living conditions at the time, and there are a few things I'll need to append when I have a second.
Thank you sir for pointing this one out to me. I finished up volume 4 last night and have been letting things percolate since then.
Haibane Renmei is one of those shows that will leave you all warm and fuzzy, unless it doesn't. That sentence makes more sense once you've seen the whole show. If you're the kind of person who's a perpetual optimist, you'll no doubt be brimming with tears of joy at the beauty of salvation and redemption. If you're a cynic who tends to assume the worst, the open ending and loads of unanswered questions will likely leave you a little cold, but still with the sense that you've seen something special. Me, I'm switching back and forth between the two because I've got some sort of weird bi-polar pessimist disorder. Either way, it's a wonderful experience.
Below be spoilers where I will wax rhapsodic and bloviate on various things that come to mind. Read at your own risk.
No seriously... If you haven't seen it, stop here and find something else to read. There's a whole Intraweb of info out there just waiting for you. Come back when you've seen the show in its entirety.
September 24, 2007
A great many moons ago (I can't even find the post now) Kim du Toit described himself as an "Angry Man." He didn't mean he just flew off the rails at any little thing. He was talking about a deep-seated anger and frustration at what he saw going on around him. (again, I'm paraphrasing from memory here, but if anybody can find the original essay/post, you'll receive a free web-cookie).
What angered him was the slow and seemingly unstoppable assault on and decay of Western Civilization from forces both foreign and domestic. Individual rights and rational thought giving way to collectivism and emotional thinking. While Bill Whittle represents the Western Optimist, Kim can come across as the Western Pessimist. They're both right in some ways, and both points of view are valuable additions to on-going public debate.
Zetsubou Sensei is a caricature of a home-grown Japanese "Angry Man." His over-the-top rants on the decay of society around him are always followed up by, "I'm in Despair!" and a melodramatic suicide attempt. He's an old fashioned man in a world changing so rapidly that nothing ever gets a foothold into the culture long enough to become anything like permanent.
It's hard not to wonder what message the manga author was trying to send with this character. Does he agree philosophically with Zetsubou? Minus the despair and suicidal tendencies of course. Or is he satirizing those in Japan who may think like Zetsubou?
The rest of the characters could be looked at as critiques on other developments/aspects in Japanese society: hikikomori, xenophobia, etc. There's meat here for a lot of heavy analysis, but the show's mission to deliver laughs means playing up the stereotypes and amping up the ridulousness.
It's an intriguing show, whether it's meant to be taken seriously or not.
August 14, 2007
Xenoglossia is turning out to be far better than it has any right to be. The betrayal staged in episodes 17 and 18 was particularly well constructed, and it made me both angry and not a little bit amazed at the character's ability to stay so inconspicuous (and dedicated as well).
There's still so much left unexplained that it's hard to guess where the plot is going, but I don't get the feeling they're going to pull any Eva style metaphysical nonsense, so it's at least got that going for it.
July 28, 2007
July 16, 2007
Courtesy of Ouran High School Host Club.
July 09, 2007
I can't begin to guess what ADV is thinking by licensing Xenosaga: The Animation. There was a recent bit of discussion about how ADV can still make B titles profitable, but I didn't think they were going this deep in the barrel.
ADV must have got a smoking deal on this license.
The animation is a sub-par adaptation of a niche sci-fi RPG. Anyone who's even remotely interested in the anime will have likely already grabbed the fansubs from 2005. I don't see ADV being able to add anything to the title that will draw back fans who have moved on after the game series was prematurely terminated. I don't find the character designs particularly enjoyable, and there are plot holes you could swing a galaxy through. That's because the plot of the anime doesn't include any material from the third episode of the game series. If they're hoping for impulse buys, I don't think this is going to be it.more...
May 22, 2007
Pretty Sammy TV was released in two volumes of 13 episodes. There was no English dub, leaving plenty of room for including extras on the DVD's. Each volume had a couple of omake included. My favorite omake was called Pixy Cinderella (right-click "save as"), and if you're familiar at all with the premise of the show, you'll know where it is headed.
What I really like about this particular omake, among all the rest, is the music. A while back, I went hunting for the original soundtrack, but between the age and obscurity of the show, finding it proved impossible. There is a CD of lyrical music that shows up in searches quite frequently, but nothing purely instrumental.
I'm only going to leave this file up for a short time. It's 65MB and I don't have the right to tax Pixy's hardware with this sort of thing. If you're interested, get it while you can. Oh, and I've removed the two previous omake I had posted.
May 09, 2007
Many many moons ago, I stumbled across this site (pretty tough to navigate, and I've never managed to get the fonts working properly, but it's worth the effort if you're into that sort of thing). It maps out all the places in Okayama Prefecture that Tenchi Muyo! characters are named after, and it has pictures of the many locations that served as inspiration for the show's backdrop.
April 10, 2007
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