Archive for August, 2007

Feeds continue to be truncated under some circumstances

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Prompted by e-mail from Chris and continuing truncation at Sekai, I examined the feeds a bit with curl(1), and it seems that WP continues to truncate them, at least when the XML is fetched by a simple-minded client (like the Planet code which Sekai uses). Google Reader somehow manages to fetch the full feed now that I told WP to provide the full feed. How does it do it? It does not scrape HTML, I think, because it showed a limited feed when it was limited in WordPress. Oh well. I’m entirely clueless about HTTP headers and WP, so it’s something to investigate later.

Narue begins… and ends

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

I wanted to write that I never watched anything quite as dumb as The World of Narue, but actually I have: the original Futakoi. And Futakoi was more pleasant to watch.

Liked: No (lasted for 3 episodes)
Rewatch: No

UPDATE: Evirus is not happy. I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree. I hated Asuka too (I only saw the movie version, and I heard that she was more bearable in the main series… Nonetheless.).

That said, I completely copped out of explaining Narue’s failings. Saying “dumb” is not acceptable. Futakoi really was dumb, but dumbness of Futakoi was different; it had more to do with characters doing dumb things, saying dumb things, and having dumb feelings. Narue’s characters are infantile, but charmingly so. They are not stupid.

It’s easier to complain in writing about the story with aliens being preposterous. I am not sure if the criminal dude should be included though. The majority of criminals on Earth act in similarly dumb and irrational ways. What to say about aliens!

But the real problem is harder to pinpoint. It’s some kind of a pall of generic lameness hanging over the story. It seems like a kind of execution found in stage plays for kids.

UPDATE: Now Stephen says that I was “snide“. If I wanted to play rough, I could mention the space wind and its results… If anything, I was kind to the series above.

Raising good little cogs for the enviro-industrial complex

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

As seen Don’s place:

Dino Squad — yet another reason to stick to anime. (Via Tim Blair.)

To be fair, anime has its share of this. Let’s remember the infamous Arjuna, the Earth Maiden. On the other hand, it’s not always the straight party line. In J2, creators portrayed a school where kids are taught everything with a global warming bend: global warming texts in English, physics of global warming, math of global warming, literature about global warming, and so on. It was awesome because it was subversive.

Mapping the Netflix

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Both Mark and I are following Nadesico by means of Netflix. He is about to get (or received already) the v.4. The v.4 marked “very long wait”, and it took me a few weeks. Unfortunately, v.5 is a greater hurdle, “availability unknown”.

Starting with estimations for the size of anime market in North America (such as the 60,000 Harurhi DVDs) and observed delivery times, I tried to estimate how big the Netfix’s stock might be. It seems that for Haruhi, it must be a few thousand discs. For Nadesico? May be as low as a 10 for the “very long wait” and zero for “availability unknown”.

These numbers might make it feasible to fans to engage into a stegagography themed game. Once I receive a rare disc, I will mark it in unobtrusive way and enter the mark into a database (of course, I will take utmost care not to damage the disc in any way and not obliterate any pre-existing print; after all it’s rare!) Other fans could then look up the mark and know who watched the disc before them.

Netflix themselves do not mark discs, they use sleeves and barcodes to track them. The barcode should be entered into the database as well.

Lucky Star, animation quality

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

In an early beach episode of Lucky Star, I saw a picture of Kuroi-sensei downing a glass:

It reminded me immediately about something else, seen at Penny Arcade:

I also told a story during the panel about the Oblivion comic we did a few days ago. See I wanted Gabe to pass out on the couch because he was so bored. I had this vision of his head just flopping back but I could not fucking draw it. I literally spent four hours trying to make it look right and I just couldn’t do it. So I remembered that I had recently been added to a mailing list by that son of a bitch Scott Kurtz (AKA Steve Kuntz) and it might be just what I needed. See Scott is a real comic book artist so he has all these comic book friends that just happen to be super famous and insanely talented. For some reason (maybe as a joke) Scott added me to this little email group and I decided I’d use it for my own selfish needs.

I sent my concept to all these guys along with what I had and I begged for help. I got some awesome advice and Mike Wieringo actually sent me this little sketch of Gabe.

His sketch was so fucking perfect and he must have just knocked it out in a couple minutes. I would have banged my head against my desk all day if it hadn’t been for his drawing. The title of that strip should have been “this comic brought to you by Mike Wieringo.”

Sadly, Mike Wieringo has passed away recently.

So, simple things about anime often are not very simple, and this is just one example. I think that I am noticing quite a few such things in Lucky Star. It is as if they pretend to be poorly animated (especially in the beginning), but cannot help themselves and the awesome comes out.

Owen on H&C live action

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Owen pans Honey & Clover live action movie, and it’s quite amusing. BTW:

Sitting down to watch it with a small group of close friends, I viewed it again through the eyes of a newcomer to Chika Umino’s colourful little world. Yes, it’s very pretty, but what does it do?

Coincidently, this was my reaction to the original 2005 series. Apropos that, I remember a post to Usenet about Divergence Eve:

300 years from now humanity will be defended by hot chicks with ginormous tatas piloting lame looking mechs. After five episodes, I still don’t understand anything else about this OVA.

It seems that H&C produces a similar kind of confusion in its original form. Trying to compress it into a movie seems impossible from the outset.

Although… There was a Russian 2-hour movie War and Piece, which received a positive critical acclaim. I guess it’s just a matter of director knowing what to cut (Peter Jackson probably does, at least somewhat).

UPDATE: Seen at AD2225:

Personally I’m not yet tired of all the mirrors and parallels drawn between the characters. Different circles of relationships and repeating history and, it’s really quite layered.

It really is twisted, just like I remembered.

Rocket Girls and Danny Choo

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Danny made a post about a new(?) figurine of Yukari of Rocket Girls and asked:

Never did get round to finishing off Rocket Girls but after seeing this figure am thinking of picking it up again – any thoughts on the anime?

I wrote about it before:

As an anime, it [Rocket Girls] fails, in my view. Deforming characters, insufferable 3D inserts, and the overall amateurish and excessively computerized flavour did it in. But as a statement, it endures. Although sponsored by the mega-buraucracy of JAXA, which does its utmost to copy the worst of NASA, the show nonetheless had decidedly NewSpace-ish bend. And this makes me hopeful.

I suppose I was a bit too harsh, it was bad but not that bad. Anyway, see for yourself. If you can survive the first two episodes, you’re in: it only gets better as the staff learns on the job.

P.S. I have to say, that figurine is damn sexy, although I am not quite sure if it portrays the way the suit is put together faithfuly. I think a skintight suit should have a thermal control layer under the pressure layer, just like a traditional gas-pressure suit. Otherwise Yukari would bake in a matter of minutes.

P.P.S. The author of Scrumptious says that she never heard of Rocket Girls. I suppose this is what we have heavyweights like Danny for — to spread the gospel. But I wonder, how many other great titles I have never heard about? Heck, nobody heard about? Until “two weeks” ago Shingu was in that category…

The golden age is now

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

I watched a couple of episodes of NieA_7 with some Lucky Star, and the contrast was quite striking. I haven’t seen the 2006 Kanon, but it’s clear that KyotoAni know their stuff.

I mean, you just look at these confining lines! Not only drawing in Lucky Star is better, but the motion is more flowing and natural.

Budget? Maybe it’s a part of it. Although, I think it’s not just just the budget. Hidamari Sketch is also animated better than NieA_7 (wherever animators bothered to do it).

I wish the whole of Lucky Star were made like the few “superpainted” moments, but even as it is it’s great.

Full RSS feed

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Kabitzin posts how he switched to the full RSS feed.

The biggest reason for the change? I finally tried out Google Reader. And you know what? Not getting a full RSS feed totally sucks. It makes you just want to unsubscribe from the feed right away, instead of clicking on the link to read the whole thing. I realized that few people use an RSS reader as a headline aggregator instead of as a reader. Obvious in hindsight, I know.

I used an RSS reader for years and somehow a limited RSS feed is usually not an issue for me. I have ever run across one exception, http://www.transterrestrial.com/index.xml, where the cut-off was set low enough to make the feeed useless. Coincidentially, Transterrestrial has a broken feed in general: their server sends wrong caching information. Seriously, only one broken blog in the whole blogosphere. By contrast, the WP’s cut-off of 120 words seems eminently reasonable to me. Animeblogger Antenna cuts at 100 and so Antenna readers do not even know if I feed full or limited.

Ani-nouto started with a full feed, and pretty soon the bandwidth figures became really odd, with feed pulling some 20% of bandwidth or so. It looked as if something was fetching improperly… So I switched the feed over. There was no reader feedback of any kind about the switch. Current traffic looks approximately like this:

What Req Bytes% Comment
images 11729 68.16% You’d think it would clock 90%, but no.
feed 5407 2.73% N.B. This includes aggregators and gets re-pulled often.
root 4986 7.85% Quite a number of people still reload in browser.
CSS 4667 9.64% Oh wow, full 1/10th is in adournments.
archive 3988 7.25% Search results and feed click-into.

This is more or less acceptable. I suppose I can switch the full feed back on and watch if robots beat the crap out of the site again.

UPDATE: Right after planting doubts in my heart about limited RSS, Kabitzin went on to undermine his credibility by enabling trackbacks. Obviously he has no clue about blogs… and why trackbacks must always be disabled (my pet theory is that the anime blogsphere is undeveloped, low traffic blogosphere; nobody would even think to ask why a political blog had no comments, but I get asked that all the time). Nonetheless, I’m going to re-enable the full feed as an experiment.

Oregon ni massugu GO

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Gir:

The series ends on a sad note with Mikan leaving for, OREGON?! Who knows why Oregon of all places but it’s still very sad.

I suppose quite a few animebloggers think that there’s nothing in Oregon except Steven Den Beste, but actually one of their universities scored a cooperative program with Waseda. Visit wasedaoregon.org for details. Maybe the creators heard about it. Waseda is a relatively well known school… BTW, in Mahoraba, Momo goes to a school called “鷲田”, which can plausibly be called “Washida”. I wonder if it’s a reference.