Archive for August, 2007

Shingu and hubbub?

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

BigN wrote (elsewhere) about “the hubbub about it [Shingu] these past couple of weeks”. With all due respect, this’s not hubbub. The hubbub is going to happen when Jason Miao sees the facial distortions.

I’ll be first to note that Nayuta is not doing what is known as “panteon class” distortions… but only because she’s not zoomed in when it happens. She is quite capable.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, the (only) panty shot from Shingu haunts me. I understand that it was a joke, but man it was bad. I do not remember well, but wasn’t it caught on video and played over and over all across Tenmo?

Figure 17, refrigerator thoughts

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Beware of spoilers.

  • Suppose we accept Jonathan’s explanation. But then, why is a Ribers self-aware? I do not see how it helps its effectiveness any. I can understand that a degree of AI is necessary to maintain the integrated UI. It can be explained that integrating user’s consciousness into control of Ribers will result in mental diseases due to the loss of integrity. But the AI is not a “person”, at least not necesserily.
  • Related question: since there does not seem to be any downside to it, why is it necessary to disengage from Ribers at all? Why not make it a permanent enhancement to human/alien body?
  • How does the concentration of a thought on a body part helps Ribers? I could understand if the user retained some kind of detailed control. But it seems that Ribers’ consciousness can do it all just fine.
  • How did aliens know which memories to erase? To do it completely would be an enormous work. it has to cover all schoolmates, and everyone in the town who came into contact with Hikaru (such as store clerks). Not to do it completely leaves lots of fragments which can be pieced together by someone sufficiently obsessive (e.g. Kuroda).
  • Speaking of the devil, what is the purpose of Kuroda in story terms? I see that he allows to demonstrate that Ordeena is not a completely cold bitch as initially appeared. But that was demonstrated equally well when she permitted Tsubasa to keep her memories, only without any unnecessary drama.

Beta Waffle on Shingu

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

DiGiKerot didn’t jump on the bandwagon, because he was running in front of it, and so he attempts to inject the conventional wisdom into the discourse. Needless to say, I do not feel like agreeing, but he makes some good points (e.g. OP should have showed more characters), so RTWT.

Shingu: We’ve got Omo

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Well, it was rather Jeff than “we” who “got” him, but anyway, welcome to the bandwagon club [link].

Ever encounter a situation when you find yourself totally appreciating something that is well-constructed, beautiful, meaningful, and unique, but totally unable to enjoy it?

Indeed, I can see people having a problem like that, although I liked and enjoyed Shingu. I don’t think it’s an Azumanga-class production, but that’s a tall order. I remember that I did not like Haibane Renmei all that much initially, but I came to recognize its greatness.

Perhaps it all will make sense after I give it some more thought. Tatsuo Sato’s work tends to be densely multi-layered and yet ordinary on first glance. Here goes.

I’m pinning my hopes on the second watch.

BTW, Shingu is full of simple comedy. It alone is worth $50. You know how Azumanga‘s fans come in two varieties: those who laugh when Osaka loses the soap and those who cry? I think there should be nothing wrong with watching Shingu for laughs…

Shingu, iro-iro-to

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
  • When Muryou Subaru opened his mouth, I heard Kanji Ninomiya. Issei Miyazaki is getting typecast badly.
  • Mr. Sato’s script has repeating phrases. 3 different characters say “sorede, soretoshte” (only heard in Kamichu once), 2 characters ask “atari?”.
  • しめい means “duty”. Oddly enough, ぎむ is used too.
  • The idea of “simple guy” needs its Joseph Campbell.
  • Moriyama is spelled “守山” and not “森山”.

Aoi Sakuraba haunts bloggers

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Jeff dealt with the central question masterfuly. He defeated the other camp by setting constraints for an unattainable goal:

Without a doubt, you can count me among those fans who love the harem. However, I’ll admit to being sympathetic to those who feel otherwise. Aoi and Kaoru make a fine couple, indeed, and I can definitely understand why a hardcore shipper would find the presence of Kaoru’s harem an annoyance. I’ve heard the, “If only the entire show was like the first four episodes [in which Aoi and Kaoru play house],” lament time and time again. It’s a legitimate complaint. After all, those first four episodes are quite lovely. They’d make for a great OAV series. Unfortunately, Ai Yori Aoshi is a 36 episode TV series, adapted from a long running manga. I don’t think I’d be able to put up with Aoi and Kaoru gazing passionately into each other’s eyes for that long.

And he’s right, in the sense that the strawman he constructed is quite pathetic. I would not take 36 episodes of gazing either. On the other hand, it’s not all about gazing. Gazing along would be quite tedious, but remember the succession… the clans… Romeo and Juliet with a twist. And love is not just gazing either. I would say, 13 episodes easy. 26, maybe. Oh, well, no point wishing for impossible.

UPDATE: Woops, forgot the link.

Strange normality in Shingu

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

When I just started with Shingu, one oddity I noticed immediately was how it featured no defective characters. Sure, some had issues, but overall they are very different from common characters in contemporary anime. Nobody is neurotic, and it feels like something large is missing.

Another facet of the same thing is that stereotypes, upon the development of which anime creators worked so hard and so long, are practically absent. We can formally classify characters, but it’s not who they are. Nayuta is not a tsundere, she is just proud and shy and traumatized; Harumi is not moe.

Someone (maybe a commenter) wrote that kids seemed too mature. I don’t think so, they seemed exactly matching their age, except for Shun. That guy is definitely way too sly, but fortunately he is too good-natured in general. I think the unusual normality was mistaken for maturity by these observers.

Aside from being stable, most characters are also exceptionally nice, which is incredibly odd, considering. In Figure 17, for example, we have no less than two actively present assholes: Aoyama (the guy with glasses who courts Hikaru), and Mina (the pretty girl with complex braids). In Shingu, however, there aren’t any.

Such characterization contributes to a feel that I rather expected from “The World of Narue”. It took me about five episodes to get desensitized to this Hello Kitty world and stop wondering what is wrong with everyone.

UPDATE: As an example, Cowboy Bebop is an opposite of Shingu: everyone is defective in it (even Spike), but its characterization constitutes an anime norm.

Parallel Dual ends

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Well… I suppose not every anime is Haibane Renmei.

The harem formula in Dual is the same as in Zero no Tsukaima: the chosen girl (the original Mitsuki) is fairly nasty, and an alternative exists which is far superior (Mitsuki II), but due to various circumstances the male lead is unwilling or unable to dump the chosen one. It’s a serviceable setup, though ZnT extracted more mileage from it, being the ultimate harem etc.

They should have resolved it one way or the other.

Liked: It’s ok. A comedy. Mindless.
Rewatch: No.

Addendum on Mangosteen’s specs

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

When Shuttle landed today, the deorbit burn continued for 213 seconds and 246 mph of delta-V, or 109 m/s. According to an eyecatch around ep.11 or so, Mangosteen was specced for 800 m/s with Akane and Yukari onboard. This is the excess performance which allowed it to reach a 3000 km apogee (although, remember that SSA makes OMS to fire for circularization, so that ate some of the delta-V).

One odd thing that bothers me is how the probe was supposed to be in a nearly circular 3000 km orbit, but Mangosteen did no circularization burn, as far as I can tell. If so, they should have had a significant velocity differential at the point of meeting. Oh well, artistic license. They showed Shuttle firing wrong engines in space, but that was expected. Everyone does it.

TJ goes hardcore. Very.

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

It must be some kind of Instapundit universe coming to anime blogging, where bloggers do what we cannot trust “real” journalists with. Results are quite impressive.

So what is Odex’s ultimate aim in stamping out the culture of downloading anime?

Peter wanted to keep this a secret, because he felt nobody would believe him, such is how seemingly impossible it sounds. But here it goes. He wants to see a unique Singaporean anime culture, one which is totally free of piracy, illegal downloads and 100 percent friendly to the Japanese studios. Most other countries cannot achieve this because of their geographical dispersion and lack of strong policing, but Singapore being so tiny and manageable, is a unique country able to attain this culture. So what happens when an entire nation is free of piracy and supports legal purchases of anime?

The miracle of beautiful police state… Words fail me. Anyway, RTWT.