Archive for August, 2009

Google on Sankaku Complex

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Google selected the Sankaku Complex story to lead the report on the election results in Japan (see screenshot) — in fact, to lead any blog reports period.

What a world.

UPDATE: The screencap is that of default Google Blog Search homepage, before a search is entered (I freely admit that I was going to search for But J.P. asked promptly if one needs to “look for news articles on idol onanism galleries or something” for this to occur (he’s not a guy who likes to be oblique on the Internet). A thought that Google used my browsing and searching history to pre-select blogs occured to me too[1], so I requested a couple of people to verify it, and it checked out. I suppose gentle readers may ask their parents to be sure. I do not make any claims about international results though. It would be unthinkable for Google Blog Search not to localize its homepage.

[1] I do not visit Sankaku Complex often or regularly, in fact I almost never visit it. But I still thought it possible for Google to make a general profile-matching and pigeonhole my identity as a weaboo, and then preload Sankaku because of that. It does not appear to be the case though.

SDB on Morgan le Fay

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

It was a while since the Bottle Fairy splash, but the wait is over as Steven does the same to AMG Movie (heavy spoilers). I think the flight of fancy is not quite as great this time, so the post won’t make me watch the movie, but the important part is to see what’s there for everyone else to miss.

Since we’re on topic, I’m surprised they don’t have a WMG section for Shingu, with Muryo Subaru being not explained. Ditto Stellvia and Kouta Otoyama. So much for the crowdsorcing.

Seas Slugs on Autumn 2009

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Now with the multi-author power! Kabitzin and crew take a look at the upcoming Fall, and it sure looks like a full season. Also, a perfect opportunity to comment.

First of all, the international invasion is unfolding as planned, and now includes… *gasp* Koreans! Openly basing on Chinese material is acceptable now (instead of kinda-sorta like Saiunkoku), but this is new.

The less said about the raging and tender high-school lesbian stuff going back to back in two seasons, the better. But I warn you, Japan: by 3rd season I expect a subversion, like giving the protagonist yandere powers.

We also see a lot of sequels and continuations, and I do mean a lot: about half of everything. They even extended Nogizaka. Not a good sign.

Kabitzin: This feels like the feline remix of What Women Want, […]

Jesus###: This is almost like 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, […]

After seeing how dumb the knee-jerk comparisons of ef to 50 First Dates were, I would avoid doing the same. Fans always try absorb the new shows by finding connections with the past. It’s in their nature. Is K-ON like Azumanga? Haruhi? Lucky Star? Beck? Manabi? That’s how the anticipatory and early blogging was for it. But the comparisons with the worst schlock that Hollywood pumps out, isn’t it a little unwarranted, especially before the show airs?

Oh no, not this show again! I did have fun blogging it over at Sufoki, but I received absolutely no comments!

Comments. They eat the soul of a blogger.

Evirus on Taishou Yakyuu Musume

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

About halfway through the season, he says that “Taisho Yakyuu Musume is the best new show airing during the Summer 2009 season” [Emphasis mine — Author]. I just knew it. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for this kind of thing… For example, I’m building a storage cloud in my study that may launch or sink my career. Nonetheless, it looks like my idea to watch TYM for baseball wasn’t too silly:

When I started Taisho Yakyuu Musume, I expected charismatic characters and engaging subplots about friendships and schoolgirl life in the ’20s buffered by light comedy and occasional drama. However, I wasn’t expecting accurate baseball in any case—nothing better than Princess Nine, at least. But to tell you the truth, the baseball elements in Taisho Yakyuu Musume ring truer than those in Cross Game.

This is not to say that there aren’t a lot of anachronisms in Taisho Yakyuu Musume. That’s sort of a given. For one thing, I suspect Japanese high school baseball (if it even existed at the time) would still be in the dead ball era in 1925. After all, the dead ball era had only ended in American’s major leagues around 1919.

Aside from that, the actual games and practices depicted in Taisho Yakyuu Musume are fairly realistic. For one thing, a junk ball rookie pitcher who can barely lob strikes over the plate can certainly expect to get positively hammered during her first outing. Furthermore, the importance of cooperation and trust within a battery is also accurately described, perhaps even more so here than in Major. It’s also nice to see outfielders using two hands when shagging routine fly balls. Likewise, I’m glad to see the speedy leadoff batter learning how to hit left-handed in order to get a step or two closer to first base.

Maybe I’ll just buy it on DVD and watch when I hit retirement.

Studying abroad, vicarious report 1

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Ana-sempai failed her placement test in Japanese language comprehension and is given remedial classes. Perhaps JPLT 2 is not all it’s made out to be.

On the other hand, back in the day when I enrolled her into elementary school in America, she failed her English placement test as well, and was sent to a school for little Mexicans[1]. She spoke Spanglish even less than English and the school was pretty much a holding pen for miniature delinquents, so I pulled levers and greased wheels behind the scenes to get her transfered to a normal school ASAP, where she did quite well. Her exams must be affected by Lynette Bishop effect.

[1] The ESL school was intended for children of all emigrants in theory, but in practice parents who cared for their children’s well-being did everything to avoid it, with the sadly predictable result.

Norman Rafferty on Nanoha

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Charles Solomon may be getting old, but never fear, there’s always someone ready to do the job. And I’m not talking about Scott Von Schilling this time. Behold:

[Nanoha] opens with lazy production values that are typical for Japanese television. The colors are typical paint-and-trace, which can look very flat and lifeless by modern, digital standards. […]

We should get Norman to review a neorealist painting by one of those hacks who use paints and canvas.

Oh, and yeah, there’s repeated sequences of Nanoha the nine-year-old girl spinning around while her clothes magically dissolve, so she can be left standing stark naked for a second or two before donning her magical clothes. That’s when you start wondering who this anime is really for.

Ouch, burns.

Nanoha owes a lot to its roots: the eroge video game where a thick storyline is laid out, and a player makes choices to follow their favorite character … to eventually be rewarded by seeing them naked.

Someone was reading Wikipedia too much, and it shows.

Recommendation: If you like to stare at the breasts and the panties of cartoon girls, but you want at least some kind of story to let you keep an iota of self-respect, you could do worse than Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.

And to think that Shamus Young shares the publication with Norman Rafferty. What a big tent!

Is Ponyo a Classic?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

As quoted by Don, Jonathan writes:

I had to drive over 20 miles to reach a theater that was showing Ponyo. Meanwhile, every single theater in the area is showing another Disney movie about violent, flatulent guinea pigs. Now of course, Disney knows a lot about marketing animated films, and I’m sure that they will say that most Americans want to see the guinea pigs and don’t want to see a classic film by the greatest living master of animation.

My better half was pestering me to watch Ponyo, but I declined. Firstly, I hate movie theater experience and the stench of pop corn. But also, reviews were mixed[1]. Apparently, the ending wasn’t very dramatic.

More importantly though, is everything Miyazaki makes is now an instant classc? How about Howl’s Moving Castle? It certainly has the classic hate of all things military in it. Or should I say, trademark hate. Perhaps Jonathan simply meant a film made using traditional techniques when he wrote “classic”.

And BTW, 20 miles is a big deal now? What a whiner. Just move somewhere where they built freeways or something. And be happy it was shown 20 miles away. Tokikake was only shown in LA and NY, 2000 miles away for me.

UPDATE: Jonathan replies with some clarifications, doubling up on comparisons with Totoro.

[1] Cunningham was positive, but some time ago I decided that he’s not credible. Porco Rosso was basically made around the single scene. Is that a good thing?

Dear Lelangir

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Please stop using the permalink-free mechanism for sharing and throw the links somepleace which I can refer to give you a credit. Why should I give the Google juice that you deserve to Google itself?

Today I appreciate the links to the key part of Naruto 64 (which I blogged before, but the video is the real deal), and the LoGH Star was great too. But this is too ephimerical!

Honey and Clover S1

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Seen the first half of Honey and Clover at Hulu. The biggest impression is, Hulu sucks enormously. You can tell that it’s made by incumbents. Firstly, what the heck is with only having the first half? It makes even less sense than posting the first half of Vandread. Secondly, pausing the stream posts a huge translucent button, and capping when in motion creates bad tearing. Even Crunchy is not as assinine.

As for the show itself, it has a certain quality to it. The basics are there, it’s very pretty. Where its season competitor Kamuchu stumbled, H+C kept the level. Direction is cinematographic, different people looking at the same moon and all that jazz. Story is none worse than, say, Toradora. But by ep.7 I was sick of it. I’m just finishing it so that people stop pestering me. In this sense, Hulu being retards and dropping the second season is godsent.

I think a part of the problem is that Honey and Clover is a young adult show. Things became more drawn out and constrained (no Kusou vs. Aisaka here), but the depth is still not there and the wallowing in emo only gets more skillful as adolescents grow. Rika is but an anchor that pulls into the adult world, but the center is elsewhere.

Also, there’s the Witch Hunter Robin syndrome to it again. What is anime about this anime? The Japanese love customs is what qualifies H+C to be watched at all, but otherwise it might as well be a live action (which also exists and I heard it’s worse than the anime).

Hidamari Sketch H3

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Gia says that the 3rd season of Hidamari is in the works, although it’s unclear what her source is. Its title is spelled “Hidamari Sketch×☆☆☆” and pronounced “Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu”.