Archive for January, 2012

Kill Me Baby 04

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Something happened to the unfunny comedy show of the season: it made me laugh. And it came out of nowhere, too. Two thirds of the ep.4 were usual, but in the last third, something changed. I assume it’s safe to spoil, since nobody watches that garbage anyway, but anyhow: an assasin on a mission to waste Sonya had an idea to disguise himself as Yasuna. Only the situation turned out more complex than that. A kaleidoscopic sequence of gags followed… with a great attention to continuity. For example, at some point one of fake Yasunas strikes the other one with a poison dart (because Sonya dodges it), then revives her with a zombie antidote. But more interestingly, all of them make statements from the very beginning that permit to track which is which and what their agenda is. It all culminates in almost a Nichijoesque cartoon violence with Yasunas flying on the bloody red background from the might of Sonya’s blow.

I think the sudden laugh came from the ability to cross the viewer and his expectation with a perfectly logical but unexpected development. It is not the complete technique, certainly. In one of the previous episodes, Agiri suddenly proved that she actually is a capable ninja, by defeating another ninja on equal terms. Considering all the fake ninja tricks and merch she tried to sell for 3 episodes, it was unexpected, but not humorous. Perhaps this needs something else, like the rapid-fire comedic timing and a dash of ridiculous but plausible.

Aroduc praised this segment thus:

The fake Yasunas were okay, I guess, particularly with their attempted combination attack, but that middle one’s voice hurt my brain.

You can imagine how good the segment was if he old hater admitted to it being “okay”.

My-OTOME Zwei DVD

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

In a dealer room of LCAD2012, a woman in her late 20s was selling an assortment of DVDs. Among them I found this Mai-OTOME Zwei:

She was letting it go for $2. I wonder what the story was. Did she rob someone’s storage unit and desperately needed money for a dose of crack? Probably not! So.. Burned out from anime? Split up and moving? The DVD case has a $12 sticker, meaning that the unit was already discounted once. I felt like a vulture picking someone’s remains.

By the way, Steven was an enthusiast of Zwei. And I liked what I saw of S.ifr. I am quite optimistic about this. And remember, two bucks. Not possible to go wrong.

Welcome to the Dead.Anime folder

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Moving the 2DT into my Dead.Anime folder, I used this opportunity to count [1]. There are 54 entries in there. Saving them preserves the content in the cache, in case I need to refer to it, and the site falls off the Net.

The 2DT was a rather bright meteor of animeblogs, which only ran for something like 3 years (Ani-nouto linked to it for the first time in September 2009). Its blogroll slot is reassigned to Metanorn. Rules are rules: for every article I read and which is not too vile, a blog advances 1 step up the pole. Metanorn’s dodged persistence and wide topic selection lifted it up.

FRIDGE: Remember how Otou-san quit? It was almost on the same date two years ago.

[1] By saving the OPML and feeding it to wc(1).

The problem of 4:3 on DVD

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

The initial test of modded Toshiba that I mentioned previously turned up a big problem: the stupid box stretches 4:3 DVDs {Update: this is fixed now, see below}. The result looks like this:

It is truly infuriating to realize that the firmware has all the information available to do the right thing. It knows the aspect ratio of the monitor (seen in the setup as 16:9). It knows the aspect ratio of the source. Oh yes, it does. If I hit the “Zoom” button on the remote, the played zooms, and when it zooms, it shows the correct ratio:

Here is the same pair of images for an anamorphic DVD:


There can be no reason to fail to add black bars at 100% zoom. It’s a ridiculous bug. For the sake of Toshiba’s reputation I hope it was added with the all-region mod.

I would’ve returned the player to the seller already, if only I knew of an alternative that actually worked.

UPDATE: I found the setting to fix the issue, by reading the manual very carefully. It turned out that access to the necessary settings is disabled if a disc is inserted… Good grief.

Symbolism of Idolm@ster

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

When Hikago posted a pamflet from which the following illustration is cropped, it looked like he mocked vapous attempts to seek symbolism where none was meant by the creators:

Too bad nothing was linked, I’m wonering if he meant anyone in particular. The only one who would even bother to notice it in my reading circle was Kaedrin, who, for example, wrote about GiTS movie:

Symbolism, such as the use of a wall charting the evolution of life in the climax of the film, is used but not abused.

I just don’t have the eye for this sort of thing and simply ignore anything artsy, except when it’s too heavy-handed, like Shinbo’s stuff in ef. The final arc of The Idolm@ster ladles it heavily enough for even me to see, and it gets more and more explicit, until they come to Haruka regarding herself:

The progression, I think, was meant to establish the messaging so firmly that even Hikago-class satire would be disarmed.

The app manga

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

One difficult thing about Twitter is how it requires perfection. A minute ago I twittered:

I am peeved by “manga as an app” (the legit one), for Kindle Fire. You are selling THROUGH AMAZON. Just sell a MANGA BOOK, jeezus!

So far so good, but then I thought that it would be great to add a link, so people know what I mean. Now I face a choice: double-tweet it (nasty!), or delete the original (even worse – my followers already started to retweet).

The manga that triggered the tweet was Tales of Kurikara. I understand how it may be convenient for the publisher to post it as an app. For one thing, it can be sold outside of Amazon, through Android Market. But I don’t care about that, I only care about my problems. And among those is making sure that my Kindle is secure. Now I need to examine the permission list and make difficult decisions… Aww screw it, back to piracy.

P.S. Bought Manga Sisters just to see how a picture book works on Kindle (it’s in English). Looks perfect, so there is no technical reason to drag an “app” wrapper.

I need a BD player

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

I finally have a BD, even if it is a half of a combo set. Now, how do I play it?

This should not be a problem: just click to Amazon, select a player, and buy it. But there is a small complication. Ideally I would like to get a multi-region DVD player out of the deal, too. Just the other day I plopped my R5 DVD into the player because I honestly forgot about this region idiocy. And this was a problem because our multi-region played died, and we are using an old unhackable Sony now.

The solution is obvious: buy a PS3, crack it, install Linux. But it takes too much work and reading of the manuals. Not a consumer-level solution.

OPPO BDP-93 seems like a nice box, but the situation with regions is unclear on it.

UPDATE: Michael Bui pointed me to the kit for OPPO BDP-93 at one of those european places. I merely need to install this:

J.Greely‘s solution, a pre-modded Toshiba, seems more practical. Considering that I only have a 720p TV, anything OPPO seems like an overkill.

UPDATE: Steven asks, in effect, why not a Media PC? I suppose it could be a solution, but it takes too much work again. I’d need to set up a Myth or other shell that allows to run VLC on it. Make sure that a remote works. Also, hunting for a suitable noiseless PC box is a chore. I am no stranger to this sort of make.tinker stuff, but not feeling like it at this time.

Diebuster fails

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

It was just like FLCL, and I hated FLCL, so… I completed FLCL though. It was amusingly weird and unconventional. But I don’t want to do it again.

The Diebuster (aka Top wo Nerau 2) comes highly recommended, although I do not remember by whom. Perhaps by the same people who search the deep meaning of thick eyebrows. Or entirely different ones. But my own impetus came, curiously enough, from it being lincensed in R5 by Reanimedia. That company practiced discriminating licensing of masterpieces, and made less than 10 DVD set releases in all, including Gurren-Lagann and Haibane Renmei.

I leaked this cancellation on Twitter, and twitterati rolled a two-pronged critique: 1. the similarities with FLCL are purely stylistic, so should not count, and 2. the story in Diebuster is much deeper because it centers around lesbian awakening. Sorry guys, did I misrepresent your positions? Or clarified them? Next time try to blog it somewhere where I can find it.

P.S. Oh, forgot another tack: Diebuster is a tribute to Gunbuster and cannot be properly appreciated by itself. Perversely, this seem like making a bit of sense, but as a suggestion is entirely impractical.

UPDATE: Otou-san twitters: “the point about it being only stylistically related to FLCL (same era gainax/tsurumaki so of course it is) was mine btw”.

Kill Me Baby 01 stumbles

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Like Steven, I was attracted to Kill Me Baby by Sixten, and with the same result. Oddly enough, everything Sixten wrote about the anime, and all his parsing comes true. But the end product just does not grab me in the way Nichijou did in its good parts. It feels dull, which is death for a comedy. At least Nichijou was not dull. Maybe annoying in other parts, exposing the seedier underside of life in Japan, or even plain bizarre, but not dull. And what do I care about its budget?

Still, despite the tiresome presentation in the ep.1, I am loth to drop Kill Me Baby right away. I remember too well how I dropped Sunred too soon. KMB has a decent animation at least. I think a suspension is the right decision here.

Tatsuo Sato is busy this season

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Mouretsu Pirates at ANN (Satelight):

Director: Tatsuo Sato
Series Composition: Tatsuo Sato
Chief Animation Director: Hiroshi Takeuchi
Original creator: Yuichi Sasamoto

Rinne no Lagrange at ANN (Xebec):

Chief Director: Tatsuo Sato
Director: Toshimasa Suzuki
Series Composition: Shoutarou Suga

Looks like he’s merely adding a magic Tatsuo Sato touch to the Lagrange while actually running the production of Mouretsu. Still, this seems unusual.