Archive for May, 2013

Fantasy and Reality

Monday, May 20th, 2013

I saw the following in SF Japantown parking on Saturday:

Even has pop-up headlights! I am not sure if the model ever was for sale new in America and the pictured unit may be a gray-market import or a 25-year-old antique. Of course, I would not even notice it if I not watched the anime.

A couple of weeks ago I twittered off-hand that perhaps I watched too much, because I started driving with one hand. But that wasn’t all. In an odd-but-true way, my times at K1 San Francisco went from 31..32 seconds down into 25s (even touched 24.983 at one point). Interesting how fantasy influences reality, isn’t it?

In fact, it’s ridiculous to deny that such influence occurs. Usually it’s the tack taken by gamers whenever a hikki gamer shoots up a school. But wouldn’t it be more productive to accept reality and discuss the role of individual responsibility instead? I’m not using my new-found mad drifting skillz to shave old ladies in crosswalks, you know.

P.S. The all-knowing Wikipedia says that the car was offered in U.S. as Corolla Sport DX, SR5 and GT-S. Not sure how many were sold… The most powerful versions offered a 112 hp engine. My little SOHC Neon was rated for 132 hp at 5250 rpm scant decade later.

Otou-san on Gargantia

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Twittered: “Gargantia: even with no marketable skills, you may still find love with an underage exotic dancer”.

I happen to know what he’s talking about, having seen some screncaps where Ledo laments difficulties of job-hunting with no marketable skills, and then the one at Rabujoi, which almost looks like something from FMP. Hilarious, Otou. Twitter destroyed animeblogging.

N.B.: Apparently, Gargantia is a true mother lode of fabulous screencaps. Even our expert noticed, while not watching in-season. However, Gen Urobutcher is writing the script.

UPDATE: Brickmuppet is in. Heck, SDB is in. Geriatric animebloggers love risk.

Muromi-san 06

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Blogging pickings for Muromi-san 06 were so slim, that I had to read Aroduc. Kuro tried to get off with just one sentence! Not that Aroduc’s griping became any more interesting, or extensive, in the years since I saw it last. But it seems like nobody finds Muromi blogworthy. Which is perhaps understandable, but disappointing.

On this side, I watched the episode twice. Not because it’s brilliant, or anything like that, but because Otohime is this moe. Yes, I said it. The taboo word. Of course I can see how roughly her introduction was handled, and of course all characters are one-dimintional in this comedy. But it didn’t hurt much.

I looked her legend up, and it seemed somewhat nice, for a folk story. I did not do it for Kaguya.

One small thing: the scene of the disco reminded me very much the episode of Joshiraku where Marii-san goes to sleep. Was there really a time period when they danced like that? I thought that disco meant the whole crowd dancing, but in both of these case characters seemed like performers on stage. Perhaps the story of Ryuuguujou was a reference to the 80s, depression, etc. The loser fish definitely was.

Oh, and what’s up with the protag’s caps in the last two episodes? First it was ASEAN, now NATO.

UPDATE: Aroduc wrote:

I hope you’re up to date on your Japanese oarfish mythology. That and Otohime, although even if you are, I’m not sure how enjoyable this episode will be.

I read it as a hint that Otohime is not sufficiently regal for a mother of the first Emperor of Japan. But she is certainly sufficiently moefied, which is the anime way, right? Considering various genderswapped moefications of Oba Nobunaga, she should do.

Yuyushiki begins

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Yuyushiki is a bit strange and I found it difficult to judge. The “cute girls doing cute things” area is well mined nowadays, but I did not see one like it before. Initial episodes of Lucky Star were somewhat vapid and boring. K-ON offered us the hated “retard moe”. Hidamari Sketch had the wide faces and thematic concerns. And so on. Some failed in a subtler ways, like Sketchbook.

So, when I opened Yuyushiki, I felt a certain trepidation, and for a bit it seemed to confirm my fears. The teacher abuse — how pedestrian. I even jotted down about AIURA: “hope it’s not as bad as Yuyushiki, but 3min?”. I apparently I wasn’t the only one. I only stuck with Yuyushiki because Yui punished the bitches.

The magic started happening around ep.3 and the sleepover, when I suddenly realized that it was as good as Azumanga. Yes, really, and no, I can’t explain. The sensation was fleeting, but it happened.

Another goodness of Yuyushiki would probably swoosh right over my head, if not for the Internet. As it turned out, where AUIRA unloads the visual extravagance in primary color, Yuyushiki is extremely sneaky and takes a keen eye to appreciate. But once I saw it, I could not unsee it anymore. It’s amazing! Perhaps I’m especially amazed because the creators tricked me. It was easy to tell when KyotoAni went artsy in Nichijou e.g. during the hallway chase, but this is different. It seems natural and it is pervasive.

Finally, it should now be obvious that Yui (Ichii) carries the show for me. Considering it point by point, she should be even with another excellent straight woman stereotype, Namiko of GA. But GA had a full cast of stellar characters, and here we basically have just Yui, so she has to shine brighter.

About done with Cinderella Girls

Monday, May 6th, 2013

I hit a peculiar problem with Cinderella Girls, which gave me just enough excuse to stop grinding. It appears that Mobage created me 2 game profiles in CG, attached to my user account. When I log in, I get one or the other depending on the device that I use. The problem is, every new device I try gets account #2, whereas all my high-level idols are attached to the account #1, which I had first. Thus, I operate under a threat of naturally losing access to all the virtual treasures as the old gevices get out of circulation.

One of the legacy devices is actually my laptop, so I can experiment with cookies on it. But meh. It probably is the time to draw the line. I started playing in November, so the game lasted me 6 months. I spent about $80 on it. Not bad, and about comparable with better games for dedicated handhelds.

UPDATE: Coincidentially timed strip at Penny-Arcade, where Tycho says: “No, because they’re not real cards, we don’t actually own them, and the moment they decide it’s not worth it anymore the entire game will evaporate.”

High-brow releases by Media Blasters

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Steven names Grenadier a high point of Media Blasters’ catalog history, but I know that he knows about their strategy to license a critically acclaimed anime once a year or so. IMHO their biggest scoop on that front was Figure 17. I also have a soft spot for Midori no Hibi. Steven himself was a fan of Magic Users Club way back. Their other titles included high-profile mainstream anime Moribito, 12K, Ruroni Kenshin, Simoun. They also licensed B-list conventional series like Muteki Kanban Musume, Asagiri no Miko, and Kurogane Communication. So yeah, they are famous as bottom-feeders, but not exclusively.

UPDATE: Steven reminds about Ah, My Goddess!, which I tried to sweep into the anonymous “others” bin. It didn’t earn a warm welcome here. Simoun is probably a great example how it’s better to suspect a show in abstract, rather than watch it and make sure.

Yama no Susume ends

Monday, May 6th, 2013

What, it’s over already? But of course. Watching 12 3-minute episodes takes about as much time as watching two normal episodes.

Now I’m wondering if it’s just me or short-format shows became more prevalent? Back when Keitai Shoujo “aired”, its size had to do with the streaming services not even being in their infancy yet — and the need to download the clips to cellphones. We also had miniatures like Cheburashka Arere, which I presume were broadcast in top of the hour slots. Those productions were not excessively ambitious. I am discounting the off-shoots like Haruhi-chan, history of which dates back to To Heart. They lived their parallel lives outside of broadcast as DVD bonuses. But now Yama no Susume seems like a beta run for AIURA, the length of which some animebloggers call “the greates crime in history of anime” on Twitter. Is the tide of anime shorts real and are they the cancer killing anime?

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: maaaaybe…

Yama no Susume begins

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Very coincidentially with AIURA, the previous season offered another CGDCT in 3-minute format, which also was quite good. It only loses on not being purposefuly made to showcase artistic prowess, but content is just as fine. Yama no Susume is different there, by honestly centering the proceedings around the titular activity, whereas its counterpart merely uses the club as a springboard. Very nice characters, and generally nothing to complain about except the length.

Gurren-Lagann on Crunchyroll

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

To celebrate the easy availability on legal streaming, I started following the Gurren-Lagann at Crunchy. Okay, it was available for a while on Hulu, nothing new here, but it was immensely irritating etc. etc. I just wanted an excuse to do it. Also, this is the sub release, which I did not touch in a while despite having it on DVD.

And man, what a great anime. I know that it’s not universally well regarded among animebloggers, but then some of them didn’t like Azumanga either, so whatever. I’m just going to enjoy this.

By the way… In the intro, the commander calls his gunmen “Gurren-Lagann”. But isn’t these the names that Kamina and Simon invented. What is this even supposed to mean? Lulwhut, EVA 3.33 level troll.

AIURA begins

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

As always, the hidden gem of the season arrives unexpectedly. I thought it gotta be the mermaids, bro, to borrow from Nova. And mermaids are pretty good, no doubt, but AIURA is in a different class entirely. The only thing that lets it down is the 4-minute format.

Not sure if this is the format, but bloggers generally have nothing too extensive to say about AIURA. Dusk tried, but eh… “The voices of the main characters sounds uniquely fresh and raw, because they are new seiyuus with literally no other project to their names” — Really? Every time Kanaka opens her mouth I hear Karen Iwata, and I thought her voice was distinctive. But actually, it’s a newcomer, Yui Nakajima. Anyway, stalwarts like Nova and Kuro did not even try as much, and basically picture-spam with heavy spoilers.

And it’s understandable. For me, the excellence of AIURA is in hitting all the notes right, likeable characters, soft setting, etc. But the art just jumps out at the viewer immediately. It looks as if an immense budget was expended on the backgrounds alone, and the animation is simply amazing. When Kanaka receives the news of her nickname, the slight motions were at the level of Lucky Star and Kanata clapping her feet. Essentially the whole thing is an advertisement for the capabilities of LINDEN FILMS, which probably explains why it’s so short.