Archive for the 'anime' Category

Rocket Girls (at 06)

Monday, June 4th, 2007
Yukari Morita, Commander

Rocket Girls is amazing in many ways. For example, many instances of 3D animation are amazingly bad, like the pseudo-Humvee charging through the clip-art jungle. Presently though, I am amazed at the way the story develops. The amazing things started early, with the father search being resolved instantly instead of dragging it out. And today, amazingly, the safe landing is only the new beginning.

Rocket Girls, animation quality

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Here’s just a quick note about the poor animation quality. I have screenshots, but it’s a big bother to upload and link them currently, so this is just jotting the material down for future use.

Ep.5 – They had a nighttime scene, where animators usually place a round fog, like in a flashback, only dark. It means “night” with mysterious shades in corners… And then they panned the camera. Of course, the shade got disconnected from the set.

Ep.6 – They blew shading of Tanpopo. In space, these shades are very sharp, and when they try to recreate this in animation, the object looks deformed. They should’ve turned the capsule relatively to the Sun, so the terminator would be bent with the shape of the hull.

So the general impression is of series animated by amateurs or first-timers. It’s not necesserily low budget. The 3D in ep.1 and 2 was the pitifuly low budget, but other such moments are just lack of smarts and/or experience.

Abenobashi ED

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

The Author likes the ED of Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi a lot. It’s a simple enough presentation; a slide show with b/w images of postwar Japan and a soundtrack.

The soundtrack is “あなたの心に”, performed by Megumi Hayashibara. It really is a nice track, I have it on iPod already. The lyrics are very simple, I can do karaoke with them after 3rd or 4th try. The song is about love, pretty much.

The pictures are quite compelling. They start as nostalgia inducing set, but then take upon a decisively progressive course (and I do not mean “progressive” as poisoned by modern American academia). The two final frames are pictures of American spacecraft and rockets. Probably, they didn’t have good enough pictures of H-IIA in stock.

The juxtaposition of the optimistic show and the listful song seems strangely odd, yet interesting. Something for AMV authors to think about.

Rocket Girls (at 07)

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Did I just hear Naoko Yamazaki voicing herself?! This tie-in thing is getting out hand.

Notice of abandonment: Xenoglossia

Friday, June 8th, 2007

Just as with Gurren-Lagann, I have no clear idea why I’m dropping iDOLM@ster Xenoglossia. This show also had everything going for it: a watcheable story, pleasant art and animation, likeable characters, serviceable villains. Haruka is certainly a cutie.

Nonetheless, there it goes after ep.08. Maybe it’s the girlmecha thing after all, although, if anything, it was tastefuly understated (so far).

Once Xenoglossia falls by wayside, only Rocket Girls and Lucky☆Star survive in this season. I would never pick these two beforehand.

Rocket Girls (at 10)

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

I’ve got a bunch of notes here. I have screenshots for all of them, but unfortunately, the standard shot size is too big for having lots of them; if I downscale them, captions become unreadable. I’ll have to think how to handle supposed core of the blog in the future…

  • I thought that the hat and the dress made Akane look like Osaka, but it was fairly fleeting. They are nothing alike.
  • Akane attributes to Gagarin the comparison of Earth with a veiled bride. I don’t recall him saying that, but who knows, maybe the creators dug it out somewhere.
  • RG sure loves to resolve dangling ends. When Akane reached for her checkbook two episodes back, I thought that she is a case of parential abandonment. Not so! RG defies anime stereotypes unintentionally, I’m sure. But it’s still nice. BTW, I thought Japanese abandoned checkbooks ages ago in favor of plastic cards. Interesting.
  • Why are ending credits for the cast are in English, while credits for staff are in Japanese?
  • Why is it wrong to eat chips with chopsticks? The screenshot of Yukari snatching the can is awesome…
  • There’s a cutaway view of the capsule in ep.10, with the movable engine and all.
  • “Pluto’s not even considered a planet anymore.”
  • I think I heard a pan when Director said “… Akane-kun da”. He made the “n” long and thus it sounded like “nda”, an explanation or announcement.
  • According to eyecatch data, Mangosteen can do 800 m/s of delta-V. I don’t know if the retrofire is accounted, unfortunately. This is a reasonable figure and greater than, for example, Soyuz can do. For comparison, I calculated once that an orbital plane change from 56 deg. (Baykonur and thus ISS) to 41 deg. where Bigelow space station is planned required 1300 m/s.
  • My gawd, the Rock Lee pose! Must blog about Naruto’s greatness.

I also had a bunch of notes from older episodes which I kept suppressed at the old blog, but can dump now.

  • Yukari turns her head while in the centrifuge. This is actually a bad lapse of realism. If you do that, your sense of balance gets damaged and only recovers after several days. You can’t walk during that period of time.
  • Had Matsuri actually have gone to the Cocos Island? I think it’s possible, because there’s plenty of land in between the Solomons and Cocos. Tor Heyerdal probably could do it, at least one way. But realistically speaking? I think it was a poetic exaggeration.
  • Why is Yukari’s mom using a culman? A possible answer is, she’s actually a big shot and likes it that way… And there’s a monkey employee which digitizes her work and puts it into a CAD.
  • The skintight suit is not a fiction, oddly enough. I learned about it while reading about the glove competion when Rand Simberg has just proposed it.

Heat shield doors

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Having a robust OMS system is essential to SSAs capsules for a couple of reasons. First, it serves as a reusable upper stage. It’s not just a workaround for the pitiful booster. Having your engine return saves money, and is a part of the value proposition for an RLV. Second, for the jobs Mangussen is likely to do (satellite repair), significant orbital maneuvering may be needed.

Due to the small size of Mangussen, seats cannot be re-oriented (like on t/Space’s design), or even reclined (like on Shuttle). Therefore, the thrust of OMS has to point in the same direction as deceleration for landing. Such geometry mandates OMS going through the heat shield.

I mentioned this problem on some other blog before. The biggest risk Rocket Girls face in this area is the door malfunction. If doors fail to close completely, crew gets roasted, like the crew of Columbia. Unfortunately, this is not an impossible scenario… Especially if we remember how a floating plastic bag obstructed a docking port on Mir. Tanpopo left the engine extended for the duration of the mission, which only increases chances of such things happening.

Meanwhile, in the real world, holes in the heat shield are not entirely unknown. Shuttle has doors for feedlines from External Tank to main engines. Russian TKS had a crew access hatch in its heat shield. The difference with the likes of Tanpopo is how the closing operation can be recycled with human intervention if required.

To summarize, the design used in Rocket Girls is not implausible, and is the most direct, even naive approach to solve the problem. It just takes stupendous risks, that’s all.

{P.S. Dragon avoids the issue by using fairly wimpy OMS. It thrusts backwards, so astronauts have to hang in their harnesses for a few minutes during the deorbit burn. Back of the envelope calculations suggest about 0.15G for 5 minutes: certainly not insurmountable. At worst some wimp might need to hold his head with his hands a bit.}

Wit of Jason Miao

Monday, June 11th, 2007

I have tons of old notes which did not meet the majesty criteria for the old blog. They are incomplete, sophomoric (I learned this word from Jeff), silly, disjoint, controversial, etc. Now that I have a pseudo-anonymous blog which nobody reads (sorry, Steven) I feel justified in dumping them.

For example, I noted this example of wit by Jason:

Gift is yet another shounen harem anime… I’m getting tired of this typing this phrase… with a twist that everyone in this town can give a special gift to their loved one once. It could be anything, but so far we’ve seen an unicorn and a tree. I’m not kidding. No one has asked for health, happiness, North Korea nuclear disarmament, bigger breasts, money, another season of Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, or “I want a goddess like you forever by my side!” yet.

He may be wrong in his assessement, but it’s funny. I need to work on this.

Tandem crew

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

One small similarity note about Stellvia and Vandread is that both offer a tandem crew arrangement. Moreover, both offer a lovebird crew.

My Vandread screenshot library is lacking.

I’ve read about female gunners flying Il-2 in WWII with objects of their affections. As far as I know, the practice was discouraged, but it’s difficult to find good accounts. Considering the mortality of Il-2 gunners (7 times that of pilots), if a pilot were to return the feelings, he would have to object to further assignments, with consequensies fanning from there. One pair mentioned above was buried together after their plane was downed with a hit from AAA, so at least there wasn’t any extra survivor angst.

Closer to now, I recall reading about a husband and wife flying AH-64. There were articles in glossy magazines like Newsweek, with journalistic vultures digging into possible issues.

Stellvia and Vandread do not make a big production of any possible conflict of interest. In both cases, flying separately provides ample of opportunity still. There’s also no intrinsic assimmetry such as on Il-2.

UPDATE: My Squadron-Signal publication on Il-2 says: “A number of Assault Aviation Regiments had female rear gunners, such as the 804th Assault Aviation Regiment which served on the Kalinin front in May of 1943.”

Wisdom of Ms. Leila

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

In ep.8, Leila-sensei says approximately this about Shipon: “When she looks forward, she only looks forward. When she looks back, she only looks back.” She means that Shipon has wild performance swings between outstanding and unacceptable according to her frame of mind at the time. When I heard it for the first time, I thought that she quoted a proverb, it was so melodic.

So, what did she really say? After listening to it about 10 times, this is what I heard:

R. JAMES:  前向きだね? まえむきだね?
LEILA B.:  前を向いたら、前ばかり。 まえをむいたら、まえばかり。
  後ろを向いたら、後ろばかり。 うしろをむいたら、うしろばかり。

It does not seem like a proverb after all.