Archive for the 'figure17' Category

Figure 17 starts

Friday, July 6th, 2007

When I rented this show from Blockbuster years ago, it looked very pretty, but animation has advanced a lot since then. Now it seems so hand-painted, it hurts. Nonetheless, the art has a certain charm to it.

A few more issues are present. The background story takes a toll on my ability to suspend disbelief. For example, if Hikaru is made out of liquid metal, a-la T-1000, why does she eat, and how does she digest the food? The background music switches to an extremey retarded game music for a battle. Mind control is lame.

Still, the show is a net win thus far. I watch it for the little moments, like cute lip-chewing, or Hikaru being caught eating ice-cream (I thought it was a sour cream at first. A different childhoods we had!).

Update: Steven catalogs varying relationships between androids and the food. When I made the off-hand remark above, I did not bother to think about it, it just seemed strange. Later, Hikaru makes it clear that she is obsessed with re-living Tsubasa’s experiences, which she received as part of cloning process. This probably includes eating. A logical extension would include defecation… Mecrifuly, this was left out (for now). She obviously cannot do it all, such as meeting people already dead.

Update: Jonathan comes up with an explanation (see also his review linked there).


Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

I Figure 17 ep.3, children compete in a game of Port Ball. Google does not appear to know what it is:

I am surprised that no fan ever recorded it, so here goes.

Teams of four play on a court about the size of a basketball court or somewhat smaller. Where hoops would otherwise be, small pedestals are set. A player is permanently positioned on the pedestal (“a goal”). A half-circle about 2m in radius is marked around the goal. The only other mark is a dividing line which separates the halves of the court.

The objective for a team is to earn points. To deliver the ball to the team’s goal is worth 2 points (I have no idea how one can gain 1 point. All matches in the anime ended with an even number of points.). Surprisingly, nobody ever attempts a longer range shot, even though the goal will try to catch a poorly aimed ball, unlike a hoop. Nobody tried throwing high up either, when blocked by an opposing player.

Players cannot carry the ball, so they play them on the run like in basketball. There are many other similarities as well. The question is, why not just play basketball instead? The game seems lively and well conceived, but why? Perhaps it’s an issue of equipment and/or basketball rules being too complex for youngsters.

UPDATE: It’s real.


Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Saw something curious in Figure 17 yesterday.

Tsubasa and Hikaru are told by their teacher to practice by sounding off a line of vovels: “A,e,i,u,e,o,a,o”.

The sequence is not random, it can be found around the net. Google was entirely useless, even with double-quote. It was able to find Chinese blogs only. Yahoo easily found Japanese entries and this posting by member “crabity” on OutpostNine (the old home of Azrael):

I was also wondering if people still practice by saying that rhyme…it’s a good way to practice your mouth shapes.

a e i u e o a o
ka ke ki ku ke ko ka ko

Yahoo. It’s better.

UPDATE: Someone adds Hitohira to the list. I neglected to mention that Tsubasa and Hikaru were preparing to a stage play as well. The excercise wasn’t a part of class activities. The discussion at forum hints that it could be, but in Figure 17 it’s not.

UPDATE 2007/12/06: Shingu has it too:

When Trees Were Big

Friday, July 27th, 2007

When ADV started hating their own customers in public, we sort of forgot that they used to do good. I received the first DVD of RahXephon today, and was reminded how the gentle and cuddly ADV of years past released up to five episodes per DVD on first release.

I am watching Figure 17 currently, which is about the same vintage title. Media Blasters released this 13-episode series on 6 DVDs. Thank heavens for Netflix!

UPDATE: Great, just great. No sooner I put my foot into my mouth, I see this (at KarmaBurn):

Figure 17 seems to be a pleasant enough show. It’s not wildly impressing me by any means, but it is entertaining enough, and novel in that its episodes are double-length.

The dumbest part is, I noticed that VOBs were unusually large, and was going to post a note about varying DVD compression. It never occured to me that episodes were longer. Come to think of it, how long are they? Gotta check.

Also, same place:

One thing I I don’t like is how Tsubasa and Hikaru persistently have that stupid cat mouth thing that’s supposed to be moe. You know, the wavy smile represented in the emoticon :3 except with sizable overbites. I’m going to go on record as saying Cat Mouth is not cute; it looks retarded.

I am not so sure.

Repent or face the wrath of Mikan Army!

Holy Portball, Batman!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Google decided to return relevant results for portball today. This is the first evidence that they actually play that game.

I am stealing an example picture for the backup purposes.

Notice that the yellow defender is inside the semi-circle, which seems to differ from rules depicted in Figure 17.

P.S. Since we’re on topic: uniforms from the same school. No seifuku, I’m crestfallen.

Figure 17, almost there

Monday, August 6th, 2007

I continue to work my way through Figure 17. It’s not terribly exciting. The backdrop of the nature is present, and I have to admit that it looks better than anything I saw. The Tunka valley comes quite close in the summer (it even has hot springs), but unfortunately it’s very far from the ocean and its winters are far harsher than whatever Hokkaido offers. In any event, the natural beauty offers no respite from the oppressive story, as far as I am concerned.

I am past the ep.10 and I do not quite know what scene Jeff was talking about (I recognize the screencap… but is it a hint?). I only penciled 2 notes for the episode:

  • The … (bold boy) noticed, but didn’t go beyond admonishement.
    Interesting that Sho’s mother knew about the handkerchief
    Weird Japanese fascination with “making memories”.
  • Anti-ganbatte revolt of Tsubasa

The second note was added post-factum, I meant that the rejection of “ganbatte” reminded me about those “if you are not suffering, you’re not Japanese” anecdotes by Azrael. I thought that Tsubasa was spot-on with an indictment of the “ganbatte” culture.

Steven’s Future Series list says “gizmo obsession, dead girls”, which seems very odd now. Maybe he had difficult time pigeonholing it. There are gizmos, but they are even less prominent than in Vandread and the characters pay gadgets no more mind than they deserve. As for dead girls, there’s not much of that either, strictly speaking. It’s just that a 10 year old is made (or suckered) to fight by the circumstances and has to face mortal danger every other day. Unfortunately for her, she’s not quite as dumb as that high-jumping skirt-wearing thing in Xenoglossia and realizes her predicament. She also is not getting much of an R&R, much like German pilots in WWII. That’s the real meat of the story. {Update: Seems a bit like the second half of Ender’s Game in the respect of never-ending pressure and the way hero responds to it.}

Not much screen time is left, so I am just going to tough out the two remaining episodes and then watch something comparatively upbeat and funny, like Evangelion.

Figure 17 ends

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

So this is good-bye.

It was a tough journey, but in the end, wholeheartedly recommended.

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Not likely, perhaps in a good company.

Figure 17 spoiling notes

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

I wanted to see Figure 17 since AX 2003, I think. But undoubtedly the decision solidified after I saw Jeff Lawson’s coverage. I thought that I’d debate it when done, but in the event, maybe not. I’m just going to throw raw notes on the page.

01 OP ok I guess. Shows “soul mirror”. Different personalities.
01 Very interesting BGM
01 Animation has made a step forward, but F17 is still pretty good.
01 Game-style BGM [I started getting bored with it quickly — ed]
01 Concentration of thoughts on the hand makes no sense, but oh well.
01 Preview — Hikaru’s difference is not just a feature, but a very important feature.
02 Hikaru can sleep? She also has to eat.
— If she’s made out of a metal, then how exactly does she digest organics? [This was discussed at Bugfox — ed]
02 “To give you an idea how far… Anyway, they are very far apart.” [ROFL at D.D. — ed]
02 Hikaru is seen by Tsubasa’s dad. Fun times. [At first Author thought she was gourging on sour cream, but on second thought it might have been ice-cream. — ed]
02 DD’s hair. [Crest of the Stars, man. — ed]
02 Hikaru starts pretending to be Tsubasa and eats cheese bread.
02 Lip-eating is kawaii.
02 Hikaru wears a tail.
02 Mind control is so lame.
03 Not sure if I like the OP
Weirderst premise
03 This time Sakura gets in on the same bus stop.
03 Niiice, Hikaru gets carried away with her shared memory (Sho’s health)
03 The game is called Port Ball.
03 Tsubasa is really tranquilized during the whole school day.
03 2 points for a catch by the goal.
03 ED starts nicely and then the oddly squeaking vocal cuts in.
04 親子(おやこ) “parent and child”
Starting with v.2 they pack 2 episodes per DVD. Pure crime? Very long VOBs but the quality is not all that striking. 3GB VOB. [Episodes are DOUBLE LENGTH, or about 38 minutes including preview. A normal anime episode is about 24 minutes with preview. — ed]
04 Hokkaido is Siberia
06 Hikaru is wounded. There must be poison.
07 Lots of burden on the Hikaru’s AI
07 Hikaru is Cardboard Tube Samurai
07 Total foreshadowing by Sho the scriptwriter (playwright).
08 Ten-ten, because Tenmaru’s younger sister… Huh.
08 They sure play the nature card to the utmost.
Shinji is a freaking freeloader.
Lake Hono.
09 New music for the balloon. [This means that the BGM was really repetitive, with only “nature”, “battle”, and “other”. Additional tunes started to appear later. — ed]
Sho was the first to speak to Tsubasa when she moved from Tokyo? Hmm.
まくなりました passed away
Deceptive start of ED is really something else. [Already noted in ep.03, but pissed me off every time. — ed]
10 The … (bold boy) noticed, but didn’t go beyond admonishement.
Interesting that Sho’s mother knew about the handkerchief
Weird Japanese fascination with “making memories”.
10 Anti-ganbatte revolt of Tsubasa
11 Parents reply to letters in Sho’s stead. What an odd ritual.
The brush-cleaning gadget. SUGOI. [When Author went to school, he had to wash the erasing cloth, which always stank. — ed]
11 “Hagiwara-kun” translated as “Kenta” (when “saving” Hikaru from Aoyama).
12 OP grows on me. ED is still gay but it does too.
12 はんちょう group leader
12 Hukaru pulled the hand unintentionally, it seems. [Actually, wrong. She did it on purpose. — ed]
12 Even Kenta noticed.
12 Tsubasa is super slow, but she added 2 and 2 at last. Took her 10 episodes!
12 So, is there a certain link? If Tsubasa gets more energetic, Hikaru recovers?
13 Nice cellphone, works on a spaceship. [Seen in ep.26 of Stellvia as well. — ed]
13 reverse [meaning that it’s Tsubasa’s turn to protect Hikaru — ed]
13 Another theme is how Tsubasa grows to depend on herself.
13 Mind control is a lame move
13 Tsubasa got Ordeena’s bird
xx Correct story size and pace, no filler.

The power of DVD

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

The extra feature on the last volume of Figure 17 is one of those little TV clips showing seyuu at work. I have to admit, it’s quite cool.

Kikuko Inoue as Ordeena

Fumiko Orikasa as Hikaru

Kikuko Inoue I know most from her role as Chitose Hibiya in Chobits. She is even older than I am, and still goes strong.

I so want one of these books they read off. Although, one with authentic marks of Kotono Mitsuishi probably costs more than my whole anime collection…

Figure 17 ends elsewhere too

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Came across an end-of-series note for Figure 17 at Karmaburn:

Final thoughts after finishing Figure 17: The MONSTERS FROM SPACE! element and the Figure itself were entirely unnecessary. The show would have been just fine if Hikaru really was Tsubasa’s twin sister, sent away to live with relatives at a young age. It might even have been better that way.

Figure 17 had enough story in the “Tokyo girl moves to Hokkaido” aspect and with the contrast between Hikaru and Tsubasa’s characters. I didn’t need unremarkable fight scenes sprinkled throughout to keep my attention. In fact, the fights were the least interesting part of the series.

As it happens, I disagree strongly. It is true that there could be a story made out of just the twins, but it would be a different story, not the one told in Figure 17. As I mentioned before, one of the main elements of the story is how Tsubasa deals with the mortal danger. We also see the relationships (with a tragic element for a bonus), and the farm and nature. All elements work together. The viewer is free to focus on any one. Indeed, from reading Lawson one might think it’s all about the nature. The rest, however, is still there and cannot be denied.