Archive for the 'rocket girls' 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.

Rocket Girls (at 07)

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

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

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.}

Rocket Girls capture notes

Friday, June 15th, 2007

I am getting lazy or else more sophisticated. Instead of penciling notes down, I take screenshots. This is only possible when watching on computer, of course. Next, snapping pictures of TV screen?

The smoke has improved a lot since the ep.6. And I do mean a lot. Looks like the animation team was learning on the job.

My goodness, the commercial for patches!

Am I the only one to think that isotermic lines on the hull of Mangosteen are all wrong?

Rerefernces to the past glory of Apollo must be making NASA’s belly all warm inside. The giant irony of it is how SSA makes NASA’s spaceline operation obsolete. If anything, SpaceX is SSA.

Yukari’s mother. Need I say more? I believe there’s a special acronym for her type.

Rocket Girls – credits

Friday, June 15th, 2007

The ANN Encyclopedia entry lists Akane Miura and Motoko Miura. Since Akane and Hideto are the only two members of Miura family who ever get to speak, this certainly jumps out. It looks like an obvious attribution error for Motoko Mihara (the chemist chick with glasses). This is the first time I see an error in ANN Encyclopedia. Obviosly, ANN is not infallible.

{Update: Took them two days to correct it, bravo! But they decided not to add Hideto, despite being well credited in the anime.}

Farewell, Rocket Girls

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

The wild ride has ended, but the journey continues.

Rocket Girls was an odd duck. As an anime, it fails, in my view. Deforming characters, insufferable 3D inserts, and the overall amateurish and excessively computerized flavour did it in. But as a statement, it endures. Although sponsored by the mega-buraucracy of JAXA, which does its utmost to copy the worst of NASA, the show nonetheless had decidedly NewSpace-ish bend. And this makes me hopeful.

Liked: Yes! But see above.
Rewatch: Likely

Rocket Girls round-up

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
  • Danny Choo:

    Cant remember exactly why I dropped this. I think t’was because it took too long for something to happen.

    I am linking this for the sheer weirdness of his perception, considering the breakneck pace of the show. I thought too many things were happening, it was pure Vandread.

  • Don:

    Ultimately, it comes down to whether the engineering fanservice and skintight spacesuits compensate for the ugly computer animation. I enjoyed the show. YMMV.

    Since we’re in perfect agreement, I would not link Don usually. Also, he back-linked to me and so this double-linkage is uncoth. The reason I’m doing it is the screencap that he included. I so wanted to use it myself, but he got there first.

  • Nick Istre:

    […] but I do like how the writers took pains to not (completely) trivialize the dangers of space travel.

    I have no foggiest idea what Nick was trying to say. Or, to put it better, I have several ideas, each more nonsensual than the previous one.

  • Omo:

    In some ways all of this pseudo low-tech sci-fi gets on my nerves like a confused bee grazing under a blooming Spring sky. Is it like Gundam? As in, an event several decades ago that changed the minds of the animators and creators forever? Are we bridging that gender gap? My parents saw the momentous Apollo 11 landing broadcast live across the world and told me about it when I got older, and most of you reading this blog probably hasn’t, or too young to remember. Is it just a staple genre that old Japanese guys buy to remind them the memories of fascination and dreams they had as children? I don’t know. [Emphasis mine — Author]

    I think the Apollo moment was great. I knew it coming from two kilometers away, and I expected it to be cheezy and/or corny. But it avoided the abyss by a hair. To say more would be too spoilerish even for a free-flowing and irreverent blog such as this. So, all is left for me is poking fun at Michael’s presentation. Now every time I overdoze on blog flourish, it’s going to be called “the confused bee grazing”. At leat it wasn’t a dark and stormy night. Also… He probably meant a generation gap.

Rocket Girls capsule design

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

As I mentioned before the movable engine going through the heat shield is a huge safety concern. However, there’s plenty of smaller oddities as well.

For one thing, pilot position is wrong. Here’s the whiteboard sketch:

A better view would be to turn it so the acceleration line is vertical:

Note that they did all the tricks with the engine especially in order to keep the acceleration vector pointing in the same direction at all flight modes. But the correct body position for the pilot to withstand 8G is with knees just a bit below the head:

Another odd thing I noticed was the location of the RCS thrusters in the nose. The Mangosteen is so damn small, that it’s simply impossible. Even far bigger capsules group thrusters near their fuel tanks. Here’s an example of SpaceX Dragon: