Archive for the 'meta' Category

Mamotte what?!

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

As seen at Antenna a few minutes ago:

Not sure what this is supposed to mean.

BTW, server logs tell me that tons of people read Antenna. Hmm…

Stellvia vs. Vandread, abridged

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

When Owen linked me, he chose the “Tandem Crew” entry.

On reflection, the entry made very little sense, because it wasn’t in its context. When I wrote it, the blog wasn’t listed yet and thus not read by anyone. The real pencil note which stated it read “Stellvia === Vandread”.

I did not mean that Stellvia was a remake of Vandread. Their stories are not very similar [^1]. But I meant to note that they a) both are examples of mecha-as-a-backdrop shows and b) made to the equivalent level of quality.

Steven Den Beste summed the mecha question thus:

I’ve now seen at least ten series which featured mechas and I was only really enthusiastic about one of them. Most of them I found to be a complete waste of time; several I didn’t even bother to finish watching. The problem is that the writers, and presumably the fans they’re writing for, are entranced by the idea of the mechas, and concentrate on the gee-whiz equipment instead of such basics as plot, characterization, and human warmth. That also applies to things like steampunk, or fascination with dirigibles. Generally, when the gizmos are viewed by the writers and artists as particularly nifty, everything else tends to get shortchanged. It’s theoretically possible that there could be a good series like this, and in fact I’ve seen a couple which I liked, but the odds are tremendously against any particular one being any good, and it’s a risk I choose not to take, since I do not have infinite time or infinite money.

When seen from this angle, Stellvia is an attempt to tell a character story with heroic action, which happens to have mecha in it somewhere. To illustrate, the Stellvia’s fanbase does not obsess with Keity’s combat loadout (unlike Gundam’s fans). Vandread takes the same route.

I saw Vandread basically because of Steven, after I’ve seen Stellvia. It wasn’t just the review, but the general advocacy too. And about halfway into the show I scribbed the “Stellvia === Vandread” note. They were leaving a similarly sized emotional imprint. Both let secondary characters flourish within reason. Both had protagonists which were a bit irritating (Hibiki with his pseudo-macho, Shipon with her tears). Both were drawn well and directed well. Both have a mid-series climax.

There was a number of dissimilarities, too, but they somehow compensated each other for the comparison. For example, the worst part of Vandread, long term [^2], is the bickering in the kitchen, sick bay, etc. The worst part of Stellvia, long term, was watching Shipon’s breakdowns. Vandread has a tight plot which explains everything, and Stellvia doesn’t, but you have to use Steven’s powers for retcon to uncover it. So for me, Stellvia makes more sense. Not that either of them was in any way realistic anyway.

So, there we have it. I gradually became enthralled with the “Stellvia === Vandread” meme and plug it unconsciously, and well past it “sell by” date, which is how the “Tandem Crews” came about.


^1: You still can find similarities if you are Joseph Campbell.

^2: Ending of Vandread was so phony that it left me livid, but that was an singular moment.

Sennin and Rein on Nymphet

Monday, June 25th, 2007

I do not usually read manga, so I regard the scandal with the cancellation of Nymphet (aka “Kodomo no Jikan”) as a small piece in the puzzle of mainstreamization. The official letter by Jason DeAngelis read, in part:

It was not until these past few days, actually, that I personally took the time to delve more closely into the rest of the series and the specific content of the subsequent volumes. Sure, I’d flipped through them before, and what I saw on a cursory glance seemed harmless enough. But this time I sat down and read the series carefully in Japanese, and what I found in volumes two and three were very disturbing. (Particularly, pages 129-131 in volume three, which are highly problematic.) So much so, that I now have to retract some of what I said in my first letter where I tried to defend the content, because certain scenes in the subsequent volumes are indefensible and inappropriate, in my opinion.

Predictably, most otakus ridiculed the above view. A few suggested that the stem of the title ruined it. Someone else (who I don’t remember, or I’d link) wrote that “they only shared a sweater when locked overnight in gym storage”.

Yesterday, I saw this on IRC (nicks changed because I didn’t ask permission to publish the log; the channel is public, but the identities aren’t the point here anyway):

<sennin> A guy who I thought had given up on anime a long time ago called me to help him format his new hard drive.
<sennin> And at the end of the call, he tells me "Hey dude, Kodomo no Jikan is getting animated!".
<sennin> I shuddered.
<Rein> He must've read it all. *shudder*
<sennin> Yeah, up to the part with the loli and the.. Well, I wouldn't know, since I don't read it.
<Rein> I read first 5 chaps.
<Rein> It's everything you thought it is.
<sennin> And even more.
<Rein> Camel toe suddenly becomes disturbing.
<sennin> ..
<sennin> I think.
<sennin> Yeah, totally arou-I mean disturbing.

So, Nymphet was pushing the boundary even for hardened stalwarts of chat rooms. Who knew. I made a mental note.

Interview with Hung

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

The Sea Sliugs posted an interview with Hung of BasuGasuBakuHatsu. I expected them to touch upon the reviewing of free stuff and Steven’s criticism, but not plopping it right on top. No burying the lede here, that’s for sure. Hung himself handled the “incident” with remarkable maturity [^1].

From there, the interview goes on to AnimeNano (it’s also ran by Hung, in case you didn’t know), and a short-format Q&A about things like favourite series. Pretty interesting. As they say, RTWT(link).


^1: The same, unfortunately, cannot be said about Hung’s commentors. For instance, one “DrmChrs0” immediately called Steven “dick” and suggested that Steven “sucks monkey balls”. I’m new to the stanalone anime blogging, but In the English-speaking political blogosphere this level of discourse is usually found at trashy leftist blogs (re. Amanda Marcotte’s story). One more reason not to have comments at all.

Impz and Owen on Elitism

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

IMHO, the much-promoted double feature turned out to be less than I expected.

Owen obviously wants to be a liberal scholar in heart, so his item is well structured, but fails to connect to readers (that is to say, to me). I am just not all that interested in made-up problems (such as “anime elitism”) and made-up taxonomies invented to tackle the made-up problems intellectually. I read too many scholarly papers doing just that. Most of these papers try to advance so-called “social justice”, which is basically a bunch of elitists telling us how to live. Now that’s a real problem with elitism.

Impz, if lacked in refinement by comparison, at least chose topics relevant to an anime fan, and tried to build a coherent argument:

Everyone always complain about Narutards, but that’s simply a problem of having a large audience and widespread acceptance. When you’re sampling from a larger population you’re more likely to find something you’re looking for, which is, in this case, idiots.

Not necesserily true, and has no research under it, but it has logical consistency. If you share Impz’s assumptions, you have no choice but to agree.

Technical Difficulties

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

I run a bleeding edge pre-release Fedora on the main laptop, and yesterday’s update ended with this:

VLC media player 0.8.6b Janus

***MEMORY-WARNING***: [3884]: GSlice: g_thread_init() must be called before all other GLib functions; memory corruption due to late invocation of g_thread_init() has been detected; this program is likely to crash, leak or unexpectedly abort soon...
*** glibc detected *** vlc: free(): invalid pointer: 0x00000000010abc50 ***

Looks like Glib (glib2) people are trying to force applications’ hands in 2.13.6-1.fc8.

Contingency plans are being put in effect and regular anime watching is to resume soon.

UPDATE: Fixed by glib2-2.13.7-2.fc8 and wxGTK-2.8.4-4.fc8.

Kabitzin’s wit

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Actually, it was rather a sense of humour than wit, but anyway, the taglines for blogs were funny:

Yes, I’m big on incestous humour and blogging about anime blogging.

Usefulness of recommendations

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Steven crunches some numbers and writes:

[] as a practical matter, audience recommendations for titles I “might want to consider” have been utterly useless, far more likely to be wrong than right at predicting audience (me) satisfaction.

I rely on recommendations heavily. Exceptions exist, of course; for example, I decided to watch Stellvia after I saw Yoko Ishida performing a remix for Stellvia’s OP “Brilliant Road” at a concert in a local mall. Before that, Stellvia was striken down by the “gizmo obsession” classification in Steven’s “future series” list — oddly enough. Nonetheless, the rule is to follow recommendations, and it served me well.

The trick is to be smart about it. Always ask what is good about the series, reject unsubstantiated recommendations. Weigh by the level of trust in the recommending person. Verify against ANN ranking graph. Basically, use your common sense.

Shortest Blog Entry

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Concrete Badger has updated. RTWT.

OK, I’m cheating. For a good posting, I should have added that the entry deals with Badger’s ruminations about slice-of-life and anime endings, and perhaps added a quote. I’m just doing this for illustration purposes. I was talking to Owen about shortest blog entries, so there. But still, Badger is interesting, read it. It’s sort of like an easier to understand Omo.

Server Log News

Friday, July 13th, 2007

I received a few hits from Mark Wade’s Astronautix.com, which made me curious. Mark is not an anime fan. He is a spaceblogger of certain repute, although he’s best known for being curmudgeony, a natural soulmate of mine, perhaps.

As it turned out, Google allows to generate a feed of search results, and then publish it, and this is what Mark has done. Therefore, any blog which mentions a rocket ends there, including those discussing Rocket Girls and (O-)Edo Rocket. Immediately I started to think about possibilities for spamming… Create blog entries full of Viagra links, mention rockets (or other keywords), profit! The difficulty here is how to find correct keywords. Perhaps googling for exposed Google feeds is possible…