January 16, 2008

Spring 2008 season

Rosario to Vampire seems like this season's Goshushuu-sama Ninomiya-kun.  Episode two even introduced a succubus, though vampire-girl is much more amusing (developing a crush on her first victim? brilliant!)

True Tears looks interesting so far - I'm curious what the deal is with chicken-girl.

H2O ~ Footprints in the Sand initially turned me off with the girl that keeps getting beat up by the bullies, and the blind kid really annoyed me as well.  But after two episodes the blind kid can mysteriously see again and I'm really curious what's up with the girl - the other kids call her "roach" and "monster", and she seems to want to be a pariah.  It's gotta be tied in with some Ancient Sin of the Village or something, but still I'm curious.

And that's about it.  Still waiting for the second half of Kimikiss Pure Rouge and Miname-ke, and I still haven't finished the fall season run of ef ~ a Tale of Memories, Myself; Yourself and Bamboo Blade ... I think Bamboo Blade and ef continue on into this spring season as well.


Posted by: mparker762 at 07:38 AM
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December 23, 2007

Goshushuu-sama Ninomiya-kun final episode

Surprisingly enough not a train wreck.

Posted by: mparker762 at 10:24 PM
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December 05, 2007

Goshushuu-sama Ninomiya-kun Ep 9

They're all incubi and succubi.

Posted by: mparker762 at 06:15 AM
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November 24, 2007

Elfen Lied

It's cold and raining here, so this was a good weekend to stay inside and watch anime - the series of choice today was Elfen Lied. This was my third time to watch it, and it's still impressive. My first time was in Japanese with english subtitles, and I've since watched the dubbed version twice with my wife (who hates moderately dislikes subtitles). She loves this series, BTW.

The OP theme "Lilium" is extremely haunting, and is one of those things you wind up humming to yourself at odd moments. The Klimt-inspired paintings that accompany the song don't hurt either.
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It's basically a version of the frankenstein tale, except that (a) the monster is an attractive and occasionally-nude young woman with mysterious powers, and (b) she truly is murderous and insane. To make sure the audience is absolutely clear on this point the first episode starts out with a 10-minute-long bloodbath as the monster chops her way out of prison.
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Then she gets shot in the head at the last moment during her escape and loses her memories, and the story takes a 180-degree turn as our newly-autistic, non-potty-trained nubile young Frankenstein starts life anew, with some significant complications along the way.
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It's a short series (only 13 episodes plus an OVA that takes place in the middle episode 10), but tells a rollercoaster of a story with some really heartwrenching moments along the way (and lots of blood and body parts on occasion). Many of the main characters are psychologically damaged in one way or another, and this series tells many of their tales through some disturbing flashbacks. Some of these are very disturbing - child molestation, animal cruelty, etc. But amidst the horror these characters find a measure of healing over the course of the series.

The OP "Lilium" theme is actually a plot element - it's a tune from a music box that pops up occasionally, and the Monster Lucy occasionally hums the tune during her killing sprees.

Oh, and the other major departure from the Frankenstein tale? Elfen Lied is also a surprisingly touching love story.

Posted by: mparker762 at 03:42 PM
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November 23, 2007

The Place Promised in our Early Days

I bought this movie many months (maybe a year or more) ago, and just now got around to watching it.

Wow. This thing was incredible. Subtle at first, then bringing out the sledgehammers at the very end. And visually stunning. I haven't been this impressed by a anime movie since Laputa, and I'm about ten minutes away from ordering everything else that director Makoto Shinkai has ever done.

It's a deceptive film - I notice that Chris Beveridge mentions having a hard time describing it - because it isn't really what it looks like on the surface. It starts out as a slice-of-life film in what appears to be some future post-war period, then turns into an alternate-universe SciFi technothriller, then a war movie complete with resistance movements, fleet actions, and bloody air combat. But lurking around the edges all the while is the real focus of the film - a love story between three friends who are driven apart by the more overt plot elements.

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Did I mention that it looks incredibly good for a non-HD movie? Slap it up on the big-screen if you've got one - this movie deserves it.

Posted by: mparker762 at 12:18 AM
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November 10, 2007

Thoughts on this fall season anime


Moyashimon is delightfully different, and highly recommended, especially if you've been hankering to brew your own sake.

Minami-ke is a must-see, especially if you liked Ichigo Mashimaro.  Chiaki is almost-but-not-quite an older Miu, and the interaction between the sisters is a lot of fun.  The upside-down mouths are disconcerting, as are the huge thighs, but it's still a major win.

Goshuushu-sama Ninomiya-kun is a fanservice vehicle with incipient pretensions to a plot.  I'm nervous that a plot may spoil the show, but remain hopeful that the fanservice will pull it through.   With that many succubi and incubi running around there's gotta be some major sparks coming up.

Bamboo Blade is good, and brings back memories of fencing class in high school.  The dull-as-dishwater Miya-Miya has developed some interesting personality quirks - turns out she's been putting on an act the whole time, and the other characters that have joined the team are adding some fun dynamics.

Sketchbook ~ Full Color~ is a slow and easygoing slice-of-life show that I love.  The characters are weird (hand-puppets?) but genuine and a delight to watch.

I'm still hanging on to Myself;Yourself, ef ~A tale of Memories~, and Kimikiss Pure Rouge though I notice that I'm falling behind, which is a bad sign.

Shugo Chara, Blue Drop, Clannad, Prism Ark etc have all completely dropped off the radar.  Dreck, all of them.  Mokke doesn't seem to be dreck, but it's extremely slow and not really worth the trouble.

Mostly an awful season, all in all.

Posted by: mparker762 at 01:09 AM
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Moyashimon 3, or Lecture on Fermentation, in which a new character is introduced.

and she's a blonde! (in Japan?)

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She doesn't normally run around with cotton in her nose, but this is a special occasion - this is what she's carrying:
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Ick.  They cut it into sushi, and the walrus-looking professor happily exclaims it to be 6x nastier than Kiviak (the birds-fermented-in-a-dead-seal dish from episode 1).

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The girl's name is Oikawa Hazuki, and she's settling in the third freshman of the group.  She's reasonably cute, and seems nice, and has a major bacteria phobia that will probably turn out to complement Sawaki's bacteria-spotting power in some future episode.  She carries as much antibacterial sprays and swabs on her person as the Grenadier girl carries ammo.

In the background of this scene, btw, Hasegawa-san is showing off her, umm, peculiar skills...
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Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Bad memories of an undergraduate dorm room:
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To which the bacteriaphobe reacts predictably:
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and proceeds to clean it all up.  Chicks love vacuum cleaners.

There's a surprising amount of didactic material in this series, but this episode is especially heavy handed with it - nearly half the material is a lecture on traditional and commercial sake fermentation techniques.  Educational stuff for sure, and as a former biochemistry major and erstwhile homebrewer I found it fascinating, but I'm not sure how this sort of stuff will go over with the usual otaku set.  Though it does give us an opportunity to see Hasegawa-san in an apron.
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Not to fear - she's wearing a riding coat, leather miniskirt, and brown leather spiked-heel riding
 boots under that apron.

tra la.

Posted by: mparker762 at 12:48 AM
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November 09, 2007

Moyashimon, or "I See Bacteria"

Wierdness continues to abound in this "Dominatrix of Science Teaches Microbiology" after-school special.  Texas A&M was never like this...

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'cause if I'd had professors like this...
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I might have stayed in Biochemistry instead of switching to Computer Science my Sophomore year.

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Alas and alack.

Posted by: mparker762 at 11:36 PM
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October 28, 2007

New Anime Season - Sketchbook

After one episode this is one to track.  It's a simple slice-of-life series about a girl who likes to sketch and has a phobia about strangers.  Her classmates are delightfully wierd, from a girl who paints "darkness" as her favorite thing, to a girl who pulls out hand puppets to have an argument with herself about her favorite food, to a girl with an insect fixation, and a hapless teacher with some obsessive-compulsive behavior.
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Oh yeah, and some guy whose sole role so far as been to play an unwilling cat, but will probably be involved in some vaguely romantic subplot in the future.
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This is the hand-puppet girl again.  yes, she tries to eat it anyway, with the usual oral-blowtorch visual effect...
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This girl with the insect fixation also has a cocklebur fetish. Actually, all the girls seemed entranced by the cockleburs.  I always hated pulling them out of my socks, but maybe Japanese socks are cocklebur-resistant.
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Posted by: mparker762 at 09:30 PM
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October 27, 2007

Moyashimon, or Deja Vu All Over Again

To explain the title, I should mention that I graduated from Texas Agricultural & Mechanical University, and that the full title of Moyashimon is "Moyashimon: Tales of Agriculture".

The series begins in earnest with our hero Tadayasu at the opening ceremonies of Tokyo Agricultural University.  In a field.  With a Tractor.  In the mud.  'Cause that's just how Aggies do things the world over.  I wonder if the Japanese have Aggie jokes as well?

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The opening ceremonies are followed by a parade.  I tastefully skipped the gung-ho pooper-scooper crew following along.  Not out of sensitivity, mind you, I'm just saving my tastelessness budget for later on...
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Oddly enough, it appears Our Hero can see microbes of various shapes and flavors.  Not realistic microbes like these...
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but cartoony microbes like these...
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And here goes half of the tastelessness budget.  This is "Kiviak", which I sincerely hope is an invented delicacy.
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And here goes the second half of the tastelessness budget.  Here's how you enjoy it:
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I'm sorry, but I'm one of a handful of westerners that actually likes (loves? craves?) Natto, but this stuff is just nasty.  I haven't been left this slack-jawed by an anime episode since the last episode of "School Days".
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Fortunately the action transitions to the lab and an extended demo of Our Hero's microbe-spotting ability.  And an extended demo of the lovely if somewhat dominatrix-like Hasegawa-san.  Somebody get this girl a whip and some Blue-Star ointment.
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Summary: wierd wierd wierd in a very gritty and earthy sort of way.  I think this is a series that I will keep tracking, if only because it's so incredibly different.

This is from the OP, which is live-action for some reason.  Muddy footwear and Aggies just go together.  If it were Texas A&M this would be cowboy boots though, though hallucinogens aren't very common at Texas A&M (or weren't when I was there), and beer doesn't make you see things like the oddities on the bike rack.
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Posted by: mparker762 at 09:38 PM
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