Saturday, August 28, 2004

Finished Kill Bill 2

Subject: Cinema


Friday, August 27, 2004

Just finished it...

Subject: Noir
Okay, I just finished .hack. Loved it! Awesome.

But that "Unison" bonus episode......

Good golly lord, that sucked like no other suck. It was so obviously wrong on so many levels that I wish I went and researched it first so I wouldn't have wasted my time. It's like one of those "oh dear, the ending was too obscure, we have to tack on a 'everything's okay and wrapped up' bit of closure to the whole thing." What a waste.

Tsukasa & Subaru meeting at the end; that was the closure, damn it! Leave it there! It was the "true moment" that everything led up to. Anything else is hollow and superficial after that.

I should have guessed, I suppose. Now I'm dissappointed. I could have left it on such a wonderful note, but then I watched that shallow followup. I'll have to rewatch the series again to try and end it correctly again.

I don't know if Mashimo actually directed that tack-on; and I'm really hoping he didn't. Everything about it was so totally out of place and wrong that I really suspect he didn't. But there's always the possibility. I guess the bills need to get paid somehow. Anyway, there's a whole set of other "bonus" episodes and a follow-on series that he's only "executive" director or some such thing (it's his studio after all), and now I have zero desire to even sample them.

Damn, I need to see an new Madlax episode, and soon!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

.hack disc 3

Subject: Noir

I'm hooked.

The setting and the supporting dialogue is way uber-geeky, almost cringeworthy, but damn if the characters aren't actually interesting! And storytelling still transcends uber-geeky trappings.

Yup. Hooked.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Finished watching, rewatching, wanting to watch

Subject: Noir
This week I finished Lain.

I liked the end. It was a very nice, almost genuine, sort of moment. But there was a lot to slog through to get there. A bit much in the pretensiousness department if you ask me. But do I "get it"? Have I "figured it out"? No, not really. I wasn't really drawn into it enough to really care what so-called messages were being hinted at. It was still watchable overall, and it made for an interesting experience, but I think it could have been better.

My shipment of .hack discs showed up. Well, actually, all but discs 3 and 4, which were the next ones I needed to see! Argh! So I rewatched the 1st two discs with subtitles. I liked the dialogue a lot better without the stiff dubs. I also think that with all the damn Japanese dialog I've been watching lately, I'm picking up on the meaning a lot better too. Not that I have any comprehension of the vocabulary, but I'm starting to catch a lot more than I have in all my years of watching Japanese cinema. Watch this space in the future as my obsession leads me to taking Japanese lessons... Bet ya $5...

Madlax episode 20 -- what was it I said before? Oh yes, "a juggernaught of awesomeness". There's so many little things going on; so many revelations and obfuscations, that it's just delightful. Of course, the two translations that are out contradict each other in places, again! That just points out where the original dialogue is ambiguous I guess. Another point in the "I should take Japanese lessons" column, methinks.

Bad news is that this week, Madlax won't be airing! They'll air two of them the following week, but... [involuntary shudder] ...what will I do this week??? [eyes tearing up] *sniff*

It's definitely taking forever for GreenCine discs to make the round trip. I don't think I'll get to see anything more from my queue until Friday at the earliest. And that will just be one disc, as I've put the other two in the mail just yesterday. Which means a week from, oh, Tuesday, will be when I see those. I'm not sure if the math is adding up here with regards to $$. But they've got a better selection of what I want to see than Netflix does, and there's no locals to rent this stuff from either. Oh well.

Anyway, I've been moving the various Mashimo-directed series higher up in the queue in hopes of finding them both watchable and buyable, because, obviously, I'm not spending anywhere near the money that I should be on these things. Ahem.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The New Blogger Bar

Subject: Musings
Well, taking a gander at the SiteMeter Referrals statistics, it looks like there's a new side-effect of Blogger's new top-bar. The "Next Blog" button has been adding a bit more traffic than the usual "Google search for Madlax OST" hits I've been getting.

For a second there I thought I might have accidently posted something interesting. I guess not!

Anyway, for all you new visitors, this isn't really an "anime" blog. Seriously! Right now I'm working through a newfound obsession with a couple of shows that happen to be in that genre; this is really just a general observation-and-critique site for all types of snobby and/or niche media.

I'm just stuck in one niche at the moment is all. Actually, a niche within a niche, as what I seem to dig is mostly ignored by the typical denizens of that community. Which, for me, is about the way it always goes.

(Speaking of which, Madlax ep 20 should be hitting the 'torrentsphere any moment now. Whoo-hoo!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Subject: Noir
So I got .hack//sign disc 2 from GreenCine finally. I've decided to remove the rest of it's discs from my queue...

...and have a new set of my own shipped to me!

Okay, it's no Noir or Madlax, but if I'm going to be buying Avenger, this one is definitely purchase-worthy as well.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Watching "Kill Bill Vol. 1"

Subject: Cinema
I think I finally understand Quentin Tarantino.

He's learned how to push all the right buttons...
But he's still a f*ing asshole.

Watching, waiting...

Subject: Cinema
So I'm learning that the GreenCine turnaround time, well... sucks. I sent back 2 discs on Tuesday, and they're still not registered as being received. Which means that it looks like maybe the next batch will ship out on Monday, which means maybe I'll see them by Friday. That'll make a 10-11 day turnaround between discs; practically 2 weeks. And if I only have time to watch them on the weekends, then it'll be every other weekend.

I suppose I could up my plan to 4-at-a-time, and try to rotate 2-every-week, but I'd rather have 3-every-week. That starts adding up.

Anyway, in this "down-time", I went to the local BlockBuster and rented "Hellboy" and "Kill Bill #1". I saw Hellboy last night; not too bad, but I'm glad I didn't bother going to the theater for it. I'll watch Kill Bill later tonight, since I'm going to try and take advantage of the fact that it's not raining for once and spend some time outside. Despite the fact that it's UNDER 70 DEGREES IN AUGUST! *sigh*

In other news, Madlax is just a juggernaught of awesomeness. This last episode tied up sooo many threads, yet still managed to unravel countless more. While I have my theories on what's going to happen, I really don't have confidence in any of them! It's keeping my interest -- no, actually, it's got my interest on a tight leash and it's making it beg. Beg, I say!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Maybe now it's Wednesday??

Subject: Noir
Well, it looks like Ayu wins the Madlax fansub race for this week, having released ep 19 wicked early this morning. And SugarCube released their take on ep 10.

And last night the Soldats finished another ep of Monster.

So I guess I know what I'm doing tonight. And it's not even Thursday! Time to change my Official Declaration of Madlax Day? Let's see what happens next week...

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Not even close to tragic

Subject: Noir
Okay, so Lain isn't eliciting nearly the kind of emotional response that Gunslinger Girls manipulated out of me.

It seems to be one of those Ooh-look-at-me-aren't-I-so-cyberpunk, WTF-for-WTF's-sake series, not that there's anything wrong with that. It's got a stark hi-contrast comic-book look to it, which is overall pretty interesting. Narratively there's an interesting use of repetition and patterns. Dramatically, though, there's nothing hooking me in; the characters aren't doing much for me, and the overall trippiness just gets a little more tedious than mysterious after a while. Still, it's not unwatchable, and I'll finish renting it; I just wouldn't rank it all that high and I won't buy it unless something hits me in the last couple of discs. I'm a little dissappointed, I guess.

.hack//SIGN is a bit too, well... wordy. It's got all that great Mashimo expressiveness and mise en scene that I love so much, but yack yack yack! Doesn't help that I'm watching this one with the dub; there's obviously some flawed male VO talent out there that I wasn't subjected to with the halfway-decent dub Noir had. Anyway, Madlax had hooked me right away; .hack rings more like Avenger in that I'm willing to watch more, but I'm not ga-ga over it. Though Avenger had Layla Ashley... ultra-dangerous and/or brooding women really rank high on my list. The various women in .hack aren't quite doing it for me, so to speak... That said, I'll perservere with renting it (even though the next two are at an "orange" status in the queue which means it might be a while before they get here).

Monday, August 09, 2004

Have been watching, will be watching

Subject: Cinema
Now that I've gotten pretty far with tweaking my new HTPC to the point that it's watchable, I've starting watching stuff out of my collection instead of just fansubs. It's about time.

Friday night started it off with, predictably, the last disc of Noir. My friends had just finished the 6th disc, watching one ep at a time, and I recommended they take a break and watch the whole last disc, which they invited me over for. My theory that Noir makes a good "crossover" for folks who wouldn't otherwise like much of the anime out there is reinforced. It's got really solid fundamentals.

Saturday, I cracked open the Shogun box set; for a cheesy 1980 TV miniseries, it's really quite an excellently re-mastered disc and a fun story. I'm up to disc 4 (out of 7, I believe). Later that evening, I started watching Ikiru, but it turns out I was a lot more tired than I thought, and wound up dozing off pretty quickly. I seem to remember doing that way back when TCM had the "Month of Kurosawa" too. I'll have to try again another time.

I've just signed up with Greencine (finally!), and my first batch of discs arrived today. .hack//sign disc 1, and the first 2 discs of Serial Experiments: Lain.

"Wait, Lain?", you would probably ask if you remembered my earlier squeamishness about what Gunslinger Girls did with being so emotionally manipulative. Well, I've still got to check it out and make the judgement for myself, and rental seems to be the best way to do it. .hack//sign is the series Mashimo did right after Noir (with huge videogame tie-ins and whatnot) that I was hesitant to attempt for other, more vain reasons. So now I've got both of them. I've also got a ton of anime in my queue (mostly series done by Mashimo, but other "notables" as well), and have only just started adding the "normal" art films that I originally had my sights set on Greencine for in the first place.

I'm going to mix up the priorities a bit in hopes that I can have a mix of programming to keep me from sliding further into the abyss.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Madlax home stretch

Subject: Noir
So it's another Wednesday, and I'm eagerly refreshing the AnimeSuki Madlax page in an attempt to catch the very moment that any of the fansub groups races to get ep 18 online first. I probably won't get to see it until the usual Thursday (which I have declared earlier, of course, as "Madlax Day". But I've gotta have it!

And I've got to stop reading the AnimeSuki forum's Madlax thread, as there are a few folks who watch the raw un-subbed episodes just as they're released, and post all kinds of spoilers. The spoilers are politely hidden as they should be, and they're not doing anything wrong. But it's just soooooooo hard to resist those little buttons! Bright, shiny buttons.

Anyway, the gist is that the storylines are converging, which means the rollercoaster to the end is about to be unleashed. I am thrilled!

More later, gotta get back to the day-job.

[This just in! ANBU & Lunar win this week with a release at 4:35PM EDT; I might just get to see it tonight! I'm such a geek.]

Monday, August 02, 2004


Subject: Musings
Posting While Intoxicated.

After nearly 20 years of internet access, you'd think I'd figure out that when I have a couple of drinks, I should just put the ethernet cable where I put the car keys. There's this magical place a couple of beers between being buzzed and being dizzy where I feel I know all the answers, I see beauty amplified in every little thing, and I have the eloquence of a Harvard English Literature Ph.D. It's the state where movies like "Lost In Translation" seem like absolute genius.(*) It's the state that I post nihlistic cynicism on the political boards, and over-intellectualized hogwash on the entertainment boards.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I usually feel some sort of embarrasment and regret afterwards.

Some of it leaks over into this site. I do dearly love "Wings of Desire", but try decoding just what that last sentence said? And the whole "Does Mashimo Get It" deal from a while back -- the man is an experienced artist with about 30 years of experience and here I am passing judgement on his "getting-it-ness". Heh. And that's one I posted on a forum too, not just in the obscurity of this little corner of

At any rate, I've noticed on the Referrals metrics on Site Meter that I'm getting a lot of Google/Yahoo hits (mostly from people looking for the Madlax OST, but often from more unusual phrases). I'm sure these folks pop on, realize that this is just another navel-gazing whiner fest, and move on.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Still, I should probably be a little more careful about what I spout off about. Or, conversely, I should try to write more outrageously, and see if I can attract any real attention.

Yeah, right!

(* I'm not saying "Lost In Translation" isn't any good, but I really need to watch it sober before I start posting marriage proposals to Sophia Coppala)