Sunday, October 31, 2004

"See you, Space Cowboy!"

Subject: Noir
I got through disc 4 of the "Cowboy Bebop" series last night. It's quite entertaining. A self-proclaimed genre-buster, it's a witty blend of action, drama, and sci-fi, with an edge of both camp and grittiness, simultaneously.

It's dripping with "cool". "Hip". Homages of everything from blaxploitation flicks to space operas. A diverse and often surprising soundtrack. And an attention to the little background details that really communicate a lot about the universe they inhabit without needing to go into a lot of backstory.

I said before that I would probably rank it a distant #4, but I think I can confidently say that it's now a tighter #4 instead. I'm holding out on buying it just yet, though. Supposedly there's a version totally remixed in 5.1 sound being released in Asia. If that's coming to the US, then I want it. I've got the "Best Sessions" disc, which has a DTS 5.1 Japanese soundtrack, and it's absolutely excellent (especially with the Denon 3910 doing the decoding).

So I'll probably still just rent the remaining discs to find out what happens (yes, I've already heard the big spoiler, but I don't know how it happens), and then keep my eyes peeled for any further rumors. If it's a no-go, then I'll just buy what's available now. It'd still be worth it.

In other watching news; I'm rewatching .hack//SIGN (though not in a marathon; just a disc at a time). I think I discovered which character I like best: Mimiru. Yeah, I was surprised too. She seems annoying at first, but there's this wonderful spark behind her eyes at times that I find enchanting.

I'm definitely dropping Mai Hime. I really wanted to find it funny, but frankly it's a juvenile quagmire from which no redeeming qualities can escape.

I'll hang on to Beck just a little bit longer, but it's all pretty much slice-of-life teen angst with a garage-band soundtrack, and completely lacking in any compelling drama or characterization that I have any desire to get aquainted with. I'll give it a little longer to develop something.

I caught up with eps 26 and 27 of Monster. This is a slow-paced show too, but it's a lot more compelling and interesting. It makes for good watchin'. But like I've said before, I'm not clinging to every download waiting for it to come out. I'll watch it when I feel like it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Huh? They won?

Subject: tv
I was born in Salem, Massachussetts while the Red Sox were in the middle of winning the American League championship in 1967. I mean literally during the game. That was a big deal.

Of course, in the World Series that followed, the Sox lost. Not that I knew, but I was alive for it at least.

And then there'd be more dissappointments over the decades.

And then I finally gave up in 1986. I just didn't want to follow it anymore.

Tonight, I fired up the HDTV and watched the Red Sox for the first time in 18 years. And they won the World Series? Hmm, I guess they actually did.

I'm not sure what to make of that. I'd been so detached from it, that it doesn't really seem real. Maybe it wasn't.

Still, I couldn't help but mist up a little. Wow.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

More sampling (bits 'n pieces)

Subject: Noir
I've checked out a couple of new (well, new to me) programs in my quest for quality. I figure it's time to give a quick rundown:

"Gungrave". Caught an episode from G4TechTV that I DVR'ed. The animation quality was way too cheap for my taste, and everything about it was rather cheesy. I should probably give the Japanese track a try before passing final judgement (it was dubbed for TV), but there just wasn't anything compelling about it. I think I'll pass on this one.

"Detective Conan: Case Closed". Recorded off of the Cartoon Network. Didn't really grab me either. It's a bit immature for my tastes. I might give it another episode or two, but right now I'm not going out of my way to watch it.

"Kaze no Yojimbo". I mentioned way back that, when I first heard about "Samurai 7", I really wanted to see what other Kurosawa-based programs were out there; and here's one. And sadly, as with Samurai 7, I was pretty dissappointed in it. Again, the cheap animation quality really detracted from it. Story-wise, I thought it was a much more interesting adaptation than what S7 did, but it really wasn't very compelling. A bit too formulaic, and because it suffers so much in it's overall quality, there's nothing to hold me to it. I probably won't bother renting the rest.

"Master Keaton". Finally, something interesting! From the director who's currenly doing "Monster", this show is a little lighter, but has a similiar look and feel to the characters. Keaton is a very likeable character with an honorable demeanor and an earnest attitude, with interesting little nooks and crannies to his past -- and, for that matter, his present. It's slow-paced, episodic (as opposed to a long story arc like Monster), and pretty reasonable storytelling. The other characters he meets are interesting in their own right. I think this one is worth renting, though I don't think I find it particularly purchase-worthy.

I've finally got more Bebop discs showing up from Greencine for next weekend, so I may be able to form a more solid opinion about that one. In the mean time, I've pretty much run out of stuff to watch. I'll continue to give "Beck" a couple of more episodes, but I'm losing interest in it. "Mai HiME" is losing me fast as well. There's not much else on the current fansub list that strikes my fancy, so I guess I just have to hang on until "Meine Liebe" shows up.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Adam Sandler sucks, except in....

Subject: Cinema
I'm a lifetime member of because I signed up just after they started. I've had a number of blind dates via that service, but nothing really went anywhere with them, contrary to their advertising and hype.

My most recent blind date involved going to the movies (actually, all my blind dates usually involve a movie, go figure). At the time, there weren't a lot of choices for a film snob like me to go see. Luckily at the local artsy cinema, there was one film called "Punch Drunk Love". So I convinced my blind date to meet me for this one.

I won't get into the various reasons why the date in and of itself didn't work (let's just say that my attempts like this rarely do). But regarding the movie, she wanted to see an Adam Sandler film. I wanted to see an "arty" film. It seemed like there was a chance that it would work out...

Well, for those of you who've actually seen "Punch Drunk Love"; if you're an Adam Sandler fan, you were probably greatly dissappointed. My date sure was.

I really despise Adam Sandler and the films he's in. But this one held a lot of promise. And sure enough, I thought it was awesome, despite the fact that it was Adam Sandler as the lead. I think he did an excellent job.

Everything else I've seen him in, I hate. I mean, really, viscerally, hate. It's always that stupid immature stuff I rail against. I really don't think he's funny.

My blind date at the time was really dissappointed in this film. I was very much surprised by it. I thought it was excellent. She didn't like it at all.

Needless to say, it didn't work out.

One of the first wave of DVDs I bought was "Punch Drunk Love". But I hadn't brought myself to the point of watching it until tonight. And boy, howdy, I love it! What an excellent film! It's a lot to say when I can identify myself with an Adam Sandler character. There's just so many levels going on that it's hard to describe, but I really get into it.

It's no real surprise that the date didn't go anywhere; it's a mega-quirky film. And it's no surprise that dates before this went nowhere. I always seem to insist on films that are a bit unusual or daring in their own right, and they never really fit in with the normal expectations of a normal night out (I took dates to see Akira, for goodness sake!!). As much as I'm aware of this, I don't really want to change.

After all, my taste in films is the one differentiator I have.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Thursdays seem so empty now.

Subject: Noir
Has it really been this long since Madlax ended? I got a lot of amusement out of anxiously anticipating the appearance of the latest-greatest fansub, wondering which group would release theirs first, and hoping that I'd get lucky and be able to download it fast enough to see it by the time the day was over.

And when that episode would end on it's typical cliffhanger, I'd start the anticipation all over again.

And now it's done.

*sniff* I guess Thursday is no longer "Madlax Day". It's just another day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The brief return of Farscape

Subject: Television
A new piece of gear I got last week finally got put to good use.

The local cable company finally rolled out their hi-def digital video recorder. AKA "DVR", aka "Tivo" -- but without the actual quality of a Tivo, of course. So now I can enter the wonderful world of "time-shifting" TV programs. Of course, I haven't really been watching much TV. Because there's been nothing on!!!

But there are often surprises. Like the fact that there was a special 2-part "return to Farscape" on earlier this week. A pleasant surprise, but enough of a surprise that I wasn't going to be able to catch it. Well, miracle of miracles, I punch a few buttons on the DVR, and I schedule them to be saved for me to watch whenever I want.

And go figure, it actually worked!

I had first caught Farscape pretty much right after it started. I was skeptical at first, but I started recognizing something special about the "creatures" that made up the various characters. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then the credits rolled -- "Directed by Brian Henson". "Jim Henson Productions".

Jim Henson. That man was a genius. He had such a depth of imagination and a command on creativity that is so rare in the mass media. I remember when he died, my housemates and I watched my laserdisc of "Labyrinth" twice that night.

With Farscape, Brian and the company managed to keep the creative spirit going. The show was tremendously entertaining. Silly, serious, action-packed, dramatic, titillating, sobering. Completely absurd yet deeply involving. While I was sorry to see it go, I was glad it managed to end before it went "over the top" one time too many. Because it sure did go "over the top" a lot!

This brief return was a bit odd; I found it hard to get back into sync with it. Everything and everyone seemed a little "rusty" at first. But it was still good. I'm glad I was able to catch it. I hope that it was successful enough in drawing an audience such that more studios take chances on other quality-yet-quirky programs. I might watch more TV (and balance out my anime consumption a tad) if there was more out there that was this creative.

The next one from Bee Train

Subject: Noir
So with my obsession over Noir leading to an obsession over Madlax leading me into the acceptance that I am a ranting obsessive about the work of Koichi Mashimo, I was eager to find out whatever I could about just what in the heck was in store from him for the fall season.

And when I found out about this one, that old familiar "What The F*" expression crept on my face. "Meine Liebe". A bunch of pretty-boys with gothic capes and cravattes and foofy hair and whatnot.

Now, I'm an open-minded guy; I watch and appreciate a lot of "sensitive-male" Euro-films and appreciate good period-pieces and costuming and whatnot. But just looking at these guys... It's... well...

...Kind of silly.

Of course, I've since learned that this sort of style, the whole "bishonen" genre & look, is rather popular with the ladies. This show in particular is based on a supposedly popular "bishonen dating sim" video game for girls. In fact, it's quite possible that there aren't any female characters in this show whatsoever.

Now, there a lot of strikes against this one for me on the surface. "Foofy hair & capes" aside. First: no female characters? I've said many-a-time that I'm drawn into a series mostly if there are independent and/or skilled and/or intensely dangerous women involved. Next: based on a video game?? I've mentioned before that in my sampling, the video game-based series tended to be the worst of the bunch. (No, .hack//SIGN does not count; it was about a video game, and the resulting actual video game was part of the overall multimedia delivery strategy. The .hack followons, though, I think prove my point!). Finally: oh, please, not another boarding school!

But here's the thing. It's one of Mashimo's. It's aimed at women. I get the very strong sense that, at least starting with Noir, Mashimo has been specifically developing shows with women viewers in mind. I mean, yeah, there's been some really sexy, leggy, busty gals, but they've been rather tastefully (and sometimes playfully, but never immaturely) drawn. Not to mention that they've been strong, vital human characters. And I suspect women viewers don't get the same kind of "WTF" look when seeing a pretty gal onscreen the way some guys (*ahem*) get a "WTF" look when encountering, well... this. (No, there are no girls in those shots. Really.)

Actually, I took a second look at that particular page, and noticed all the eyes. Really intense, dramatic stuff being hinted at there. That's the other hope I have for this show. Mashimo knows his cinematic language. He's able to build a solid dramatic arc and follow it through. He's able to make his characters seem alive, deep, and worth watching; all with an economy of framing and timing. The looks of these characters are very, very much a signature of Mashimo's work.

He's making a serious dramatic series for women. Which, considering the sheer amount of juvenile bouncy-boobs-and-panties junk (*cough* Sunabozu *cough*) aimed at 15-year-old boys (and college-age American fanboys of the same mentality), is quite remarkable.

And for these reasons, I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

Note: again on that last page, it looks like there are only going to be 13 episodes, a la Avenger. Beyond that I've had a hard time gleaning any sort of detail at all about the show. I'll keep my eyes peeled for more information and point to it as I find out more.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A virtual break, and the approach of winter

Subject: Musings
One of the perks of getting to work virtually is that if I need to take a couple of minutes to escape the mind-numbing drudgery of my corporate day job, I can kick back and do a few mindless odds 'n ends. Like blogging!

I can have the stereo up loud, with the subwoofer kicking up a good thumping. I can also do my laundry. Or just stare out the window for a bit.

It's a grey day today. One of my neighbor's trees has turned a bright orange, but oddly enough, the rest of the trees here are still green. Autumn comes late up here at the lakeshore, thanks to the lake's temperature holding the ambient air above the frost point. At least for a few more weeks.

That's when the Canadians turn on those giant fans they have on the other side of the lake and start exporting their cold, cold air down to us in the States. And when that cold, cold air passes over the slightly warmer moistness of the big 'O, that combines into one of the bigger snow-making machines on the planet. Persistent bands of the white fluffy stuff blow across the inland sea like gnarled albino fingers, and should you be at the receiving end of one of those bands, you can find yourself under a half foot of snow in mere hours.

And unlike Lake Erie, Lake Ontario is too deep to freeze over during the winter, so that machine keeps cranking until the Canadians decide we've had enough and kindly turn off those giant fans. Which is usually around April.

The grand predictor of the first major snow event occurs precisely 6 weeks beforehand. My former grad school advisor (may he rest in peace) was also a riparian, and passed this lore on to me before he died: "When the Canadian geese start migrating over the lake, mark it on your calendar. In 6 weeks you'll be shovelling yourself out of a snowdrift."

And I found that sure enough, 6 weeks after the honking throngs flew their "V"-shaped squadrons over my house, I'd have to don my wool overcoat and start digging out my doorway.

Thankfully, no geese today. But there have been a lot of ducks and morgansers (which are essentially ducks with punk haircuts and serrated bills). That can only mean that the geese are soon to follow.

Time to get that wool overcoat cleaned!

Okay, enough musing for the morning; I've gotta get back to work.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

A lot to watch, a lot to say?

Subject: Noir
I just finished rewatching Kino's Journey. I am very impressed with this show. And the ending leaves me spellbound, as it should.

But I can't really put it into words, so I'll spend my time working on the other stuff I've been watching. Well, at least the anime stuff; I've seen a few non-anime movies as well, but I'm not ready to post on those yet.

So, going way back, I've been watching some old-skool series that Kouichi Mashimo directed. He did a couple of episodes of "Tank Police" way back when. And, go figure (and I've mentioned it before), I had actually seen these way back in the 80's! And oddly enough, remembered them pretty clearly as I was watching them. A lot of fun.

Also fun was the one OVA he did of the "Dirty Pair" series -- scantily clad gals with major weapons and the mad skilz to use them. I guess the old-skool stuff, even though it was trending towards the juvenile, wasn't quite reduced to the cliche annoyance that you see in modern aimed-at-the-15-year-old-male bore-fests that I'm not particularly enthralled with. These older programs aren't necessarily any less silly, but they were... well, more "fun". More enjoyable.

Not as "fun", but kind of interesting, was Mashimo's one-off OVA called "Weathering Continent". It's like it was trying to be the pilot for a series. It was way more serious than the previous two. A bit of weirdness and mysticism. And an overall atmosphere that was very reminiscent of "Avenger". Kind of a foreshadowing of the work that has hooked me into this obsession.

One thing was apparent in all of this; Mashimo comes from a film background. As opposed to a "manga" (aka comic book) background. The camera is as much of a character as the subjects. The timing is excellent. I really need to know more about this guy.

So other stuff that wasn't Mashimo-related; what to say...

Bebop has been growing on me big-time. I really enjoyed it. I've got to rent the whole thing first before I'm done with my opinion, but I like it a lot. I figure it's a slightly distant #4 after Kino's Journey. It's fun, deep, and interesting.

Tonight I watched another fun one. "Gunsmith Cats". Two gals-with-guns who are bounty-hunters that tool about in a Shelby Cobra in Chicago. Lots of silliness, panty-shots and other inanities, but wow. It was "fun"! I think the biggest help is the attention to detail. This is apparently an older (mid-90's) manga-based series (that I'm pretty sure I saw an episode or two of a number of years ago on cable), and it has a few of the usual cliches in it, but it has an interesting premise, a cute set of characters, and gunplay that I can't help but be drawn to after my exposure to my darling girls of Noir and Madlax. This is a very different program. But I still find it enjoyable. And that Natasha character; I've got to find out what the relationship of the character designer or animator is with Bee Train, because she had a real Layla Ashley vibe going for her (a bit more psychotic, but still there were shots that were strikingly familiar).

Another one that's growing on me a little is "FLCL". I've commented before on disc 1 about the "yeah-whatever" factor. It's pretty seriously hyperactive and a bit culturally self-referential. But I don't know if it's the fact that I've been watching more anime or learning more about the subculture in general, but, well, FLCL is growing on me. I found disc 2 actually funny. And interesting. I'm looking forward to finally getting a hold of #3. I'm not sure I'd buy it yet. But I'm finally seeing the quality in it.

Finally, in the fansub front, I've actually stuck with a couple of the series I mentioned earlier that I figured I'd otherwise drop. But I've kept them on as "casual viewing". "Uninhabited Planet: Survive", while definitely a kids show, has a spark of life to it that has made it worth watching one or two a weekend. "Hunter x Hunter" is also very much a kids' show, but there's a few little twists and underlying layers to it that -- once you get past the very absurd "Sushi bake-off" -- makes it the sort of show that you want to see what happens next. I've been using it for my morning exercise-bike workout.

I know, I used to use Noir for that, but I was finding that after most episodes, I really couldn't concentrate on work for the day. It's bad enough that I listen to the OST on my way to work most days (gawd, I'm listening to it right now!), but to have to try and deal with the mundane daily activities of my career while the images of Kirika and Mireille are fresh in my mind... well... it's no wonder I think I'm going through a mid-life crisis! Hunter x Hunter doesn't elicit nearly that kind of obsession, but is still a whole lot better than normal TV. And there's a LOT of episodes. So it's working out pretty well.

As far as new-season fansubs go, I've seen 2 episodes of "Mai Hime" and one of "Beck". I don't really like "Mai Hime". Kind of lame to me. If there were two mecha-dogs, then I could crack some "Duran Duran" jokes. There's some token "ooh, that's kind of cool" things about it, but not enough to make up for the overall cliche-dom. "Beck" has some potential. I admit I'm tired of the high-school kid thing, but this is more focused on the underground music scene; or, at least, the J-pop distilled version of that. I'll give it a few more episodes to be sure if it's not just another "oh-look-at-me-aren't-I-so-hip" kind of show.

In a couple of weeks Mashimo's next one will start up. I keep saying I'll post about it, but I haven't quite figured out what to say yet. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

"Madlax vs. Noir"

Subject: Noir
One more thing because this keeps coming up in the various forums I peruse; the comparison between Madlax & Noir. I've said plenty of times that, where Noir tends to be very serious, Madlax makes up for it by being more fun. Noir is the long sunset roadtrip speeding across the beautiful countryside, Madlax is the wild loopy rollercoaster ride that you keep taking until your head spins -- in a good way.

But I've come up with what I think is the best summary of them all:

Madlax is Noir's mischevious Evil Antimatter Twin, but without the goatees.

Ya know...

Subject: Noir would be a whole heck of a lot easier to stick to my plan of not rewatching Noir or Madlax for a while if...

I would just stop listening to the OSTs!

I suppose I can be forgiven for Madlax OST 2 (on my Denon 3910 right now!) et al because my order from CD-Japan showed up recently and I haven't had a chance to hear them in all their uncompressed glory yet.

And I suppose it's only natural that, because the R2 Madlax DVD #1 showed up in the same package, I had to test that out too. (verdict: OMFG that was gorgeous on my player!) And of course, because I tested those, it was only natural that I felt that I needed to seen that Ayu version of the finale. And of course, to set up properly for the finale, it was only natural to go back a few episodes. You know, get the mood built appropriately.

And it's only natural to start building that mood about when Vanessa meets up with Madlax, right?


But driving in my car this morning, Salva Nos popped up on my MP3 player. Salva Nos is not only threatening to break my resolve on a vacation from Noir, but it's going to get me a very hefty speeding ticket. That lil' Jag doesn't balk at pushing 3 digits on lonely back roads. Not even in the slightest. Heh.

Anyway, a point of trivia to look out for if you get the "Ayu leak". On the R2 DVD extras, there's a version of the opening animation for "the pilot". Ayu is using that one with this leak instead of the one that aired. See if you can spot the difference!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Completing the Ayu set

Subject: Noir
My last attempt at sharing the Madlax 26 karma, seeing as I'm still the first result on Yahoo searches for it... Clicky-clicky!

Want more? Collect them all! (use the search box, Luke!)

"Hide the Knives" double-feature

Subject: Cinema
Oh no, a non-anime post!

While I've been sampling plenty of anime lately (which I keep promising that I'll review, no really!), I thought I'd take a break (finally) and watch real-people movies. My choices this evening were a little suspect, though.

Friday night I watched "The Empire Strikes Back" and "The Last Samurai". "Empire" is the only laserdisc of the three that I thought worth buying back in the day, and the new remastered DVD is probably the best looking DVD I've ever seen! If I could buy that without buying the rest of the trilogy, I'd jump on the chance. But I really don't want to own "Return of the Jedi", and the original "Star Wars" with all the changes just doesn't interest me either. "Last Samurai", while a good-looking film, was a bit weak. Probably because I've been watching a lot of, shall we say, "authentic", Japanese work, but more likely, because it was Tom Cruise being the usually lame Tom Cruise.

But really this post is about this evening's fare. When I stopped by Blockbuster to pick up the aforementioned eye-candy, another movie crossed my path, and I remember hearing about it, and that I wanted to see it. So I grabbed it.

Yeah, I still watched plenty of anime today, and I'll post about it later. Old-school Mashimo stuff. Tonight, I subjected myself to a little heartbreak.

I used to regularly alternate between forced "heartbreak" and "ooh-I'm-such-a-film-major" films. Both are good excuses to drink a bit excessively and become immersed in the experience.

Tonight was "heartbreak" with "film-major" as the excuse for, shall I say, "bringing it on".

First up I unwrapped my copy of "Lost In Translation". I mentioned before that when I've been drinking, I think Sofia Coppola is brilliant. I hadn't quite built up a buzz for this go 'round. But I still really like this movie. I've talked many times about "moments" and "poetry". Plenty of "moments" in this one. Poetry, maybe not so much. I was a little less forgiving of some of the more obvious attempts at manipulation, but overall, her choice of soundtrack, and a healthy dose of the raw expressiveness that appears in the "moments" really strikes a chord with me. Maybe more than it should. Anyway, the overall melancholy and thought about relationships-past that it evoked was exactly what I expected (having seen it once before), and exactly set the mood for what I picked up from Blockbuster.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".

A man and woman undergo a procedure to erase the memories of each other when their relationship gets rocky. The bulk of the movie is the the man (Jim Carrey, who I really like in serious roles, but don't like so much in silly roles) trying to cling to the memory of her while he's undergoing a procedure to have her memory erased.

When you experience a, shall I say, "painful", bit of something in the past, it's pretty much natural that you want to forget it. And often, you manage to forget it pretty well on your own, after a lot of time, and suffering the occasional moments where every memory rushes back as clear as day. I've done a lot to try to forget a few important things about the failed relationships in my past. Where I live (out in the sticks on the lakeshore), and what I do with my spare time (watching movies, and now, a lot of anime) is a rather blatant escape from that.

Every now and then, though, I touch on those memories. Like it's a toothache or something, I can't just leave it alone; I have to keep prodding it. Doing this double-feature was just that.

The movie itself, especially how it treated the encroaching memory erasure, was wonderful. I really liked how it worked, even the cheesy "hiding in childhood memories" sequences. But I don't think I was really ready to subject myself to that kind of introspection right about now.

I've had a few pints of Guinness, so I'm a bit more "primed" to take this a little too seriously. But still, overall, it's no wonder I've been escaping into these cartoons I've been obsessing so much over. Watching this kind of "real life" stuff makes me think more than I want too.

No, it's not all that bad. I've got a lot going on that keeps me occupied like my job and home renovation, and I am really enjoying my "research" into what I may have been missing in regards to animated Japanese storytelling. It's just every now and then I need to subject myself to a round of intentional heartbreak, so I remember that I'm just a normal guy like everyone else.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Marathon Man

Subject: Noir
Well, it's over.

A flurry in obsessivness culminated in appx. 22 hours over two days of being glued to my home theater. First, watching all 26 eps of Madlax. Then watching all 26 eps of Noir.

Needless to say, I'm in a bit of a daze. I'm also a little sad. I've experienced a kind of loss, in a way, I suppose.

You see, I kind of need to put them both away for a little while. I already noticed with Noir that it's not quite stirring up the same impact as it did the first 10 times I watched it. And since I've rewatched the individual episodes of Madlax nearly as many times in a shorter calendar span, I'm getting too used to that as well.

And I want these shows to stay special to me.

Now that I have some closure on Madlax, I think (after one last rewatch of the last couple of eps to clarify some theories I have) I can safely put it away until the DVDs come up, and still have the DVD releases be a grand anticipatory moment. Noir I can save for special occasions as well.

It still feels sad to contemplate this, though. My obsession ran pretty deep these last six months. It's a part of me now. I guess that since I always want it to be a part of me, I think I need to take a break so I don't burn out.

I know I've been pretty awful at living up to my grand dramatic pronouncements like this. It's probably a mood-swing thing. In a couple of days, I might be espousing the philosphy of "Life's too short to not be rewatching Noir."

Still, I'm trying to look forward to other distractions. First and foremost is home remodelling. I've been trying to get myself to get this project off the ground since I bought my house, and finally this year, with my roof, gutters, siding, bathroom, and kitchen in such neglectful disarray, I've given myself the proverbial boot in the rear and gotten it moving. Hopefully by the end of this week everything will be settled and underway with the bank and the contractor. It'll probably last through January. There's a lot to do.

And I'm still going to continue sampling all the anime I've missed. I'll have some reviews up of some "old skool" that I've been watching, and some newer stuff as well. And then there's Bee-Train's (or more specifically, Mashimo's) next one, which I'll elaborate on later as well. I'll be working on the fansubs for it, though I'm not 100% sure I'll be happy with it; like I said, I'll elaborate later.

Right now, though, I'm going to feel a little sad for a little longer.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Fulfilling my Madlax duties

Subject: Noir
I've discovered I'm the #1 search engine result for "Madlax 26" at the moment (in Yahoo and AltaVista, at least). So those of you making your way here looking for closure, click the title of this post. You won't be dissappointed.

(EDIT: If you have trouble with that link, try this alternative.)

Credit goes to onearmedscissor on the AnimeNation/AnimeSuki forums, who took Oogami Ichiro's SSA (EDIT: 'Suki cleaned house; now linked to a mirror instead) of guuchan's edit of Fon's original translation of the Chinese fansub I posted earlier.

The link to the sub will likely be pulled from the major forums, so make sure you save it and pass it around. And then, for karma's sake, buy the DVDs when they hit the shelves! And buy a copy for your friends!

To any particular executives of a certain Texas-based network programming and distribution company who happen to find this post, please note: this is an excellent show. I've done some "test-marketing" of my own with my other 30-something friends, and they like it a lot (same with Noir). Koichi Mashimo is on to something, and I think you'll get a lot of crossover acceptance of Madlax if you play your marketing right. If you look at my past posts, you'll see that you hooked me with your hi-def offering on INHD, which dragged me deeper into this whole sphere; one box-set at a time. I think you'll find a lucrative niche in people like me and my don't-usually-watch-anime friends. Think along the lines of HBO's "Sunday Prime Time" strategy...

I'm available if you need someone to help shape that strategy and scout out appropriate programming, BTW... ;)

Friday, October 01, 2004

Madlax 26 Script!

Subject: Noir
Fon on AnimeSuki translated from the Chinese fansub to English!

I haven't seen it yet, but I'm about to watch them all in a row to build up to it. Then I'll read along on paper, just like the old days! :)

Tomorrow, I'll give the script an edit to clean it up, and practice using Sub-Station Alpha as training for my upcoming attempt at fansubbing. I'll post the resulting .ssa file when I'm done. By then, I'm guessing someone will have leaked a real sub of it, but this is going to be fun for me!

What a great day!

(EDIT - Link changed to mirror; original deleted from AnimeSuki)