Thursday, June 30, 2005

Beer blogging

Subject: Musings
(Making up for lost time with a rare "double-post"!)

Talking with an old friend the other day, I mentioned that I had started blogging, and the first thing she said was, "Oh, a beer blog, right?"

Heh. Back in the day, I was pretty darned predictable. Of course, I have a hard time using the word "anime" in day-to-day conversations with normal people, so I could only admit that it was mostly about "those darn Japanese cartoons" these days -- though I really really try to do other movie reviews and whatnot.

That said, to prepare for my holiday, I made a long-neglected visit to a little store in the inner Rochester suburbs called "Beers of the World". An old haunt of mine.

Now that the microbrew craze has levelled out, it's pretty easy to get really decent beer at the local supermarket. Back in the day, though, there was really only one place you could go to buy a 6-pack (or case) of something other than the usual watered-down rice-adjunct mass-produced American (and the somewhat better & more preffered Canadian) brews, and that was "Beers of the World".

The guy that owned the shop tended to leave the product out on the shelf for far longer than it should be there, so often times you risked getting something a little skunky or otherwise off-flavored. But in order to get a hold of the latest Sam Adams or Catamount or Brooklyn offerings, let alone Guinness, Sam Smiths or Pilsner Urquell, that's where you had to go. And go, I did.

And when brewpubs started opening around town, I was a regular fixture at those establishments as well. And my housemates and I dabbled with homebrewing for a while. So, as my old friend's comment is evident of, I developed quite a reputation as a beer snob. (Heh. Is there anything I'm not a snob about??)

At any rate, I've picked up a sampling of brewskis that I had tried a while back at another bar that specializes in microbrews (and has nearly 100 on tap!), and right now, at sunset, with a nice Montecristo #4 to puff on, I'm drinking one of them.

And it's fan-tastic

"Weyerbacher Hops Infusion", made in Pennsylvania. Emblazoned on the label: "7 types of hops". Yum. I love hops. The hoppier and more bitter the beer, the happier I am. Yum. Yum. Yum.

At any rate, it's not quite as "hoppy" as another beer I grabbed -- "Victory Hop Devil" (which lives up to it's name!) -- but this blend is sublime. Well-balanced, soothing, and laid-back for a hoppy beer. Perfect for a warm sultry sunset with a smoke by the lake.

Maybe I should beer-blog more often. *Grin*


Subject: Cinema
So I kicked off my long holiday weekend with one of the movies that I got in my big DeepDiscountDVD order: Criterion's release of "Kwaidan". Again, I was having trouble making the transistion from anime back to art-film, so I figured a Japanese art film (with a little sushi & sake) would do the trick.

It's billed as a set of "otherworldly tales of the macabre", which really isn't my standard fare, but I've heard good things about the techniques it used despite it being filmed way back in 1965. Criterion usually has awesome-looking DVD transfers, so I figured it would be worth a cold-buy.

I can't really say that it has the same sort of "scary" impact it may have had back then. Heck, it's hardly even "disturbing" or "creepy", despite it being various stories about ghosts, demons, and whatnot. And towards the end, with the last of the 4 segments, I really had a hard time paying attention anymore. It was long, and I probably should have taken it in shorter doses.

That said, the technique I was talking about is that everything was shot on a soundstage. All the outdoor, in-the-woods, in-the-snow, on-the-water sequences were entirely rigged on elaborate sets with a lot of meticulous detail. I mean, sure, it was obvious that everything was on a set; from the lighting to the phony snow, to the splendid and sometimes surreal painted backdrops. But that gave it sort of a feeling of being a big, grand, epic play. A huge Andrew Lloyd Webber production, but without the lame Andrew Lloyd Webber trappings.

And did I mention that the backdrops were fantastic? Oh, right.

Anyway, back to the "play" aspect; even the performances were rather evocative of stage acting more than the usual movie fare. So overall the context was rather complete in that matter. And I found that it worked pretty well in that regard. I'm not really one who goes to "the theatre" for such things, but I don't really have anything against it. Well, except the Andrew Lloyd Webber part. *Ahem*

So not being all that well versed in Japanese legends and mythology (which is also an advantage for me with "Twelve Kingdoms"), it was all still "new to me", so that aspect held my interest for a bit. But, like I said, by the last sequence, I grew a bit weary of it, and pretty much had enough.

All-in-all, it's a fine addition to my collection, but I think if I rented it first, I wouldn't have bothered buying it. I'm hoping that a rewatch or two down the road will help me see a few more interesting things about it, but overall, it's rather dated and not something to get particularly obsessive about.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

"Tsubasa" 12 and more

Subject: Noir
"Tsubasa Chronicle" episode 12 -- A very nice episode. A bit more backstory and a few clues as to who Sayoran & Sakura are. And, interestingly enough, what I think is really the whole theme to the show, spelled out clearly. No not the so-called "plot", or anything particularly narrative, but the essential core to the entire show that drives everything:

We want to keep Sakura smiling.

It's really that simple. And when I say "we" and not "Sayoran" or "the characters", it's because that's what Mashimo has done. He's made her smile, her sparkle, so infectious and, as the dialogue said in this episode, "heartwarming", that everything hinges on her happiness. And, because this really is a kid's show when you get down to it, he says as much, quite plainly, through Sayoran.

It's got a wonderful simplicity to it, much the way I found the simplicity in "Captain Tylor". And, in an interview with Mashimo that I read some time ago, he said to the effect that in "Noir", he wanted the viewer to literally "fall in love" with the characters, and that everything hinged on that emotional bond. I don't think he's quite going that far with Sakura, but he definitely wants you to connect with her. When she sparkles, you're going to feel it. And, when things turn darker (and I bet they will), you're going to feel that to. And when she comes around at the end, there's the payoff. Everything else is really just the icing on the cake.

Or so it seems to me. Heh.

Anyway, some other quick updates:
"Emma" episode 8 -- Ah, my Sunday morning is complete when I have both a "Tsubasa" and "Emma" episode to watch. Though I like "Tsubasa" a lot more. Still, "Emma" continues to be a straightforward character drama with a simple, classic narrative and a nice attention to detail. Hmm, is that all I keep saying about this show? I guess so. Anyway, there's only a few episodes left, and it's reaching a crossroad in the storyline.

"Twelve Kingdoms" disc 3 -- So yesterday I went on about "Harry Potter" and how it's pretty much derived from a lot of pre-existing story material and whatnot, and it didn't do a lot to hold up as it's own story for me. Now in the case of "Twelve Kingdoms", it may very well be much the same: totally derived from Japanese and Asian legends and mythology. But the difference is, obviously, I have no idea what those stories are. Seriously. Which makes the story new-to-me, and as such, it's rather interesting. This disc really only had two episodes though
(and a recap), and seemed to end one of the story arcs. Anyway, we'll see where this goes. It's a long one.

Finally, "Trinity Blood", episode 7 -- While I've not particularly found this show more than barely appealing to begin with, I'm really not finding a lot more to keep me tuned in. I mean, it was sort of clever and all, and the "Peter Pan" reference, obvious that it was, was all well and good, but really, I dunno. It's not working for me, and I don't know if I'm going to keep up with it for much longer. No sense wasting my time.

Well, enough for now.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

"Harry Potter and the President of Uzbekistan"

Subject: Cinema
...or whatever it's real name is. *ahem*

There was one point, some number of years ago, where I would hungrily latch on to any effects-laden movie because, well, because of the effects. One of the things I thought of pursuing in my film & animation studies was a career in FX, and back at the beginning of the 90's, it was a special, esoteric thing. Every year something new would come along that would totally knock the socks off of any previous effects effort. I'd snatch up copies of "CINEFEX" magazine and scrutinize frames on laserdisc.

Remember "Terminator 2"? These days, it's, well... kind of quaint. Maybe a little cheesy. And nowhere near as gripping a film as the original lower-budget intro to the franchise. But, ooh, it was a big deal when it came out.

These days, I still have friends who rush to see the latest blockbuster, "to see the effects", mostly. Last year, the 3rd "Harry Potter" film was one of those. I finally watched it (in HD) on my DVR last night.

I suppose if I were a lot younger when the whole "Potter" franchise got started, I might have been more caught up in it. When I first heard about the books and the sensation they were causing with the kids, I figured that was a good thing, and hoped it wasn't just a fad. It's an interesting and detailed little world that Rowling has put together (well, assembled and derived from dozens of different classic elements, but there's nothing wrong with that per se). And I figured it was only a matter of time before someone attempted movies. And again, nothing wrong with that, per se.

And I really have no complaints about the movie overall; it was another brief bit of escapist entertainment that didn't make me need to use my brain in any meaningful way, and it looked pretty good. Definitely effects-laden, to a level that, back in the early 90's, would have been mind-blowing. But now I'm kind of numb to all that.

The "magic" of special effects has worn off for me. I take it for granted the kinds of things you can do when you throw enough talent and software (and money) at a visualization. I know how it works, and could probably do much of the same (if I wanted to work 100-hour weeks in a Santa Monica sweatshop). We've finally achieved the mastery of the technology that it can be subservient to the story, instead of the story itself. And that exposes the stories for the bland blah mush that they'd been all along. So I've never really been in a rush to see them.

Anyway, ponderous navel-gazing over for the moment. In other news, the first part of my deeply-discounted DeepDiscountDVD order showed up, and a box full of goodies it was! I finally caved in and bought the whole "Star Wars" orginal box set (speaking of effects vs. story!), and a couple of gifts: the "Noir" thinpak box for my little brother, and the set of "Kino's Journey" for my good friends' baby shower. Other stuff in the box -- a 5-disc set of independent short films, and the just-released collection of "Jan Svankmeijer" animations. Oh, and I grabbed "Roman Holiday" for some reason (*ahem*). And a bunch of other stuff, some of which shipped afterwards. So I've got to update my DVD library page one of these days when the rest of it gets here.

And then actually watch them or something!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

"" progress (or lack thereof...)

Subject: Musings
Well, I'm on my 3rd CMS evaluation, and I think I'm getting closer to finding a setup that will be flexible enough for the things I want to do, yet still keep some semblance of simplicity once it's set up.

Not that any of them are simple to set up. Let alone figure out.

I started off with Mambo Server, then dabbled with Drupal, and now I think I'm making progress with a combination of Xayara and phpBB2. Though I'm having to get my hands dirty in the code a lot more than I thought I would. After spending the day at work fiddling with code, one of the last things I want to do when I get home is code some more. But in the end, it should be worth it.

"Monster": Monsterous!

Subject: Noir
I finally caught back up with the most-recently released episode of "Monster" (ep 55, I think). I'm pretty sure I've been watching this one for a whole year now.

And there's still nearly 20 more episodes to go!

Don't get me wrong, this is a great show; I've described it as such many, many times. But boy-howdy, does it go on, and on, and on... And on!

Combined with the sporadic release schedule, I guess that's why I wind up letting a lot of time pass between watchings, and need to catch up now and then. You get kind of worn out. It's a similar effect I had ascribed to it's predecessor, "Master Keaton". It keeps going on and on as well.

I'm really not complaining, per se. The quality of these two make it worth trying to find a rhythm that you're most comfortable with for the frequency and pace in watching them. Just be prepared to be in it for the long haul, is all.

Monday, June 20, 2005 article on Clark

Subject: Soapbox
A halfway decent article about Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark in Salon this morning. For a guy that's been following what he's been saying ever since Digby mentioned him in early 2003, and even got involved in the Draft Clark for President movement, none of it is "new news" to me. But if anyone is interested in a quick overview, this'll do the trick.

(If you don't subscribe to Salon, you'll need to watch a brief commercial to get "day-pass" access)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The weekend watch

Subject: Noir
Luckily for me, "Paranoia Agent", as excellent as it is, doesn't cause a "Post-P.A. Syndrome" like a marathon of "Noir" would.

Last night I had my usual pair of GreenCine rentals, and both were continuations of what I've already been watching all along. First up was disc 3 of "Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water". Not bad; the story continues, though it doesn't really go anywhere except to establish a few clues that I assume will be answered later. Otherwise, the characters are enjoyable to watch, and the overall scenario is enough to maintain a minimal interest. Not particularly challenging in any way, but light entertainment.

Next was the last disc of "Miami Guns", which was, well, okay. Still mildly amusing, with halfway decent action, but it's a good thing that was the last disc because it was starting to wear thin. Overall I'm glad I saw it, but I won't be buying it.

Finally, this morning was my Sunday morning "Tsubasa Chronicle" fix. Again, not a bad episode, with some interesting moments, and a pretty decent relevation as to how Syaoran is missing from Sakura's memories. As far as the overall pace, I'm finding that relaxing with tea and breakfast while watching it on a Sunday morning really helps me deal with it better. Though I am kind of secretly hoping that as it progresses, it gets progressively more intense. But I'm not going to hold my breath at this point.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

"It goes to 11!"

Subject: Noir
"Tsubasa Chronicle" ep 11 is out!

Go get it!


Subject: Noir
"Paranoia Agent" -- I've made a few posts in the past months that described my inital impressions of this show. By the last disc, it finally hooked me, in a big way. Just now, I watched them all in a row.

And I sure missed a lot my first time through!

It may have had something to do with the fact that it was easily 2 months between discs for me, or just that there are so many wonderful layers to this show that it's impossible to catch them on the first go-'round, but suffice to say, it was well worth taking the second trip through this series in marathon form.

I mean really, this series is *tight*. Some may accuse all of disc 3 of being "filler", but honestly, every moment of that so-called "filler" (and hilarious at that, especially the animation studio episode) plays in to the entire mythology being created, and gives clues and insights into the psychology being explored.

Not to say that I've been, even in the slightest, able to verbalize what the heck was going on -- but the experience washes over you and drags you back with it in its insidous undertow to the point that you really don't need words to describe it anymore.

And there's plenty there to symbolize or otherwise allow you to project parts of yourself on to it. As long as you're not prone to taking things strictly literally -- there's a lot of perverted and f*'ed up undertones going on, especially early on. And there's plenty more to try and chew on in subsequent viewings. Like I said before: "no easy answers".

I loaned this set out to my "test-market" friends, and they were hooked right away, and were compelled to watch many episodes in a row in order to find out what happened next, as opposed to their usual "one-at-a-time" pace through the other shows I've exposed them to. Their main feedback: it was substantially "different" from any other anime they've seen, and they like that a lot. It's a grown-ups' show. The characters have real noses, of all things!

In summary, Satoshi Kon has done a superb job of bringing his style and storytelling to the TV-series format (I can't say "to the 'small screen' because, well...). There's a lot of Japanese culture references that I have yet to fully comprehend, but I'm at least able to spot what they are and get the gist of them pretty quickly, as were my friends. So as twisted as this series gets, it still makes a good "crossover" for the quality-seekers over here in the States, and is a shining example of what the anime niche could bring to those who are otherwise disenchanted with the "fan-oriented" insanity that makes up 99% of that sort of programming.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Another DeepDiscountDVD sale!

Subject: Musings
From June 17th to June 25th, all DVDs are 20% off (except preorders). So, for instance, if you want the "Noir: Complete Collection", it's $48.

A couple of weeks too soon for the "Captain Tylor Ultra" set, though. Oh well...

The coupon code is "SUPERSALE".

Thursday, June 16, 2005

"Meine Liebe" episode 10 done

Subject: Noir
It's out, go get it.

Teh boyz confront a drunken hedonist with a harem of babes. Camus faints. Thrilling. *ahem*

No, this show isn't about "thrilling" anyhow, so really there's just some more exposure about the political situation on "Cake Island" and Orpheus has to revisit some of his basic assumptions. Ludwig just smirks in the background and doesn't say anything.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"Dr. Who" episode 12

Subject: TV
Who'd have thought that anyone could make a 6-foot tall trash can with a plunger sticking out of it be so damned convincingly menacing?

This show has almost as good an edge to it as the new "Galactica". And if it weren't for the classic campy low-budget affect (yes, I'm using that word correctly, and no I don't mean "effects" -- those too, though), it would be a no-brainer comparison.

Anyway, good fun.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

More "RahXephon"

Subject: Noir
I just finished up with disc 3 of "RahXephon". A scant 3 episodes worth.

I dunno. Even though it isn't literally ripping off "Evangelion", there's definite, well... homage going on. If you can call fundemental plot devices "homage"...

That said, it's still entertaining enough, and a story that has enough to it to keep me wondering what's going to happen next. There are a few things that seem a little obvious, though. Which means that either I'm being set up, or it isn't really all that. Which is okay, it's still better than a lot of stuff. Not quite "purchase-worthy" yet, but still better.

Just when you forgot all about it...

Subject: Noir
..."Meine Liebe" ep 10's script is in my hands. I should be done timing Monday night, which means start keeping your eyes peeled for it.

Quick review

Subject: Noir
"Tsubasa Chronicle" episode 10 -- pretty good. After the first bunch of episodes lowered my expectations, it makes these past few seem much more superior. There's still a certain "halting" character to the pace, but I'm liking the camerawork a lot more -- it keeps everything moving.

Otherwise, it's mild fun, but nothing I can get my hopes up over.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Subject: Noir
"Tsubasa Chronicle" 10 is subbed and up for downloadin'. Yay.

I just finished "Master Keaton" disc 6. The stories are still top-notch excellent. I'm surprised there isn't more buzz about this series, really. It's probably one of the best-written animated shows I've seen. There's such a great variety to the stories. Very underrated.

A "MADLAX" party means...

Subject: Noir
...that I can't help but watch a little "Noir" as well.

I had to fire up the last two discs after I finished "MADLAX". There was no real choice in the matter. *Sigh*

These two shows have me wrapped around their proverbial little fingers. Nothing else can lay this kind of claim on me, even after a year-plus of watching.

Maybe someday I'll get over it. But do I really want to live in a world where I'm not compelled to watch these shows? Do I really....?


Friday, June 10, 2005

"MADLAX" disc 2

Subject: Noir
...equals "teh awesome"...

There were a couple of minor points where I think I would have prefered the fansub translations, but overall, when it comes to the core of the story, the "official" translations make a very large impact on how much is revealed as far as the story goes.

And like I said, it's not so much that it gives it away, as much as it points you in the right direction. I revelled in every moment that it was on my set, and I can't wait for more discs to be completed.

I'm trying hard to resist the temptation to throw a couple of "Noir" discs on right now. I don't know how successful I'll be, but really, what could it hurt??


"We're gonna have a 'MADLAX' party tonight..."

Subject: Noir
"...All right!"

It's a muggy and overcast night, with wandering thunderstorm cells, so why not spend 4 hours straight watching minty-fresh "MADLAX" episodes?

(Notice how I'm correctly capitalizing it of late? Heh.)

My order for the "MADLAX Bible" still hasn't shipped, unfortunately.

Despite that, once I get home, I'm going to pop in one of the OSTs, pop a beer, and get "warmed up" for the festivities. I'm glad I'm so easily entertained...

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Subject: Noir
I submitted my "Spider Riders" discovery to ANN, and they posted it. And gave me credit.

If only I had ready...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"MADLAX" disc 2 has arrived!

Subject: Noir
Yay me!

Though, get this, I may not actually have time to watch it tonight! *Gasp!*

(you see, it's a really nice day out, and the sun sets kind of late, and...)

Monday, June 06, 2005

"MADLAX: The Bible"

Subject: Noir
I had seen some mention of this somewhere a while back and totally spaced on it. Marta pointed it out to me today that it was linked off of Bee Train's corporate site (they're hiring!), and it apparently was released last week.

Warning: It may only say $20, but the dang site didn't tell me how much shipping will be, so I probably payed $500 or some such thing. Which would be a lot for pretty pictures and interviews I can't read.

The next one from Bee-Train: "Spider Riders"

Subject: Noir
To summarize, Canadian company Cookie Jar Entertainment is teaming up with Bee-Train and Yokimo Advertising to deliver a 52-episode series adapted from "Spider Riders", a franchise of kids' books --
"Written by Tedd Anasti and Patsy Cameron-Anasti, the story follows a 13-year-old boy who tunnels underground to the find a world where warriors ride on the backs on giant arachnids to defend their world of Arachnia against equally giant mutant insects."

Another quote:
With 52 half-hours due to be delivered in 2007, the show will likely be Cookie Jar's headline title at Mipcom, with the producers lining it up as the next Yu-Gi-Oh! and its predecessors like Pokémon. "It has a Western feel but the Japanese animé look," said Romero.

It's supposed to start in January 2006, so I'm guessing production is well under-way. I'm surprised I haven't heard anything else about this sooner!

EDIT: I'm a dumbass -- it's January 2007. And I guess this was news last week, but me being on vacation, I didn't have my usual Google News "Bee Train" alert that I have set up here in the office. I'd better fix that.

EDIT 2: Looking at the article again, I think what it's saying is that the first episode launches this coming January (2006), and all 52 episodes are what get delivered in January 2007. A la syndication, I'd guess. So maybe my first hunch is correct?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Ritual achieved.

Subject: Noir
"Tsubasa Chronicle" episode 9 -- this show is improving quite a bit. Kurogane & Fay are more "alive" in this one, particularly Fay. That bit where he starts saying "Hyuu" -- that cracked me up.

(Well, it elicited a chuckle, which for this show, may as well be "cracking me up"...)

And the fight with the Fingernail Chick (*cough*Shao-Li*cough*) -- very well done. Also helpful in defining Kurogane & Fay a little more.

And though Sakura had very little screen time or dialogue, she's still my favorite thing about this show. But at least there's more than just her to hang on to, at least as far as this episode is concerned.

I also caught up with "Emma" episode 7 -- a nice, if predictable, episode. While the attention to detail and the overall characterizations are pretty good, I think Hakim and his harem are what's keeping me tuned in. The dynamic between him and William give the show a level of wit that does a marvelous job of injecting humor without stooping to the absurd. All with those deadpan, disinterested gazes. Heh.

Not too much in the pipeline for me today besides getting ready to get back to work. Chores to be done and all that. I've got yesterday's "Dr. Who" episode ready to go for this evening, but otherwise, not an awful lot more.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

"Tsubasa" 9

Subject: Noir
"Tsubasa Chronicle" episode 9's fansub is available for download! Yay! I can resume my usual Sunday Morning ritual (along with the most recent sub of "Emma"...)

"Jules et Jim"

Subject: Cinema
I saw this one way back in the early days of film school, so I didn't really remember it at all.

One thing that struck me early on was how much Catherine reminded me of a certain someone in my past -- which was probably rather intentional, as the archetype probably fits at least one classic stereotype that can apply to just about any woman that a man might be infatuated with.

After the first hour or so, though, the correlation grew fainter, to the point of being almost alien. Yet, as out-of-my-league as the situation progressed, it was still a compelling and involving tale.

There wasn't a lot for me to identify with when it comes to this sort of sordid 3-way romance; heck, I have a lot of trouble with most 2-ways. But still, Truffaut knows how to paint the screen with the various shades of grey that make up a situation and make it stick with you despite your ability to put yourself in the frame.

The ending struck me as being almost a relief, though. It's rather tragic; a little bit unexpected (yet expected), but when it happens, you feel that "it was probably for the best". A very unusal sort of reaction to what happened, yet it seemed engineered to bring you to that conclusion.

On a less-than-contemplative, and totally-self-indulgent level, I find myself *really* wanting to finally go to Paris during the early half of this film. I know "Noir" is really the reason, but it doesn't help when I watch films like this. And the fact that what "Noir" makes me want to do interferes (though just a little) with watching artsy films means that I have a bit of an obsession problem that I'd better work out one of these days.

"RahXephon" -- Clone or Not Clone?

Subject: Noir
I was rather beat last night, but I managed to squeak in "RahXephon" disc 2. What I said before about taking a while to remember what the heck happened previously because it was so long since I watched disc 1, well, I had that in spades. It didn't help that I couldn't really remember which young lady was who and was after which guy, but no biggie. I figured most of it out as I went.

Okay, it's not really a clone of "Evangelion", but it sure as heck takes a lot from it. But without the psychological edge. I mean, it's solidly written and all, and it's got a fine attention to detail (and a great use of color!), but it's a little less "intense" than Eva.

And I'll need to watch it a little more before I can really form an opinion about it one way or another. I don't dislike it yet, but I might potentially get bored with it if it doesn't go anywhere soon. I'll probably have the next disc for next weekend, so I'll at least be able to keep the context of it straight in my head.

Otherwise, not much else going on. "Madlax" disc 2 didn't show up early, so I'm a little dissappointed. I did get the Critereon release of "Jules et Jim", though, so I think I might watch arty French movies tonight in it's place, and party with Madlax & Margaret (and Vanessa and Eleanor!) next week. Heh.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

More "Escaflowne", plus a bit of a fansub watching update

Subject: Noir
Last week I mentioned that I went deep into the rental queue to continue "Twelve Kingdoms"; this week I've got disc 2 of both "Vision of Escaflowne" and "RaXephon". Haven't gotten to the latter yet, but I just watched the former.

It's been quite a while, and it took me even longer to remember what already happened with "Escaflowne" in disc 1 than it did for the others that I've been neglecting, but no big deal really. Again, I think the characters & story are a lot more interesting than I expected, but this time around, it seemed, well... more of a "girl's show". Oh yeah, the word is "shoujou". Only, it's "giant robot shoujou" or something like that.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's not quite as annoying as the "ineffectual teenage boy" sort of thing I keep complaining about, but there's just a lot about it that makes me sigh in mild frustration with the whole obviousness of it. And there's a little more of the usual anime cliche comedy in this one than I remember from the last one.

But overall, it's still kind of creative, and light enough that I can find it watchable. There's a cheap edge to the animation at times, but the action is reasonable, and the overall art direction serves the show well. I'll stick with it.

In the fansub world, I watched the latest "Trinity Blood", "Speed Grapher", and "Monster". Not in a row, mind you, as they obviously aren't in the same league.

"Trinity Blood" gave a little more backstory and exposition, but in a way, it was rather trite and ho-hum. This show isn't going to go anywhere interesting or unique, but it's still got a bit of a quirky spark to it that will keep me downloading at least a little more.

"Speed Grapher" just about made me quit right on the spot with that really, really nasty "dentist" sequence... in fact, just thinking about it makes me want to never watch it again. Really, the show, despite the classic vibe, is kind of stupid. Twisted, but in a stupid way. It didn't help that I tried to watch it while eating lunch, but I don't think that I would have been any less repulsed by it no matter what. I really should drop it, but it's got that "car-wreck-on-the-other-side-of-the-highway" kind of wierd attraction to it. Repulsive attraction. Bleh.

"Monster", of course, I can't ever say anything bad about. A new arc is just getting into gear and while I'm pretty sure I know where the suspense is going to resolve, I'm still interested in it. I mean, yeah, it seems rather predictable in a lot of ways, but the depth of the characters really pulls you along for the ride anyhow. And maybe "depth" isn't quite the right word either. Maybe "believability". Or something. At any rate, there's still another season's worth of episodes left supposedly, so it'll be a while before I can get any resolution with this one. Which is fine by me; I'm enjoying it!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Outdoor blogging

Subject: Musings
Well, I couldn't resist it. I had conflicting urges to to be outside in this awesome weather, versus trying to get some of my long-neglected computer work done. My old laptop, besides having a dead battery, didn't have a screen that was very useful in bright light.

So I bought a new one.

I should have done this years ago!

Now all I need is actual content to write about, and I'll be all set. But for now, fiddling with all the configuration settings will suffice.

EDIT: Of course, it seems that "Bright Screen" and "Battery Life" are kind of incompatible. Looks like I'll have to work on my settings a little more...