Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Dick Tracy" meets "Pulp Fiction"

Subject: Cinema
...or so "Sin City" kind of seems on the surface.

Well, even a little bit more than just on the surface...

"Dick Tracy" was, of course, a really cheesy comic strip adaptation with a lot of highly-stylized cinematography and use of color and prosthetics. "Pulp Fiction" was a mish-mash of cheesy homage to violent B-films. And "Sin City" has quite a lot of both. Even going so far as to have Quentin "F*ing Asshole" Tarantino as the "special guest director". Sure, it was directed by Robert Rodriguez, who had Frank Miller himself co-direct. But both tend towards over-the-top cartoons themselves. (Miller, literally, obviously.)

Now, don't get me wrong. This did not suck!! "Sin City" was huge fun. extremely stylish. All the homage was very well crafted and over-the-top enjoyable, right down to all of the cheesy-cliche film-noir dialogue. The characters were very interesting to the most part, and did I mention the style? The technique? Black & white with splashes of digitally rotoscoped color. In fact, there were a lot of subtle digital effects, albiet thrown in with many not-very-subtle-at-all ones.

In total, though, I think it may have very well come the closest to it's goal that I've seen in an American film: it adapted a comic book, and translated the form adequately. That's really rare. I liked these kinds of comic books way back in college (though I never actually needed to buy one; all my housemates were collectors at one point), and I'm quite pleased to finally see something like this make it to the screen. Though I think there's room for something even more serious and gritty and bleak and meaningful, which this really didn't achieve all that well. Being all over-the-top fun and all.

So even though it seems like I'm really underhandedly skewering "Sin City", I really have to admit I enjoyed it a heck of a lot. It's got it's faults, but it's got it's moments. Definitely worth the rental, and maybe I'll pick it up once a hi-def format becomes available.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Rest of the weekend...

Subject: Noir
My HTPC (that is, the computer I have hooked up to my HDTV) decided to totally sieze up yesterday, which is ticking me off to no end because I just got it situated in it's space and got all the wires secured and neat and clean. Which is, of course, the exact moment any computer will fail -- when you make it difficult to access.

I managed to catch "Tsubasa Chronicle" episode 19 and "Zipang" episode 3 just before that. "Tsubasa" continued to be pretty good in that we get a bit more of Fay's background and some well-done action sequences. My only problem with it is that too many new characters were thrown at us all at once. And all of them were presented in a sort of smug "you should know who they are" assumption of having actually bothered with anything CLAMP-y beforehand. That's not too big a deal in and of itself; it's just a little tiny bit alienating in some ways. I'll get over it.

And I'm just going to have to stop reading the AnimeSuki thread, as it's full of young manga readers going and spoiling some of the subtler bits. As I'm all about the subtler bits, it's a little annoying, to say the least. That said, it's still my best source of breaking news at this time. Maybe I need to look for a better source.

Anyway, on to "Zipang" -- I pretty much stopped at episode 2 quite a while ago and didn't really miss it. Then as I noticed that more episodes were being subbed finally, and remembering it was definitely not a silly or juvenile show, I decide to try it again. And now I remember why I wasn't really bothering with it: it's kind of lacking. I mean yeah, there's the time-tested time-travel paradox and all it's implications therin, and the whole old-culture vs. new-culture, and even some attempts at suspense, but still... it's lacking. In general. Maybe I'll give it a couple of more tries to see if it opens up. I kind of doubt it though.

Plus I have to get that damned PC operational again! Argh!

Finally, I also squeezed in disc 6 of "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water". The first two episodes end the big main arc, and it was pretty good (even though I kind of figured out the big "secrets" on my own). Then it starts the notorious "Island" arc. Which is kind of a descent into cartoony weirdness. And supposedly I'll have to hold out until disc 9 in order to get back to anything with some semblance of the quality of the first set of discs. *Sigh* I suppose I can manage it.

Otherwise, not much else beside's HBO's new miniseries "Rome", which I'll probably post about after I see a couple of more episodes. Quick impressions: good looking production qualities, detailed atmosphere (including a lot of the, uh, "bawdiness" of ancient Roman culture), performances seem pretty good, but not sure if there's anything to grab on to just yet. Promising, though.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Rewatching "Porco Rosso"

Subject: Cinema
To try and hold myself over until next weekend when I've promised myself that I can rewatch "Noir" again, I decided to rewatch Miyazaki's "Porco Rosso". When I first watched it back in March, I was quite smitten with it.

This time around I decided to play my word-association game, and I came up with an interesting one:


Every scene, every shot, every frame... is just overflowing with love: of the subject, of the characters, of the scenery, of the machines, of the story, of the medium of animation itself. The subject of flying, in particular, is so rapturously captured and lovingly exhaulted that you can't help but want to put yourself in the middle of the movie yourself. You can't help but share what must be Miyazaki's own love and wonder of it all.

Love of flying, love of honor, love of women, love of freedom; it's all there. And the details paint such an expansive picture without the need to clutter the story with extraneous backstory narrative; the little details in the background tell you enough about what to expect and why that world is the way that it is, and the details in the foreground say more than words ever need to.

I'm gushing a bit too much here, I guess. I suppose I could be forgiven on the merits of this movie, though. It's definitely "gush-worthy"!

EDIT: I actually just re-read my original review, and it looks like I came to a similar conclusion, only I was a little more terse about it. Go figure!

"Tsubasa" 19 is up!

Subject: Noir
...but y'all probably knew that already.

I am insanely jealous...

Subject: Noir
...First, because there's such a place as the Alamo Drafthouse -- A microbrewery and movie theatre all-in one -- brilliant*!

But to think that such a place would be showing "MADLAX" as well??!

Insanely jealous. Insanely.

Hmm, I wonder if I can relocate to Austin? Oh, it was in their Houston location? Never mind. *Ahem*

(*I know there are a few of these kinds of places all over, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. But none in New York State due to various laws in the way. Otherwise I would probably open one myself!)

For those about to Rock (& Rule!), we salute you.

Subject: Cinema
A few months back, I made a big deal about the fact that a re-release of "Rock & Rule" was happening.

Well, finally, after all this time, I finally, finally took the time to watch it.


All you youngster anime-fans out there, if you can find it to rent, do yourselves a favor and take a crack at it. It's a lot of cheesy fun. "Canada's answer to anime" is really quite dead-on as a description. Cheap Trick, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed... even Earth, Wind and Freekin' Fire -- a total early-80's blast that, in a year that the Rolling Stones are touring yet again, still seems relevant today.

I watched the original laserdisc many, many times in the late 80's/early 90's, and I was rather surprised at the fact that I knew every single line, every single tune, every single scene. "My name is Mok, thanks a lot", indeed.

If I were the sort to be into animated-GIF avatars for the various anime forums I peruse, I'd come up with at least a dozen awesomely obscure ones that would have everyone scratching their heads. I guess I'll have to settle with posting screencaps on Fark instead... *ahem*

Friday, August 26, 2005

"Haibane Renmei" disc 1

Subject: Noir
So after all this time I finally gave this series a shot.

My first thought was "Hmmm." My second thought was that the animation was a tad on the "cheap".. err... I should say "low-budget" side.

But really, though, the characters had "life". A "spark". And the story and situation was rather unique and interesting. Charming, even. And those sorts of things trump che... uhh.. "low-budget" animation every time.

I've been avoiding any reviews about the series so I could try and go into this totally fresh, and I'm glad I am. I'm going to prioritize the rest of the series in my queue so I can see just what the heck is going on. I'm trying to figure out if the scenario is really actually sinister or not, despite the fact that there's a subtext to it that is trying to misdirect you into thinking that there is. At least, my first impression is that subtext is the misdirection. Because it's trying to make it seem like something's terribly wrong underneath the slice-of-life carefree exterior. Curious.

At any rate, it's the total opposite of "Texhnolyze" so far. Mostly due to the "life" part. "Texhnolyze", besides lacking "soul", is rather lacking in the "life" department as well.

(No spoilers, please!! Let me figure out if I pegged it or not for myself.)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Meine Liebe" episode 12...

Subject: Noir
...has passed through my hands, and should be showing up sometime in the next few days, I would guess. Keep your eyes peeled!

One more to go!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gasp! "MADLAX" in the New York Times!

Subject: Noir
Well, it's actually a short little article about ADV releasing BitTorrents of promos, but there's a pic of Madlax herself. Here's the relevant bit:

In late July, as a test, ADV released a trailer for the series "Madlax" through BitTorrent. The positive response led the company to assemble more extensive packages for "Gilgamesh" and "Goddanar" that include biographical information about the characters, images and statistics of the giant robots, promotional clips and links to online reviews.

Dossiers about giant robots might not seem like the highest calling to which 21st-century technology can be put, but as an act of electronic rehabilitation, it was a big step forward. "The response to the 'Madlax' trailer was just phenomenal," [ADV's John] Williams said. "People were excited to see us using this technology in a legitimate way." Especially lawyer people.

So the promo release received a "positive", nay "phenomenal" response. Cool. I hope that means more "MADLAX" viewers, leading to more, well... Bee Train fans! *smirk*

(UPDATE: I've rambled on more about the topic in the BTF forum...)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

"Tsubasa Chronicle" returns!

Subject: Noir
After a multi-week baseball-induced hiatus, my "Sunday morning ritual" resumes once again with "Tsubasa Chronicle" episode 18. Ahh. That feels better!

And it pretty much continues on. I was kind of dissappointed that it seemed to be over so quickly, though. Sure, there were a couple of plot-points revealed, but they were pretty mild, and not much of a surprise. Still, as I've said before, there are great little "moments" in this show, so I'll just keep riding along from moment to moment.

And what was with that "groovy" little bit of soundtrack when Syaoran & Sakura were alone in the store? I half-expected a little bit of Barry White vocals to start up for a minute there! Heh.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Inexplicably tangible differences?

Subject: Noir
I just finished watching the first disc of "Texhnolyze".

Obviously after a night of pure "MADLAX", I'm going to be watching most anything else through that lens for a little while, but it seems that this one has a few things to it that allows me to compare and contrast.

Mostly contrast. (Big surprise!)

So one thing I noticed right off is that "Texhnolyze" has, on it's surface, a lot of the same technical qualities that I'm oh so fond of flogging about "MADLAX": the camerawork is dynamic, the color design is well executed (though more muted), the attention to detail is pretty good, the lighting (like I went on about last night) was competent... and overall the visual technique had it's strengths.

But wow, was it lacking something.

Okay, sure, some of the animation felt a little on the cheap side as far as the shortcuts that were taken goes; but really, "MADLAX" is full of shortcuts as well. The story seemed to go out of it's way to try and be "mysterious", which "MADLAX" does, but "MADLAX" doesn't try to be so brutally shocking, to try and "challenge" you to the extent that "Texhnolyze" does.

But that in itself isn't a big deal; I've watched plenty of stuff that tries to push it a little in that respect. No, the issue is "what's missing".

My usual word-association game came up with something rather simple: "Soul".

Kind of an intangible thing, this "soul", but the word seems most appropriate for what I'm trying to get at, I think.

Another example -- I also finished disc 5 of "RahXephon". All-in-all it continues along the path that I've mentioned before, and like "Texhnolyze" it's quite competent, but it, too is "missing something". The inevitable "Eva rip-off" comparison takes on a new light in this context, though: "RahXephon" is "Evangelion" without "soul".

I'm going to misquote an anecdote my grad school academic advisor (RIP) told us in one of our animation theory classes: "When I read a Hemingway story, every word speaks 'truth', 'truth'. But when I read Stephen King, every word says 'lie', 'lie'".

And he wasn't referring to the subject matter of their respective prose. It's kind of hard to explain, but deep down, you feel the difference. The content can be technically adequate, even provoking the intended reactions, but you can still tell whether or not it's being disengenuous.

And I think that might get at what I think I'm calling "soul".

More about "MADLAX"

Subject: Noir
So I just finished watching all 3 discs in a row (go figure)...

I've mentioned before how awesome the color is, and the overall camerawork; but I think I've forgotten about the lighting. It's really obvious in episode 2 when Margaret runs into Carrosear, but quite present throughout. It's part of the whole cinemetographic approach that Mashimo's stuff has, as opposed to the "manga" approach most everything else does. The manga stuff tends to focus more on the narrative, albiet wrapped in cool poses. "Cinema" takes a lot more visual elements into account and tells the story without so many words.

Or so my snobbish film-school tendencies tell me. *ahem*

(I'm this close to starting up "Noir" as a follow-on. Good thing I feel a little sleepy!)

Friday, August 19, 2005

AnimeOnDVD -- Two "MADLAX" reviews in a week!

Subject: Noir
Apparently they had some catching up to do, so they've caught all the way up.

Lots of "fanservice"-this, and "hated episode 1"-that, but an overall liking of the series thus-far, and I'm glad about that.

Because, obviously, I need my obsession validated by the opinions of random internet reviewers, or something... *Ahem*

(Sorry, needing coffee this morning...)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Yay! It's here!

Subject: Noir
...but I can't watch it tonight... *sniff*

But... Tomorrow night is supposed to be all rainy and dreary, so maybe, just maybe, I'll watch all three!

(Like I wasn't going to do that anyhow...)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Speaking of "MADLAX"...

Subject: Noir
...AnimeOnDVD has apparently just gotten around to reviewing disc 2... Heh.

There's one glaring mistake in the content part:
"Elenore suggest the idea of seeking out a bibliodetective"


Mildly dissappointed...

Subject: Noir
Got home from work today thinking that the usual "pre-ordered DVDs arrive right on time" trick would work with "MADLAX" disc 3. I got the "it shipped!" notice quite a ways back, after all. I opened my mailbox, and... nothing but junkmail. *sigh*

Then I pull in to my garage, and there's a box by the entrance -- "Ooh! ...looks kind of big for 1 DVD, though..."

It was the spare bulb I ordered for my HDTV.


Monday, August 15, 2005

A steaming pile of... Fun!

Subject: Noir
Another thing I finally got to watch this past weekend was the movie "Steamboy". Katsuhiro Otomo's long awaited 2nd film, nearly 20 years after his ground-breaking "Akira", and, well...

It doesn't break nearly as much ground. If any. So some are dissappointed by that.

Not to say that the visuals aren't totally stunning though! And the animation and timing and technique: absolutely spot-on excellent. The sound, the action and the pacing adds up to a (steam)ball of fun.

Where it kind of falls flat for me is that I really didn't get swept into the story. Neither by latching on to the characters, the situation, or the conflict. The atmosphere, while richly detailed, was kind of quaint -- "steampunk" as a genre, not to mention the whole techno-Victorian thang, has been beat to death these past few years in multiple mediums, so while it may have been cool and unique when he started on this film, now it's all kind of cliche. Which is too bad. Because he does some fabulously cool things with his technology-of-the-day fantasizing.

And in and of itself, that's a pretty good reason to see it. There's a lot for an animation fan to watch and absorb and analyze, and it's not dreadfully boring or annoying or anything like that. It's just, as excellent as it was, it's kind of taken for granted that you can do cool 'n fancy things with the medium. While he may have actually broken just as much new ground with the techniques he used here as he did in "Akira", it's kind of hard to tell. Looks great, but we expected that. No surprises.

At any rate, if there's truth to a rumored Superbit release, I'm buying it then. Otherwise I might hold off for the eventual Hi-Def format war to cool off before I do.

UPDATE: It seems that AnimeOnDVD posted their review today as well...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Making exceptions

Subject: Noir
While I generally find myself easily annoyed by the usual schoolkid cutesy cliche series, and often avoid them like the plague, there's always exceptions to every rule.

First off, "Windy Tales". I've mentioned this before; it still stands as a very charming, and very uniquely styled, and very well written little experiment by Production I.G. I'll be sticking with this one. It might even wind up ranking in my top 10 someday. Mostly because it's so different.

Secondly, not quite as high-ranking to me at all, but still surprisingly charming, is "Kamichu". Which I wouldn't have bothered with at all, except I saw "HDTV" next to the download's title on AnimeSuki, so I thought "what the heck". It starts out with a young middle-school girl eating lunch with her friend, and she innocently says "I became a god". All kind of off-hand like it was normal.

And the weird thing is, it is normal. While it's just these rather stereotypical anime schoolgirls and all, there's this whole nifty mythological underpinning going on. There are little "Earth Spirits" everywhere, in every nutty shape and form. There are other gods, including the "main" god of the town who really just wants to go off and start a band. And when it's confirmed that the girl really is a god herself, everyone pretty much accepts it happily as if it's a normal everyday thing.

It's got some funny-cute kinds of moments to it. In episode 4, the goverment summons her to the capitol to help deal with a visiting Martian -- they give her a visitor badge with the label "God" on it. One of those silly little things that just struck me the right way, I guess.

Anyway, it makes for entertaining-enough casual viewing, and the hi-def PQ is quite good.

Finally, after many months, I finally rented disc 2 of "Stellvia". I must have forgotten to add the others to my rental queue at the time. No biggie, it was pretty easy to remember what everyone's role was since it's not that challenging a show. Supposedly the series is left wide open for a 2nd season, but news recently said that there won't ever be a 2nd season for some rather final reason. Anyway, seeing that news made me realize I hadn't seen it in a while, so I thought I'd continue giving it a chance. It's still not all that great, but it's got it's moments.

All told, though, I think I'd rather have new episodes of "Tsubasa Chronicle" for my Sunday mornings. Heh.

"Meine Liebe" episode 11 is out

Subject: Noir
Of course, most of you who still care probably already knew that...

Anyway, this episode has a pocketwatch and a bit o' "Final Guidance" in it. We're into the final (and maybe *first*) arc, so be prepared for a taste of "plot" as well. Heh.

Oh, and "Monster" episode 60 is finally available off of the AnimeSuki front page as well...

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Subject: Noir
The "Revolutionary Girl: Utena" finale. Disc 10.


Okay, so, it was about to end like the best ending ever*... And then, it was like, "Whaaa?". And then, it was like "Whoa."

I'm confused.

I've read about "love-hate" reactions to different series: some love it, some hate it. This is the first (anime) series that I both love and hate simultaneously.

It's something, all right. I probably need to watch it again to see if there are any clues early-on, but frankly, at this time, I really want to be done with it for a while. I think my frustration with it outweighs my curiousity.

I think the only way I'll buy it is if there's an "Eva"-like remastering. Like I've said before, I really appreciate the fact that it's "different", but...

I mean...


(* excluding a certain Bee Train series or two... yada yada yada...)

Holy Frack!

Subject: TV
"Battlestar Galactica" season 2, episode 5, is one of the best TV episodes of anything* I've seen in a long, long time.

Wow. Just wow.

(* well, excluding a certain Bee Train series or two which I don't need to name here. But still... Wow!)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The return of "Galact-oh-yeah"

Subject: TV
So tomorrow should bring the third episode of the second season of the remade series "Battlestar Galactica", and I'm quite enjoying it. Much like I did the first season. Unlike the cheesy Hollywood fare that I apparently can't stand (given my previous post), this one has a bit of a subversive charm to it. Even if it is really just more popcorn escapism. It just seems that someone with talent and a little vision is able to hold off the committee long enough to actually accomplish something. Yay for them!

I've also resumed watching "Startgate SG-1" after skipping it for a couple of years. Now the two leads from "Farscape" are in it, and everything's kind of different, but sort of the same, and, well... It's not too bad. Well, except for that smug "we-all-know-there's-a-real-God-though" tacked on after a long diatribe about how beings with powers are false gods, and whatnot. Totally lame, and reeked of the production execs trying to CYA.

Anyway, besides "The Daily Show", that's the only TV I've been watching. It's all dreck otherwise. And don't get me started on Al Gore's new network, "Current TV". Why he'd go and destroy the one remaining decent news channel and air something that's even lamer than MTV, well... It would figure.

"Spiderman 2"

Subject: Cinema
In a word:


If anything, it was lamer than the first one, the CG was even more obviously fake, and the whole "everyone's seen him without his mask including the girl*" smacked of "Batman 2", of which no-one shall speak of, under penalty of torture.

Anyway, Sam Raimi should go back to those "Evil Dead" movies and let this franchise die. Bleh.

(*not to mention the cheesy line "shouldn't someone get to save you?" Gah!)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

No "Tsubasa Chronicle" for a couple of weeks...

Subject: Noir
Just saw this in the AnimeSuki thread:
Because of a Japanese High School Baseball Tournament airing in place of Tsubasa Chronicle, there will be no new episode this week or next week, so Tsubasa Chronicle 18 will not air until August 20th.

My Sunday mornings just aren't the same without that to look forward to. *sniff*

Friday, August 05, 2005

Finally getting somewhere...

Subject: Noir
"Revolutionary Girl: Utena" disc 9, the second-to-last disc, is finally, finally starting to mean something.

I mean, yeah, it's still steeped in WTF-ness, but for once it's actually crafting the real rules of this f*'ed little universe instead of blathering and posing about it. Of course, there was plenty of (shirtless) blathering and (shirtless) posing, but at least there was something a little more relevatory going on.

The disc's title, of course, was "Revelations". It should have been "Skip to This Disc if You Want an Actual Story".

Well, okay, that's a little harsh. This damn series brings out the sarcastic SOB in me for some reason. And yet, I don't hate it. I'm just eternally annoyed by it. I still really appreciate just how "different" it is, but Geez Louise, it gets tiresome being beat about the head with blunt symbolism with no forward momentum to make it connect in any way. Though I still think that they've only gone and connected everything in parallel from the actual symbolism; so that symbolism is still a blunt-trauma force to smack you around, yet the "plot" is there kind of because it was really long overdue and it probably needed one eventually. Or something like that.

Anyway, one more disc and I can be done with this one! And it's shipping as of today, so I should be able to see it next week. And I do want to see just WTF is about to go down. Twisted though it may be.

"Comment Spam" warning

Someone's sticking unknown and untrustworthy links in anonymous comments around various blogs. Nothing new, but just a reminder to make absolutely certain that you don't click on any suspicious links. And if you see any posts like that which I might have missed, make sure you let me know!

"Avenger" box set retail price bumped-up a few bucks...

Subject: Noir
...according to AnimeOnDVD.

Goes from $30 to $35. I'm still in.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"A Very Long Engagement"

Subject: Cinema
Audrey Tatou returns as the lead, reprising her "Amelie" role in the recent DVD release of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film "A Very Long Engagement".

By "reprise" I mean that she's yet again the lead actress in a Jeunet film; not that the character, or the film for that matter, is the same as "Amelie".

But there are similarities.

Really, though -- these are different films. "Amelie" set in modern-day Paris is whimsical, almost frivolous; "Engagement" is set in the time shortly after World War I in France, with many a flashback to the nasty, foul, brutal trenches of that conflict. The entrancing Mme. Tatou plays a young woman who's fiance may or may not have been killed during a particular incident in said trenches, but she clings to hope that he is still alive. And sets out to unravel a mystery behind the events that occured.

So while the story, and the characters, are rather different, there's a lot of familiar technique to be found from "Amelie". The bits of connected "micro-histories" presented by the narrator, flashes of vintage film to illustrate certain points, the little quirks in the side-characters, and heck, even the whole sleuthing-and-clues aspect driving the story -- very similar, very familiar.

His earlier film, "The City of Lost Children", quirky and intersting that it is, doesn't quite fit the same mold. Though I suppose if I rewatch it again, maybe I'll spot something.

But at any rate, "Engagement" is still an amazingly wonderful bit of cinema. Captivating. Engrossing. The attention to detail, the texture... Fantastic. I'm really liking what Jeunet is doing, and it's getting to the point where I want to learn more about him.

And Mme. Audrey Tatou, should she be available, well... *blush*

Continuing saga, and revisitation

Subject: Noir
Since I'm taking a couple of "days off" (which means, I'm only working a little bit), I'm doing some rare "mid-week" watching.

First up, the latest episode of "Monster" (#59, I think). The current bodyguard arc continues, and there's a rather intense psychological moment in there that seems really simple on the surface, but the twistedness of what they're actually doing is really quite interesting. Again, if you haven't started this show, well... what are you waiting for??

Then I rounded off the evening by finishing my re-watch of disc 1 of "The Irresponsible Captain Tylor". I picked up the new box set once it was released early last month, and it's chock-full of extras (like a booklet with a Mashimo interview, which I'll be "reporting" on once I get the fansite rolling), and a lot of extra video and a music CD that I haven't even looked at yet. The main DVDs themselves aren't particularly improved over the originals -- the video is still kind of bleh, and no enhancements to the audio. The menus are a bit annoying, and it's easy to miss that there are actually seven episodes on the first disc.

Still, like I reviewed before, this is a charming, quirky show and I hope the second time through lets me pick up on anything I missed the first time around.

That's all for now. I'm hoping there's a copy of "Steamboy" at Blockbuster today so I can watch that tonight. Otherwise, I've got "Utena" disc 9, and another disc of "Nadia" to get through as well.

(Oh, and an episode of "Meine Liebe" to time! Forgot about that one, haven't ya?)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Subject: Noir
Okay, it's silly, but I want to start working "Hyuu!" into my everyday conversation. I mean heck, if Kurogane can start saying it, why shouldn't I? *ahem*

Of course, I'm talking about "Tsubasa Chronicle" episode 17, which I finally just got around to seeing.

First, here's what I hated, hated, hated: those damned "super-deformed" reaction shots. They. Do. Not. Fit. I know there's probably some big reasons why they're in there (kid's show, CLAMP property, whatever), but they just stick out clumsily in a Bee Train show and are more embarrasing than humorous.

Of course, I never really liked that sort of thing anyhow... Meh.

What I liked: the little clues of Syaoran's backstory. It hints at something really big and sinister behind all this -- which the creepy watcher guy hasn't really been able to provide thus far.

Anyway, that, and I'm really liking our 4 (well, okay, 4 1/2) main characters. I can't quite put my finger on it, but a word that pops into my head is "trustworthy". Interesting. Not exactly the first trait I'd list as an attribute of characters I'd like in fiction, but that little word-association exercise doesn't usually lie.

So, this week I'm happy with the series. Hopefully it will continue along that path.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Forgetting to follow up

Subject: Noir
Oh, right, I forgot to post about "Samurai Champloo".

Well, really there isn't an awful lot to post. It's still cool, it's still fun, it's still... well... going. Since disc 4 seems to be the start of the "2nd season", you can tell that some of the artwork has changed. Subtley. Fuu in particular looked a little off-model in a lot of shots. But not glaringly so; I only notice it because that sort of thing got drilled in my head back in school.

But beyond that, the journey continues, nothing really "advances" per se. But more intersting characters and scenarios. And a lot of fun moments.

I'm going to try and finally see the latest "Tsubasa" and "Monster" episodes this evening. That is, if I'm not caught up in working on the fansite like I was last night.

(no, there's no visible progress; I've got everything on my development box right now -- I'm going to overhaul it totally because I don't like where I was heading with the old design)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Quick news bits: "Tsubasa" 17 availability and "Avenger" trailer

Subject: Noir
First, "Tsubasa Chronicle" episode 17 is finally up, but supposedly the Scarywater tracker is having difficulties. So I dunno when you'd actually be able to get your hands on it. I'm trying at least; Azureus is managing to lock on to some of it.

While looking for screencaps, I stumbled upon Bandai USA's "Avenger" page, which has a link to the trailer. A taste of the English dub (and translations) can be heard.

Hmmm. Well, I'm not that big a "dub" fan anyhow. At least not after I've seen the original Japanese a few times... I just hope the subtitles will make some semblance of sense!