Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bee Train Fan is down temporarily

...though it's apparently been down for hours. Bleh.

The web host had a planned power outage last night, and the latest status is that they had some hardware failure when it came back. So pretty much everything they host is down. *sigh*

Anyway, the wiki was apparently already down too, so whenever everything comes back up (and I actually wake up), it looks like I've got some work to do...

MONDAY UPDATE: Well, I never really woke up yesterday... Still, it was down for most of the day, and right now, it's still sporadically flaky. Some database server connection problems, probably. Anyhow, the wiki is fixed, and a few components are upgraded, so it's just a matter of waiting for the stupid hosting to sort itself out.

Friday, February 23, 2007

"El Cazador" air date: April 2nd?

Subject: Noir
As linked, the official site has news about the show's start date.

Or it's when the trailer will air. Or a special. Can't really tell because the text blurb is in the image and I can't use the translator on it. It's like they know I'm watching.... *sigh*

Also, one thing I'm not clear on is that it says "25:30" for the time, and I can't remember if that means 1:30AM on the Sun-Mon overnight, or the Mon-Tue overnight. I think it's the Mon-Tue, which would be similar to "MADLAX" way back when.

Keep your eye on the 'Fan for clarified info...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More character art on the "El Cazador" official site

Subject: Noir
I've been crazy-busy, so everyone else seems to have scooped me. Argh!

Basically it's the art we saw in the scan, plus some more head-shot detail. Good stuff.

I don't have any time tonight to mess with machine translations, so hopefully everyone over on the 'Fan will work out what they're saying, if there's anything new.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

TV-licious?

Subject: TV
Well, I've accumulated a couple of weeks of plain ol' TV without having much time to comment on it, and really, not much inspiration to comment about either.

"Galac-oh-yeah" skipped Super Bowl Sunday, so there's only been last Sunday's continuation. A bit more on the soapbox than usual, though like I've noted before, this show has been all about the soapbox. Seemed a little more forced this week, with the racist-plague-mystery plot breaking zero new ground. But, I guess we have a slight bit of character advancement for Helo and... no, I can't use her "new" name without gagging, so I'll just call her "Friendly Boomer". Yeah, that'll do.

"Heroes" post-Super Bowl was mostly weak, with the whole George Takei cameo turning into a rather lame sidetrack that didn't serve much purpose at all. The only interesting things were involving our other guest star, Christopher Eccleston, who was still storming around sarcastically, and who played into the little "gotcha" at the end as someone who's well known by the paper-company dude. Even the escape of Sylar wasn't much of a payoff.

But this most recent episode from Monday rocked a lot harder, it seemed. We had Evil Twin Niki as a sharp-dressed girl-with-gun assassin babe. And Hiro vs. the Amazon Showgirl (spoiler: Hiro loses, go figure...). And we learn that the Flying Petrelli Brother is Hayden Planetarium's father, winding the spirals around the characters even tighter. Oh, and then Sylar manages to dupe Suresh, which means wacky hijinks are about to ensue.

So I guess I'm still glued to that show.

I'm about to be involuntarily un-glued to "Studio 60". Turns out it's "going on hiatus" for an undetermined amount of time starting in March. And I suppose it's for the best. I'm a bit annoyed that Danny's psuedo-stalker persistance routine actually worked, because that's pretty seriously unrealistic. Though the character interactions & dialogue have been pretty well done during and since. Then, through most of the most recent episode, we're subjected to flashbacks, Luke-Perryvision style. Matt is supposed to be the younger-Matt because, get this, he wears a baseball cap. Ha ha. Still better than a lot of TV, but I guess I'll hang tight until a "re-tooling" comes about. If at all.

Finally, "Rome" has been marching relentlessly into epic history, which is surprising given just how seemingly claustrophobic all of the settings seem. Which is part of the charm, I figure. When I commented earlier about Octavian's character looking different and older, well, that was just the young actor aging despite the story timeline not -- but now, because of the passage of story timeline accellerated, an actually different looking Octavian appears. He's now a victorious general at the age of 19, and when we first see him in his tent with his close advisors, it's like he went and started some sort of proto-imperial college-radio emo rock band. Hi-larious. But also very effective at communicating just how young these guys are. And when they march back to Rome, and Octavian manuevers Cicero into making him Consul, the sharp turn from inexperienced-looking youth to menacing and calculating wolves is even more effective.

And what of our two heroes? Well, they're reunited, of course, and otherwise hanging tight in the narrative background, it seems. The dramatic focus has been on the grand political scheming and the impending return of Brutus, and our lads haven't quite been able to match up to that like they did during Julius Ceasar's earlier escapades. But I'm sure they'll be back in the forefront once all the competing forces approach their impending collision.

Spider Riders season 2 in Japan in April?

Subject: Noir
Just saw over on Makoto's blog that there's news of Spider Riders starting up again in Japan. It's been chugging along in Canada, and the US has re-premiered the 1st season, and there's all kinds of news here and there about it showing up in Latin America and Italy et al, and it's online video game seems to get a lot of comments on different forums, so I guess there's hope for it after all.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Staring into the eyes of the beast

Subject: Cinema
Well, actually, I wish Peter Jackson's "King Kong" were as dramatic as that.

But despite the construct of lame contrivances that dragged this attempt-at-epic on for hours, there were still some rather well-produced moments. And most all of those were because all the real work was done with the eyes.

In particular, Kong's eyes were outstanding. And no doubt, seeing as millions were spent finessing them. I remember reading that the eyes were the focus (ha ha) of the animators' attention, and it really did pay off. They could throw all the mo-cap in the world at a giant hairy CG gorilla, but the life and suspension of disbelief totally relied on two shiny-wet little orbs stuck in his forehead.

And the only redeeming parts of the rest of the live, non-CG cast were the interaction vis-a-vis their eyes as well. So the "eyes" have it, then.

On the whole, though, the movie was just a drawn-out psuedo-extravaganza where you could just watch the $$ being drained in every frame. Granted, that led to a number of really cool and grand shots that looked quite stunning in HDTV, the best culminating in the depression-era Empire State Building view of the surrounding skyline at sunrise. Indeed, the use of CG and FX work has reached quite a pinnacle. But that's all offset by some of the totally dorky contrived sequences like the big dinosaur stampede, the dual-Tyrannosaur battle-royal scene that just wouldn't end, or the super-icky giant cockaroach scene that just wouldn't end either.

And then all of it was framed in a rather obvious tie-in to the grand days of Hollywood, vs. the crass mechanics of Hollywood producers & moneymen, vs. the cynical attempt at a self-depricating spoof of the shameless self-interested masquerade of someone in the biz, like Mr. Jackson himself. Jack Black is obviously cast because of his faux-Orson-Wellesian portrayal, but ultimately just symbolizes the parade of simplistic symbolism that each character, well, symbolizes. The script overall seems to be looking to score culture points more than provide any sort of depth.

Does that make it some sort of clever homage to the Golden Era Hollywood it sort of lampoons? Well, probably. I mean, it is a "King Kong" remake, for crying out loud! Of course Peter Jackson is going to give it a big nod. But by the time this current iteration of Big Hollywood got done with it, it sure seems a bit thin and lacking any sort of punch. That is, if Jackson meant for it to have any "punch" in the first place.

"El Cazador" character designs in latest NewType Japan

Subject: Noir
Makoto posts a scan of the latest "El Cazador" images. Here 'tis:


(click for full version)

More discussion over on Bee Train Fan, I'm sure.

UPDATE: From AnimeSuki, "El Cazador" manga?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"El Cazador" official site updated...

Subject: Noir
...including a Character page with images.

Here's the Google translations; I'm sure there'll be better ones floating around in no time:
Ellis (CV: Shimizu love)

The girl who arranges as the suspect of physicist Heintz Schneider murder.
The enormous prize gold is applied in reverse side society.
It is said that it ceased to exist in far former times, it has DNA “of the witch”, but as for the ability being unanticipated, imperfection.
In order to verify the truth of incident, faint memory you search your own home in depending, face to south.

Nadei (CV: Itoh quiet)

Woman prize income of one wolf. Drifter. Regularly using the colt government of 45 apertures which become old.
We would like to do suddenly, it comes and handle and others and with Ellis it means to aim toward south.
  You have dressed up the self-indulgent optimism person, but it was attacked the home in some person, one person survived simply
With it has the past when you say.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"El Cazador" cast info!

Subject: Noir
...via Moonphase (and translation from Moetron), BTF member Fignae posted the latest cast info over on Bee Train Fan. Here 'tis:
> オープニング曲:「光の行方」savage genius
> エンディング曲:「romanesque」FictionJunction YUUKA
> エリス:清水愛
> ナディ:伊藤静
> ジョディ・ヘイワード:久川綾
> ダグラス・ローゼンバーグ:三宅健太
> エル・エー:宮野真守
> ハインツ・シュナイダー:三木眞一郎
> リカルド:立木文彦

* Opening Theme: “Hikari no Yukue” - savage genius
* Closing Theme: “romanesque” - FictionJunction YUUKA
* Ellis: (Shimizu Ai)
* Nadi: (Itou Shizuka)
* Jodie Hayward: (Hisakawa Aya)
* Douglas Rosenberg: (Miyake Kenta)
* L.A: (Miyano Mamoru)
* Heinz Schneider: (Miki Shinichiro)
* Ricardo: (Tachiki Fumihiko)

Out of 'em all, only Aya Hisakawa is the only Girl With a Gun carried over from our previous two favorites, which is kind of sad. However, I have some speculation about that based on a couple of things I've read a while back. But I'll get to it later; I'm actually at work right now. *cough*

Anyway, more info over on the 'Fan, as the fans find it! *grin*

UPDATE: Okay, here's some food for speculation, which I just posted on the forum. Back in October of '05 when we were speculating about what the 3rd series might be, one of the forum members posted a rumor that came directly from Monica Rial's mouth at that year's Anime Expo:
I heard about a possible Noir - Madlax crossover when I attended the Anime Expo in Anaheim, CA earlier this year. I was fortunate enough to get the chance to get Monica Rial's autograph and asked her why she had no involvement with Madlax. She told me they did not want any of the main voice actors in Noir to be in Madlax due to the rumors of the cross over show. She wasn't quite sure how it would be done since Madlax was primarily set in a fictitious region, but was looking forward to returning to the role of Kirika.

More recently, in the AnimeOnDVD thread about "El Cazador", there was this, from member "Nork 22":
Ah so this is the series that will have cameos of the girls from Noir and Madlax. Well that's what Matt Greenfield told me last year.

So... does this validate anything? No, not really. But there's now that possibility (and I'm not sure what I feel about it...).

Oh, and the other possibility is that ADV may already has this pre-licensed. Which means no legit fansubs, if they announce it. Hrm.

(It also might mean a swift DVD release. Which would be nice.)

"5 Centimeters per Second"

Subject: Noir
Makoto Shinkai, the solo-working prodigy who brought us "Voices of a Distant Star" & "The Place Promised in Our Early Days", has apparently been working on a new project, "5 Centimeters per Second". Which I've only sort of vaguely remembered hearing anything about. Go figure.

Well, ANN posted the official site link (click the title; it's in Japanese of course), and that the site says there's going to be a screening in March. So maybe there's hope of seeing it here in the States by the end of the year? Dunno.

Anyway, I like his approach so far; very simple and elegant. And the fact that he's able to do so much of it on his own (though I don't know the details behind the production of this one as to whether he's continuing the trend or not) is pretty good evidence that there are a lot of good tools out there to enable somebody with talent to get their "vision" out there independently.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Same ol'.

Subject: TV
Crazy-busy these past couple of weeks thanks to a last-minute rush at work. I'm hoping for some sporadic down-time starting Saturday, but I've got a lot of catching-up on the stuff I've been ignoring. Bleh.

Thanks to the miracle of DVR technology, I was able to squeeze in my "final four" shows over the week, and honestly, there's not an awful lot to say about any of them.

Well, except on "Heroes", where George Takei shows up as Hiro's father. I started laughing so hard, I think I pulled a muscle. Oh, and the "invisible guy" isn't that guy from Genesis at all, but actually Christopher Eccleston, the first post-modern Doctor from "Doctor Who". Totally blew right by me; I only realized it after I read it somewhere. Unfortunately, the show itself isn't scoring a lot of "fun" points, instead heading more into tedium-ville.

That's about it, though. I think I was more inclined to write about "Galactica" when I got to watch it with a few beers on the weekend; this Sunday night thing blows in that regard. *Sigh*