Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The pinnacle of Mashimo-ness

Subject: Noir
It's decided -- I definitely want to marathon "Noir" tomorrow.

I spent an hour or so making sure the calibration of my new set (and subwoofer!) were more or less correct. I want to do a bit of a "warmup" this evening. I was considering blasting through the last few discs of "MADLAX", but I'm kind of waffling on that. Mainly because I'm not really in the mood for cooking up a batch of pasta (though I have all of the necessary components at the ready and standing by).

Still, I figured a great test of my new configuration would be to fire up episode 1. The controversial, love-it-or-hate-it episode 1. I, of course, being in the "love-it" camp. *grin* At any rate, it's got a lot of great color variety and different lighting (particularly moody-dark) and it makes for a good indicator of how my components are calibrated. And in some ways, that's probably a bad idea, because I'm not entirely sure if the flaws I do see are in the disc encoding, or my (very expensive) source player. (I looked at the Japanese disc and it's the same -- in the cave with Peter, there's some noticable banding on his face, so it's nothing ADV did).

That said, I had to balance between looking for issues, and actually watching the damned episode! And once I did, the ol' grin on my face returned, as I was reminded once again why I really, really enjoy this series. And Mashimo's team's approach. There are wonderful bits of high-quality, subtley-detailed animation throughout. The proportion, the gravity, the perspective -- all very natural and very complete. Top that off with the beautiful color design and art direction, and the purposeful and solid cinematics that have always been his hallmark, and it's no wonder that watching this so soon after discovering "Noir" cemented my sudden obsession.

It probably explains why I've felt so distant from more recent lackluster offerings, making me restless and agitated and maybe experiencing a bit of withdrawl or post-partum depression during the decline. So to combat that, I'm taking the opportunity to take a few days away from the office, and I'm going to marathon "Noir" just like I said I would.

But back to episode 1 of "MADLAX"... Early reviews were rather mixed; some appreciated the over-the-topness, but most everyone else was all "WTF", expecting a sort of hyper-accuracy -- or at least plausability -- that could be ascribed to "Noir". Madlax taking out a whole platoon at a distance with pistols? Taking out an attack helicopter with her eyes closed?? Knowing the whole story, it's actually the most informative and logical introduction to the world of the show. But I can see how some wouldn't be able to suspend disbelief enough to get past that. Even though the animation and art direction and everything else made for such gorgeous eye candy.

But shot-for-shot, word-for-word, pan-to-pan and rack-to-track, the episode was meticulously executed, and a fantastic example of the power of the medium despite the budget of a series format, given the time and the talent and the tools. As a Technique Whore™, I'm endlessly enthralled.

So that leaves me with what to watch this evening as a "warm-up" for tomorrow's "Valen-Noir's Day" marathon attempt... More "MADLAX"? A little "Avenger"? Maybe some favorite episode samples from various shows? Hmm. Maybe I should just stop blogging and just start watching...


Unknown said...

Dude, what the hell...60 inch HDTV?! I want to come to your house...

Fellini 8.5 said...

Heh. Though it's slightly less impressive when you consider that my previous HDTV was 56"...

Still, it's rather sweet. :)