Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring 2009 Anime?

Well, I've glanced quickly at the series that are about to start in the next few weeks, and besides Phantom, I guess I'm only going to give Gonzo's Shangri-La a try.

Artwork by Range Murata evokes my nostalgia for Last Exile, and a soft spot for Gonzo shows that attempt to "go epic". And the animation in the very brief preview looks pretty good. I'm also going to give it a go via Crunchyroll, which will be streaming it at 720p within hours of it's Japanese airing. 2 weeks free trial of that "anime service", then it's for-pay at a price they don't say up-front. But I figure it's time to put my money where my mouth is: I want to see exactly that kind of service and I'd be willing to pay for it. If the stream is good. And if it doesn't cost too much for just the one show I'm going to watch right now.

(and if the show lives up to expectations...)

Production I.G.'s Eden of the East was tempting until I saw how the manga-y bits in the trailer -- a lot of attention paid to backgrounds and wide shots, but nothing much unique about the character expressions. I will probably still give it a chance at some point, because it still seems better-produced than most everything else. But I'm not going to go out of my way.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Michiko to Hatchin ended a little while back, and I didn't have the chance to watch the last 4 or so episodes until just now.

Have I mentioned that I love this show?

It's flawed. So what? I still love it.

There are aspects of the animation that are crude and clumsy, even until the end. Yet there are cuts that are brilliant and perfect. And the art direction is tremendously spot-on, with a sensuous attention to detail and a scintallating use of color.

And the characters... Even the side characters are lively and fun, despite the occasional lapse into cliche. Our leads, though, are a tremendous presence, with noted screen stars doing the voices, as opposed to the usual anime dub artists (who have a following of their own, of course). That presence is nothing without the character design and animation (and "fashion-of-the-week") artistry from the different studios and animators involved. It was subtle but obvious that there were many players doing their part in this, and it added to the enjoyment from my perspective. I hope I can find out more about "who did what" someday.

The writing, well, again, it had it's moments, but in a "journey is greater than the destination" sense. Which I enjoyed quite a bit. There were homages, tropes, shortcuts, and cliches, and yet there was an ultimate sense of the "moment" when it was important to feel something. It was a fine ride.

The best and most unique part of the whole series -- the sort of thing that is the polar opposite of what you typically find in Japanese shows -- is that there was a distinct feminine perspective to many of those "moments". It's hard for me, a crotchety old bachelor, to put my rhetorical finger on it, but it was pretty clear in a few clear sequences that there was definitely a woman's perspective behind it. Certain gestures, expressions, reactions... you never see these little touches in most any other anime to this point. Or much of any animation for that matter (except probably Persepolis or various indie shorts). It make the whole series a little more honest and true, despite its little indulgences into genre homage and trope-a-liciousness.

I really hope this one gets a decent licensing deal. Sign me up for Blu-ray discs the moment they come out! It would be awesome if it made it a wider audience through some sort of TV syndication. But I fear it might be a bit too quirky around the edges to cross over... We'll see.

(Oh, and I wanted to make a crack about Shinchiro Wantanbe seeming to want to be a DJ more than he wants to be an animator, but damnit, the music was excellent and fun and who can fault him for his contribution here?? *grin*)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Straight outta TAF

I haven't researched much about either of these yet (especially the "when?"), but the TAF shaky-cam trailers look promising when added to what little info I've heard so far:

CENCOROLL, a solo effort?

Summer Wars, brought to you by the talent from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time; something about a rural town defending itself from an invasion by the internet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The end of Galact-oh-yeah...

The ending is a spoiler-rich environment, and yet, maybe a futility-rich one as well.

Not to say I didn't thoroughly enjoy it, because I did. But as I've admitted before, I'm rather easy.

There's quite a bit left unanswered, but overall that's okay. Even with the fact that they tried to introduce new history-via-flashback and tried to shift the previous years' prophecies on to these final buildup, it really did bring some emotional closure; some fine moments, through the extended denoument (and by "extended" I do mean extended).

When you see it, it won't be too much of a surprise. It's closure, after all. Throw in a few bars of the original '70s Galactica theme and it's all forgiven, right?

Like I said, I'm easy. I loved the many moments, buildups, journeys, and projections they threw at us here at the end, and I don't feel any particular loose end worth tugging at. The look and atmosphere has always been superb (the HD broadcast particularly so), and I will never fault this series on it's flair. No siree.

Without spoilers, there's not much more I can think of to say, except "farewell". There'll be the Caprica prequel series, and supposedly another special in the fall about "the Plan" the Cylons had, but otherwise, this one is done and gone.

I enjoyed it, it didn't change my world, and it's done. Moar pleeze!

Monday, March 16, 2009



...I finally read the comic after all these years when I was in Portland. The NYT review said the movie was probably aimed at adult males who were 1) sophmores in college in the mid/late 80's, 2) had a large record collection, and 3) didn't collect comic books but had a roommate who did. I was like, "hey, that's me!"

...haven't seen the movie though. I'll probably Netflix the BluRay right away though.

Monday, March 09, 2009

My HTPC is dead.

I was going to put the title "Kirika is dead" for this post (I named my computers after the women in Noir, of course), but I thought it would be a bit troll-tastic.

The morning after returning from my trip, I was about to settle in on the couch and catch up with any fansubs and websurfing I hadn't done all week, when I hit the power button on the remote and nothing happened. No spin-up, no POST, nothing. It had been running almost non-stop since Christmas, which isn't unusual for it, and I've had it off for a week on those occasions I take trips, but this time, dead. *sad*

I've ordered a temporary cheap power supply to see if that is the issue (I've tried a dozen other things including the CMOS battery), and then my final attempt will be to totally dismantle it and try to rebuild bit by bit. But if the motherboard has finally given up, I'll be quite sad, as I'm well-invested in all of the equipment on it, and all of the new equipment uses different interfaces. Which means new all-around. *sigh*

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Yet another BTF outage

The forum is down yet again, due to a couple of failures over at the hosting provider. It will probably be back in the next few hours.

UPDATE: Looks like everything's finally back, much to everyone's relief...