A young person’s guide to cyberspace


Yuko, newly arrived in Daikoku City with her impulsive little sister Kyoko, loses her dog Densuke when it chases an “illegal” — a sort of computer virus — through a hole in a fence into an “obsolete” cyberspace. Fumie’s business is retrieving lost cyberpets, and Yuko hires her to rescue Densuke. It’s a more difficult job than they anticipate.

Episode one of Denno Coil is the first episode of any of this season’s series that I watched a second time, which automatically makes it the coolest show currently being broadcast. In some respects, it really does seem like Serial Experiments Lain retold for youngsters. Virtual spaces are coincident with the everyday world, and one can open holes to the cyberspaces with “bug” spray. Children have cyberpets that look and behave like real dogs and cats but are visible only to those who wear special glasses. It is possible to pick up and hold these pets, and they can freely pass through the holes into cyberspaces. They don’t like it when you drop a backpack on/through them. Numerous small floating spheres constantly monitor Daikoku City for cybernetic breaches, blasting suspicious areas with a sort of ray.


The first episode is very promising. The characters have distinct, non-cliche personalities, and the Denno Coil universe is the most interesting I’ve come across recently. Whether Denno Coil remains cool depends in part in how carefully and consistently director and writer Mitsuo Iso works out the logic of the intersecting real and virtual worlds. It also depends on whether he has twenty-six episodes’ worth of story to tell. The character designs are simplified but serviceable (though the characters who wear visors instead of glasses look like they have pig noses), and the art and the animation are adequate. The background music sounds interesting when I’m aware of it.


“… a frustratingly unrealistic effort at creating balance and strategy”

The latest offering in the rapidly overflowing strategy genre is hard evidence that strategy games need a real overhaul, and fast. Chess, a small-scale tactical turn-based strategy game, attempts to adopt the age-old “easy to learn, difficult to master” parameter made popular by Tetris. But the game’s cumbersome play mechanics and superficial depth and detail all add up to a game that won’t keep you busy for long….


First Christian Church II. (When you don’t have a wonderful image, play with posterization and layers and other gimmicks.)

Truth in advertising

Let’s be brazen:


The offense is slightly mitigated by the fact that the fifth season never was licensed and thus there is no legitimate region 1 release. Still, usually it’s the “marketplace” dealers who sell bootlegs, not Amazon.com itself.

Update (5/22/07): Sailor Stars is “currently not available,” and the link above returns a 404.



According to historical costumers, a properly-fitted corset is quite comfortable. Evidentally, in Foreland the craft of corsetry has sadly declined.

After the over-the-top first episode, the second episode of Murder Princess is a bit of a let-down as the former bounty hunter ((What is it with bounty hunters, anyway? I would have thought that Cowboy Bebop adequately covered the subject, but they keep turning up everywhere. Half the characters in El Cazador are bounty hunters.)) discovers the challenges of palace life. It’s still quite watchable, though, and it’s hard to dislike a series in which the good guys look like this:


Continue reading “Notes”


You can legally download the first episode of Death Note for $2, which is not a bad deal, assuming that there is no limit on how many times you can play the file. However, as Astro discovered, if you’re on a Mac, you’re out of luck. You can only watch the show on a Windows machine. This is not mentioned on the download page; you have to do some clicking in the “support” menus to discover this. It looks like I’m going to wait a few months, or years, for the DVDs. I wonder if Viz will stick a mandatory Naruto trailer at the begining of the Death Note discs, as they do with Hikaru no Go.



The mystery echinocereus. It’s supposed to be E. dasyacanthus, but the flower doesn’t match the seed list description. (This is another instance where the camera doesn’t get the color quite right, though it’s closer than yesterday’s photo. The flowers are a slightly more purplish than they appear here. This goes for the ones in the header art, too.)



There’s a wisteria vine I pass when I go to work. In spring every year it becomes a solid wall of lavender. This year, however, the late freeze killed all the buds. The vine has come back, and it has even managed to produce a few racemes, though it’s a pitiful display compared to the usual spectacle. (The camera has difficulty accurately capturing some shades; the flowers are less blue and more violet than in the picture.)