Rococo and roll

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Some years back I read Novala Takemoto’s Shimotsuma Story, published in English as Kamikaze Girls. I wrote about it here. I finally watched the movie based on the book this evening. Some of the humor was overly broad, and there were some gratuitous crudities early on, but overall this movie about a very odd couple was watchable and often very funny. Kyoko Fukuda and Anna Tsuchiya were plausible as Momoko the lolita and Ichiko the yanki. The story was necessarily simplified, but it was generally true to what I remember of the book.

There are more screen captures beneath the fold. Click the pictures to see the details of Momoko’s garb.

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Calendar girls

Girls und Panzer

It’s time to order next year’s calendars. I found a number of possibilites here, notably Girls und Panzer and Hozuki no Reitetsu. Others of note include Cardcaptor Sakura, World Conquest Zvezda Plot, Arpeggio of Blue Steel, Hyperdimension Neptunia, Natsume Yujincho‘s Nyanko and the third Madoka Magica movie.

There’s plenty else there — lots of cheesecake, hundred of dogs, Mt. Fuji, Naruto and similar franchises, all the usual stuff. There are also curiosities like the Karel Capek calendar, which is about tea, not robots or newts; the lifestyles disease prevention calendar; and, the maritime self-defense force calendars, both male and female.

Kiss kiss attack

Pupipo

Pixy invoked Haibane Renmei in his post on PuPiPo. Pete also was impressed. I’ve watched the series of fifteen four-minute episodes twice now, and I’ll probably watch it again. I’m not going to discuss it in any detail; it suffices to note that it is funny and poignant, and that there are indeed parallels with the tale of the charcoal feathers. Instead, here are some screencaps.

Wakaba

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Sword and twintails

Tails

There might be several shows worth watching this fall, after several seasons of slim pickings.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis

The protagonist of Madan no Ou to Vanadis is an archer and honorable noble from a minor province in a corrupt kingdom. He is captured on the battlefield by a “war maiden,” who dislikes boring battles, and who doesn’t wear armor, or much else. It’s too soon to tell where the story is going; my guess is that Tigre will have to choose between his homeland in the decadent kingdom of Brune, and the apparently more healthy kingdom of Zhcted where the bright and comely war maiden lives. The series is written and directed by Tatsuo Sato, the man man responsible for Shingu and Mouretsu Pirates, two of my favorite shows. It looks a bit boobalicious for my taste, but I expect that Sato will tell a good story. There are screencaps below the fold.

Aside: Repeat after me: Critics. Are. Idiots. Exclamation point. For example, here’s what the jackasses at ANN wrote about Vanadis.

Amagi Brilliant Park could very well be the first Kyoto Animation series I watch all the way through since Suzumiya Haruhi I. The protagonist, an abrasive, narcissistic former child actor, is drafted, at gunpoint, to reform a decrepit amusement park lest the fairies who live there lose their homes. Although Seiya is an unpleasant character as the story begins, the writer is careful not to make him repulsive, and the fairies are not the cloyingly sweet sort that bore children and nauseate adults. Two episodes in, it looks like it will be at least good.

In Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu, a high school boy with a fascination for girls with paired ponytails becomes a warrior in a powered suit with twintails himself. It’s as silly as it sounds. It might be fun, as long as it doesn’t turn stupid and the writers quit with all the double-entendres. There are screen caps below the fold.

Gugure! Kokkuri-san

Gugure! Kokkuri-san is the oddest show I’ve seen in quite some time. A little girl who lives alone declares that she is a doll. She summons a fox spirit with a Japanese variant of a ouija board, and Kokkuri, the fox, decides to haunt her, i.e., be her guardian. Sometimes Kohina, the girl/doll, is drawn as a human, sometimes as a doll. I think it’s intended to be a cutesy comedy, but it’s a rather unsettling one. Probably during the course of the series Kohina will gradually become more human while acquiring other supernatural friends, but there’s a danger that the show could lurch into something like the final episode of Bottle Fairy. There are screencaps below the fold.

Update: Gugure! Kokkuri-san is off my watch list and is not recommended.

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Pity they’re not real

Extreme botany

If those were actual inflorescences of Amorphophallus titanum and Rafflesia arnoldii, Seiya and Isuzu would be treated to the gentle aromas of dimethyl trisulfide, dimethyl disulfide, trimethylamine, isovaleric acid, benzyl alcohol, phenol, indole and other distinctively fragrant molecules.

It’s just possible that Amagi Brilliant Park is that rare thing, a KyoAni show worth watching.

A courteous invitation

So modest

Briefly bespectacled

Marii

A not-quite-random screen capture from Joshiraku. Pete isn’t the only one who finds the show compulsively re-watchable, though of necessity I stick with the fansub.

(Dammit, WordPress Safari, when I type “fansub,” I don’t mean “fan sub.” Don’t harass me with your expletive-deleted autocorrect.)

Update: a few more screencaps:

Eat

The rest of the cast …

Luchador girl

… and one more.

Liquid

I recently encountered liquid celery. I hope I never do again.

Funiculi, Funicula

Duce

The Girls und Panzer OVA has finally been subtitled, though it apparently hasn’t hit the torrent sites yet. In it, Miho and her comrades face the girls of Anzio. They’re an enthusiastic crew who’d rather fight than eat, and vice versa. ((Yeah, I’m ripping off S.J. Perelman here.)) Anzio has a bunch of cute, but pesky, little tanks, plus one that’s not so cute. Tank otaku Yukari gets a chance to shine, and we learn more about Caesar of the military history obsessives.

The ending is never in doubt, but that hardly matters. The Anzio OVA is the most purely fun of any Girls und Panzer episode, and is worth tracking down if you enjoyed the original series.

There are additional screencaps below the fold. Steven has many more in his rather spoilerous post.

Incidentally, if you’d like to introduce sensha-dou to your local high school, there’s an auction that might interest you. (Via AoSHQ.)

Update: The “loligeddon” sub makes much more sense than the “AK-Submarine” one that I first watched, and it looks better, too.

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That darn cat

Usagi meets Luna
Usagi meets Luna

A few notes on The Return of the Revenge of the Son of the Bride of Sailor Moon, Fit the First:

• The opening theme for Sailor Moon is “Moonlight Densetsu.” Period. Anything else is wrong, particularly if it involves Momoiro Clover Z.

• Kotono Mitsuishi is Sailor Moon — that is, the Kotono Mitsuishi of 20 years ago. Now she’s in her mid-forties. She’s still one of the best voice actresses in the business, but you can hear the strain in her voice as she tries to sound like a fourteen-year-old

• The first episode of the rebooted anime follows what I remember of the original fairly closely. The differences are mostly improvements. Mamoru isn’t quite as insufferable as he was the first time, for instance, though he’s still a pompous twit.

• Usagi’s bawling has potential as an offensive weapon.

• The art looks vastly better than in the original anime. The character designs have been tweaked to follow the manga style more closely, which is a plus overall. Unfortuntely, it also tends to emphasize the bug-eyes.

I will punish you

Should you watch it? If you are a Sailor Moon obsessive or are interested in mahou shoujo/sentai team hybrids, it’s worth sampling. Most other viewers will find it rather silly. I might watch more, or I might not.

Eyecatch

Did we land, or were we shot down?

Miscellaneous links and nonsense:

David Bentley Hart, from the May 2014 First Things:

Journalism is the art of translating abysmal ignorance into execrable prose.

A look at brilliant, psychotic Joe Meek, who changed the sound of music.

Stereogram

Stereo pictures from WWI. A couple of notes: stereograms made for hand-held viewers use the parallel method of viewing, not the crossed-eye. I.e., the right eye focuses on the right image, the left eye on the left. It is possible to free-fuse the images, though it is easier done than explained. Let your eyes relax and drift apart until the images of a well-defined region in the pictures, such a the bright sky through the roof in the above image pair, start to overlap. Focus on that region until the images snap together, and you should then be able to see the entire scene in perspective. (You’ll need to sit back at least two feet from the monitor if you want to see the full-size images at the link in stereo.)

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Wilhelm Reich does mecha

The accumulators are going to be overloaded

From episode one of Captain Earth, yet another ridiculous adolescents and mecha show that I made the mistake of sampling.

The Al Gore effect intensifies

From episode one of The Irregular at Magic High School, which looks like it will involve class warfare of a sort in one more damned high school story.

I might watch more of the latter show, or I might not. The only shows this spring that interest me are Ping Pong, because of Masaaki Yuasa, and Mushishi, because it’s Mushishi.

Update: Ubu has read the books on which The Irregular at Magic High School is based and found them “really good, fairly deep.” I probably will watch more.

Notes from saccharine sweet hell

A question of taste

My minimum standard for singing is Hatsune Miku. If a vocalist can’t sing at least as well as software, he has no business near a microphone. Similarly, I can define a minimum standard for art: if an artist can’t paint or sculpt at least as well as Hozuki no Reitetsu‘s Nasube, he needs to master his craft before exhibiting his efforts. If his works are easily mistaken for trash by the cleaning staff, they’re not art. ((John C. Wright: “Go into a modern art museum and look at the trash on the walls. Bomb the museum. Go back through the wreckage and see if you or anyone can see any change.”))

Art

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