There’s one episode left in ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Department, which will determine whether the show is an analysis of federalism or the tale of a bureaucrat who would be king. It deserves more comment than I have time and patience for right now. For further information, see M.O.’s brief discussion of the show at its midpoint here (beware of spoilers). Here are few screencaps for the post I’m not writing.
ACCA is the only series of the winter season I managed to watch more than a couple of episodes of (other than the short Nobunaga no Shinobi). Nothing announced for the spring or summer seasons has caught my attention. However, in October there will be a new series based on Keiichi Sigsawa’s Kino no Tabi books. The original series is a minor classic and is on the short list of anime to recommend to people who think they don’t like anime. Now, would someone please license the books for North America, this time for real?
One of the many shows I don’t plan to watch this fall is ClassicaLoid. ANN describes it thus:
The story follows high school students Kanae and Sōsuke, who live in a provincial town that is trying to revitalize itself with music. One day, suddenly “Classicaloid” versions of Beethoven and Mozart appear in front of Kanae and Sōsuke. When the suspicious-looking Classicaloids play music they call “mujik,” it has a strange power: stars start to fall, and giant robots appear. Now every day is tumultuous. Eventually, more Classicaloids start to appear such as Bach, Chopin, and Schubert. What is the great power that the Classicaloids have? Are they friends or foe to humanity?
The show’s music will include pop, rock, techno, and other arrangements of famous classical works, arranged by well-known Japanese musicians. The official website states that the show will also feature “battles, slapstick comedy, heartwarming stories, and light love(?).”
It sounds dumb, and while you are welcome to do what you like with Liszt and Tchaikowsky, I don’t appreciate anyone monkeying around with Chopin.
One of the composers victimized is a certain Bądarzewska. I’d never heard of this person, so I did a little searching and discovered that the composer is presumably Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska. She wrote a piano piece called “The Maiden’s Prayer.” From Wikipedia:
Percy Scholes, writes in The Oxford Companion to Music (9th edition, reprinted 1967) rather unkindly of Bądarzewska: “Born in Warsaw in 1838 [sic] and died there in 1861, aged twenty-three [sic]. In this brief lifetime she accomplished, perhaps, more than any composer who ever lived, for she provided the piano of absolutely every tasteless sentimental person in the so-called civilised world with a piece of music which that person, however unaccomplished in a dull technical sense, could play. It is probable that if the market stalls and back-street music shops of Britain were to be searched The Maiden’s Prayer would be found to be still selling, and as for the Empire at large, Messrs. Allen of Melbourne reported in 1924, sixty years after the death of the composer, that their house alone was still disposing of 10,000 copies a year.”
The composition is a short piano piece for intermediate pianists. Some have liked it for its charming and romantic melody, and others have described it as “sentimental salon tosh”. The pianist and academic Arthur Loesser described it as a “dowdy product of ineptitude.”
You can listen to the piece here, and Bob Wills’ version here.
The only current show that I’m following is Mob Psycho 100. Though less overtly comic than One Punch Man, it has much of the same sensibility, with a similar contrast of naiveté and cynicism, and with a similar satirical edge.
I gave up on Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress half-way through the first episode. Pixy stuck it out and reports that it is
Completely implausible. These people are so dumb the zombies would starve to death.
At one point in Summer Wars (recommended), a list of people who solved a puzzle in the movie is displayed. While rewatching the movie recently, I spotted a familiar name. You might find other names of interest, variously misspelled.
Most of Satoshi Kon’s works are long out of print and are generally only available at extortionate prices or through irregular channels. However, Paramount Pictures is currently streaming Millennium Actress, his most approachable movie, for free. That’s it above.
A note on current events in the Catholic Church: everything you read in the secular press is complete and absolute BS. Don’t believe anything you read. I suggest checking in occasionally with Elizabeth Scalia if you want an informed perspective.
Gee, it’s summer already, and I haven’t yet finished ignoring the spring anime season. Is there anything coming up that’s worth my attention? Let’s see. Moyashimon Returns and Dog Days’, probably. I might check out Sword Art Online, Joshiraku and Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (Humanity Has Declined), ((Speaking of decline ….)). And that’s all that looks even slightly interesting.
Out of morbid curiosity, I watched fifteen minutes of Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse. Pros: Girls in skin-tight uniforms. Cons: Everything else.
I did watch the first episode of Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi all the way through. The art is low-budget but pretty. It looks like the emphasis of the storytelling will be on romantic intrigues, which is not of great interest to me. What did catch my eye was the botany in the opening, in particular what looked like Epiphyllum hybrids. This is curious, because the parent cactus species come from Central American jungles and were not likely to have been cultivated in 13th-century Japan.
I recently finished the first season of Dog Days, by the way, and it was good. I wish I could recommend it for youngsters, but there is a little too much fanservice.
I also finished Soul Eater, finally. At the two-third’s point, it looked like it was going to be a very good series, with Vast Conspiracies Revealed at the end, and Everything Explained and the World Put to Rights. But the plots fizzled out, and the rest of the show ended up being mostly just a lot of fighting.
Which is not to say that it’s a bad show. It is always entertaining, with effortless transitions between violent action, horror and farce. It just could have been more.
Fred Himebaugh, a.k.a. “The Fredösphere,” who once wrote a jazz chamber opera using Terry Bisson’s “They’re Made Out of Meat” as the libretto, has unleased his idea of a pop song upon an defenseless world. “Earth Girl” is an a capella celebration of interplanetary romance. The performers are not credited; I presume they are Fred, Fred, Fred and Fred. Frëd is some kind of genius; what kind, I hesitate to say. It’s available at Amazon.com.
It’s spring preview time again. As usual, little looks worthwhile. C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control is directed by Kenji Nakamura, who previously did Mononoke and Trapeze. Even if the story makes no sense, the visuals should be entertaining. I’ll probably also sample Moshidora to see if it’s possible to make management interesting. I might see how Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera compares to the original. The preview looks true to Go Nagai: too childish for adults, too pervy for kids.
There are times when I would swear that every man, woman and child in Japan is a pervert. I really didn’t need to read about Lotte no Omocha.
Some visitors have come here looking for a “shinmoedake webcam.” There’s one here and a couple more here (the sixth and fifth seventh and sixth from the bottom in the box at right. The fourth fifth from the bottom ((The Suwanosejima camera is back (second from the bottom), though you still can’t see much.)) is Sakurajima, which is worth checking regularly). The Shinmoedake crater at Kirishima did erupt again Sunday, but it was not as catastrophic as the L.A. Times would have you believe:
“As I’ve explained, my fives senses are on high alert, gathering fragments of chaos from the world around me. The fountain of knowledge inside me toys with them out of sheer boredom, reconstructing them. If the inclination strikes me, I occasionally verbalize this in a fashion that even a terribly ordinary person like you can understand. Normally, though, I can’t be bothered, which is why I remain silent.”
— Gosick, page 30
… and that’s where I quit reading. I might watch the first episode of the series Gosick to see if the animated Victorique is any less obnoxious than her print conterpart, but I doubt that I’ll follow it.
I might also watch the first episode of Haiyoru! Nyaruani: Remember My Love to see if it’s any better than the lousy OVA shorts I saw some time back. I expect that one episode will be sufficient. (Update: Never mind.)
The winter anime that look most promising are Fractale, a noitaminA offering, and Mahou Shoujo Madoka?Magica, directed by Shinbo. I might also take a look at Yumekui Merry for its Touhou affinities. Nothing else looks interesting. It may be just as well; real life continues to be annoyingly complicated, and I have plenty else to read and watch in what free time I have.
The one in pink is Sherlock Shellingford, not to be confused with Sherlock Holmes.
Just wondering: what exactly does the word “milky” signify to the Japanese?
Here’s the second-most impressive Touhou video I’ve seen: ((The most impressive remains this one.))
Then there’s this:
I enjoyed The Triplets of Belleville — one of the few movies I’ve seen in a theatre this century — and I’ve been waiting impatiently for Sylvain Chomet’s next movie. Unfortunately, The Illusionist is apparently a disappointment.
Can’t get out for your morning run because of the weather? Crank up your organ and dash through Chopin’s “Revolutionary” etude:
(The 19th-Century Czech pianist Alexander Dreyschock played this piece with left-hand octaves, which is at least as impressive a stunt as this.)
The 2010 Ig Nobel prizes will be awarded September 30. Fans of Moyashimon will be interested to know that the theme of this year’s ceremony is “bacteria.” Scheduled events include:
The Bacterial Opera: World premiere of a mini-opera about the bacteria who live on a woman’s front tooth, and about that woman. Conducted by David Stockton. Starring Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears, Roberta Gilbert and Thomas Michel as bacteria — and Jenny Gutbezahl as The Woman. Pianist Branden Grimmett. Costumes by Jenn Martinez.
Microbial Miniconcert by Evelyn Evelyn (and their friends Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley)
Pre-pre-show Boston Squeezebox Ensemble microbeconcert in lobby (begins at 6:45 pm), led by Dr. Thomas Michel
Pre-show Pathogenic Bacterial Pianoconcerto by Maria Eliseeva
If you get tired of reading manga and watching anime, you can always watch the Japanese Vesuvius. Sakura-jima has been puffing away quite energetically recently, and this webcam has a good view of the active crater. (If you click on the cross-hairs, you can take control of the camera for a while.) It’s best viewed during daylight hours in Japan, though allegedly, if you’re lucky, you can occasionally see some incandescence and lightning at night. (Update: Visibility might be impaired by clouds, particularly when tropical storms are in the region, as is currently the case.)
I bought myself some belated Christmas presents. I’ll eventually get to the anime, but for now the item in the foreground takes priority. Incidentally, although I have a computer full of soft synths, this is the first hardware synthesizer I’ve ever owned. ((Unless you want to count my old, very plastic Yamaha keyboard, but that’s essentially a large toy, unsuitable for gigs.))
Instead of following any current series, I have indeed been rewatching Shingu. I probably will check out a couple of upcoming shows, though. Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei is yet another blasted high school college story, but Masaaki Yuasa (Mind Game, Kaiba) is directing. Haiyoru! Nyaru-Ani features Nyarlathotep in the form of a cute little girl. It sounds like she might be a candidate to replace Pyun and Potaru if I redesign my site.
An old interview with the late John Sladek I came across recently. Sladek, discoverer of the thirteenth sign of the zodiac (Arachne, May 13 to June 9), ((For the morbidly curious, my own sign is “No parking — violators will be towed at owner expense.”)) was one of the last century’s best satirists and is of my favorite writers.
Uh-uh. There was no mention of anything I’ve been waiting for. The titles that were announced all look like drivel. ((Well, maybe the remainder of Aria isn’t drivel, but I’m one of the few who didn’t find Aria the Animation a life-changing experience.)) Steven has a different list, but he, too, was disappointed.
I’m particularly annoyed that Denno Coilstill hasn’t been picked up for region one. Number three of my top five, ((The other four are Haibane Renmei, Serial Experiments Lain, Cardcaptor Sakura and Shingu.)) it is the outstanding first-rate series I’ve seen that remains unlicensed. There are a number of older series on my to-buy list, but there seems to be less and less to look forward to nowadays. Oh, well; I finally got a new pair of glasses and can read all evening long again. Running out of anime won’t be a disaster.
There is a bit of good news regarding licensing: Kino International will release a compilation of Osamu Tezuka’s short films later this month. These date from 1962 to 1988 and are obviously essential for anyone interested in the history of animation. I wrote a little bit about some of them here.