Other matters, and the lady or the tiger?

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Inevitably, plushies of Denno Coil creatures will soon be available in Japan. Owners of the Densuke doll will be one-up on Yasako, who doesn’t know what her cyberpet feels like. (But where are the mojos?)

*****

After some experimentation with ffmpegX, I managed to encode a watchable flash file of the opening to Animal Yokocho, which I’ve posted on the video weblog. Apparently, the quality of the playback is more a function of the computer it’s viewed on than of the size of the file. On my aging Mac at home with its antique video card, playback is annoyingly jumpy, but here at the office (it’s lunchtime) on my newer, faster machine, it’s acceptable. Though it’s hardly a classic, the AniYoko opening does its job quite well, with cheerful, energetic music and imagery that advertises that anything can happen. Animal Yokocho deserves more attention that it gets; it’s a kid’s show that adults can enjoy as much as their children. It’s a pity that it will probably never be licensed. (For more on the joys of working with Flash, see Astro’s account of his experiments.)

*****

The thirteenth episode of Seirei no Moribito was the first that disappointed me. It’s a good story, and the fight scenes were every bit as spectacular as those in the third episode, but the script was clumsy. The symbolism, not exactly subtle to begin with, was highlighted, then underlined, then explicitly explained as if the viewer were in a ninth-grade English class. The rampaging Balsa deserved better. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was the first episode with an unequivocally evil character.

Chain reactions

Pythagoras Switch is a science show for small children. Each episode follows the same format. Puppets introduce a video on a such topics as how the shapes of objects are clues to their manufacture or use, or static electricity, or how technology imitates nature. After that, a youngster controls his father or grandfather with a cardboard “father switch.” There is also some very simple animation, and either the “algorithm march” or the “algorithm exercise,” sequences of simple movements performed in canon. Children old enough to read the subtitles are likely to be bored by the very elementary level of most of the show.

What makes Pythagoras Switch worth watching are the Rube Goldberg mechanisms that open and close the show and separate the segments. Here’s a collection of these “Pythagorean devices.”

Here’s the algorithm march, performed by ninjas:

Five episodes that I know of have been subtitled. There’s quite a bit available on YouTube.

Time travel and the post office

I discovered last fall that the U.S. Postal Service can send a package into the future. Apparently, they can send objects into the past as well. Here’s the status report on my most recent amazon.com order. Just what exactly did happen on the afternoon of December 31, 1969?

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(Click on the question mark if the graphic isn’t visible.)