Exceedingly miscellaneous

In the 1970s, Jack Thompson bought a tract of land in the Royal Gardens subdivision on the island of Hawaii and began building a cedar home there. He finished it in 1983. As he installed the second-story windows, he noticed a orange glow on the panes. The light came from the lava fountains that heralded the eruption of Kilauea, which continues to this day. Over the years, lava flows took out all his neighbors’ homes, one by one, until only Thompson’s was left. This month, a vigorous flow found his house, leaving little beyond a satellite dish embedded in six feet of basalt.

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The many flavors of cheesecake

To save you the trouble of clicking repeatedly on the lower left corner of Steven’s header, I’ve collected 915 of the images and assembled them into a convenient slide show.

The singer is Mayumi Kojima. She’s probably best-known in the anime world for “Poltergeist,” the memorable opening theme of the otherwise disappointing Ghost Hound.

Yoctometers, yottameters and ponies

Two weeks’ worth of random stuff.

Of all the mysteries in Mouretsu Pirates, the most puzzling, and the least likely to be satisfactorily explained, are the Sailor Moon shout-outs. This Princess Serenity is anything but a ditzy airhead.

By the way, it is impossible to watch just one episode of Shingu.

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Downright bodacious

I watched the first episode of Mouretsu Pirates twice in two days. The last series I did that for was Madoka a year ago. Pirates has a lot in its favor, including:

Space pirates.

Tatsuo Sato.

A meganekko with a hime haircut and a sailor suit.

A bunny, a ducky and a pink bobblehead pig.

An absence of in-your-face fanservice. ((No surprise, given that Sato’s Shingu featured an outstanding example of anti-fanservice.))

There are a few negatives, e.g., green lipstick, skinny ties and really bad haircuts.

The positives greatly outweigh the negatives, and Mouretsu Pirates looks like, at the very least, a fun show. With Sato at the helm, there’s a good chance that the series will be a satisfyingly complex story and not just an excuse to put pirate hats on pretty girls.

*****

A bit of music:

It’s not just for humans.

If French is the language of love, what is German the language of?

(The latter via John C. Wright.)

*****

2011 is over. Good riddance. It was a thoroughly crummy year for me, ((2011 was a good year for volcanoes.)) and I am not going to compile any retrospective posts. If you want to know about the year in anime, see Ubu’s recaps here and here.

Parachutes and bumbershoots

Here’s some music that caught my ear recently.

Kinoco Hotel has the ’60’s psychedelic sound down cold, straight from the garage.

If Chabrier and Satie formed a string band, they might sound a little like Shugo Tokumaru.

Here’s a piano arrangement of the above tune.

Pop music with a high-gloss finish: Tokyo Incidents, featuring Shiina Ringo.

I’ve also been listening to some “Tokyo virginity pop,” as Urbangarde labels their music. Imagine Hatsune Miku as a real singer in an avante garde-ish band. I don’t like any of their videos — the visuals range from pretentious and silly to pretentious and distasteful (I wonder what percentage of their operating budget goes toward fake blood) — so I’ll just refer you to their website. There are links to videos there; the music sounds better if don’t actually watch the videos but only listen.

I’ll close with another Tokumaru tune.

Altogether ookie

Some favorite spooky, creepy anime-related tunes and videos for the Halloween weekend.

Ghost Hound was a major disappointment, but the opening song, Mayumi Kojima’s “Poltergeist,” is terrific.

Here is Susumu Hirasawa’s “Parade” from Paprika, illustrated with scenes from the movie.

(Although Hirasawa may be best-known to anime fans for his soundtracks to Satoshi Kon’s work, he’s had a long and interesting career stretching back to the ’70’s. Of particular note is his influential synth-rock band P-Model. Look for the first album, In a Model Room (good luck finding it), and see where Hiroyuki Hayashi really got his ideas. (There’s also a K-On connection, which you can discover for yourself.))

Here’s the cheerful, upbeat ending song to the heartwarming series Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (So Long, Mr. Despair).

The opening of Hakaba Kitaro (Graveyard Kitaro) was storyboarded by the spasmodically brilliant Kenji Nakamura in Shigeru Mizuki’s style.

Here’s something you might remember from years gone by.

Let’s end with a tender lullaby by Hirasawa from Paranoia Agent. ((If you want something a little livelier, try the opening.))

*****

Bonus link: Jack Chick meets H.P. Lovecraft.

Odds and ends

Steven on fansubs:

Even disregarding the price, the sad fact is that the product delivered by the fansub groups via torrents is better than what we can buy. It’s more timely, and the quality is higher, and the resolution is better, and it’s more comprehensive.

I wish it weren’t so. I would rather buy than steal. But two years ago it reached the point where it didn’t feel like virtue to be honest. It felt like being a sucker.

Even as big as the anime market was in North America three years ago before everything fell apart, we were still being treated as second class citizens. Usually there was a delay of between 1 and 3 years before titles got released here, if they were. And what we got was 480p, which these days looks like a postage stamp to me. (Especially on my 1920*1080 computer display.)

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The wrong place

Yu Muroga was a Japanese delivery man. He was doing his round when the earthquake occurred on March 11th 2011. Like most people in the area, he did not feel under the threat of the tsunami as he was driving far from the coast. That’s why he kept on driving and doing his job.
The HD video camera on his dashboard did not only film the tremors but also the moments after the earthquake when several drivers were trapped by the tsunami waters.
The video camera was recently found by the police next to the passenger’s body.

Click on the quote above to see the video.

(Via a comment at Eruptions.)

The last AFW post …

… until next year, maybe.

I finally got through all the Anime Festival Wichita photos. You can see 421 of them here.

Here they are in a slide show:

[flowplayer src=’http://tancos.net/flv/wp-content/uploads/afw7SlideShow.mp4′ width=640 height=480]

Right-click on the blue lady to download the file (57 megabytes).

I was surprised that there weren’t any Madoka cosplayers. Also absent: Chii; Rei and Asuka; miscellaneous Rozen Maidens; Ayumu and Haruna.