Mononoke 1

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I’m going to be away from the computer for a few days. While I’m gone, I’ll post a few screen captures from Mononoke, a series perhaps of more visual than narrative interest. This is the medicine seller, the central character of the stories, who functions somewhat like a free-lance exorcist. Usually his fingers aren’t dissolving away.

Extra #1

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Echeveria sp.

I’m going to be away from the computer for a few days. Even though I’ll be taking pictures every day, I won’t be able to post them until next week. In the meantime, here are some of the pictures I didn’t post earlier.

Random notes

Dino Squad — yet another reason to stick to anime. (Via Tim Blair.)

*****

I notice that the group fansubbing Dokuro-Chan II calls itself “Philanthropy.” That’s not the word that occurs to me.

*****

For those who regard every anime they’ve downloaded that is subsequently licensed as a an “obligation buy,” a suggestion. If it’s a lousy, trashy series, e.g., Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru, don’t spend your money on it. It will only encourage the company to license more garbage. Instead, take that money and apply it to a good show, preferably one that is underappreciated. (My own policy is less stringent. I purchase more than I download, and if a show is genuinely good, it goes on my “buy” list, even if I don’t expect to rewatch it soon. My drive may be getting full, but my shelves are overflowing.)

Off the bandwagon

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I just took a second look at the first two episodes of Potemayo to see if I had missed something. Let’s add up the score:

Guchuko: +20
Very sharp ax: +5
Energy beams: +5
Potemayo: +5
Sunao: +3
Kyo: +1
Bird: +1
Bird crap: -1
Mikan: -5
Nosebleeds: -5
Girls with nosebleeds: -10
Boys in skirts: -15
Bro-something Mountain: -20

Final score: -16. Much as I like Guchuko, there’s not enough of her to warrant enduring the rest of the show.

Post script: I forgot about Guchuko’s roll of tape, which is certainly worth at least a +5. That still only brings the total up to -11.

That contraptious shooting star

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How high the moon? (Ginjiro, Seikichi, Sora)

I’m tempted to say that Oh! Edo Rocket is an anime unlike other anime, but in fact I am reminded of several other shows. Like Jubei-Chan I, it oscillates between farce and drama; like Excel Saga, it’s wildly off-the-wall; like Noir, there’s potentially a complex story behind the story (as of episode ten — there are sixteen more to go, plenty of time for the writers to make a hash of things). Nevertheless, there really is nothing quite like Oh! Edo Rocket‘s combination of broad comedy, science fiction, history, horror, romance, parody and nonsense.

The premise is that in early 1840’s Edo, where all “luxuries” are outlawed, the strange girl Sora asks the fireworks maker Seikichi to make her fireworks that will reach the moon. By a curious coincidence, the residents of the row house where Seikichi lives include an expert carpenter, a tile-maker, the best mechanic in Edo and two mathematicians, among other eccentrics, all of whom are fascinated by the idea of a rocket to the moon. Meanwhile, “sky beasts” appear in the area, some of which have a taste for the blood of young women.

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Overall, silliness dominates, from the character designs to the blatant anachronisms. The writers will do anything for a laugh. ((They do draw the line at offensive and gross-out humor.)) Ginjiro the locksmith goes fishing and catches a teevee set. Shunpei the proto-nerd keeps a pocket calculator in his room. There’s a henshin sequence involving a sort of sentai team; however, instead of cute magical girls, the transformees are homely adult men. At one point four of the characters are turned into cats, who perform a jazzy musical number. And then there is the crazed fireworks maker Tetsuju the Fuse, who drinks at a bar staffed by tanuki. And a flaky magistrate. And a girl with Tenchi Muyo-esque hair. And so on. (I’ve uploaded clips of Tetsuju’s first appearance and the singing cats to the video weblog.)

Despite all the absurdities, the story moves steadily forward. It’s not all foolishness. Some parts of Oh! Edo Rocket are nightmarish. Although the opening animation focuses on Seikichi and Sora, the central character is actually Ginjiro, who early on declares that he only does what is fun. As his past is revealed, it becomes clear that his attitude is inspired by bitterness, not frivolity. He is involved in nearly all the sub-plots, and he will likely face the most complex decisions of any of the characters as the series reaches its climax.

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The art and the music deserve mention. The backgrounds (and occasionally foregrounds) look like paintings and contrast with the crisp lines of the character art. The effect is that Ginjiro et al seem like actors on a stage. The opening and closing themes may be listenable J-pop, but the background music is mostly big-band jazz.

“Buy the software …

… but install the crack.”

The purpose of digital rights management is to punish the legitimate user. Shamus and Steven recently noted the use of DRM to enhance your gaming experience. DRM is also a traditional element of music software. Here’s a classic from five years ago: Waves Native Gold Bundle 3.2 featuring PACE Interlok. It’s noteworthy that PACE merely crashed your computer and forced you to reauthorize the software, repeatedly. Sony’s innovations compromise the security of your computer.

Update: from the comments on Shamus’ post:

It is a sorry state of affairs when people trust some anonymous cracker more than they do a legitimate publisher.

New poll

New poll

By a vote of seven to four, readers here declared Dolores Umbridge to be more evil than Bellatrix Lestrange. (Readers of my other weblog declared Umbridge to be the more loathsome, eleven to zero.)

There’s a new poll up in the sidebar now: which is more evil, Microsoft or Sony?