Callirhoe involucrata is a member of the mallow family with brilliant magenta flowers. It blooms throughout the summer, but its prime flowering time is right now through the next week or two. There are some large patches of callirhoe along the bike path in south Wichita, along with some stands of blue tradescantia. I had planned to take a few photos of them after work today and post one of them as today’s picture. However, the City of Wichita, demonstrating its conviction that neatness matters more than beauty, mowed the area, scalping the sprawling plants. Maybe this weekend I’ll find an intact patch elsewhere.
I could complain about the manifold implausibilites of Rocket Girls, but it would be pointless. How can you expect logic in a universe where a space agency drafts random high school girls to be astronauts merely because they’re lightweight? Instead, it’s better to focus on the incidental pleasures, such as classic calculators
or cigarette lighters
or girls wearing skin-tight space suits. (Never mind that the suits are basically three millimeters of silicone rubber, and the story is set in the tropics. Heatstroke doesn’t happen in anime.)
The story zips right along, and there’s no time for teen angst. Yukari, spending her vacation in the Solomon Islands looking for her father who disappeared seventeen years ago, is variously bewildered, shocked, appalled, outraged, exasperated, disgusted and just plain angry as she learns just what her “part-time job” entails and discovers a few things about her family. If Yukari really had sense, she would run away from all these crazy people as fast as she could, but then there would be no anime. She’s soon joined by Matsuri, a native islander, and one of Yukari’s classmates from Japan should arrive on the island shortly.
Despite all the nonsense and the bad computer animation, Rocket Girls is enjoyable. It’s partly because it doesn’t take itself terribly seriously, and partly because, although the show gets the details wrong, it gets the story right. The people who made Rocket Girls, I think, really do want to go into space.
I need to watch it again to make sure that there aren’t any paradoxes left dangling and that the writers didn’t cheat at the end, but one thing is clear: it is every bit as good as it is said to be. I doubt that I’ll see a better movie this year. The story is interesting and the central characters are three-dimensional. The production may not be as glossy as a Studio Ghibli epic, but it’s more than adequate, and the script and the acting are first-rate. I will be astonished (and appalled) if TokiKake isn’t quickly licensed, and I hope that whoever does bring it over makes an effort to market it to all audiences, not just anime fans.
Wabi Sabi comments on some of the motifs here (spoilers).
Here’s a curiosity I noticed. I wonder if it was intentional.
Now would someone please translate the book.
It turns out that TokiKake is not an adaptation of the novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui but is a “continuation” of it, set twenty years later. The protagonist of the novel appears in the movie as “Aunt Witch.”
Here’s Yasutaka Tsutsui’s site. It includes a profile that I hope is misleadingly pretentious and English translations of some of his short stories.