Advisory

moribito

I’m going to be away from the computer for a few days. Like Pete, I’m taking Moribito with me, though in my case it’s the book.

My picks for the top five anime endings should appear one a day. As you will discover, my taste is very different from Astro’s, but there is one we both chose. I don’t have time to write commentary on my picks tonight; perhaps when I get back.

Grrr

Yesterday’s post has mysteriously disappeared. This is not the only anomalous incident involving my websites this week. My guess is that the web host’s server migration is not going as smoothly as it should. Until I’m reasonably sure that what I write won’t vanish, this weblog will be even quieter than usual.

(The missing post itself was of no consequence. It was just a few amusing links: this, this and this.)

Status report

I don’t have interests or hobbies; I have obsessions. They usually progress like this:

Stage one: What’s this?

Stage two: This is kinda interesting. Let’s investigate it further.

Stage three: This is really interesting. It’s worth a little time and money.

Stage four: This is absolutely magnificent, wonderful stuff. Let’s spend every waking moment on it and annoy all my friends with my enthusiasm. Let’s max out the credit cards, too.

Stage five: This isn’t quite as much fun as it used to be.

Stage six: In fact, it’s starting to feel like work. Let’s do something else tonight.

Stage seven: What a waste of time. The hell with it.

Stage eight/one: Hey, what’s that?

Not every obsession runs through every stage. Photography has oscillated between stages three and five for years and probably will continue to do so as long as I can hold a camera. On the other hand, I spent far too much time in the SCA, and I am very thoroughly burnt-out on that sort of historical re-creation. Don’t even mention Renaissance faires to me.

With respect to anime, I am currently at stage six. I’ve watched very little in the past few weeks, and what I have seen were old favorites, not new shows. I know I should be keeping up with Kaiba, and I would probably enjoy the recent episodes of Soul Eater if I bothered to launch VLC, but right now both look more like duties than pleasures. Rather than force myself to watch them anyway and guarantee reaching stage seven, I’m going to take a break from anime.

Perhaps I’ll spend the summer reading. There’s a whole generation of science fiction and fantasy writers that I haven’t yet seriously investigated, and at least two of them, Tim Powers and Neal Stephenson, are first-rate storytellers if what I’ve read is representative.

So, there’s not going to be much happening here for a while. I do have a few posts in mind, but I’m in no hurry to write them. I’ll be back when I’m back.

Miscellany

kino02.jpg

In the recent Kino no Tabi movie, The Land of Sickness — For You, Kino visits a country that seems mostly deserted. The traveler and motoradd eventually find a hermetically sealed city, where they are treated quite well. Kino is invited to tell travel stories to the ailing daughter of a hotelier. There is a disease in the land. The inhabitants desperately search for a cure and hope someday to reclaim the rest of the country outside the city, and they’ve made some progress. However, there’s a dark secret for Kino to discover.

I’m relieved to say that this movie (if you can call a 28-minute show a “movie”) is a vast improvement over the earlier movie, Life Goes On (recommended only for Kino completists). Ryutaro Nakamura is back at the helm and Chiaki J. Konaka wrote the script. It seems like an slightly extended version of a television episode, but that’s not such a bad thing when the show is Kino’s Journey.

*****

kz02.jpg

It looks like Kaiketsu Zorori may finally be fansubbed. The series concerns the adventures of the scapegrace fox Zorori, whose ambition is to be the king of mischief. In the first episode he plots to win the hand of a princess using a mechanical dragon, but things don’t go according to plan. If the first episode is representative, this could be a good series for children and tolerable for adults.

*****

I’ve now watched all of Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, and I dunno. It started off well, but it peaked at the second episode by my reckoning. Once all the girls were introduced, it became hit-or-miss. Sometimes it was pleasantly absurd, but just as often it seemed the creators had only one joke and were mechanically working out every possible permutation to fill the time. It’s probably the year’s best black comedy, but I’m not really looking forward to the second season.

*****

For the heck of it, here’s my top ten for 2007 as it currently stands.

1. Denno Coil
2. Oh! Edo Rocket
3. Seirei no Moribito
4. Mononoke
5. Baccano!
6. Mokke

Yes, that’s only six. I haven’t seen everything and I’ve probably missed a few of the best. Perhaps I’ll eventually fit ef and Gurren-Lagann somewhere on the list, but I have to watch them first. Ditto Bokurano and Manabi Straight. Perhaps also Moyashimon. Or perhaps not, if the eighth episode is as horrifying as rumored.

*****

When I was at the hospital last week, I acquired not only a cast but also a virus of some sort. While I’m not quite sick enough to stay home from work (darn), I’m usually dead tired when I get home. Posting will continue to be spasmodic until I feel better.

I’m back, sorta

There were a lot of firsts for me last Wednesday: first broken bones; first ride in an ambulance; first morphine; first surgery by a doctor I’d never met (and still haven’t talked to. I’m trying to make an appointment to see her for the follow-up on the operation, but her office hasn’t yet returned my call). You can see the before and after pictures of my ankle here and here. I’ve spent most of my time since then lying in bed with the left leg iced and elevated. I’ve read some and listened to a few CDs, but mostly I’ve been too drowsy to do much of anything at all. I’m starting to feel a bit more awake now, so maybe I can start posting a little.

Advisory

(If you’re reading this at Anime Nano, don’t bother clicking through. This is just the traditional “no time to write” post.)

Nutcracker season is imminent. While I’m not on stage this year, I will be in the auditorium taking thousands of pictures during tech week. There won’t be time for anime or anything else beyond work, sleep and photography. Things should return to what passes for normal around the middle of December. There might be a book review or two, but otherwise don’t expect much activity here until then.

*****

If you need something to read, there’s plenty of fuss in the otakusphere about whether anime will survive. The most cogent discussion is, predictably, at Steven’s, here and here (be sure to read the comments). See also Avatar, Author and DiGiKerot.

Advisory

I’ve just redirected the tancos2.net domain name to point to the same nameservers as tancos.net. The change will take a few days to propagate, but soon all the links to my old sites will either be redirected here or return 404s. You will still be able to visit the old sites for a few weeks more by substituting “tancos2.pmachinehosting.com” for “tancos2.net” in the URLs. However, I am cancelling my old host before the next service renewal in October, and after that the old sites will be gone. If you’ve been coming here by way one of my old pages and you want to keep track of my obsessions, this is your cue to update your links.

Words, words, words, and pictures, too

All my old websites will soon be disappearing. They’ll be gone in January, if not by October. I recently spent some time browsing my retired weblogs, copying posts that might be of interest to visitors here. I sorted them into sixteen categories and posted them as static pages. You can find the categories listed as “ancient texts” under the “more” heading in the sidebar. And here:

Briefs
Critics and other idiots
Culture
Haruhi and Haruhi
Japan
Kid stuff
Mahou shoujo
Miscellaneous — mostly anime
Just plain miscellaneous
Music
Personal notes
Sailor Moon
Silly stuff
Osamu Tezuka
Why watch anime?
yoshitoshi ABe

I also rescued the “boy or girl?” quiz and added a few more pictures, bringing the total number of questions to twenty. Those who know their traps should do well; the rest of us — well, the average score among my friends was two right out of fourteen in the earlier version.

(I may be experimenting with different themes in the near future. I don’t like the way the current one, “Gemini,” handles static pages, and I couldn’t find an obvious way to fix the problems.)

Testing, testing …

I haven’t been able to get the mp3 player that Astro uses to work, so I’m experimenting with the 1 Bit Audio Player. Here’s a piece from the Denno Coil soundtrack. There should be a little speaker icon after the link. Click on it to hear the tune. If you don’t see it, or if the music doesn’t play, please let me know.

Kodomo no Asobi

Here’s another possibility:

[mp3]http://tancos.net/audio/09-Kodomo-no-Asobi.mp3[/mp3]

Moving pictures

I’ve started yet another weblog. This one is exclusively for posting videos. YouTube is handy, but the quality is lousy. I’d like to show things I find interesting at larger sizes and higher resolution. So far, all that’s there is the opening of Denno Coil, which is one of the better examples from recent series.

For those interested in the technical stuff: The Flash player is WP-FLV, which is based on the JW FLV Player.

Update: Getting the quality I want is going to take some work. (Is it even possible to make a .flv file that isn’t jerky?) In the meantime, you can download a higher-quality Quicktime file here (12 megabyes).

Technical difficulties …

duckamuck03.jpg

… have finally been resolved, I hope.

Addendum: Here’s AN Hosting’s story:

As our datacenter air conditioners were forced to work harder due to the temperature increases in Chicago it overdrew power on our datacenters circuits, a breaker which was anticipated to be able to support the load was tripped. We have electrical and cooling specialists on site, however, due to the sudden loss of power your server was rebooted and we are currently working to bring it back online.

I bet summer is going to be fun. This is strike two. Do I wait for the strike three, or do I find a different host now? (If I do move to a different host, I should be able to keep the same url, so you won’t have to change your bookmarks again.)

Welcome

(I suppose I ought to say “Irrashaimase,” but I speak English.) This weblog is the successor to beware the kawaii, and I’ll continue to write about anime and related subjects here. When I’m more comfortable with WordPress I’ll play around with the formatting, but for now this theme (“Barthelme”) is satisfactory.

I’ve got the Askimet and Bad Behavior 2 plugins activated. Let’s see if I get any spam comments. (Let’s see if I get any comments.) I would appreciate it if someone would try out the comment process. If there are problems, I’d rather find out sooner than later. If you can’t leave a comment, please write me at tancos at tancos dot net. Thank you.

Update: I am informed that the first theme didn’t work on smaller monitors, so I changed to a narrower one.