A glimpse of Ponyo:
Here’s a review.
(Via Cartoon Brew.)
The good news: Not only can I walk (albeit slowly, and with a cane), but as of today I can ride my bike again.
The bad news: Posting here will continue to be spasmodic. I plan to walk and bike as much as possible for the next several weeks to regain strength and flexibility. Other recreations, including anime, are going to be low priority for a while. Of the current series, I will probably keep up only with Kaiba and perhaps Soul Eater. I’ll catch up with Allison and Lillia and the other shows of interest later this summer. I recently ordered the Fantastic Children boxed set, which I’ll probably marathon the weekend after it arrives, and that’s the only older series I will look at this spring.
Speaking of Soul Eater: a commentor wonders how I can find Toshokan Senkou unwatchable because of Kasahara yet enjoy Soul Eater, in which the male characters are “1000% more stupid and irritating than her.” There are three quick responses:
1. There’s only one nitwit in Soul Eater, Black Star. Soul Eater is a competent enough, and Death the Kid is a mental case, not a moron. If Soul Eater were just the Black Star show, one episode would have been plenty, but that’s not the case.
2. Toshokan Sensou and Soul Eater are different kinds of shows. The latter is much more farcical, and what is annoying in one context can be funny in another.
3. Don’t ever accuse me of consistency.
Recent search strings:
tomo takino feet
britney spears mushi
If you can explain any of these, please keep it to yourself. I don’t want to know.
Although Yuasa wrote the script for and directed Mind Game, the movie was based on manga by Robin Nishi, which is also the name of the main character. I doubt that the manga is rigorously autobiographical. Nishi’s website is here; it includes a selection of his work and a gallery.
Yuasa’s credits include Cat Soup and Kemonozume, which, like Mind Game, are not for chldren. Despite the simple character designs, I gather that Kaiba isn’t a kid’s show, either.
Quote of the week:
I will personally be nowhere near this. It sounds like my worst nightmare.
See here for context. (Hint: think blue, count a lot more than two.)
Damn ! I so wanted to make this. Oh why oh why did I plan to watch paint dry on the same days !
Fuyumi Ono’s target demographic is youngsters who fantasize that they are adopted. In The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow, misfit schoolgirl Youko discovers that she actually comes from Another World, where she has a Great Destiny. In the newly-translated Twelve Kingdoms novel, Sea of Wind, a boy learns that not only does he not belong in the Japanese family where his grandmother makes him and his mother miserable, but that he is not even human.
I don’t have time to write a review — maybe later — but I will note that Sea of Wind is a pretty good story, though less ambitious than the preceeding volume. I don’t know if I ever will watch the anime based on the books. According to what I’ve read, the anime made many changes to the stories, most of which I would probably find objectionable. (I gather that the anime Youko is a much less sympathetic character than the character Ono wrote about.) However, I do plan to read all the books as they become available.
According to Nick, the book Ono wrote that led to the Twelve Kingdoms series may not be released in the USA. Fortunately for me, there is a fan translation available (though I strongly prefer to read fiction as ink on paper rather than as pixels on a monitor).
Update: Really, really impatient.
Psgels gave Demashitaa! Powerpuff Girls Z the surprisingly high score of 88/100. Last night I was in the mood for something silly and frivolous, so I watched the first few episodes. Well, it’s really silly and frivolous. How silly is it? The girls, Hyper Blssom, Rolling Bubbles and Powered Buttercup, and their arch-enemy, the talking monkey MojoJojo, interrupt their battles for ice cream breaks. Tomboy Buttercup catches a cold from wearing the mahou shoujo short skirt. I posted an excerpt from the first episode on the video weblog that might give you an idea of the show’s flavor. It’s not something I could stand to watch much of at a time, but in small doses it’s agreeably ridiculous.
I spent the morning at the hospital getting a three-inch screw removed from my ankle. I can now put weight on my left leg, and this afternoon, for the first time this year, I walked. It will take a few weeks to regain full use of the ankle, but at least I can return the wheelchair to the shop now.
I’ve been following the “March madness” at Derailed by Darry. It’s depressing; it demonstrates yet again that popular taste is a lousy guide to quality. In search of further bad news, I took a close look at the list of the “Top 50 best rated” animes at ANN. ((There are two different lists of the “best,” each calculated differently, but both essentially the same. This one is the “bayesian estimate.”)) Here it is, with my comments:
… Bandai, for simplifying my winter viewing. As a matter of policy, I don’t download series once they’re licensed. ((I’ve only made one exception, Seirei no Moribito, and that was just as well, since it’s now in limbo with Geneon’s departure from Region 1.)) I don’t need to worry any more about Shigofumi or true tears. In fact, I probably will never see them at all, unless Bandai changes its insane pricing.
I may take a look at Hakaba Kitaro or watch a few more episodes of Spice and Wolf, but more likely I’m going to skip the current season entirely and view some of the DVDs I’ve bought that I haven’t yet watched. Or I might just listen to Bach. In any case, posting will continue to be spasmodic.
3,500 Nutcracker pictures. Gah. I’ve gone through them all, selected the best and cropped and edited them and burned a stack of CDs for the dancers and crew, and I am done, done, done. Life can return to what passes for normal around here. Maybe I can even watch some anime. (The morbidly curious can see a selection of the pictures here.)
Congratuations to Avatar.
What happened to Astro? (Update: he’s back, sorta.)
I probably will add Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann to my “buy” list. I did watch the first two episodes and was not entirely unimpressed. Since this was a Gainax series, though, I decided to wait until it completed its run and see what the final word was before investing any more time in it. By all accounts the show succeeded on every level and is probably one of the best of the year.
I can’t resist posting the Gurren Lagann Jack:
Every time I hear someone say “Ohayo,” I have a strange urge to reply, “Illinois.”
When I lived with my folks, I got stuck every year with taking down the Christmas tree, which by that time was thoroughly dried-out and prickly. It was not much fun. Since then, I have never had the slightest interest in putting up my own tree. However, if I were to decorate a Christmas tree, even though it’s utterly inappropriate, I would like to include a Belldandy angel among the ornaments.
Sooner or later I’m gong to want to upgrade to a more recent version of WordPress. Before I do, however, I want to make sure that I can still post the occasional phrase in Japanese characters and not see “???.” When I upgraded my other weblogs, I lost this capabiity, even though the selected character set is still UTF-8. How can I make the Japanese look the way it’s supposed to?
I’ve just added Seven of Seven to my buy list (though it will have to wait awhile):
Another thing that’s interesting is that they’re using a lot of Scott Joplin in the soundtrack. I think it works, too. It’s refreshing, and it does tend to support a light feel to the show. Joplin isn’t ponderous and certainly isn’t slow or depressing.
I used to play Joplin half a lifetime ago when my fingers were in shape. Using his music in the soundtrack could backfire, of course. I hated The Sting partly because I disliked Hamlisch’s arrangements. I hope Yoshihisa Hirano uses the original piano scores.
Incidentally, while most of Scott Joplin is lively and cheerful, he did write a few slow pieces, e.g., “Solace,” and some of his later rags, while not depressing, do leave a bitter aftertaste, e.g., “Scott Joplin’s New Rag.”
The fall anime season is coming up, and members of the otakusphere are trying to decide which series to follow. (The only one I’m interested in at this time is Ghost Hound, because of the credentials of its creators. It may well be a botch, but if so, it will be an interesting botch.) You can read the press releases, watch the trailers and click all over the various websites, but ultimately there is no reliable way of telling how good a show is without watching some of it. However, I have found three criteria that help me narrow the list of candidates.
1. Series based on novels. Examples: Crest/Banner of the Stars; Suzumiya Haruhi; Seirei no Moribito; Kino’s Journey (short stories in this instance, but still literature, not manga); possibly Oh! Edo Rocket, though I’m not sure which version came first.
2. Series reflecting one person’s vision. Examples: Haibane Renmei (Yoshitoshi ABe); Shingu (Tetsuo Sato); Denno Coil (Mitsuo Iso); Cardcaptor Sakura (Nanase Ohkawa (of CLAMP))
3. Series based on games. Examples: too numerous to mention. H-game conversions or RPG-based epics, they all stink. I have never watched more than a few episodes of any. (I would like to see more of the Waragecha Five from Master of Epic, though.) ((Sakura Wars TV might be an exception, though I quit part-way through the first episode.))
Based on the first criterion, the series to check out in October are Rental Magica and Strait Jacket. I can’t tell from the write-ups I’ve seen if the second criterion applies to any of the new shows. The third criterion rules out at least half of the new crop. I have even less interest in the anime Clannad than I do in the band.
The departed spirit in existence principle.
Rumor of the departed spirit that it appears in the pachinko store where the prefectural road paralleling is closed. Don’t you think? with what, the shadow man who does not have the face from the building being present, in the track/truck which runs road surface the plectrum and others you call the [re] [ru].
The ? happiness which designates such rumor as the ear, Taro, inviting trust, embarks on the elucidation of rumor.
Nevertheless, it is possible to glean some information about the back story from the page. Taro, presumably the protagonist, lives in water heaven town. Eleven years ago, when Taro was eight, there was a kidnapping involving his older sister and younger brother. The sister apparently was killed. Their father committed suicide shortly afterward. Or something like that. Chiaki J. Konaka wrote the script, so there is a fair chance that it will all ultimately make some sense.
Astro’s back with a trailer for Ghost Hound. The production features alumni of Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost in the Shell (but apparently not ABe), and the show looks like essential viewing this fall.
I had planned to wait until after The Major Purchase before ordering any more DVDs, but I really want to know how the Divergence Eve saga ends. Then Steven has to go and find another damned four-star series, grrr. So I’ve got an order off for Misaki Chronicles and Shingu now.
I had already added Shingu to the “maybe” list, but I never saw much information about it. As Steven notes, the series received virtually no attention. I did a little browsing last night to see if anyone besides the not-utterly-reliable Chris Beveridge has reviewed it. There was a “B+” review of the first disc at Anime News Network, and that’s all I found at a half-dozen review sites. If Shingu is as good as Steven says it is (and he’s never been wrong on a four-star series), then The Right Stuf did a lousy job of marketing their edition, and reviewers did not do their job at all.
Fledgling Otaku is moving house, from Texas to Wisconsin. The Google maps route passes near Wichita. I doubt that he’ll have time to stop, but if he takes that route, he can imagine me waving as he drives by.
Discovered while looking at my site statistics:
Avatar, a frequent commenter in this corner of the otakusphere, has his own weblog now, The Ego’s Nest. There’s also a nikonian’s blog, featuring photography and anime as well as current events in Bangladesh. Finally, there’s StarShipSofa, with podcasts on science fiction writers. Search string of the week: “pachelbel dog the bounty hunter.”
Update: Here’s another review of Surf’s Up.
I just discovered that the new Kino no Tabi movie, The Beautiful World: Byouki no Kuni — For You, due out this Saturday, is directed by Ryutaro Nakamura and written by Chiaki J. Konaka. Nakamura directed the original anime series, and he and Konaka were members of the team that made Serial Experiments Lain. This sounds promising, and I’m curious to see it. (The earlier Kino movie, Life Goes On, was done by a different crew and is inferior to the TV series.)