Birthday present

Johann Sebastian Bach was born 327 years ago today (or on March 31, depending on which calendar you use). To celebrate the occasion, is selling nine hours of his music for 99¢ for a few days. I recognized a few of the performers, such as Joseph Szigeti and Andras Schiff, but most I’m not familiar with. I expect that the Amazon offering is mainly good older recordings and recent recordings by lesser-known artists. It’s probably worth gambling a dollar on.


I know what I want for Christmas:

More Zhzhh

Exceedingly miscellaneous links and videos.

Via Jonathan T., Jonathan C. on “adapting” anime for western viewers.


From kowai to kawaii: the Queen of Night’s aria, sung by Hatsune Miku:

Update: This aria (but not this particular “performance”) has been voted one of the top ten arias of all time. (Via Steven R.)


Mono no aware: Steven Greydanus on the trailer for Tales of Earthsea:

Here is a mainstream Japanese animated film with a trailer that has an evocative, haunting power that eludes virtually the whole of American animation—and that’s just the trailer. And it’s not just American animation either, but pretty much the whole Hollywood machine. What was the last Hollywood box-office blockbuster that made you think of beauty, loss, longing and mystery? (Yes, other than The Lord of the Rings.)

Whether this particular film turns out to be good or not, it’s part of a cinematic culture that aims at, and sometimes achieves, something that isn’t even on the radar in Hollywood. This trailer reminds me of how I felt during the first five minutes of Howl’s Moving Castle, even though the film ultimately turned out to be a disappointment: Just the promise of the first five minutes, even a promise unfulfilled, was worth more than some American animation studios have delivered in whole films if not their entire outputs.


American mecha: spiders for now, but eventually they’ll get to Gundams and EVAs (via the Borderline Sociopath):


The Lelouch Lamperouge Picture Show: Is there such a thing as “anime camp”?


I suppose it’s not that surprising that there is a large fanfiction community devoted to Ranma 1/2-Sailor Moon crossovers. Still, I did not expect to find a Sailor Ranko webcomic.

Mao-chan, Miku, etc.

When the Fnools invaded Earth, they disguised themselves as two-foot-tall real estate salemen, figuring that no one would take them seriously until too late. ((See Philip K. Dick’s “The War with the Fnools.”)) The aliens in Mao-chan adopt a similar strategy: by assuming mercilessly kawaii forms, the invaders make the Japanese defense forces reluctant to engage them in combat, lest the human soldiers be seen as bullies. The Japanese fight cuteness with cuteness: the head of the land forces enlists his eight-year-old granddaughter, Mao, to battle the invaders, arming her with a baton, a full-size model of a tank, and a clover-shaped pin that transforms her into a not-terribly-competent but very cute mahou shoujo. Mao soon is joined by a couple of other eight-year-old girls: Misora, representing the air force, and Sylvie, representing the navy, both recruited by their doting grandfathers. Mao and Misora are ordinary grade-school girls, as kids in anime go, but Sylvie is distinctly Osaka-ish.

Continue reading “Mao-chan, Miku, etc.”

Calling all classicists

Vicipaedia needs otaku who can write decent Latin. The anime and manga pages are pathetic. (I had several years of Latin, but that was a long time ago in a different century, and it would take more time than I can spare to regain competence.)


Another entry for the “ducks in anime” file:

From Negima Ala Alba OAD #2 (not recommended).


I discovered that the software used to animate Hatsune Miku is freeware, available here. It’s surprisingly capable. Here’s Miku dancing Maurice Bejart’s choreography; compare it to the final minutes of this. ((I recommend skpping the first six minutes unless you are a Bejart fanatic.)) Unfortunately, like Miku herself, it’s not for Macs.


More random nonsense:

An animated stereogram. It works, too. There are more here. (Via Cartoon Brew.)

Not only does it save time, but it’s really stupid, too.” More poem generators here.

Can’t find anything you like on the radio? Set a few parameters and generate your own music.

I did not need to see this:




First sound of the future

Here’s a curiosity I recently came across: “Uta ni Katachi ha Nai Keredo,” by Doriko, featuring Hatsune Miku on vocals:

[audio: ni Katachi.mp3]

Yes, it’s just another instantly-forgettable ballad featuring one of the many nasal sopranos that infest Japanese popular music, but there is something remarkable about this recording.

(Via Martin.)

Continue reading “First sound of the future”