Haibane Coil II

From the Old Home Bulletin Board:

BTW, ABe shares our good taste. ^_^ At AnimeFest this weekend someone asked him what current anime series he likes. He said he didn’t get to watch more than a few because he is very busy, but the best one that he always watches is Dennou Coil. He said he was very impressed with the story, the animation, and the voice acting. Later in another panel he listed it as one of his three favorites of all anime. The other two were Miyazaki’s films and Ghost in the Shell ….

Exceedingly random notes

I’ve watched very little anime recently, mainly because I’ve been playing with my new toy. It’s as much computer as camera, and learning everything it’s capable of is a major project. (Not that it’s hard to use — put it on “auto” and it is a superior point-and-shoot.) I’ve been posting some of the pictures on my other weblog, starting with “90/365.”


The third episode of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei doesn’t begin with an attempted suicide, which is a bad omen for this black-humored satire. This week’s flakes are a blonde with a dual personality and an illegal immigrant. Unfortunately, Itoshiki disappears in the last third of the show, and Kafuka doesn’t have the same chemistry with obsessive-compulsive Chiri as she does with Mr. Despair. While tasteless humor is to be expected in this sort of show, some of the gags cross the line, notably a brief allusion to pedophilia. Although SZS remains the least unfunny of the current comedies that I’ve seen (Oh! Edo Rocket is something more), I’m still underwhelmed. I watched it a second time, pausing to read all the graffiti on the blackboard, and it wasn’t worth the effort.

Otherwise, I’ve been rewatching Shingu. I’m half-way through and, once again, I’m in no hurry to finish it. I may make some time this week to get caught up with Denno Coil; four new episodes were posted in the last three days, after a three-week dry spell. I may also take a look at Mononoke.


A couple of weblogs that might be worth keeping track of:

FictionJunction J-music — Julien writes about and posts samples of anime soundtracks and other Japanese music.

Japanese words of anime fans … — Discussion of Japanese terms of interest to anime viewers. Many of the words I would prefer not to learn, but it is a potentially useful site nevertheless. (Via Wabi Sabi and Nick.)


Sailor Moon remains a constant menace. Usagi Tsukino and her cohorts currently pose two fresh threats. First, there is a “Sailor Moon” game in development for the Wii. Fortunately for the West, it will probably be region-restricted to Japan. And if that isn’t frightening enough, Usagi herself is poised to strike Japan as a major typhoon:


I hope Ken is packing an umbrella.


If you see a “Tancos” in the comments at Chizumatic or other mee.nu weblogs, that’s me. There already is a “don” registered at mee.nu, so I’m using my Martian Hungarian alter-ego. I registered mainly so I can comment on the weblogs that require it, but as a consequence, I now have a mee.nu site of my own. I probably won’t post there often.

(Incidentally, the post editor doesn’t work in Safari (Macintosh OS 10.3.9). It works fine in Firefox, fortunately.)


Wonderduck recently posted a quiz in which the viewer is challenged to identify Kyoto Animation characters by their eyes. If you find it easy, you might want to try this and this, which draw from all of anime. Good luck.


More reviews of Shingu: Civilis and Jeff Lawson. I watched the first disc of Stellvia some months back and couldn’t decide whether to watch the rest. Maybe I will, after all.

Other matters, and the lady or the tiger?


Inevitably, plushies of Denno Coil creatures will soon be available in Japan. Owners of the Densuke doll will be one-up on Yasako, who doesn’t know what her cyberpet feels like. (But where are the mojos?)


After some experimentation with ffmpegX, I managed to encode a watchable flash file of the opening to Animal Yokocho, which I’ve posted on the video weblog. Apparently, the quality of the playback is more a function of the computer it’s viewed on than of the size of the file. On my aging Mac at home with its antique video card, playback is annoyingly jumpy, but here at the office (it’s lunchtime) on my newer, faster machine, it’s acceptable. Though it’s hardly a classic, the AniYoko opening does its job quite well, with cheerful, energetic music and imagery that advertises that anything can happen. Animal Yokocho deserves more attention that it gets; it’s a kid’s show that adults can enjoy as much as their children. It’s a pity that it will probably never be licensed. (For more on the joys of working with Flash, see Astro’s account of his experiments.)


The thirteenth episode of Seirei no Moribito was the first that disappointed me. It’s a good story, and the fight scenes were every bit as spectacular as those in the third episode, but the script was clumsy. The symbolism, not exactly subtle to begin with, was highlighted, then underlined, then explicitly explained as if the viewer were in a ninth-grade English class. The rampaging Balsa deserved better. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was the first episode with an unequivocally evil character.

The other Haruhi and other nonsense

A bunch of stuff was recently licensed. The most interesting news is the title that wasn’t there. Ouran High School Host Club, in my opinion the outstanding show of the non-banner year 2006, has still not been licensed. I presume that it’s a matter of money; otherwise, it is incomprehensible that dreck like OtoBoku gets a region 1 release and Ouran doesn’t.

Random notes on some of the other shows:

The original Genshiken was okay, but just okay, and the three episodes of Kujibiki Unbalance were all that was necessary. The additional episodes will likely demonstrate that “more is less.”

Darker Than Black is a possible buy, but I want to read some reactions to the complete series before I invest time and money in it. Is there substance under the glossy finish?

I watched half of the first episode of Victorian Romance Emma and, well, I was bored. I daresay I would find it fascinating if I could get into the rhythm. It can wait.

Gurren-Lagann is another possible buy. Again, I’ll wait for reports on the entire series before making a decision.

The first three episodes of Nanoha seemed to me to be an inferior version of Cardcaptor Sakura. Things start getting interesting in the fourth episode with the appearance of another mahou shoujo, but by that point I was thoroughly repulsed by the transformation sequence, which was storyboarded with dirty old men in mind. I never thought I’d say this, but I am not interested in watching any more of Nanoha unless it’s censored.


Today’s Words of Wisdom: Too much Freud is bad for you.


The first episode of Sola has two things going for it: a photographer, albeit a flaky one; and, the three inches between the hem of the girl’s very short skirt and the top of her stockings. ((This motif turns up a lot in anime, e.g., Yomi in Azumanga Daioh, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real-life example.)) Astro gave the series a “B,” so I may watch the rest sometime, but it’s not high priority.


None of the summer’s series look particularly promising. I may watch the first episode or two of Tetsuko no Tabi, which seems to be the least stereotypical offering. If the characters are interesting, it could be fun.


I see that Gedo Senki has been fansubbed. I will not be downloading it. I like the books too much.

In the key of aarrrrrr

Kashi, alias the invisible CapnFlynn, artist and animator, formerly the proprietress of Synonyms and Sugar (one of the ten best-named weblogs ever), has illustrated a book, The Voyage to Ruin, by H.L. Trombley. According to the website,

For the sinking of her ship and the death of her lover, pirate Captain Franceline Drake seeks revenge on Captain Acheron Zeal of Her Majesty’s Navy. For her most terrible crimes against the ships of Camembert, Zeal pursues Drake across the seas and skies of the Quadra Terrarum. And in the midst of the intrigue and mystery, the fate of a man named Flynn Freeborn will follow in their wake.

If you think you’d might enjoy a “pirate adventure fantasy,” check it out.

Here’s some more information on the book.

(Cross-posted on my other weblog.)

Miscellaneous notes

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.”


A couple of occidental movies might be worth trips to the cinema: Ratatouille and Surf’s Up.

Update: Here’s another review of Surf’s Up.

Goodbye, money

The Right Stuf is doing another of their 10/$50, 25/$100 Geneon sales. I just ordered Sugar, a Tiny Snow Fairy for the third time. This time, these discs will stay in Wichita; my nephews and nieces have their own copies now, and the new set is for me. Other offerings include the complete Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei, Bottle Fairy, Magical Project S, Paranoia Agent and Someday’s Dreamers. There’s also some Bach organ music.

Truth in advertising

Let’s be brazen:


The offense is slightly mitigated by the fact that the fifth season never was licensed and thus there is no legitimate region 1 release. Still, usually it’s the “marketplace” dealers who sell bootlegs, not Amazon.com itself.

Update (5/22/07): Sailor Stars is “currently not available,” and the link above returns a 404.


You can legally download the first episode of Death Note for $2, which is not a bad deal, assuming that there is no limit on how many times you can play the file. However, as Astro discovered, if you’re on a Mac, you’re out of luck. You can only watch the show on a Windows machine. This is not mentioned on the download page; you have to do some clicking in the “support” menus to discover this. It looks like I’m going to wait a few months, or years, for the DVDs. I wonder if Viz will stick a mandatory Naruto trailer at the begining of the Death Note discs, as they do with Hikaru no Go.

Movies and dreams

Here’s an interview with Satoshi Kon. There’s nothing particularly startling or revelatory there, but one of my favorite writers does get a mention:

As far as Phillip K. Dick is concerned, I haven’t read all of his works but I have read several. He is one of the authors that I prefer to read and it is also similar to the Kurt Vonnegut situation in that before I read the novel I saw the movie Blade Runner. I am very interested in the nightmare image. That is the influence I have from him which I have been saying that quite a bit in my interviews. Last year at the Hawaii Film Festival that was held, and the small synopsis they had in the program with Paprika said is was like a collision of Hello Kitty and Phillip K. Dick. I felt that was correct.