To the Moon

Alex Ross, in The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, states that Schoenberg’s twelve-tone method of musical composition “… finally reached the silver screen by way of Scott Bradley’s inventive scores for Tom and Jerry cartoons in the forties, notably Puttin’ on the Dog and The Cat That Hated People.” Which gives me an excuse to post some High Culture, courtesy of Tex Avery.

Dewey, Cheatum and Howe

I don’t listen to radio at all anymore except during entertaining weather. The last show that I regularly tuned in was Car Talk. I don’t have a car, but that didn’t matter; the real point of the show was the Magliozzis’ quick wit and corny humor. Now Click and Clack have their own animated show. It’s a pity that the video excerpt suggests that it’s going to be politicized garbage.

In other animation news, it looks like I need to see WALL-E.



Pythagoras Switch is a Japanese science show for small children. It’s very elementary and most of it is of little interest, but there are a couple of redeeming features. One is the “algorithm march,” a sequence of simple movements performed in canon, popular with inmates in the Philippines. The other are the many “Pythagoras Switches” that give the show its name. These are Rube Goldberg contraptions, designed to display the show’s logo in complicated ways. Some are fantastically elaborate; others are elegantly simple. All are imaginative constructions made with everyday objects: marbles, paper cups, books, clothes pins, tape measures, springs, scraps of wood, etc. I posted a brief excerpt featuring two of the devices on my video weblog. You can find more on YouTube.

There are a couple of “DVD books” out for region 2 that feature nothing but these devices. I’d be interested to see translations of the books, should they ever be made (not likely). The contents of the DVDs, however, don’t need translation, and the torrents are out there if you know where to look.


Now for something completely different: Sally Cruikshank‘s “Face Like a Frog.”

(Via AniPages Daily.)


The swelling in my leg is diminishing, finally, and the nerves and muscles are waking up. The immediate consequence is that I get cramps in both legs now. It’s going to be a long ten weeks until I get rid of the splint. Bleah.


Some odds and ends while I download Moyashimon:

Does anyone make shows about folks who can focus on saving humanity, or are we doomed to a diet of crappy sci-fi soap operas? If WWII had been like this, Roosevelt would have looked like Professor X and have been crippled years ago by his quasi-enemy, Super Seiyjin Stalin; Hitler would have been the lunatic madman out to conquer/end/dominate/destroy the world, Mussolini would have been the jilted bishie lover of both Roosevelt and Stalin, Churchill would have been an angsty teenager, and Hirohito would have been a cute female high-schooler in a sailor outfit trying to end world militarism in time for this semester’s finals.


“Isn’t chocolate pudding… bad … for the violins?”


I’m not a fan of Star Wars, but this was uncalled for. (Caution: causes severe ear pain. Blame the LLamas for this one.)


Here’s an alternate history story: if MGM had said “yes” to Bob Clampett in 1936, would the Japanese now be fansubbing American animation? (Via Aliens in This World.)


I may be wrong, but as I understand it, the “sei” in “seifuku” is short for “sailor.” I.e., its distinguishing characteristic is the sailor collar. Consequently, I think only one of the outfits in this poll qualifies as a proper seifuku. (Update: I was wrong — see Andrew F.’s comment. Never mind.)


I’ve added Yumedamaya Kidan to my to-investigate list.


The next self-help bestseller: Aerophobics: The Easy Six* Step program to end your exercise addiction. It could be helpful in maintaing a proper otaku lifestyle.

*”’cause let’s face it, twelve steps is WAAAAAAY too many.” —SR

Random notes

Dino Squad — yet another reason to stick to anime. (Via Tim Blair.)


I notice that the group fansubbing Dokuro-Chan II calls itself “Philanthropy.” That’s not the word that occurs to me.


For those who regard every anime they’ve downloaded that is subsequently licensed as a an “obligation buy,” a suggestion. If it’s a lousy, trashy series, e.g., Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru, don’t spend your money on it. It will only encourage the company to license more garbage. Instead, take that money and apply it to a good show, preferably one that is underappreciated. (My own policy is less stringent. I purchase more than I download, and if a show is genuinely good, it goes on my “buy” list, even if I don’t expect to rewatch it soon. My drive may be getting full, but my shelves are overflowing.)

Relics of a less-sensitive past

At WalMart today I spotted a collection of 150 Cartoon Classics in the $5 DVD bin. It’s, um, educational. Here are two before-and-after pairs of screen captures from “Redskin Blues,” a Tom and Jerry cartoon from 1932:





(Sorry about the quality. The DVD’s menus don’t work in VLC, and the Apple DVD player won’t allow screen grabs (thank you very much, Steve Jobs), so I had to snap the monitor screen with my toy camera.)

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.