Ending well

Jonathan says that Shin Sekai Yori is “… the best science fiction TV show that I have ever seen, animated or otherwise.” I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but it definitely is in a class with Serial Experiments Lain and Dennou Coil. It’s the best show of any kind I’ve seen since at least Madoka Magica. The ending did not disappoint — not that I was worried; it was obvious early on that the creators knew exactly what they were doing.

It’s absolutely not for children, and even for adults I can’t give it an unreserved recommendation. It’s partly a horror story, with monsters and worse than monsters, all the more chilling for what isn’t shown. But if you have the stomach for it and are willing to think about aggression, social control and human nature, Shin Sekai Yori is worth your time.


I can give Girls und Panzer an unreserved recommendation for all ages. The premise is silly — teams of high-school girls compete in tank battles — but the staff played it straight and made it work, and did so without panty shots. The last episode was exhilarating and satisfying. If you watch it with friends, you’ll likely cheer aloud as Miho and her comrades fight their desperate battle.


If you’re a creative sort, you have an opportunity to collaborate with Neil Gaiman. Unfortunately, the deadline is next Monday. I wish I’d heard about this earlier.


Coming attractions: Pixy might be able to see Comets Lemmon and PanSTARRS now. The latter should be visible to those of us in the northern hemisphere soon.

There are more comet pictures here.


Vertical, Inc., is considering whether to translate Yusuke Kishi’s Shin Sekai Yori. If an English-language copy of the novel would be worth $25 to you, go to Vertical’s Tumblr page and “like” it. They need 4500 people to express an interest before they’ll undertake the project, and I was only #699.

Kishi does have one book available in English translation. I’ll probably include The Crimson Labyrinth in my next Amazon.com order.

If you’re not watching the anime Shin Sekai Yori, you’re missing one of the finest — and most nightmarish — science fiction stories ever broadcast.


Bambi Meets Godzilla, rebuilt:

You can watch it in 1080 if your computer can handle it.


Professor Mondo‘s novel is now available as pixels at Amazon.com. I just got a new pair of glasses, so I’ll probably wait for the print edition and read it the way books were meant to be read, on dead trees. You can read one of his short stories here.


A note on current events in the Catholic Church: everything you read in the secular press is complete and absolute BS. Don’t believe anything you read. I suggest checking in occasionally with Elizabeth Scalia if you want an informed perspective.

Meanwhile, here’s the Vatican version of March Madness, and Christopher Buckley’s introduction to simony.



Which famous British poet is this? The answer is here.

(Via Eve Tushnet.)

A glance back at an ordinary year


I’m not going to make a “ten best anime” list for 2012 because I haven’t watched ten shows all the way through. Two of the year’s best best are incomplete, and there are a couple of well-regarded series that I have yet to look at (Sakamichi no Apollon and Space Brothers). Instead, this is just a casual survey of this year’s offerings that I watched.

Series I didn’t make it all the way through the first episode of: Chihayafuru, Hayate No Gotoku: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse and Magi. The last I might give another try sometime, since the writers evidentally understand more about economics than do our betters in Washington.

Series I watched only the first episode of: Accel World, Binbougami ga, Campione, K, Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos, Sword Art Online and Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai. Jonathan thinks highly of the last, and I would watch more, but what I saw wasn’t sufficiently brilliant to warrant subscribing to Anime Network. (Update: Also Ozma, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate and Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan. See how memorable they were?)

Series I watched more than one episode of before losing interest: Kamisama Hajimemashita, Polar Bear Café and Sengoku Collection.

Unfinished series I might yet watch the rest of: Inu X Boku SS.

The year’s major disappointment: Moyashimon Returns. Too much soap opera, not enough craziness.

This year’s minor disappointment: Dog Days II. Entertaining, and the characters are mostly likable, even admirable; but the fanservice-to-story ratio is too high. It’s a kid’s show that I can’t recommend for kids. (And surely Leonmitchelli can find something more appropriate to her station to wear than daisy dukes.)

These are the shows that I can recommend:

Continue reading “A glance back at an ordinary year”

You don’t have to worry about a thing

A thousand years from now, technology has advanced little, if at all, if what we see in the first episode of Shin Sekai Yori is representative. Not all technology, though — genetic manipulation has produced some remarkable results in farming and perhaps elsewhere. Many people, maybe everyone in the rural community where protagonist Saki lives, are capable of some degree of telekinesis. The appearance of this power in a youngster is heralded by the appearance of a “blessing spirit” and is the occasion for a quasi-Buddhist ceremony, but it is strongly hinted that there have been generations of selection and breeding involved. And culling.

There’s also Dvorak every evening at twilight.

The first episode suggests that Shin Sekai Yori could be a complex, uncanny story like Serial Experiments Lain was and Ghost Hound tried to be. However, the summary at ANN indicates that it will go in a different direction:

In the future Japan has become a fractured country, and small towns now exist. The rulers of this world have the cursed power of Telekinesis. When an incident occurs, 5 children come to realize the world is not as it seems, and learn the bloody history behind this world. These 5 children unite and help the world as it falls into a downward spiral of chaos.

More spectacular and less interesting that I would have hoped. I’ll continue watching it, anyway. It may still be the best show of the fall season.

Screen captures are below the fold.

The first episode of K is worth watching for sheer gorgeous spectacle. One episode will probably be sufficient. The characters are largely violent bishies (there’s also a creepy little EGL), and I have no interest in any of them. But the animation sure is pretty.

I also watched the brand new Hayate no Gotoku for a while, but bailed out half-way through. It was just dumb.

Continue reading “You don’t have to worry about a thing”