October 31, 2014

Boo!

 
RWBY in costume by Elf-Jy
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October 27, 2014

This Week, On a Very Special Episode of Log Horizon: Nothing Happened

Well almost nothing.

Akatsuki, the awesome, badass kunoichi spent the most of the episode being mopey and neurotic. This 27 year old woman who in her previous life was in graduate school, and in this world has established herself as one of the guild's most trusted and effective members is convinced that ...
A: She's been assigned royal escort duty because she's....weak.
B: She's being out competed in romance by a 13 year old. 

Both of these fail the logic test. Regards A: It is blindingly obvious that Shiro gave her the (extremely vital) guard duty because he has confidence in her and trusts her utterly. If B were in fact correct then Shiro would, by definition, not be worth any of her time beyond that necessary to vivisect him for the good of humanity and therefore B should not be a problem one way or the other. Yet this generally awesome character spends the episode having some sort of midlife crisis, while the women around her eat cake and carry on conversations that for the most part fail the Bechdel test. 

This near fiasco of an episode has actually given me a possible insight into the show. I shall call it the 'Cake Rule'.



Any episode of Log Horizon that prominently involves a large variety of cakes will be sub par. 

Of course, like the last cake episode, inserted between the banality and the failure was what may well be a rather important development.
 

Now, in fairness, not everything in the episode was disappointing or grim. One bit was not at all unpleasant, though it must be said that from a character perspective it also made little sense. However,  I'm willing to cut them a bit of slack for it.
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October 24, 2014

Remarkably Watchable Badass Yarn

Villains...
They can vastly improve a show, particularly a superhero show. 
Season two of RWBY has taken that lesson to heart and run with it.  The villains are genuinely frightening, with style, amazing choreography and snappy one liners... 


"Pick any three." 

Yeah...This show is not high art, but it is definitely a keeper. 

First season was amusing, but occasionally painful to watch. However, the people making this have really honed their craft. 
RWBY has been pretty good all season, but now, just over two thirds of the way into this season this show has really hit its stride. 

My only complaint is that NEXT WEEK IS A WHOLE WEEK AWAY!


"We can wait!" 


Which, when one thinks about it, is not a damning complaint at all. 


For those who want an overview of the currently active plot thread, click here: 

 

I do have a few questions for those who watch the show. 


There are, I believe, still 5 episodes to go. 

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October 11, 2014

No one Would Have Believed

..at the end of the first decade of the 20th century that the war that would soon engulf the world was even possible. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. Then, not halfway through the second decade of the 20th century, came the great disillusionment.

Here is some recently restored film footage of that terrible, perilous time. 

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October 10, 2014

I Am Confused but Elated


Though it has some elements familiar to fans of the old show , this looks vastly different from any of the original series or films. However, Yamato 2199 was one of the best space shows of the last 10 years or more so this new project (due out in December) certainly bears watching. 

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October 08, 2014

Well, I Guess It HAS Been That Long

PowerPuffage by Tjota.

Good grief I'm old....

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October 07, 2014

Log Horizon 2: First Impressions

Log Horizon was huge surprise to me last year and a pleasant one. This season hardly feels like a break at all as the series starts pretty much where the last episode left off (actually a bit before that). It takes a somewhat different tack almost immediately and the looks like it will continue to be interesting. 





  It was successful enough to warrant a second season but not enough to get a bigger budget, or even a new theme song. However, this reinforces the feeling that the show is simply continuing. Marielle is one of a few characters off model, possibly in an attempt to add some detail, though like the first season, it continues to have mediocre art and animation at best. It has been the intriguing story and the characters that have really carried it and made this one special. 

This is starting out slow, but it remains clever.

 it's still available on Crunchyroll and I recommend it highly, hell in a week or so you can be caught up!

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October 05, 2014

Well...Damn

There was a post here...with a typo.

I tried to edit it and then managed to delete the post. 

Derp.

Anyway, as to the post, here is a related video with a minor RWBY spoiler.


The true measure of a man is not his attire but whether he keeps his word.




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October 04, 2014

An Epiphany

For some time I've noted the existence of Nightcore, which has become the bane of my existence whenever I browse for AMVs. I'll come across an AMV of a song thinking "That has has potential."only to discover that it is the Nightcore cover.


Kids...My lawn...Off it...GET!

Then the other day, it occurred to me.
This is just The Chipmunks for today.  

I guess this is what Vocaloid sounds like to native speakers of Japanese?

This genre is not without its merits though. It's perky, you can dance to it and after listening to that for an hour and a half, I find myself so disillusioned with humanity that I'm not really all that concerned about Ebola anymore.


"That's why I like Nightcore almost as much as negligence and stupidity!"

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October 03, 2014

Low Tech Electronica

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September 22, 2014

Further Thoughts on Murder Hoboes



In an earlier post, I linked to this piece which, using Medieval Europe as a template, discussed the probable economic ramifications of an adventuring party in the D&D universe. 

My friend BOB!1! disagreed with the premise and attempted to comment but was thwarted by a comments glitch. He has an interesting take which I'll attempt to relay and expand upon here.

Emily Dresner makes the case that bands of adventurers gaining large rewards for services rendered\ and then spending their gains in small towns disrupts the social and economic order. Furthermore this activity risks a sharp inflationary cycle that will further wreak havoc on the society. 

 BOB!1! points out that the Middle Ages (and the D&D world) were characterized by a severe deflationary cycle associated with a civilizational collapse. Money was tightly locked up in savings and held largely by feudal lords. It was not in circulation except to pay for rotating debts and wars. Travel and trade were hindered by roving bands of orcs (or Vikings, bandits, wolves and occasionally Arabs) and there was little pressure to invest in infrastructure or mercantile projects. 

Into this come our adventures who as Ms. Dresner points out. shake things up mightily and put gold that has been squirreled away into circulation. This does indeed shake things up and it will eventually cause considerable upheaval in the social order....

...BUT THE SOCIAL ORDER SUCKS! 

Feudalism boasts impressive stability and a certainty of ones place in the world....because one's place in the world is almost certain to never ever ever change. Like the Subcontinent's caste system and myriad other systems considered exotic or 'indigenous' it has certain undeniable merits if one is a nobleman or a passing hipster tourist, but is rather less appealing to those who sustain it.

However, given the premise put forth in D&D, the adventurers and the craftsmen they trade with are a blossoming middle class, which is a good thing. 

Note too that the corollary between Medieval Europe and D&D is not precise. Dragons are a deflationary pressure not present historically. (The inflationary potential they represent if slain might be analogous to the Aztecs however.)

 Likewise. the dungeons themselves are vast, incredibly numerous, and indicate a far more advanced precursor civilization than Rome. Once cleared of monsters, traps and megalomaniacal necromancers they represent vast tracts of useable (though probably not arable) real estate. The release of such infrastructure to settlement and the introduction of the monetary hoards within into the economy would mirror on a smaller scale the effect of the black death on land availability and money per person in circulation, but without the near total disruption of what trade there was. On the contrary, by reducing the threat of orks and bugbears the 'murder hoboes' would greatly facilitate trade even as the huge injection of gold into the economies would cause an inflationary spiral that would encourage investment in various enterprises. No longer could wealth be best managed by hoarding it. Rather, with the value of gold dropping, one must use it or loose it. Investment would be the key to riches. Ms. Dresner uses the example of 1500s Spain to suggest that this would be a disaster. However, Spain encountered difficulties due to micromanagement and regulation of the economy in an attempt to keep the feudal order in place rather than the more trade oriented one Spain's gold had made possible. It's worth noting that other countries embraced the change and ushered in a rising standard of living and ultimately the enlightenment. 

Finally, since the adventurers in D&D tend to be polyglot associations, and demonstrated the advantages of various races working in consort, and since financial success comes from appealing to the largest demographic possible, prosperity would tend to favor kingdoms that take a tolerant view of racial equality and miscegenation and a dim view of provincialism. This could conceivably even be extended to some of the orks if the analogy of the Vikings is used. This means that the kingdoms that emerge from this time  would be well on their way to an equivalent to the Renaissance and/or Enlightenment that might well outstrip the historical one.

Dresner is correct that the adventurers make the feudal D&D world they start out in unsustainable in a few years if they are at all successful, but far from being unwitting agents of chaotic evil, the adventurers are likely to end up being forces for chaotic or lawful good...whatever their alignment. 

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September 20, 2014

Yeah. I Didn't Think She Had One of Those Either.


From Sabagebu! Survival Game Club episode 5. This was an even more unexpected plot twist than the revelation that
This show is, in some ways, almost as gonzo as Nichijou. 
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Watson....

Well, the new Ace Attorney game is a period piece set mainly in Victorian London. The plot revolves around a Meiji Era Japanese law student studying in  London and Sherlock Holmes is a major character in the game. 


This is actually pretty interesting. 

This is actually Pretty Watson. 




Wait. what?

Yes. Watson is an 8 year old girl genius. 

OK it's a video game, and a Japanese game to boot so extreme liberties, re-imaginings and gender-bending should come as no surprise whatsoever. 

Nevertheless, Shu Takumi, the director of the game, states that he wants it to be quite true to the original.
 As for the character of Holmes, Takumi, who is also in charge of the game's scenario writing, has stated that he is a fan of the original series and hopes to maintain the sort of Sherlock that he grew up reading about.

On the other hand, that Watson fellow, must have really bugged him as a kid. 

There's more here
Be advised that that link goes to Kotaku, so there could be payola, including the kinds that carry social diseases. 

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September 14, 2014

Current Watch List

I've been quite busy of late but I am watching a few things in between schoolwork and work-work. 

RWBY has been mentioned quite a bit. It's the only show I actually am able to watch weekly and keep up with in part because its twelve minute run time is easy to justify as a study break. It's really hitting its stride and is amusing me far more than it ought to. 

Tonari No Seki Kun is an older series that likewise can be consumed in 7 minute doses. I'm watching one or two a week. It has remained cute and refreshing. 

I was quite thoroughly traumatized a while back by Stella Women's Academy Emo Paintball Fight Club With The Ridiculously Long Name That Started Out Really Cool but Despite its Message Of Redemption Was REALLY Depressing and For Some Reason Ended in C-3, so I had judiciously  avoided the latest 'cute girls doing cute things in survival club' show. However, despite the subject matter (CGDCT+Guns) it is based on what is ostensibly a Shojo rather than a Seinen manga so this appeared to at least have the potential to be different. Also I've heard some good things about it and the show's name, even with the subtitle, is only 4 words long. 

I'm only 3 episodes into Sabagebu! Survival Game Club, but it's pretty enjoyable thus far with a quirky and likable cast, many of whom share my opinion of hornets and natto. I may have to write on this at length in the future. 

Dr. Who is a show that I rarely get to watch due to scheduling and a lack of DVR. However, a quirk of fate has allowed me to watch the first 4 Cappaldi episodes and I'm becoming more convinced that  the PC venom displayed in episode 2 is not intended to be seen in a good light. It looks like The Promised Land is going to be a new Bad Wolf and Robin Hood was a hoot. I like that the doctor is not completely omnipotent "Wait . You're Right. That's a STUPID idea!" It's interesting at any rate.  

In the queue: I picked up the second half of Ghost Hound, and second season of K-On!, both of which which I watched the first halves of YEARS ago. 

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September 11, 2014

Dance Dance Infiltration

Well, the latest episode of RWBY answers a question that everyone has been asking since episode 9. 






 

This was a really good episode, it moved the plot, developed the characters and managed to be cute as well as dramatic. The pacing was near perfect. 
This show has really hit its stride. Seven episodes in and the season hasn't had a miss yet. 

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