January 08, 2017

Happy Dance is Engaged (UPDATED)

The first remake of Space Cruiser Yamato was absolutely excellent. Now it appears that they are indeed remaking the second series too



UPDATE: Two other (shorter) videos are available.



Framegrabs (possibly spoilerish) below the fold...
more...

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January 02, 2017

OK, I Sit Corrected

In my last pompous disquisition upon this season of RWBY I prattled on for about 150 words about how the CGI fight animation/choreography was not as good as those of the earlier seasons. 

Yeah. 
About that...



It does appear that my argument has been invalidated by recent developments.
Monty would be proud of these people.

As for the non-FX aspects of this episode. 
Wow. 
This was not filler. 
Every aspect of the three ring circus that was this episode was consequential and full of surprises. Even the quiet conversations, far removed from the cares of the world keep one on the edge of their seats.

I remain surprised at just how impressive that Weiss, of all people, has become. 

This show still has five or six more episodes to screw everything up, but as of now RWBY remains first rate.

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December 27, 2016

RWBY Series 4 Mid-Season Thoughts

 In the two months since our last review, RWBY has moved right along. The production values continue to be superb. 







The backgrounds, once akin to a '50s UPA cartoon, are now awe-inspiring at times and the animation is consistently top-notch.


 


I sure hope he doesn't...drop the map.

We've now had a bit of time with all four girls of the eponymous team (who are now on different continents). 

It's kind of refreshing to see Ruby be the main character in her own show for a change. Most of the action has continued following Ruby, Jaune, Nora and Ren as they trudge across the wilderness on their way to a city where they expect to find answers to the conspiracy against them....unaware that that conspiracy is stalking them.

A few surprising facts have been revealed.



...some of which may not, strictly speaking, end up being vital to the plot.

This remains a remarkably solid show. It's hard to recommend to someone who hasn't seen it since the first and to a lesser extent the second season are of so much lower quality they are hard to watch now. However the first two seasons are short and the continual upgrades the show goes through are a joy to watch. 

For those who stopped watching after...all that stuff...that happened at the end of last season, I do recommend that you set aside 72 minutes of your time to catch up on this season.

The one very minor criticism I think I touched on in an earlier post is that the fight scenes don't QUITE match the spectacular choreography that the late Monty Oum used to such effect early on. Compare this scene from season one which had a shoestring budget and a staff of about 15 that were just learning their craft to this one from last month, which enjoys a larger budget and a staff that has amassed tremendous experience. The second fight is not bad at all and the overall quality of the more recent episodes is absolutely spectacular, but despite the limited budget and resources, Monty Oum's choreography had a sense of dynamism and movement (and while physics is too strong a word, there was no jarring sense that it had been discarded). It is that last bit that his successors, despite their considerable skill, don't quite get yet. This is a very minor quibble but it goes to show that Oum was indeed a singular talent.

That most quibbly of quibbles aside; at the midway point this season is excellent. Despite the dark ending of last season and the frightful repercussions thereof, the show has managed to avoid becoming a bleak misery-fest and, due mainly to the pluck of the characters, it manages to maintain a basically upbeat tone until now. 

We'll see if it can keep that up this weekend. 

I certainly will be watching.



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December 19, 2016

Well. That Was Not What I Expected.





Star Wars: Rogue One is is not a space opera.

It is not simply a re-hash of previous plots in the franchise.

It is also completely devoid of infuriating Mary Sues who are effortlessly good at everything. 

Despite its very different tone and style (It is actually a re-skinned Samurai film....complete with Zatoichi!) this is not a rejection of the franchise, its fans or its conceits, but rather a labor of love in homage to the whole kit and kaboodle, complete with geeky references to the trilogy, the prequels and the TV series of the sort that were cute but awkward in the prequels. Here they are done masterfully. 

Likewise the female lead is an action girl done exactly right. 

The movie's effects are everything one would expect from a Star Wars film done by Disney...and more. This is a gorgeous film with visuals that even by today's standards are stunning and it breaks new ground in FX as well as necromancy (which, upon reflection, I'm pretty sure is a Sith art). 

This is a story about desperate bitter people in a dark time who are not all that nice who are at the end of their rope while those they look to for guidance are giving in to despair. 

Rogue One is also a story of honor, redemption, hope and courage that manages to be uplifting and inspiring despite its gritty take on the Star Wars universe. This is a beautiful and awesome film that fits in perfectly to the Star Wars canon without the sense of forcing the issue that permeated the prequels. 


My only gripe is that the score is not anywhere near as epic as one expects from a Star Wars film, except where John Williams pieces are dusted off and used. This is not as egregious as it normally would be given that this is a very different sort of story. 
 
The Force is strong with this one.
Rogue One is awesome. 
Go see it. 


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December 05, 2016

Yet Another of Those Animated Shows Set in a Post Apocalyptic World

...this one's American and from 1939.

It's also seasonally appropriate.


It gives a good sense of the anti-war mood in the country on the eve of the Second World War.

more...

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November 28, 2016

Asking The Important Questions


What would you do if you could change one thing about the past; if you could undo one action (or inaction) that had precipitated a cruelty that's caused heartbreak and torment all the days since then?

Would such a miracle, picking at that central thread of a person's life, unravel the tapestry of events that created who that person is (or was)?  


Or would it be awesome....with a giant robot fighting for justice...




What if the only sane person you regularly interact with is your evil nemesis, the the leader of the magical autism squad?


What's it like in hell anyway?


Flip Flappers....I've got no idea what this series is about. But, I'm going with this for now...



This show is cute, it's whimsical, it's high-octane nightmare fuel and it is brilliantly put together. 

It is also blazing new trails in the fashion and technology of legwear. 



It is NOT however, a reliable, peer reviewed source of information on rabbit anatomy. 

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November 14, 2016

A Note of Passing Interest to Someone I'm Sure

It appears that Hayao Miyazaki is making another full length film.



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November 07, 2016

RWBY 4-2

There's no actual action in this episode, but a lot of stuff is established. 

Ruby keeps having nightmares about Pyrrha and keeps hearing her voice at night. 


Do you remember when the backgrounds were an afterthought if they were present at all?

We do get to see Weiss. Her family life is about what we'd come to expect. 



Our heroes reach the village they've been looking for only to find it razed. The lone survivor explains that it was bandits, followed by grimm...and expires. Ren and Nora recognize....something.



Ren and Nora's history has only been alluded to obliquely. It is known that they are both orphans and strongly implied that they are the only survivors of their village(s?).

 

This was a solidly written episode. 
This season is off to a stellar start. 

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November 06, 2016

Flip-Flappers

It's pretty clear from the title what this show's going to be about...

When two teenage girls trying to make it as real estate speculators in Prohibition era Chicago decide to compete for top prize in a dance contest at a local speakeasy, they manage to run afoul of the mob, some cultists, a Bolshevik plot and an inept gumshoe. Our heroines must cope with bandits, biplanes, and 10,000 bullets as they...


Wait...


That synopsis may not actually be entirely accurate. 

Good Grief! This show's title is completely misleading.

OK, I have NO idea what is going on in Flip-Flappers, and can't even make a guess as to the etymology of the title

But I kind of like it.

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October 30, 2016

RWBY Season 4 Begins

When last we left our intrepid heroes in team RNGR (or JNRR, there is some disagreement on this point) they had struck out across the continent in the hopes of finding out who was behind the destruction of Beacon Academy, and the devastation of Vale.




This episode takes place between 6 and 18 months since the last one and there have been some developments....


This person, despite not a whit of dialog, seems to be significant.



We do learn several things, including the true nature of Pumpkin Pete, but mostly that three years of practice and a major increase in budget allow for a tremendous boost in quality. This looks gorgeous! The fight sequence was much more in the spirit of Monty Oum than the trailer, which I was somewhat critical of. the voice work is still very good and the pacing is excellent. 

On the debit side, most of the new additions to the villian side seem to lack the panache of the ones we know, and seem to be mimeographs of cardboard cutouts, though their screen time was brief and that may well change moving forward.  

This series went through a dramatic shift in tone and direction at the end of last season to something rather darker than many of its fans had grown accustomed to. That hasn't changed, however it is refreshing to see that the show has not lost its sense of humor or heart. This season is starting off promising.

Note that as I type this, RWBY is not on Crunchyroll's front page, but it is viewable there

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