April 16, 2014

I Had No Idea

that there were any videos of Joe and Eddie on You-Tube.






In the second one they're being introduced by Danny Kaye.


Now, even if, for some inexplicable reason, that name doesn't ring a bell, I'd wager that most of you are probably at least famillier with this performance he did with the Andrews Sisters. In any event, because of the wonders of Boolean searches, the tangential Danny Kay connection to the Joe and Eddie search then led to this particularly worthy bit of win. 


I love technology!



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April 13, 2014

A Certain Scientific Railgun 1-12

In keeping with the blogs policy of being on the cutting edge of the Anime scene, we concluded that we ought to actually get around to watching this show from 2009.

A Certain Scientific Railgun was well received  by American fans when it came out  and was successful enough in Japan to have spawned a sequel last year. It is apparently a spinoff/side story to an earlier light novel series called A Certain Magical Index about which I know nothing. 

The series is set in Academy City, a recently incorporated, planned metropolis just west of Tokyo (in present day Okutama perhaps?). The city has been set up in part as a high tech development region; a sort of government subsidized Silicon Valley with additional heavy industry. Its main purpose however, is as an educational mecca. Academy City is a vast collection of junior high schools, high schools and colleges with different specialization's (including nearly all of Japans most prestigious academies) and its atmosphere and infrastructure are both intended to be highly conducive to learning and developing the special talents of Japan's youth. 


...and developing boondoggles like wind turbines...inside a city.

Note that we are not being whimsical or abstract when we say "special talents". Some years prior to the events in this series, ESPer abilities were scientifically confirmed to exist latently in certain people. Intense study revealed ways to exercise and thus improve these abilities. A single person can have one ( but only one) of the hundreds of known talents. However, they are rated on an ability level that goes from 1-5. This seems to be an exponential scale and frequency dwindles rapidly with power. There are less than a dozen level 5's in the entire city. Since these abilities are psychic in nature, improving them is largely a mental discipline. Thus, schools are a good means of pursuing this research. The schools pursue an intense, broad spectrum education since few ESPer abilities have any marketable use and in any event, this many educational institutions in close proximity foster a critical mass that the powers that be no doubt hope will become a high capacity Japanese genius generator. 

  The educational theme extends to certain city services. 

First some cultural background:
 Japanese high schools often have student councils with a great deal of responsibility. They manage the basic janitorial duties of their school, do a good deal of the scutt work in organizing field trips and school activities, assign students to do groundskeeping and equipment inventory and divvy up their budget between various clubs and school events. In some high schools they even provide (through the Home-Ec classes) the cooking staff for lunch and to a very limited extent, discipline (well...hall monitors).There are faculty advisors overseeing this of course, but they only get involved if necessary.The idea behind this affront to the sensibilities of the NEA and DoED is that high school students are young adults and should have organizational skills, be acclimated to work and be given increasing responsibilities. In a high school setting this can work pretty well.

In Academy City they've applied this concept of high school students administering things to the whole metropolis...thus dystopia. 

OK, not quite: In addition to the individual school's councils, there is an inter-school student council that coordinates members of various school's councils to deal with student related concerns throughout Academy City. One can assume that this council co-ordinates, festivals and spelling bees but those activities don't lend themselves to a crime drama so we never see those committees. The manifestation of the inter-school council the audience encounters is JUSTICE...a city-wide network of STASSI glorified hall monitors with limited ticketing and arrest powers. While this seems at first glance to be whacked, remember that this city is overwhelmingly (80%) populated by students, most of whom are teenagers trying to develop their super-powers. Having as much discipline as possible meted out by peers helps to minimize the social dynamic of having a bunch of super powered kids being disciplined by mostly unpowered adults.  The city does have a regular police force as well as a frighteningly well equipped SWAT team in case the teenagers decide to rumble. 

Everything in the city is geared towards technophilia and academic achievement. Students with good marks are local celebrities, but "good marks" has come to mainly mean having an unusual power. Universities, corporations and eclectic individuals have descended upon the city to study the abilities of those with talent and Academy City is as much a scientific observatory as a learning center. This is most harshly expressed in the fact that those who cannot manifest any ESPer abilities are not held in particularly high regard. They are the level 0s and are termed "Human Errors" by medical professionals and while not actively discriminated against they are considered 'broken'. However, if they keep their non paranormal grades up they are allowed to stay in the cities schools. 


Among the more famous people in this odd town is our heroine...

Mikoto Misaka: 



...She is one of the few level 5 ESPers in the city. Her ability is to control electromagnetic forces. She can generate electrical fields, magnetic fields and using the latter propel arcade tokens at mach 3. This latter ability has resulted in the nickname 'Railgun'. She is a top student at the prestigious Tokiwadai Girls School and has become something of a local celebrity, which she finds a bit annoying. She's a fairly reserved and modest person, who responds to her schools alarmingly brief uniform skirts by wearing hiking shorts beneath hers. Mikoto is not part of any student organization and seems to be given somewhat wide latitude to develop her powers which are of considerable interest to the scientific establishment. She is decent, level headed and sane. This latter characteristic is somewhat surprising given that her dorm-mate is....
Kuroko Shirai:



Kuroko is an extremely skilled (high level 4) teleporter and a student at Tokiwadai. She is smitten with her dorm-mate and periodically attempts to romance Mikoto despite constant rebuffs. Kuroko is the vector by which Mikoto gets pulled into any number of adventures, you see she's a field agent for JUDGEMENT. She takes great pride in her job and is considered quite conscientious, though she in fact has been becoming increasingly overconfident of late and in any event has numerous other character flaws. She is currently acting as mentor to her rookie partner...

Kazari Uiharu:



...who looks up to her a great deal. Uiharu is a level one ESPer and her ability seems to be to grow flowers out of her head. This power is of no discernible utility in the scholastic or law enforcement fields so she must get by with determination and wits. She is very good at research and data acquisition and is normally Shirai's support, but she is increasingly being trusted with field work. As she is a mere level one, she is a student at Sakugawa school, which is not particularly prestigious. The school does not provide dorms for it's students and Uiharu lives in a nearby apartment with a classmate from Sakugawa...

Ruiko Saten:



 
...who came from a not terribly affluent family that pretty much put everything they had into getting her into an Academy City school where she could develop her abilities and move up in society. Despite much effort, she appears to be a level zero. This bothers her a great deal more than she lets on. She's quite smart, she just has no super powers in a city full of ESPers being groomed to be the leaders of tomorrow. Despite her brave talk she is becoming increasingly desperate to get in touch with the powers she is sure she must have. Saten frequently assists Uiharu in research, though as she a level zero this is in an unofficial capacity. Saten is quite astonished to find out that Mikoto Misaka is not at all the pompous prima donna she had imagined.

**********

This is actually a pretty good teenage superhero high-school cop show thus far. The adventure elements are well thought out and the show is developing nicely. Misaka, Uiharu and Saten are thoroughly likable, decent characters...and Kuroko is fun to laugh at. 

The show has a lot to say about what happens when one defines worth too narrowly and how credentials of any type can be given too much weight to the exclusion of other qualities. 

 Funimation's dub is pretty good. Allison Viktori's version of Kuroko is a rather annoying.... which is exactly as it should be. The rest of the cast are also very nicely realized with Brina Palencia doing an especially fine job as Saten. 


These 12 episodes were quite enjoyable and I'm eagerly looking forward to the rest of it.

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April 07, 2014

This is REALLY Looking Interesting

...but it's gonna be kind of hard to live up to these trailers




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April 06, 2014

And Now, A Musical Interlude






UPDATE & WARNING: You may THINK it's like SchoolhouseRock but this Russian historical disco video is such a dangerous earworm that we fear it might be a nefarious Kremlin plot.





UPDATE FROM LEGAL: All Voice Actors are 18 years or older.
That is our story...and we are sticking to it. 






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March 30, 2014

"I Tried to Put it all Behind Me...But They Kept Dragging Me Back In."

  On the face of it,  Love Chunibyo and Other Delusions is just a high school slice of life show, but this series possesses a dark secret. It's the tale of a young man trying to put his terrible, shameful past behind him and find happiness as a productive member of society. His quest for redemption is complicated by the fact that fandom is like the Mob, but without the benefit of Omerta.

Yuta Togashi is just starting out in High School. His goal is to be normal.
That's it...
You see, in Jr. High, Mr. Togashi was an imaginative young lad. Actually he was a geek, a fanboy...a RAVING Otaku who became legendary for his bonecrusshingly idiotic antics. He imagined himself to be "The Dark Flame Master" which was a fantasy personality that seems to have been based on a dreadfully cliched TV/ light novel series.
He's better now.
Looking to put his reputation as a complete addle-brained looser behind him he has enrolled in a high school that's a couple of counties removed from his apartment...which necessitates an exceedingly long commute.
He is able to do a pretty good job of passing as normal....




Unfortunately, he has a new neighbor, Rikka Takanashi, who is also in his homeroom, knows about his past and if anything is more delusional than he ever was. She seeks to enlist the Dark Flame Master into her crackerjack team of shortbus commandos who are looking to...chart the areas ley lines.




Rikka is at once obnoxious, pitiable and hilarious as she sets into motion a series of events that bring together a surprisingly well realized cast of characters in a show that is a rare and special kind of treat.  Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions is masterfully well done. I found it not just funny but genuinely touching.  It has fully lived up to it's early promise.

This blog has 369 posts in the Fanboy Recidivism category, which probably represent 80-100 shows. This is one of the best.

It's still streaming on Crunchyroll for a time, but do note that Sentai it taking pre-orders for the show on DVD and Blue Ray.

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March 29, 2014

Kill-La-Kill Ends

They pretty much went through all the applicable tropes for the climax and cranked them up to 11. I do think it went on one episode too long,
Nevertheless, it is with profound shame and a great deal of rueful self examination that I must admit to having thoroughly enjoyed this show.


Unfortunately, standards and practices has informed us that any images from the final episode that are not spoilers would be inappropriate for the blog. So here is an utterly unrelated landscape by Kasi Takahisa.




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March 23, 2014

It Occurs To Me

....that if Joss Wheadon did pr0n, the result would probably be much like Kill-La-Kill.


Of which this is a rather non-representative excerpt.

I'm hard pressed to think of any show I have felt so guilty about enjoying.

The fact that I'm enjoying it a great deal only adds to my nagging guilt.

However, I'm able to somewhat assuage my conscience as I am now pretty sure that this show is not actually pr0n. I base this assessment on the fact that I don't think the audience is supposed to stand up and cheer while watching pr0n.



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Log Horizon Ends (Sort Of)



Log Horizon has been fairly surprising all along and its ending was more so. It is not at all the sort of climax one would expect from a fantasy adventure show that has been steadily escalating, being instead something of a denouement to the epic tale that was the first 22 episodes.



There are quite a few major revelations not the least of which is that there will definitely be a season two in the fall.

This has been a very good series and I highly recommend it. As an added bonus, it has remained  quite kid friendly and as I said in an earlier post, if I had kids this is the sort of show I'd be wanting them to watch. It's a show about a bunch of decent people who display great courage, ethics, hope and even a decent sense of  civics. It portrays a world where intelligence is admirable, ones principles are important and experience (and study habits) really do matter.

It's also been fun.

The fall season is going to have at least one show to look forward to.
more...

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March 19, 2014

I'll Just Leave This Here





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Two New RWBY Related Pics

This is pretty cool.



This is much cooler...



..however, the first one can be yours for $34.95 whereas the second can't actually be purchased as such and certainly requires considerable social skills, a sense of humor, good looks, similar interests, compatible belief systems, patience, integrity, discipline and a great deal of personal responsibility.

The choice is obvious...in part because we have no idea who the awesome cosplayer is and wouldn't ruin her life by posting contact info if we did.

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March 14, 2014

Well Then...

I guess this show does have potential.


They had me with  Otakulypse Girl..the Antikythera mechanism was just glorious overkill.

I've heard good things about Love Chunibyo and Other Delusions for some time. It's streaming on Crunchyroll now and looks to be both cute and demented.

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March 11, 2014

A Question for My Readers

The erudite humor, subtle social commentary and deep philosophizing of Space Dandy are expertly weaved via its multi-layered storytelling into a tapestry brilliantly designed to stimulate the intellect of the most sophisticated viewers while still conveying (with somewhat less success) entertainment on the squalid, unimaginative and vulgar  level of storytelling accessible to the gauche masses.

Regrettably, as you may have gleaned from my previous post, my artistic appreciation is such that I'm really only comprehending the last part.



Hence my question.
Is there anyone here who gets the first part?

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March 01, 2014

Saturday Morning Cakefight

Saturday mornings...
In my youth this meant sitting down with grotesquely unhealthy cereal and watching Saturday morning cartoons, which was the programming block for kids back in the days when there were only 3 TV networks. These were almost always billed as exciting adventure shows. However, due to a malevolent confluence of progressive hysteria, lawyers and network departments of standards and practices, theses shows were almost uniformly a profound disappointment. While kids everywhere else in the world got to watch various iterations of Grendaizer, we poor American children were being tormented by The Funky Phantom, Devlin and Jabberjaw.

This morning, I decided to have revenge upon the programing directors who ruined my childhood. I got up, pulled a Go-Cup of Fruit Loops out of the hurricane box, sat down in front of the computer and went to Crunchyroll which airs new episodes of Log Horizon at 07:30 on Saturdays. I just thought it would be amusing to go through those motions of yesteryear but actually see something really good.

Just like they had with Clue Club, the gum-numbing dregs of the Fruit Loops served to exquisitely accentuate the disappointment.

Heretofore, every single episode, of Log Horizon has not only been good, its been better than the last. This episode continues the shows habit of surprising its audience by abruptly reversing that self improvement trend.


No...no actually, this was pretty much the exact opposite of that.

In fairness, part of the problem here is that previous episodes have set a rather high bar.

In the last episode, the plot had taken yet another intriguing turn. With only four episodes to go, many of us were looking forward to find out just what had gone down in Minami....

....so naturally, we got middle school soap opera and cake.

Lots of cake!.


J. Greely NAILED it!


What?
What happened?



Now, I'm not really likening this episode to...the execrable squalor that was The Funky Phantom...



"Good God I should hope not!"

This story wasn't actually bad, mind you. It was even kind of cute.

However, it was just a complete non-sequitur of an episode that seemed to belong in some other show.

There are only three episodes left, so I'm wondering (now with some trepidation) about  how they're going to wrap this generally excellent series up.

I'll be watching next weeks installment with a lot of interest.
...but without the Fruit Loops.

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February 26, 2014

This Continues to Look Quite Promising


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February 23, 2014

A Four Ring Circus of WIN


Log Horizon has been discussed here before.
Since then it has continued to surpass expectations despite its unspectacular animation and dubious concept. The show has all the tropes one would expect from a fantasy adventure series, plus a great many in-jokes and references to online RPGs, however it uses them in very clever ways and is surprisingly intelligent.

21 episides in they still have 5 episodes to wreck it, but I'm going out on a limb recomending this one strongly. I started to do a regular review but this is a show spoilers will completely spoil, so here is a deliberately vague overview of  what sorts of characters are involved in the three to four distinct but interlocking plots that stem from a mishap with a Massively Muliplayer Online Virtual Reality Role Playing Game that traps thousands of players in the game with no way to log out.

In Ring One:

We have our designated hero. He's overall a decent guy and goes to great lengths to do the right thing. He's not a frontline action hero however, and he tends to gets by on smarts, using game theory as well as working feverishly to develop political/interpersonal skills he'd never really had to (nor wanted to) pursue until just recently.

We have a thoroughly conventional would-be love interest/side-kick. Well, not quite: She's so utterly smitten and so thoroughly into the "serving her noble master" roleplay that she's a little creepy and stalky. However she's really good at her job (which involves kicking ass, and cutting throats). She's also quite smart and her perceptiveness and different perspective on things is actually crucial to everyone's survival.
Also: It's always nice to find a DFC' in anime who is non-neurotic, utterly awesome and at ease with themselves.

There is one annoying, token lunkhead: He may have Tourettes as he frequently makes sexist comments despite the fact that they immediately result in great pain and temporary physical disability (see above).

We have an older gentleman who is intellectually curious enough to, on a lark, try something completely new (and apparently pointless) just to see what will happen. In the process, he changes the world.
In a complete break with convention, the old guy is not a perv and in fact prides himself in being a gentleman...in the very best sense of the word. He's an all round cool cat, whose urbane, almost aristocratic mannerisms belie an exemplary ethical  compass plus great moral and physical courage.

In Ring Two:

We've got five teenagers who find a mixture of idealism, inexperience  and bravado has subsequently landed them in a dire situation, far from help with the fate of thousands on their shoulders.  Remarkably, all four young adults are striving to actually be adults...how's that for novel? Of course, as they're young, they're learning and everything they punch at is well above their weight. This is an action flick so everything can punch back....hard

The group includes a crackerjack young lady who, due to her levelheadedness and self discipline becomes their leader via acclaim.  She's learning as she goes about the ins and outs of command and leadership, and doing everything she can to improve herself so that she can better keep her outmatched little party alive.

Her brother is a good man and physically brave, but, he's terribly inexperienced and it often seems that he has more balls than sense. He is however, indomitable in his determination and can think on his feet.

  There is also a girl who has been through a special hell recently and is still somewhat traumatized from the experience. She's striving to confront her demons, improve herself and save her friends...all the while coming to terms with the sheer gravity of what she's lost.

An idealistic but grounded young woman who has sufficient grasp of her own limitations that she can use her limited talents to surprising effect. Her modesty belies her remarkable effectiveness in combat which acts as a nice foil to her polar opposite in the group...

...A dapper young man of 19 years who seems to be trying to somehow weaponize the Dunning-Kruger Effect. His boastfulness seems to be in direct proportion to his failings, of which there are many...physical courage, it should be noted, is not amongst them.

In Ring Three:




The greatest test of ones character is when one finds that doing what is right requires one to make a sacrifice or take a great risk while simply walking away carries no negative judgement or cost.

Also in this ring: You magnificent bastard! You found a keeper!



In Ring Four:

There are also bout 20 different quirky supporting characters involved in a slice of life show about small businesses and local politics...oh and steam engineering and a war. Most of them are interesting enough and sufficiently fleshed out that the fanfic practically writes itself*.


**************************
  Log Horizon has been very entertaining so far and frankly if I had kids this is the sort of show I'd be wanting them to watch. It's a show about courage, ethics, hope and even civics, where intelligence and thinking things through is important, experience matters because life lessons are hard earned and most of the protagonists are pretty decent people.  It's also a surprisingly lacking in the gratuitous fan service department..one epic miniskirt notwithstanding.

Be advised though that the OP is an obnoxious, weaponized earworm.



 Those who've been watching it, have at it in the comments. I'm curious what other people think.

Update:
A few theories on what is actually going on

Spoiler tags here are as follows:
[-S-P-O-I-L-E-R-] [/S-P-O-I-L-E-R-]   
...but lower case and without any of the dashes


* As opposed to that other show where Tite Kubo got bogged down writing his own fanfic.

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