October 10, 2021

Oh Golly

It's not coming out 'till December. 

It'll only have 6 episodes.


Still....yay!

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October 09, 2021

Oh Wow.

I think I finally beat Pixy to the punch on one of these.


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August 01, 2021

Flag Planted


From the latest episode of My Hero Academia, which is, frankly, one of the best superhero shows ever.

Well, perhaps not, but damn this story is good, and going in directions I'd never imagined.

 

If you want to discuss it, spoiler tags are [ spoiler ] Spoiler goes here  [ /spoiler ] but with no spaces between brackets and text. 

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July 18, 2021

There Be Heroes in Fiction Still

Season five of My Hero Academia starts off really strong for two episodes....then slips in to a tournament arc that last for no less than10 episodes. For those of you unfamiliar with the tropes of Japanese young men's comics, tournament arcs are a carryover from Japanese sports comics where the protagonists  find themselves in some gladiatorial style duel that last multiple episodes during which the heroes tend to wax poetically about fighting, deliver snappy one liners and generally provide the audience with writing and character development akin to watching paint dry. This seems to be demanded by tradition and marketing and is particularly a signature of the IPs at Shounen Jump, which produces the MHA manga and anime. For example, Tite Kubo's quirky and enjoyable series Bleach went to hell in a handbasket after editors demanded he pad out the story with tournament arcs and marketable side characters after season/volume one.

However, this show has avoided a full fledged tournament arc since season two, and Kōhei Horikoshi used that one to develop the lore and establish characters and their limitations, so it was not just padding. This season's tournament at first blush seem drawn out with 10 episodes dedicated to three training matches in superhero school, but those 10 stories advanced the plot and characters a surprising bit....and at no point in the process did anyone ever say "And now the fight TRULY begins." so it was not a complete waste of time.

More importantly, this is not a 12 episode season, but appears to be full length...


....and with the de rigueur gladiatorial shenanigans out of the way, My Hero Academia is proving to be exceptionally good this season, with a story that  delivers surprises, both horrifying and heartwarming in rapid succession. It does this without subverting expectations for their own sake with cheap gotchas. This is a solid superhero story done straight and done right. 

One of the questions Horikoshi is asking in this series is "What does it mean to BE a hero?" and, well, heroism is a tough thing. This series is kind of deconstructing a very Japanese trope of boys comics where the motivation is to be the very best because..."BEST!" Being a hero really requires motivations beyond min-maxing one's stats and achievements. There are successful heroes in the typical Shounen mold, and there are lessons to be learned from them, but this series explores the role superheroes play in this society in surprising depth and it's clear that more is needed than just badassery. Nietzsche's admonition to not become the monster one fights, while not directly referenced, looms large here. While this story is VERY Japanese in tone (superheroes, are not vigilante's but licensed, bonded professionals) the story explores the implications and definition of heroism we haven't seen in the genre since Ditko was looking at the subject in earnest. 

For instance, there's a whole redemption arc going on now with one of the background heroes, who has achieved his life's goal, and find's it tastes like ashes. I was actually enjoying the season during the tournament cour, but the last three episodes have taken it to a whole new level.

American superhero books seem to be in a bit of a nadir at the moment, with a number of today's writer's mocking the whole concept via seemingly endless deconstructions. There are suggestions that the genre is played out , and this suggestion is not without merit as U.S. comics have been recycling storylines since at least the '80s. However, with My Hero Academia, Kōhei Horikoshi has shown that the genre can still be fresh and surprising, without sacrificing the idealism of the old works or descending into cynicism. 

The standard the show sets for superheroes, All Might, is a sort of combination Captain America and  Superman, idealistic, conscientious, and both morally and physically brave. The show's protagonist (Dekku) is striving hard to meet that goal and be worthy of the mantle he's been entrusted with. Moreover, this show's protagonists, even the very idealistic ones,  aren't a bunch of Dudley Do-Rights, they're smart, usually punching above their weight, and get by on their wits. 

My Hero Academia continues to opine on the importance of not loosing one's idealism, or courage, a reminder that has special significance today. 

Plus Ultra! 


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June 28, 2021

Video Games as Commentary on Modern Life

Here we have the premise of the game BEHOLDER...

 A totalitarian State controls every aspect of private and social life. Laws are oppressive. Surveillance is total. Privacy is dead. You are a State-installed manager of an apartment house. The State requires you to spy on your tenants, and report any illegal or subversive activity. However, you can also choose to keep the information to yourself, or use it to blackmail the residents, resulting in a multitude of choices and endings.

I cannot comment much on this game as I haven't played it, but I watched an hour or so of Mayoi Hitsuji playing it this evening and boy howdy, I don't wanna go to bed now 'cause  I'm gonna have nightmares. 

This is just more proof that people were very silly to get worked up about G.T.A. 

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May 26, 2021

A Pointless Question for my Readers

I don't follow Hololive closely, but i'm vaguely familiar with it. 


I guess I'm a Hololive casual. 


Has the shark been bitten by a radioactive cat? 'Cause  the last couple of days stuff of this nature...





...has been showing up rather a lot and I was wondering if it was just some freaky meme or some fan reaction to canon. 


Update:

OH.


I guess if one doesn't follow the streams and waits for the vids to be posted one can miss important developments and fail ones Weeb test. 

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May 16, 2021

Gas is Back

Almost all the gas stations now have fuel. There are no lines to speak of. 


"Yay!"

" I don't have gas." Will no longer be an acceptable excuse for work. Hopefully, things will be better staffed and less hellish than they were this past week.

I fully understand why the volume spiked with people stocking up on supplies via online orders, but I cannot for the life of me grok why THOUSANDS of people looked at a petroleum shortage and said "Now's the time to buy a petroleum powered generator!" 

My back still hurts. 

UPDATE:
Gas stations not ghast stations. There are no Ghasts in Southeastern Virginia. 
Fortunately. 

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I Did Not Realize How Prophetic This Show Was

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May 09, 2021

ODD TAXI

This is NOT a show that I would ordinarily have watched. From the promo material and character designs it would appear to be a show aimed at either little kids....or furries. 


However, Don over at Zoopraxiscope is a man of impeccable taste and he suggested it may be the best show of the season. I just watched episode one and it is certainly interesting. 


The show is indeed odd and much of the episode takes place in or very near a taxi so it already has truth in advertising going for it. 



Thus far it concerns a taxi driver in funny-animal-Tokyo. Oderoki, the fellow in the center of the bingo card above, is an anthropomorphic Walrus who drives a taxi and seems to be "on the spectrum" since he tries to make a mental conversational flow-chart with 5 or so options every time he sees somebody because he has no idea what will offend people. 

He is....blunt.  

This show has, even in subtitles, snappy and engaging dialog that seamlessly transitions between the anodyne and the...other side of this show, which sneaks up on one.


The art is unremarkable but it works and its soundtrack is absolutely superb. I'm not sure I'd buy the BGM but it complements the story very well and sets the tone in a way that few scores come close to.  

The cast of everymen and women are completely believable beyond the whole "anthro" thing and this show is astonishingly interesting. 

I'm definitely watching this one. 

Go visit Don. He's got all the necessary screencaps. 

Odd Taxi is fascinating actually and has fully grabbed me. 

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April 28, 2021

The Most Blatant Foreshadowing in the History of Isekai

Actually, that may not technically be true as I am not a fan of the Isekai genre in general, and can't speak authoritatively upon matters of the most stupidest anything,  but what Aizawa says about three minutes into last week's episode has got to at least be in the running.


We are, of cours,e talking about the show that is pithily named I've Been Killing Slimes For 300 Years And Maxed Out My Level and while I did not have high hopes for any great art to come out of this series, even those hopes were not met. 

This show is deeply stupid.
I laughed out loud multiple times.

This is not exploring great philosophical questions or great conundrums of the human existence, but two episodes did make me laugh like a loon three times in one day. And I needed that. 

Will continue to watch. 


Come for the stupidity. Stay for the omelets.
 

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April 27, 2021

Today's Hot Take


"Suss" seems to be a perfectly acceptable Woolseyism, is completely in character, and is no reason to go bat-scat bonkers. 



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April 25, 2021

"This Episode is Downgraded to Merely 'Good' "

On this, the 5th episode of the 5th season of My Hero Academia, we are presented with the first episode that is entertaining, but not superb. 


The rest have been stellar. 

The season opens in the middle of last season's finale and has brought together a whole bunch of plot points that had appeared to just be background flavor text, but are actually quite important.  

In a way it reminds me a lot about Chris Claremont's run on the X-Men back in the '80s (but that is a reference that both dates me and is opaque to the audience. Suffice it to say that the story is moving briskly and is internally consistent )

This is an emotionally moving series and this is looking to be the best season yet. The current episode is taking place in a brief tournament arc, a Japanese Shounen comic trope that seems to be demanded by the Shonen Jump style guide.  These are generally dead-spots in a series and can often kill an otherwise promising show. However, My Hero Academia uses this conciet to expertly establish background info and develop characters quite entertainingly. 

This season has previously reminded us that Best Girl has additional powers that we had all forgotten about. 

Toxic Mucus For the WIN! 

This show continues to be excellent and I highly recommend it. 

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April 13, 2021

I've Been Killing Slimes For 300 Years And Maxed Out My Level

This is a show that delivers EXACTLY what it promises. 



The hat is just a bonus. 

Aizawa Asuza, aged twenty seven is an office lady who keels over dead from overwork after several consecutive allnighters. As our heroine mopes and presumably blows bubbles in Samsara while contemplating her meaningless, completely avoidable death, a random goddess shows up and informs her that because of her incredible dedication and said goddesse's boredom our heroine is going to get  Isekaied to a world that the goddess has as a side project.  Aizawa pleads not to forget what she's learned. "WISDOM!" the goddess rewards her with some more requests. Our heroine asks to live out in the country, on a farm and not get old and decrepit. 

For some reason, instead of granting Aizawa a quick death, the Goddess sets her in a isolated farmhouse about an hours walk from a town with an adventurers guild, makes her a Witch, and gives her knowledge of a regeneration/immortality spell.

Ecstatic that she is now living in the country Aizawa Asusa  resolves to NEVER do any work again aside from growing food. Her life lesson from her previous life is the importance of leisure! She will not forget that valuable bit of wisdom. 

To her horror, she realizes she has to buy seeds, so she goes into town and along the way, she is attacked by a slime! The weakest of monsters is no match for a Witch and she notes that the little monster's death rattle produces a gem. After getting what amounts to a hunting license (joins the town adventurer's guild), she is able to turn these in for what amounts to money...which in turn can be exchanged for goods and services. 

300 years pass, the economy apparently sucks as there has been no expansion of the town or notable sprawl. Aizawa goes into town every few days to turn in slime guts to the local adventurer's guild and buy stuff.  During these three centuries our heroine becomes something of a local institution as that Witch in the woods with the hat: a farmer reluctant healer, and strict hermit. She has kept to herself mostly but has helped out the local town enough times that she is well liked despite being quite asocial. 

She's in heaven. No schedule, long nights of sleep and leisurely gardening are her order of the day. She does NOT get bored with this...until one day the girl who processes bounties at the local adventurers guild  asks to check our protagonist's "level" for records purposes. 

It turns out that Asusa Aizawa has, over 300 years, killed enough slimes (and cast enough heals presumably) to have reached level 99...the maximum possible. That's remarkable. (Moreso if you play these video games.) Now this Podunk Adventurer's guild in the sticks has a level 99  that means prestige, and....challenges....you know...WORK.

Aizawa convinces the guild representative to keep her level secret as payment for having saved her life off camera. 

Sadly the secret gets out, numerous adventurers looking to make a name for themselves show up to challenge the level 99 Witch. Her "secret" becomes spectacularly and pyrotechnically public, and finally a Dragon showes up...to...D...D...D...DDDDD...DUEL!

That was a cute first episode. I don't think it's going anywhere. It looks to be developing into a formula show. Frankly this is kind of Mary Sue, though the ridiculousness of the ease with which our heroine became so OP is not skirted. (In that sense it's actually a notch above most Isekai shows.) There is a bit of an indication that our heroine may in fact have some lessons to learn, as she has rather overcompensated for her earlier mistakes to the point of sloth. There appear to be numerous light novels in this series indicating it may have something to say, but I'm not expecting much. Still the pilot was stupid cute fun and a Cute Girls Doing Cute Things ... Isekai fantasy is something I did not have on my bingo card. So I'll watch at least a few more. 

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April 07, 2021

While I'm Getting Things Back Together

I got a new alarm.

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March 14, 2021

This is Why...

...it is important to ensure that one's marketing department has some passing familiarity with one's products. 



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March 06, 2021

FALSE FLAG!!

In an apparent attempt to frame the competition, 2 South African one American and a Dutch V-Tuber have disguised themselves as Hololive and are now terrorizing the necromatically impaired...and themselves...and everybody else. 



Those are some really good skins. 

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February 26, 2021

Questions for my Readers: Uncategorized

Isn't LOG HORIZON supposed to be out this season? Did it not get picked up by an English Language streaming service? 


What's y'alls recommendation for a VPN?

Any good shows running now that don't involve giving money to Disney?

Ordinarily, when thinking of concealed carry, I assume .380 ACP (9mm Cort). However, unforeseen circumstances have caused me to become very interested in .32 ACP. Are there any reliable defensive loads in that caliber? 

Is it safe yet to upgrade to Big Sur? Also, given that I skipped Catalina because of the horror stories,  can I upgrade straight from Mojave?

When you eat taoyaki, do you truly appreciate the effort that went into preparing it?


Art by Akai Sashimi. Support them on Booth and Fanbox!

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February 23, 2021

Condition: UNOPENED-STILL IN BOX

Hahahaha!


Victory is mine!



Most other Cara Dune figures were either sold out, cancelled after I ordered them, or were already going for more that a hundred dollars. I still hold out a very slim hope for the FuncoPops. 

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February 18, 2021

Placeholder

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February 17, 2021

RWBY Season 8 Through Episode 9




RWBY has been a very uneven series, it started out with dreadful production values that were more than compensated for by engaging characters, an intriguing plot and the superb fight choreography of Monty Oum. The series had a lot of potential. Furthermore, it inspired tremendous goodwill as its cast and crew seemed likable and were punching so far above their weight that it was absolutely inspiring. 

Mr. Oum's untimely death during the production of season three foreshadowed rough seas for the series, while the last season he worked on was by far the best until then, subsequent seasons were, despite much higher production values, not as engaging cumulating in the inept 4-episode faceplant that was the finale of season 5.  

However, the subsequent seasons were, while very different, nevertheless enjoyable and the show has improved steadily; regaining much of its appeal even as Rooster Teeth has squandered much of its goodwill with the public. 

Now, with season 8 the show has finally surpassed even the excellent season three, with absolutely brilliant pacing, action and storytelling. Characters develop in unexpected, yet believable ways for both good and ill and the plot has been full of genuine surprises with the action nonstop. 

If you dropped the show, I recommend picking it up again, but you'll probably want to at least watch last season, as this one begins in the middle of the chaos that season ended with. Fortunately, with short seasons and 10-15 minute runtimes on most episodes, the show is a quick watch. 

Monty would be proud. 


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