August 21, 2014

Well. That Was Underwhelming.

This weeks episode of RWBY seems to have been eaten by ants. Instead we were presented with a 2 minute 16 second slideshow explaining the show's main deus ex machina, 'dust'.

Narrated by "Mysterious Narrator" (playing herself) it tells us, the poor hapless viewers very little save for one tantalizing detail.
 It does pose some interesting questions, certainly more than it answered. 

Much we already knew:
Dust is an explosive or propellant that interacts with Human (and Faunus) "auras".
According to the large hadron collider, therefore, it can't exist.

So there is this stuff that can be induced to interact with  an individual's 'aura'. 
We can assume from Pyrrha's exposition in the first season that Aura is best described by imagining a point on a Venn diagram  where chi, elan vitale, pneuma, "precious bodily fluids" and The Force overlap. A person with sufficient self awareness and discipline to exert control over their life energies can use this 'aura' to interact with dust in various ways.

There are 4 types of dust making for an easily memorizable periodic table. However, Madame Narrator did not provide us with the names. Going from the picture provided one can assume that they have the ptoperties of fire (or perhaps speed), ice (possibly water), burnination and spinach. 

These 4 substances can be combined in numerous ways to make compounds that have a wide variety of characteristics, and this stuff can be used in shells, both as propellant and explosive depending on the compound. 

We knew that there were items that were infused with dust. Weiss uses a dust infused rapier and also wields additional quantities of dust for further effect. The mention of dust infused clothing would therefore follow.

However, we also learn that some people have had dust implanted into their bodies. This is new info and makes for some interesting speculation. 

A few characters possess a "semblance" a fancy dancy RWBY word for superpower. Ruby and Blake have super-speed (Blake may have something else going on there) and Pyrrha has magnetism. Yang has the power of a flywheel charged by punching and none of these are things that anyone can physiologically achieve so barring some other, as yet unmentioned deus ex machina, one wonders if they had dust implanted in themselves at a young age.

How? Was there a tragic dust accident? Were they given dust implants shortly after birth. Was this voluntary and when (RWBY is 15 and has been practicing for a while)? Did they get to choose what their semblance would be beforehand?

Dust is frequently used as a consumable (explosives, freezy-pop mass production techniques). However, the existence of weapons, clothing, and implants suggests that some dust compounds are not actually consumed as fuel but are, instead acting as broadcast and modulation antennae for the aura. Weiss's rapier seems to work this way (in part) and Cinder's dress is probably a weapon in itself.  Blake wielded dust provided her by Weiss in the last episode, and did so with considerable skill using her chain-scythe-gun-sword-ribbon thingie as a focus. It glowed blue when she did so.

Given that dust is quite expensive and given that Blake comes from exceedingly modest means, if this line of reasoning is correct it is probable that Blake was implanted with the stuff by the White Fang because she was considered quite reliable. There's nowhere else she could have afforded it, been trained in it's use, or even permitted to do so. This makes her betrayal all the more galling to them, which, in turn, brings us to the fate of poor Tuckson in episode 1. Even if the "Blake is carrying dust implants provided by White Fang" is bollocks,  Blake is a marked woman, and if her identity is revealed.

Hence the real reason for the bow.

(She should probably dye her hair and wear a less silly outfit too)

One other thing. The Planet is called Remnant. 
It is quite possible that this is set in the far future on another world that contains the last remnant of humanity. 

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August 20, 2014

A Caption is Needed

Art by Jittsu.

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August 16, 2014

Star Wars: First Impressions

No, not by me.

I was sent this by Wonderduck and it is an oddball thing of beauty.

A 19 year old athlete who had previously ignored Sci-Fi recently started doing RPGs and on the advice of some friends,  he decided to see Star Wars for the first time.....and he Live Blogged It

Then he decided he needed to see both of the sequels

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August 15, 2014

It's the Quiet Ones You Have To Watch Out For

The last episode of RWBY ended with a huge "revelation"...that surprised absolutely no one1. This episode is just full of surprises...

 Neo (politan?)

The short interlude with Junior (the antagonist from the 4th trailer) went way more congenially than expected with Junior being surprisingly calm corporative and reasonable in attempting to find out why Yang crushed his nuts, wrecked his bar and beat up his people. 

And we still don't know why she did it.

This scene does have some worrying implications in that Junior is unaware of what happened to his henchmen in episode one, meaning none of them have contacted him from jail. Does this mean Ruby killed them? (Or more likely, did someone else?). 

Of course there was also GIANT ROBOT RAMPAGE!

This had been shown in the teaser but it was surprising to see it so soon. 

Yang's "special talent" is explicitly stated and, yeah, Super Saiyan pretty much sums it up.

All that and more in 12 minutes.

We're 4 episodes in, and I think we've already covered everything in the teaser not involving Pyrrha.

1: Penny is, get this, A ROBOT! 
2: Aside from "Iceflower" the attack names just happen to correspond to some of the "ship"names the fans have assigned to their fanfic pairings. (I an SO glad they went with Freezerburn instead of Yellow Snow.)

There are clever bits too. It's obvious that Ruby's team has been training and as a result, instead of  the "I have a plan!" trope they have a whole bunch of prepared plans with distinct and descriptive names2.

One question though : What the HELL are those 'holographic crash barriers' actually supposed to do?

That quibble aside, the pacing of this episode was excellent. RWBY is rather silly, but it's fun and developing nicely.  

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August 14, 2014

A Question For My Readers

Does anyone know the name of this show?

ISTR it being fairly recent, but an image search does not yield anything useful. 

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August 08, 2014

Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy

A review...
I have nothing to ad, except this... Go see this film.

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August 07, 2014

Episode Title...Or Error Message? As of this Post, the Jury is Still Out.

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Well. This Looks Whacked

While I'm pleasantly impressed with the attention to detail that the pink shell splashes represent, you can color me skeptical on this one. 

And looks SO...gloriously...whacked....

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August 05, 2014

It's Finals Week, So In Lieu of Content, Here is a Helpful Demonstration of How Not to Handle 71 Different Types of Firearms.

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August 03, 2014

August 3rd: An Ill-Starred Day

But perhaps not as Ill-starred as some seem to think. 
The US anime community was rocked earlier today by a press release from Studio Ghibli indicating that the beloved studio was closing up shop

However, those stories are apparently due to a mistranslation. The company is taking a pause and a shutdown is possible, but there are no reports yet of it's closing in the Japanese media. 

Thankfully I was doing homework when this wave crested otherwise, I'd be posting a retraction right now. 

Given that they are assessing the performance of their post Miyazaki films,  I'll try to see the next two Ghibli films multiple times.

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August 01, 2014

"Welcome to Beacon"

In the last episode of RWBY, the plot advanced a bit before being interrupted by spectacular action that was basically gratuitous albeit entertaining. By contrast, this episode is a series of quiet conversations interspersed with teenagers playing something akin to Risk. This was the better episode. 

They've really come a long way from last season with both the animation and in particular the pacing....

...which is finally achieving a sort of balance.

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July 31, 2014

Railgun S First Thoughts

Having watched episode 1 of A Certain Scientific Railgun S I have a couple of very preliminary observations. 

First, I'm struck by the fact that this does not feel like a different series at all. This episode is following right on the heels of the finale of the previous series, for instance Uiharu and Saten still have Haruue as their roommate and the three of them have enlisted Misaka to help them respond to one aspect of the previous show's aftermath. This series is NOT a standalone purchase.

Misaka thus far remains one of the more likable anime heroines I've seen.

On the other hand the episode introduces Shoukuho Misaki and in 2 minutes manages to establish her as of the most repulsive and genuinely scary antagonists I've ever seen. 

This girl needs to die a lot.

She's arrogant, presumptuous, cruel, has no respect for personal space, thinks of people as objects for her amusement, and, being absolutely gorgeous, has a fawning cadre of "retainers".  It's unclear if her fans are simply poor judges of character or are victims as she is a level 5 mind controller. She seems particularly upset that Misaka is immune to her talent and in a momentary fit of pique demonstrates that "Level 5" and "Mind Control" should never be allowed to overlap. 

Which begs the question. What the hell were the people who study and train  these kids thinking? Gracious!

Beyond that the premiere is a standard Railgun episode establishing what decent people Misaka and most of her friends are and why they tolerate Kuroko...because she is very useful to have around when Misaka needs to do something gratuitously awesome. 

This sequel is off to a really fine start. 

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July 29, 2014

I Probably Should Get Around to Watching the First Two

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July 27, 2014

Love Lab

A 13 episode CGDCT series from last year, Love Lab passed beneath my radar though I became tangentially aware of it when I tracked down the source of some animated .gifs I had appropriated for some posts. I initially avoided it like the plague because I looked at the poster and drew the erroneous conclusion that it was based on a dating sim.


Realizing my error, I recently gave it a shot and discovered that it is...different.

Not a vampire...honest.

Meet Riko. She is an athletically inclined young lady from a modest middle class background. While not naturally gifted academically she has worked her  butt off and through sheer force of will succeeded in transferring into the prestigious Fuji Girls School. She's got a couple of things going for her, she's extremely athletic and has that "mysterious transfer student" vibe, and as such a number of the student body are in awe of her. Our heroine is oblivious to this or her nickname "Wild Rinko" in part because she has never been popular. As a kid she hung out with the boys, who she frequently beat up and earned a reputation as demonic horror wench...the fangs probably exacerbated this.

In any event, one day she is instructed by a teacher to drop some papers by the student council office, where, having forgotten to knock, she makes a horrifying discovery. 

First some background...Maki, the student council president, is extremely good at her job, a straight "A" student and greatly admired by the student body and teachers alike, so to walk in on her and find her making out with a comfort pillow named Huggy in the student council office is officially scandalous. 

Well it gets worse. It seems that Maki has been using the student council to conduct experiments, and role playing sessions (with Huggy). She's turned it into a Love Lab in order to prepare herself for...romance.

She's already mastered the dramatic bloody cough

 The fact that any contact with boys is grounds for expulsion only makes this abuse of school facilities more scandalous and dark secrets must be kept. Riko is drafted into being the POTSC's aid, partly in order to keep Maki's secret and partly to give a non-pillow perspective on Maki's ideas. When Riko points out that most of Maki's notions are stark-raving cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,  Maki gets the impression that Riko's extensive experience with boys is actually extensive EXPERIENCE with boys. Riko's failure to clarify this complicates everything further and hilarity ensues as several other oddball students are drawn into this dark circle of depravity. 

Love Lab breaks no new ground but it has very high production values and is a thoroughly pleasant show. The soundtrack is minimalist but surprisingly effective. I laughed and enjoyed it though the series has very limited rewatch value  as most of the humor is based on surprises. It does get sappy towards the end as things begin to come to a head and some late series developments are not really resolved, I'm not sure if it was cut short or ran an episode too long. Nevertheless, I did not feel robbed or insulted and the show is upbeat, amusing and double entendres notwithstanding, not at all vulgar. 

No really...

That is a matter of personal opinion. 

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July 26, 2014

A Minor Tidbit...Scarcely Worth Mentioning

An interesting peek at what Disney is doing with the franchise. 

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