July 31, 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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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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July 24, 2014

Well THAT was an Amusing 15 minutes.

RWBY is back and is simulcasting on Crunchyroll.


"Yay! We're back!"

The episodes are a bit longer this time around (14:45 with credits) and they really have upped the production values. There is also quite a bit of action, though not at ALL what I'd expected. 

We do learn a few important things.
The preview trailer is somewhat misleading.
Soda cans in Vale are NOT made out of aluminum. 
It's strongly implied that Blake is in a lot more trouble than has been apparent. 
Turkey and scallions do not go together as well as I'd have thought. 


The voice acting is still uneven, but Jessica Nigiri does a very good job as Cinder (there was some speculation that her brief scene in last season's stinger was a fluke). 

Also, as a catch phrase, "Don't play with your food." is wanting.

However, this was, all in all, a very promising kickoff for the second volume. This is definitely on the watch list. 

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I Had NO Idea This Thing Was Real

Do want!




I'd seen this thing in some TV shows but I'd always thought it was a special effect. 

The Williams WASP was designed to meet an Army  from the 1970's.  It actually fulfilled all the requirements but twas not adopted as the Army beleatedly decided that the requirements were ill-considered. 


Good grief!  With a range of 30 miles it's really not all that much more impractical than a motorcycle for commuting. It can fly above traffic and the fact that it flies means it's significantly less dorky than a Segway.

This is the future we were denied!

Someone must make this happen. 

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July 23, 2014

While it is Certainly Good to Have a Goal


...in some cases it may be better to continue muddling through life until one can settle on a goal that is both attainable and productive. 

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July 22, 2014

The Current Ghibli Film: "When Marnie Was There"

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July 14, 2014

15 People

RWBY is interesting not the least because it shows how much technology empowers small groups of limited means to do things that not long ago would have been possible only with a major company, considerable capital outlay and then only after persuading the suits to back the project.


Volume two builds on the lessons they learned by doing volume one and boasts a greatly expanded production staff....of 15 people (about a third of whom are also part of the cast). 


Thus, the total cast and crew of this series is now in the vicinity of 20 people. This vastly lowers the hurdles to producing ones vision, and the internet largely solves the distribution issue. This is a game changer, and it's just starting. The production diaries remind me of some of the things I've read about the early years of silent films, before the studio system was established,where things had to be figured out, but there was a lot of creative freedom.

Now, while I've liked RWBY, it is true that there are criticisms of this particular show,...it's a superhero version of a Japanese highschool  show set in a high-tech Hogwarts. Plus there are technical issues and the first volume ended on a bit of a nonsequiter. However, the show's cast and crew are, in a lot of ways, blazing new trails which will become very interesting paths indeed as more and more people get out there and produce stuff. A lot of it will be utter crap of course, Sturgeon's Law will still apply, but a group of people no bigger than a mid-sized doujin circle (or an APA for those that remember that niche of American fandom) and with similar initial capital outlay ( Poser Pro costs $450.00) will be able to do animated shorts and distribute them, free of the gatekeepers who even today presume to tell us what we shall see. 

This is an exciting time. If I had talent, I'd be ecstatic, as it is, I'm merely pleased and hopeful. 

  
UPDATE: Heavily edited the post.

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July 06, 2014

I am Unsure

...if Arpeggio of Blue Steel is brilliant or just bonecrushingly stupid.


I was initially leaning towards this peculiar earth versus aliens show being interesting with some annoying tendencies when suddenly this happened...



Now I fear it's going to be one extreme or another. 

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July 05, 2014

19 Days to Go


 

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July 03, 2014

6 Weeks To Go

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