Friday, November 9, 2007

Moving Day

Without fanfare, I announce that future entries will be located at a new site. I've already redirected FeedBurner, so feed readers should experience a smooth transition.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you on the other side.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nanoha StrikerS: Wins tricks but who's keeping score?

Nanoha StrikerS episode 26: Someone is about to be pwnt
Solid snipers win games, or can just ruin your day if you're on the wrong side of that scope. They sit in the back, don't make much noise, and hand you a one-way ticket back to your respawn point only after you've fought past a host of obstacles. That little sniper rifle icon in the corner with your name to the right of it feels completely arbitrary.

At the same time, the stereotypical sniper is underutilized, precisely because they choose to sit around waiting for enemies to round that fateful (and fatal) corner. When they add to their points column, it is a result that was a split second in the making.

Vice is that stereotypical sniper, by coincidence more than choice, but that coincidence was fabricated by a story writer. His situation is merely one coincidence in a battle marked by numerous arbitrary moments that seemed written with, what else, a split second's worth of consideration.

Playing trump does happen, especially in Euchre, but:

a) The universe, and by extension, Life, may be deterministic but since we can't compute the universe's interactions in general, we'll live with stochastic processes and random variables (that are neither random nor variables).

b) Since Life is random for all that we know, bad things can and do happen to everyone and everything, you included.

c) On the bright side, you might just be misfortune incarnate to your opponents, and will derive much hilarity when you dish out the pain. The probability of this event occurring is non-zero.

In a story context, it's a one-way street, which usually manifests as a I Am Not Left Handed scenario. This is convenient for writers, and not so interesting to viewers. Specific to StrikerS, we are teased with the use of never before seen abilities from almost every Section 6 combatant, abilities which basically win games, and then the series is over. I feel like I missed the PWN train and had to settle for the Half Decent bus.

At least we caught a glimpse of said train as it left the station.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sky Strings

Sky Girls episode 13: Stop feeding the fishPro tip: Stop feeding the fish

(Progress: 15/26)

Stripey pointed out the music behind Sky Girls. Indeed, it's been a while since I've seen a series whose incidental music goes beyond just that — incidental. Nodame Cantabile had music as its focus, but there was a time for music, and there was a time for dialog with music in the background, like most other shows.

A lot of the time, it's a simple matter of repetition (once or twice per episode is sufficient) and upping the volume. The balance can be shifted to favour music over speech, since (for me) the viewer is going to selectively amplify dialog. Consider it as a form of pre-emphasis to compensate for the inherent bias of the receiver.

Novelty helps, too. While it may not be as sweeping as Midway March, as performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra, it's been a while since I've heard a fanfare march anywhere, and Sky Girls delivers a pretty decent one. I find that it's worth sitting through something like the Sonic Diver launch sequence just to hear it.

The light march and the soaring, bittersweet strings in the segment that Stripey posted give off a World War II vibe. The image of that era and its planes, compared to a post-apocalyptic world with fighter jets and Sonic Divers, can be jarring. But as pieces that embody the military spirit in the former, and the human spirit in the latter, they are not unwelcome in the least.

The pensive piano figures heavily elsewhere, and is inevitably viewed in a positive light by me. It can indicate the dredging up of the muddy past, or the troubled mind beneath a stoic visage. While the pensive piano does not necessarily herald additional exploration of the world and the characters, for the time being I'll take comfort in the possibility that it may. And if, eleven episodes later, it doesn't, at least the music is pretty good.

Sky Girls episode 15: The seventeenth angelThe seventeenth angel

They appeared, they blew stuff up, humanity develops giant robots to counter them. I suppose that Sky Girls, like Evangelion, needs no justification for its antagonists.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Was Zegapain really that cheesy?

Following gia's post about the dubbing over of God Knows led me to a certain trailer. Well, two trailers, but first things first.

Yet another reason not to like dubs aside, this is not the Zegapain that I remember. Zegapain's fights were never the hook, yet it's this aspect that they chose to play up. And what was spoken made it sound as if Zegapain had the worst premise in the world. Like, whoa.

Thumbs up to the FLAG trailer, though. It captured the sentiment, and the orchestral piece used just reinforces it. This is one release I'm looking forward to picking up.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Budget humour

Doujin Work episode 11: Awkward
(Progress: 12/12)

Looking at the line again, it's funny if taken out of context, but for the record, I wanted to state that Najimi was the unwitting benefactor of lulz, like, oh I don't know, William Hung.

Doujin Work has appeal because it's outrageous. Perhaps it's not outrageous as it could have been, but there's still plenty of shameless elements. It's outrageously cheap looking for one (and a show stopper for many), with just enough drawn (and animated) to support the dialog that carries the show. The screws of misunderstanding are turned in over the top fashion but generally manage to remain fresh given that an episode is half the typical length.

Doujin Work episode 11: Behold! The PowerBanana H5
The series stumbles at the end, trying to connect back to the (ludicrous) premise that got everything started in the first place. Najimi was in it for the money, and then over the course of the series began playing for pride, although she never admits that it's nigh impossible for someone of her skill level to earn a living. When confronted with the unlikely possibility, she rejects it and we are treated to a short statement about work ethic. Morality tales may be meaningful, but they certainly aren't outrageous.

I won't be taking anything away from Doujin Work except the ED, but there's something endearing about something so ghetto looking, for mostly nostalgic reasons. And because it may have inspired the following:

Zetsubou Sensei episode 7: Cheap animation has left me in despair!
For comparison,

Doujin Work OP sequence

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Gurren-Lagann: Closing remarks

Gurren-Lagann episode 27: Nia's Memorial

Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our abilities did not exist. — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

There are any number of motivational quotes that would crystallize Gurren-Lagann, but I happened upon the above candidate in the latest (September) issue of IEEE GOLDRush, but that's not very important (I mean, it's IEEE). So here's to the kid's show that wasn't, and the affirmation that cool needs no other reason.

* * *

There's an innocent-looking tree sitting in the kitchen. You look at it one day and see a shoot. Two days later, it's completely unfurled and the thin base stem looks as if it's gotten that much taller. Pretty soon, it'll be screaming for increasingly larger plant pots. At long last, it will be planted outside, where it will continue to grow faster and taller than I ever did.

When I spot yet another shoot appear, I think about Gurren-Lagann. Plant you now, dig you later.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

"The Agriculture Ministry is not in charge of Gundam"

It belongs to the Ministry of Cartoon Robots.

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