April 3rd, 2007

#339: Piano update

Piano, I have found, really isn't animated as well as it should be.

The story, as of the fourth episode, is still gentle and kind, but the animation is a bit sub-par. It's not bad; there are just spots, here and there, where it's just not very good.

Considering how much I'm enjoying the series, I guess a few sour notes (heh) don't really matter all that much. Still, it's just enough to be a noticeable distraction from the story.

I haven't done any research on it at all, so I don't know what studio(s) animated it.

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Ichigo Mashimaru continues to be unbelievably cute and fun. The girls get into all sorts of crazy situations.

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I haven't watched more Girls Bravo season two yet.

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More later.

#340: The 1st Anniversary of Atomic Fungus

...the problem with working 3rd shift, and getting home around 6:40 AM, is that you frequently forget what day it is.

I thought it was the second.

So, to inaugurate the earliest day of the second year of Atomic Fungus--commemorated in the second entry of the day--I will talk about my second 1995 Ford Escort a bit.

You see, once again it has been demonstrated that I know approximately dick about acoustics.

For several months the flexible coupling which connects the catalytic convertor downpipe to the rest of the exhaust system has needed to be reattached. There was about a 1/2-3/4 inch separation between the pipes, so that there was nothing connecting them at all.

You would think, wouldn't you, that the exhaust noise would escape through such a gap?

No no!

You see, the exhaust pulse has a longer wavelength than 1/2-3/4 inch. Much longer. My initial estimate would run somewhere north of ten feet, possibly as much as sixteen. The lowest wavelength the human hear can usually hear is something like 32 or 64 feet long (I can never remember which and I don't feel like looking it up, but the low "C" note hooked to a big pipe organ's lowest "C" pedal requires a pipe some 64 feet in length, and that is a low note). Regardless of what the wavelength is, it's huge, and the only cars that I've ever heard make a high-pitched hum were Indy cars whose engines rev up to 13,000 RPM.

Anyway, the point is, 0.75 inch is too small a band gap for the exhaust pulse to exit, so despite this gap in the exhaust system the car was mostly quiet--most of the exhaust energy would keep on going into the exhaust pipe. It did have a nice little rumble, and it would make a neat crackly backfire on deceleration when the ECM leaned out the fuel mix in response to a closed throttle. That's probably why I didn't fix it; it sounded cool.

Anyway, I took Mom to do some errands this morning; and when I started the car to drive home, VAROOM!!! --the pipe finally blew off, and when I drove it into the driveway I could hear the stupid thing dragging on the asphalt.

To be honest I didn't think the car had been that noisy before I put the last flex pipe in. But I went to AutoZone and got a new flex pipe, and I installed it, and the car purrs like a kitten, with no trace whatsoever of the "Hell's Angels" sound effects it was making this morning.

I'm glad, because I didn't feel like paying for a new catalytic convertor....

#341:Ichigo 100%, one episode in

My copy is a fansub, and apparently the source tapes were recorded from the TV broadcasts in Japan.

The series is in roughly the same format as the early Urusei Yatsura UY episodes were: each 24-minute episode (meant to take a half hour of broadcast time when commercials are included) consists of two 12-minute story segments, in effect giving two episodes in a single half-hour broadcast slot.

It worked for UY; each segment was a complete chapter of the manga and the story didn't require a lot of exposition to get started. But Ichigo 100% is no UY, and so the first episode tries to cram too much story into too little space.

The end result is a nagging feeling that the whole story is not being told; though the viewer is given no reason to think so, things seem too simple.

The main character confesses his love for the most popular girl in school, who inexplicaby accepts his confession and becomes his girlfriend--I kept thinking there had to be more to it, that she was simply playing a trick, or using him for some other purpose; but as the story moved forward I came to realize that she seemed to be entirely on the level. There simply was not enough time in the episode for enough characterization to make her motivations clear to the viewer.

Of course the producers are under no obligation to make everything plain to us in the first episode, and it could be that she is going to make our hero miserable later--but it's not how I read the episode, and it would be a serious departure from the norm in anime for something like that to take place. I don't think this is that kind of series; it's a comedy, not an angst-fest.

I'm not sure about the animation, yet, either. It has a cheap look to it, suited more for a kids' show than one aimed at a teenaged audience. My opinion may be influenced by the fact that I was watching Piano before I watched this. It can be hard to shift gears and go from shoujo to shounen anime.

Well, it came to me as a torrent download, so it's not like I shelled out a lot of money for it. The first episode didn't suck, which is unlike some things I've seen, and I am looking forward to seeing more.