January 7th, 2010

#1880: Anime stuff

Thanks to BakaBT I was finally able to get all the episodes of Mission E, so it went on the playlist.

It takes place a few years after Code E, enough time that Chinami is in her 20s. Sonomi has gotten married and had more than one kid already; so she and Chinami are in their early 20s. I gather that Chinami is attending college but as of ep 2 it has not been explicitly stated. Never mind that.

Chinami drives, and what does she drive?

A freakin '69 Mustang Mach I, that's what

I mean, could that be any more awesome?

Let's face it: the story is set about 15 years in the future, in a world which is heavily computerized. Chinami has this EMP ability; she can't drive a car with computers in it because she'd blow the thing out the first time someone cut her off. And she needs a fast car for her work. It kind of makes sense, sort of.

* * *

I really like Spirit of Wonder. It was released here in the US, but apparently we only got part of it, because what I've got is a trade paperback (TPB) that's about 3/8" thick, and that link at ANN says the tankoban was 407 pages.

The first SoW OVA--Miss China's Ring--was what hooked me on Tsuruta's work, and I eagerly collected the individual issues as they came out, and snatched up the book when it was released. So imagine my surprise when I discovered there was a second OVA!

...I had expected--hoped--it would be more story about Miss China, Jim Floyd, and Dr. Breckinridge, but no; instead it was about a completely different set of characters, and apparently set around 1958.

WTF: though it's not explicitly stated, Miss China's Ring appeared to be set around the end of the 19th century. The sequel--Scientific Boys Club--is contemporaneous with the events of MCR.

Well, except that the moon still exists. Perhaps the events of MCR haven't taken place yet? I don't know.

What I do know is that the second OVA is engaging and entertaining, for all the reasons MCR was. The main character is a young woman named Windy, and as the story unfolds we learn that Miss Windy used to be a scientist herself.

The story begins in 1976, showing a panel discussion at JPL as the first Viking I photos begin to come in; then it jumps back to 1957-ish to pick up with Windy and crew.

I'm not going to discuss the plot any further; go watch it.

(The show gets bonus points for showing Miss China's boobs.)

* * *

The Haruhi anime continues to be hilarious, of course. Today I saw the ep with the baseball tournament; and I have to digress a bit.

In the first episode of Jeeves and Wooster, Bertie is asked, "Do you work, Mr. Wooster?"

House Bertie replies, "I know someone who tried working once," and proceeds to tell the tale of his friend "Bocho" Fittleworth--"I thought everyone knew Bocho!"--and how he thought he'd try the work thing to see how it went.

"I don't think any of them were firing on all cylinders," Bertie says cheerfully; and this is the first phrase from this scene which I use in everyday life. When he comes to the part where Bocho actually goes to work, Bertie simply says, "Chaos obviously ensued," which is the second.

That's how things are whenever Haruhi gets an idea to do something: as with "Bocho" Fittleworth deciding to try working, the logical result is inevitably that chaos ensues.

It would be interesting to see the character design templates for Kyon, particularly the one showing several expressions. His disgusted expression has to form the bulk of them, because that look is on his face for about 60% of the time. (And you can't blame him; really--he's the only "straight man" in the series. Everyone else is nuts.)

* * *

Spice and Wolf II--it's just as good as the first series was. And the first series was no slouch, as you may recall. Generally speaking I don't go for "fantasy" anime, particularly since I don't think much of fantasy as a genre; but S&W isn't really fantasy so much as semi-historic fiction. The one fantastic element of the series is Horo; otherwise it's all mundane humans doing mundane human stuff.

It fits in about the same niche as Princess Mononoke; in fact PM has more magic and weirdness in it than S&W does. The background of S&W is mostly about the economics of an approximately medieval pseudo-Europe. It's a neat story.

* * *

Trying to figure out how to discuss Kanamemo led me to think about how many of the recent anime series I've seen contain stories with themes of "family is where you find it".

The family unit is in trouble all over the first world, and Japan is no exception. The birth rate there is below replacement, and marriage is down; yet people still desire the company of other people. There is probably a worthwhile discussion in there somewhere, but I think I'm feeling too lazy today to pursue it. Sorry about that.

#1881: It's a winter wonderland!

Well, the snow is tapering off, and it looks like we got around 6-7" of snow.

Around 8 AM I decided I'd go blow off the driveway, in order to make it easy on myself.


...the snowblower has sat, unused, for two years. After finding half a gallon of gas in the little can (for the push mower) and mixing it with 2-cycle oil, I foolishly looked into the blower's tank and thought, "Oh, there's plenty of gas in there already."

WRONG! After sitting for two years, the stuff in the thing's tank was not gasoline any longer. You'd think I'd know better, but NO, I blithely primed the carb and started pulling the starter cord.

Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Adjust choke. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. WTF?

...finally I twigged to the concept that the fuel's probably gone bad after two years in storage and dumped the tank into a drain pan. I refilled it with fresh fuel and primed the carb.

Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. ARGH! Pull. Pull. Pull. Prrpp...

Okay, finally.... Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Prime. Pull. Prrrrrmmmmmmrmrmmmvmvmmmm.... Prime. Pull. Pull. PRrrmmmmmemmmvmvmmmmmbmbmmmmmmmmmmmbrmmmmbrtmmmmm....


Prime. Pull. BRUMMMMM!! Brumm...brup. Prime. Pull. BRUMM!!VRUJMMMMMMM!MMmmmmmm!! ...and at long last it stayed running!

For fuck's sake, it took me longer to start the thing than it did to blow the snow off the fricking driveway.

If I had just stopped for a moment and thought about what happens to gasoline which sits, unused, for two years, I would have dumped the fuel from the tank right away and saved myself about 80% of the pulling I had to do.

Anyway, the thing worked, and I got the driveway clear of the four inches of snow that covered it; but it was still snowing, and we got about 2-3" more snow. Just about 20 minutes ago I noticed that the snow had tapered off, so I went out and did the driveway again. The blower started on the first pull. It gave me a little trouble with the choke setting--I had to start it again--but once it got warmed up it was all good.

Clean, fresh fuel--what a concept.

...and I salted the driveway, too, so it should be nice and clear. At least until it snows again later tonight.