atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#268: Girls' High and Technology

Now I've seen the series through episode 6, and I still don't know what's wrong with it. (What others didn't like about it, I mean.) The review at T.H.E.M. Anime seems to neatly encapsulate the general attitudes towards this series that I've found on the internet. I've found this review of episode 2 which was positive, but most comments I've read have been negative.

As for me, I disagree. To quote Monty Python, it's a bit vicious in parts but a lot of fun.

In episode two, Yuma ended up showing Eriko how to pee in a cup. (Every year students seem to get medical exams; this exam includes urine analysis and blood tests. I have no idea how realistic this is. Japan has socialized medicine so it wouldn't really surprise me.) In this scene we don't see anything that could not be shown on American television, but it's by far the most "gritty" scene in the series, up to this point. (Hentai, raunchy, ecchi, yucky, perverted; pick your adjective. I couldn't decide.) Even so it was played humorously.

Eriko is a typical anime/manga heroine in that she's a klutz and cries easily, so her inability to successfully pee in a cup makes perfect sense; it's just not the kind of scene that would normally be used to demonstrate this (or be played for laughs). But, what the hell; it is, after all, Japanese animation, and the Japanese aren't afraid of bodily functions the way we are. Neither am I, since I worked in a nursing home for seven months--so I had no trouble seeing the humor in the scene. And we don't actually see any urine, either, which is a big plus; the animators took the joke just far enough without making it utterly disgusting. In fact, throughout the entire series they take great pains to avoid showing any body parts or actions which couldn't be shown on TV--even on American broadcast TV.

And after that, the H-ness begins to decline. Episodes 5 and 6 show us a bit about Yuma and her sister; if it weren't for the inevitable swimming class sequence, the fan service would have been nonexistent.

I now have all twelve episodes handy...and that nicely leads me into the other half of this post.


My computer--a PIII 1 GHz with 512 MB of RAM--has trouble with video files. If I watch these rips of Girls' High on this machine, the sound and video rapidly run out of sync. And I hate that; I really do. It's not just these, either; I've had the trouble with other video files.

I don't know if it's the OS or the processor or what. Maybe it's the codec or the player. All I know is that whenever I try to play anime on this computer it's rather less than entertaining.

Okay; I know that this computer is old. I've had it since May of 2001; the processor is, like, so 20th century. So I've started considering upgrading or buying new (and have been for a while, actually) but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.

Well, I came this > < close to buying a Gateway laptop last week. It was a rather nice machine with a dual-core processor and a gigabyte of RAM, and it was on promo for $650.... But realistically, most of my computing will be done at this desk. For remote surfing I don't need state-of-the-art; I need an older P3 laptop which can run chat applets, Netscape, and WinAmp, and do it all via WiFi as needed. That won't take a powerhouse.

Whereas what I want for this computer is some serious power for...well, converting video.

I dumped three episodes of Girls' High to DVD last night, and it took five hours to transcode the video. I mean, come on.

If I didn't have the video/audio sync problem, I could just go get a video card with a composite video out and play the episodes through that into my DVD recorder. Ironically that would only take about 24 minutes per episode--if the computer could do that reliably--because all the hard work of transcoding would be accomplished in hardware. But actually changing the video file from the AVI format (in which I downloaded it) to the MPEG-2 used by DVD takes an enormous amount of number-crunching.

Right now I'm thinking about an Intel motherboard with a Pentium D 945 processor. That ought to be plenty of computing power--considering that for most things I get along just fine with a P3, that ought to be computational overkill. A two-core processor running at 3.4 GHz theoretically should have about 7 times the throughput of my P3 running at 1 GHz, but I know that these things never scale linearly. (Unfortunately. It would be so nice if it did....) Still, even though I don't expect video conversion to take place in anything like real time, I wouldn't be unhappy if it cut that 5 hour time in half.

Sunday I expect to visit Fry's and see what they've got. I'm hoping to drop some Christmas money there on a motherboard/processor combo and about 1 GB of memory....

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