August 24, 2016

A death in the family

Naruto finally came to an end, and now Bleach has, too. 686 manga chapters and out. Where will the weaboos go now?

Well, Fairy Tail is still running, so there's that. I never got into Naruto or Bleach, but I've been hooked on Fairy Tail for a long time. The current story arc looks to finally be the resolution of Zeref and Mavis. There's also going to be a quest to find the new Aquarius key.

And then we'll defeat Acnologia. All told that's probably 200 more manga chapters, I would expect.

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August 23, 2016

GATE Manga

All the parts of the GATE canon are, I assume, based on the original published books. Those are not the origin of the story, of course, but they're the complete manifestation of it.

Anyway, there's a GATE manga, and it's a bit frustrating to follow it because chapters are 30-40 pages long and they only come out once a month.

Raws first show up here. These guys have been doing translations. And they can be read much more conveniently here.

What's interesting is that the story being told in the manga isn't the same as the anime. Not so much that its telling an entirely different story, as that it's telling different parts of the story than the anime did.

There have been two plot arcs in the manga that didn't show up in the anime. The first one was a dungeon crawl, which was interesting. Part of the basic conceit of the entire canon is "modern soldiers armed with modern weapons in a S&S world" and that's how this one goes. It's set during the period when Itami plus Yao, Tuka, Rory, and Lelei are scouting for resources.

They pull into a town and when the girls get out of the truck the people in the town all react with fear. Itami forces some of them to talk to him, and it turns out that there's a plague which only affects young women. Itami isn't a woman, Tuka and Yao are too old, and Rory cannot die (and is even older anyway) so they're all safe, but Lelei gets it. The disease turns its victims into zombies, and in a rare moment of lucidity during her high fevers Lelei tells them she needs to eat a certain kind of pear to get well.

Those pears are rare but there's a place nearby that supposedly has them. They leave Tuka with Lelei to care for her, and Rory/Yao/Itami go to the place.

Which turns out to be a labyrinth and it's full of zombie women who have already succumbed to the disease, who (it turns out) can be taken out with grenades. And rather than screw with the labyrinth, Itami starts using primer cord to blow holes in walls.

Well, it doesn't go quite so easily for them, and

Part of what made that important was that Yao came to terms with the fact that Itami doesn't believe in slavery. Yao considers herself to be Itami's slave and he doesn't want it. Coming out of this arc, it looks like that's been straightened out. She still tells people that she's his slave but he doesn't treat her that way and she now understands why and doesn't push it any more.

The other arc just started a couple of chapters ago: They're visiting the main temple of Hardy at Belnargo. And we've met Hardy, the goddess of the underworld. At the end of the most recent raw chapter,

Hardy is the one who says she wants to marry Rory. She sent Giselle (Hardy's current apostle) after Rory; we met Giselle at the mountain during the fight with the dragons. Rory wants nothing to do with Hardy, and the purpose of this visit is to allow Rory to say so.

Rory has told us that the gods can take any form they want, and look like anything. So I suppose it wasn't any surprise that Hardy appeared to us as a stunningly lovely woman. But Rory also said that they lose all normal feelings and urges and, strongly implied, they cannot enjoy sex any longer. That's probably part of why Rory has been making a serious attempt to get a long-term sexual relationship with Itami: Rory is due to ascend in about 40 years (which is probably Itami's life expectancy barring violent mishap), and I think she wants to get in one last good one before that happens.

So it looks like this arc is going to be interesting -- if you're patient, that is.

I have intermittently searched for information about the books, like summaries of them, and haven't been able to find any. The last book is titled "The Gate Closes" and obviously I'm curious about how it ends. I am pretty sure I know:

That's my bet as to how it ends, but the only way to find out for sure would be to check the books and I CAN'T DO IT because I don't read Japanese. In the whole internet isn't there ANYONE who has posted spoilers about the series?

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August 21, 2016

Haifuri ending

This is a discussion of the last major event in "High School Fleet" AKA Haifuri, which happens while the credits are rolling at the end of the last episode.

Obviously it's a spoiler, so it's below the fold.

Oh, and this show has really hooked me, and I've rewatched it a bunch of times now.

more...

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August 20, 2016

Robot Octopus

I tell you, the script writes itself, don't it? Just add high school girls!

Designed by a genius nerd high school boy, who loses control over it when it starts attacking the girls at his high school... We got a winner here!

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August 14, 2016

New Game

So our heroine, Aoba, has graduated from high school and gotten a job as an artist at a game company. That's our story.

We've seen it before: "The people creating your entertainment are a bunch of fruitcakes". It turns out that all of Aoba's coworkers are nuts in one way or another, at least based on the first half of the first episode, which was all I could stand. Then I gave up.

These kind of "industry insider" shows seem a bit masturbatory for the people creating them. First one I ran into was "Animation Runner Kuromi" which really, really reeked IMHO. That cured me of being interested in the genre.

There was one last season or the season before it about seiyuus trying to break in. I don't remember the name, and I didn't watch any of it.

And I probably wouldn't have watched any of this one either, except that Fapservice decided it was worth a post. (NSFW) I suppose I should have picked up on the fact that they only managed to get one post out of four episodes. Still, it gets points for not being about high school girls. (Variety is the spice of life, and life doesn't end in third year of high school.)

But in the end I found it tedious and uninteresting. Thumbs down.

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August 12, 2016

Autumn 2016 preview

Neregate has done its chart already; it's probably not absolutely complete but it's pretty large, so let's see what horrors await us.

As usual I'm not going to comment on everything, just on things that caught my attention.

AniTore EX is getting a sequel. Which is really strange; it was a 5-minute show about girls doing exercises, so what's to sequel? One of the girls was stunning. She was also rich and had her own indoor swimming pool

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And she had a ferret that liked to crawl into her cleavage.

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So at the very least we'll get more of her.

Gakuen Handsome has the sharpest pointy chins you've ever seen on the guys. They look life threatening!

Hibiki Euphonium is coming back for a sequel. I didn't watch the first series but I know some of you did.

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda is... well... this deserves to be quoted because I can't do it justice:

Kae Serinuma was an overweight fujoshi until one of her favorite characters died and she lost weight from the shock. When she returns to school, four attractive boys ask her out, but all Kae wants is to see them kiss each other.

I am NOT going to say anything about fat yaoi fangirls. I'm not!

Nazotokine doesn't have a plot summary yet. All we know is that the main character has the figure we like. Aside from that it's anybody's guess what's going on.

Vivid Strike might be set in the Nanohaverse but it doesn't appear to be part of the "Nanoha Vivid" continuity.

Soushin Shoujo Matoi is about miko-magic, and miko-magic is always a good thing.

Keijo is this season's total-pander series. (There's always at least one.) You can tell just from the intro video on the web site. LOTS of T&A; lots of gainaxing. And a thoroughly stupid series concept which justifies the fact that the girls spend a lot of time in bikinis bumping each other with their butts.

Brave Witches is part of the Strike Witches canon, but this story is about the 502 "Brave Witches". Who are also known as the "Suomus Misfit Squadron". If you've seen the Strike Witches movie, the 502 is where Sanya and Eila were assigned, and where one of their squad mates got hit by lightning while flying in. Well, she's in this show.

Other stuff: Bikini Warriors is getting an OVA, God knows why. Musaigen no Phantom World is getting an OVA and I'm looking forward to that. Tenchi Muyou RyouOuki has been dug out of its grave, cleaned up, and is getting a 4th season. Kancolle is getting a movie.

As usual there's a lot of stuff I haven't got the slightest interest in, like the 97th Gundam show, and half a dozen shows about idols, but overall it looks more promising than usual. Sure as hell better than this summer, I tell you.

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August 06, 2016

Ange Vierge ep 5

Well, no one ever bothered posting the AT-X version of this show and almost certainly that's because AT-X is showing the exact same version as the terrestrial stations.

I took a look at CD-Japan and the first BD is scheduled for mid October and is selling in a "special edition" for about $160, depending on how the exchange rate goes by then. So there isn't anything subtle about what's going on.

The fifth episode came out today, and I got curious and downloaded all the episodes up to this point, and just watched them. I'm assuming that I don't have to be careful about spoilers here, and I'm not going to be. (You can't spoil trash.)

There are six main characters in the show. The basic concept is that there are five world, each different (and conveniently color coded) and each having a different race of people. The black world, for instance, is populated by vampires. Another one has angels. A third has cyborgs. World Blue is ours.

This show is based on a card game, though I'm not sure if it's "collectible card game" or "play it on your phone card game". Regardless, you the player collect girls and then use them to fight other players and/or NPC's or something.

In the TV show combat teams consist of a number of girls called "Exceeds" who have super powers and one girl called an "alpha driver" who represents the human player in the game. When the team goes into combat, the exceeds go out to meet the enemy and the alpha driver stays behind inside an armored capsule. She has the ability to form a link with her Exceeds and can feed them energy, which makes them stronger and faster. But when they get hurt, some of the damage splashed back to her. And if they try to draw more than she can provide, it's a problem.

In our team the alpha driver is named Amane and she's from world blue. Her team has one girl from each of the five worlds. Exceeds have ranks based on how strong they are and at the beginning of the show Amane's team are only at rank 2, mostly. Everybody wants to be better than that and Amane herself is part of the bottleneck. A couple of members of her team rag on her because she doesn't seem to be taking it seriously, but then it comes out that she's been training very, very hard and the reason she seems to be lazing about is that she's recovering from the training she's been doing -- which she doesn't tell her Exceeds about.

What they're all doing is trying to prevent a celestial level catastrophe. The five worlds are moving towards one another and when they meet all five worlds will be destroyed. When the gateway between the worlds appeared this process also began, and a mysterious enemy called Ouroboros appeared and started attacking.

In the second episode the Ouroboros made a massive attack near the main human base and the commander decided to commit all the top level people to go fight it, leaving behind only the most junior people to defend the base.

Unfortunately, that attack was a demonstration, and the Ouroboros then attacked the base. Their target was actually the alpha drivers and they sealed all of them, including Amane, into giant crystals. They're still alive but they're paralyzed and unconscious.

And it turns out that all the high level people involved in fighting the demonstration lose their contacts with their alpha drivers and are defeated. They all get turned to the dark side, more or less.

I didn't mention that in the first episode every one of Amane's exceeds has a sempai from her world and appeals to her for training and assistance. Well, all of those get turned to the dark side, and it appears that most of the rest of the series is in a pattern: each kouhai fights against her respective sempai and does something that causes her power to go way up, making it possible for her to win despite being totally outclassed. In ep 3 it was Saya, the one from World Blue. In eps 4 and 5 it was Almaria, the one from world Black. I assume each of the other three will get the same thing eventually, and then Dr. Michael will figure out some way to free Amane from her crystal and we'll get a boss fight in which Amane's team will suddenly be vastly more powerful than before having unofficially leveled up substantially and will win, saving everyone.

So, how about the "Buy the BD" shots? About half the first episode was bath scenes, which is truly remarkable, but there are such shots (obscured by fog and light rays and suchlike) in all the episodes. Every episode includes at least a few bath scenes, for instance. And when Saya defeated her sempai it was an MCSA, with the sempai's clothes being completely shredded.

It's all trash. Really pitiful.

UPDATE: Oh, and Saya is redlining the angst meter.

UPDATE: /images/09995.jpg

Shouldn't the girls all be wearing glasses?

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August 05, 2016

Raimu-sempai's handwriting

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I have a lot of trouble with Japanese handwriting, and this one is driving me crazy. The left column says: きゃ?いい

I cannot figure out what the third character is. Anyone care to help me out?

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July 25, 2016

Roar!!!

That's what "Bakuon!!" means; it's the onomatopoeia in Japanese for the sound of a motorcycle engine revving.

Pete watched three episodes and gave up on it. Far be it from me to try to convince him to change his mind (I always hate it when people try to do that to me) but I did have some comments.

People have made connections between the four main characters of this series to the "Top Wrench" (was that the name? Probably not...) series about cars and stuff made in the UK, and looked for other things.

But no one seems to have made the connection to Azumanga Daioh which I think is blatantly obvious.

AD didn't have a plot. It was the story of the three years of high school of a small group of girls who were all in the same class, and it simply told the story of all the things that happened to them which they thought were noteworthy. The way I imagine it, Azuma attended their ten year anniversary and got these young ladies together, bought them all beer (including Chiyo, by that point also an adult) and got them to reminisce about their years together in high school, and taped it with a hand-held recorder. Then he went back to his studio and wrote his cartoon.

Of course that isn't true. (Or is it?) But the only overarching story is just three years of high school.

AD is, in a sense, the iconic "cute girls doing cute things" series, but in most of those they set up the situation and then time freezes and things stop changing. What was most distinctive about AD was that time passed and things changed.

And Bakuon!! is in a sense the same way. It's a joke anime telling stories about a group of high school girls who love motorcycles, and if it feels disjointed it's because there isn't any overarching plot. It begins with the formation of the motorcycle club and the 12 episodes we were given cover about the first year and a half of it.

It wouldn't be wrong to call it "cute girls doing cute things on motorcycles".

Pete says he watched three episodes. That's an unfortunately place to give up, because episode 4 is the beginning of the Hokkaido trip, and it also introduces Kamisama. It also has an onsen scene, where we learn about Rin's Suzuki logo scar on her butt.

There isn't any series-level plot but there are long-term background stories going on, most prominent of which is the entire question of what is going on with Lime-sempai. I've written about her several times so I won't go into it again now. Kamisama is another one; he keeps showing up, and when he first met Hane he called her "the chosen one". Did that really mean anything?

In some ways, ep 11 is the most typical episode of the series. It tells three stories, each of which is self-contained, all of which are unrelated to one another, and all of which are hilarious. Only the last one contributes to the series continuity, and only in a small way.

Like AD, the situation does progress. In AD, they advance through the grades, and things change only because time is passing and people are growing up. And in Bakuon!! there are changes to the series continuity, like Chisame joining the club, getting her license, and buying her scooter. But it isn't plot because this series doesn't have a plot.

IMHO it doesn't need one. But that does make it a bit hard to wrap up at the end. AD ended with everyone graduating from high school and heading off to college. Bakuon doesn't run long enough for that, and I thought that the story they chose to wrap up ep 12 was about the best they could do. I liked it; it brought tears to my eyes. But Pete never got that far.

He linked to my first post about the series which I titled "Boobs and Bikes", but I wasn't really totally serious about that. I just liked the alliteration. It isn't really a fan service series. I mean it has some (especially the end of ep 5); but the boobs aren't the point of the show. It's about motorcycles and what it means for high school girls to become bikers. I really liked it, and I hope they give us another cour.

UPDATE: Oh, dear. I forgot how venerated Azumanga Daioh is in some circles and I seem to have commmitted sacrilege.

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July 24, 2016

Is it summer yet?

Everytime I visit the US Weather Bureau web site I see all kinds of warnings about hot weather in the midWest and NE.

It sure hasn't happened here; it's felt like late March for the last month or so: overcast with intermittent rain and highs in the upper 60's. Last couple of days we finally got into April. (It's supposed to hit 85 today.) The problem is the jet stream has been south of us:

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So while all of you are getting your weather blowing north from Mexico and the Caribbean, our weather has been coming down from Alaska.

About a month and a half ago we got 3 days of scorching heat. Well, "scorching" for us anyway; highs in the upper 90's. But then the weather turned cold and it's been cold ever since. I even had to turn on my apartment heat one time.

Oh, well; such is life.

I've become addicted to Haifuri. I've watched it something like 5 times now, and it just keeps getting better. The blatant idiocy of the concept is still evident but the characters are growing on me, and damn it can get exciting during the combat sequences.

A good sign that a series has gotten under my skin is when I start thinking "What comes next?" after the show is over, and so:

Also, it isn't a fan-service show, but they did give us a little.

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When I watch some of the battle scenes which involved larger ships, one thing I noticed is about the ships with 3-gun turrets like Graf Spee and Musashi: when they fire the guns don't all fire at once; they go bababoom.

Is that historically accurate? I've never seen anything like that before. I've seen film of American battleships firing at night and it looked to me like all three barrels fired simultaneously.

Staggered firing would make sense in terms of reducing wear on the turret bearing. Staggered firing would reduce gunnery accuracy by spreading the shells out. Which would be considered more important? In this show we see it from Hiei, Musashi, and Graf Spee, so they're making it both Japanese and German ships doing that.

UPDATE: Another thing that took me a long time to notice:


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