I have finally watched all non-filler episodes of Bleach. I’ve been watching this show for most of the 21st century, so realize that I feel like I’ve hit some kind of personal milestone. A dumb and inconsequential milestone, but still one nevertheless. Like many other anime series in the genre of boys’ action (shounen, for the initiated), it dragged on for far too long, not least because the anime’s production of episodes quickly outpaced the manga’s story. Yes, the anime was based on a comic book series that wasn’t finished yet.
The ending didn’t feel essential. The final bit is basically a season-long epilogue, with the real ending being the one two seasons ago where the actual central villain was defeated.
But, it’s done now, so kudos to Kubo Tite for joining the ranks of creators who have successfully brought a long-running series to a close. I’m just glad I can finally cross this entry from my lifetime list of unfinished stories. Onwards to the next one.
I saw The Hudsucker Proxy over the weekend. It’s a pretty fun film and I rather liked how it was an homage to old time movies. What was jarring was the literal Magic Negro, which felt peculiarly of its time (that time being 1994). Portraying a sympathetic black character would have probably gotten the director arrested as a Bolshevik agitator in the era the film is paying an homage to, whereas crypto-racism is at least more subtle in the 21st century. Therefore this character could only have existed at a time when white people know they shouldn’t be racist but are ignorant enough that their attempts at equal representation still come across as condescending.
The 90′s: Politically Correct enough to be ashamed of racism yet ignorant enough to perpetuate it anyway.
Odd fact No. 2,596,322 about the United States of America: Should George Washington return as a zombie, mummy, lich, revenant, poltergeist, or other type of undead, the armies of the United States are required to follow his orders.
Whereas Lieutenant General George Washington of Virginia commanded our armies throughout and to the successful termination of our Revolutionary War; Whereas Lieutenant General George Washington presided over the convention that formulated our Constitution; Whereas Lieutenant General George Washington twice served as President of the United States of America; and Whereas it is considered fitting and proper that no officer of the United States Army should outrank Lieutenant General George Washington on the Army list; Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
That (a) for purposes of subsection (b) of this section only, the grade of General of the Armies of the United States is established, such grade to have rank and precedence over all other grades of the Army, past or present.
(b) The President is authorized and requested to appoint George Washington posthumously to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States, such appointment to take effect on July 4, 1976.
Approved October 11, 1976.
Public Law 94-479
A line from an online customer review on a manga I was looking at:
Someone is nearly gang raped or implied to have been gang raped in every volume.
I guess that answers the question of whether I want to read this series. And in case you were wondering, the manga is called Arachnid.
Another day, another anime. I don’t mean to make this blog entirely about what Japanese cartoons I’ve been watching but I just keep discovering neat series out there.
This time the show is called Princess Jellyfish, about the friendship between a female geek and a fabulous transvestite university student. The thing that I particularly like about this series is that it’s one of the few comedies I know of that doesn’t make jokes at the expense of the transgender character – you know, of the “ha ha she-male” type. In fact, the show presents the straight cisgender characters as being the maladjusted freaks because, well, they are.
I’ve only seen two episodes but I’m optimistic that the show won’t eventually have some conservative “change your appearance to become a worthwhile person” moral. You know, like in Beauty and the Beast. The ad copy is right, it really is a sweet story about learning to look beyond the surface. And the message doesn’t feel hackneyed and programmatic like it could easily have been.
Also, I like the opening. For the benefit of all and sundry, RehAdventures of Youtube provides a breakdown of each movie being referenced:
0:20 – Sex in the City
0:34 – Star Wars, with a dash of Gundam Wing at 0:44
0:48 – Singing [sic] in the Rain
0:55 – Mary Poppins
1:00 – Emperor of the North
1:03 – God of Gamblers
1:08 – James Bond
1:12 – Game of Death or for the newbies Kill Bill
1:18 – The Graduate
1:27 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Crunchyroll, a streaming service for anime and live action Japanese drama, is now tentatively branching out into manga. The selection is very small right now and I don’t see anything there I must absolutely read. Plus, I already took out a 12 month anime membership anyway.
Curiously, though, Crunchyroll is also offering for sale a program called ComiPo!, which claims to be something for non-artists to make their own manga with. You create 3D models of your own characters by picking their bodies, hair styles, clothes, and so on, then placing them picking the environment and the camera angle for each panel in your manga. Of course, you’ll have to supply your own story.
All this is well and good, but apparently most of the stock characters are female and most of the settings are in school, meaning the program is mostly for creating high school stories. I’d like to think there might be some good female-oriented stories being made with this system but I rather suspect there are a lot more insipid male fantasy harem series. You know, where the male protagonist has the personality of a formless blob who girls find inexplicably attractive.
But hey, plop down $50 and you can be making your own brand of shitty manga right in your own home.
So, I watched all thirteen episodes of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. It’s rather interesting to see anime taking on the aesthetics of the 90s era Ren & Stimpy/Rocko’s Modern Life weird gross out genre of cartoons, and marrying it with the adult (read: mostly puerile) themes of the grownup cartoons that showed up after. And obviously it resembles Powerpuff Girls the most in its art style.
The show is about a couple of foul-mouthed angels kicked out of heaven for their uncouth manner and licentious ways and having to earn their way back to the top by hunting down rampaging ghosts. From the description, one might think that it’s mostly an action series, and yes there are impressive sequences in that vein, but quite a few episodes are about the angels being too lazy to do their jobs. One episode is nothing but the angels watching TV and doing absolutely nothing of consequence.
The series is funny in a crass and lowest-common denominator sort of way, though the bodily function humour turns me off just like it did on Ren & Stimpy back in the day. There’s not much analysis I care to do on it, though I will note that this is the only anime from Gainax studio that I’ve seen. Admitting that means I’m not very hip since I gather Gainax is rather big with a lot of anime geeks.
Some choice quotes, taken out of context:
"You’d better not get fat again, otherwise you’ll need to be good at blowjobs."
"Fuck, you’re a ghost? I can’t believe I let you finger me."
”You both need to stop spending money on bullshit. You’re angels, not hipsters.”
I have just watched forty (40) episodes of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood in the space of three days. I went to the laundromat afterward and found it bizarre to hear English being spoken there. It feels rather like the time I almost answered the phone as Ranma Saotome.
The series is by no means perfect – it relies too much on coincidence in telling the story, for one thing – but I can dig what it’s generally shooting for. It’s not everyday a fantasy series has protagonists who are basically in the SS, after all. And the stuff on alchemy shows rather a bit of research was done, which I appreciate.
Okay, I admit that it starts quite slow. I thought it would just be some generic pubescent boy fantasy bildungsroman, i.e. the genre called shounen in Japan. Basically, boy has a quest, he fights some bad guys, he improves his skill and makes friends, and so on tirelessly repeated until every last cent is squeezed out of the formula. But then the fourth episode happened and it showed that actual stakes existed in this fictional universe. And that was it for me, I just kept watching and watching.
So in closing, I must conclude that I am fascinated by magic fascists.
A discussion has sprung up on Gameological regarding the abuse of glitches in video games. One asks, though, how these glitches are discovered in the first place, and what impulse drives their discovery. Whence arises the desire to find glitches in video games?
I would say that glitches are uncovered not from a desire to expose a game’s flaws, but instead from a belief in its perfection. Players take the game at its word that it is complete and self-contained. How, then, could a player not wish to explore this alternate universe? How could they not wonder what is on the other side of a pixelated hill?
Players look for hidden areas and secret powerups because they want to experience everything in a game. A lot of that exploration exposes flaws that were never meant to be seen, flaws that are exploited for ends the developers never intended. Having laid bare the secret workings of this world, players start hungering for even more secrets.
At this point the meta game of breaking the programming appears. But it all started from an abiding worship of the eidos of the game.
I know I’m incredibly late to the party, but I’ve just gotten addicted to the mobile game Game Dev Story. It’s a video game about making video games.
Basically, it’s a business management simulation where you have to hire and fire programmers and artists and whatnot and manage your expenses while your company turns out video games. The gameplay gets repetitive if you play too long but it’s a great way to kill time while on public transit.
Currently my company is making book and movie adaptations. We just recently released a romance simulation based on True Romance and a dungeon simulation of eXistenZ, plus an adventure game based on the comic book Sandman.
Don’t ask me how these games work, I’m just the president, that’s for the eggheads to answer. All I know is that they’re selling like hotcakes and I’m making money hand over fist. And that’s what’s really important.