Monthly Archives: December 2006

Animenano Idol 2006 – A Primer

Hung’s karaoke contest is pretty rocking. I never would imagine that about half of the entries posted are female vocals. That’s just awesome.

OTOH, I think there is a serious lack of gag entries. It would’ve been pretty fun to stand shoulder to shoulder with TJ and bring some real laughs, but I’ve been having problems recording–basically somehow my vocal recording would always be out of sync with the karaoke track, even when I recorded using it. I’m not sure it’s because my playback is out of whack or because my instrumental mp3/cdda import method is out of whack or what. In the end that entry of Grand Blue is just this old recording I did when the single first came out God-knows-when ago.

I might have to pull a Jal and get this Skill recording mixed later. Sigh.

By the way, I voted for that uncanny rendition of Daichi no la-li-la. It’s freaking good. I suppose whoever was singing Yasashii Gogo was just as good, but that’s an easy song that I can even do (in fact, I can prolly do a nice butchery of that once sufficiently intoxicated); or I should say, Daichi no la-li-la is hard to sing. Yubiwa is another song with some difficult parts in it. But, man, singing your own harmony is hard enough, let alone in Oranges & Lemons style and then taking the time to record it like that? Just wow.

But, yes, the point here is that there are so many great entries. I already mentioned Yubiwa and Yasashii Gogo, but whoever is doing that Star Ocean EX song should go sing something that’s got more bite to it; such a waste of talent ;). Ten is scary; or rather I mean she needs to get some friends who can mix her voices right, because it can sound a lot better than how it sounds like from the karaoke page.

And … uh, a girl singing LoveLoveLove no Sei na no yo! That’s so unreal…in a “Can I have your babies” kind of way. That song is so set up for butchery, yet there’s this sweet and honest entry! I’m moved.

I suppose that’s what always happens. In an exhibition it takes a certain level of insanity, self-confidence, talent and courage. I’m all for “everybody let’s sing” but it’s just unavoidable that the rest are put to shame by these great performances. Sometimes it helps to be a penguin, I suppose.

The Tsukihime Half-Time Show

No wonder Coyote Ragtime Show sounded so familiar when I first heard of it.

Arcuied Brunstead

Sorry, this is not so much of a show and much more of a tell. But half way through Type-Moon’s first big-time hit, it struck me that what made the stuff tick is translatable. Stuff was ticking; people who I don’t expect to enjoy or to be remotely interested in the game were playing it. Its warm reception seems to give credit to its content.

Admittedly on the other hand, I find the material a little unreal. In some ways it tries very hard to bring a sense of seriousness about death and holding onto a selfish sense of existence. At points it spirals out on the edge of existential panic to drive Shiki’s motivation home. Yet, so many other times they don’t explain his motivations. Maybe it’s a thematic point they’ll explore later on in the game, but it seems a bit odd.

It seems funny when they are doing the whole crime-and-punishment bit. What would wash away Shiki’s sins? Nothing but the blood of a Jesus allegory, I guess. Or who’d know that tidbits about South American zombies to be relevant? Those were pretty good highlights, as they made me chuckle (at the wrong moments).

But how about the ero scenes? I pretty much smashed the mouse button furiously, for better or worse. Not so sure if the writing was holding up, either…

It’s an intriguing story. Which is probably why I’m still playing it. Shingetsutan Tsukihime, I think, wasn’t as out of whack from this as what people say because it also had an intriguing story. Sure, it doesn’t have the best parts from the game, to start the list of its failures, but it’s not that bad…

Anyways, do yourself a favor and play this game. It’s pretty expensive to buy it, but maybe you’re one of those kind souls who would help to adopt a copy of Tsukibako and give it a good home for the rest of its life. It’s a good thing that I didn’t pawn my copy for a small profit. I’ll be cool about it if that means you’ll have to pirate it first. It looks like you’ll have to pay an auction service but the overall cost isn’t really more than $400, and maybe as low as $100.

One more funny thing. I remember when I first played Tsukihime around the time I first got a copy of Tsukibako. I remember some retarded curfew in the Tohno household. And I remember Akiha and the maids getting into hissy fits like Shiki was when Shiki breaks it cleanly to meet up with Arcu. That was actually kind of fun, aside from the whole “Waaah someone help all the innocent peeps preez” thing going on. Somehow, I get the feeling that Tsukihime is a great multi-pathed visual novel, it would’ve been a lot more fun if it wasn’t visual. And that’s coming from someone who really likes the character designs in Tsukihime, to boot.

This half-time show is brought to you by Mirror Moon, for setting standards at LOL fansub games.

She Is Hawt, Attack Run, Merry Christmas

Adult Swim's Manhattan Billboard off 7th

That fuzzy road sign to the right corner says “West 34th St.”

If you’re familiar with American traditions, you’d know that New York City is a special place to be this time of the year. To me most of that magic is nonexistent, or rather, disassociated with the holiday season as much as just what happens. The city is lit up with lights, new store displays, multitudes of shoppers and tourists, and there’s the brisk, biting Arctic air. I think if any one of those is missing, it’s just isn’t the same. Because this happens every year, and pretty much I make at least one run during the holiday season, it is just a matter of course.

But this time there was no biting Arctic air. I really missed that.

Walking around midtown hot and bothered, I turned to the thought of Patricia Jaa Lee and her Haruhi “LOL I am playing Haruhi” job in the viral promotional video. And yes, she is actually pretty hot. I thought she was just a typical young actress back during her Power Ranger days (about 8 years ago, so in her early 20s). If you know me well, you’ll know I almost never make these kinds of comments, out of some kind of progressive notion of feminism respect and that I just don’t feel comfortable sizing up real life girls that way. And to be honest, she isn’t THAT hot. But compare her to Aya Hirano is really comparing a typical voice actress with a typical Hollywood actress…and that’s who they are. In other words, no comparison, sirs. I think the candid camera aspect of the video also helped, but it’s a whole different class.

Now that I’ve returned with various loot (like Kanon 2002 OST 2…and a first print copy of Heaven’s Kitchen…and some Shiina Ringo CD…and a calendar and a gift). I’ll put my mind towards the effect of aging and improving a person’s skill in the useful arts. A lot of people may think ill of the lolicons especially with all this Hongfire talk. Why? It’s not that we just want to protect kids–that’s fine and all, but these people just have it wrong. It’s like suddenly there’s a group of people telling the world, for them, 2 plus 2 is 733.61. Sure, it doesn’t hurt anyone, and on their job application and exams they very well can pretend that they can add 2 to 2, but it’s all besides the point. Some amount of aging is good! People are like wine, sometimes, y’know? They get good, then turn sour.

Well, to be fair, let’s give Aya Hirano a few years. I think there’s still some promise there.

The Reason for the Season, or the Real Melancholy for Me

Social Anxiety Disorder?

If I haven’t made my Christian leanings clear to you yet, well, I probably won’t in this post.

I’m here to give thanks, in a way, and show some appreciation for the various people and entities that made this blog, this network of blogs, and all its readers and contributers stick together as a loosely associated community that, believe it or not, has meaningfully affected my life this past year. Doubly so for those who bear the brunt of my run-on sentences. Thank you.

But just thanking thankless fansubbers is not what I’m good at. If I were to dwell on that I’d quickly give into friendly jeering and mockery at our mutual detriment. Instead, I’m going to do it, with help with (and thanks to) Henry Jenkins, with a short article published in Reason Magazine.

Sure, when you boil it down, Jenkins’ article says nothing we fans haven’t heard of. It’s a rehash of the same argument I vaguely nodded to every time I debate about copyright and piracy’s empirical effects. Yet, at the same time it’s a celebration; it paints a concise picture to the historical example how a bunch of crazy retard fans paved the way for the fact that half of the anime blogs are chasing the disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi and its reappearence. Just why did sold out? Or ANN and Anime on DVD? I don’t know; but it’s only made possible through the road fansubbers have built.

Legal, illegal, ethical, unethical–that’s all besides the point. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to see eye to eye on the issue in all of its nitpickery details. I’m going to just say that copyright law is arcane and ambiguous to even lawyers; and unless you’ve given it a lot of thought and self-education it’s hard to make heads or tails out of it. In fact, that’s part of the problem–people don’t know what they’re doing, so we’re in this mess.

But as much as manufactured culture expands through the growth of industrial media and technology into the arena of everyday life, it’s only because people are living safer, healthier, wealthier, and more leisurely. The product of a society less bothered by the drudgery of the Nine-to-Five is a society freed from the chain of necessity as a bar to creativity. This society gives freer and appreciate more what they have been given (so I argue). We might think this newfound freedom disturbing, but America has had at least 40 years of experience in this culture revolution; Japan is still struggling seriously, along with much of East Asia, Middle East, and parts of South America. Places like China and India are only a decade or two behind. What’s troubling about this revolution is that it occurs in the meta–it isn’t what people do or say, but the framework, the mass-market behavior and trends, and how businesses conduct themselves to be profitable; and ultimately, how people think and react to certain stimulus 3 years ago just isn’t going to be the same 3 years in the future. It’s not just a new school of thought or a subject matter, but demolishing entire perspectives and challenging the fundamental ways we think. From Superstring Theory to understanding why YouTube is worth 1.6 billion dollars, all these things are revolutionary in varying degrees.

Copyright law is just one of the major battlefields in this changing society. For the first time ever fans can import foreign cultures through distributed subtitling efforts (well, save for those people who do all their fansubbing by themselves) and promote an information good to audiences wide and far. We’re no longer in the SVHS days, folks, even if that information model was first put together during that nostalgic period in my life. Cheap broadband, anime clubs and cons, and fun fun websites just made it so much more accessible and easy, arguably, for a little Palestinian girl.

I guess revolution and battlefield might be extreme and loaded words to use, but if you’ve got 10 minutes left after reading Jenkins’ article, spend it here and hear it from some Open Source folks worrying about just where our culture are going. It’s dated, and it’s for Open Source folks, but it characterizes what’s at stake very well.

Alternatively, you can chalk up my crying wolf to my own personal experience this past half year; I’ve read more on this topic than that is probably healthy. Lessig and his company of copyleftists make a variety of compelling arguments. But much like the internet, it’s hard to see how it all translates into our daily experience; yet likewise I’m sure whichever genius that does will profit greatly along with society generally. It is a source of melancholy.

Anime is here because it was made free. We are blessed; and it’s only natural to extend this blessing to those trapped still. Even if that means making a funny nod at the doujin culture in Japan, so be it. Thank you for partaking in this subconscious act of civil disobedience; no matter as a fan or a subber or just someone clamoring for attention. No matter if you’re ill-intended or well-intended, we’re all in this for the long haul.

Of a Dying 2006 Pancake Jamboree

This is the season to bake a cake
With our Queen of all pancakes
Her batter is first-rate
But one thing we all hate:
Skip her jam; your life, it’ll take.

Of the flame of wintry passions
Few hotter is an odd fusion
Of sickeningly cute “moe”
Mixed with a rarer, “moe”
An odd 萌え 燃え confusion?

Makoto, right before the snow
covers her, as if winter knows
that next year,
like every year,
again, memories anew will grow.

But what of tears under half a moon?
Of wishes undying, lovers swoon
to an eternal pledge
and they jump off the edge.
No, I’m not laughing at Black Lagoon.

But of kisses, war and boobs;
Fewer confuses more n00bs
than the trap gallery
on board the flying gallery
of Arctus Prima, the shoujo test tube.

Still there is no understatement
To fandom’s greatest testament
When the morning comes
And your alarm hums
Nayuki’s trademarked statement.

Still, it’s better to sing a song
Even if you get it all wrong
Like a undine
With a karaoke machine
to where the tone-deaf have gone.

If all of that is a pain
Then watch some Soukou no Strain
It’s serious as pie
And full of oppai
It belongs in its own domain.

But of wrecks this year
Perhaps none can possibly compare
To a sequel
With no equal
Because, she sang, life is a canvas.

And with a strong kiss, she landed.
Smitten, like heavy irony, candid
Of Paprika
As Hayashibara
Daughters of moe have commanded!

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
When Renton did his flying round
For love
Kind of?
Death rained down all around.

If “pancake” was a code word
In this theater of the absurd
It’ll spoil the story
Of Jesus’ destiny
Savior of many, head of his herd.

Because we go to war over it
And idol singer acts for it
Awesome cameras
For positive otaku karma
Will FLAG as a banner, fit?

This deadly note must stop
But only because to slumber I drop
You can lament
In my comments
It’s a grand criticism swap.