Spoilers – Movies, Books, Manliness.

February 7, 2009

Bride Wars:
I would not recommend this movie, as my one reader would not be a fan of it. Technically, I shouldn’t and am not either. It is curious to watch though.

Essentially, the gender polarities have been subtly changed. This not new, but I like to see the subtlies diverge. As in Sex and the City, Men in Trees and Monster in Law, the hetero male characters are either oblivious princes or mouthy evilmen, with the occassional, ‘not bad but trying to be good’ in between, just as in male-centric media the hetero female characters are either delusional princesses or vitriolic witches, with the occassional ‘not bad but trying to be good’ in between. I really have no objection to this. Really. When it is gender centric plot it is good when a specific choice is made by the writer to do so, rather than trying to prop up a b-plot. Given my druthers, I take well-rounded ensemble any day, but its really apples and oranges.

The plot: due to a misunderstanding, the friends Kate Hudson & Anne Hathaway have weddings on the same day. Hilarity ensues, much along the lines of the opening scenes of the Parent Trap. Horribly dyed hair, too long on the sunbed – prank behaviour, with their prospective spouses getting on fine in the background.

Hathaway plays her usual crouching-mouse, hidden-badass role that we’ve seen before: (Princess Diaries 1&2, Ella Enchanted, The Devil Wears Prada, Becoming Jane Austen etc.) and hey, she plays to her strengths. If you’re going to get type cast it should be to those strengths, and Hathaway has a trick of smiling huge, looking at her shoes and delivering the most heart-breaking line in the film. Then starts a lap-dance rap battle at a strip bar. Marvelous.

Hudson, similarly, plays her usual of Hardass-With-A-Heart of gold. (How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days), and she too can play to her strengths, declaring war on the outside, abhorring it on the inside. To see Kate Hudson cry is to see the tears of an angel, the kind of angel you see in the Bible, principally in the Revelations, holding a sword.

So, in the end, Mousy realises that maybe she has grown apart from who her groom thought she was, while Hardass realises only how much more she needs her future spouse, not everybody marries who they originally intended to. This actually describes more complexity to the male characters than described in the outline above, which is nice, and reason why I actually admit to seeing this film. Also the guy who played Jean Grey’s love interest in Xmen (rejected), and Lois Lane’s love interest in Superman Returns (rejected), finally gets married here. Which is nice. Metaphysically.

As for how qualified I, as a man, am to review ‘chick flicks’; its debatable. For instance: A female friend of mine said the Twlight series is great, but that I, a guy, wouldn’t like it. I read a chapter online once – I didn’t like it. Not that I can’t see how people would like it, but at a basic conceptual and mechanical level, I dislike it. However, I trace this dislike to my cerebellum, not my Y chromosome. Still, I felt somewhat villified on this topic when two female friends shared with me that they shared my dislike of Twilight.

Therefore, my qualifications: The trailer that came up before Bride Wars was for a film called ‘Maybe he is just not that into you’. Not only did I, like the female relative I went to see Bride Wars with, know this title was a quote from Sex and the City, I also could remember the episode. I have since read the advice book it was based on, which was written by the guy who came up with the title line, and have found it a good general advice tome on any type of a relationship with misdirective elements.

I know – I just lost all my man cards.

But – its a best selling advice book for women, written by a guy. And it works beyond relationships.

And that is when Data’s head exploded.

Ultimately, I like things that are well-written, acted and thought out, with or without gender emphasis of any kind. I did Anthropology for a year, and it essentially filed the serial numbers of all my weapons of perception, and left me open to all the media I enjoy, particularly the strange juxtapositions I search, a media plate equivalent of custard and anthracite. A dream team selection of media, (when I have time), (be it audio, visual or both), switches from adult ensemble, female-centric, male-centric, kid-orientated, documentary, mockumentary, dramatisation, space opera, RL with a touch of the fantastic, and so on.

Also, I don’t know if all guys realise this, but the media of women is fairly pornographic. Whether its the magazines in the hairdressers, the corsetted period novels or Sex and the City (its right in the title), shoujo manga Emma (naked, naked, Germans – right when you don’t expect it). Similarly, I don’t like Desperate Housewives because it became mystery-theater action time. (Brie Hobbes pulls me in the odd episode, as does Tom Scavo, but I didn’t really ‘feel’ the whole five years on business.)

So, in summary, Bride Wars is passable and my manliness is strong.

Slumdog Millionaire

Oh yes. It is as you heard. This film is the retelling of a young man who has won ‘India’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’, and the flashbacks which justify his knowing the answer to each question as he goes along. Tension?

(a) He is retelling this to the fraud squad.

(b) He hasn’t won the ten million ruppee mark as the questioning is going on – He’ll still have to finish it, even if he is cleared by the fraud squad. And either you win everything on this version, or lose everything – you can bow out, but there are no save points.

(c) From the first flashback, we know that all the money in the world isn’t going to fix all the problems of his life.

(d) The fraud squad’s opening interrogation technique uses a car battery.

The story tells us of the death of Jamal’s (protaganist) and Salim’s mother at the hands of religious rioters, their mutual association with the girl Latka (love interest) in the aftermath, the incorporation of all three into a band of beggars, Jamal and Salim’s midnight escape the handlers of those beggars (who were forcibly mutilating their charges), the boys life as train riders, later tour guides, with a return to the city, the rescue of Latka from the risk of prostitution (and the murder of the handler of the band of beggars), the separation of Jamal from Latka and Salim when Salim asserts his manhood, in the face of Jamal’s childishness, Salim becomes a lead enforcer in the gang rivalling that of the man he murdered, the only way to garner protection for all three of them, and they are separated.

And now all three are grown up, with Latka married to and mauled by the rival gang leader, Salim his lead enforcer, and Jamal a teaboy in an outsourced mobile call centre, knowing more about Eastenders than I do. And this game is for all the marbles.

It is a striking film of absurdly, beautifully naive hopes and love doing an everyday business with immodest deception and adultified morals. Its awesome. Set to a soundtrack all its own, set to a background only half-seen previously in Western cinema, and themes of brotherhood and love so old they are in Westerns, Slumdog Millionaire gives me film-based hope for 2009. It let me face up to the trailer of Pink Panther 2, to see beyond to the Star Trek trailer and the Watchmen standies in my local cinema.

And then they all dance at the end. It is written, thus it shall be.


Ginferno: 1912-1913

December 19, 2008

1912:

Inert

in San Francisco was different. Appearing some time after the fire, Inert was never associated with the manipulation of physical chemicals. No pyrotechnics and electrochemics, not even the average injuries inflicted. Instead, there was little to no physical violence in any of Inert’s activities. Dressed in a surgeon’s get up, complete with gown, mask and gloves, Inert was silent and surgical in his strikes. Inert appeared at hostage negotiations, kidnappings and animal attacks. Craven criminals and crazed creatures would collapse at a look or a touch from Inert. His powers were never stated, nor his origin, though those who saw him drew their own conclusions.That is, the ones they wanted to.

Inert’s powers were thought to come from the distinctive smell of camphor and chloroform that constantly surrounded him. The queasiness those around him felt was attributed to this, from which the first whiff of Ginferno arises. Dissimilar to the Black Out incidents are almost all the details of the modus operandi and the general proferment of a persona for the crowd, costume and all. However, Inert’s context is indicative of why this was possible. San Francisco Master Mystery Man was known as the Doctrination, a group gestalt entity that had been incarnated into the body of a leading street medic and surgeon. The Doctrination was all the medical minds of a millenia manifested in human incarnation per generation. Primarily a medicine man, the Doctrination’s host was a favourite of the city at large and he co-ordinated, co-operated and recuperated the cities various teams.

He had disappeared during the Great Fire.

The get up Doctrination’s was sufficiently similar to make the association, sufficiently dissimilar not to insist upon it. On one occassion, his mask was ‘accidently’ pulled back by a collapsing criminal revealed a head almost completely bandaged. Those parts conspicuously not bandaged were apparently scattered with scar tissue consistent with fire injury. Sufficed to say, he was not the good doctor returned, despite these implications of a baptism by fire. Respect was maintained – despite his dress type, Inert was never given a medical moniker, nor gave himself one. People adjusted. The heroes Doctrination had fought and fallen alongside were aware of his means of reintroduction to the world. They tipped their hats, caps and cowls to Inert, but never engaged him as they had the old boy, because he wasn’t him. It wasn’t ice between them, nor fire, but merely an absence, just as there was an absence in Inert. He was not the powerhouse of peace and purpose that Doctrination had been, nor tried to be, and was unobstrusively accepted as a result. Perhaps there would have been a fufilment, and adjustment in this state of affairs, but the year of 1913 put an end to that. There was a hostage situation, a warehouse of TNT, a little girl with pigtails and ponies. Inert walked in, the girl ran out, the flames leapt sky high.

The loss of the criminals was little mourned, Inert was mourned not at all.

They didn’t hate that dead man. Despite publicity and performance, the fine folk of ‘Francisco simply had nowhere to put the pity and pour the pain felt from this loss. Two months later, a boy Doctrination stepped from the loud crowd that formed when Shroudog slammed Cataflaque into the pavement. Shroudog collared by Ferr Al, the spotlight led to a magical lad that healed the fearless feline’s wounds. The boy was carried on shoulder top to the headquarters of the Sons of the San Franciscan Sun, where, with a glass of milk and a quick questioning of the boy’s limitless nursing know-how, he was hailed as Doctrination reborn. Inert had been a shadow, they said, a ghost of the old incarnation serving time until the arrival of the new. A shade, a shard of soul, this relentless revenant had benevolently beheld the city in the stead of his arising successor. Inert’s name was added to the hall, a rare frontpage picture was wreathed in roses, a true carer’s catharsis was achieved, cleanly sealing up speculation behind him.

That the boy’s account of himself as to have come into his powers directly after his predecessor’s passing, seven years previous, played little part into this reverential reasoning.

If your book is late, so will you.

Reminder: If your book is late, so will you.

 

‘Ginferno’ has been released under a creative commons, attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives license. You can clone us,  and promote us when you do, just don’t sell us or change us.


Ginferno: Modus Operandi

December 10, 2008

I was busy . . .

 

Psychological Profile:

This innate ability to make those around him intoxicated has aroused equal speculation and feculation about Ginferno‘s actual self. Not merely his identity; it has been theorised that Ginferno cannot deactivate his powers, and so everyone who perceives him must do so through gaze of an affable drunkard. Even basic details about his appearance have never been confirmed, with variations in height, descent, voice, hair and eye colour, dress and occasionally even gender. Photographers have rarely gotten within range of his charm with their final photos off-centre, off-focus, or suffering an attack of the forgotten lenscaps. His off-the-cuff hilarity for which he had become much famed is far more explicable in this light; in that condition a rousing Armpit chorus would be Wildean wild wit, to say the least. Given the low fieldability of recording equipment at this point in history, no extant footage of Ginferno can be examined without obvious note of the operator’s dense inebriation at his station. But this flame burns both ways, some have thought: if no one in the world that you interact, no one at all, ever sees you as you really are, what does that do to your perception of it? Of them? Of yourself?

The most terrifying thought is that in the centre of a maenad’s maelstrom, Ginferno is the most sober man in the universe.

Origin:

Such a man can have no origin story or, rather, he has several hundred. These range from the simply unconfirmable to the hilariously apocryphal. Urban legend says he fell into a vat of the finest ale and drowned – eventually- after getting out three times to go to the toilet. Said to have taken the hair of a were dog that bit him, to have consumed the worm at the bottom of a bottle and gained its powers, Ginferno was bitten with the bitter bite of drink. Others, allow Ginferno to be a Wandering Jew type, condemned act as barman to the world until the mythical Last Call. And so on. All of these stories were no doubt concocted by Ginferno himself as skilfully as he is known to concoct his drinks, fed to the ultimate in gullible customers. It certainly fits those few confirmable attributes about his personality that lie in file. There have, however, been rumours of Ginferno displaying intellectual abilities easily equal to those of his chemical ones. Instances in which he has decommisioned bombs, guns and narcotics have proved his chemical proclivities. Others were he has nullified poisons and even exchangeable metabolic rates to help the biologies of others to self-repair evidences his being able to use his physical abilities for basic cellular repair rather than systematic liver damage. A doctor’s proctor.

Ginferno’s

real name, if he still uses it, may have some Phd.’s, and possibly an M.D. after it. Identity:

In this super age of early twentieth century New York, any number of noted scientists go missing in blaze of smoke, a flash of light or a whiff of ozone, only to presumably return in much more noticeable stance. As such, Ginferno could be any one of a thousand chemical experts, metabolic experimenters or research and development brewery staff. Is his great satire upon us, do you think, that the fine mind he must have been would have become most renowned in its most comical role? Given his name, his bar’s name, and that of his greatest nemesis – the apparently demonic GinfernalGinferno‘s association with ‘demon drink’ has one his harshest critics have been quick to make, often allying high-ranking church and abstinence groups against him. Yet, if he can so aptly manipulate those around him . . . one cannot help but think that a true scientist would take some degree of satirical glee in making himself the very epitome of malevolent magic while in actuality an empirical method master.


Hot Shot 8: Ginferno Bio

November 29, 2008

“Finally, I am delighted to be receiving an honorary Doctorate of
Literature (LittD) from Dublin University (Trinity College Dublin)
on 12th December. I’m sure that there will be photos.

Terry Pratchett”

-Accursed Trinity!

. . .

And now back to our regularly scheduled madness:

Ginferno

Abilities:

Powers of nothing short of metachemical manipulation, one would think such a figure could cut niche and name for himself with greatest of ease. Alas this was not to be the case. Either too practical or too prandial to ever fight over name alone, Ginferno suffered no less than eighteen confirmed name changes. His costume was just as ostentatious – the everyday dress of a backstreet barman of the time (green waistcoat, suspenders and bow tie, white shirt, black spats). His one concession to a secret identity was a green domino mask and hat set that one could have picked up in any huxter’s front window. He was criticised for not taking the role of ‘hero’ seriously, especially in the particulars of his powers. Ginferno‘s MO was to use his ability to ignite igniferous chemicals spontaneously only in a last resort, and even then only on inanimate objects. Otherwise, he would recombine the metabolic mix of anything from a single villain to a whole raging mob to replicate the effects of heavy alcohol consumption.

Essentially, he made his enemies drunk.

Modus operandi:

Anything from friendly drunks to outright coma cases, in fact, leaving them for handy pick up by the NYPD. This made him an object of disgust for many of the superteams, of both good and evil, for the degrading nature of his attack, his casual attitude to law enforcement, and the fact that despite their disapproval, he was one of the most popular and (technically) powerful heroes of his age. He would, with respectable dress and reasonable aplomb, debilitate the supervillainous elite with minimal damage or destruction. Being one of the few supers of the time that the police did not, on some level, wish to jail, was effected primarily by his statement that he was merely doing his public duty. Never getting the key to the city, he won the key to the hearts of many New Yorkers, his crimefighting a street-theatre rather than street-threat to the average pedestrian. No public edifices were erected in his glory, but he didn’t bring down any in the course of his adventures either. The most public criticism ever aroused in his opposition were by public abstinence groups, and these were still some time from their apex.

Known Places of Frequent:

In retrospect, it was his bar that made his name among the cape-wearing massses of New York.

Dante’s Ginferno

was the first known bar to be openly owned and staffed by a superhero. Six nights out of seven, apparently tireless, Ginferno worked the bar after a day of clobbering Captain Cataclysm or inebriating Insect Intellect. Theoretically, an open place of business would be a target for one’s various enemies, nemeses and evil mirror dimension selves. However Ginferno reasoned that it was like such open locations as the Libertines living in The Lady’s torch and tiara, the Thinker’s display in the Met or the Castle Fantasia just outside Vermont. In fact, it was far less vulnerable than any of these locations.

Firstly, this was because while supers could indeed go drinking in their alter egos, they could rarely do so in any degree of comfort while esconced in cape and cowl without attracting due attention. Meeting with people of similar view, hue and occupation was somewhat difficult for them, and any relationships where one is dating a man in a mask or a girl from the past has enough problems as it is. Secondly, this was because while some supers understandably enjoyed their powers of constant invulnerability, quick metabolism and enhanced healing factor when staring down the barrel of an aptly-named Omega Pistol or when failing to suffer the painfully distinct and briefly lethal effects of iocane powder, it did mean one could never be drunk, one thing crucially necessary after reaching into the dark heart of a proton star or killing Vince the Invincible.

Thirdly, no villains attacked because they might be barred afterwards. Might. It was a bar after all.

 

And now:Other Emo heroes, courtesy of Applegeeks.com

 

 


Iconography: Hot Shots One to Four.

November 15, 2008
Before Icon branding, any super picking up a name did so with the high possibility that somebody else already had taken it, somebody else would take it, or that it suited somebody else better. In 1910, for instance, there were no less than eight supers operating under the unoriginal moniker Hot Shot in New York alone. They can be broken down as such:
 

“Hot Shots One & Two” were boys from the Robin Hood; accuracy lads of bow, blade and blunderbuss. They’d found out about each other, in that community of five guys that ran the capes-and-catapults gig at the time. In the end it came down to a duel. It always did with the types whose ‘powers’ were accuracy or strategy; no power at all, many considered.
 

With a lot to prove both had wounded a couple of egos in exclusively winning monikers like the ‘Sherwood Shaft’ and the ‘Green Hood’. To keep the title of “Hot Shot”, they’d wound far more than egos, and they exchanged shots from sun up to sundown. They did this for three days: first with bows, second with bullets, third with blades. Partly because they were entirely equal in all matters, partly because they’d done next to nothing for crimefighting in New York with their grandstanding, they mutually acquiesced.

In a bid for commiseration and consolidation, they ditched the “Hot Shot angle”. One and Two thus became respectively became the duo “Trick Shot” and “Quick Shot”. Not all that cinematic; they never broke beyond street violence and kids parties. But it mattered to them I suppose.

Such things would to men in matching red and black leotards.

“Hot Shot Three”: Never really operated in New York to tell the truth, just used to come to the Smithsonian to work with Professor Prandial, but all that stopped after the good professor played technical confessor to one too many supers and started wearing a cape himself. That damned experimental rocket pack. They should never have classified jet back-packing as a sport.

Sufficed to say, Prandial’s fireworks work was far more successful for his subjects than himself and “Hot Shot Three’s” fire/metallurgy powers increased, later becoming known as “Meat/Ore”, later “MeteOracle”. Linked to UFO cult in the 1980s, and in no part older then than in 1910.

Except his eyes. Of course.

“Hot Shot Four” was the signee in a Faustian bargain for super powers. It was never fully determined whether he meant to fight good or for ill, as he seemed to do both with equal aplomb. Going under “Flare”, “Fire Hazard” and, of course, “Hot Shot”, if “Hot Shot Four” had ever been accredited with stopping a robbery, the damage he did to the victim’s premises in the meantime usually exceeded the value of the item rescued. Usual ironic bargain rules applied of course, and in time “Hot Shot Four” simply decided to donate his considerable talents to full-time evil, rather than the part-time incompetent kind.

Got to be known in certain circles, but by the time he’d racked up a couple of real nemeses, his year and a day were up and he disappeared while screaming in Central Park, in spot where nothing but wolfsbane grows to this day. A lost soul, “Hot Shot Four” is still thought by many to be still in Satan’s employ as “Ginfernal”, nemesis to “Ginferno”.

Others say the devil merely took away his ability to with stand the flames that constantly surrounded him. An Elegant Disposal.


The Silly Marillion (spoilers)

October 25, 2008
FLCL: Seen

6 episodes – if EVA had been that short, it might have been more bearable. Ta-kun definitely was more so than Shinji. A Gainax production of a kid in a robot fighting aliens under the watch of a strange agency while indecisive in relations between three different girls, yes I can make that comparison.

The soundtrack is awesome. The sound of The Pillows is as iconic as that of Cowboy Bebop. It is not a disservice to say that the show is built around the themes rather than other way round. I like Crazy Sunshine and Little Busters.

The art is beautiful. As with many such 6-12 episode series ( that even extends to the dr who series ) the production value is high in the sense that every still frame appears to have been drawn, nay painted, by either Hayo Miyazaki, Tony Taka or Alex Ross.

The story – it expresses the ideas of anxiety around growing up very well. A guy has a horn growing out of head he can’t control – thats acne, right?

Right?

Anyway, its the kind of randomness that’ll make you leap upon the raft of causality when the narrative mentions a tenuous conspiracy plot, sandwiched between scenes of the obscenely strange and the perfectly observed mundane.

Ta-kun, the son of a bizarre publisher-baker and grandson of a pornagraphic retired baker, brother of a burgeoning baseball star in America, friend to the girlfriend (ex) of that brother, friend to the daughter of disgraced local politician, living in the town Mabuse, whose skyline dominated by the iron-shaped Medical Mechanica building. The preceding sentence makes little sense, and so does Ta-kun’s life when he gets hit on the head with a drawstring guitar by the moped loving alien hunter, who proceeds to dominate his life and make weird robots emerge from his head.

Its excellent and I need to get a dose of opening and closing themes regularly.

Haibane Renmei: Seen

Its like the exact opposite of Elfen Lied, with a polarity shift in the time devoted to darkness, but when it goes dark its very dark.

Like Genshiken, it shifts from who you think the lead is going to be to somebody else’s story. It starts with Rakka, who awakens in a small town, walled upon all sides, with wings and (eventually) a halo. She is called, and lives with other beings like herself as haibane. The individual haibane only live in the town (which has a regular human population) for a few years. Then their Day of Flight comes, personal to each and known to each, and they disappear. Those who do not take their day of flight . . . do they become crows? Become the mysterious cloaked Toga who are the only ones to walk beyond the town bounds? Die?

The threat lies in Reki, whose Day of Flight seems to approach. As this proceeds, we get the feeling that the haibane are, though never explicited stated, the dead that have time yet to serve, problems yet to resolve, and that if they do not resolve it on a basic emotional level, the circle of sin for some, then thats it forever. Reki, more than any other character, reflects Rakka’s stages of development, and foeshadows her future.

Essentially, its the most beautifully drawn, happy-sad anime I’ve seen. Definitely a first showing to the right type of audience.

Ah Kyu.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Seen

Ah, there is a much better review of this on the internet. Its on the blog marked ‘revenant’ to side there. However, something appears to be eating its data alive, so until thats resolved, let this poor example be its understudy stand-in.

 A little explanation. A friend of mine began using some very strange language on bebo, such as “Don’t believe in the me who believes in you, believes in the you who believes in himself.” Also, there were strange icons of a green-tinted sunglasses wearing fellow.

As such, I decided to investigate, and, well, I caught the meme. And this show does have a meme. Spiral beings are every set-busting, rule-breaking, magic-shattering, mind-smashing, sons of monkeys that bust up the formal status quo.

The shows boundaries are therefore burned through every few shows, doing in a season what it would take several to do, if at all. Simon the Digger, Kamina and Yoko go beyond that original set up very quickly, and so well written that every step made sense, felt right, and fit in with the series theme.

Simon and Kamina, in busting out of their underground village, discover the topside to be dominated by Gurrens (mecha) driven by various beastmen. This is the perfect set up for a seasonal gurren-of-the-week, which is rejected out of hand. It instead moves on, and on, and on, and on, and on, spiralling through to the universe to the infinity of the other side.

The characters I adore without comment.

The story shouldn’t work – it should jump the shark every other episode, but doesn’t.

The soundtrack is quite awesome, with its strange mix of classical themes and ‘Fight the Power’ rhythm.

Beautiful ending, you know. Don’t why a kid was trying to drill a coconut, but it was beautiful all the same. Don’t know if the mole-pig runt Boota had power of its own, or its exposure brought it out. Even that shouldn’t have worked, but did. Not a big point, but seeing as he was in human form at the start of the first episode (with its ambiguity in time), I wasn’t sure if he was a descendant of an early spiral knight being who deevolved into pig moles, or if that little flash was of late-Simon era Boota.

I really liked Rossiu. Crazy religious guy who converts and thus becomes more terrible than original adherents is rarely done so well.

Very rewatchable. Very first time friendly.

Ah, Kamina. And Kittan. And Nia. The Yoko kiss of death.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya: Seen

This little recommendation was another little life long love.

Kyon, our narrator, who dreamily wished that the strange was real as a child, then cast that aside, comes into a world where is the only normal human. This little world consists of three beautifully written characters – Yuki, the interface-purpose human data module, Mikuru-chan, the time-travelling jailbait and Itzumi, the transfer-student esper. All of these centre around the one, the only, believer in all, super utility talent mystery girl, Haruhi Suzimiya.

Ah, to explain her. Impossible. To describe her. Improbable. To defy her. Undoable. Sufficed to say, the first episode doesn’t feature her until the last few seconds, but by the time its over you have an exact grasp of her character. You probably know someone like her. From a distance.

I’ve overused this line to much in these reviews, but its a common theme in the shows I like best that they observe unidentified, universal gestures, experiences and situations. The way Yuki raises the book cover slightly when she is asked what she is reading, to the way they have her talk by simply sitting reading a text. The way they have Itzumi pause to discuss his emotions in the scene of a poor student movie, to his offhand comments about the state of existence. Mikuru’s high pitched whining to her kerfuffles in time travel. All nailed so perfectly that they slip so easily into the mind.

I liked Kyon. A good little narrator. Witty. Last episode narration just beautiful. He does it with panache were so many other males do it with contempt or shame. I’m actually interested in the manga for this one, and I’ll have to find out if its My Thing. Hopefully it is.

Ah, Asakura. Before she turned out be a sociopathic murdering robot, I might have felt sorry for her data disintegration.

Good bye World.

Trigun: Seen

If you want a Fireflyesque show about a guy who can shoot people better any human, nay any carbon-based non-chlorroflyll beings and chooses not to ever, ever take a life, and backs that up at his own expense. Its off the wall, hilarious, painful, tragic, wise enough to be quiet, brave enough to be foolish and thoughtful enough to end.

Vash the Stampede, most feared man on the planet Gunsmoke, is an individual of plant parallel evolution whose speed, strength and reaction times leave humans in the dust. These abilities are shared by his brother Knives, who nobody knows about, and thus no-one fears as much as they should. Vash, on the other hand, has an unlimited knowledge of gunplay and would never take any form of life. And he backs it up, and that is such a rare theme in any narrative form, that I feel the need to repeat. Its hard, it’d be easier in so many ways, he could save so many more good folk, and his friends, and he never relents.

Its like that Dr Who episode where he gets to say “Nobody dies!”

It was like Green Arrow, but could confront the issue of a realistic non-anachronistic killing weapon being used for a non-fatal use.

It was Back to the Future III where he takes a bullet in the oven plate.

It was Shepherd Book and the Operative, (I just read ‘Those Left Behind’ – awesome!). It was  Bilbo sparing Gollum, it was Light-dono sparing Mihael, etc.

It was Batman.

I’m probably letting the eye of nostalgia overselling it, but I’m interested in a show that either denies death or makes it happen only to those defined as non-people. The death of the man with cross filled with heavy mercy was one of a choice not to survive on the bones of others. It is not proud, does the impossible, and thus makes it mighty.

Here endeth the lesson

Also, I finished Death Note. I can see why there would be a much preferable ending. I think of it an elseworlds tale whose examination of a Light whose psychosis only exacerbated upon unplanned revelation to the point of total mental breakdown. I’d like to read this manga ending.

Read:

Ex Machina – First Hundred Days:

He is a superhero, quits, becomes a mayor of New York, (before Heroes). The order in which this is presented are flash backs that seem to be composited quite carefully. A lot of implieds dropped in the first issue. This has been out of the corner of my for a while, and it totally fufilled. Good stuff. More later.

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.

Like American Gods, unlike it, Gaiman claimed he wrote it after people he though Pratchett did the comedy in Good Omens. Silly puppets. Hilarious observational stuff. Lets put this way: There are two fairly impossible scenes about an entirely unanticipated cheap flight to Saint Andrews and the resulting taxi cab to hotel that only differ from what happened to Gaiman in two respects: One, for Gaiman the Island was Barbados, not Saint Andrews, and two, for Gaiman, when the driver pulled the car in a one-eighty hand brake turn, it was to pluck a nutmeg from a tree, not a lime.

A mythology anthology all his own.

Anime Bar

The Chili Peppers had a song called Animal Bar. Quite recommendable.

The Anime Bar has a similarly random theme. In the Anime Bar, Kamina and Kittan are constantly fighting joint hosts and Nia head cook whose food nobody can eat.

In the Anime Bar, Maes Hughes shows pictures of his child to anyone, and dandles the Tucker girl on his knee while she feeds Alexander under the table.

In the Anime Bar, Kyu sups at a lemonade while sketching a flight device on a bar napkin. Reki is painting a painting in tomato ketchup. Maybe its a smiling train, maybe its a sun coming out after rain, who knows.

In the Anime Bar Kaji and Kaoru munch on melon from the brunch menu. Misato Katsuragi chugs away regardless, but she’ll need help getting home as always.

In the Anime Bar the man with the cross full of mercy gives a sermon between drinks.

In the Anime Bar, Spike is watching the TV for another bounty. Theres a girl there called Julia, like the Beatles song.

ITAB Mr. Hibiya discusses economics with the original Yumi.

ITAB Light-dono is reading a notebook with great interest. There are many police officers around him. There are no shinigami here but Rem and Jealous.

ITAB, I’m not going to lie to you, there are a lot of the Elfen Lied cast. Pretty much all of them. There is a shortage of chairs. There is a little girl with a dog getting along alot better now.

ITAB, which crosses genres quite easily, there is a man with dinosaur toys making shadow puppets on the wall while a Shepherd observes the good Reverend with great interest and some humour.

And why this diversion? Because that is 2,000+ words and I’m taking next week off.

Remember: Love and Peace!


The Didly Hollows

October 4, 2008

Tengen - reasons to be cheerful

Tengen - reasons to be cheerful

Anime: Seen:

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya:

Haruhi (during class introductions): I’m Haruhi Suzumiya, from East Junior High. First off, I’m not interested in ordinary people. But, if any of you are aliens, time-travelers, or espers, please come see me. That is all!

-*-

Haruhi: Say… have you ever realized how insignificant your existence is on this planet?

Kyon: <Mentally> What are you talking about?

Haruhi: I have. It’s something I’ll never forget. During elementary school, when I was in the sixth grade, the whole family went to watch a baseball game at the stadium. I wasn’t particularly interested in baseball… but I was shocked once we got there. There were people everywhere I looked. The ones on the other side of the stadium looked like squirming grains of rice all packed together. I wondered if every last person in Japan had gathered in this place. And so… I asked my dad. “Exactly how many people were in the stadium?” His answer was that a sold-out game meant around fifty thousand people. After the game, the path to the station was flooded with people. The sight stunned me. So many humans around me… yet they only made up a fraction of the people in Japan. Once I got home, I got a calculator and did the math. We learned that the Japanese population was a hundred million or so in social studies. Divide fifty thousand into that… and you only get one two-thousandth. I was stunned again. Not only was I just one little person in that sea of people in that stadium… but that sea of people was merely a drop in the ocean. I had thought myself to be a special person up until that point. I enjoyed being with my family, and most of all, I thought that my class in my school had the most interesting people in the world. But that was when I realized it wasn’t like that. The things that happened in what I believed to be the most enjoyable class in the world could be found happening in any school in Japan. Everyone in Japan would find them to be ordinary occurrences. Once I realized this… I suddenly found that my surroundings were beginning to lose their color. Brush my teeth and go to sleep at night. Wake up and eat breakfast in the morning. People do these things everywhere. When I realized that everyone did all these things on a daily basis… everything started to feel so boring. And if there were so many people in the world, there had to be someone living an interesting life that wasn’t ordinary. I was sure of it. Why wasn’t that person me? That’s all I could think about… until I graduated from elementary school. And in the process, I realized something. Nothing fun will happen if you sit around waiting. So I figured I would change myself in middle school. Let the world know that I wasn’t a girl content with sitting around and waiting. And I conducted myself accordingly. But in the end… nothing ever happened. Before I knew it, I was in high school. I thought something would have changed.

[A train approaches, rushes by]

Kyon: <Mentally> The train gave me time to decide if I should make a witty comment or quote some philosophical anecdote to fill up the silence.

Kyon: …I see.

Kyon: <Mentally> My inability to say anything else… made me feel a  bit melancholic

-*-

Cowboy Bebop:

Faye: You know the first rule in combat? [empties sub-machine gun through closed door] …shoot them before they shoot you.

-*-

Spike: There once was a tiger striped cat. This cat died a million deaths, revived and lived a million lives, and he was owned by various people who he didn’t really care for. The cat wasn’t afraid to die. One day the cat became a stray cat, which meant he was free. He met a white female cat, and the two of them spent their days together happily. Well, years passed, and the white cat grew weak and died of old age. The tiger striped cat cried a million times, and then died too. Except this time, he didn’t come back to life.

Jet: Yeah. That’s a good story.

Spike: I hate that story.

Jet: Huh?

Spike: I never liked cats, Jet. You know that.

Jet Oh yeah.

-*-

Chobits:

Chitose Hibiya: Your daddy told me that anything he thinks is small and hopelessly adorable is “Chobi” to him. That’s why you two are his “Chobits.” Another thing … my Ichiro told me that the word “Chobits” … is special to him …because it’s made up of the letters in my name – Chitose Hibiya. And that’s why they’re my children.” 

-*-

Ghost in the Shell: (Movies, Show and Movie based on the Show)

Major Motoko Kusanagi:

  • When I float weightless back to the surface, I’m imagining I’m becoming someone else. It’s probably the decompression.

 

  • There are countless ingredients that make up the human body and mind, like all the components that make up me as an individual with my own personality. Sure, I have a face and voice to distinguish myself from others, but my thoughts and memories are unique only to me, and I carry a sense of my own destiny. Each of those things are just a small part of it. I collect information to use in my own way. All of that blends to create a mixture that forms me and gives rise to my conscience.I feel confined, only free to expand myself within boundaries.
  • As revenge for the fact that two of my men were killed, I even set it up so he would shoot his own son – through a door.
  • Puppet Master: Your effort to remain what you are is what limits you.
  • Major Motoko Kusanagi/Puppet Master:
  • And where does the newborn go from here? The net is vast and infinite.
  • Batou: When I die, since I’m a real skeptic, I’m gonna gripe to the lord and make sure I get back my original investment when I’m reincarnated …

Still Watching:

Death Note:

Light: Why did you choose me?

Ryuk: (laughs) Don’t flatter yourself. All I did was drop the notebook, that’s all. You thought I chose you? Cuz’ you’re so smart or something? It just happened to land somewhere around here and you just happened to pick it up. That’s why I wrote the instructions in English-it’s the most popular languge in your world.

Light: Then why did you drop it?! Don’t tell me it was by mistake after you went and wrote all those instructions.

Ryuk: Why did I drop it? Because I was bored, that’s why.

-*-

Light: Even a fool is going to notice that somebody is bumping off the bad guys. I’m going to make the world know I’m here…that somebody is passing righteous judgement on them! And then nobody will commit crimes anymore. The world will start to become a better place. And while people who obviously deserve to be punished are dying of heart attacks…I’ll gradually be killing off immoral people and people who harass others, through illness and accidents. Even that will eventually be noticed by the idiot masses. They’ll realize they’ll die if they don’t change their ways…I’ll make this a world inhabited only by people I decide are good! Ryuk: You do something like that, the only one left with a bad personality will be you… Light: What are you talking about, Ryuk? I’m a serious, straight-A student…a model teenager and I..will reign over a new world!

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:

Simon: That is Tengen Toppa! That is Gurren Lagann! MY DRILL IS THE DRILL THAT WILL PIERCE THE HEAVENS!!!

Kamina: Believe in yourself. Not the Simon who believes in me. Not the Kamina who believes in you. Have faith in the Simon…that believes in YOU.

-*-

Next Week: Actual details. This week: My sinuses are trying to kill me. Kamikaze nostrils – what can I say? Where is that drill ; I’m going to take the buggers and boogers with me . . .

Don't eat my brain, sinuses.

Don't eat my brain sinuses. Please. What large nostrils you have grandma. . .