Category: bush leagues

Who? Qui? 誰?

An acquaintance of mine recently started a new blog of her own, and I wanted to welcome her to the blogosphere, but hesitated. My dear readers may be shocked to hear this, but my given name is not ‘Cheshire’, nor do I come from the ‘_Ocelot’ family. Though that is the pseudonym I use online, obviously nobody I know from the real world, this acquaintance included, would recognise me by that name. So, should I blow my online cover, so to speak?

I’ve never really hid my online presence from real-world acquaintances, so exposing myself in such a way would really bother me so much, though I do have some concern about random folk on the internet figuring out my real-world identity. Now that I have tied my name ‘Richard’ into this blog, it would be that hard to figure out who I am anyway. It’s just, what I do and the people I know online have always dwelt apart, and thrusting them suddenly together would seem strange.…

Read More Who? Qui? 誰?

Oh, the Things I Watch

So, armed with my new subscription to Crunchyroll, because like the rest of my generation I’m impatient and can’t wait a week for new anime episodes, I’ve set to watching this season’s new shows as they come out. What do I settle on first?

Yeah, Cat God. I know it wasn’t that long ago I declared moe dead to me, but this show pushes too many of my buttons. I can’t resist catgirls. I love shows like Oh, My Goddess! and Spice and Wolf with goddess girlfriends/roommates/traveling partners/whatever. I love shows dealing with the supernatural in general, really.

The show’s pretty average, actually. Episode 1 was too chaotic, but episode 2 fixed that. The jokes aren’t too bad. The animation meets par, but won’t blow anyone away. Call it ‘Mostly harmless’, I guess.

I think I can redeem myself by also watching Gainax’s new show, The Mystic Archives of Dantalian, this time via Nico Nico’s streaming. All I really want from the show is Gosick but with better writing. Two episodes in, I have high hopes. I can tell I’m not the only one, since most of the discussion I’ve seen of it so far has been praise for not having the annoying habits of other shows, and Gosick in particular. Dantalian has, of all things, a competent protagonist, a girl with a sharp tongue but not unnecessarily bitchy, and mysteries that don’t require not just a suspension but outright termination of disbelief.

I especially love the show’s artwork and atmosphere.

I’m also using Crunchyroll to continue Hanasaku Iroha from last season, and for Fist of the North Star for some old-school action.…

Read More Oh, the Things I Watch

I Have Too Many Books

…but I can’t stop buying the things. I’m like a crack addict or a hoarder when it comes to books (well, maybe not a hoarder). Literally, it can take months, even a few years, before I get to some of the books I buy.

In the past, I’ve always juggled multiple books at once. Typically, I’d have a couple things I was reading for a class, and at least one other for leisure on top of that, usually with the leisure reading taking priority, of course. Add to that graphic novels, which, fortunately, I can knock out quick enough that they don’t add to the backlog too much. Now, there’s no reason for me to do that, but for whatever reason I’m still juggling.

Anyway, enough of my eccentricities. Here’s what’s on the plate now:

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Sir Winston Churchill. I have mixed feelings about Churchill as a leader, but I do like his writing. I’ve been wanting to get a better feel for English history, and the scope of this work (in four volumes) also appealed to me.

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, trans. Ivan Morris. More Japanese stuff, this time from the Heian period. A collection of anecdotes, observations, lists, and whatnot from a court attendant. It’s best in small doses, but I’m impressed enough to consider renaming this blog ‘The Pillow Blog’, since my idea for ‘Everything is OK!’ seems similar to how Shonagon went about the Pillow Book.

Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas is my patron saint, and I’ve read many of the articles in the Summa before, but I’ve decided to finally read the whole thing. It’s an epic project, so I’m just going a few questions at a time.

Dragonball, Toriyama Akira. Popular series hurt my indie cred (*ahem*), but I liked the first volume and bought the box set, which came in a nice box with a poster, booklet, and all sixteen volumes. Seven volumes down, and so far I’d say DB deserves the popularity.

Ranma 1/2, Takahashi Rumiko. What’d I say about popular series? Well, I’ve really liked the first ten volumes, so whatever. The main criticism I’ve seen of Ranma 1/2 is that the jokes get very repetitive. There’s definitely a pattern to them so far, and there’s still over twenty volumes to go…

I’ve also just finished Economics for Helen, by Hilaire Belloc, which a friend of mine highly recommended. I’d also highly recommend it to anyone.…

Read More I Have Too Many Books

The Sudden Death of Moe

Well, for me, anyway. Moe has been around for several years and far be it from me to predict when it’ll end, but for me it died while reading vol. two of Kakifly’s K-On!

I don’t think K-On! itself caused it; I did like the first season of the anime adaptation, though I never watched season two. Rather, while about halfway through the graphic novel, I realised that I just didn’t care about this story. I think the sudden realisation may stem from a recent episode of the ANNcast podcast, where one of the co-hosts (Justin Zevakis, IIRC) commented that, as a grown man, he had no reason to care about what a group of high school girls are doing.

Actually, maybe my distaste isn’t with moe per se, but with high school comedies. The first graphic novel I really got into was Azumanga Daioh, by Azuma Kiyohiko. At the time, I was in high school, so watching a bunch of high schoolers was relevant to my interests, even (or perhaps especially) if they were girls. Since then, though, I’ve seen several other shows with the same setting, some of which I’m sure I’ll still like, but at this point I graduated high school five years ago. The setting seems really trivial, and honestly some stories suffer from the lack of gravity inherent in most teenage relationships. ToraDora had this problem – though the urgency the characters felt to clarify everyone’s feelings may have seemed important from their point of view, I found that sense of urgency unnecessary.…

Read More The Sudden Death of Moe

WordPress Jetpack

So, a few days ago WordPress released Jetpack, which makes some features of wordpress.com available to users of self-hosted WP blogs. I find this a little funny, because I briefly made ‘OK!’ a self-hosted blog but eventually returned here because I found wordpress.com more useful. No major problems, of course, just a few minor things. Now, though, it turns out I may as well have just waited and self-hosted a little longer and I’d feel a little silly moving this blog again. Maybe I’ll go back to self-hosting in the future; we’ll see. ^_^…

Read More WordPress Jetpack

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth

I just finished watching Evangelion: Death and Rebirth, and have never felt so pissed off at a film. Yeah, I’d been warned by people I trust to just avoid this one, but like a cat curiosity got the better of me. After all, the main series was okay, and End of Evangelion may have hacked me off by trying too hard to integrate every philosophy it could think of, but at least it had high production values.

Part 1, “Death,” just recaps the TV series for an hour or so. Those who’ve already seen the series don’t need that much recapping, but it also doesn’t do anything to introduce any characters or plot points to ease newcomers into the film. Even worse, our beloved studio Gainax made this recap by simply re-editing scenes from the show while adding almost no new animation.

Then, we get a credit sequence in the middle of the film, as though this were two TV episodes spliced together, and an intermission. The film’s only 115 minutes long, though, so I’m not sure why any intermission is needed, especially in addition to the immediately preceding credit sequence. Maybe Japanese studios are just especially courteous to moviegoers who buy large drinks at the concession stand?

Anyway, we then proceed to Part 2, “Rebirth.” Here’s the highlight of the film, where we the plot finally gets moving again. End of Evangelion recycled almost all of this footage, but since that came a couple years later I’ll give Death and Rebirth a pass on that. What I won’t give it a pass on, though, is that whereas many films begin in media res, this one decides to end in media res. Literally, the end credits (the real end credits this time) start rolling right before what’s obviously going to be a fight scene, with next to nothing resolved. A couple years later Gainax recycles “Rebirth” and actually finally gives Neon Genesis Evangelion something resembling a proper ending. That one has problems of its own, but at least it begins and ends somewhere, and if you just cut out Death and Rebirth makes the series feel mostly whole.

What boggles my mind, though, is how many attempts Gainax has made at creating a decent ending for their flagship franchise. Apparently, they couldn’t do it right when the show originally aired because they ran out of time or money. Still a lame excuse, perhaps, but whatever. So they make a second attempt with Death and Rebirth, but that fails miserably, so they make a third attempt and finally get it somewhat right with End of Eva. Even that apparently wasn’t enough, though, since now Gainax has redone the whole series as a film tetralogy, their second attempt at the story as a whole and their fourth attempt at an ending. At this point, I feel I must conclude that no one at Gainax ever did know how Eva ought to end; we’ve yet to see whether or not they still don’t.…

Read More Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth