Friday, 17 June 2011

rollycrunch round up

After yesterday, I thought I'd do a round up for everything on crunchyroll that I've watched from this season. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was getting a bit off-course with the scanning, so last week (and the weekend especially) I decided to concentrate on it. I ended up doing all 4 of the animages that mean I've now finished scanning everything from 2010 (yes!) and even did a couple of nyan types from 2011.

I watched crunchyroll stuff while I scanned, so I've done some round ups of my opinions so far. I've not really been watching stuff on AOD due to the size issues I mentioned before, and of course there's a bunch of stuff only available to me on fansub (I grow increasingly miffed with the anime companies for not embracing streaming for the west).


Did I cover this last season? Think I did, but my opinion hasn't really changed - it could do with stronger mysteries for Victorique to solve. She is daawww cute, though.

Battle Girls - Time Paradox

Basically, this is inoffensive, time diverting pap, which is both its strength and its weakness. It's odd - I hated Rio Rainbow Gate, which was also from the same background (adaptation of a Pachinko game!) but this I've found watchable. I mean, I wouldn't buy it, but it's okay to watch on crunchyroll. It's really difficult to pin down why I like this, but nor Rio, though.

Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi (A Bridge to the Starry Skies)

This was total rubbish. It seemed to be trying to do "Harem, but realistic" and fails. It reminded me in that way of Winter Sonata. I mean, it's nothing like it story wise, but that pretty much failed too.

Hanasaku Iroha

This is a series that's clearly trying hard, but has left me a little unengaged so far, if I'm honest. I've let it slip a bit, so maybe I'll like it more when I get back to it.

Nichijou (My Ordinary Life)

Essentially this is a more surreal version of Azumanga Daioh. Mileage always varies with comedy, obviously, but I've been enjoying it on the whole. I find it works best in small doses, though. It's also a very nice production.

SKET Dance

Really this is a been there, done it series. Also, two of its main characters are of the shouty, hyperactive variety that usually turns me off. However, I actually quite like the show. I think it's mainly because it has an oddly subversive and self-deprecating element to it that sneaks in every so often.

Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai (We, Without Wings)

Without wings tried way too hard to be interesting and ended up being confusing dribble.

Deadman Wonderland

A new manglobe series, which is always worth watching, and this is no exception. I'm not entirely sure what it's about yet, which I'm not sure if that's intentional. There seems to have been a few info dumps, but not really explaining what's really happening, just giving you enough to be going on with.

Astarotte's Toy

Really not sure about this one. The premise has paedo-bait stamped over it, but the episodes themselves have quite a few nice, touching bits in them, and the story isn't actually all that bad. In a way it's a similar struggle I had with Chu-Bra, except because this is in paedo territory, I'm much less comfortable with it.

World God Only Knows 2

More of the same, really, which isn't any sort of a complain - I enjoyed the first season. It's probably best to actually think of this as one of those shows that's actually a full 20-odd episodes long, they're just making it in two halves.

Sekaiichi Hatsukoi

I was a bit surprised by this - it's clearly a shoujo romance job, but nobody got raped! Well, somebody got kissed against their will, but I found it difficult to dismiss this out of hand as I was expecting to be able to. I mean, it's not high on my to watch list, but I couldn't just dismiss it as not worth keeping going with.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

fansub mayhem

I thought I'd post some mini reviews for the fansubs I've watched. There's a big long list, because I was kinda forced to watch them over Easter when the broadband failed.


I actually think I would quite enjoy this, but ... how to put this? It's playing up to particular fetishes I find interest? So I would assume that if those fetishes were of no interest to you on any level, you wouldn't like this at all.

Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne—!!

I found this horribly cringe worthy. It's a show about a sister who has an extreme brother complex, which is something I have very little time for, but it was also very loud and shouty and it just didn't work for me at all.


I found this sweet, but it was very heavy on the moe. I understand they're going to do a full TV series of it, which may work, but it could drown in its own moe. The good thing about an OAV like this it's a relatively short burst.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

This was okay to start with - magical girl stuff. How they'd done the bad guys / monsters was really cool. I'd heard it was really popular, though, so I went on past my usual 2 episodes and there was a really nice twist into darker elements in the third episode, so the praise may well be deserved.

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru

A SHAFT show, but I didn't initially realise that - it's not quite as whackily done as their usual stuff. I mean, it has definitely SHAFT stylistic bits, but the dial's not turned up to eleven, shall we say? I did enjoy it actually - it felt like fairly standard romantic comedy stuff, but with an interesting perspective and approach. It was quite funny too.

Shinrei Tantei Yakumo

This was one of those shows where if I did a bit of research I'd probably realise not to even bother trying it. It wasn't fundamentally bad, but it was clearly aimed at a female audience. The male character is a broody bugger with some psychic powers and it just has that feel of being aimed at a particular demographic, which I'm not a part of.

Starry Sky

And this one was even worse that Yakumo. Here it was aimed at a similar audience, this time using a reverse harem theme, but it was also shot through with a load of bunkum about astrology and mysticism that was just horrible and annoying and tedious and stupid.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


I have to confess going into ponyo I wasn't actually expecting to like it as much as I should.

I think a kind of universal thing that binds all anime fans is that we all like Ghibli. Unlike something like Akira, which has also achieved mainstream recognition, Ghibli and Miyazaki is universally loved by anime fans as well as achieving mainstream recognition.

Oh, I'm sure there are anime fans who don't like Miyazaki's stuff, but I'm sure they're much rarer than anime fans who don't like Akira.

However, the last Miyazaki film I saw was Spirited Away and I have to confess I didn't really like it as much as the critical acclaim it received would suggest I should. I did a review at the time, so I won't go on about it here, but because it had fallen short of the hype, I was a bit worried the same would be true with Ponyo.

It may have been because of this lower of expectations, but when I actually sat down to watch it I actually found it really rather enjoyable.

The first thing to note, though, is that of the Miyazaki films I've seen I'd say this is the most squarely aimed at a young audience. I'd say most of his other films have been aimed at a more general family audience, but the themes and content of this are more... basic is the wrong word - gentler maybe? Easier to grapple with is probably the best way to put it.

As a story it has universal appeal, but what lifts it is the clarity of the story telling craft and the flights of fantastic imagination and the gorgeousness of the imagination. In particular there's a real sense in which they manage to capture the living, breathing feel of the sea.

Something else that also really appealed were the two main characters - a young boy called Sosuke and the titular fish-girl, Ponyo. Sosuke really does feel like a small Japanese boy - gregarious and inquisitive, but with that respect for your elders thing that's such a part of Japanese life. Ponyo is a delightfully inquisitive 'genki' character and they make quite deliberate play of her being a 'fish out of water'.

If I was to make one criticism of the film it's quite how accepting some of the characters are as to what happens. The nature of Ponyo and what happens because of her and her parents methods of fixing it barely seems to raise an eyebrow from any of the characters.

This is perhaps a reflection of the Japanese view on life, but I think a bit more convincing would have been needed for them to truly go with things. The one character that does seem to have a harder time believing things is a somewhat sour, curmudgeonly character.

But overall I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

one more for the road

Lost another pound this week.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that.

A big part of me is pleased - loosing one pound is better than the opposite. But the pleasure is really more to do with the fact that last week didn't go well, diet or exercise wise.

Exercise was a problem for two reasons. At the beginning of the week I was suffering from soar feet, because the weekend walk had been a bit harsh on them. I'm finding it's taking quite a while to really break in these new shoes.

Later on in the week, I was suffering from extreme tiredness, because of a severe lack of sleep. Partly this was due to work as I was getting up extra early in order to cram in all the stuff I needed to do. But then also, on Wednesday night I was woken up with some severe gut pain. My guess is that this was due to overeating.

Which was the other problem - I've eaten loads this week. I'm guessing that because a lot of this was fruit, is part of the reason why my weight didn't go up. The other reason is I think when you lack sleep, your body tends to use up energy. Well, obviously, being awake burns more energy than being asleep, but also when you're tired I think I'm right in saying you need more calories to keep yourself going.

Of course there's a bit of a feedback loop going on there - when I'm tired I feel down and tend to eat worse food. And I've noticed that once I start eating badly I seem to get an attitude of "well, I've already blown this, so I might as well not bother." That's something I really need to be careful of.

So yeah, big part of me is pleased and surprised at loosing a pound, another part of me is a little disappointed that I managed to eat too much.

I dunno - I'm having a tough time of it, mentally, at the moment. I mean, I keep seeing the weight go in the right way, but I always end up thinking to myself about how much extra I could have lost if I'd just stuck to the diet/walking properly.

And yes, all reduction is good, but the slower I loose it, the longer it's going to take and the longer it will be before I can go back to eating normally and not being stressed over it all.

Monday, 13 June 2011

canadian grand prix

Well here's a novel thing.

I'm writing this at home on Sunday night. I often pre-write the later entries in the week, but this is the first time I've ever written one at home on a Sunday. Part of the reason for that is because I know I'm going to be mega busy on Monday, but the other part is that, in the background, the Canadian Grand Prix is on and nothing is happening.

That's not because it's been a boring race so far, it's because it's been red flagged, due to the weather. Now in the past a red flag used to mean the race was stopped, but nowadays it means it's paused, with the possibility of it being stopped later.

In this case, the heavens have opened in Canada and it's been chucking it down for the best part of an hour. They reckon it's going to get going again, but it's going to be very later. Indeed, as I type this the rain appears to be stopped, but there's usually a warning period before it actually kicks off.

Of course, rain always makes things more interesting, but sometimes it can be so heavy as to make it very unsafe. I mean, it's never safe in the rain, but not safe enough to race.

There was an added curiosity this year because of the change in tyre supplier to Pirelli so no-one had ever raced on their wet tyres. But they seem to have coped pretty well.

Canada doesn't normally need rain to make it interesting and it's certainly been an interesting race so far.

Lewis was in the thick of things, as per usual. He seemed to be a bit out of position from qualifying and there's a good chance that this was because McLaren pre-empted the rain and put on a higher down force rear wing than they would usually use at Canada. Canada is a high speed circuit with some very sharp bends. That means lower down force is needed so you can get good high speed on the straights.

Unfortunately, Lewis ended up crashing into Jenson

And that will probably do for my pre-writing - I'll just leave a bit of room to say how the race ended...

It ended very late - the broadcast started at 5pm, and they only crossed the line at 10pm - but it was well worth the wait, as it was a cracking race.

Most amazingly was Jenson Button, who suffered a drive through and, including that, went into the pits 6 times and ended up in last place behind a later safety car... and went on to win the race!

It was a remarkable performance with some excellent driving. It also again begs the question how did is happen? Was the McLaren that set up for the wet conditions? If so, an incredibly risky thing to do. Maybe the car is just that much better on this type of circuit? But then if it is, why the poor performance in qualifying?