November 18, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E03 - E06

Yes, yes, the feature took a few weeks off.  Between the Cubs and overtime at work, it's been hard enough to watch Hibike! Euphonium 2, let alone write about it.  But this week was special, because we've finally gotten to see behind the curtain and find out what makes Our Goofy Cute tick... at least partially.  More than we have before, and that's a good thing.  Except... well, you'll see.  But first, let's get caught up.

Episode 3 saw the band go to a training camp for a few days.  Meanwhile, the controversy about the third-year who quit the band wanting to get back in swirls apace... and all of it swirls around Asuka.  She's the one preventing it from happening for reasons she refuses to tell, other than it'd hurt the club.  Just like in Season 1, she's the focal point of everything... without being the center of the show.

Ep04 brought around the resolution of the previous episode's drama, and Asuka's true reasons for her actions become apparent.  One telling line from Our Silly Obsession was "I think people are fairly calculating in terms of their behavior."  When the show's nominal lead comes right out and says Asuka's too cynical, we get another one of these shots:

...and her saying "Let's get to Nationals."  In doing so, the lead begins to wonder (again) what the REAL Asuka thinks, as do we all.  The look on The Goofy Cute's face as the scene comes to an end is not goofy at all, but... resigned, maybe.

Ep05 includes a rather emotionally charged speech from the Vice-President of the Band Club, where she comes out and says just how badly she wants to win this competition.  She actually gets angry during it, which is new.  Even as it's going on, it's clear that this isn't just another rah-rah-win-one-for-the-gipper speech for her, there's something more brewing behind it.  And then KyoAni goes out and blows every production studio in Japan out of the water with the last eight minutes of the show.  We finally get to hear the band's competition piece in its entirety... and KyoAni animates the entire thing, giving every member of the band some face time... and not a single word is said during that time.  If you want to see the whole thing, you can watch it here... I'd recommend watching the whole episode though, simply because yootoob's compression does bad things to the video quality.

Ep06.  It's festival time at school, so of course Asuka's in full Goofy mode as a fortune teller.  After this, she disappears for the rest of the episode... or at least until the very end, where we find her alone in a classroom, practicing silently... while a woman with similar colored hair knocks on the door to the teacher's office.

Which brings us inexorably to Ep07... soon.

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October 18, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E02


This week, the second season of Hibike! Euphonium presents us with a staple of "group" shows: a training camp!  The entire band will secrete themselves away for multiple days and do nothing but practice, practice, practice!  Of course, it never works out that way: there's always downtime for hijinks to occur.  But before that, there's a mandatory three-day break enforced by the school.  Whatever will our main characters do during a short summer vacation?  Why, go to the pool, of course!  I have to admit, I didn't expect a swimsuit episode in this series, but hey, I'm not complaining.

No, not complaining in the least.  Kumiko is, though... she has no idea who this strange girl that's molesting her is! 

Oh.  Now she knows.  It's the Goofy Cute, in full effect!  A nice lighthearted moment in an otherwise pretty serious episode.  It's also practically the last time we see Asuka until very late in the episode.  Which is amazing, because the episode from this point on spends its time describing the events of last year that saw most of the second-year club members quit, and Asuka's role therein.

In other words, it's yet another episode where she's the main character mostly without showing up.  Yet, despite all of this, we still don't really know why she's so opposed to letting that one second-now-third-year student rejoin the club.  The good news is that it seems we'll be getting that info in the next episode.

While this is all well and good, I'm still looking forward to THE Asuka Episode.  It's gotta be coming.  KyoAni can't be setting all this up just to ignore the payoff, right?

Ridiculously pretty shot of the episode:

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October 11, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E01

Wonder of wonders, Hibike! Euphonium is back for a very welcome second season.  Not only is it back, but Kyoto Animation has blessed us with an hour-long first episode to boot.  Pleasantly, the raison d'ĂȘtre of this feature, Asuka Tanaka, aka The Goofy Cute, is... well, not featured exactly, but she's quite involved with the first half of the episode.

What we get from her is like "Asuka's Greatest Hits", ranging from the Goofy to the master deflector, able to pass the buck on anything she doesn't want to deal with, to something of a new aspect: the cold-blooded assassin.

She actually does the cat-smile thing at one point, which was a little freaky I gotta admit.  She's also not above some cheek-pulling.  I don't remember either occurring during the first season, so there's that going on.

But its when one of the 2nd year students that quit the club last year asks for her blessing to rejoin that Dark Asuka pops up.  Not without a fight, however: she does everything she can to avoid the issue.  It's only the persistence of the other student that brings out Dark Asuka.  Her blessing?  Nope.  "I don't approve.  You wouldn't benefit the club."  All the while with a dead, dead look on her face.

It is telling, I believe, that the 2nd year student came right to Asuka first, rather than the club president.  I mean, we already know she's the power behind the throne and all, but still.  It's clear this is going to be the the season's first arc, which means plenty of Asuka.  This is nothing but a good thing in my mind, because we need to know more about her.

"We"... "I"... whichever. 

A word about this episode in general.  KyoAni pulled out all the stops with this one, particularly during the festival scene.  Holy crepe, did they go all out.

The festival is a riot of colors and hundreds of people, most of them animated, and all of it lighted by lanterns and fireworks.  It's very nearly movie quality at times.

We even get an Asuka sighting.  Alone and away from the festival. 

If you were wondering if Season 2 was going to measure up to Season 1, wonder no longer.  If it's anything like this episode, or even in the same area code, it's gonna be a fantastic three months.

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September 19, 2016

Returns


Soon.

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September 15, 2016

Finally!!!


October 5th. 

Hot damn.

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August 26, 2016

Revisiting A Figure

Nearly four years ago now, friend Ben from the curiously named Midnight Tease removed a blight from his figure collection sent a thoughtful gift here to The Pond.  Of course, I immediately took photographs... but even as I posted them, I was less than satisfied with the results.  Everything was either too dark or too bright, and Rio deserved better, darnit.  Well, over at the Anime Figures Subreddit, they run a bi-weekly photography contest and this time around the theme is "Smallest Figure".  There's plenty of ways to interpret that, of course, but I went literal... it'd give me a chance to fix one of the Rio shots!  Here's the result:

click the pic for larger MVCD.
Y'know what helps?  Having a camera that can keep up with what your mind sees.  That really makes a difference.  There's some saturation boost, and a "vignette" effect that you would have thought was just lighting if I didn't mention it, but otherwise, that's the picture the way it came off the SD card. 

Yeah, that'll do.

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July 16, 2016

The Perfect Magical Girl Candidate

Over at Steven's place, that worthy is asking "where do magical girls come from."  In recent times, a number of them, he points out, have spun off of... let's call them normal... series to become immensely popular in their own right.  An example of this is the genre-defining Nanoha Takamachi, one-time 12 year old minor character in a dating sim who wound up being spun off into her own series: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.  A total of four series, two movies, untold manga and figures later, very few people indeed can claim to have even heard of the game she first came from, Triangle Hearts

Befriending the hell outta people since 2004.
But Steven goes beyond just naming past characters.  Indeed, he goes ahead and lays out a set of rules for finding potential future magical girls.  The rules are:

1. The character is a girl, ideally young but not necessarily so, and she doesn't have a spectacular figure (yet).
2. She isn't the main character of the series she's in. Ideally she's a minor character who doesn't make all that much of a difference.
3. The series she is in isn't about magic and she herself doesn't have any extraordinary powers.


He then names a few himself.  In his comment section, readers suggest a few more.  Ah, but I, Wonderduck, have the perfect candidate, one that ought to have happened already, as the parent show has seven omakes and they had plenty of time of work it in.  Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present to you...

Magical Girl Kohaku!  Let's take a look at how she fits the rules.  Clearly, she's young.  She's not the main character of the series she's in... in fact, she's the younger sister of a secondary character in her series and has a total screen time of less than two minutes.  Total words spoken: eight (...in English, anyway.  I counted!).  The series she's in, Hibiki! Euphonium, has nothing to do with magic in any way.  She does have one power, however:

The Power of Cute!  Really, she's perfect for the role of magical girl.  We all need Magical Girl Kohaku in our lives, the sooner the better.  She will save us from the darkness that is our daily lives, spreading the joy and happiness that only a magical girl can generate throughout our drab existences.  And we will like it!

The power of the ahoge compels you!

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June 17, 2016

Servant x Service

It's a plot done to death, not only in anime but in just about every media type known to mankind: a young woman wronged seeks revenge, and will stop at nothing to get it.  She lives her life only for that final goal.  We've heard it all before, and we'll undoubtedly hear it all again.

When you get right down to it, that's what *Servant x Service* is about.  What's different this time is that the character seeking revenge has chosen to become, not a ninja or assassin or police officer or soldier or spy, but... um... a civil servant.  Yup.  "James Bond, DMV worker."  It's her first day of work in an unnamed town in Hokkaido as one of the newest members of the Welfare Office.  Go ahead, I dare you to tell me you expected that.

Our main characters.  Hasebe (L) is one of those jerks that's good at everything naturally, so puts no effort into anything... except, perhaps, goofing off and trying to get girls' phone numbers.  He decided to become a civil servant because it's a secure, easy way to get through life.  Miyoshi (C) is a recent college graduate and shy, almost timid.  She's a good listener, though.  And finally, Lucy (R) is the driving force for the show.  She's the one burning for revenge.  But why be a civil servant then?  Because she's trying to find the man who approved the name on her birth certificate... see, her parents were kinda ditzes, they asked for potential names from friends, and liked them all so much that they named her ALL of them.  Thus, Lucy's full name is "Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi Shiori Rinne Yoshiho Chihoko Ayano Fumika Chitose Sanae Mikiko Ichika... (continuing) Yamagami."   For the record, "(continuing)" simply means that's there's quite a bit more to her name, but we never find out what it is.  So Lucy figures the best way to find this man is to become a civil servant like him.  When she finds him, she intends to give him a very stern talking to.

Yes, really.

more...

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May 19, 2016

When Anime Was Magical

No, this isn't going to be a "back in my day" post.  Instead, it's a lamentation.  Just over a year ago, I fell in love with Hibike! Euphonium, a little show about a girl and her band... brass, not rock.

Not just because the girls were cute and the art was pretty, but because the series was just that damn good.  Full package, from animation to story to characters to sound, it just amazed me and made me wonder why it wasn't next week already.  Before that, what show did I fall in love with last?

2011's Rio Rainbow Gate! fits that bill.  The polar opposite of HibEuph, I wound up loving it while doing my series writeups.  The animation isn't good, the characters are paper-thin, the story is dreadfully bad, but I'll be darned if it isn't going to be The Pond's "high water mark" down the line.  After this, though?  Sure there's 2006's Kanon, and 2007's Hidamari Sketch, and 2005's  Aria and on and on... but there's just been nothing else recently.

I miss that.  I miss falling head over heels with a series like Noir, which just completely blindsided me with its quality.  Once every five years just isn't often enough.  Oh, don't get me wrong, there's plenty of shows I've liked... one look at the "anime writeups" category will tell you that... but that's not the same thing.  I need that magic again... and I don't see any chance that it's going to happen anytime soon.  I know it's stupid to hope for a classic series to come down the pike, but there it is.

Otherwise, why are we watching?

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May 09, 2016

KonoSuba: The Review

After reading Ubu's review of the first few episodes of KonoSuba, I decided "Heck, let's give it a shot... it's not like there's anything else going on this season."  I mean, a tongue-in-cheek look at the old "main character stuck in a RPG game" genre sounds like a load of fun: light-hearted, funny, all that sort of thing.  I came to it after the show's run had ended, and people were generally enthusiastic about it, so it seemed perfect for me.

So now that I've watched the series, what do I think of it?

more...

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May 03, 2016

It's Up To You!

Hello Disco Citizens!  I'm David Yarritu Wonderduck, the host and proprietor of this here blog thing.  In the past, I have occasionally asked you, the assembled masses I lovingly refer to as "The Pond Scum," for input into what you would like to see me write about.  This time, however, the question is slightly different.  I have two posts in mind right now, and I'd like you to tell me which you'd like to see first!  Take a look at these:

1) A review of Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Syukufuku Wo!, aka KonoSuba.

After reading a "first impressions" post by The Crimson Splat, I thought KonoSuba would be just what I needed: funny, a little stupid, lighthearted.  Something I could enjoy without having to think too hard about it.  Well, I was wrong.  I've thought a lot about KonoSuba, and it's time to hold my review up to the light and let y'all see it.

2) Fanservice, cheesecake and how one man's trash is another man's person.

A couple of days ago, a brief conversation over at SDB's place about the content of his prolific cheesecake posts got me to thinking about my lack of interest in doing similar here at The Pond.  It has nothing to do with some "high-minded" attitude / prudery, but about how most cheesecake is either boring or outright tasteless to me.  And what's the difference, anyway?     

So there's your choices, dear readers.  Your opinion will make the difference... let me know in the comments!  It's up to you!

UPDATE: Welp, sounds like the masses have spoken!  KonoSuba it is...

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April 08, 2016

The Forever Incomplete Post: ARIA the Avvenire Ep01

Back in January, I finally got to watch the new episode from the ARIA franchise, the first of three being co-released with the new BD sets.  Being the sort of person I am, after watching I immediately headed to The Pond and started writing.

Then deleted the post.  It sucked, full of massive fanboying to degrees not seen since Naruto/Dragonball Z slashfic.  So I waited another day or so and started again... and that post ended up in the bitbucket almost as quickly, and for much the same reason.  A third post died a-bornin', because I tried to do it in a less passionate manner and it turned out to be dull and boring. 

Then there was the fourth attempt.  It caught fire, then fell into the swamp It began to turn into an episodic recap, which was not at all what I wanted to do, because really: I love the franchise too much to abuse it like that.  Still, I didn't delete it, but let it simmer... some would say "fester"... all the while looking for some way to make it click.

Until just this evening, when Steven Den Beste asked if I had seen ARIA the Avvenire Ep01 yet, I had not, in fact, managed to come up with anything of note.  Until now... now, I'm just going to post what I have with this preamble that you're currently reading, and a followup postscript.  So without further ado, here's what I managed to scrape out of the catbox.

------------------------

The ARIA franchise is very close to being my favorite anime of all time, coming in just behind Kanon '06 and Azumanga DaiohARIA ran for three seasons, however, and could have easily continued for longer... but didn't.  It ended appropriately, with multiple "passing of the torch" moments, but it was bittersweet.  The world of Neo-Venezia was so attractive, so comfortable, so... nice, that it was hard to admit that it was over and that we'd never get to visit it again.  I mean, of all the myriad stories we've been given via anime over the decades, the only one I'd ever want to live in was the one involving female gondolieri on Mars.  Hell, I've even created my own backstory, running a a small shop somewhere off the Piazaa San Marco filled with attractive trinkets and gewgaws and books and coffee for the tourists and residents alike.  Occasionally an undine might bring her charges by, spend some time there, then head out to other sights.  Less commonly, one might stop by on her own for tea and conversation.  The shop might even end up in an episode when one of the main characters passes by.  And that'd be all I could ever want, a comfortable living in a wonderful place.  But it was over, and that was that.

Except it wasn't.  "That" changed in February of 2015 when it was reported that as part of a 10-year anniversary of the first season's broadcast we'd be getting new episodes!  Nobody knew exactly what the format was... OVAs?  A movie?  A whole new series?... but that almost didn't matter: we were going back to Neo-Venezia!  As it turned out, there would be three OVAs, first shown theatrically in September, then one would be included in the forthcoming BD releases of the original three series.  The first OVA was released right around Christmas, and after a few weeks for the holidays, a fansub finally made its way to the usual places.  I downloaded it late on a Monday night and spent the whole next day at work in anticipation of the joy that was about to come.

But at the back of my mind, there was... not fear, exactly, but trepidation... that the production staff would screw it up.  It wouldn't be difficult to do; a tiny change in tone and ARIA would be ruined.  The franchise has always had an air of wistful nostalgia to it.  The slightest drift to maudlinity or mawkishness could push the cheese factor to 10... and with the death of both of Athena's voices the trigger was there.  Then there was the obvious fact that this wasn't the same production staff: Hal Filmmaker went away in 2009.  Its successor, TYO Animations, is handling the OVAs, but... well.  Only one way to find out how it was.


more...

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December 28, 2015

Your Weekly Asuka, the OVA... or 12.5, whichever.

It's been quite some time since we last visited the Hibike! Euphonium show, but a few days ago the long-awaited OVA came out.  Considering how much I enjoyed the series, it shouldn't come as any surprise that I immediately watched it with one eye peeled for Asuka, the vice-president of the band club.

It should also come as no surprise that the Goofy Cute was being both goofy and cute... for the thirty seconds she was in the episode.  Alas, KyoAni stopped using her as a character around Ep12 in the original run, so Asuka bringing the goofy was to be expected.  Since that was her entire contribution to the story, it was a little bit disappointing.

The rest of the OVA was quite entertaining, and it was really nice to be back with this bunch of characters that we came to love over the course of three months or so.  As usual, it was outstanding visually, but it was really quite nice to focus on the "junior leads", as it were, instead of the main characters.  Which is not to say I wouldn't have liked to see more of Asuka.

Since, y'know, that was kinda the whole point of this little series of mine in the first place.  I guess we'll just have to wait for the second season... or maybe the recap movie will have a little bit more about her in it.  Either way, it'll be good fun.  Unless KyoAni doesn't expound upon her character, in which case I'll be quite grumpy.

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December 27, 2015

Residual Photoshoot Thingy

Back last August, I finally posted the "creative project" I worked on for much of my enforced extended vacation.  In that post I mentioned that I had purchased a new camera for my birthday.  While I was learning how to use it, something I can honestly say I haven't figured out yet because it's a little more advanced than a point'n'click, I decided to see how it did in low-light situations.  The very first picture I took told me that I had gotten a nice camera.

If one wished, one could click on the picture for a bigger version.
I still think its the best picture I've taken with it.  Not bad for something taken on a whim with one hand holding the camera, the other holding the EL Wire.  The most surprising part was the faintly red background... that's from a glowing mushroom in my dining room.  I'm going to have to explain that, aren't I? 

Back when I had the Cardiac Incident in 2005, I had... concerns... that one night I'd have to call 911 and not be able to get out of bed due to whatever was happening in my chest.  I thought it'd be best if the EMTs would be able to see so a light would be needed... but it would have to be relatively unobtrusive, otherwise I'd not be able to sleep.  Some weeks later, I stopped at Walgreens and found a low-wattage red CFL for some decent price.  I put it into a more-or-less translucent mushroom-shaped lamp, put it on a small side table in the dining room, and turned it on.  Save for a few minutes here and there when I vacuum, that light has been on ever since.  Nearly 10 years... well over 80000 hours!  I don't care that it's "just a light bulb", that's pretty amazing.  Particularly since wikipedia suggests the usual lifespan for a CFL is ~15000 hours.  I don't know what I'm going to do when it finally passes from this world to Light Bulb Valhalla.

Clicky-poppy.
Amazing what a good camera can do, eh?  I don't like this picture anywhere near as much as the first, but it's still a swell photo.  Anyway, enjoy, won't you?

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November 24, 2015

Visual Novel Review: Go! Go! Nippon!

I'm not what I'd call a "gamer" by any stretch of the imagination.  Make no mistake, I do play computer games, sure, but I'm not one of those hardcore creatures who eat and sleep videogames all the time.  We have a few of those at work actually, and they're great fun to talk to.  They accept me as one of their own, ever since I recognized Vault-Boy on one of their cellphone's lock screen.  I haven't been able to talk to them recently though, as the three of them are playing Fallout 4 like they'll die if they don't... and talking about spoilers.  As I've managed to avoid all details of the game except those given in the first Official Trailer, their conversations tend to send me screaming from the break room.  I have a feeling that I'll get into the game the same way I did Skyrim or Fallout 3 once I obtain a copy, though.  But I'm not a heavy-duty gamer.  One particular type of game that I've never really gotten into is the Visual Novel, though I've played a few.  If you've never played a Visual Novel, understand that it's not a "game" the way, say, Mass Effect or Portal or Pong are games. Most of the time, you're just reading words on the screen much the way you read a book. Upon occasion, you have the ability to influence the course of the story by making a decision ("Go to sleep" or "Go out and party"; "Invade Russia" or "Invade Britain"... that sort of thing).  For the most part, VNs are distinctly Japanese, and some very good anime series have been made from them.  Kanon, for example, was first a VN... I tried to play it, but I got a nasty virus from the copy I obtained.  I did manage to play some of Clannad, but never came close to finishing.  On the whole, in fact, the few VNs I've played, I've given up on long before I completed the storyline/s.  Ironically, the two that I have finished weren't actually Japanese!  Katawa Shoujo was made by a volunteer group from all over, and Sakura Spirit by an American company; both were written in English.  Which brings us to the subject of this review.

Go! Go! Nippon! (GGN) was released in 2011 by Overdrive, a Japanese company.  Unlike pretty much every VN ever, it was developed exclusively for the overseas audience... English speakers, primarily.  Shortly after I was disassociated with my position at the Duck U Bookstore, I stumbled across a promo video for GGN on Steam.  Amused, I put it in my Steam Wish List for later perusal... and then it went on sale last Thanksgiving.  Five dollars later, it was in my library.  I enjoyed it, but it was short... five hours got me through the entire thing.  Eh, fair enough.  I then put it aside and never touched it again.  Until recently, that is.  Y'see, about a month ago Overdrive released what they called DLC for the game.  In reality, it was an almost complete rework of GGN.  As it, too, was only a few bucks, I bought it.  So what's it all about?

more...

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November 21, 2015

Moses Supposes?


Erroneously?  Magnificently!

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November 12, 2015

Please Consider This A Teaser


Uh... huh

Just a little something I picked up via Steam a few weeks ago... well, actually, it's the new extended version of something I picked up on Steam back when I booted from the bookstore.  Since it was selling for less than the cost of a couple of Chicago Style hot dogs (hold the peppers and cucumber slices, please!) and fries, I figured what the hell. 

In a lot of ways, that's still my reaction, though it's more like "what the hell?!?" now.  We'll see when I'm done and get it written up. 

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November 08, 2015

The Four Faces Of Kei 'n' Yuri

In the comments of the last post, friend Ben asks what anime series I'd like to see get remade due to age or quality.  While I didn't type my answer immediately, the second I saw the question I knew how I'd be replying: The Dirty Pair.  If not the actual first "girls with guns" series, Dirty Pair was certainly the first to be hugely popular.  The adventures of Kei and Yuri have been around for nearly 40 years, and I've been a fan since sometime in the '90s.  Light novels, one 26 episode TV series, three movies, two completely different OVA series, and even US comic books cover most of the source material of these great characters.  Along the way, only two things have stayed more or less constant with the visual designs: Kei has red hair and Yuri dark hair, and the two are female.  Obviously one of the most important aspects of a remake of such a legendary franchise would be the updated character design.  With any luck, the production company involved would pay attention to what had come before.  With that in mind, let's take a look at the evolution of the best known 3WA Trouble Consultants, shall we?

Mughi changed, too!

more...

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August 30, 2015

Photoshoot, Ga-Rei Zero Style!

Some time ago, I was talking about a "creative project" I was working on... y'know, the one that needed 60 sets of chopsticks, a trilobite, something donated from Texas, two different styles of gift tissue, four thumbtacks and a big binder clip?  It's fairly clear to me now that I'll never actually finish the damn thing, simply because the effort involved is somewhat beyond me at the moment... i.e. I can't be arsed.  However!  That doesn't mean that I can't reveal that which has been completed, and J Greely was right... the stuff WAS being used as a photo studio though not a tabletop one.  More of a bookcase, really.  You'll see, later.  But what was I shooting?

Almost 18 months ago, I sugested that there were two more figmae waiting to be photographed... but what I didn't say is that they were a matched set: Kagura and Yomi from Ga-Rei Zero!  Though they're fairly old Figma (Kagura is #066, Yomi #067 in a collection that's announced number #269 recently), I was able to pick the pair of them up for a song... in new condition, to boot.  I just checked online, and nowadays they cost individually what I got both for in 2014.  Anime figures: investment material!

Of course, the best part of Ga-Rei Zero is the relationship between these two.  It's no spoiler anymore to say that they go from best friends to a duel to the death, and if nothing else, that gives a LOT of picture-taking opportunities.  Let's continue, shall we?

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August 26, 2015

Her Eyes

Back in 2008 or so, I was flooping around after finishing up my first AMV, "...Angel", feeling like I needed to make another one but not having any inspiration.  Oh, there were a couple of aborted attempts, but nothing that got any farther than a couple of clips on a timeline and call it a day.  Then there was a Formula 1 video I thought about doing (F1MV?) and never got around to... and then my copy of Adobe Premiere went away in a virus-induced format-and-install, never to be seen again.  Of course, it was then that inspiration sneaked up behind me and whupped me upside de haid but good.  And like with the first AMV, it happened at the Duck U Bookstore.  Since it's been nigh on seven years since then, I don't remember what I was doing at the time... probably folding t-shirts because t-shirts always need to be folded, that's what they're for... when a song came on the instore music system.

As with the first time, it had less to do with how much I liked the song as how the entire AMV sprang to life in my head as the song went on.  That I did (and still do) like the tune is an added bonus, something I can't particularly say about "Lips of an Angel", the song I used for "...Angel".  Certainly by the time I was done, I hated that drippy piece of musical treacle.  There was one huge difference between the two ideas, though: I had Premiere the first time lighting struck, and I didn't the second time.  The constant badgering of my brain trying to get me to make "Her Eyes" into the AMV in my head drove me to make some... unwise... decisions on the downloading front, not that my antivirus programs did anything to help matters.  Antivirus matadors, more like it: "oh look, a virus?  Ole!"  Anyway, after being unsuccessful on many fronts, I decided to make an effort at tabling my brain's nagging for a while.  And then The Dark Years occurred.  2008 and 2009 were particularly horrible experiences, and while 2010 and 2011 were remarkable for blog output (all those writeups!), the AMV faded, stored away in a closet somewhere in my brain.

Jumpcut to a few days ago.  I've put the entirety of my "loose tunes" music collection into one mega-playlist (iTunes suggests that I can now go 47 hours straight without hearing a repeat, and that's without any of the hundreds of albums included), and I've hit the shuffle setting.  I'm sitting at the computer doing... something and the music is playing, playing, playing and... a song comes on.  And the lightning bolt strikes again.

Indeed, by the time he hits the first chorus, there were tears rolling down my face.  Not because it's a sad song, but because of how intense my brain's reaction was.  If you've never had a serious "eureka moment" like that, I literally can't explain it to you.  If you have experienced it, you know exactly what I mean and I don't need to explain it.  It certainly doesn't have to be AMV-related... authors and woodworkers, papershufflers and athletes, bloggers and... uh... people who do real things can all get hit by such inspiration.  I've been truly honored to have it happen a few times (not all AMV-related), and I hope it'll happen again in the future.  "But", I hear you screaming, "what's the damn concept, Wonderduck?"

Some years ago, there was a fairly popular anime, spawned a damn religion, come to think of it... maybe you've heard of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya?  I can hear you groaning to yourself, but remember this: the concept for this AMV came to me in 2008, well before the second series, well before Endless 8, well before the movie and all that jazz.  It was still fresh then.  Of course, people hyped the new series to Pluto and beyond, then were disappointed when it only reached the Moon, but that's beside the point.  One thing that really drove people loony in a good way was the first series' ED, what with the dancing and the choreography and the glavin and...  ...but y'know, I was always struck by an image from the OP.  To whit, this one:

The universe in her eye, as we find out when we zoom in closer and discover stars and galaxies.  It's a great image, and the song fits so perfectly with it I'd almost think that Pat Monahan had seen the series.  And the intervening years, quite honestly, have done nothing but made it easier to make the AMV... after all, it's more than doubled the available source material, and in the process solved the one blank space I had in my mental storyboard (how the hell was I going to do "tells me that she's lived about a hundred lives..."?  Well, now I know!).

The one, nearly trivial, aspect of the creation of the AMV is that I still don't have a video editing program worthy of the name.  Or any idea how to extract video from mkvs.  Or time.  But those are all minor details. 

The lightning has struck again.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:58 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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