November 05, 2020
FGO Players, It's Not Too Late!
You know in your heart it is true.
This concludes one of The Pond's very rare forays into political discussion.
August 31, 2020
Thanksgiving Coming A Day Early This Year In one of the bigger out-of-nowhere announcements I've heard in the anime/manga world, Kadokawa and Nagaru Tanigawa released a statement revealing that Light Novel #12, The Intuition of Haruhi Suzumiya, is being released on November 25. Note that this will be #11 in the States, as the last two Japanese novels were combined into one here. In Japan, it's been nine years since the last release.
Providing us with more evidence that Yen Press loves us and wishes us to be happy, they put out a tweet stating that they'll be releasing the digital version in English simultaneously. And, because that simply wasn't enough good news they're intending to reprint all of the light novels in physical form as well. Which is great, because old copies are selling online for stupidly high prices. It's not unusual to see the full US sets of 10 books selling for over $500.
Which is, of course, patently absurd.
I am greatly amused by the timing of the announcement here in the States... August 31st is, after all, the last day of the Endless Eight time loops.
August 20, 2020
August 17th, Today, Is The Day The Time Loops Of Endless 8 Start.
Just thinking you might like to know.
August 19, 2020
Today, August 17th, Is The Day The Time Loops Of Endless Eight Start.
I thought you would like to know.
August 18, 2020
Today, August 17th, Is The Day The Time Loops Of Endless 8 Start.
Just thought you'd like to know.
August 17, 2020
15532 To Go
Today, August 17th, is the day the time loops of Endless 8 start. Just thought you'd like to know!
April 16, 2020
Now THIS Is The Sort Of News We All Need There is an ARIA movie in the works.
It's coming sometime late this year. If there was ever a year that we need new ARIA content, my god it's this one.
This is a 15th anniversary project for the series. Information is sparse at the moment, but it's officially sparse, as the announcement is up on the publisher of the ARIA manga's website. I think we all assumed that after Avvenire, our trips to Neo-Venezia had come to an end.
I've never been so glad to be wrong about something in my entire life.
December 25, 2019
Christmas 2019 - Haruhi Style
MUCH nicer Christmas than last year's disaster. Oh, the Christmas itself wasn't the problem, it was the leg injury that occurred for reasons that are still a mystery to me... and that led to me being stuck in bed for 24+ hours. From there, it's an easily-drawn line to where I am today.
None of that happened this year. Therefore, it was INFINITELY better. And it allegedly hit 61 degrees too. In December. On Christmas. In Duckford, IL. What in the blue blazes...? In any case... huge thanks go out to Ph.Duck and Rn.Duck for putting up with me for another year, and the annual bottle of lingonberry will die happy soon enough.
And of course, you... the proud members of the Pond Scum. I've been letting The Pond down over the past year, which I hate but haven't been able to do anything about. Hopefully, next year will be better in all sorts of ways! Merry Christmas!!!
I just started playing Fate Grand Order. I'm fairly sure an opening draw of three lancers (and one of them duplicated!) and an assassin is pretty cruddy. Welp, we'll just see where it goes from here.
December 16, 2019
Today Is December 16th... ...and you know what THAT means:
The morning of December 16th... it was so cold... and I mean cold. That if you took an ice pick and plunged it into the ground, you'd shatter the Earth into a million pieces.
- Kyon, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
November 06, 2019
She Needs Us On November 7th, 2009, this video was posted to Youtube for the first time:
Now on the verge of the 10th anniversary of God Knows being made available to the world by the SOS Brigade, a concerted effort is being made to push the video over 100 million views. At the time of this writing, it's only 36000 views short. I call on the accumulated members of The Pond Scum: let's make it happen!
You don't want Haruhi to be disappointed.
Edit: changed the target from ten million to the correct one hundred million.
Another Edit: Nine hours to go until Midnight Pond Central Time, and we're less than 18000 views away from the goal.
September 28, 2019
"...And I Shall Call Her Mini-Me."
Two from the Haruhi Collection, which are legion.
July 18, 2019
Kyoto Animation Arson (updates at bottom) Around about 10pm Wednesday, Pond Central Time, some maniac walked into Kyoto Animation's Studio 1 building, poured gasoline around, and set it on fire.
As I type this at about 1am Thursday morning, some solid information has come in. First, the arsonist is a 41 year old male, and is in custody. Second, there has been one confirmed death (edit: police are now saying ten dead), and many injuries... the most common number seems to be right around 30. There are also 20 "missing". NHK is reporting that at least ten of those were found lying on the floor of the second level... and left there are the search for survivors went on.
There are reports that the arsonist said "Let's see if this burns" as he poured the gasoline.
KyoAni has a number of different office locations around Kyoto. Studio 2 is where their offices and their retail store is located, for example. None of those other locations have been targeted. Some 70 animators reportedly worked at Studio 1.
I'm hoping this wasn't some crazed otaku's way of "getting back" at KyoAni... "I hated Endless 8, blah blah blah..." Reportedly, they're one of the best studios in Japan to work for, so maybe a fired employee? We'll find out soon enough, I expect, but no matter the reason, this is horrible.
Update: 241am - According to one report, among the missing are Tatsuya Ishihara who directed AIR, the Haruhi Suzumiya series, Kanon 2006, Clannad, and Hibiki Euphonium. Or, in other words, all of my favorite KyoAni shows (and Air, which I'm not fond of). Other directors missing are Ishidate Taichi (Violet Evergarden), and Takemoto Yasuhiro (The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya movie), and others.
Update: 855am - The death toll is now up to 33. I've seen unconfirmed reports that Takemoto is among the dead. Of the 70 people known to have been working in Studio 1 at the time of the arson, 69 of them are dead or in hospital for injuries of various severity. Many of the dead were reportedly found in a stairwell leading up to the roof, felled by smoke. It's important to note that this building was in a residential neighborhood; there were no fire escapes, only one stairwell, and only one way in, the main entrance. Oof.
Reportedly, the arsonist was yelling something that might translate out to "you plagiarized me." As KyoAni has only done two original works, Munto and Tamako Market, this seems unlikely. He had purchased 40 liters of gasoline in two containers just a half-hour before, and apparently brought them on a cart to the building. He reportedly told the people at the gas station that the fuel was for his generator. The president of Kyoto Animation has said that they've been receiving threatening e-mails for a few years... no idea if they're connected to this case.
This is now the largest mass murder in post-WWII Japanese history, displacing the Sagamihara massacre.
Update: 1009am - Sentai Filmworks, the American distributor that has done much work with KyoAni (either currently or in the ADV era), has begun a GoFundMe campaign to help those affected.
June 27, 2019
AMVs To Make You Have Some Reaction. So today is the first time I've honestly had to shut Pond Central up and turn on the air conditioner. As I type this, it has just reached 86° F, but it's not very humid. Really, just sitting in front of a fan has been comfy all day, but a look at the forecast for the next week convinced me. Nighttime lows in the low 70s, daytime highs right around 90, and I'd really like to have the place temperature controlled before that sets up shop. "But Wonderduck," I hear you say, and you really should get that lump looked at, "what does any of this have to do with AMVs?"
To which I answer, "Have you ever read The Pond before?"
Over the past few days, in between frantic bouts of cleaning at 4am, I've managed to trip over a bunch of pleasing AMVs... some funny, some exciting, one or two just clever as hell. To you, I bring them now.
Enjoy, will you not?
December 25, 2018
Merry Christmas from all of me here at The Pond! I hope Santa brought you everything you wanted and nothing you needed...
Edit: Bring in the dancing Kumikos!
December 21, 2018
Plans Derailed. Schemes Foiled. Perhaps some of you may have heard that Christmas is this coming week? I know, I know, it surprised me too, don't worry. Still, I figured it out soon enough.
An accurate representation of the parking lot at work
Unfortunately, my bosses did not. Despite all the Christmas events we had this past week, despite the Big Boss playing Christmas music over the phone intercoms at random times, despite a dozen decorated Christmas trees populating the office (I very much liked the Santa Vader tree... Darth Vader helmet on top with Santa cap, black "cloak"... actually a black bag of toys... over it's "shoulders", illuminated light saber flashing red and green alternately, and TIE fighter ornaments), despite all these clues and hints, they never figured out that Christmas was next week. When they did, they had to scramble to give the staff a little something extra to go under the tree. So they gave us all the normal 10 hours of overtime as a gift.
An accurate representation of the supervisors at work.
Now yes, they did this to us at Thanksgiving too. But this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, a new... oh fer the luvva, sorry, didn't mean to break into song. THIS IS CHRISTMAS. Bad enough that we're open on Christmas Eve, and yes I know retailers will be open but I got out of retail for reasons like that. And being fired. But also for reasons like that. That's bad enough. Now they expect us to put in overtime on Christmas Eve, too, because otherwise you're doing 10 hours in three days. That's not gonna fly.
An accurate representation of something not flying.
So my options are limited... indeed, my options are 1) Kill Myself With Overtime, or 2) Work On Saturday. Neither option is particularly palatable. But I just got home from an 11 hour day, and I really don't want to do that next friday, particularly since I get a five-day weekend. So I'm probably going to work on Saturday, which kinda derails my plans for the "writeup warmup" I want to do. I'll still give it a shot, but instead of going into it with a nap under my belt I'll be going in grumpy after work. Which, come to think of it, might just be the perfect way to approach it. Stay tuned folks, it's gonna get crabby up in here.
An accurate representation of a crab.
December 18, 2018
Plans And Schemes Okay. Here's the plan, here's my scheme. You ready for this?
Anime writeups are coming back. January 12th, 2019. That's a Saturday. That night, I will begin (and hopefully finish) the writeup for Episode 01 of Magical Girl Spec Ops Asuka.
It's been over three years since my writeup for Gakkou Gurashi died a miserable death. I do believe I'm a little out of practice, so I intend to do a little sumtin' sumtin' this weekend... y'know, get the juices flowin', stretch out the ol' arm, see if the old man has still got it in him. Maybe it might even be good. Who knows?
Look forward to it, won't you?
October 22, 2018
What A Time To Be Alive!
First, TokyoPop announced they'd be bringing ARIA: The Masterpiece over to our shores. If you're unfamiliar, it's essentially a collector's edition with a bigger format, better covers/binding, some new artwork, and improved paper quality. The first one comes out in February, and we've finally got a chance to actually see all of the ARIA manga released over here officially.
Then a new volume, #9, of "Sunshine" Sketch came out a few weeks ago, after nearly three years of waiting.
Now a new volume of Yotsuba!! is coming out on November 13th, after two-and-a-half years of waiting.
And they've just announced that Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka is going to be an anime, premiering in January.
...and there's a darn good chance that's gonna be a possible writeup candidate, too!
Really, this is the best of all possible worlds! what a great time to be alive!
May 19, 2018
Idol Threats One thing I've been able to do while I've been... um... hobbled, is watch anime. Take the laptop into the bedroom, set up a book holder on the bedside printer stand (what, you don't have a bedside printer stand?), open the laptop, put it on the holder, and voila! Anime viewing station, perfectly angled for me to see the screen while in bed (I have a low bed).
What I've mainly been watching is Love Live Sunshine!!, the second installment of the Love Live idol-fantasy franchise. I've gotta admit: I'm enjoying the hell out of it. Well, duh, it's Cute Girls Doing Cute Things In Cute Ways While Wearing Cute Costumes (CGDCTICWWWCC?), of course I'd like it!
The one complaint I have, however, is that almost all the songs being sung by our heroes sound alike. It's always the same themes: "shining", togetherness, happy, etc etc... very Up With People, if you're old enough to get that reference. I mean, sure, that's all fine and dandy, and the music is done well, but it got dull. That is, until Ep08 of the first season. That's when these two show up:
I freely admit to groaning when we first meet them... it was obvious as hell that the Production Staff intended them to be The Great Nemesis, the "final boss" our heroes would have to defeat to win the competition and save their school. I didn't want that... the series was perfectly fine without an ArchEnemy to worry about. And then...
...I didn't care anymore, if it meant we'd get more music like "Self Control." I'm very near the end of the series... I just finished the 20th episode last night... and their first performance is still the best "in concert" in the show. It goes without saying that the song is in heavy rotation on my mp3 player. Calling it a huge (but pleasant) surprise goes without saying, but a greatly welcome one.
March 22, 2018
ReLife ReTurns Almost two years ago I said "I did not expect this to be that good," when referring to ReLife, a little show that just sort of... snuck up on everybody. Short version of the plot: a 27-year old NEET is given the chance to have his problems (not all of them of his making) dealt with. He'd be given a good job with a good company, with interesting work to be done... in short, he could honestly feel like he could go out in public again. The only catch? He has to spend a year back in high school. Nope, not as a 27-year old, but as a 17-year old! There's been a... pill... created that will knock ten years off your appearance until you take the antidote. Sounds great, huh? Well, not so much... you're still 27, after all... no longer a teenager, no longer fit, you've been out of high school for TEN YEARS, if you're a smoker you've still got the addiction, and... well, your female classmates are kinda hot.
Yes, now you see the potential difficulties an adult could face in a situation like this. And it's amazing just how intelligently and realistically ReLife handles such matters. I mean, "realistically" if you accept the possibility of a magic pill and going back to high school, that is. There's also an interesting layer of wish fulfillment running underneath the surface: if you could go back knowing what you know now, would you? I hated high school, and even with 30 years of bonus experience under my belt, I'd rather faceplant onto a claymore mine than go back. But that's not really why I'm writing here.
No, the reason I'm writing today is to let you know that, sometime yesterday, the long-awaited ReLife OVA was released... the FOUR EPISODE LONG OVA. For a series that was 13 episodes in length. There is now good solid evidence that somewhere in Japan, there is a Production Staff that loves us and wants us to be happy. As opposed to all those Production Staffs that hate us, laugh at us, and makes us watch Rio Rainbow Gate.
I will not give spoilers, for no other reason than I haven't watched any of it yet. One bit of information that I have gleaned, however, is no spoiler: it picks up right where Ep13 leaves off. That's right kids, no "episode 8.5" here, it's a full continuation of the story! So if you've seen the series, why in the world are you still reading this? Go watch it! And if you haven't seen ReLife, why are you still reading this? Go watch it from the beginning!
February 25, 2018
Warning To Pirates, Yarrrr! A few days ago, I found that one of the private trackers I'm part of was firing up red all over my torrent program. Nothing from that place was responding, but the other trackers still seemed to be working. Oh crap, have they gone away? I quickly visited the site, expecting to get a message saying they'd gotten a C&D, or had been DDoS'd into oblivion. Imagine my surprise when everything seemed to be fine! I looked in the attached forum and found out what was going on.
I've been using µTorrent for a very long time, long enough that I can't remember if I've ever used anything else. While it's been updated a gazillion times, I've kept using version 2.2.1 over the years... I gather there's been some adware built into the newer versions? Anyway, µTorrent has served me very well and faithfully. And the tracker site, which I've been using for nearly as long as I've used µTorrent, had blacklisted all versions of it. Apparently there's been a rather unpleasant security flaw discovered in it, and Bittorrent Inc lollygagged on patching it... to the tune of more than 90 days. When the flaw was announced after three months, Bittorrent finally released a patch that for all intents and purposes, didn't work. Oh, it broke the exploit, to be sure... but in such a way that it didn't actually fix the flaw. I'm not a software guy so my understanding may be incorrect, but from what I've read the patch took the metaphorical keypad lock that the exploit used... and moved it six inches to the left. When the exploit went looking for the keypad lock, it wasn't where it was supposed to be. Tah-dah, all fixed!
For, like, an hour. Then the guy who discovered the flaw in the first place "moved" the exploit and voila, vulnerability still around. Because of this, and because the patch only "fixed" the newest versions of µTorrent, the private tracker blacklisted it. As it turns out, the situation is a little more nuanced than that... for example, version 2.2.1 is apparently missing the keypad lock entirely and thus may not be vulnerable. The recommendation from everybody involved that isn't Bittorrent and µTorrent appears to be "move to a different program." While there are dozens of torrent programs out there, after a hour or two of research, I've decided to move The Pond to qBittorrent. It's open source, there are no ads involved, the exploit doesn't exist on it, and it appears to operate in a manner that's very familiar to µTorrent users. While I'd rather continue to use what I'm used to using, oh well. If you too hoist the black flag, you may want to look into this matter as well.
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