December 14, 2015

Gakkou Gurashi Ep06

This has been a tough one.  Not just because of the subject matter, which as you'll see is less unicorns and rainbows and more zombies and more zombies.  No, actually, zombies and more zombies would have been okay.  This particular episode of Gakkou Gurashi is of a type that makes for really tough recapping, because it relies heavily on sound to convey a very dramatic turning point in the series.  And, in case you haven't noticed, much of this blog is silent, occasional music posts to the contrary.  So how to actually do this?  I've given it much thought, and to be blunt, "I dunno.  I just dun."  Which might be a first.  Well, that's always exciting, huh?  Breaking new ground, heading off into the great unwashed unknown.  As always, however, I must caution you, the reader, against spoileriffic activities and discussions, if for no other reason than I'm watching the show as I do the writeups... Ep06 is as far as I've gotten!  If you even drop hints that could be spoilers, I will not hesitate to do Bad Things.  And nobody wants that.  So!  On with the story, eh?  Last time out, we got to see how Miki joined the gang.  What wonders does Gakkou Gurashi bring us this time?

GAH!!! 
...
Sorry, I'm just not sure that being stared at by a weird kid is how I'd want to wake up after having survived a shopping mall full of undead horrors.  A glass of water, though, is exactly what Miki needs, and after that...

...it's time for introductions!  Well, introduction-singular, as Miki just completely ignores Megu-nee and concentrates on the amazing fact that Yuki is a senior.  While that is something of a shocking revelation, it doesn't seem like enough reason to completely blow off a teacher to me.

A short conversation between Megu-nee and Yuki about explaining the School Living Club to Miki does nothing to help matters, as the garterbelt-wearing lovely seems to just get more confused.  The talk ends when Yuki hands her teacher the water bottle she's holding.  Turning back to Miki, we hear the sound of a water bottle hitting the floor.  Curiouser and curiouser.

A tour of the school is in order, it appears, even though Miki's a student there.  Ever a good kid, Miki points out that they've left the door to the room open.  "That's okay, Megu-nee is still in there!"  Hmmm.  But you'd think the junior would have noticed that...?

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October 04, 2015

Gakkou Gurashi Ep04 and Ep05

Two episodes at once?  I can hear you, my assembled readers, asking in unison if I'm insane, if I've lost my mind, if I have, in fact, gone 'round the bend.  To which I respond with "well, duh."  There is, however, a method to my madness.  I have done two episodes at once before, but they were "nutshelled", or brief recaps of episodes that were pointless or annoying or both.  Not this time!  In a fair and just world, these two episodes of Gakkou Gurashi would have either been aired back-to-back or as one hour-long episode.  Well, this isn't a fair and just world, obviously.  Obviously, The Pond is not fair and just either, but I can at least try to improve this little corner of the planet by doing this.  I'll fail, of course... improving the planet is not accomplished by blogging about anime... but the effort will have been made.  That's gotta count for something, right?  Now, before we get started, allow me to repeat myself.  I'm blogging about the anime, not the manga.  I'm not interested in knowing how things are done or aren't done in the manga, nor in what's coming up in the show.  I'm watching it as I blog, so I'm literally no farther than Ep05.  So if I say something that is proven false in a later episode, I don't want to know about it.  All of this is a lot of words to say No Spoilers.  Please don't make me be grumpy at you.  You don't know what I'm capable of.  Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way... as you may remember, Ep03 was mostly flashback to that day.  We don't find out how they get off the roof, but I guess that's okay!  What will we learn about today?

Yuki is hand-drawing a graduation album... after all, it's soon to be that time of year for them... and Miki is helping, in exchange for Yuki actually doing her chores.  Yuri and Kurumi were apparently gardening, look at those daikons... and no, that's not a euphemism for anything.  I'm amused that while I meant to type "euphemism", my fingers actually generated "euphonium".  I also badly mangled "euphemism" to the point that spellcheck couldn't quite figure out what I was trying to say.  Sometimes I wonder about myself.  Anyway, Yuki is a lousy artist, go figure, and everybody makes fun of her for it, also go figure.

Miki, on the other hand, is quite good... to the point where the others are wondering who the girl is with her in the picture.  "She was a... close friend," she says with a sad look as we fade into another flashback.  Lots of those in this show, huh?

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September 10, 2015

Gakkou Gurashi Ep03

Well, if nothing else, I'm persistent.  Slow, but persistent.  Like kudzu, or the plague.  I'm not giving up on this project, even if it runs me into the ground, thereafter becoming a member of the waddling dead and make a cameo appearance in this show.  Ladies and Gentlemen and other readers of The Pond, the world's first zombie duck.  Except, of course, that wouldn't be true, not by a long shot.  I was about to say the world's first zombie blogger, but... well... I mean... y'know.  Kinda hard to tell the difference, really.  So.  Gakkou Gurashi.  Let's review, shall we?  In Ep01, we met the more-or-less lead character and discover that she's more than a little bit tetched in da haid.  To be fair, she's got good reason: zombie apocalypse!  In Ep02, we're introduced to the rest of the School Living club, featuring Shovel Girl.  Oh, and the impossible school store.  So what wonders will Ep03 bring us?  Well, chances are you already know, since I'm writing this over a month since the episode first aired, but let's pretend, shall we?  Actually, to be fair, I've kinda forgotten the details already, and I haven't watched the show since then.  Remember the rules, everybody: I'm not interested in hearing how the manga does it, and I really don't want to know spoilers and details I haven't experienced yet.  Or I'll become very angry and you won't like what happens then.  So let's get on with Ep03!

The teacher, Megu-nee, is sitting in the teacher's office and writing in a journal, and cheerful, lighthearted writings they are, too!  "This may end up being my will."  Whee, so happy!  The members of the School Living Club are off doing something or other and she has some free time, so it looks like her writing means flashbacks for us!

If nothing else, though, this does seem to answer the burning question as to whether or not she's actually real or a figment of Yuki's imagination.  One gets the impression that Yuki can't spell "journal", let alone dream up someone writing in one.  So what really happened when the zombies came?

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August 12, 2015

Not Giving Up On Gakkou Gurashi

Though to be honest I probably should.  Between work and life in general, I'm finding it difficult to crank out the writeups for Gakkou Gurashi... heck, I'm finding it difficult to generate the time to watch it, let alone spend the four hours-plus a good writeup takes.

But I want to do this so very much.  But, y'know: the spirit is willing, but.... Yeah, its kinda like that.  It's a LOT like that.  It IS like that.  Once I get a handle on everything, I'd expect regular programming to return.  I'm just not there yet.

The show's worth the effort, though.

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August 02, 2015

Gakkou Gurashi Ep02

Hello, hi, and how are you?  A surprise shortage of work at work hied me home very early on Monday, so I thought what better way to celebrate not having to stare at a computer screen all day than by staring at a computer screen all day and being allegedly funny in the process?  Some time back, I did a little not-quite-a-writeup for Ep01, and decided that if Ep02 kept the energy and interest up, I'd make it a full writeup series.  It did, and I am!  If you're not familiar with the show, read that there linky to Ep01... it'll give you the basics  Or you can just be confused, one of the two.  Now, a word of warning to y'all... I haven't read the manga, and I'm probably not going to anytime soon.  What this means is that I am not interested in knowing what the manga does, says, doesn't do or say or hints at about characters, situations, or coming activities.  If you feel a burning need to say something in the comments about future events, don't.  This is a writeup of the anime series.  Okay?  We cool?  Don't make me be a big awful meanie.  I may be good at it, because I'm a rotten bastard at heart, but I don't like to be a big awful meanine.  So lets put all that behind us and get on with the recappin'!

We open with lovely watercolor-like memories narrated by Kurumi, aka "Shovel Girl."  She was the manager of the school's track team... not because she particularly liked running or jumping or throwing the discus or putting the shot or playing 47-man Squamish, but because she had a thing for a guy, one of the upperclassmen, on the team.  Yes, it's an honest-to-gosh case of "Notice me, Senpai!"

And notice her he does.  And why not?  She's a lovely girl with twintails and she's clearly crazygonuts over him, and even though his hair covers his eyes and really he should get that trimmed a bit, he isn't blind.  Late one afternoon, they're on the roof of the school...

...and he reaches for her.  Ah, young love... ain't it swell?   Even if you can't see his eyes through the thatch he calls hair.  His parents have often said "you really should get that cut, Skippy," because that's his name: Skippy.  "You look so much nicer with short hair.  And you'd be able to read the blackboard better, it'd help your grades."  But Skippy, being a rebellious teenager, and yes, even the Japanese have teenager problems, just keeps on growing his hair and saying "I'll live like I want."  And right now, it appears that what he wants is Kurumi.

Specifically, her brains.  I'll have you know that when Skippy's hand reached through the letterboxing, I actually jumped a little in my seat.  I may also have whimpered like a sad puppy as well.  The possibility even exists that I may have wet myself a tiny bit.  I'm not proud of that, but there you are.  And then ZombieSkippy eats her.  The end.

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July 16, 2015

Announcing The Next Writeup Subject!

I've thought about it long and hard, and I'm pleased to say that I've chosen Gakkou Gurashi to be the subject of the next Episodic Writeup series!

The second episode aired earlier today, and I should have the writeup done on Saturday!  Sure, it may look fluffy, but there's more here than meets the eye.  A LOT more, and it's prime fodder for my writeup mill.  Look forward to it, won't you?

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May 28, 2015

The Evangelion Movies: 2.22 You Can (not) Advance, pt 3

Because what's more fun on a weekend than a movie filled with angst-ridden, emotionally stunted, just flat-out damaged kids being forced to save the world while being used by an O2STK to actually bring around the end of the world, just in an approved manner?  Right, doing a writeup of that very movie!  After pt 2, how could I not want to leap right into pt 3, huh?  I mean, other than reasons of sanity, not that that's ever been a concern of mine before.  But you know, times these days are hard, and at times like this, one's sanity becomes a precious, precious commodity, one to be treasured and nurtured, not squandered like the virtue of a Lady of the Evening named Trixie in San Diego during Fleet Week.  However, I squander my sanity gladly for the entertainment of my readers, the accumulated Pond Scum, a term I use endearingly.  You'll note, of course, that it's months after I completed the previous installment... that'll show how much I love you guys.  But enough of my self-congratulating maunderings, let's get on with the Adventures of Nigel Evangelion.

The night after they've killed the most recent Angel, Asuka has another teeny-tiny lil' breakdown.  She's used to being alone, but for whatever reason she crawls into bed with Shinji... come to think of it, it's quite possible that that's about as close to being alone as you can get with another human being.  Before you start thinking that we're getting red-hot one-on-one Eva pilot action, remember that Asuka is the one person who hasn't punched Shinji in the face.  She's perpetrated other violence upon his person, so I guess the suppose their relationship is still up in the air, but without the punch in the face you can't be sure.

Time passes  in a normal, relaxed way.  People get up, go about their days, come home.  Asuka proves to be only slightly better than feral.  Shinji doesn't whine much.  Teh Rei watches it all with an air of dull surprise.  Angelic days indeed (see what I did there?).

Except for all that Eva simulation training.  Oh yeah, that.  That sort of thing isn't exactly common.  I mean, for these kids it is, but it's not like Fred and Ginger in class 2-2 spend their afternoons stuck in a Entry Plug, surrounded by something that looks a lot like amniotic fluid, controlling giant bio-robots.  Don't worry, though... if they do, I'm sure there'll be an Evangelion movie about them.

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March 29, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep12

So here we are.  The culmination of three months worth of Wednesdays, all coming down to this.  It's been a long and surprisingly entertaining run, going all the way back to January 7th.  Along the way, there's been a Cthulhu summoning, incontinent shipgrannies, a deep and kinda disturbing love for Mutsu has grown, and more comments than any two Series Writeups combined.  Seems Kantai Collection struck a chord with some folks, good, bad, or otherwise.  I've had long discussions about the series offline, seen more than the show's share of bullhockey get spouted in online forums... cheeseandrice, the historical misconceptions I've seen about what actually occurred during the real Pacific War have been enough to make me loathe the American education system.  Despite all that, the series itself has been consistently entertaining, if somewhat pointlessly fluffy at times.  Well, we're not making Haibane Renmei here after all.  Hell, we're not even making K-On!

Hnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng.
Which is a good thing.  The show always knew what it was, though maybe not always what it wanted to be.  Historic melodrama?  Comedy?  Lightweight fanservice vehicle?  Tragedy?  All of the above at the same time?  Or just Kantai Collection?  Let's go with that.  That's good enough, I believe.  And if it isn't going to win any "Best of 2015" awards, well, that's okay too.  So the end is nigh, how will it all go down?  So to speak, of course... "going down" isn't a phrase you want to use when it involves warships.  Or maybe it is, if you're the type of person who thinks of anime "that way".  If you are... um... ew.

We pick up pretty much exactly where we left off at the end of Episode 11: the Battle of Midway has begun, and history is doing Bad Things to our Shipgirls, which is what you'd expect.  Three of the four carriers have been hit, only Hiryu seems to be able to fire arrows, there's an Abyssal surface warfare fleet closing in, and Akagi is in dispair as an anti-shipping bomb is headed right 'twixt her eyes.  One can rail against fate, but it seems one cannot defeat it.  And then... ...I keep getting distracted.  The past two hours have been spent watching WarThunder Fail videos, random AMVs, and falling asleep at my desk.  So I'm going to take a nap and pick this up when I'm done. 

I'm back.  Six hours of nap later, I'm back.  If you're wondering why this writeup has taken as long as it has, there you go.  Where were we?  Oh yes... bombs fall, everybody dies.

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March 23, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep11

So it has come to this.  Midway.  We've known all along that it must be the climax, and after all the waiting, it's here.  But will it be a repeat of history as we know it, or will the shipgirls make their own way through the timey-wimey stuff?  Only the Production Staff knows for sure, and they ain't tellin' yet.  It's a shame some aren't giving the show a chance... I suspect we've got some surprises ahead, and the production staff has earned themselves enough credit to be allowed to take their shot.  I'm still betting against the historical ending, but it would be stunning if they pulled it off.

Last episode ended with Fubuki getting her remodel and being named as Akagi's personal escort.  We begin this episode with a... flashback?  Wha?

Akagi is practically dragging Kaga as explosions occur all around them.  Both are badly damaged, quivers empty, flight decks broken, stockings torn, hair a complete mess.  It's clear Operation AF has gone terribly, terribly wrong.  History repeats, it seems.

Only Hiryu is left standing, while the killing blow for Soryu is about to land.  There's nothing to be done for it.  Abyssal fighters crowd the skies, each looking to drop a carrier, even a damaged one.  Finally, the time has come.  History repeats, it seems.

Akagi gets a quick glimpse of her impending doom.  Well, I suppose we know how this is all going to go down now, don't we?  What's more, her final words are "I'm sorry.  Please scuttle me."

I discussed the problems with this tableau back in the Ep02 writeup.  Now we get to have it in context.... and with the addition of torpedo trails in the water, to boot.  Just as they hit, the screen goes white.  Shortest episode ever!

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March 16, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep10 (updated)

So I'm running a little late this week, sorry about that.  What with my other hobby starting this week, I sorta had to shuffle the writeup a little farther down the priority ladder than normal.  It's okay, though... if I had to, this was the episode to delay.  Not that it wasn't important, heavens no, but it's hardly The Most Important Episode Ever.  Which is why I'm not giving it my usual 100% treatment this week.  Hey, I'M not the one looking to get a major remodel, that's Fubuki's job.  I'd be satisfied with a haircut and a closet full of clean towels... I've really got to get to a laundromat, but that means going out into the public eye, y'know?  Before I get into that, though, let's get going on the Episode 10 of Kantai Collection!


We begin with shots of Foobie training and a not-a-flashback to the end of last episode, when Our Heroine is told she's being remodeled.  Nagato tells her that the Admiral specifically said that her upgraded form was going to be essential for the upcoming battle, and I'd like to say that I called that at the end of last ep's writeup.  Go me.  Sure, it was like hitting a batting practice fastball, but I still called it.  I'm in a win-win situation here.  Either they go with Foobie Saves The Day, or they go with History Repeating.  I'd enjoy either result, though the bloodbath would take guts indeed.  Back to current day...

....and Nagato's got a problem.  See, she's got the Admiral's notebook of what to do for the coming battle, but the most important piece of information, the location, is in code.  It just says to "strike Abyssal base AF," but not which base AF is!  There are three possibilities: north, the Aleutians; South, someplace less-than-obvious to my history-laden mind, and Central.  Nagato is doing recon-by-fire, sending small fleets out to each location to see which one gets shot at the most.  By her logic, the one that's most strongly defended is AF.

Fleets have already been sent to North and South.  The newly reconstituted Torpedo Squadron Three gets the Central area, which contains island MI.  Orders are to get shot at, but not draw the entire Abyssal fleet down on themselves.

Mutsu!

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March 07, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep09

There are moments in life that an adult has to deal with, whether they want to do so or not.  These moments are called "obligations," and not following through with them is a very bad thing.  At work, in one's personal life, and even in something as floofy as a blog, one's word is your currency throughout your life.  That is why I had to give FedEx hell when their delivery man decided that dropping my package at the leasing office for Pond Central's complex was fine, as opposed to even trying to deliver it to my door.  Sure, there was nothing preventing me from going the four blocks to the office to pick it up... except for the principle of the thing.  I apparently got the delivery guy in serious trouble, but c'mon.  Do Your Job.  Follow through on your obligations. 

Which is why I am here right now writing about the newest episode of Kantai Collection when I'd rather be doing nearly anything else.  I thought last episode was fluff, and lord was I was right.  It did have the advantage of being wonderfully Mutsu-centric, and that right there made it fun for me, so it had that going for it.  Which was nice.  This one, though... from everything I had suspected was going to occur, this one was making my stomach churn.  As it turned out, what I suspected was going to be bad wasn't... but then the show took an unexpected turn.  So why am I still muttering here instead of actually doing the writeup?  I dunno.  Just because I follow through on my obligations doesn't mean I enjoy it all the time.  Well, so it goes... being an adult sucks sometimes.  And with that thought ringing through your mind, let's get on with the show!

We open with the command ships gathered together, discussing the results of the latest simulations now that the entire fleet is gathered at Truk.  Much like Mutsu said last week, the odds are overwhelmingly in their favor if they push Operation MO now.  Nagato, no dummy herself, agrees and will speak to the Admiral about it right away.  Things are wrapping up when another shipgirl rushes in... there's a problem with one of the destroyers!

Someone has moved Pippin's lightness slider waaaaay far to the right.  She's all glowy and washed out.  The other girls are somewhat taken aback by this, of course... small errors aside, Kantai Collection has been a well-animated show, something like this just shouldn't happen.  The usual reasons for her glowing are trotted out...it's true love, it's aliens, it's bad fuel so she might explode.  Her humors are out of balance, we'll need to apply the leeches.

Fortunately for everybody, including us (leeches, ugh!), Nagato and Mutsu arrive and while visibly surprised, clearly recognize what's going on.  They tell Pippin to go to the factory right away... all the destroyers look concerned.  Remember that game mechanic I talked about some episodes ago, where you can use unneeded ships for spare parts and improvements to other vessels?  Is P-for-Poi about to be sent to the breakers???  Does Akagi need repairs, and if so, do we get to see shipgirl-on-shipgirl cannibalism?

What's wrong with me?

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March 03, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep08

Running late this week, but fortunately this episode is somewhat fluffy in content so it shouldn't be a problem to write up, right?  Weeeeellllllll... maybe not so much.  See, there's a lot of Mutsu this week, and it's hard to write coherently when you're dreamily staring at the screen with a dreamy smile on your face and a vast lack of attention to your surroundings.  She's dreamy is what I'm saying, and she has the ability to cause mass distraction, at least in your humble scribe.  Did I mention that this is a beach and/or swimsuit episode?  Boogity boogity boogity, let's go KanColle-ing!

We pick up shortly after the end of last episode, with Foobie Force escorting a badly damaged Shokaku to a mysterious location that only Kongo knows about.  And who better but a British-built battleship to know the location of the new Japanese fleet base called Camelot!

Which is a much nicer sounding name than what we usually remember it as, Truk Lagoon.  "The Gibraltar of the Pacific."  "Japan's Pearl Harbor."  Easily the most important IJN base outside of the Home Islands themselves, in real life Truk could do everything but build new ships or do major repairs.  After spending a good half-hour to an hour examining terrain maps and satellite photos, I'm forced to conclude that Foobie Force is approaching Uman Island, which is an odd choice of place for the Production Staff to use.  To be sure, there was a Japanese presence on the island, a small base on the outcropping on the left of the picture.  But the Administrative Center for the IJN was one island to the North, Tonoas.  A much larger facility, that, and one that'll match up better with what we'll be seeing soon.  Perhaps they decided not to use an actual place where so many soldiers and sailors really died.  If so, good call, I'm okay with that.

More importantly, Mutsu told Kongo that there's a new, special ship based there, and that by the time Foobie Force arrives, the rest of the Naval District will have relocated.  The two carriers resolve to head directly to the repair bays, while everybody else is... um... everybody else.

Mutsu! 

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February 22, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep07

For reasons I can't put my finger on, I've been reluctant to do this particular writeup.  No, it's nothing having to do with the episode itself: it's very much a Kantai Collection episode, with no great surprises or anything.  It may have something to do with my right knee feeling like it's packed full of fish sticks and chunks of metal, meaning that spending any amount of time in my computer chair is a little painful... remember, this is the leg that I bounced off a row of bricks a few months ago.  There's also what feels like an awful case of weather-related malaise.  Understand, this winter has been relatively mild, particularly when compared to the continuing nightmare the East Coast has been dealing with.  However, Duckford has been grey for pretty much the entire season.  It's been grey and snowing, or grey and cold, or grey and cold and snowing, and only rarely has the Burning Orb of Light made itself visible in the sky.  I don't think I'm susceptible to SAD, at least not like some people, but I'll be darned if the symptoms don't match.  Ah well, whatever, you're not here to listen to me kvetch about my aches and pains, you're here to listen to me kvetch about Kantai CollectionLast episode was the Great Curry Conniption, so what great dealings will Ep07 bring us?  An eating contest?  Nah, Akagi winning would be too obvious there... ooh!  I know!  It's the "Mutsu has a light lunch, smiles as she plays with a kitten, then takes an afternoon nap" episode!  Yes, please!  (sigh) Y'know what?  I'm not even gonna guess, lets just jump right in, see where that gets us.  Raise anchor, all ahead slow, allons-y!

Ah!  It appears that RKO has picked up the production duties of the show, very good.  I can't help but worry, however... those guy wires look awfully slack considering their job.  The last time I saw guy wires that, the mast in question was being disassembled, a task you literally could not pay me enough to do.  Still and all, the antenna at the top must still be working, because the Naval District has received a communique.

A communique via morse code, no less.  Actually, I assume it's actually Wabun code, the Japanese version of morse, but as I understand none of the factors involved, I have no idea if I'm correct or not.  For some reason, this lack does not particularly bother me at the moment.  Anyway, the message is that Operation MO is approved, and that they are to provide a carrier fleet and a support fleet... and here is where my emergency brakes kicked in, because Operation MO is better known to us here in The States as the Battle of the Coral Sea... we gonna see some stuff go down.

Literally, if lil' miss Abyssal Carrier up there has anything to say about it.  I can't help but notice that there's a startling resemblance between the Carrier and The Librarian at times.  They both wear hats, the facial structures are the same, they both can do the flashing blue flames of power from the eyes... uncanny.  It goes without saying, of course, that I've never seen the two of them together in the same spot...

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February 12, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep06

There are moments when I do these Episodic Writeups when, quite honestly, I don't want to take the time or the effort.  Sometimes its because I'm too busy doing other things, sometimes it's because I just don't want to... and sometimes it's because the Production Staff made something that is difficult to recap just by its nature.  That's the case here, with the new episode of Kantai CollectionLast week saw the creation of a new fleet and Fubuki become its unlikely flagship.  This week?

(shaking head)

Let's get this over with.

We open with...

Nagato is brooding over some tough choices she's going to have to make in the coming days, which is her unfortunate duty as Secretary of the Fleet.  Yeah, yeah, that's nice... more importantly, Mutsu's back and feels sad that her sister refuses to share the burdens.  Truly, Mutsu is wonderful.  An episode of her reading a novel and sipping tea would be welcome, Production Staff.  Just a thought.

Destroyer Division Six, fresh from a foraging expedition, discovers a sign proclaiming that it's time for the Naval District Curry Contest!  The Imperial Japanese Navy, and for that matter its successor the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, had a long-time relationship with curry, dating back all the way to the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in and around 1902.  Indeed, every Friday was (and is) curry day in the ships of the fleet.  In this case, the contest-winning curry will be the recipe used for the next year.  Well, hell, sounds like a plan to the DesDiv6 girls!  They quickly decide that they'll enter the contest.  It'll be a cinch!

Except that British-born Kongo is going to enter her special spicy English-style curry.  Oh yeah, other people are going to enter, aren't they?  CURRY FIGHT-O!  Look, I like me some curry, but not super-spicy.  We've had this conversation before.  Give me a mild curry, not one that'll punch my teeth in just for eating it.

Definitely don't give me Ashigara's "wild hardcore ultra-spicy curry."  Why anybody would want to inflict that sort of damage on themselves is entirely beyond me, but I know they're out there.  I also know there are people who don't like lima beans, which to me makes no sense: they're totally innocuous, it's like not liking plain rice.  It may not be all that tasty, but it's not going to be offensive.  And how can people dislike grilled cheese sandwiches?  It boggles the mind, but there are people out there who don't like grilled cheese sandwiches.  I'm not talking about grilled cheese with stuff on it, like tomatoes or mushrooms or ham or whatever, I'm talking about a simple, plain grilled cheese sandwich.  With a bowl of tomato soup.  How can you not like that?  It is a puzzlement.  Don't get me wrong... I digs me some ham & cheese melts like a LeTourneau L2350 loads trucks, but not when I'm wanting a grilled cheese sandwich. 

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February 06, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep05

Another week, another episode of Kantai Collection for our enjoyment!  The important question, of course, is how can they top Ep04's weirdness and Mutsu-service?  Will we get the fabled episode of Mutsu doing nothing in particular?  Will there be plot development?  Or will there be silly?  Come, my friends, let us venture forth into Episode 05!

What?  A headquarters shot without Mutsu?  Booooooooo!  Undoubtedly she's outside, enjoying a pleasant walk along the harborside while kittens and unicorns frolic nearby.  Oh, and Nagato has just told Torpedo Squadron Three that they're being dissolved immediately.  To the acid baths with you!  She goes on to say that they'll be reassigned to other fleets... oh.  Wrong type of dissolve.  I have to admit, this annoys me as he who doth scribe these writeups to no end... they're breaking The Fellowship!  Frodo (F-for-Fubuki), Merry (M-for-Mutsuki) and Pippin (P-for-poi) will be no more.  Now I might actually have to be creative, and nobody really wants that, do they?  Nuh-uh, not if you're smart you don't.

The hobbits have one last moment together as they pack up their troubles in their old kitbags and smile, smile, smile.  Frodo, as is her wont, is doing the whole "they're breaking up the fleet and its all my fault" thing, and Merry is being all "oh for the luvvapete, the Admiral is just reorganizing, you moistened bint," and Pippin is like "whatever, just get me out of here, you never liked me anyway."  And she's got a point, that "poi" thing got out of hand fast.  Still, Fubuki is getting all sad and stuff until it's pointed out that she might be put into the same fleet as Akagi.

I cannot tell you the amount of inappropriate thoughts going through Frodo's head at this moment.  Pippin has the right of it, however, when she says that Fubuki's kinda creepy.  Lights out finds all three destroyers unable to sleep, and a walk along the wharf in the moonlight ensues.  They turn out not to be alone.

The coven complete, they ritually sacrifice a light carrier and use her blood to draw arcane symbols upon the ground.  Quiet chanting can be heard for throughout the base, drawing many fleetgirls to their windows in mixed consternation and horror.  "Iä Hastur cf'ayak'vulgtmm, vugtlagln vulgtmm.  Iä Hastur cf'ayak'vulgtmm, vugtlagln vulgtmm."  The blood is mixed with two egg yolks, half a teaspoon of pepper, half a teaspoon of chopped green onion, some flour, then mixed with mashed potatoes.  The resulting glob is divided, shaped into circles, dipped in beaten egg and rolled through sifted breadcrumbs, then fried in peanut oil until a golden brown.  Makes up to 10 croquettes and summons Hastur, the Unspeakable One, Him Who Is Not To Be Named.  As opposed to Fernando Alonso, HWMNBN. 

As the moon turns red in the sky, yet reflects normal light, gasps of fear and the slamming shut of windows can be heard.  And coming from somewhere unseen, the plaintive voice of a young child can be heard like a dirge: "Hey, mister... can I have my ball back?"  As the surface of the water begins to roil and froth, we shall mercifully draw a veil over what occurs next between The Fellowship and Hastur, and skip ahead to...
 
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January 31, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep04

It was only a week ago that Kantai Collection took a dark and unexpected turn, leaving us to wonder just how the rest of the series is going to go.  Now we get to find out, and I'm thrilled to no end!  Of course, I'm one of the few as more and more it appears that people are less than impressed with the show.  Longtime reader Ben has an interesting discussion about his dissatisfaction over at his place, based at least in part on an ongoing e-mail conversation he's having with me.  He's given the show somewhat more thought than I have... this should come as no surprise to longtime readers of The Pond.  Over-analysis is not my forte.  Indeed, it would probably prove counterproductive to these writeups.  That's not the case for all shows, of course.  High School of the Dead greatly encouraged deeply introspective thoughts, for example... mostly of the "Dear God, why doth thou torment me so" variety, it's true, but still.  But enough of this jibber-jabber, let's get to the good stuff!  And by "good stuff", I mean the anime.  Provisionally.

Mutsuki is pulling Hachiko duty, waiting for her sister to come back from W Island.  If I was feeling particularly cruel, at this point I'd link to a gif from that episode of Futurama.  Yeah, you know the one.  I am not, however, a cruel duck, no matter how people may portray me.  Well, that and I started bawling like a little baby while I was looking for just the right gif to link to.  I'm sure my neighbors upstairs think I'm a morose drunk, crying into my beer at 1:30 in the morning.  No beer, no drunk, just Seymour.

The seasons change around her.  Spring turns to Summer, which changes to Fall.  The snows come in the Winter and the thaw indicates the return to Spring.  Through it all, Mutsuki sits on the quay, waiting for her sister to come home.  Through the passage of time, the base changes, the shipgirls stationed there change, Admirals come and go, but Mutsuki waits.  One day, her eyes get heavy, she rests her chin on her knees, and she goes to sleep.  And she meets her sister again.

...oh.  Holy crap.  I'm sorry.

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January 23, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep03

Last week, we had a training montage.  Fubuki The Clumsy needed to improve, and fast, before she got kicked out of the fleet.  This was, of course, done, because it's not that sort of show, right?  Also, a fight was brewing to boot... exciting times ahead!  Heck, why wait?  Let's get on with the show!

We begin this brand new episode with...

...a flashback to "a few days ago," aka "the end of last episode."  Nagato has just informed the light cruisers of Torpedo Squadron Three that they and their destroyers will form the basis of the first offensive against the Abyssals.  I'd just like to point out that this scene is just seiyuu Ayane Sakura having a four-way conversation with herself.  She actually does the voices for eight of the shipgirls, and you'd better believe I'm looking forward to that scene.  Jump back to now, and it's time for the mission briefing...

...where Mutsuki discovers that her older sister Kisaragi will be in on the mission as well.  Yay for family!  Also, yay for delays in construction!  Mutsuki is/was actually the name-ship for her class of destroyers, but Kisaragi was completed before her sister.  Eh, stuff happens.

Cutest collection of warships ever!  Good lord, they'll adorable the Abyssals to death.  What we've got here is Torpedo Squadron Four, joining The Fellowship for this operation.  Briefly, the plan is for The Fellowship to sneak in and attack W Island...

...shown here and please pay no attention whatsoever to the resemblance to Wake Island.  Merely coincidental, that.  Anyway, The Fellowship is to sneak in and attack Wake W Island at night, cause as much mayhem as they can and then withdraw, bringing the Abyssal ships known to be stationed there out after them.  Then Torpedo Squadron Four will ambush the Abyssals, The Fellowship will turn around, and the massacre will be total and complete.  There's no risk of being detected ahead of time, so all is right with the world.  It'll be a piece of cake!

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January 17, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep02

After having been hiding from the weather for the past couple of weeks, I ventured forth into the frozen wastes of Northern Illinois this evening for a lovely dinner with The Librarian.  I mention this for no other reason than to make an interesting bit of filler for this, the top paragraph of the Second Episode writeup for Kantai CollectionIn the first episode, we met half of the entire Imperial Japanese Navy and none of you, my readers, seemed to notice that I used the opening monologue from the movie Pacific Rim to describe the background the anime presented us with.  That made me sad.  I only had to change two words, to boot.  Perhaps I'm not as clever as I thought I was.  In any case, that was then.  This is now, and I'm probably even less clever just from the ongoing march of time killing off brain cells.  Hopefully not measurably so, but how would I know?  I leave that as an exercise for the reader.  Maybe one of you will tell me, but I can understand if you don't... after all, it might be more entertaining that way!  "Hurr durr... stupid hair girl stabs dead guy with pointed stick."  And I've just gotten distracted fixing a youtube link at that episodic recap and now I've got the soundtrack of Les Miserables going through my head and I'm going to give up for now and pick this up later.  Okay, it's later now, let's get this show on the road!  Raise anchor, all ahead flank speed.  Damn the torpedoes!

It is not late, it is very early.  The sun is not up.  Nary a shipgirl is stirring.  But yet, here is Our Heroine, Fubuki, out doing physical training.  You've gotta put in the effort if you wanna be the best around.  Nothing's gonna ever keep you down.

Except for having all the agility of a giraffe wearing ice skates, that is.  That and not being able to hit the broad side of a barn from the inside might have something to say about it.  Which would make for an interesting show, I've gotta say.  Everybody else goes to war, while Our Heroine stays behind.  She has to deal with being useless, particularly when the other ships come back damaged... or don't come back at all.  She'd feel completely worthless.  Then, as the Abyssals make one final push to smash the fleet, she'd be sent out, along with whatever shipgirls were left in desperation.  Finally, she'd have her chance to make a difference... to be a hero!  And then she falls over, takes a few crippling blows, and is forced to watch helplessly as her friends, her home, and her hopes are destroyed in front of her eyes.

The end.

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January 10, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep01

Wow, here's a shock, I'll be doing episodic writeups for Kantai Collection!  Sure, I've said I'd be doing them, but I'm really, really doing it!  As has been previously stated, it's not like this show is perfect for me or anything... the spirits of Japanese naval vessels from World War II reborn into the bodies of young women.  Throw in a rubber duck and a F1 car and we'll effectively have all of my serious hobbies all in one place.  And then The Pond will collapse in upon itself, forming a black hole of blog; all writing therein will be self-referential... nothing from the outside will intrude, nothing from the inside will interest.  So, kinda like MySpace, then.  Of course, that almost certainly won't happen... why would a F1 car show up in this show?  I've said it many times before, however: if an episode of anime contains both a rubber duck and a F1 car, The Pond will shut down.  If the duck is driving the car, I'll close it right then and there.  If they're in the same episode, I'll finish the series.  Somewhere, one of my readers is on the phone to SHAFT, trying to make this happen.   And I don't blame them, really.  I'm actually a little excited about the possibility: it's not like most blogs have a defined and announced endpoint.  Brickmuppet isn't going to close his when he graduates from college.  Ben's not going to close his when the Texas Rangers win something.  Steven isn't going to close his when the ducks invade.  But if one animator out there that was on the production staff of Rio Rainbow Gate! is still holding a grudge, he has the power to end me.  That's kinda fun to think about.  Know what else is fun to think about?  Kantai Collection!  Let's have me stop bloviating and get right to the recappin'!

When I was a kid, whenever I'd feel small or lonely, I'd look up at the stars... wondered if there was life up there.  Turns out I was looking in the wrong direction.  When alien life entered our world, it was from deep beneath the Pacific ocean. 

A fissure between two tectonic plates.  A portal between dimensions.  The Breach.  I was 15 when the first Abyssals made land in San Francisco.  By the time ships, jets and tanks took it down six days and thirty-five miles later, three cities were destroyed.  

Tens of thousands of lives were lost.  We mourned our dead, memorialized the attack, and moved on.  And then, only six months later, the second attack hit Manila.  And then the third one hit Cabo.  And then the fourth, and then we learned that this was not going to stop.  This was just the beginning. 

We needed a new weapon.  The world came together, pooling its resources, throwing aside old rivalries for the sake of the greater good.  To fight monsters, we created monsters of our own.  The Fleetgirls program was born.

Oh boy.

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January 04, 2015

First Episode Writeup #4

I find that I'm enjoying these one episode writeups!  There's no long-term commitment involved, I'm not devoting myself to watching the entire series, I can pull out every joke I can think of and use 'em all at once, it's great!  Even better, if I miss a plot point or something, it doesn't matter!  For example, in my very first series writeup (Ga-Rei Zero) I completely missed the significance of the blue butterflies and the gray-haired prettyboy in the first episode... who knew he'd be the Big Bad?  As an aside, after re-reading that series of writeups, I should go redo them in my improved style... hm.  Food for thought.  Anyway.  We're not here to discuss that series, we're here to discuss a new First Episode Writeup!  What poor show gets the patented Wonderduck treatment this time around?

People call them brother and sister.  Sure, there's a 20 year age gap between them, at least, but that's not too strange, right?  Right?  Neither is the glowing way she looks at him, like the look an adoring golden retriever gives her master, that's not weird for a little girl at all.  What IS weird is the perspective on this shot, which makes it look like the two of them are walking in front of a projection of the City of Townsville town below.  Never mind the viola case she's holding... yes, I said "viola."  Not violin.  Viola.  Because the viola doesn't get enough love in this world, it's such a mellow sounding instrument, not all squeaky and screamy like the violin.  If it turns out to be a violin she's carrying, so be it.  Until that time however, it's a viola because this is my writeup, darnit.  Meanwhile, in another part of the anime...

...a graphics glitch has rendered another young girl's shotgun useless.  So many things in that sentence I never thought I would ever type.  For such a great looking show and trust me, it is though we haven't quite gotten to that part yet, that's a fairly egregious mistake... particularly because it occurs twice.

It turns out that the young girl, who is named Triela, is paired with an older man as well, named Hilshire.  They seem to be part of some sort of paramilitary/police special forces unit, and their target wasn't there... which means it's at the other target.  A target that...

...is being watched by yet another heavily armed young girl/older man combo.  Her name is Rico, which seems like a fairly unlikely name for a girl.  His name is Jean, which means that the two of them should probably switch names.  There's also a lot of regular agents standing around looking inconspicuous.  Inside a nondescript apartment in the building being cased...

...a bunch of malcontents and neer-do-wells are gathered.  They've just received word that their other safehouse has been hit, which rendered it not so safe.  Oh, and the informant said that young girl did most of the damage.  The man on the right rolls his eyes and looks dubious at this news.  And rightfully so... little girls being used as assassins?  Preposterous!  What are they gonna do, hit us with Hello Kitty and My Little Pony plushies?  The doorbell rings and someone we will call Skippy goes to see who's there, chuckling under his breath: "Hello Kitty plushies."

Oh.

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