December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!!

...then the space ninjas come.

Quite the year 2006 was, neh? In F1, we saw the retirement of Slappy Schumacher, the birth of SuperAguri, Massa and Button winning their first races, half the field swapping teams (and the other half wanting to), the change of Midlands to Spyker, Alonso winning his 2nd Drivers Championship, and the death and rebirth of Minardi. Also, Vaucaunson's Duck dropped in from San Francisco and watched the USGP live from The Pond this year, which was remarkably cool of him.

In anime, KyoAni ruled the world with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon 2006, and Aria, all of which are top-shelf shows (Update: Aria wasn't done by KyoAni. The continuity staff here at The Pond has been sacked). Surprises included Ouran High School Host Club (which I still can't believe I liked so much) and Strawberry Panic (which affected me like a car crash... I just couldn't look away).

Then, there was... Dokuro-chan. The nightmares persist to this day.

I also discovered the joy that was World of Narue and some obscure show* called CardCaptor Sakura... great stuff, both of 'em.

But no discussion of 2006 would be complete without mentioning the acquisition of Chiyo-chan, replacing my 7-year-old computer. Or Oblivion eating up most of my free time.

I'm also thankful for the Panda Express that opened up a month ago.

But mostly, I'm happy that I appear to have entertained my readers for another year. Thanks to Pixy for providing The Pond a home on the 'net.

I'm going to do a Time Magazine-style cop-out here and thank YOU, the readers, for stopping by and actually giving me a reason to write. You all deserve some cookies.


*note: may not actually be obscure at all.

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Even Still More Ducks In Anime

I'm assuming that's not kanji on the duck's head...

Please Twins!

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December 30, 2006

The Closest-to-Hentai-but-Isn't Show I've Ever Seen!

Kintaro Oe. Age 25. Tokyo University Dropout. However, he independently withdrew from law school because he had mastered the entire curriculum.

Since then, he has been changing jobs numerous times, learning about life. Riding his favorite bike, Crescent Moon, he keeps on moving.

And perhaps someday, he may save the anime industry...

...oh, no. I mean, 'even the world.'
--from the ending of Ep 6

Gentle Readers, I bring you the ecchi-est show I've ever seen...
'...and his sidekick, SilverLad!'  *note: not really.

It's hardly a stretch to say that the plot of GoldenBoy is well-used. Young man hits the road, meets people, learns things, and then moves on, leaving those he's interacted with changed for the better.

The hook in this case is that Kintaro Oe, our hero, only seems to end up interacting with smoulderingly hot women. We'll get to them in a moment... first, lets meet Kintaro:
The many faces of Oe.

As you can see, the animators weren't afraid to go all over the map when drawing our lad. The upper-left pic, of Kintaro on Crescent Moon, is the usual way he's presented, but the others are not uncommon (save the lower-left, which only is seen in Ep 6... thankfully). As they say, 'SD happens.'

Kintaro is a genius, and I'm not just saying that for his choices in co-stars. The GoldenBoy really IS a 'golden boy.' For example, in Ep 1, he learns how to program computers... using only a "keyboard" that he scribbled on a sheet of paper. Ep 3, he winds up working in a family-owned noodle shop... where he quickly catches onto the art of noodle-making (which is an art... one that's a cast-iron b*tch to get right). Ep 4, he goes from not being able to swim... to being able to keep pace (barely) with an Olympic champion. And Ep 6, he (almost) single-handedly saves an animation company from certain doom. In every case, he's doing things he had NEVER done before... always with a smile, and always with his mantra "study, study, study, study, study...." He's also VERY humble, and most of the people he works with don't realize how brilliant he is until he's gone.

The humor is mostly of the 'cable network' type, blue instead of raunchy, and in a few cases, completely over-the-top (Kintaro has a thing for toilets, for example). There's a lot of humor, but it depends on the viewer if it works for them. In my case, most of it worked pretty well.

I picked up the Essential Anime version of GoldenBoy back when MediaPlay went under (for $9.99! Woo!), and truly didn't expect much more than eye-candy. Instead, I got an engaging story and an interesting character. The first five episodes are all stand-alone, and could be watched in any order without losing anything in the process.

Ep 6, however, ties them all together by bringing all of the people Kintaro helped in one place to help HIM. It doesn't hurt that they all have a soft spot for him... and in a couple of cases, a serious case of the yeehaws for him, too.

Now, lets move onto the fun stuff... need I say that everything from now on is decidedly NSFW? Click below! more...

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December 29, 2006

...working on it...

The "Just This Side of Hentai" anime post is coming... as soon as I can figure out where Chiyo-chan's DVD player is hiding the screenshot folder.

*grumble grumble grumble*

Update 1226am: Saturday, I swear.

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December 27, 2006

Can't post, clowns'll eat me.

Busybusybusybusybusy.

I've got a post or two coming, but can't post much more than this right now.

One of 'em will be a review of the closest-to-hentai-but-isn't show I've ever seen. I'll let you guess which series it is!

Stay tuned.

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December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, and a happy Otaku Day!

Merry Christmas, a happy Otaku Day...

I wish all my readers a peaceful Christmas, with you and yours...

It's Haruhi's world, she just lets us live in it...

...and a Haruhi New Year!

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"I Feel G*ack*"thud

James Brown... is dead.

Sad, sad news from the music world. The Hardest Working Man In Show Business has left the stage for good.

These days James Brown is almost the punchline of a joke... the coked-out, drunk, wild-haired crazy James Brown. But he was called 'The Godfather of Soul' for a reason, y'all.

Check this out: James Brown performing at Live 8 about a year or so ago.

RIP, James Brown.

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December 24, 2006

Getting Ready for Xmas...

I'm getting ready to head over to the Old Homenest for Christmas, so not much time to post... but I'll leave you with this:
I'm so very, very sorry.

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December 23, 2006

Cleaning Frenzy!!! RUN AWAYYYYYYY!

As Christmas is Monday, and I'm getting a visit from Momzerduck and Ph.Duck after we do Christmas at The Old Homenest, today I'm going to be up to my wingpits in cleaning products.

I've been awake for a half-hour and I've already cleaned the bathroom sink, mirror and loo, and have the shower 'soaking' in something that is supposed to be able to remove water stains (had a dripping faucet a few months back that wasn't fixed very quickly).

Need to: swiffer the floor, clean the kitchen (oy!), polish the computer desk, and then dust and vacuum. But my duster has fallen apart, sigh.

I summon Mikuru-Meido-chan!
This post was created solely so I could post this picture.  Seriously.

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December 21, 2006

No, really!

They really ARE my duckies!

In recent conversation via e-mail with a reader I shall leave unnamed, there was shock and surprise that the above picture was of my collection of rubber duckies.

Believe me, nobody is more surprised than myself at the size of my flock... but how did it start? Ah, now THAT is a fine question. I remember that day as if it was yesterday...
(cue 'flashback' music)

I was a senior at Duck U., the very place I work at now, and one of my friends had had a death in the family. She was quite saddened by the loss, and I wanted to do something to cheer her up. I nipped off to We 'b Toys to look for something silly and cute... and found a duckie. It just yelled "I'll help her," so it made the trip back to the dorm and found its way into her hands.

She carried that duckie with her EVERYWHERE for the next week. After the funeral, she presented me with, as she put it, a "thank you duckie." That duckie, named "Scooter," is still in my flock, as a matter of fact... here's a not-so-great photo of him, from the original used above:
Scooter, the ORIGNAL Wonderduck.

After that, people began to give me duckies... for Christmas, my birthday, as a thank you for a 'job well done' after a difficult lighting design, whatever.

That's how the flock began... but it really took off just a few years ago. For example, in one year, I added nearly 50 duckies to the flock. It went from a small group that fit on a single shelf to what you see up top. Nowadays, it takes nearly two hours to clean them; about a third of them need to be cleaned with a (really) soft toothbrush.

So, that's the story of The Pond's Flock. They never fail to bring a smile to my face after a long day, and isn't that the point?

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December 19, 2006

Still More Ducks In Anime

See, it's about a duck named Duck that turns into a girl that wants to dance ballet... and they say there's no new stories in anime.

Princess Tutu


In an unrelated note, this is the 400th post here at The Pond.

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December 18, 2006

MINARDI IS BACK!!!

Paul Stoddard bought a ChampCar team, and is bringing the Minardi name back to major-league racing!

I'm so happy, I can't stand it!

Guido & Ethel are BACK!!! *does happy duckie dance*
Make Mine MINARDI!!!

Thanks to reader MadMike for bringing this to my attention.

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December 17, 2006

Elfen Lied

Over at Chizumatic, there's this:
Elfen Lied begins with a bang, all right. Only difference is that the "bang" leaves behind lots of guts, blood, and gore. Elfen Lied is almost a slasher feature, given how much violence there is and how explicitly the violence is presented, or so I've been told. It's a good thing they created it digitally, because the bill for red paint would have bankrupted them.

The "bang" it begins with is Lucy's escape from the laboratory where she and the other diclonius's (read "demons") were being studied. To escape, she killed all the guards, by cutting them into pieces. Ick... (I've seen screen caps, and you don't want to.)

Elfen Lied is a mixed bag. It is, as Steven says, extremely violent and very graphic in that violence. It makes Hellsing (either version) look like Azumanga Daioh, actually.

But, for all that, I found it to be incredibly absorbing, and I don't usually groove on shows of that style. What ultimately makes it work is the dichotomy of the Lucy/Nyu character... one side is an awesomely powerful creature that thinks nothing of, say, tearing the head off an innocent secretary then using her pens as head-shotting missiles, using her 'arms'. The other side of her is a sweet, caring, brain-addled cutie who can only say 'nyu.' Yes, I know, it sounds awful, but it hooked me.

Look, there's no easier way for me to describe the show's violence level than to tell a story from the Duck U. Anime Club. The Club receives monthly screener DVDs from ADVocates, the ADV club group, and one month had the first episode of EL on it. Nobody having heard of the show, we sat down to run it.

ADV throws up a black screen over nudity and extreme violence on their screener DVDs, and the FIRST EIGHT MINUTES were nothing more than black screen and subtitles (except for brief flashes of non-graphic animation).

An example (note: not really).

Best darn OP ever, though. Bar none. EVER.

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Anime Blogging? Meh.

I find that I don't have much to write about right now... not even last Tuesday's Anime Night inspires me to florid prose. The highlight of the night had to be The Librarian's new hairstyle: short. I've known her for close to 10 years, and her hair has always been longer... I was so surprised that I actually burst out with "My god! Your hair! It's gorgeous!!!"

Surprisingly, the kaiju didn't come out and savage me.

Anyway, CardCaptor Sakura is great, there's a lot of unintentional humor ("Bow-chicka-bow-bowwwww." "Shut up, 'duck." "Nice hair." "Shut up, 'duck."), you should really watch it, Robert's Anime Corner Store has a great deal on the entire series, blah blah blah. Same old same old.

Sakura doesn't mind.  She's ALWAYS happy.  Must take a lot of valium...

Except for one sentence that I THINK is going to be a major plot point: "People with power are attracted to people WITH power." It was almost a throwaway line in the episode, but something tells me that it explains a lot... such as why Li and Sakura both have the hots for for Yukito (even though we've not seen any sign of magical ability from him... unless you count his skill at carnival games), why Sakura gets all squishy around the new teacher, yadda.

Guess it's that time of year... the holidays have never thrilled me. I'll try and get more motivated later.

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December 16, 2006

*scratch yawn scratch scratch*

Wow, musta been tired. Last night I decided to take a nap around 8pm.

...usually I make it to the nest, though.

It's 9am and I just woke up. Guess I needed the sleep.

Should probably think about posting something or other here at The Pond, too...

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December 13, 2006

Hallowed Be Thy Name...

...kawaii be done...

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December 11, 2006

Anime Day

SDB: "If Ron Karenga can do it, so can I. The newly-formed Otaku religion celebrates Anime Day on December 25. It's a jenn-you-wine traditional Japanese holiday (that I just made up) which otaku celebrate by putting up life-sized cardboard cutouts of Sailor Moon. We demand that Usagi be placed next to Rabbi Bogomilsky's menorah, and if they won't do that then we'll sue."

Let's think about this. Pikachu, Sakura and Chiyo-chan would be in attendance as prophets, kawaii be their names. Various mecha would have to serve as angels, and the Space Battleship Yamato playing the role of the Ark.

Communion would be given in the form of Pocky and caffinated drinks.

I think Steven's onto something here!

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Overheard during the Bears radio broadcast.

"You! You are NOT Devin Hester!"

Just amazing, he is. New rookie record for kick/punt returns for TDs, with six.

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December 10, 2006

HUMANS! *eyeroll*

Fourteen shopping days before Christmas. I was at the grocery store, picking up some Crack for Ducks (aka 'rye bread'), and what do I see?

Some human screaming at a cashier, just going off on her. "I'm not paying that much, that's not what the sign said, you f(censored)ing c(censored)t!"

...and on, and on. Once the store manager got over, he started ripping on him.

Dude obviously had never worked retail.

Look, I know you humans are excitable, particularly at this time of year, but you're not even CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. You're picking up stuff for watching the football games today. Relax. Calm down. It's not that big of a deal.

And, everybody? Heed my words: don't yell at the cashier. For one thing, you look like an idiot. For another, the cashier is able to help you and if you piss them off they're less likely to do so. Remember: the cashier is a person, not your servant.

Nothing you can get in a store is THAT important. It just isn't. And grow the hell up, will ya?

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December 07, 2006

65 Years Ago...

"Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. "
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

It's no great surprise that I'm fascinated by Japan. More specifically, I'm fascinated by Japan's reaction to World War II, and the incredible recovery they have made from their crushing defeat.

But before THAT, I was (and still am) amazed and fascinated by the men, machines, scope and scale of the Pacific War. I've replayed the war dozens, perhaps hundreds of times in games such as Victory In The Pacific (usually in The Game Room at Vaucaunson's Duck's house), and more recently via Pacific War on the computer.

I've read dozens of books, hundreds of websites, and written some long papers on the topic.

But nothing could compare to the half-hour talk I had with a Pearl Harbor survivor that walked into my bookstore some five years ago. I was having a lousy day, up to my wingpits in stuff, and this very elderly gentleman walks in wearing a USS Downes ballcap. I recognized the name from having seen the picture linked to above many times, and he was gracious enough to talk to me about his experiences that day ("lots of noise, lots of smoke, and a helluva lot of bullets...") Unfortunately, his name escapes me now, and considering his age when I met him, I'm fairly sure that he's no longer with us.

He had never managed to forgive the Japanese, and I fear that he would be very angry if he knew of my fascination. I can't help that, but he was pleased to know of my interest in that period of his life. He pointed out that "...kids these days don't know, or don't care, about the history of their country." I'm afraid that he's right.

So in a real sense, this blog stems from that awful day of 65 years ago. The anime and pocky, the faltering attempts to learn the language, the appreciation of the art, theatre and food, all ultimately came from that "Day of Infamy."

May the sacrifices of the servicemen of both sides never be forgotten, so that, perhaps we can learn from them. I saw a story today, relating that there won't be any more Pearl Harbor Survivor reunions, due to their age and dwindling numbers.

I hope that, years from now, people will realize what the USS Arizona memorial means, and that it doesn't become just a tourist spot.

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