March 14, 2007

F1 Pr0n: Super Aguri!

Ant, Mr. Super, Suicide (L to R)

Last to debut, one of the first in Australia. Go figure. Looks pretty much like a stamped-out clone of the Honda, truth be told. That may cause problems... if they do anything points-wise before they get to Europe, rest assured the legal battles will be AMAZING!


Gotta love the fully-attached nose wings. Or, at least, I do. But I'm easy that way.

Finally, courtesy of the SuperAguri website, a comparison of the history of SuperAguri cars. Amazing that they have three bodystyles in one year...
Top-to-Bottom: SA07, 06, 05

Now THAT'S a fast evolution. Now lets see if the car is equally as fast. Only a day to go...

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March 13, 2007

Anime (well...) First Episode: Death Note Live Action Movie

Remember when I said that "I had a post on the back burner until something specific happens?"

Well, it just so happens that the specific something happened tonight: The Librarian and I celebrated her birthday (a little early). Her present? A copy of the first of two live-action movies of the manga/anime smash Death Note. She's a big fan of the book/show, so I knew this would go over well... and it did; she loved it.
Death Note: Use Only As Directed.
So, what about the movie itself? Death Note, for those of you that haven't seen the anime/read the manga, is (at it's core) a police thriller. more...

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March 11, 2007

F1 on SPEED!: Australia

Thank St. Fangio the Quick, it's that time again!

Can you smell it in the air? It's Spring, when a young fan's thoughts turn to the Formula 1 season! The dulcet tones of The Legendary Announce Team will guide us through 17 races on five continents (and two networks) this year, but it's time to concentrate on just one right not: AUSTRALIA!

Here's the best part of all: everything is going to be LIVE and at a decent hour! Enjoy it while you can, fans, soon we'll have to wake up at 4am to catch quals. But for now... ahh yes, for now we got it good!

The whole thing kicks off with the new extended-length practice session on Thursday, March 15th, from 10pm to 1130pm. No more 60 minute practice sessions, now they're up to 90! Oh, and the 'Friday Drivers' are gone, too: it's gonna be the race drivers only now.

Friday, March 16th, hands us the Qualifying session from 1030pm to Midnight. For once, the FIA has decided to stick with the same qualifying format for two years straight... Slappy is sharpening his ice-skates right now, my friends, for Hell has frozen over!

Then the moment we have all been waiting lo these long months for... The Australian Grand Prix from Albert Park gets going on Saturday, March 17th, from 930pm to Midnight. There's a replay of the race on Sunday, from 9pm to 1130pm, but why watch it then, when you can watch it LIVE?

All times, of course, are Central time zone, since that's where The Pond is located. Subtract two hours for the Pacific zone, Steven (I know you'll be watching). Add one hour for the East Coast, Brickmuppet, if they let you watch that sort of thing at your duty station. Add the square-root of -1 for Pune, if there's anybody reading this in India (other than Narain Kittylitter, of course).

Eleven teams. Twenty-two drivers. And 500 million fans. The spectacle that is F1.

Finally: it's time.

PS- It's come to my attention that Zsolt Baumgartner has a job in 2007! He's officially the test driver and backup for Minardi USA in ChampCar. No more serving Goulash McNuggets through the driveup window at the Budapest McDonalds! We'll be keeping an eye on Our Hero throughout the season.

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March 10, 2007

Kanon, ep23

Dammit. I hate it when a show makes me cry.

If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, this picture isn't a spoiler.

(Update: In comments, able reader Will pointed out that the original picture COULD have been a spoiler... and the second he pointed out how it was, I slapped my forehead in disgust and changed the picture to the one above. I also edited his comment to remove the spoiler in question.... If you want to see what the original picture was, CLICK HERE. Good catch, Will!)

But now for something completely different (includes a small episode spoiler): more...

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Rude of me...

I would be remiss if I didn't thank Don of "Beware the Kawaii" again. Taking pity on a bandwidth-disabled duck, he has, again, sent a few DVDs up to The Pond.

The original Kanon, KyoAni's Air (including the movies), something called Mahou Shoujou Tai (which I'm weakly familiar with under the name 'Tweeny Witches', from this AMV, where it's used on a monitor screen). Also in the discs are some Ozama Tezuka (remember Astro Boy? That's him...), "Pete's latest infatuation," Manami Straight (which I've seen the 1st episode of, and was pretty turned off by the chibification of everybody under the age of 20), and a metric assload of other things, to boot.

Beware The Kawaii has already been named a member of the Order of the Honorary Duck, and I considered adding an Oak Leaves Cluster to the award, I realized that would just be silly. He's already an Honorary Duck, it can't get any better than that for you non-duckish types!

So again, I thank Don with all of my feathers, and heartily suggest that y'all go over there and read his stuff. He's a pretty darn good photographer, too.

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March 08, 2007

Anime First Episode: Ikkitousen - Dragon Destiny

I didn't want to have to do this. While I freely admit my somewhat twisted enjoyment of the original Ikkitousen series, I really hoped that someone down the line would have realized that... well, it just wasn't good, and that a sequel would be a very, very wrong thing to do.

But the lure of money brought in by the first show (just take a look at all the figures from it that are out there... heck, I even have one) was too strong. And thus, Ikkitousen - Dragon Destiny has been whelped and let loose upon an unsuspecting public.

Maybe they moved away from their tried-and-true style? Could they have possibly turned this into a GOOD series without us being aware of it? more...

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March 07, 2007

Dry Spell.

So I've hit another stretch where I've got nothing much that I can post about (I've one topic on the back burner until something specific happens, but until that time I can't post about it).

You'd think that with the F1 season less than two weeks away, I'd be writing about that, but there just isn't much interesting happening.

So I leave it to you, dear readers: is there anything you'd like me to write about? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I'll do my bestest to satisfy your whims.

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March 04, 2007

F1 Driver Lineup Set.

With two weeks to go before the 2007 F1 season gets into gear, the final driver seat filled, and almost all the new-version cars on the track (Super Aguri will debut theirs at Australia), I thought I should take a look at the people I'll be making fun of this year.

1 Fernando Alonso: Winner of the last two Driver's Championships, one of the best drivers out there. Problem is, he won those championships in a Renault. Now that he's in the (ahem) fragile McLaren, it's anybody's guess how he'll do.
2 Lewis Hamilton: Rookie. The '(next) Great British Hope.' First Black driver in F1. No pressure, kid, no pressure.

3 Giancarlo Fisichella: THIS is Renualt's flagship driver? After bitching and moaning for the past two years, he's being given a chance to succeed... or fail, which is what I'M thinking is more likely.
4 Heikki Kovalainen: Rookie. Another Finnish driver, from a long line of talented Finnish drivers. Impossible name to spell correctly. God help me when it comes time to do the F1 UPDATES!

5 Felipe Massa: Schumacher Junior? Or just Junior? Looks like he hasn't ever had to shave.
6 Kimi Raikkonen: Possibly the best driver in the game, now in a car that shouldn't break as often... unless his driving style is why the McLaren's kept failing. The Greatest Interview in F1.

7 Jenson Button: The '(old) Great British Hope.' Won his first race last year at Hungary. His car is the ugliest in F1 history.
8 Rubens Barrichello: Completely overshadowed by Schumacher, then completely overshadowed by his teammate last year. His car, too, is the ugliest in F1 history.

BMW Sauber
9 Nick Heidfeld: His clone is now out of F1. Let's see if he can drive with...
10 Robert Kubica: First Polish driver in F1. Ugliest driver in F1. I SO want him to be fastest in quals once. Just once. The "Pole on Pole" headline just HAS to be used...

11 Ralf Schumacher: Now the 2nd best 'Schumacher' driving racecars.
12 Jarno Trulli: Either the slowest driver, or the fastest. No in-between. The Engineer needs to show SOMETHING, or there'll be Toyota executives disemboweling themselves soon.

Red Bull
14 David Coulthard's Chin: A Man's Man. A Driver's Driver. Loves to sign autographs. Stuck in a lousy car. Next...
15 Mark Webber: Um. Er. Australian. Next...

16 Nico Rosberg: Rookie last year. Prettyboy. Started well last year, then, to be blunt, pretty much blew chunks the rest of the way. His car didn't help much, to be fair. We'll see.
17 Alexander Wurz: Man-Mountain. They had to amputate half his legs to get him to fit in the cockpit, and he's STILL too tall. Been driving forever, and now he'll finally get a full-time drive... in what may possibly be the worst car in F1. Oy.

Toro Rosso
18 Tonio Liuzzi: Fashion victim. Annoying. Drives with an eyebrow piercing under his helmet. Did I mention he's annoying? Go away.
19 American Scott Speed: This is the heir to the Andretti legacy? Oh boy. At least he's got a great name.

20 Christijan Albers: Best off-road driver in F1.
21 Adrian Sutil: Rookie. No idea who he is or what he can do. Yo, Adrian!

Super Aguri
22 Takuma Sato: "Suicide" Sato. F1 UPDATE!'s favorite driver. In theory, the SA car should be pretty competitive, so we may well be seeing repeats of his Honda days, when he earned Michael Schumacher the 'Slappy' nickname. He's scary fast, as well as just flat-out scary.
23 Anthony Davidson: '(another) Great British Hope.' Fastest in practice all last year. Boy, he's in for a surprise.

So that's the lineup... it's gonna be a fun season! And boy, it's just gonna be hard to watch, with the Honda and the Renault trying to out-ugly each other. Yeesh.

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March 03, 2007

Lunar Eclipse!

Here's what tonight's lunar eclipse looked like at The Pond: a matter of fact, it's all dark...


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Melancholy Packaging

SDB, talking about the upcoming release of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, sez: "Bandai and Kadokawa have decided to compromise by releasing the series both in chronological orderand in broadcast order. The broadcast order version will come out as Special Editions, without dubs. That means that completist fanboys will have to buy the series twice, yielding more revenue."

Well, yes and no. According to Robert, the Supreme Ruler and Usurper of the Anime Corner (does anybody else get a chuckle out of the inflated titles he gives himself in his weekly e-mails?), the "Special Edition" releases will have both the chronological order AND the broadcast order discs in them!

Unfortunately, that DOES mean that you'll have to pay more (and Bandai's releases are on the pricey side to begin with) for the S.E. versions, of course, so it may very well work out to paying the same price as if you bought two discs. But hey, you get a collector's iron-on! *eye-roll*

The broadcast order dvds will be, as noted, without dubs, which is okay with me, since I haven't watched a dub version of a show that's in my collection in *coughcough* years. I just have a problem with the voice acting in dubs, particularly if I've seen the show subbed beforehand.

There HAVE been a few dubbed shows recently that don't drive me screaming for an icepick to insert forcefully into my eardrums: Cowboy Bebop's was particularly good... in fact, I've yet to see the subbed version. Ghost In The Shell: Stand-Alone Complex was decent as well, though I still prefer the subs.

I've heard nothing to make me think that Haruhi will be worthwhile in dubbed form, though Bandai has done some good work in that area before. Go ahead, Bandai, surprise me!
You won't see this shot in the ED for the show, except in the extras.  KyoAni decided the animate the entire dance as an bonus clip on the Japanese release... if we're lucky, it'll be on one of the dvds here, too.

Actually, what really surprises me is that there was a discussion about releasing the episodes in chronological order to begin with. The broadcast order may be a little confusing (particularly in the first, oh, third of the series), but the whole thing tells the storyline in a very smooth arc. By the time you hit the last episode, you've gotten the whole package in a way that keeps you intrigued the whole time.

In contrast, the chronological order gives you the meat of the show ("Melancholy" I thru VI, plus the 'movie') at the very start, and then tacks on seven episodes that, while good in their own right (particularly "Day of Sagittarius"), feel like filler when viewed chronologically.

Put it this way: you could make a fantastic OVA out of the 'meat', lose the other seven episodes, and you'd STILL have a smash hit on your hands.

But in the broadcast version, you learn more about what's happening in Haruhi's World (it's her world, she just lets us live in it), albeit in flashback/forward form... and it makes sense, and it doesn't feel like something's tacked on that way.

My take: KyoAni broadcasted it the way they did for a reason, it worked, and it worked WELL. Why mess with it?

(UPDATE: the original version of this post said that Geneon was the distributor, not Bandai as is the case. This has been changed, and the entire continuity department has been sacked. The management of The Pond regrets the error, and will fully refund the money you paid for this post.)

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