January 31, 2011

F1 Pr0n: Sauber C30

Of the three rollouts today, only Sauber released studio glamour shots of their steed, so let's give them the attention they richly deserve!

Yes I know, that's not a studio shot.  Well, they didn't do a studio shot of the nose.  We take what we can get 'round these parts.  Again, let's compare to last year's car.  Unlike the Ferrari, the sidepod intakes sure look larger than on the C29... in fact, the sidepods as a whole seem bulkier, at least from the front.  It's a high nose, but that's more of a carryover from the 2010 chassis than a copy of the Red Bull.  However...

...it has more of a droop than the C29.  Maybe it's an optical illusion, but the nose seems more pointy than last year's.  The shark's fin stretching to the rear wing is gone as well.  After looking at the side view, I'm pretty sure the sidepods are bulkier.  That can mean one of two things: one, the KERS unit takes up more space than I expected, or two, they expect to have cooling problems, leading to bigger radiator units (ergo, the larger inlets).  Or something else altogether... it's so hard to tell with a F1 car.  It might be simple aerodynamics, too.

I dunno... I think I prefer the looks of the C30 over Ferrari's F150.  I'm just not sure if that's because it's really a better looking car, or if it's because I despise Ferrari so much.  The addition of sponsor logos is welcome; it might let Sauber actually advance the design during the season.  I was going to comment on the proliferation of Mexican-based business logos (Cuervo tequila, Telmex, Telcel, Claro), until I remembered that Sergio Perez is driving for Sauber this season.  The addition of some color to the livery helps the looks, too.

Of course, looks don't win races... if they did, Lotus would have won every race last year.

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January 29, 2011

Ducks In Anime: Lucky!



No, I didn't actually watch the show.  I was over at Doki Fansubs, one of the really good groups out there, and saw the above.  So of course I downloaded the three episode torrent to figure out which one it came from, and voila!  A lucky Ducks In Anime post!

Why, what did you think I was talking about?

(does anybody really wear their hair like that?)

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January 28, 2011

F1 Pr0n: Ferrari F150

The offseason is over.  F1 has come back for 2011 with the traditional first rollout of the season, Scuderia Ferrari!  This morning they debuted their new chassis, the F150 (nope, no truck jokes here... yet).  So what does it look like?

Like this:

Pictures of last year's car can be found here, and may be useful for comparison purposes.  Two things immediately leap out at me.  First off, the nose is higher. It's more like Red Bull's 2010 challenger, the RB6, then the Ferrari 2010 car, F10.  Well heck, it worked pretty well for Red Bull last year, and in Formula 1 if it works, it gets copied.  The second thing visible is that the air intakes on the sidepods are more horizontal than last year.  The intake above the driver's head is rounder as well.

Let's take a look at the rest of the car, shall we?
 
more...

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Rio Rainbow Gate! ep04

After the cliffhanger ending of episode 03 of Rio Rainbow Gate!, when a potential rival for Our Heroine arrives on the scene dressed as a chicken-wing delivery girl, I had a horrible thought.  "Could RRG! be developing a plot?  Is this primordial ooze of a show evolving into primordial ooze with small vestigial flipper-like things that may in fact turn into a pair of arms sometime in the distant future?  And could these squishy proto-arms perhaps allow our primordial ooze to operate a word-processing program by flailing at the keyboard randomly until a sequence of words appears on the attached monitor, words that actually form coherent thoughts and plotpoints, thereby accidentally injecting some drama and conflict into our cheesecake?  Could this be happening?"

"...we stand on guard for thee!"
(I bet you didn't know laser weasels were Canadian)

more...

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January 25, 2011

Ladies And Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

It's been a long offseason to say the least.  Once F1 went dark on the 2010 season, there's been little of note to come out of the world of autosports.  However, this weekend is the unofficial start of the 2011 racing season, and none too soon.

Consider: Friday will see the first rollout of a F1 car, Ferrari's F50.  Saturday brings the start of my second-favorite car race, the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (the 24 Hours of LeMans is my favorite), followed by the ending of the race on Sunday. 

Then we get four separate rollouts on Tuesday, February 1st: Williams, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Mercedes, as pre-season testing gets underway for the F1 circus.  Finally, on Friday the 7th McLaren brings the MP4-26 to light in Berlin, topping off a busy, busy week!

As you can imagine, there'll be a whole slew of F1 Pr0n entries.  And speaking of F1 Pr0n, watch this:


If that doesn't get your engine racing, nothing will. 

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January 24, 2011

Just An Old 'Shop I Did...


I slapped this together a few years back for a FARK photoshop contest.  If I remember correctly, it got more than a few votes for reasons that escape me to this day.  Maybe there were a lot of Kanon '06 fans reading, I dunno.  What the heck, I liked it.

To be honest, this is just here because I can't drum up the energy to post something worthwhile.  We're still crazy-go-nuts at the Duck U. Bookstore, though that'll slow down starting Tuesday.  Hopefully soon, there will be content.

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TGB S16E01

Over the past few years, I have watched dozens of episodes of the British motoring show Top Gear.  I can't say how many exactly, but I do believe I've seen every episode since Season 7.  Each season tends to be somewhere between six and eight episodes long, plus one or two specials each calendar year.  One thing I've noticed (and been amused by) during the viewing of all of these shows is that, during the News and the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car segments, the producer tends to put at least one very good looking woman in the front row, in clear camera shot.  I've come to call this young lady the "Top Gear Babe," or TGB. 

To show the producer that their efforts are not unappreciated, I've decided that for the 16th season, which began today, I'm going to post the TGB after I've watched the episode.  Without further ado, here's is Season 16, Episode 01's TGB!

At the end of the season, I might decide to crown a TGB Queen.  We'll see how it goes, and if I remember.

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January 23, 2011

Bears Lose... Darnit

On the one hand, if you had told me at the beginning of the season that the Bears would be playing in the NFC Championship game with a decent chance of making it to the Super Bowl, I would have thought you were nuts.  So this was a great season, right?  Right.

On the other hand, the Bears were playing in the NFC Championship game with a decent chance of making it to the Super Bowl, and they lost.  So it's a bad outcome, right?  Right?

But to lose it to the Green Bay Packers?  Having to see Virginia McCaskey, the eldest daughter of the legendary George Halas, handing the George Halas Trophy, given to the NFC Champions, to the hated Packers?  Agony, sheer agony.

Even the unprecedented appearance of The Librarian at Pond Central on a weekend to watch the game doesn't make it any better...

Darn it.  Darn it to heck.  Hope the cheese melts.

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January 21, 2011

Sirius/XM Major Fail

As I sit here browsing the intarwebz, I've got Sirius/XM tuned in on my Dish Network receiver, specifically channel 6022, "Sirius 1st Wave."  That channel plays "alternative" music, ostensibly from the '70s and '80s, but it's more like '80s and early '90s... but I digress.  Anyway, the music this channel plays is exactly what I listened to growing up as a young duckling at the Old Home Pond.

On Friday nights, the show on 1st Wave is "Party 360," hosted by one Dave Kendall.  Mr Kendall just did a promo for another Sirius/XM channel that I didn't catch the name of.  I wish I had, however, as, according to Mr Kendall, it's a Nascar-themed show.  That's mildly interesting in and of itself, but what he said after that really blew my mind:

"...it's three hours of NASCAR talk, hosted by the legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Senior."

Unless they really do have Dale Earnhardt Senior, in which case it's an epic win...

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January 20, 2011

Days Like This...

...make me wonder why I enjoy working retail so much.

See, we're in the middle of Rush Week at the Duck U. Bookstore.  Classes started on Tuesday, and while we expected to be busy, we didn't expect to be this busy.  As in, "we've never done this amount of business during the Spring before, ever" busy.  Which is good.  Exhausting and painful on the knees and feet, but good.

And then, we got the phone call. 

The one from the PR department at the Home Office.  At 2pm on Wednesday.  The one that told us that the CEO of the company was going to be in town to be interviewed by a local TV station, and the interview was going to take place in the Duck U. Bookstore.  At 2pm on Thursday.

During the third day of Rush.

Cue panic PANIC!!!

We had to a) help the customers; 2) prettify the store; III) keep the store prettified.  During Rush Week, a time when it's hard enough to find the time to refold a t-shirt.  Now we had to:

change four track lighting lamps
redo the front window displays
focus said lamps onto said displays
move two shelves full of sweatshirts without messing up the folds of said sweatshirts
dust everything into oblivion
unpack, check in and receive 15 boxes of books, without making a mess
vacuum the floor within an inch of its life
clean the back room, including my desk (cue moans of despair)
...oh, and help the customers too.
all while wearing a dress shirt and tie
and keep the shirt clean.

For the record, the whole thing went off without a hitch; the CEO was in the store for just over an hour, thought the place looked okay, and away he went.  Leaving yours truly and the Duck U Bookstore Manager looking like frazzled noodles.

Yeah.  Love retail.

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January 18, 2011

Rio Rainbow Gate! Isn't Even Trying Anymore

Look, lord knows I didn't expect anything from Rio Rainbow Gate!.  If it was lucky, it would just be merely bad.  If it went like I expected, it'd be a massive trainwreck.  If we were truly lucky, it'd go off the rails in some Calvin and Hobbes-style calamity.

Like this one.  Thank you, Mr Watterson, for making life much more fun for a while.
After watching episode 03 of Our Favorite Cardsharp Show, it has become painfully obvious that RRG! has just hit a penny on the rail... and we're all to be Farmer Brown.

more...

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January 17, 2011

CV-1

In 1918, the Royal Navy commissioned the world's first ship to be easily recognizable as an aircraft carrier, the HMS Argus.  In 1922, the Imperial Japanese Navy commissioned the first ever ship designed and built as an aircraft carrier, the Hosho.  In between, the US Navy sent to sea the first of an unbroken line of carriers that led directly to today's nuclear-powered supercarriers. 

But on the face of it, the American carrier had a very odd beginning.

The USS Jupiter (AC-3) joined the fleet in 1913 as the first electric-drive ship in the US Navy.  A collier, her job was to provide underway replenishment to the fleet.  This task led to her most distinctive feature, the vertical towers, called kingposts, amidships.  These were structural supports for coaling booms, which would be lowered when a ship was alongside.  Coal would then be sent down the booms to the decks of the receiving vessel.

These kingposts proved to be one of the reasons she was selected to become the basis for the first US aircraft carrier.

more...

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January 16, 2011

Introducing Frank

I'm sure I've never mentioned this, but The Librarian is a children's librarian, every age from "real young" to "teenager."  A few months ago, she told me that her latest project for the "real young" group was going to involve something called "Model Magic," a sculpting clay.  Jokingly, I said "Ooh, make me a duckie" and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

This past Wednesday, we went out for dinner.  Towards the end, she presented me with the duckie she made.  Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Frank!

Why Frank?  When The Librarian handed him to me, I looked him over and was mightily impressed.  I then mused aloud "What should I name him?"  The Librarian, with no hesitation whatsoever, replied "Frank."  So Frank he is.  Frank gets his color from a green glow-in-the-dark paint.  Alas, it isn't a strong enough glow to show up in my camera, though it's quite visible to the eye.

Frank has the honor of being the only hand-made duckie in my flock, though Rusty II might qualify as well.  Certainly he's one-of-a-kind... thanks, The Librarian!

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The Seaplane Tender That Changed The World

After that headline, you're probably rolling your eyes... what seaplane tender changed the world?

That one... and I'm working on a ship profile on it.  I intended to have it up tonight, but it's not happening.  It will be up sometime Monday, as I've got the day off, so look forward to it!

(ps - no, this isn't a "name that ship" contest, I just wanted to put a teaser picture up, though if you want to take a shot, go ahead)

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January 14, 2011

My First Greenlight!

Over at FARK.com, I just got my first greenlight that wasn't a newsflash about a dead baseball broadcaster... in other words, my first real greenlight!  Of course, it's a topic near and dear to many of The Pond's readers: anime.  Or burlesque.  Both, really.

Here's the linky to the thread:

Five words you never thought you'd read: "This isn't cosplay, it's burlesque." (maybe Not safe for work-ish)

...and yes, I stole the link from Robert's weekly e-mail.  I feel no shame.

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January 13, 2011

Malaise

I find myself not terribly enthused in the Winter season of anime this time around.  Only three shows have been interesting enough for me to even bother watching the first episode: Rio Rainbow Gate, Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka.  Only the last of those three made me sit up and take notice.  I'll admit to watching the second episode of RRG to see how bad it would be, and it sure didn't disappoint.  It was like watching one of those incredibly long coal trains go by, except the tracks lead right off the edge of a cliff and you're watching the cars go off one by one.  That's RRG, right there... a never-ending trainwreck of mammoth proportions.

If we're lucky.  If not, it'll just be tedious, boring and ugly.

Meanwhile, the first big event for the upcoming F1 season will be the debut of the new cars.  Unfortunately, we have to wait until the end of the month before Ferarri puts their 2011 steed on display.  That means we're reduced to stories about HWMNBN not being able to ski during the Red Team's annual winter media extravaganza because of a slight muscle tear.

...and his rollout of a new pornstar-grade mustache.  He Whose Mustache Must Not Be Named. 

At least I managed to accidentally come up with an idea for another WWII "What If...?" post.  Now I just have to make sure I don't scare it away, try and sneak up on it. 

Maybe it's just because of the long days at the Duck U. Bookstore.  Classes start on Tuesday, and we've been pretty busy the past couple-three weeks.  Or maybe the fire is going out on my need to blog.  Guess anything's possible.

Hope not, though.

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January 11, 2011

Ducks In Anime: My Necromancer Can't Be This Cute


-Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka, ep01

Okay, let's see if I've gotten this straight... our hero is dead, murdered by a serial killer.  He was brought back from the dead by a loli necromancer (necrololi?  Lolimancer?), as seen above.  The two of them are joined by a magical-girl-in-training who uses not a wand but a magical chainsaw... a pink magical chainsaw.  She loses her powers after fighting a giant bear in a school uniform.  Later, the magicless girl and the zombie schoolboy face off against a giant crayfish... and the zombie winds up having to crossdress in her magical girl outfit to defeat it.  Do I have that right? 

I do?

I'll admit that I was greatly amused... finally, a show I might actually watch this season.

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January 09, 2011

F1 Silly Season Almost Over Already!

While we weren't watching, it seems that the F1 teams have pretty much locked down their driver lineups for the 2011 season.  Let's take a look, shall we?

RED BULL: Seb Vettel, Mark Webber.  No surprises here, though the drama continues behind the scenes in the Red Bull camp.  A few days ago, Webber in an interview pretty much came out and said he knows he's not going to get any help.  "You think there's a camaraderie, but in the end you know you're on your own," said the Aussie.  He also said that he drove the last four races of the season with a broken shoulder, suffered in a mountain bike accident... and he didn't tell the team.

MCLAREN:  Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button.  Again, no surprises.  What, you expected the team to fire one of their champions?  I don't think I'd take any team's lineup over these two.

FERRARI: HWMNBN, Felipe Massa.  Massa's job is on the line.  First Ferrari President Luca di Montezemelo said that Felipe drove "like his brother" in 2010.  Then di Montezemelo confirmed that, while the rules on Team Orders have been removed in 2011, both drivers will start on equal footing.  "I don't want to have a person that is frustrated from the first race because he knows he has less power.  I want two drivers in a condition to win."  He's not talking about HWMNBN, by the way.

MERCEDES GP: Nico Rosberg, Slappy Schumacher.  Once again, no surprises.  Rosberg is a coming young talent, Slappy's an old talent who improved as the season went on.  If this team doesn't win a few races in 2011, I'll be very surprised. 

LOTUS RENAULT GP: Robert Kubica, Vitaly Petrov.  Big surprise here, in that Petrov was just bad last year.  He did have a heckuva drive in Abu Dhabi which might have shown his true ability level, but all in all I'd've let some other team find it.  His Russian financial backers must have coughed up a lot of cash, and to be fair he'll be quite the draw when the Russian Grand Prix goes off in 2014.  Maybe by then he'll be good.

WILLIAMS: Rubens Barrichello, Pastor Maldonado.  Maldonado, the reigning GP2 champion, replaces Nico Hulkenberg.  The team swears up and down that the Venezuelan isn't a pay driver; the financial backing he brings is just a bonus, I guess.  To be fair, he is supposed to be quite skilled.  Barrichello, of course, is the most experienced driver in F1 history, but the only race he won last year was against The Stig.

FORCE INDIA: TBA, TBA.  Vitantonio Liuzzi has a contract through the 2011 season. Rumors have Scotsman Paul di Resta, the team's 2010 test driver, taking his seat however, with Nico Hulkenberg in the test driver's seat.  With Adrian Sutil almost certain to be returning to the team, that leaves Liuzzi out in the cold.  Without an announcement from the team though, we have no idea what's going on.

SAUBER: Gandalf Kobayasahi, Sergio Perez.  Perez comes to F1 via GP2, where he finished second to Pastor Maldonado in 2010.  A native of Mexico, he comes bearing financial backing from Telmex and Carlos Slim (aka 'The Richest Man In The World').  If it came down to pure skill, I suspect that Nico Hulkenberg would deserve this seat more, but money always plays a part.

TORO ROSSO: Seb Buemi, NKOTT.  No changes here, and no reason to.  Both drivers fall into the category of 'useful', and the Red Bull junior team is hardly hurting for cash.

TEAM LOTUS: Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovaleinninninninninninnie.  At the end of the 2010 season, reports surfaced that Lotus wanted to jettison Trulli.  The Italian's contract supposedly contained a clause that read (in effect) that the team had to let him know by... I think it was Singapore... that they weren't going to bring him back, and they forgot about that.  So we've got a team with a driver that they don't want.  That can't be good for team chemistry, and it's not like the Malaysian team is swimming in money to buy him out.

HRT: Narain Kittylitter, TBA.  I'm quite enthused about the return of Kittylitter, F1's first Indian driver.  He drove for Team Jordan (which became MF1/Midland, Spyker F1, then Force India) in 2005, in which season he finished as high as 4th place (though it was in the US Grand Prix, contested by six cars).  Since then, he's driven in A1GP, the European LeMans series, SuperLeague Formula, and in 2010, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.  Amazingly, he won the "most popular driver" award, as voted by the fans, in the Truck Series.  He did pretty darn well there, though he didn't win a race.  Not bad for a guy used to open-wheel cars that literally weigh less than half of what a NASCAR truck does.  He comes with the backing of the TATA Group, the Indian auto manufacturer... perfect, since we'll have the first Indian Grand Prix this season.

VIRGIN RACING: Timo Glock, Jerome d'Ambrosio.  Glock is exactly what a newbie team needs, and I think he's one of the most underrated drivers on the grid.  Belgian d'Ambrosio was Renault's third driver for the 2010 season so he has some skill, but his racing career is hardly distinguished.  He finished 2nd in the GP2 Asia 2008-2009 season, but that's about it.  We'll see.

So three slots technically remain open for the 2011 season... will Nico Hulkenberg, who really deserves a seat, be offered one of them?  And, considering that the two Force India seats probably aren't really open, would he even accept a drive with HRT?  Or will he become a third driver?  Only time will tell, and as soon as we know, I'll let you know!

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January 08, 2011

All Bets Are Off... Unfortunately

Back in 2007, my Chicago Bears were scheduled to have a playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.  Knowing that Ubu Roi was a fan of the Fleur-de-lis, I issued a challenge to that worthy blogger, with our respective blogs' front page as the prize.  If the Bears won, he'd have to put the legendary Bears' navy blue and orange on the top of Mahou Meido Meganekko, and if the Saints were victorious, I'd put the gold-and-black here on The Pond.  Ubu accepted the terms of the bet, and the first Anime Blog Football Throwdown was on.

After Saints rookie Reggie Bush scored a TD, taunting Bears' linebacker Brian Urlacher in the process, the Bears defense wound up crushing the Saints under their cleats.  Ubu, ever a class act, wound up not just changing the blog header picture, but the entire theme of his blog.  Even the name changed to "Chicago Bears Meganekko."

Because of that show of sportsmanship, I've been something of an unofficial fan of the Saints ever since... as long as they weren't playing the Bears, that is.  When the Saints won the Super Bowl last year (in wonderful fashion, I might add), I was quite pleased... though nowhere near as happy as Ubu

It's been four years since then, and both the Saints and Bears made it into the NFC playoffs this season... and were pretty much scheduled to face each other in the second round.  The Bears, being the #2 seed would face the highest-seeded winner of the wild card games.  The Saints, despite being seeded #5, were almost certain to beat the #4 seeded NFC-West champion Seattle Seahawks... who managed to get into the playoffs with a 7-9 record.  Assuming the #6 Green Bay Packers would beat the #3 Philadelphia Eagles (quite likely, in my opinion), that'd put the Saints in Soldier Field next weekend.

I had already contacted Ubu regarding a return of the Anime Blog Football Throwdown, and he responded favorably.  Once again, our front pages were the prize.

And then the World Champion Saints went out and peed their game against the Seahawks right down the leg of their uniforms.  Forgetting how to play defense, they lost 41-36.  Well, to be fair the Bears lost to the 'Hawks early in the season, back before their offensive line learned how to block, so I guess the phrase "...on any given Sunday..." applies.  But gosh darn it, I was looking forward to the Saints vs Bears.

I'm sorry, Ubu... I really am.  With any luck, the Bears'll get the chance to avenge your fallen heroes next week... and we'll do so.

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January 07, 2011

Random Anime Picture #60: Gosh!


-The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya movie

I have a secret to reveal.

I love it when an author, or a tv show, or an anime, gives substantial time to a series' secondary characters.  I'd much rather read about Wedge Antilles, normal guy (though an extremely talented pilot), than Luke Skywalker (Jedi God).  After who-knows-how-many pages/hours/whatever we've spent learning about Our Heroes, there are times when I really like to find out more about the Second Spearcarrier On The Left... which is one of the (many) reasons I really like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  I think that's why I prefer the second and third series in the Nanohaverse over the original: in many ways, the namesake of the show isn't the focus of the show.  Instead, the wolkenritter (in A's) and Riot Force 6 (in StrikerS) become the primary characters. 

And then I read the book, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya... and nearly wept with happiness.  No lunatic Haruhi and a story based around Nagato?  Sign me all the way up for that, please and thank you very much.  I think the book is the best of the four light novels translated and released here to date, but your mileage may vary.  Then I found out about the movie... and that Kyoto Animation was doing it, and I began to hope for the best, but prepared for the worst.  Because to put it simply, KyoAni's recent shows have been pretty 'meh' in the artwork department. 

I need not have worried.  KyoAni has returned to their pre-K-On!ification days, and the whole thing looks gorgeous as a result.  If you liked KyoAni's style from before they started to get cartoony, back when they were doing Kanon '06, the first Clannad, and the original Haruhi series, it's worth watching for that alone.

And, hey, Yuki shows actual emotion in the movie... which can't be bad, right?

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