This is going to sound strange coming from a person who has a sub-optimal employment status, but I took the weekend off.
This is not as far-fetched as it seems. Normally my days are colored by an underlying tinge of horror and a growing hint of desperation as I dig deeper and deeper for a job, watch a bank account dwindle away, AND attempt to do something... anything... to keep myself from noticing my growing feeling of failure. It's affecting everything I do from the moment I wake up to the point I finally pack it in for the night, which is really most likely to be early enough to hear the birds chirping in the impending sunrise. So to do myself a favor, I allowed myself a holiday from all that.
I got a haircut for the first time in six months. It may be normal for some people to have their hair long enough to touch the underside of their nose, but not for me. It was the longest its been since that horrible welding accident in grad school. I spent three hours doing about 40 pounds of laundry... it took up one triple-load and two double-load washers... and I didn't care about the time because I had a book with me. When I finished that, I listened to a bunch of techno-swing and modern throwback music (...and thanks to my brother in feathers for the Caro Emerald!) at a volume guaranteed to annoy my upstairs neighbors had they been home as a cold rain pelted down outside. Eventually, I went to sleep. Today was spent watching the replay of the Blackhawks' victory over Anaheim to go back to the Stanley Cup Finals, and might I just say that whoever it was that came up with the idea of using an entire hockey rink as a projection screen, they were taking their genius pills that day. And then I took a nap. And here we are.
I know this would be pretty much normal, every day stuff for most people. I count it as a triumph that I made it through the weekend without fearing what the world thinks of me... or, more correctly, not caring. I'll be back to my abnormal norms on Monday I suspect, but for a couple of days there, I almost felt like a regular part of humanity.
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 NigelEvangelion.
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'tpunched 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.
Your Weekly Asuka, Ep08
-Hibike! Euphonium, Ep08
In contrast to last week's episode, Episode 08 was much lacking in The Goofy Cute. She was very much a tertiary character this week, as the show focused on relationships between the mains this time around.
But that's okay, because this episode was amazing. I mean, I can't remember the last time I enjoyed myself as much watching an episode of ANY anime as much as I did this one. I laughed, I teared up a bit, I wished I was 30 years younger for a few minutes.
Asuka wasn't in sight very much, but a little speech she gave after one of her friends prayed for luck at auditions was telling. I paraphrase: "Playing music is all about your effort, hoping a god helps you just cheapens it." Amen, and that's why I was never very good. The thing was, I knew I wasn't very good, and that after all the effort, after all the practice... I still wouldn't be very good. It's a humbling experience to know that.
If you're not watching Hibike! Euphonium, you're missing out on the best series this season, and probably this year. Sure as heck it's the best series KyoAni has done since Clannad/Clannad AS. I have high hopes for the new ARIA series coming out in a few months, but it's going to have to work really hard to surpass HibEuph.
Amazing, absolutely amazing. If they don't bobble this, it's going to end up as one of the top couple or three shows KyoAni have ever done. Everything works, every single bit of it.
This show may also become the gold standard for yuri storylines in anime, if this episode is anything to go by. Yes, I am rooting for Oumae/Kousaka here.
Posted by: GreyDuck at May 27, 2015 10:53 AM (/zxpg)
Well, since you asked nicely... I'm not watching because the way it handles the story and characters is not very fun. It's basically Yowamushi Pedal with girls. I dropped Euphonium twice: after the first sub-arc finished in ep.4 and at the end of ep.7 after the excessive enthusiasm by CKS made me restart. Not fooling me twice, bloggers. I agree that's a Hyouka-level animation, possibly even better.
Wonderduck (And it appears the majority of Euphonium watchers here.) and I are going to have to agree to disagree about Asuka, but Sound! Euphonium is shaping up to the best KyoAni, and one of the better anime titles I have watched. That being said, Peter's opinions about the series is not, unfortunately, rare, even if the misgivings about 'another KyoAni series' are ignored.
Posted by: cxt217 at May 27, 2015 08:36 PM (9dbN0)
That's a nice 4-valve euphonium. Not sure why she's clutching it like that. I miss having one around the house to doodle on.
Because it is her One True Love, Will. Seriously. That's what she says.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 28, 2015 03:55 PM (jGQR+)
Well, it can't really be a yuri show, given that we've just found out that the show is practically shouting that the main girl likes the main guy and vice versa.
They actually seem to be trying to present a more realistic view of "girlcrushes," where the girls admire each other and try to deal with suppressed parts of their own personalities through the other person. (Of course, the super-traditional girlcrush is to hero worship and admire a teacher or an older and more poised girl, which is pretty much the exact same mechanism behind giving seven year olds a Barbie doll.)
Now, whether or not they actually have the guts to continue this route and point out that "teenagers blush and get flustered every five seconds, so of course you can blush and get flustered around someone of the same sex while being heterosexual," I don't know.
It's also possible that they're going for some kind of unrequited love thing or the theory that you have to fall in love with the less perfect match first before you can get along with the husband material. Or I could be totally wrong. All I know is, shows that go full yuri cease to be about recognizably real girls, so I hope they avoid that.
I also hope they don't go with "Asuka doesn't have a boyfriend, so she must be yuri." That would be depressing, too.
But it's been a good show so far.
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at May 29, 2015 02:22 AM (ZJVQ5)
10the show is practically shouting that the main girl likes the main guy and vice versa.
We must be watching different versions of HibEuph. Souichi IS interested in Kumiko to be sure, but when have we seen that interest returned? Never, far as I've seen.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 29, 2015 02:55 AM (jGQR+)
Kumiko is completely baffled by the idea that Shuichi wants to date her. And it's not the typical "I never *thought* of that" confusion...when she thinks about it and realizes he's trying to ask her out, Kumiko seems rather put off by the idea.
Now, how Kumiko feels about Reina may or may not be leaning more toward traditional girl crush, although I think the line "I was about to be sucked in..." is telling.
How Reina feels about Kumiko is apparently several miles past the "girl crush" border...
Well, I don't think Kumiko thinks she likes Shuichi, but apparently everybody else in the entire universe does think so. And she certainly seems to like Shuichi at every point when she's not actually in his presence, and she hasn't been doing anything to vary her way home and not meet up with him.
Now, you could argue that she is treating him either in a tsundere way or a brother way, because she does seem to treat a lot of people she cares about with that flat affect. And it's how her sister treats her.
Reina has no friends that we've ever seen, and she's a teenager, and her only emotional and hormonal outlet up till now is cramming tons of music practice -- but at least to outside observers, she does only what she feels like doing and is free from the constraints of Japanese society.
Do I expect her to act rational or know what she wants? No. Is this exactly the kind of friend that is likely to fascinate Kumiko, who apparently never shows her true self to anyone? Sure.
But I have to say, Kumiko reads much more as wanting somebody to tell her what to do (and hence relieve her of responsibility) than actually somebody who wants to have a relationship with anyone. (Cue the Gothic romance lines about Yuki-onna.) And Reina sounds more like she wants to destroy Kumiko than get to know her.
Obviously a lot of female friendships have problems with territoriality and exercise of power and the line between sharing secrets and being nosy, but this one could get pretty creepy. If they really do intend to play yuri romance with it, it sounds like they want it to be something that ends in drug use and multiple deaths, not a nice story about kids in high school band. So my conclusion is that they aren't going yuri, because otherwise everybody dies in a haze of blood.
Finally, Reina was not shown as having giant blisters and cuts all over her feet after that walk. I've got heels in exactly that style, and it's practical, but there is still no way in heck that anybody got up that mountain (carrying a euphonium too!) without a line of bloody circles at the top of every toe as well as on the back of the ankle. And since they are white, the shoes as well as the feet should have looked pretty disgusting. That girl should be limping for the next week. So I think we've found the limits of realism for the show.
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at May 29, 2015 04:20 PM (ZJVQ5)
Well, maybe not a haze of blood, but anytime there's just one leader and one follower, friendship between girls becomes ugly. Two equals or having three or more friends in the group is a lot less likely to encourage bad decisions.
Actually, this brings another question. Everybody is in high school, but apparently they've never before dated at all even though they are fifteen or sixteen. Similarly, the friendship patterns are now seeming much more like junior high than high school (except nobody is fighting enough for junior high). Other parts of the story seemed much more like actual high school.
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at May 29, 2015 04:36 PM (ZJVQ5)
14...it sounds like they want it to be something that ends in drug use and multiple deaths...
I don't much like the version of HibEuph you're watching, Banshee. I much prefer mine.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 29, 2015 05:25 PM (jGQR+)
I'll blame Evangelion for everything, then. Had some gloomy memories of bad stuff that happened to people I knew.
Well, it's surprisingly hard to find stuff on the Internet about social hierarchy among women, but all my female consultants agree it's a bad sign when one girl or woman lets another girl or woman have her way in everything. And after a couple tentative attempts from Reina at getting feedback, that's exactly what Kumiko lets Reina do. Even when expressing consensus, you always have to say (or do) something to show your own status is just as high as the other woman. The only thing Kumiko does without orders is sit down.
Letting a guy tell you what to do has its reasonable side, because guys are programmed to behave nicely in such situations. Absolute submission among women puts you at rock bottom, lower than a little kid. There's literally nothing instinctual to stop the girl in charge from doing anything cruel. From the point of view of humans as a primate band, the only evolutionary advantage is that the dominant female uses the totally submissive female as a meat shield, so she gives you food and attention when not doing more important things. Being touched in that context is a declaration of property control. So whether it's a yuri relationship or not, it's an unhealthy relationship. Kumiko or Reina can change that (all Kumiko has to do is talk and not let Reina interrupt or walk off), but at the moment there are no signs of it.
I don't know why they threw this dark moment into a happy series. If it's some kind of Japanese romance convention, fine. But in the real world, it's not a good sign whether you're lesbian or not.
(And see how much I've said in response to the show and to Wonderduck, to establish my status? Unlike Kumiko, I talk back at it.)
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at May 30, 2015 07:06 AM (ZJVQ5)
16"If it's some kind of Japanese romance convention, fine."
Despite how realistically many story elements and details are depicted, I think Hibike! Euphonium is still fundamentally fiction and uses a lot of the standard tropes of the the genres in play. I'm pretty sure whatever is going on between Kumiko and Reina is around 99% to 100% pure storytelling without regard to realism. If it *is* based on something real, then I would bet the anime version is *highly* embellished.
Based on my own limited knowledge, I get what you're saying about the IRL implications of what has been depicted. But (of course there's a "but") I think you have to consider firstly that this *is* a fantasy story about real life things, and also that Kumiko apparently has at least two ways of exercising power over Reina that have been depicted: she takes some delight in embarrassing Reina with risque humor, and her habit of blurting out observations that, in traditional Japanese society anyway, are rude and insulting.
Would that mean anything in real life? Probably not. But yuri relationships, whether they're just typical girl crushes or actual long-lasting couples, are rarely treated in a negative manner in anime (anywhere, really). I guess that provides the viewer a level of protection to get invested in the relationship (Oh, it's a yuri relationship, those are always magical and perfect.) But, if a series uses a storytelling element that the viewer doesn't like, whatever I type here probably won't help. Here's some of my own of heresy: I can't stand Noir, don't like Cowboy Bebop very much, and despite being possibly the biggest Macross fanboy in the universe, never finished Macross F because I thought the first three episodes were terrible.)
17I don't know why they threw this dark moment into a happy series.
I think it's clearly a matter of interpretation. I didn't see it as dark, or creepy, or anything like that. I saw it as banter between two people on the verge of becoming close friends. You're choosing to read into a show something that almost certainly isn't actually there.
Why is that?
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 30, 2015 10:27 AM (jGQR+)
F1 Update: Monaco 2015
A glorious day broke over the Principality, greeting the twenty stars of the F1 Circus as they formed on the grid. Would the weather stay that way, or would there be rain? Would the Silver Arrow of polesitter Lewis Hamilton lead the way to victory? Could his teammate Nico Rosberg earn his third win on the narrow streets? Or would someone like Ferrari's Seb Vettel or Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo take the win on the shortest circuit on the Formula 1 calendar? THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2015 Grand Prix of Monaco!
*PREDICTABLE: When the lights went out and the race began, it went exactly the way everybody expected, with Lewis Hamilton handily beating the rest of the field to Turn 1 and pulling away. Here at F1U! HQ, eyes rolled like billiard balls on a ship in the North Atlantic... we knew what was about to happen. And we were mostly right.
*AND OFF HE GOES: While Rosberg, Vettel and a surprising Daniil Kyvat watched in horror, Hamilton went galloping off over the horizon. By the end of three laps, he was over two seconds ahead of his teammate. At a circuit like Monaco, this is as close to insurmountable without technical failure or accident as its possible to get. The race was going to be for second... and even that seemed to have been locked in place as well. So, third then? Nope, Vettel looked to have that nailed down, too. So, Red Bull fighting amongst themselves for fourth, swell, that's something to look forward to.
*SURE ENOUGH: Occasionally Monaco will cough up a dramatic race... 2014, for example, when Jules Bianchi earned the points that wound up allowing Marussia/Manor to survive to race in 2015, and hostilities between Rosberg and Hamilton became obvious for the first time. Usually it requires rain, but that wasn't happening this year... and neither was "a dramatic race." When the first (and only expected) pitstops cycled through, there had been no major changes: Hamilton led Rosberg by ten seconds, and there was no chance that he was going to be caught. Vettel was about two seconds behind Rosberg, but there was another 10 second gap back to Ricciardo. We here at F1U! could be excused for occasionally stopping the DVR and flipping over to watch the Indy 500 (and congratulations to former F1 driver Juan Pablo "The Pope" Montoya for his record-breaking win! He became the driver with the longest gap between Indy 500 victories, 15 years). By Lap 60, Hamilton held a 19 second lead over his teammate.
*LEARNER'S PERMITDENIED: Toro Rosso's Embryo Verstappen was having himself quite the day. The 17-year-old's first appearance at the Principality was looking to be triumphant, with a great chance to earn points. He'd worked himself into 11th place and had the Lotus of Lettuce Grosjean in his sights. After a lap or two of fencing and dicing, he was close enough to make a move. On Lap 64, he came down the front straight, tailing the Lotus, then as they approached Ste Devote, he slashed to the inside of the Frenchman... just a moment too late. His front-left suspension turned itself into carbon fiber flinders on Grosjean's right-rear. The Toro Rosso, suddenly lacking in front-end grip, speared directly into the Tecpro barriers at Turn 1 in as hard an impact as we've seen in some time. Fortunately, the youngster was unharmed... but the race was completely changed.
*...THE HELL???: Berndt Maylander, dozing in the front seat of the Safety Car, was woken up and sent on his way. A number of teams took advantage of the reduced pace of the race to bring their drivers in for a last minute change to the super-soft Option tires, in preparation for a full-blown balls-to-the-wall divebomb run to improve their positions. Jenson Button, Felipe Not Nasr Massa, Felipe not Massa Nasr, Sergio Perez all came in, as did Daniel Ricciardo in a last-gasp attempt to move onto the podium; he dropped behind his teammate Kyvat in the process. Mind you, this is on the single track in Formula 1 where it is almost entirely impossible to pass unless you have a ridiculous speed advantage (and sometimes not even then).
*...THE DOUBLE BLOODY HELL???: All of which made the next occurrence even more confusing. Lewis Hamilton, who had lead the entire race handily and was able to make his car practically impassable on wide circuits let alone Monaco, brought his car into the pit lane for new tires. The entire F1U! crew sat there, jaws on the floor, as the team slapped new boots on the Mercedes and set him back out. He rejoined the race in third place, behind Rosberg and Vettel. On Lap 70, the race restarted.
*W... T... F...???: Rosberg immediately ran away from everybody else, building a two second lead in just a single lap. Hamilton danced and darted around behind the Ferrari of Vettel, but was totally unable to mount a serious challenge. Meanwhile, Red Bull told Kid Kyvat to let his teammate Ricciardo past; he was on fresh super-soft tires and could potentially make a move on Hamilton for the podium. Meanwhile, every F1 announcer on the planet tried to make sense of Mercedes' strategy... and couldn't. A radio call from Hamilton quickly told the story: "I've lost the race, haven't I?" As it turned out, the answer was yes. Ricciardo, unable to catch Hamilton, slowed to let his teammate past for fourth, but otherwise the podium remained the same: Hamilton in third, Vettel in second, and Nico Rosberg was the recipient of a gift victory, his third in a row at Monaco.
*AFTER: Hamilton seemed right on the edge of doing something unseemly after the race. He pulled his car over at Portier during the cool-down lap and just sat there for a very long time, like he was contemplating switching off and walking to the apartment he keeps that's a short distance from the track. He then brought his car to the designated podium spot, just in front of the Prince's Box, and ran over his third-place position panel. Then came the podium ceremony, where his handshake with his teammate was... um... perfunctory at best. Then he decided not to show up for the post-race team photograph. In various interviews afterwards, he seemed calm... not "I'm relaxed" calm, but "I'm about to murder you and your family" calm. Meanwhile, the team apologized to Hamilton for the call, saying that they made a timing mistake. They believed that they'd be able to bring him in, change the tires, and get him out before Rosberg went by; they were off by about five seconds. Team Principal Toto Wolff said that it was done to defend against Vettel changing onto the super-softs, but that inadequate timing information made the decision for them. See, usually timing is confirmed via GPS locating, but the buildings and tunnels of Monaco prevent GPS from being used. Thus, the team screwed up their calculations. Why Hamilton didn't object or ignore the instructions, or nobody pointed out that it's nigh-on impossible to pass at Monaco, will forever remain a mystery.
I'd love to have been a bug on the wall listening to Hamilton unloading on the team management. He's usually a pretty class act, but this was a titanic botch. It's to his credit that he didn't do anything where cameras and microphones could hear it. But once in private I have no doubt it got pretty steamy.
If I were the paranoid type, I'd think that the team did it on purpose because they wanted Rosberg to win it. I'm sure that's occurred to him, too.
F1 Quals: Monaco 2015
After the rain washed out the majority of Free Practice 2 on Thursday, eyes were cocked askance at the lowering skies above the Monaco harbor. Would we get a wet Qual session at the most ridiculous circuit on the calendar? Let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2015 Grand Prix of Monaco:
Felipe Not Nasr Massa
Felipe Not MassaNasr
I don't know why I expected anything different. Wait, no, yes I do: Monaco is the one place on the calendar where the car/driver balance is tilted waaaaaaay over to the "driver" side. Which isn't to say a good car isn't a requirement... of course it is. But if you had told me that HWIACTBNA had dragged his recalcitrant McLaren into Q3, I would have believed you. As it was, it was only because he was balked on his last flying lap by a yellow flag that Jenson Button didn't make it to Q3.
I'm thinking that this was the best quals performance for Red Bull as a team this season, and isn't that an amazing statement after the past four years? There's nothing particularly surprising about the rest of the grid, though Sauber and Williams must both be chewing on their mustaches in consternation.
Rosberg is going to have to pull some serious driving stuff pretty darn quick after the lights go out, ere his teammate is going to snap his string of wins at his home race... and if you think Lewis Hamilton doesn't want to do that after Spain, you're crazy. Plus, heck... it's MONACO. This is the Big One. And if Rosberg manages to win, he'll join some rather elite company... the names of drivers who have won Monaco three or more times is pretty impressive. Ayrton Senna, Graham Hill, Slappy Schumacher, Alain Prost, Sterling Moss and Jackie Stewart. 19 World Championships between them (Moss drags the average down, winning no championships during his career... which is just mind-blowing). I think it'd be safe to say that Rosberg would be the worst driver of the bunch, which isn't really a knock.
Well, we'll find out on Sunday, the Racing Fan's Holiday! See ya then!
My sleep schedule to all messed up this weekend, and somehow I ended up being awake this morning in time to catch all of the Indy 500 - you know, the commercial show interspersed with Racing. I used to watch it a lot when I was a kid. I was surprised to find out this was the 99th running. There actually were a few exciting bits, and more passing than I expected.
Posted by: Mauser at May 24, 2015 05:20 PM (TJ7ih)
Your Weekly Asuka, Ep07
"In the end, Asuka always ends up on my mind."
-President of the band club
-Hibike! Euphonium, Ep07
A remarkably Asuka-centric episode. "Remarkable" mainly because she barely says anything, and nothing at all to any of the main characters in a non-ensemble setting. However, the truth is that she was the focal point.
The Goofy part of her was completely missing this time around, but her screen time was actually quite limited. However, almost every conversation somehow became about her... and not always in a positive light. There's an undercurrent amongst the first-year members of the band that she's too perfect, that it's all a put-on, and one can't tell where the REAL Asuka is as a result.
It doesn't appear that the upperclassmen feel the same way. However, many of them feel something even more stinging about her: that she let the band down. We finally discovered why there's such a dearth of second-year students in the band club, and it's about what you would expect: a group of them were more interested in socializing than playing. However, there was a group that DID want to play seriously, and conflict inevitably resulted. People looked to Asuka to solve the conundrum and... she didn't. She played neutral to the whole thing, as well as turning down the position of President. According to one of the officers of the band club, Asuka thought it out and realized that she couldn't succeed as the President with the club in the condition it was in.
That puts a completely different spin on her "master facilitator" persona, one that's not so flattering when mixed with the fake/phony appellation. And yet, we still don't really know the TRUE "cute goofball"... we just know what other members of the band think of her. Big difference there, but it was a fascinating character study cleverly done. I have hope that next week we'll actually find out more.
Because this one image teases so much about her. We've seen a few bedrooms over the course of this show, and none of them have been so empty, so sparse, so... lonely. You'd expect the room to be a riot of color and action and noise, given the "Goofy Cute" that resides in it, but... no. I fear what this means about her backstory.
It appears that even her friends may not actually know Asuka all that well. Although the fact dump comes from a second-year student, so that may be too much reading between the lines. But, that could lead to an episode featuring Kumiko visiting Asuka at home and getting the whole story. Which I'm quite looking forward to.
Remarkably solid writing in this series, for a "school activities comedy/drama" show. I wonder how much of that is the LN source and how much is KyoAni's efforts.
It's nice to actually be looking forward to weekly installments of a Kyoto show again!
Posted by: GreyDuck at May 21, 2015 08:44 PM (/zxpg)
I'm late to this party, but FWIW here's my comment...I notice that Asuka has blue eyes. There's a certain trope (caution: TV Tropes link) in some anime shows set in modern-day Japan--if a character has blue eyes, it's a sign that he or (usually) she has mixed racial ancestry, with at least one grandparent being Caucasian. (Haruka Morishima from Amagami SS is an example of this.) Has there been any indication that Asuka is mixed-race? That might be a source of some of the sad history the show is hinting at, e.g. perhaps she was bullied at one time because of her ancestry.
BTW, thanks for the writeups on Hibike! Euphonium, and on Asuka. I also find her appealing, and this series has made my short list of shows to watch if/when I get back into Japanese animation.
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at May 24, 2015 04:15 PM (dzzLh)
A tiny bare room like that usually means the kid is going to high school somewhere away from home, and living alone without her parents.
But it could just be a case of "everything extraneous is in the closet."
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at May 24, 2015 04:52 PM (ZJVQ5)
Is this the one where right away in the first episode a girl does a taste test and it has a... profound and meaningful physical effect on her, ahem? I couldn't get through the first episode of that one...
Also, I'm disappointed that your first link doesn't include the super-pause portion of that famous sign-off: "...and now you know... the rest... of the story. This is Paul Harvey... ... ... ... Good day!"
Posted by: GreyDuck at May 20, 2015 10:44 PM (/zxpg)
(Lest I come off as entirely grouchy, which was not my intent: That is a unique duck. I want one!)
Posted by: GreyDuck at May 20, 2015 10:45 PM (/zxpg)
GD, the MC is a very good cook indeed, good enough to give a shriveled old harridan memories of a youthful time with a meal made from tinned fish and scraps of veggies. So, um... maybe?
I'm only here for the duck.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 20, 2015 10:58 PM (jGQR+)
I gave it four episodes and then dropped it. It's a one-trick pony, and they do the trick every episode. I got bored.
Funny enough, the last couple of episodes were pretty good. Less "achieve orgasmic pleasure through the power of mah cooking!" and more "I'm such a good cook that I will beat your supreme ingredients with stuff I pick up half off at the cheap supermarket". Show's definitely at its best when it's pushing the diner cook versus haute cuisine theme.
Posted by: Avatar at May 21, 2015 09:50 AM (aWC9A)
F1 on TV: Monaco 2015
Ahhhhh, Monaco. The place Formula 1 likes to imagine every race is like. The glitz, the glamor, the champagne, the megayachts in the harbor, the casino, the women, the money. For some reason, I can't imagine Spielberg, Austria, or Mexico City, or Spa-Francopants, or even Austin, Texas being the center of glitz and glamor (though Austin's the center of Weird). But that's fine. The sport can have its delusions because at least once a year, they're real. This weekend the F1 Circus makes its way to the Principality for the 2015 Grand Prix of Monaco. Let's take a look at the track map, shall we?
Essentially unchanged since the addition of the Nouvelle Chicane (Turns 10/11) in 1986, though there was a minor reprofiling of the Swimming Pool (Turns 13-16) in 1997, Monaco is the slowest circuit on the calendar. It's also the narrowest, has both the slowest (The Hairpin) and one of the fastest turns (Turn 9, the Tunnel) on the calendar, and is the only place on the calendar with a measurable risk of drivers ending up in the water. There's no "straight" here, just less curvy areas, and I'm fairly sure that the stretch from the end of the Nouvelle Chicane to Turn 17 is flat... the rest is uphill, downhill or seemingly both at the same time (the exit to the tunnel loses altitude except for a car-length-sized bump uphill). It takes about six weeks to construct the circuit by putting up the armco barriers, safety fencing, bleachers, activating the pit lane, bolting the curbs into place, welding the drain covers down, that sort of stuff.
Just as the Monaco Grand Prix is different from other races in many ways, so too is the race weekend for Monaco. Instead of Friday-Saturday-Sunday, instead we have Thursday-Saturday-Sunday. Such arrangement allows the billionaires to return from their jobs in Switzerland or England on Friday... or not, as the case may be. It's also one of the few that we here in the US get to see on one of the "Big Three" networks! Here's the broadcast schedule: Thursday
7a - 830a: Practice 2 on NBCSN live Saturday
7a - 830a: Quals on NBCSN live Sunday
630a - 9a: 2015 Grand Prix of Monaco, live on NBC
As always, all times are Pond Central; check your local listings. Post no bills.
This is also Memorial Day weekend, meaning that Sunday is the Racing Fan's National Holiday as well. We get Monaco in the morning, the Indy 500 in the early afternoon, and the Coca-Cola 600 in the late afternoon/early evening. That's a lot of racing, and no, I'm not gonna try it this year. The open-wheel races, yes, but NASCAR I'll be happy if I get to catch the end. It's a busy weekend, but a fun one! See ya 'round, racefans!
When I was a kid and thought about F1, I always thought it was about street courses. Now, of course, it ain't true; there are a few but most races are on purpose-built courses. But there are some, and the idea of doing 150 on city streets has it's attractions...
Steven, your comment got me wondering... just how many street circuits were there while you were growing up?
It turns out that, using the very loosest restrictions on the term "street circuit" as a guide, there were only five, plus one special case... and in the late '50s/early '60s, it seems weird to think that people would have thought of them in any way similar to our destination this week!
There was the Ain-Diab circuit. Looping through and outside of Casablanca, it was only used for two F1 races. It was a non-points paying race in 1957, and was the final race of the 1958 season.
The original Circuit de Spa-Francopants in Belgium formed a rough triangle between the three villages of Malmedy, Stavelot and Francorchamps. Nearly 15km long, it was run on public roads and indeed passed through these small towns. It has been in use in one form or another since the 1920s.
The Pedralbes Circuit ran through a suburb of Barcalounger, Spain. It was the site of the Spanish Grand Prix in 1951 and 1954, and was retired for safety reasons after the LeMans disaster in 1955.
In 1958 and 1960, the Circuito da Boavista in Oporto, was the site of the Portugese Grand Prix. It ran over cobblestone streets, crossed light rail tracks, and through residential neighborhoods.
Then, the special case: the Circuit de la Sarthe in France, home of the 24 Hours of LeMans. Like Spa-Francopants, it ran from the villages of LeMans to Mulsanne to Arnage and back, all on public roads. While not a F1 race, it is a legendary track all its own.
None of these would have been as glamorous as Monaco, I wouldn't think, save for LeMans. Chances are, a young SDB might not have ever heard of them. But Monaco is the face Formula 1 presents to the world, particularly back then. Indeed, here in the US, the only F1 race we would have seen regularly was the Grand Prix of Monaco, via ABC's Wide World of Sports program.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 18, 2015 11:30 PM (jGQR+)
When I was a kid, I had this beautiful Corgi black open wheel racer, the "John Player Special". I have no idea what happened to it. But for some reason the F1 posts occasionally make me think of it. I have no idea what the history of it is though, or why Corgi made one.
But it was one sweet toy car.
Posted by: Mauser at May 19, 2015 02:36 AM (TJ7ih)
Also, F1 played up the glitz and glamor of Monaco as much as it could. Not to say there weren't other places that were glamorous... I mean, Rio was on the calendar... but Monaco was the face F1 presented to the world whenever it could.
Still do, actually. There's very little glitz to Hungary or Sochi, for example. The idea of glamor doesn't exist when you're camping in a muddy field at Silverstone or there aren't enough portaloos at Spa. Other than the Opera House in Sydney, one doesn't much think of glamor and Australia together (no offense, Pixy!).
But almost any TV commercial you see for F1 will have a shot or two of Monaco in it, no matter where the race is.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 19, 2015 09:06 AM (jGQR+)
On one hand, you would think F1 would take a lesson from their own advertising: this is what people want to see. On the other hand, I doubt there's anything they can actually do about it. Street circuits are, I would bet, inherently more dangerous than more-modern purpose-built tracks...although you would think F1 would at least *try* to make the tracks a bit more interesting.
8...you would think F1 would at least *try* to make the tracks a bit more interesting.
Alas, "interesting" and "safe" are usually diametrically opposed to each other. If Monaco didn't have history behind it, the sport wouldn't race there. If someone proposed a similar race in, oh, Gstaad, they'd be laughed out of the room.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 19, 2015 01:34 PM (jGQR+)
9Maybe Miami. Oooooooooooooooohhhhhhh. That would be *awesome*.
Here's the thing... I was young. I remember playing with them before I moved to Duckford, so... six years old? Around there, surely.
It seems fitting, somehow, that I can remember many of the Corgi cars I owned 40 years ago, but most of childhood before high school is a sad blur.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 20, 2015 09:29 AM (jGQR+)
Depending on what you mean by street, surely the Nurburgring is/was a "public road" of some kind at some point? And used for F1 in the past? Though obviously lacking in urban bits.
Posted by: AlanL at May 20, 2015 04:21 PM (Ic3bA)
AlanL, the Nurburgring was a purpose-built race circuit, specifically to get away from racing on public roads. It's about as non-street-circuit-y as it's possible to get.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 20, 2015 04:31 PM (jGQR+)
The Nurburgring certainly is a purpose-built race track, and it certainly is very unlike the typical street circuit. However, the pedantic bastard in me cannot let this conversation pass without observing that the Nurburgring is also operated as a public toll road, open to all comers who want to turn a lap. So AlanL is also correct that it is, indeed, a public road.
Posted by: flatdarkmars at May 20, 2015 05:33 PM (lnEp2)
FDM, that's not what he was saying and you know it.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 20, 2015 10:13 PM (jGQR+)
Well, yes and no. I was aware of the public being allowed in, as witness many hilarious videos of people with enough money to buy M-series BMWs and GT-series 911s but not enough skill to actually drive them.
But I also had some sort of vague notion that it was a conversion of a pre-existing country road and not a purpose build race track - which I now know is not the case.
The Thrill Is Gone
We lost one of the true legends of the music industry today. BB King, best known as "The King Of The Blues", passed away at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 89.
Mentor to other guitar heroes like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Buddy Guy, he also inspired countless number of blues performers and fans worldwide. Like many rock fans my age, I was introduced to him via the band U2, who featured him on the Rattle & Hum song "When Love Comes To Town," which they wrote specifically for him.
More recently, he hit the radio waves once again with his collaboration with Eric Clapton, "Riding With The King."
As it turned out, BB King hated to sing while playing Lucille, his guitar, so he had a unique call-and-response style to his songs. That's clearly heard in "The Thrill Is Gone," of course, but I'm fond of the tribute song he wrote for his guitar as well.
More than that, he had a distinctive sound to his playing, in a way that almost no other guitarist did. Silky smooth but with a hint of dirt to it. Drop him in a group of guitarists, and you'll always be able to tell which was him.
For music fans of all genres, the loss of BB King is immense. He will definitely be missed around The Pond, and around the world.
1A big loss. I saw him for the first time in college in the '80s, when I ushered for his show. His band played for nearly an hour before he got on stage, which was no problem since they were amazing. I wasnâ€™t actually looking at the stage when he came on, because I was keeping an eye on some activity in the back rows. But I could feel that he was there because of the electricity pulsing through the crowd. It was an amazing show. He was resplendent in a lavender suit. And Lucille sounded great.
I had a chance to meet him briefly after the show and shake his hand! He was very gracious.
Posted by: Vaucanson's Duck at May 15, 2015 07:38 PM (G6R3M)
We saw both sides of Our Goofy Adoration this week. The stern but fair taskmaster alternately teaching and berating the newby tuba player when she was on the verge of goofing off...
...and showing that she's got the chops to back up her assertions in addition to being cute and goofy. She's clearly serious about this whole music thing, despite not being interested in running the band club.
When handed a new piece of music for auditions, she looks at it for a moment, then plays through it smoothly, error-free, and at tempo. Meanwhile, the main character of the show, who has played the same instrument for seven years, is clearly uncomfortable with playing, tentative and slow. While the rest of the series spins around her, Asuka is proving to be the person I want to know more about. Sure, Kumiko, Hazuki, Sapphire and Reina are the main characters, and their relationships are intriguing, and the show is hitting on all cylinders, but I'll be darned if Asuka doesn't steal every scene she's in. There's something about her, above and beyond the goofy cute, that makes her interesting. She's not a main character, but she's making a good argument to be one.
It's clear there's more than 13 episodes in the story of Hibike! Euphonium. I'm hoping a second season will be announced quickly, and that one of the episodes is Asuka-centric. I want to know her backstory... for all that I've adopted her as a motif to talk about the series, we really don't know much about her.
I have a feeling there's more to it than we think.
As much as I love watching Asuka, I find Kumiko more interesting, mainly because we can actually see some character development. We don't really know where Asuka is coming from yet; she's a pre-existing force. Kumiko not only
talks back to Asuka (and get's away with it), she...well, I'll leave that out since I intend to cover it in my write up.
Don't get me wrong; I can't wait to find out more about Asuka, but I'm more looking forward to Kumiko's continuing development and finding out more about Reina.
2We don't really know where Asuka is coming from yet
Which is why I said "I want to know her backstory." I've previously stated my love for secondary (or below) characters... don't tell me about Luke Skywalker, tell me about the cleaning crew on the Death Star.
But Asuka is even more attractive, because I believe if the show had taken a different tack, she could have been a main character.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 13, 2015 12:29 PM (jGQR+)
But Asuka is even more attractive, because I believe if the show had taken a different tack, she could have been a main character.
No....Just no. As much as I like Asuka, there is (Sadly.) a maximum practical limit to how much humor I can accept from her. I am glad she is not the president of the club. And frankly, the last thing KyoAni needs right now is a series that goes down this path again.
Posted by: cxt217 at May 13, 2015 06:10 PM (8Wn65)
I consider Asuka a main character at this point; she's at least as important to the plot at Reina is, and more-so than Sapphire and Hazuki. The story could be flipped around and told from Asuka's point-of-view. She's actually causing things to happen rather than just react.
"...the last thing KyoAni needs right now is a series that goes down this path again." I admit I haven't watched every series KyoAni has produced, but you lost me with this. What path?
5...there is (Sadly.) a maximum practical limit to how much humor I can accept from her...
Like that humor-filled Asuka of Ep05 (SunFes Drum Major)? Or the wacky Asuka of Ep03 (We Suck, So Asuka Takes Charge)?
There's more to her than a eye-poking gag-a-minnit happyslapper. She can be that, too, but other than a constant touch of the irregular ("Adios, Amigos!"), she has the ability to be serious when the need arises... and as we've seen, it has arisen repeatedly.
Not to sound creepy, but I'd like to know what she's like when the camera isn't on her. Is she a loving daughter? A diligent doer of homework? Messy? Does she have a rubber duck, and I swear, if anybody should have one it's her. And so forth...
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 13, 2015 10:41 PM (jGQR+)
I"m liking this series a lot, and I don't usually watch non-scifi series. Two things:
The club advisor scolding them and correcting them with a smile on his face. I've never known anyone that didn't get a little upset when trying to bring a group. He interesting. (And I just started Ep 4)
What was with the skirt thing? Were the girls getting called on rolling the tops of their skirts up to make them look shorter?
Re: skirt thing -- Yuppers. Just like the Catholic girls of yore used to try to shorten their skirts, the Japanese girls of today often try to turn their sailor skirts into miniskirts. There are several practical and social reasons why that's not a good plan, but it's also a violation of dress code. I'm sure that in real life they get called on this by teachers, but it's the first time I've seen that particular dream-bubble get burst on screen.
Re: the incredibly cheerful director - Yeah, I've had a choir director like that (at a workshop). He was a really good guy and had an infectious love of music, so the criticism felt particularly strong.
OTOH, this guy is pretty much always smiling when he's "on," and sometimes in Japanese society that means serenity (or nervousness trying to be serene). But maybe he's just not surprised by any stupid thing that band kids do, because he's seen it all.
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at May 15, 2015 07:29 AM (ZJVQ5)
I'm curious about the "smiling demon." There's a line dropped (in an earlier episode, I think?) about how he's never mentored a band before, or something to that effect. But he seems to be quite capable, something the kids are starting to realize, along with the fact that he is not even in the vicinity of screwing around, here. I like his attitude of, "you can either screw off OR you can take this seriously, there's no AND."
Posted by: GreyDuck at May 16, 2015 05:55 PM (/zxpg)
F1 Update: Spain 2015
A beautiful sunny day rose over Barcalounger as the F1 Circus began its swing across Europe today. For the first time in 2015, someone other than Lewis Hamilton led the Blundering Herd to the grid as teammate Nico Rosberg had the honors of fast lap during Quals, and he was desperate for a win. So what happened? THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2015 Grand Prix of Spain!
Here is the most excitement we had all day:
This is Turns 1 and 2 of the first lap. Nico Rosberg leads the Ferrari of Seb Vettel, who took advantage of a poor start by Lewis Hamilton to move into second place.
From this point in time until the end of the race, the Grand Prix of Spain was one of sheer tedium. There was almost no passing on track, no real drama despite the best efforts of the Legendary Announce Team to create some late in the race, and the only excitement came when two separate front jack men got run over by their cars (McLaren's HWPMBNSTITF suffered brake failure, and Lotus' Lettuce Grosjean suffered brain failure).
It was a reversion to the bad old days of the early-to-mid 2000s, when all passing was done in the pit lanes, races were processionals, and the winners could often be named before qualifying based on tire manufacturer. Back then, refueling was the gimmick that allowed for races to hinge on pit strategy. Now we have DRS which makes it impossible for the car ahead to defend a legit passing attempt, and bodywork that messes up airflow over the car behind, making it impossible for them to get close enough to make a legit passing attempt.
Now, I'm not going to say that every race is going to be a Spanish Grand Prix, and we knew coming in that this wasn't going to be the most interesting race in the world ("I don't always race cars..."), but this was really not good at all. Nico Rosberg only ever lost the lead during pit stop rotations, and then only briefly. Hamilton never had a challenge for him and, as previously mentioned, could not do anything about Ferrari's Seb Vettel on track. A quick change of plan to a three-stop strategy allowed him to race hard enough to pass him in the pits for second. Fourth was Valterri Bottas in his Williams, another near-podium yet invisible race for the Martini-striped car. The Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen overcame his qualifying woes to pull himself up to a complaint-filled fifth. The other Williams, driven by Felipe Massa ended up in sixth, with just as equally invisible a drive as his teammate's.
Nobody else was on the same lap.
So from a nearly-literal snoozefest in Spain, we head next to the Principality of Monaco and the streets of Monte Carlo. When one thinks of Monaco, the first thing that leaps to mind is not passing. However, it's such a visceral experience that one barely notices as the cars race down narrow city streets past fans wearing clothes that cost more than the F1 cars going by, or lounging on yachts in the harbor, or sunbathing next to swimming pools on the roofs of gigamillion-dollar hotels. With everything else going on to excite the senses, the Monaco Grand Prix can get away with it. Not so with Spain, a bare circuit with little visual stimulation.
Monaco is the one place on the calendar where raw grunt is not needed. Perhaps there we will see another dent in the Mercedes domination. See you in two weeks!
They've been making rule changes for the last few years, mostly of the form of banning almost any interesting engineering innovation. The result has been a monotous uniformity among all the cars, leadng to boring races.
Letting Tilke design most of the race tracks has left a legacy of failure and boredom.
Also, crippling the tracks that already existed by putting zigzag slower-downers ("chicanes"?) on the long straights to slow down the cars. Check out Monza, for instance. They put three of those suckers in the course and ruined it. Suzuka is an awesome track, but it would be better if it didn't have two of those things.
F1 is about innovation -- but not too much or too radical innovation, you know? And if anyone comes up with a really radical innovation, then they change the rules to ban it.
F1 is about speed -- but not too much speed, you know? Any time things get too fast, they change the courses to slow everyone down and change the rules to reduce engine power again. (And then ban in-race refueling so that they are limited by the amount of fuel they can carry from the start.)
They need to figure out what they're selling and stop crippling it.
(I don't know if Wonderduck will agree with this rant. Don't blame him for it.)
Their response to increasing boredom has been design kludges, like DRS. And that's the wrong answer. Part of the solution is to unbind the design engineers. If someone wants to design a car with six tires, let 'em! If someone wants to use a V-16 engine, let 'em!. If someone wants to use a turbine, let 'em! If someone figures out how to use the exhaust stream to get better down-force, let 'em! Let a thousand flowers bloom!
And then stop crippling the tracks. Get rid of all those damned chicanes! If the drivers can spend most of the race flooring it, let 'em!
Pete, to specifically answer your point, most of the spec 1 series don't have the kind of stifling rules that F1 has. The cars/boats are all the same but it's a good sameness, not a dull sameness. The problem with F1 isn't that the cars are nearly all the same, as such, the problem is that what they are force to be by the rules amounts to being crippled.
If F1 let a thousand flowers bloom, what they fear is that one team will end up hugely better than anyone else and run away with the championship. But that happens anyway, like with Mercedes this year. (And last year.)
Honestly, I think a big part of the problem is tire degradation combined with extremely high amounts of information in the hands of the teams.
The degradation specifically hurts teams that try to challenge for places. NO car on the track is running full-out, save in qualifying, or one last lap on tires you're about to swap out because who cares about the degradation once you're off the tires?
The aero disruption existed in previous seasons. But in those seasons, the tires (especially the harder tires) had more life in them, and you could afford to go toe-to-toe with the guy in front of you for a few laps. Sure, you could overdo it and burn up your tires, but it wasn't a race-killer to get up within a second of the guy in front of you.
This year, the tires are made of candy-floss and spun glass. The teams simply don't want to run anywhere in the vicinity of another car, and they don't want to run their cars as fast as the car can go, because doing either means your tires run out and you lose to the guy who's running his optimum race up front. The guys in back can't force the guys up front to their full pace. Sure, DRS lets you get around someone who's tremendously slower, but if you can't run close enough to a fast car in order to activate it without burning five laps off your tires, then it ain't gonna matter much at the front of the pack.
And it's certainly possible to use rules to make a race exciting - just check out a restrictor-plate NASCAR race, where every car is running with a crippled radiator. (And quite wisely, they don't do that every race, just on a few...) But the rules F1 has implemented aren't working for that.
9They need to figure out what they're selling and stop crippling it.
I don't disagree with Steven's basic point here, but we've seen what happens when the gates to the castle are thrown open wide and the barbarians are told "go right ahead."
There used to be a racing series called the Canadian-American Challenge Cup... or Can-Am. It raced under Group 7 restrictions, which basically came down to "no weapons." Everything else was fair game. It lasted for eight years, 1966-1974, during which time innovations such as the use of titanium and carbon fiber, aerodynamic wings, active downforce generation (i.e., fan cars!), 1500hp engine, and on and on and on. The cars were ridiculously fun. I mean, dear god, look at this beast! I get a fizzy feeling behind my... um... y'know... just from looking at it.
The series died due to ridiculous cost escalations driving all but the deepest pockets away, and seasons-long
domination by one marque or another (Lola to begin with, McLaren,
Porsche, then finally UOP/Shadow). Sound at all familiar?
Then there is the other thing that happens when you go unlimited: driver deaths. I've never seen a driver die on track live, though that's only been by dint of good luck... I missed Dan Wheldon's wreck by only a few minutes, and Allen Simonsen by a couple of hours. I've thought I've seen drivers die, Mark Webber at Valencia in 2010, Robert Kubica at Montreal in 2007 amongst them.
If we go unlimited, drivers will begin to die again, and nobody wants those days to come back.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 11, 2015 11:45 PM (jGQR+)
Seemed like there were quite a few empty seats masquerading as fans too.
Lately I have been hoping for rain for both qualifying and the race.
Intermittent heavy rain is what I really want.
Posted by: jon spencer at May 12, 2015 07:03 AM (JSYPT)
Unlimited design, with a construction budget limit â€” exceed it, and pay a penalty fee to the other qualifying teams?
F1 Quals: Spain 2015
Hold the phone! Stop the presses! From border to border, coast to coast and all the ships at sea, we have breaking news! Flash! Here's the grid for the 2015 Grand Prix of Spain:
Gamal Abdel Nasr
Yes, someone other than Lewis Hamilton has landed the premium spot on the grid for the first time this season! That it's his teammate Nico Rosberg should come as no surprise to anybody, since he actually had more poles than the rest of the field combined last year. Pole is important in Spain, as 12 out of the last 14 races at Barcalounger have been won from the first spot on the grid. However, those two times have occurred in the past four years... i.e., during the DRS and KERS era.
It's still not an easy place to pass, so you've gotta think Rosberg has an advantage. We'll know by the first turn! The race is Sunday morning, we'll see you then!
Two things... Vettel had the full set of upgrades on the chassis, while Kimi was running the package used at Bahrain. It was Kimi's choice, he didn't like the feel of the new equipment.
Also, the team managed to ruin a set of the option tires during quals, forcing him to do his final runs on used rubber. It seems a tire warming blanket caught fire, with the resulting damage compromising the safety of the tire.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 09, 2015 09:50 PM (jGQR+)
F1 Practice: Spain 2015
I totally forgot to watch. Completely spaced on today being Friday. However! I did say that I'd get back to you about if the new livery helped the McLaren go faster or not.
A McLaren, blood dripping from its wings, continues hunting for fresh prey.
Jenson Button ended up 7th at the end of P2. His teammate, HWPMBNSTITF, was solidly in 11th. So I think we can safely say yes, at least for today the Dark Charcoal and Red livery gave the McLaren chassis a speed boost. Never mind any other gewgaws and doohickies they may have added to the bodywork, it was all down to the livery. For what it's worth, Button is still over 1.5 seconds behind times set by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. In other news, Lotus has installed a particularly aggressive batch of upgrades to the E23 chassis for this race.
All joking aside, and please note they put the tires on backwards, Lotus had a spot of bother out on the circuit today. Lettuce Grosjean was turning a lap at speed when the entire engine cover tore off like it was never attached. Normally I would think that this would do terrible things to a car's pace, but this is Lotus we're talking about here. Ahem. Here's what it looked like when Lettuce made it back to the pits:
Quals in the morning. The quals report probably won't be up until the afternoon, though.
Random Anime Picture #97: Transcribing -Hibike! Euphonium, Ep05
Meet Yoriko. A third-year student at Kitauji High School, she is the librarian for the band club. As such, she is in charge of marking changes in the sheet music for individual performers, correcting errors, which means she's supposed to work closely with the director. At least, that's the way it works for professional ensemble librarians. I assume that her position has at least some passing resemblance to those requirements.
She's playing the piccolo here, but she's been seen practicing with a flute as well. She has had one line in the show to date, during Ep02: "When you switch from C to D...". In that one line, she is soft-spoken. In short, she's what I would usually call a "Skippy" in a writeup if she was important enough to have a scene devoted to her. Since she hasn't been, she is, instead, a step down from a Skippy, a J Random Student. She's got a name, but she's still a J Random.
Coincidentally she is also very tall, with only three male members of the band having inches on her. She's just another J Random, "third-spearcarrier-from-the-left" type.
Yet, in the perhaps twenty seconds of screentime she's had in five episodes of Hibike! Euphonium, most of which in an group of people (the picture of her doing the librarian stuff is the only time she's solo onscreen, and that's for perhaps two seconds) KyoAni has managed to work in a surprising amount of characterization and background. After all, she's a tall, soft-spoken, bookish type with a passion for music (note that she's the only one with her eyes closed in the ensemble picture!) and an eye for detail. It's amazing what you notice when you look for stuff. This whole character profile began simply because I liked the picture of her sitting at the desk, transcribing music. J Random Student? Skippy?
Or Yoriko Saika, character. I wonder what her story is?
All three students in the bottom picture can be easily identified in the third picture. On top of that, each of them has had at least one line or contribution to the story in some way. Each person in the second picture can be tracked consistently to other scenes in the first five episodes. They consistently play the same instruments and are drawn the same way every time.
The only caveat, and I'm not gonna swear to it, is Kumiko claims at one point that there are 60 members of the band club, and I'm pretty sure only about 20-ish are identifiable, maybe 25-ish. Of course, not EVERY single member of the band is important...but considering the plot is driven by six people (and those unequally), the fact that over twenty characters are distinct individuals after only five episodes is remarkable.
Also, for those who are thinking about giving the show a try, you can watch the first five episodes as a movie, more or less. It has a character arc and a plot that gets resolved.
F1 Pr0n: 2015 McLaren Revamp
Back in the preseason that now feels so far away, when the McLaren MP4/30 debuted it looked a little something like this:
This morning, McLaren decided that it didn't look ominous enough for the European leg of the F1 calendar and debuted a new livery.
The infamous "glare with wheels" is now completely gone, and the car looks better for it. The new red striping looks pretty flash too if you ask me.
I don't understand why there haven't been that many teams that go all black in the past. Oh, of course there's the historical "nation colors" that gave Ferrari its famous red livery, and British Racing Green isn't just a phrase. But the only team I can think of that normally used all-black was UOP Shadow in the early '70s. Minardi's PS01 was mostly black, with white on the upper section of the nose and stripes on the sidepods... and that's about it. So big props to McLaren for going for drama in lieu of useful speed.
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It's like a high school freshman designed the livery. How cool is that??? The red stripes have gotta be worth at least 10-20mph on the track, right? I'll let ya know after practice on Friday!
Your Weekly Asuka, Ep05 -Hibike! Euphonium, Ep05
This week, the Goofy Wacko we've come to adore is almost entirely missing. In her place is a being we've never quite seen before: Deadly Serious Asuka. I mean, last week she was the voice of reason in a band leader meeting. This week, she was the stern taskmaster who drove the marching band to levels they didn't know they could reach.
Because she's the Drum Major and darn well in charge on performance day. She was also the consensus pick to be President of the Band, but she didn't want the job. Well, no wonder she was so influential last week.
I did say "almost", didn't I?
On a completely different note, if you're not watching this show, you're missing out on perhaps the best work KyoAni has done since the Haruhi movie. I mean, yes, there's the scene that everybody will be talking about, but they're making sure every single box is checked everywhere.
Sure, just a simple train station, but holy crap, I thought I was looking at a photograph when I saw the screenshot. Honestly, KyoAni brought their "A"-game for this one, and when they do that, ain't nobody in the same league.
It goes without saying that the reflection of the train's lights in the stream is animated horizontally, but if you watch the scene carefully, you'll see there's also movement caused by the flow of the water. It's a throwaway shot, on-screen for a couple of seconds at most (and, ohbytheway, the train is exactly as long, end-to-end, as the screen is wide), but there's more care put into it than you'll see in almost all flash-based style animation, and most anime in general. Yes, I'm fanboying. Yes, I'm gushing. No, I don't care. It's just. That. Damn. Good.
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I want this band to play this song. A little bit of self-referential humor for the studio. Now if you'll excuse me, I want to go watch this episode again.
Amazing. Simply amazing. Kyo-Ani is knocking this one out of the park, across downtown, and into yet another park entirely. The writing is nuanced, the scenery is amazing, the background detail is lush, and... yeah, that smile. Wowza.
Posted by: GreyDuck at May 06, 2015 08:02 PM (/zxpg)
Having spent a long stretch of my life playing instruments (From elementary school right through high school.) as well as having been in the marching band, I am enjoying Sound! Euphonium so far. There is a lot of little touches which impress me, as well as the posters the Fandom Post who are also coming the series into the series with a musical background.
Not that there are not some things that cause me to go 'Huh? How is that again?' But at least it works better than Plastic Memories.
Posted by: cxt217 at May 06, 2015 10:03 PM (QHbVz)
I haven't had much time for animu since 2008, but this may just get me to hoist the skull and crossbones again. Marching baritone in high school and college was good times.
That's something I've only made brief mention of in my write-ups: the attention to detail regarding the instruments and playing them. How to clean a wind instrument, how to clear it (remember the brief shot of several players puffing air into the instrument without the horns making a sound?) How to hold the instruments. How you look when you play the instruments. Heck, there have been a couple of scenes where KyoAni even depicted the correct fingerings of the notes being played.
Some of this stuff you don't even get in higher-budget movies. And sure, that's all fanboy stuff. Which is when you get into the plot and the characters, which are also tremendous.
Crunchyroll is streaming it under the name 'Sound! Euphonium,' which is the official English language name given to it by its' R1 licensor Pony Canyon USA. You do need a premium subscription to watch the latest episode for the first week following its' premier. After that, and all previous episodes, can be watched for free.
Posted by: cxt217 at May 08, 2015 10:47 PM (vCgHW)
F1 on TV: Spain 2015
The slow boat from Bahrain has finally made landfall in the Old World, and the F1 Circus has disembarked in the traditional home of racing boredom, Barcalounger, home of the 2015 Grand Prix of Spain. Let's take a look at the track map, shall we?
I call it a boring race because it almost always is. For many, many years, the Circuit de Catalunya was the winter home for testing, with every team putting in thousands of laps annually. As a result, every tiny rise, every small dip, any bump, crack or irregularity is known and processed through the filter of the teams. Every single inch of this circuit is mapped and imprinted directly onto the cerebellums of the drivers, to the point that the race has spawned some legendary processions. Indeed, if there was ever an argument to be made for the necessity of gimmicks like DRS and KERS in Formula 1, this track right here is it.
Over and above all that, there's nothing particularly challenging about this Spanish track. It's a burrito from Chipotle is what it is. Filling, and you know you've eaten something when you're done, but real burritos are so much better. It wasn't always that way... I remember when Sector 3 was ridiculously fast: Turn 10 was a sweeper instead of a hairpin, and the final turn ran in a single arc from Turn 13 to the exit of Turn 16 and cars barely slowed for it.
But those days are dust, now and forever more. At least we'll have the Legendary Announce Team to bring us coverage over paella and tortas from the Basilica Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus. Here's the broadcast schedule: FRIDAY
7am - 830am: Practice 2 on NBCSN SATURDAY
7am - 830am: Quals live on CNBC SUNDAY
630a - 9am: 2015 Grand Prix of Spain on NBCSN.
All times are Pond Central, of course. Add an hour if, for example, you're in a hospital in Virginia. Subtract two hours if you're having a Mission burrito in San Francisco. And if you're in the Midwest, have a breakfast pastry with your sangria.