The Winter Season Of My Discount Tent.
The long-standing rule of thumb is that the Winter season of an anime year is the weakest. Looking back through my January archives, I see that such shows as Vividred Operation and Rio Rainbow Gate! both aired in that month. With that sort of pedigree, it seems hard to argue anything but Winter being the weakest. However, there's always something to watch in every season, and this Winter is no different. In fact, I went into it interested in five series, and was ordered to watch a sixth. We're now three episodes into most shows and that means it's time to take a look at what hit with me, what missed, and what failed badly.
Well, rats. I was looking forward to Little Witch Academia. I'll likely give it a try anyway. Haven't watched anything yet this year. Well, except Nyanko Days.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 30, 2017 06:49 AM (2yngH)
I watched a few first-episodes mostly out of desperation and only liked two enough to even give them a second try:
I am enjoying Interviews far more than expected. It's adorable, it's heartfelt, and while occasionally it gets a bit pervy they usually walk it back nicely afterward, or at least lampshade it amusingly. (They're trying to have their cheesecake and eat it too, and SO FAR it's working... but they're walking a tightrope on that, especially considering this is a teacher and his students we're talking about.)
Kobayashi's Dragon Maid isn't quite as strong of a show but I kind of like the way it's settling into a kind of relaxed, low-key (mostly) slice-of-life domestic sitcom. There are little moments in between the bigger story bits which are great at changing up the mood, such as the brief "Kanna's nap" bit in the most recent ep. It's never going to be an anime classic but it's something to watch while we wait for springtime, anyway.
No action adventure, no epic stories, just a couple of light magical comedies. When's the next installment of Yona or Arslan...?
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 30, 2017 08:38 AM (rKFiU)
Pixy, understand that my view on LWA appears to be unique. Not one other blogger or commenter that I've seen seems to have noticed the ugliness.
Maybe I'm being oversensitive. But what can I say, I saw what I saw.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 30, 2017 08:12 PM (UDOXQ)
I think I can remember seeing some kind of Teaser for LWA (was it for some kind of fundraiser?) but I didn't know there was a movie. I've gotten the first episode but not watched it yet.
I too am finding Interviews rather charming, although they've definitely downplayed the "Monster" angle of the girls, as compared to say, Everyday Life with Monster Girls. The dullahan is the only one with an unmistakable at a distance monster nature. But that's not to say it's watered down, it's just operating at a different level, rather the broad physical humor.
I'm pondering going back to some long unfinished series, like Robotics:Notes.
Posted by: Mauser at January 30, 2017 09:26 PM (5Ktpu)
Mauser, the LWA movie was partially funded via kickstarter. The OVA was done for Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs "Anime Mirai" festival.
The OVA is truly wonderful, even with the flaws I've mentioned.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 30, 2017 10:04 PM (UDOXQ)
Boat. Train. Boattrain!
Sometimes, you see a picture and you've just got to share it.
click for much much bigger
Rail ferries have long been a thing of course, but this is one of the smallest self-powered ones I've ever seen. At least, I assume that's a funnel just behind the elevated platform, and I'm betting that's a rudder post on the left side. And how often have you seen a clipper bow on a barge? I'm not saying this is seaworthy, mind you, just... well. Fun photo.
Posted by: mikeski at January 31, 2017 11:37 PM (TXZ1v)
My dad once told me about something similar where he grew up in Minnesota. The railroad only came as far as the south end of a long, narrow lake, so they used a barge to carry a few rail cars at a time to the town on the north end.
Posted by: Siergen at February 01, 2017 08:03 AM (fqStN)
Hipsters. Doing intermodal before intermodal was cool.
Posted by: andy at February 05, 2017 11:54 AM (pvHl3)
In Formula 1, "Retirement" Means Never Having To Say "I'm Sorry." (UPDATED)
So! Formula 1 stuff, huh? Believe it or not, yeppers! There's been some important news bit percolating up from the coffeepot that is winter break.
First up, remember that whole Nico Rosberg wins the Driver's Championship, then retired thing? Well, he's still retired. Mercedes, trying to get the best driver they could to take over his seat, nabbed Valterri Bottas from Williams. Helluva pickup that, and short of signing someone like Fernando Alonso, probably the best pick they could have made. But that left one loose end floating about: who was going to fill the seat at Williams vacated by Bottas? The team couldn't just pick up a kid, because they've already got one in Spear Saunter Lance Stroll, who was filling the seat left vacant by the retirement of Felipe Not Nasr Massa. So who to pick up? I hear Jenson Button was available... heh. No, no, he's taking a year off. Really, Williams was in a quandry. Except for drivers like Esteban! or Pastor Maldodo, there wasn't much left on the F1 Driver's Tree. And then, in a little English town called Wantage just east of Swindon, a small dark man stepped off the Stagecoach Lines bus from Oxford via Faringdon. He then strolled two or three miles up the A338, past Simply Potty, a charming little pottery shop, then steering clear of the local Vauxhall dealer, he eventually made his way to an unprepossessing roundabout, seemingly in the middle of a field. From there, he walked up a tree-lined drive to a security office in front of a large, modern-looking building of some sort. "Hello," said the small dark man, "my name is Felipe Not Retired Massa. I hear you are looking for a F1 driver, yes?" Retiring for two months... that's gotta be a record of some sort.
In other retirement news, this one is just beginning to shake out, but it looks like Bernie Ecclestone, longtime CEO and puppetmaster of Formula 1, has been gently edged out of the picture by the incoming Liberty Media Group, the new owner/operators of the sport. In his place, Ross Brawn, last seen in F1 when he sold his BrawnF1 team to an incoming Mercedes team, has been named the Managing Director of Motor Sports. The commercial side of Ecclestone's position has been taken by Sean Bratches, a former ESPN executive and arguably the most important figure in the adoption of HD television in the US. So the little troll is finally, finally gone. He was probably the most important figure in F1 history, but jeez, enough with him already.
Two months until Melbourne!
UPDATE: So GD asks in comments just what effect Ecclestone's departure will mean to F1 in the short run. First, I expect that the United States is going to enjoy a Formula 1 Renaissance of sorts. The Eccletroll made it quite clear that F1 didn't need the United States and the repeated failures here proved that point (in his mind, at least). That the "failures" came from his lack of interest in promoting anything here in the States would never cross his mind. Liberty Media is actually an American company, and F1's new CEO, Chase Carey of the Splendid Mustache, is on record saying that he believes the US is an untapped goldmine for F1.
The other near-term thing that'll happen is that we'll see F1 become huge on the web. The one thing Bernie never "got" was how important the internet is. As a result, you won't find legal streams of a race or practice anywhere but NBCSN here in America... F1's own website doesn't even have streaming. There is no legal way to watch a race except through your home provider's network... and NBCSN's feed is fair to awful, usually. Much the same is true in Europe. It's actually very hard to find much in the way of highlights on Youtube, and most of them are official F1.com clips. Those that aren't are either trackside shots, stolen from the Lithuanian broadcast, or on-screen-mirrored and shrunken in quality. The key word in the new company's name is "MEDIA". It wouldn't surprise me at all if in the next year or two there's either an official online subscription service for the season, or a PPV-like arrangement for a race weekend.
Longer term, I expect that we'll see a reduction in races at places like Baku or Bahrain... tracks that exist only because people were willing to throw cash at Bernie and have no racing heritage at all. Along that same vein, places like Silverstone or Monza will not have to deal with the annual jabs from Bernie, about how if they can't pony up the doubloons, F1 won't race there anymore. Which is like saying baseball won't play at Fenway or Wrigley. A lot of badmouthing of teams, drivers, and tracks spewed from Bernie, and having that go away is worth the price of admission alone.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 25, 2017 09:51 PM (UDOXQ)
Thanks for the detailed answer! I tell you what, if watching & following the sport online/streaming becomes a more viable thing, I could see that as a huge boost. Heck, I might even pay more attention to it (beyond reading your posts/recaps).
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 29, 2017 03:49 PM (rKFiU)
I find myself in a state of peace, for I have seen the dirigible and therefore all is right with the world. Farewell, sweet airship with a rigid structure covered by an outer skin... until the next time I play the World of Warships map named "Polar." And you, my readers, may you be fortunate enough to see your own dirigible.
Poor Tachibana hasn't been out in a while. That's about the only ship I have left that would see Polar.
I was highly amused to outpace the decorative patrol aircraft on Fault Line in the speedy Colorado.
Posted by: Will at January 24, 2017 12:47 PM (rcMgo)
That's the Italia - did it crash during your game session, or disappear outside the map boundaries?
Posted by: Siergen at January 24, 2017 04:10 PM (fqStN)
Neither, Siergen. It floats around the map for the entire match, often out of bounds. There is also a trio of seaplanes involved, too.
This was actually the first time I thought to get screenshots of the DIRIGIBLE! during a match. I got a free port slot from a supercontainer, so I immediately began to grind up the Japanese battleship line... and my brand spankin' new Kawachi ate a full load of torps from a Russian destroyer at short range, just before it died from fire.
But afterwards? It was DIRIGIBLE TIME!
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 24, 2017 06:47 PM (UDOXQ)
I really love the God Mode camera. It's just too bad you have to die first to use it.
Since the new version launched, I've only had my Zuiho out. I haven't even re-skilled my other commanders yet. But I'm doing REALLY well with it.
Posted by: Mauser at January 24, 2017 09:15 PM (5Ktpu)
The touches they put on their maps are extraordinary. The settlements, towns, buildings, radio towers, fortifications, and so on are amazing. If one looks really closely, they might not scale correctly, but they make it so much more interesting than fighting in an empty ocean with only distant land masses in view (if any).
Speaking of non-empty oceans, I ran aground last night on a sandbar that barely broke the surface, and couldn't be seen on the mini-map. It was not my most expensive mistake in the game, but it was painful. Definitely in a slump right now.
Posted by: ubu at January 25, 2017 04:37 PM (SlLGE)
Ubu, somewhere on my hard drive I've got a screenshot of my Furutaka, looking for all the world like it had intentionally driven into a city marina, where it was being replenished by a series of trucks. Of course, the trucks just circle the city endlessly, and the marina is populated by immobile boats, but still...
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 25, 2017 06:34 PM (UDOXQ)
Cubswatch 2016: End Of The Celebration
As you know, I've been reveling in the Cubs winning the World Series this past season. I'll admit that I'm still at the point of breaking out into a grin whenever I head "the Cubs have won the World Series." However, every good thing must come, eventually, to an end. On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr Day, the Cubs paid a visit to the White House. The resulting event with President Barack Obama was pretty special.
I'm not going to get political, that would go against every reason I created The Pond. I will say that that was a fun speech from the President, one I didn't think he had in him.
This event seems to be a good time to close the book on the Cubs' amazing 2016 season and to start looking ahead to 2017. Spring Training is just around the corner... can another World Series run be in the offing?
Perfect Day Engaging In 3... 2... 1... (UPDATED)
I should have known what sort of day this was going to be when I woke up before my alarm, rolled over, curled up perfectly in my comforters... just in time for the alarm to go off. Never a good sign, that. After my usual morning peregrinations, I pulled on my fleece and checked the weather forecast for the day. Freezing drizzle since late last night, changing to flurries and later, all rain. Sweet. Out the door of Pond Central I went, down the stairs and was greeted by...
...oh dear. Sidewalks with no salt or sand, grass with a sheen of water-covered ice, and a weird mix of rain, sleet, and slurry falling from the sky. The parking lot didn't look much better. Still, looked doable: just take tiny steps and watch where you're going. About halfway to the parking lot, I realized the sidewalk was much more ice-covered in front of me, so I diverted towards the lawn. While my shoes would get wet... there looked to be a good half-inch of water on the ice-covered lawn... that would be much better than slipping. And then things happened quickly. One foot shot out from underneath me, the other one sort of flailed at the ground trying to get traction, and...
...the amount of pain engaging my knees was astounding. I seemed to be in one piece, but I was face down on the grass, already soaked, and then I realized a lot of other things on the front of my body hurt. I rolled onto by back, and that hurt as well. Well, nothing for it, gotta stand up no matter how much you hurt.
I couldn't do it.
I couldn't get any lift off my right leg. Partially because of Holy CREPE my knee hurt, but mostly because of the mud, water and ice I was lying in... my foot couldn't get the traction needed. Which is when it hit me.
I was going to have to crawl. If I could make it to the stairwell, I could use the railing there to stand up. And so I did. Some twenty minutes after I made impact with the ground, I got back into Pond Central, immediately changed back into sweats and a light sweater, and called into work for the day, explaining just what had occurred. The news later reported that Duckford had gotten a late start on salting the roads, so they were horrible too... would have made for a fun drive to work, what with it mostly being on tertiary streets and all.
So half a day later, my right knee is swelling, hot, and bright pink. My right shoulder feels like it got jammed on impact. My left wrist hurts right where it sits on my keyboard's wristrest. My back is sore. Worst of all, my MP3 player has ceased to function. It looks okay, but the screen doesn't light up, and when I connect it to my computer, nothing shows up. I'm guessing it being in my right front pants pocket, having me fall on it, then get soaked in freezing water for 20 minutes might have had a deleterious effect on it.
There's always tomorrow.
UPDATE: The MP3 player works! My cellphone, which had gotten very quiet (both earpiece and external speaker), now works! My knee... well, it functions. It's still bright pink, hot and tender. I'm tentatively declaring my right shoulder "borked." I can't lift my right arm over my head without a lot of discomfort. My left wrist now only hurts when I move it. So that's an improvement. But the electronic devices work, and that's the important stuff!
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 17, 2017 08:42 AM (rKFiU)
GD, this morning the mp3 player said that it had a drained battery. Yesterday it didn't show any sign of life at all, this morning is at least flashed "low batt" at me. It's currently plugged into my computer charging, and maybe it's not actually dead.
I can see a couple of ways the battery could have died... I may have left it on, but paused, overnight. We'll see when I get home!
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 17, 2017 08:51 AM (UDOXQ)
It's unusual to see, but there's ways to drain a rechargeable battery beyond the normal amount--I did it accidentally with a tablet recently, when it froze up during a reboot, and the battery is non-replaceable so I couldn't pull it. Hopefully you got lucky and all that happened was the water caused the battery to fully drain. (There was a story last year, I think, about someone who left a Tesla in a garage, unused, for months, and the battery discharged like this--but in a Tesla, this will apparently actually destroy the battery beyond repair, and the guy who did this had to replace the entire battery pack at his own expense.)
Charging it overnight can fix the problem--the device seems to need several hours of charge time to get enough charge to where it's only normally-depleted, and then it will charge like normal. At least, that's what happened with my tablet.
Posted by: Rick C at January 17, 2017 03:29 PM (ECH2/)
Also, I hope you didn't injure your knee badly, and it heals quickly.
Posted by: Rick C at January 17, 2017 03:29 PM (ECH2/)
Well, crud. Keep an eye on that knee. There could be things torn up other than just the bendy parts.
Posted by: Ben at January 17, 2017 06:15 PM (1uZgg)
Good news on the MP3 player, now if we can convince the meatbag parts of the equation to return to working order. Sounds unpleasant, hopefully you are able to heal up soon, sir.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 17, 2017 06:59 PM (rKFiU)
Sounds like both knee and shoulder could using icing and ibuprofen.
Posted by: Rick C at January 19, 2017 11:46 AM (ECH2/)
Something to potentially brighten your day a little. The makers of Monopoly has a poll out for potential player tokens in a new variant of the game. One of the tokens in the running is a statue of a rubber duck.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at January 19, 2017 09:15 PM (5YSpE)
Hope your knee is feeling better.
I have done the knee skid landing before and temporarily got bursitis out of it. Ended up spending a lot of time with frozen peas or other small icepacks on my propped up knees. Also did a fair amount of walking backwards downstairs until my bursas got better. Also ibuprofen and such.
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at January 23, 2017 08:22 PM (S0Svy)
So, injury + 7 days update time. My left knee is acting much more abused than my right now. I refuse to speculate as to why. My right shoulder is messed up (medical term). Whatever I did to it aggravated an existing problem that caused it to hurt when it was swiveled to the rear (imagine reaching behind your back without turning your torso at all.. that move of the shoulder is what I'm talking about). I now have problems lifting my arm above shoulder level. For a while there, I couldn't lift a 2-liter bottle with that hand. I fear my pitching career is over.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 23, 2017 11:47 PM (UDOXQ)
Name That Mystery Ship XXXII
It's been nearly a year since I last found something I thought challenging enough for a Mystery Ship competition. Very late last night (as in 5am late) while looking for something else entirely, I stumbled across the perfect thing! Ladies and gentlemen, here's your image:
As always, no image searching is allowed... I can't keep you from doing it, but what good is an unearned victory? CTX and FDM are not allowed to guess (or leave hints) until I let them off the leash. You get ONE guess, so make it count. The winner (as declared by me, and my decision is final) will get a post
of their very own about anything they want (no pr0n, politics or
religion, however) within reason.
I'm going to guess it's the Verniy, ex IJN Hibiki. I can't actually find any images, but my thought process is as follows:
1. To start, it looks like it might be, or based off of, a destroyer. The rounded tower is indicative of IJN destroyers, and indeed if I bring up the WoWs tech tree and look at Akakutsi, it's a very close match, except for the weird bow.
2. Akakutsi is just an upgunned Fubuki. IJN Hibiki is a Fubuki class that took a torpedo to the bow, was turned into a guard ship, and then taken by the russians after the war and further re-gunned.
Given that the fore turret looks pretty standard except for the mounting, it might still be Hibiki in the guard ship phase.
Posted by: David at January 15, 2017 09:12 PM (JMkaQ)
Well, crepe. I thought that would take at least two guesses. This is indeed the Hibiki. She's in a mobile drydock while she's fitted with a temporary bow after that torpedo hit David mentioned.
Okay, name your prize, Mr Winner-Is-You!
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 15, 2017 10:03 PM (UDOXQ)
And now I'm on the spot of trying to come up with an ask that is interesting, but not too onerous. Have you done a "why rubber ducks" post? If not, do that. Otherwise, pick a ship or battle that interests you and that you haven't written about before.
Posted by: David at January 15, 2017 10:31 PM (JMkaQ)
Now that the answer is sitting there...well, I still wouldn't have got the question right; I don't know things like that...but it's surprising how recognizable the features of the ship are.
Posted by: Ben at January 16, 2017 10:30 PM (B1bvu)
Ten Weeks To Go
Two and a half months to Australia and the start of the 2017 F1 season. Of course we'll all anticipatory and stuff, but there are others who feel somewhat more... invested, shall we say?
Ten weeks to go. Ten long weeks to go. For some, ten VERY long weeks to go.
I went to the show in Dallas last year. Highly enjoyable, both for the actual show itself and the crowd-watching feeling you get when you realize that you're surrounded by thousands of people who are weird at least somewhat like you are. That said, there were a bunch of short people in the crowd who probably didn't get much out of it...
Posted by: Avatar at January 09, 2017 04:45 AM (v29Tn)
Dang. If I watch this, I have to find out what dabbing is.
Posted by: Rick C at January 09, 2017 12:44 PM (ITnFO)
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 09, 2017 06:31 PM (UDOXQ)
I haven't watched a Miku concert in a while, but it's always interesting to see where they are with the technology. It seems a but different from the last one I watched. The screen/platform seems bigger. The animation seems significantly improved in some areas: the clothes react with movement and light much better, but the hair movement kept bothering me. They used to exaggerate the hair physics, and I guess that hid some unrealistic movement. On the other hand, I was really impressed with all of the subtly they've added in. There seem to be more breathing animations incorporated, and the movement is precise to human levels, rather than 3d model levels. It adds a lot.
Posted by: Ben at January 10, 2017 08:45 AM (1uZgg)
Remember Amagami SS? Essentially the first show to do an omnibus format, with each girl getting four episodes, based on a PS2 dating sim? Back in 2010? No? Yes? Well, Seiren is essentially an indirect sequel to Amagami SS, taking place in the same world, in the same school as the older show. In fact, one of the secondary characters is the younger brother of one of the girls from Amagami. It looks like Seiren is going to be exactly the same type of series... and that's good, because Amagami was a secret jewel of a show. If it's anywhere as good as the older series, this one is going to be a great time.
And hey, first episode rubber duck. That counts for a LOT in my world.
I vaguely recall Amigami SS, and hey, since this season's looking a bit lean anyway I might give the kinda-sequel here a shot...
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 07, 2017 08:27 PM (rKFiU)
2...since this season's looking a bit lean anyway...
I know people are saying that, but I've got five (and maybe a sixth) shows on my platter this season. Seiren, of course. Interviews with Monster Girls, Little Witch Academia, KonoSuba2, and Kobayashi-san's Dragon Maid are the other four I've been anticipating. And last night, Avatar insisted that I must watch Youjo Senki.
I did one show last season: Hib!Euph2.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 07, 2017 10:33 PM (UDOXQ)
WW1 meets Strike Witches, with pants. What's not to love?
I tried the first ep of Monster Girls today and quite liked it. Felt like Jitsu Wa with a bit less zany.
Tried Fuuka and Masamune-kun's Revenge, neither did much for me. Other than that, my list basically looks like Duck's, though I'll probably watch Fate/GO too.
Posted by: Avatar at January 08, 2017 05:42 AM (v29Tn)
Man, I totally forgot to look at what's coming up this season. I'm so used to waiting for people to post links to the roundups. It's kind like those specials the networks used to run previewing their saturday morning cartoons.
Posted by: Mauser at January 08, 2017 01:21 PM (5Ktpu)
Av, I didn't count Fate Grand/Order since it's not a weekly thing. But I did watch the first installment... Mash is cute as a freakin' button.
I did watch the first episode of Youjo Senji last night, and you ask what's not to love. How about the main character? I'm going to keep watching, but at the moment it's in the hopes that she gets run over by a fully-loaded Ãœberlandwagen.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 08, 2017 09:48 PM (UDOXQ)
It's not anime, but have you seen this church? Clearly architected by a duck fan.
Posted by: mikeski at January 09, 2017 02:15 AM (UzBQ4)
I have a high tolerance for jerk characters. I mean, I work in legal support, it's mandatory!
Posted by: Avatar at January 09, 2017 04:50 AM (v29Tn)
I got partway through Grand Order and bailed. Mash is cute, nearly everyone else is some level of creepy-and-or-annoying. And of course the lead is a K-drip. Also: as usual, it's another Fate-something installment where the gore factor's just a bit higher than I'm into. Sigh. I keep wanting to finish one of them to see how it turns out, but.
I'll keep my eyes peeled for folks saying, "Oh hey, turns out [XYZ show] is really good!" Then I'll catch up.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 09, 2017 01:23 PM (rKFiU)
Confirmation Of SuspicionsBack when I watched Interstellar, I was quite enamored of the sparse yet fully orchestrated soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. However, I couldn't quite get the feeling out of my head that I'd heard it or something like it somewhere before. Tonight, I stumbled upon this...
...and yup, that's what I was thinking. The music for Interstellar clearly isn't the same as instrumentation by Philip Glass, but it surely did punch that particular button for me. I mean, here's the music from the docking scene, called "No Time For Caution"...
...and here's the ending of Koyaanisqatsi, the scene that everybody's seen at least once...
I do hope Zimmer bought Glass a nice dinner first.
(no, this post wasn't an excuse to put music from Interstellar on here. not at all. why would you think that?)
What's On Your MP3 Player Now, Wonderduck?... still asked by nobody ever.Caravan Palace - Black Betty
Apocalyptica w/ Till Lindemann - Helden
How this slipped past me all these years is entirely beyond me. Apocalyptica is a heavy metal cello trio, and Till Lindemann is the lead singer of Rammstein... and the song is, of course, a cover of David Bowie's "Heroes".
The "Helden" track isn't my favorite from its album, but it is a neat little nugget. Apocalyptica as a band started as an interesting novelty, went through some cool developmental phases, and seems to have ended up as a parody of itself. Your mileage may vary but I actively can't stand their new line-up (okay, their new singer) outside of the one track from the latest album, "Cold Blood." Ah well.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 04, 2017 08:43 AM (rKFiU)