October 31, 2020
Random Anime Pictures #149: A Witch On Halloween
-Maho no Tabitabi, Ep05
Every now and again you trip over a show that you had no expectations for... indeed, may not have even planned on watching... and discover you've got a gem on your hands. For me, Maho no Tabitabi, or "The Traveling Witch" in English translations, is one of those shows. As you can guess from the title, it's a story about Elaina, a newly-minted witch, and her travels around a world where magic is a thing, witches are respected, and life is interesting.
At this point you'd be excused if you thought "Oh, it's another one of Wonderduck's pleasant and nice slice-of-life shows, like Yuru Camp or ARIA or Flying Witch," and in a way you'd be right. It is a slice-of-life, and it is a pleasant and nice show. But it's got a little more behind it than just fluffy-happy-warm-and-fuzzy.
Topics this fluffy show has touched upon thus far include man-eating plants (and not the funny ones), suicide, slavery, regicide, and snobbery. Oh, and a dragon gets flat-out curbstomped. Taken as a whole, it's a relaxed series, but it's definitely not without its edgy side. It's that taste of darkness that makes it stand out from your standard laid-back fare.
Which is great, because when you combine all that with frankly beautiful animation, you get a really winning package indeed. All of which can be undone if you have a terrible main character of course. Fortunately Elaina is no perfect girl in whose mouth butter would not melt.. She's immensely talented... "the youngest to pass the magic tests, when she was 14"... and knows it. She's beautiful, and knows it. She's prideful, she's got a temper, and the ability to dispense violence is absolutely present.
She hasn't done it yet... maybe she won't ever do so in the series... but in the screenshot above she holds herself back only by the slimmest of margins. But while she's remarkably talented, she's also shown to be a hard worker, who doesn't just assume her talent is enough. There is effort to improve everywhere in the show thus far, even if it's just in interpersonal relations. But it's those little character flaws that have kept her interesting, and me coming back for more.
There is no traditional fanservice in the series. I mean, none. The author of the light novel series the show is based on made it perfectly clear that he wanted nothing of the sort to appear and the production team took that to heart. The above scene is the closest we've come thus far, and there's an appropriate shadow. I think this decision was a good one, honestly. The show doesn't really need it, any more than Yuru Camp or ARIA did. Is it as good as those series? Not yet, but there's still seven episodes to come. Not every show has to be a 10/10, and this one is better than most. That's good enough for me to recommend it.
And, y'know... happy halloween and all that jazz.
October 23, 2020
Minutes Of Calm Be like this.
We will all be better for it.
Edit: found mere minutes after the original post went up.
If yootoob is being yootoob again, see here the video here.
It is early in the morning, so I didn't really notice The Neat Part. Then I did, and I laughed.
I am a dreadfully simple duck.
October 18, 2020
Time Skip This past Thursday I went to bed very late... or early, depending on how you want to look at it. Like "five in the morning" late. There's an event coming up in Fate Grand Order that I'm not going to qualify for... you have to have cleared a story chapter that's quite a bit down the line from where I am... but for all of us that don't get to participate there's a nice bonus: 1/4 action point cost for all story chapter sections. So I've put my shoulder to the wheel, my smartphone to the grindstone and I'm making good progress on finishing up the first overall Part of the game. I'm very close to completing the Babylonia chapter after all of this... anyway, that's what I was doing up at 5am. When I did finally drag myself to bed, I slept very very hard.
So hard, in fact, that when I woke up the sun was going down, the light filtering in my window thin and gray. I could scarcely believe it... more than 12 hours asleep? I haven't done that in years... I must have woken up, used the loo, and come back to bed at least once, and more likely twice or three times, without me remembering! How very odd. Well, I needed to relieve some hydraulic pressure, so I crawled out of bed, casting a glance at the clock on my phone as I did.
Immediately I knew there was a problem... it must have glitched or something from all the hours of resource-hungry FGO from the night before because it clearly said "7:20". Around about 720pm it's full dark at Pond Central. Since the sun was still shining, though weakly, the phone must be two hours fast, like it's set to a timezone somewhere in the Atlantic, maybe Prince Edward Island. I had no idea how that might have occurred, but it clearly had.
Feeling very tired indeed for someone who had just slept for more than a dozen hours, I trundled my way to the computer and fired it up. Still groggy, I glanced at the system clock. 730. Oh come on, now my computer is wrong too??? What the hell is going on? It wasn't until I visited a weather page that said "Your Forecast for Friday Morning" on the masthead that I twigged to what was going on.
I hadn't slept 12+ hours. My clocks weren't mysteriously off by two hours. It really was 730 on Friday... 730am. The sun was going UP, not coming down. I had slept two hours. No wonder I still felt tired. I opened my e-mail... and promptly fell asleep in my chair. Waking up when the mouse threw itself at my leg... no way I pulled it off the desk when I fell into slumberland and my arm went limp... I decided to go back to bed. Probably for the best.
I've never quite had that happen to me before, certainly not for as long as it lasted and as convinced as I was. Even now, I feel a little like it's a half-day earlier than it should be.
October 07, 2020
A Wonderful Late Night Final Hope The other day I was lamenting the loss of my entire digital music collection after the death of my external hard drive... and suddenly realizing just how useful a CD/DVD drive would be right about now... when I got to wondering what some favorite bands are up to. The answer, as it is for so many of us lately, is "not much."
I mean, Joe Jackson updated his website for the first time in about a year the other day, so that was nice, but other than that? There's a new anime entry in the Love Live! franchise, the first episode of which aired last week. I was amused to see that the game's player character analogue in the anime is named "Yu." And then...
...I stopped. Do I even have any other 'favorite bands' anymore? Random songs, sure, but a whole artist? All of the names I came up with were dead or '80s bands. Or both. Almost frantically I cast about my computer desk, looking for someone else to call a "favorite". Foo Fighters? David Gilmour? How in the world did Selena Gomez get... nevermind. Finally, finally, I realized who I'd forgotten.
Public Service Broadcasting. Just how they managed to slip my mind is a study in the effects of isolation, but at least I remembered them, hey? So what are they up to?
Nothing. The band members are holed up and hunkered down just like the rest of us, but apparently their instruments and equipment is in another country altogether. I assume it never made it back from a tour when the Most Recent Great Unpleasantness set in. However, Artists gonna art, and Musicians gonna music. J Wilgoose Esq, the tweed jacket behind PSB, falls into that vein. Reportedly he threw together a motley assortment of old synths and other odds and ends and said "hey kids, let's put on a show."
Except there weren't any kids, and you still can't have shows due to the plague. So instead, he did the next best thing: a side project. It hasn't been released, but there's been a song revealed. Here's the viddy.
LATE NIGHT FINAL - A Wonderful Hope
Before you start, please realize that this is not your standard PSB fare. No historical news samples, no movie snippets, and a lot of what I call "ambient". This is important for the main reason that I generally dislike ambient music... if you drop the "t", that's the effect it usually has on me. Fortunately, while it starts out like that, it doesn't STAY ambient. It's not anybody's idea of dance music or stuff, but it's not a bad listen at all.
I guess the actual album/EP/whatever is coming out sometime in November. A nice little holiday present, eh?
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