July 18, 2017

Random Anime Pictures #130: From The Screen To The Page...

-Hibike! Euphonium the Movie
The good folks over at Yen Press recently released the original light novel for Hibike! Euphonium, translated of course.  Since that was probably my favorite anime series in years, of course I eagerly picked it up... I wanted to see how it differed and how it stayed the same from the material I knew.  And the result?

It's not as good as the anime.  And no, I'm sure there isn't any "first come first served" bias going on here... KyoAni just did a better job with the source material than the source material did.  For example, let's use what I think was the best sequence from the anime, the mountain scene with Kumiko and Reina.  Much of the dialogue is the same, and a lot of the details as well (Reina's white dress, or her ankles getting rubbed raw).  However, in the novel they don't take their instruments and thus the duet on the mountaintop doesn't occur.  That simply amazed me.  In another big difference, the "secondary leads," Hazuki and Sapphire, get almost no character development.  Also, and most painful to yours truly, Asuka's personality is more obviously a facade and her nasty side is more evident.  The wacky part of her that made her an instant fan favorite is almost totally missing. 

But the obvious difference is the music.  For a story about a concert band, there's a total lack of music involved with the book.  Which is natural of course... a book is words on paper, and the author isn't talented enough to overcome that handicap in comparison to the anime.  Please understand, the book is still quite entertaining and well worth the small amount of time it'll take you to read it. 

But you'll be hearing the music from the series in your head when you do.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:18 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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June 25, 2017

Random Anime Pictures #129: While We're Waiting...

Over at Reddit today, I was involved in a little slice of funny.  The Original Poster (OP) put up a very cute picture of a sugar glider in a box of fruit snacks.  Of course, this being Reddit we're talking about here, someone berated OP for being "cruel to this rodent" for the sake of electronic approval points.  Which is where I came in:


OP: "This isn't a rodent it's a sugar glider which is a marsupial. Also it's a joke people!" 

ME:

-Rio Rainbow Gate, Ep07
Today... today was a good day.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:29 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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May 21, 2017

Random Anime Picture# 128: Ridiculous School Outfit

Even from a medium where over-the-top school uniforms are the norm, this has got to take the cake:

-Roku de Nashi Majutsu Kōshi to Akashic Records, Ep01

Seriously?  Come on, Japan... really?  The best and oldest magic academy in the most powerful country in the world, magically, and they dress their female students in that?  Forget about the practicality or lack thereof of a uniform like that, how in the world could the school expect the male students to concentrate?

Unlikely uniforms aside, there's not much new to this show.  Which doesn't mean it's not entertaining, because I'm enjoying it a lot.  It's just that we've seen it before.  It's a relatively pretty series when it gets the chance to be, but again, nothing earth-shattering.  It's one of those titles that will be forgotten shortly after the last episode airs.  It will serve its purpose, selling light novels, and that's all it'll be.  There's no shame in not being an awesome, awe-inspiring, game-changing series... most of them aren't.  Still, I like it.

I'm not sure why.  I'll have to keep watching to figure it out.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 02:39 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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March 05, 2017

Random Anime Picture# 127: Just For The Record


-Interviews With Monster Girls, Ep09

Still the best thing airing this season, and an early contender for Anime of the Year.  It has yet to put a single foot wrong, and I can't imagine how it would given where the story stands.  Just a marvelously fun series.

And when the character I expected to be the weakest of the bunch is the one that's quickly becoming the MVP?   That's just a bonus.  Really, you need to be watching this.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:41 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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February 11, 2017

Random Anime Picture# 126: Cheesecake Too!


-Hatsukoi Limited, ED
There are days when you plan and scheme and get everything you need to accomplish done.  And then there are days like today, where I got nothing done at all except sleep, and not even much of that.  The plan was to finish up the requested "Why A Duck?" post.  Instead, I did bupkis, and you get this post.

I mean, there are worse things that could have happened, I suppose.  It's just not what the plan was.  A lot of that going around, I think.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:57 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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February 01, 2017

Random Anime Picture #125: Cheesecake!


-Seiren, Ep02 ED
Why?  What, when did I start needing a reason to post cheesecake?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:51 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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September 22, 2016

Random Anime Picture #124: Reflections


-ARIA the Natural, Ep12
On the whole, today had to be listed in the "horrible" category.  But it's amazing how just one episode of ARIA is enough to take the edge off.  It didn't fix anything, it doesn't make things better... but it was enough to remind me that things aren't totally terrible.  And I guess that's enough, isn't it?

Akari Mizunashi, mad scientist.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:34 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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September 08, 2016

Random Anime Picture #123: Obsolete


-ReLife, Ep06
The year was 1994 and Our Hero was working at the Big Blue Electronics Retailer in the music department.  One day, the department head asked if I'd like to spend a day in Chicago with her at a training day.  Well, heck, why not?  I'll get paid for it after all, and probably get a lunch out of the deal to boot.  As we drove in the next day, I asked what the training was on.  "Sony is releasing something new that we're going to be carrying.  Some new music format."  Oh swell, another one.  I quickly changed my tune when the training started, for the format we were talking about was the MiniDisc.

I instantly fell in love with the beast.  Magneto-optical data storage, anywhere from 74 to 80 minutes of re-recordable digital-quality music?  Be still my beating heart!  The more I heard, the more I liked it, and I learned everything there was to know about them that day.  They were, to me, flawless.  Except for a few tiny little problems.  And by "tiny little", I mean "gargantuan monster".

The first was the price.  There were two player/recorders available, one home-based, the other portable, and both were ridiculously expensive.  I mean, when you could buy three or four CD players for the same cost as the home unit, you know there's a problem.  The second was the size.  The home unit was normal, well able to fit in a home stereo system, but the portable?  It was very heavy, to the point that most of the people that bought them just used them at home because... well, it wasn't going to threaten the walkman/discman for portability, y'know?  The final and quite possibly worst problem was available media.  Only a few record labels were supporting the format; when we received our first shipment of pre-recorded MDs, they took up maybe two feet of display space... and that was a sizable percentage of all the MDs ever released.  Meanwhile, CDs and cassettes took up dozens upon dozens of yards of space, with music of any sort you'd care to think of.  Audiophiles loved the thing, though.  We had one guy who bought just about every classical MD we carried, and more besides, for example.  Here's the thing: he was pretty much the only customer we had for the thing.  And at that, we were still one of the top-selling MD stores in the central region of the country.

Eventually we stopped carrying MiniDiscs.  Sadly, it wasn't until the new century that the format started to get attention... just in time for MP3 players and the new thing called the iPod to appear on the market.  Still, Sony kept supporting the thing until 2011, when they finally stopped selling it altogether.  It's still a brilliant piece of kit, though... I wish I had one.  Alas, while that training class did give away a few portable units, I didn't get one.  I still have the Sony messenger bag, though!  Yes, 22 years later, it found a new life... as a case for my laptop. 

Yes, if there was ever a piece of equipment that was just flat-out unlucky, it was the MiniDisc.  Sadly.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:07 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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August 18, 2016

Random Anime Picture #122: This Is Fine, Too.


-Re:Zero, Ep06

Why am I watching Re:Zero?  Sure, the plot is intriguing, the hero is actually coping with his predicament, what we know of the world is solid enough, and the surrounding characters range from "that's a thing" to "top knotch."

But let's face it: the twin maids Rem and Ram should be arrested for grand theft, for they've bloody well stolen the show for me, for reasons that should be obvious.  Does that make me shallow?  I can't claim to care.

Because, I mean, damn.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:14 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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August 11, 2016

Random Anime Picture #121: It's A Cat. No, Seriously.


-Amanchu, Ep03
I've come to the conclusion that, despite all the talent and skill she has at drawing everything else ever,  Kozue Amano simply cannot draw a cat to save her life.  Well, that's okay.  She gave us ARIA, so she gets a huge free pass in my book.

Really.  It's a cat.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:01 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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July 14, 2016

Random Anime Picture #120: Pbpbpbppbpbpbpbpbpbttttthhhhhhhhhh!


-ReLife, Ep06
Review inbound once I finish the series, but initial reaction is "I did not expect this to be that good."  Because I did not expect ReLife to be this good at all.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:36 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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July 12, 2016

Random Anime Picture #119: Dark Mistress Of The Kitchen


-Shokugeki no Soma, S2E02
The second season of everybody's favorite semi-orgasmic fighting anime based on Iron Chef is in full swing, and while the hat-tip to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure may not have been to everybody's tastes (like mine), it's hard to deny the appeal of Mirror Universe Megumi.  Seriously, I hate this art style:

Ew.
We saw Delinquent Megumi briefly in S1, though to be honest I don't remember the context, but I DO remember both laughing and being intrigued by this less-than-wholesome version of our favorite co-main character.  And by "intrigued," I mean "grr stampa-stampa!"

I repeat: grr stampa-stampa!
All of which is to say, yup, nothing has changed from last season.  If you watched the first season of SnS and liked it, you've got no reason to avoid this one.  However, if you didn't like SnS, there's probably something wrong with you and you should get that looked at by a doctor... but you'll continue to not like this season.  Though you'll dislike it half as much, since reportedly there's only going to be 12 episodes this time around.

But how could you dislike this?  You'd just be evil and cruel.  Remember: she even has a rubber duckie.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:45 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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May 22, 2016

Random Anime Picture #118: Quick, Henry, the Flit!


-Strike Witches: Victory Arrow, OVA#03
I don't know when or where I first heard of Flit.  I assume it was in The Calculus Affair, one of the best Tintin stories around.  I wouldn't have known what it was, y'know, but I would have instinctively accepted it and moved on.  "Spray Flit, bugs die."  The perfect example of this unswerving acceptance of anything Tintin said as true was in... um... The Red Sea Sharks, I think.  At one point, Tintin describes a fighter plane as a "Mosquito."  I just assumed that was a nickname for all fighter planes (I was very young when I learned to read using Tintin...).

As it turned out, Tintin was referring to a very particular aircraft, the DeHavilland Mosquito, but I didn't know that.  To this day, I still think of fighter planes as "mosquitoes", though only to myself. 

FLIT!  Right, right.  Back to that.  I didn't really know what Flit was, just that it killed bugs.  That sprayer ("a flit gun") though... that's iconic.  I wonder what Tintin would think of Strike Witches?   And suddenly I feel this desperate need for a crossover...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 03:00 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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May 13, 2016

Random Anime Picture #117: Skydiving


-ARIA the Avvenire OVA 2
Man, reentry when you're wearing a full-length dress has got to be an iron-clad beeyotch, that's all I've gotta say.

Akari's unfortunate experience with lithobraking had some serious consequences for Aqua.  Nuclear winter just can't compare to the horror that is Undine Winter.  Mars will never be the same... again.

Okay, yes, I'm joking.  It's ARIA, you think something bad happened?  There were three series, an OVA, multiple picture dramas, the manga, and of course the Avvenire, and I can't think of a single negative thing that occurred in any of them.  When the closest I can come is the retirement of Aria Company's original Black Gondola, you know it's a cheerful series.  Unless you count my picture of Grandma as a retired Kancolle shipgirl, that is.

Just go watch.  If you're a fan of ARIA, you've already seen it, of course, but watch it again.  It's worth it, if only for the effort the animators put into Akari's long plummet.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:17 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 25, 2016

Random Anime Picture #116: The End Of Cinderella Girls

I did not expect them to be eaten by mini-Godzilla.

-iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, Ep04

I am of the opinion that I'm missing something with this show, perhaps even more than with the original Idolmaster series.  Kinda like how Kantai Collection is filled with references that only make sense if you've played the game, I'm guessing that I'm only getting half the story here.  Maybe someone who's actually played it can pipe up... I think I remember seeing that The Man Called Author played it... and tell me if that's really the case. 

Maybe he can also explain why Anastasia isn't the main character in the show.

Because, ye gods and little fishies, she's certainly my most popular.  She's no Chihaya, of whom I even have a figma, but she ain't far behind.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:23 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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April 20, 2016

Random Anime Picture #115: Oh Dear


-Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls, Ep02

I've always had a weird thing with the iDOLM@STER franchise.  I don't dislike it, but I've never been particularly impressed by any of the shows I've seen... or any of the "idol builder"-based shows, really.  Then again I've also never played the games, but from what I've seen/read about them, I could see myself getting caught up in the whole rigamarole.

One thing I appreciate about the shows are the way they get the "backstage" parts right.  Performers, particularly first-timers, get the jitters while the tech crew goes about their jobs with a staid professionalism, unnoticed and only rarely appreciated.  Not that I'm bitter or anything about that detail.

Maybe it'll keep my interest.  Maybe not.  We'll see.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:30 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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January 21, 2012

Random Anime Picture #68: What, Again?


-Sora no Woto, Ep13

Didn't I just do one of these a couple of days ago?  Well, yes, yes I did.  Except that one actually had a point to it (i.e., don't watch Kill Me Baby).  This one, on the other hand, is some attempt at an explanation of my lack of actual content here at The Pond of late.  One could argue that it's been 18 days since my last post of any real value.  I will concede the point.  It's not like I don't have big things to write about... indeed, I've got two major posts staring me in the face (Best Late War Fighters, Katawa Shoujo). 

Thing is... I just don't feel like writing.  Part of it is work-related; we've been going great guns all month in preparation for the start of Spring classes, which occurred this week.  Tuesday, to be exact, which might tell you just how sick I really was this past Wednesday.  Anyway, work is part of it.  The aforementioned Katawa Shoujo and Skyrim are also reasons why I haven't blogged much.  It may not be a coincidence that my output went through the floor the same day that KS was released.  I'm enjoying my time in two radically different imaginary worlds for radically different reasons.  I just... look, I've been here at The Pond for a long time (well, in blog time at least).  I still enjoy blogging, it's just a different sort of enjoyment now.

Back in the "old days," when nobody knew who this Wonderduck guy was, I wrote to a) entertain myself; and b) make people aware that there was a hyperintelligent duck with phenomenal (for a duck) typing skills out there who might have some interesting things to say.  Then once I got noticed by a few folks who decided to stick around, the "new day" of blogging dawned.  In some ways, I felt I had to keep one-upping myself.  This led to mammoth posts that took waaaaaaay too long to write; 4100 words and eight hours?  For an episode of Rio Rainbow Gate!?

Maybe I'm just getting old, but the immense need to write seems to have gone away at some point over the past few months.  Maybe having that tooth pulled let it all leak out?  I'm not going anywhere, don't fret none 'bout that.  I'm not even taking a hiatus.  I'm just... going to take it easy for a bit.  Not for long, and you might not even notice a difference, but I'm going to stress less about blogging and try to have myself a little fun again.

Besides, the F1 thing starts up in earnest this week when Caterham rolls out their 2012 car to begin the F1 Pr0n season.  I weep for my lost weekends...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:14 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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January 17, 2012

Random Anime Picture #67: Oh Dear


-Kill Me Baby, Ep02

Pilots everywhere are frantically trying to change course right now.

I'll be blunt: Kill Me Baby is not funny.  At all.  I watched 10 minutes of the first episode and was surprised to find that it still had 12 minutes left to go... I thought for sure I'd gone through a half-hour already.  That is NOT a good sign.  Also not a good sign: Wonderduck skipping ahead during a show.  I just don't do that, particularly during the first episode of a show I was looking forward to.  It's not bad or anything, it's just not funny.

By the halfway point of Ep02, I was actually saying "Kill Me Baby" to my duck collection, hoping one of them would take me up on the offer.  No such luck.  When the above scene came on, I actually envied the one being choked out.  Then I closed zoomplayer and went off and played some Skyrim.

What I'm saying is that Kill Me Baby is not worth anybody's time.  Just writing this little post took more time than KMB was worth.  If I was in a better mood, maybe I'd turn it into the next Rio Rainbow Gate!, but it'd fail for lack of anything interesting.

Don't watch it.  Don't download it.  Don't even read this post... oh wait.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:41 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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October 19, 2011

Your Attention Please


-Fate/Zero ep02

That is all.

Nah, that's not all.  We're three episodes into the prequel of Fate/Stay Night, and it's a huge graphical upgrade.  You'd expect that, of course, seeing how FSN is five years old now, but one could even argue that it looks better in some ways than the Unlimited Blade Works film from last year.  Though UBW's effects blow everything out of the water.

-Unlimited Blade Works movie

I'd love to tell you something about what's going on in F/Z, but as of Ep03 nothing really IS happening.  The Masters have all been introduced, their Servants have taken to the field, and then... Ep03 ended.  What I'm saying is, it's moving a tad slowly.

It's slow, but it's sort of like a David Weber-style infodump.  Without the past three episodes, we'd have no idea what's going on later. 

I hope.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:37 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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October 12, 2011

Zipang'd!


Nearly four years ago, I wrote a little piece about the anime Zipang!.  I liked it at the time.  Now I've gone back and watched the last few episodes and... well... it's probably just me, but I've noticed a lot of glaring discrepancies.

If you remember, the JMSDF cruiser Mirai is sent back in time to 1942.  A lot of things happen, and in the climax to the series, the Mirai becomes involved in a duel with the USS Wasp.  In the picture above, the Wasp is just beginning to launch her first attack on the Japanese cruiser.  The SBD is flawlessly rendered, except that it's specifically said to be carrying a 1000lb bomb.  To be sure, a Dauntless can carry a weapon of that size, and quite often did... except that when it did, it couldn't carry bombs on the wing positions.  Looking at the Wasp, you'll note that it has a deck-edge elevator opposite the island.  Indeed, she was the first ever carrier with such a thing.  Only problem is that it didn't look like that; it was a simple framework arrangement instead.

It certainly doesn't help that I wrote a post about the Wasp last year.  There are other problems as well.  In the climactic battle, the carrier's first attack is 40 planes, divided between SBDs and Avengers.  Her second attack is to be the same size.  That's 80 planes right there, and the Wasp couldn't carry that many.  We only see one Hellcat in the entire sequence.  Sure, there's no need for them in the attack against a lone surface ship, but if she only has one squadron of F6Fs, that still puts her Air Group around 96... many many more aircraft than she could ever carry.  And then there's this picture:

Episode 02 takes us to the Battle of Midway, right as the SBDs come raining down on Kido Butai.  Above, we see the Soryu.  As is traditional, her flight deck is packed with aircraft... though they all appear to be Zeroes.  Of course, we now know that the Japanese carriers didn't have their flight deck filled with aircraft at any time after the Midway striking force landed.  The producers did get the location of her island correct, though.  However, I'm not entirely sure what those SBDs are doing.  Oh, yes, they're pulling up from their bombing run, except they're pulling straight up (the next couple of seconds show them flying right into the camera).  1) the pilots would be unconscious from the g-loads, and b) the wings would have come off.  Still, it's an exciting shot.

I'm nitpicking, but I've got to, it's my job.  Let's not even talk about the way the characters go off-model constantly...  Zipang! is an interesting watch, but I'm no longer convinced it's good.  The CG ships and planes are pure WWII pr0n, though.

Even if the Kaga looks a little squat and cartoony.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:48 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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