Archive for June, 2007

Stink.

Stank.

Stunk.

Screenshots taken at random, using the EnA subs.

I'm not sure if this is an actual reference to something, or just some random filler.

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I WANT TO BELIEVE.

Now, before I begin, I'd like to mention the obvious disclaimer that this is entirely my views, my speculations, and most definitely my opinions. Someone else may have a directly contradictory viewpoint, and it may be just as valid. Also, it may well turn out that I am one hundred percent incorrect on every aspect of the matter. This is a random blog, not an academic presentation.

I'm sure that anyone who's been in the fandom for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya for an extended amount of time will have at least heard of the term "Haruhiism". It is stated to be a sort of belief system, perhaps even religion, which stems from the show. I doubt the creators of the term (whether Kyoto Animation or Tanigawa Nagaru) actually intended this seriously, but the term has obviously grown past the original roots.

The problem is that I've met several people who appear to be offended simply by claims of Haruhiism's status as any sort of religion. Now, to be absolutely above-board and open with this, I suppose I can be described as an apathetic agnostic: I don't know if there's any God or gods, and I don't particularly care. Therefore, I do not and cannot understand all the myriad viewpoints unique (or not so much) to being a member of a religion: what may seem offensive to a religious person may be just amusing or mildly interesting to me. If I offend anyone with inaccurate portrayals or misconceptions of what is, I understand, a very serious subject matter, I apologize in advance.

Having said that, I suppose I should present what may well be the most controversial statement I will ever make on this blog or elsewhere:

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Hopefully this works better than the last time. I only have Firefox 2.0.0.3 and IE 7.something to test with.

I'm extremely impressed with how the video creator managed to keep the various Lucky Star attributes (like Konata's extremely long hair and short height) and split them into The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya characters. (Tsuruya gets the long hair, Yuki gets the shortness.) Also, Yuki never actually smiles in the video, despite her usually taking Tsukasa's place.

Bonus points for Churuya dancing the Pani Poni Dash second opening dance.

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This entry is part 11 of 20 in the series CCS Episode Summaries

Title Screenshot

Now that I've sufficiently apologized for my prolonged lack of CCS episode summaries by scarring your minds, let us continue.

This episode summary suffered from Great Indecision, regarding which pictures should be kept and which should be discarded. As mentioned previously, this meant that even if I had inexplicably lost interest in blogging CCS (which, to head off any unfounded rumours, I have not; I just haven't found the solid chunks of time needed to write these up), I would definitely have finished this episode summary anyway, since damned if I would let all the anguish of "but it's Tomoyo" go to waste.

Episode 11, Sakura, Tomoyo, and a Mansion, deals mainly with Sakura's first visit to Tomoyo's house. It also has plenty of flashback scenes, more evidence that Sonomi is a Former Tsundere, and a box containing Precious Things.

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Balance, balance

Sendspace
AMV.org link coming when I get around to uploading it.

Anime: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Music: "Omoide wa Okusenman" – Family Comcert (feat. GOMU)

Occasionally I wonder how the various members of the SOS Brigade will look back on their high school life. In the case of the time-traveller, she did mention that it was fun, and yet highly embarrassing. I suppose everything is relatively more fun when one is looking back at it through the lens of nostalgia.

For those unfamiliar or confused, this might clear things up. Or not.

This video is my first encode in *264. I have to admit to being rather impressed when the 3.5 GB lossless AVI file was reduced to a miniscule 17.1 MB MP4. Heck, I have some image files (mostly the HUEG LIEK XBOX ones from moe.imouto.org) that are larger than this.

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LOLCat.

It is a rare thing indeed that I am apparently gifted with prophecy, that I may see what the future may hold in all its quantum probabilities, and from there decide my next course of action for the next few days. Well, that, or I'm just guessing about what's going to happen considering my current state of mind.

This aforementioned state is one of fatigue, borne largely from a rather persistent headache and nausea that appears to have plagued me for the past couple of weeks or so, as well as what might possibly be considered the sort of self-abuse suffered by people deep in the throes of inspiration, as unto a sort of addict; neglecting to eat until one keels over from exhaustion and hunger, choosing instead to type out just one more paragraph, no, really, just one more sentence and I'm done, I promise…

The upshot of this is that not only am I generally too tired to post much by way of anime blog entries, I must also consciously refrain from posting anything even if I do have an idea. This is because I have been told that as I approach a certain level of general low-grade constant irritation due to tiredness, my snarkiness level reaches critical status, and my normally mellow nature is overtaken by a sort of Hyde of scathing diatribes and strong opinions. If I am not careful, I might even say something that could conceivably offend someone, and that simply will not do.

On a completely unrelated note, Slimstat makes it possible for me to see from whence my incoming links originate, and curiosity compels me to follow these links back to their source and see why this blog has been chosen. A common theme I am finding is that while my writing style is much welcome among casual readers, my subject matter is particularly reviled and condemned, for whatever reason that I cannot quite fathom. Individual taste is one thing, but this unadulterated loathing is quite something else. My emotions are thus pulled into an eternal conflict between the desire to be nice and attempt to apologize for and justify my own tastes, as well as being told by other more reliable people that I apparently do not actually need to do so.

For those who regard the above as tl;dr: I'm feeling kind of unwell, and may not be posting much, in case I post something in anger that I'll regret.

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Autumn backdrop.

Mentioned I before about the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya artbook received from a friend, from the December 2006 copy of Newtype. While flipping through its hallowed pages, one of the centerfolds (which I am told was originally printed in the Newtype October 2006 copy) was that of the above picture.

The first few times I looked at it, I simply basked in the picture composition, enjoying the picture as a whole. And then I got it in my head that maybe KyoAni put in some sort of reference, perhaps more books that Yuki would read or some such. Haruhi apparently has a fictional copy of her own book series, in a rather meta way, while I cannot quite make out the book Yuki is holding, but am sure that it is significant in some manner. The other books on the ground I don't recognize, but upon reading the title of the book Mikuru is holding, I just about fell out of my chair.

To be precise, the movie is not actually a retelling of the novel (which was published in 1965), but more a continuation or sequel, or so I hear. The movie (which is rather good in its own right) was released in July 15th 2006, which makes it plausible that the reference of the book in Mikuru's hand is based on that. Presumably that title was chosen because of the theme of, well, a time-travelling girl.

I kind of know the feeling of wishing to include random references in stories, just to see who will catch them. Often, the trick is never to make it utterly blatant unless going for complete parody, and definitely never to assume knowledge of the reference; the story should be enjoyable in its own right, divested of any pop culture baggage. But occasionally when writing, I'll toss in a throwaway line about something here, and a sideways glance about something else there, and soon it becomes a game of spot-the-reference, which does require a very canny editor to slice out. The audience wishes to experience a story, rather than a game of trivia, and any reference should be miniscule as to be irrelevant (tossed in just because "we need something there"), or useful to the story anyway. Thankfully, MoHS does this fairly well, and the references almost never detract from the story. (Heck, the original novels were full of references anyway, mostly via Kyon's and Haruhi's analogies.)

Basically, I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of "wouldn't this be cool", and any creators who manage not to let it take over their works gets my respect.

Anyway, a final note on this particular reference, and the reason I noticed it in the first place: another friend of mine was present when I received the artbook, and was raving enthusiastically about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, which won Animation Of The Year at the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2007. Quite coincidentally (or rather, not really that surprisingly), another award winner, this time in the Television category, was The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

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From a Lucky Star OP parody.

One reason I haven't been blogging much of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS lately is because I have yet to find a decent enough raw source which can provide good enough screen captures that can motivate me to actually post them up while watching and rewatching the episode in an effort to summarize it in a remotely interesting manner.

Quite apart from the quality of the raws, the quality of the artwork has also gone down. But that's to be expected. I imagine that come the DVD release, the off-design scenes will be redrawn, or so I hope anyway.

As for the plot, well, I'm not entirely sure if it's even worth a spoiler cut, since very little of significance is revealed. Essentially, we have what is a very short story arc in from episodes 7 to 9 which involves Teana not-really working out her inferiority complex via training and getting blasted. Along the way, we see what fans insist on labelling Dark Nanoha, and a recap of the previous two seasons using footage that the TSAB should have no means of obtaining or reason to retain. And then everything gets better after Teana has a heart-to-heart with Nanoha, while everyone else looks on approvingly.

This is either a case of Out Of Character portrayals, or simply Bad Storytelling. Perhaps both.

In any case, now that the rather embarrassing trio of episodes is behind us, maybe we can get back to some actual plot involving a coherent story and little girls blowing things up. It may still be Bad Storytelling, but at least it hides behind enough flashy explosions and moe~ scenes to be less noticeable. This is not Better or Worse, but simply What I Prefer.

Well, I'd also prefer better art, but I'm resigned to not getting it until the DVD release. So that's another matter.

Also, if anyone is wondering, I do have my own views on the events in the last part of episode 8, as well as its fallout in episode 9, but I'm not really up to having to explain myself over and over again as I did on the AS forums. I've said my piece, and had aforementioned piece repeatedly misunderstood by pretty much everyone, which means that I do need to work on my communication skills a fair bit more.

In other MSLN news, the fanfic I'm technically working on has grown into something that does not quite resemble the Nanohaverse than is strictly canon. This is not so much due to the presence of Original Characters, as much as the utter lack of information on certain aspects of the Nanohaverse; specifically, the Infinite Library, and its organization and structure. Now that Yuuno the Librarian has appeared in StrikerS, I'm not sure if I should just forge ahead with my own interpretations of what the Infinite Library is (influenced quite heavily by Borges's Library of Babel as well as L-space), or wait to get well and truly reamed by new information.

I believe fellow MSLN fanfic writers call it the Ion Canon blast. The imagery is particularly vivid.

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Door.

Having been laid low by a sudden bout of what was a relatively minor and yet annoyingly foggy-headed illness, I have nothing to offer for this post but the revelation that the "ending theme" for the 8th episode of Lucky Star, "Monkey Magic", apart from being the opening theme to the original live-action Saiyuki as Konata mentions, is also one of the stages in Ouendan 2.

The original is by Godiero, but it has been covered by a few other bands. Orange Range (known to anime fans for "Asterick", the first opening to Bleach) attempted a version where the singer's enunciation is about on par with Konata's. And yes, the entire song is in English.

It is a thing to behold.

"With a little bit of Monkey Magic, there'll be fireworks tonight…"

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I never believed in Santa Claus...

As promised, the review of the first DVD of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. This is likely to be long and overly obsessed with minor details.

The DVD case itself has Haruhi on the front cover holding a lemon. Why a lemon, I do not know. The artstyle resembles Itou Noizi's original rather than Shoko Ikeda's KyoAni version, but this may be incorrect. In any case, the blurb on the back:

I thought that when I entered high school, my days of believing in aliens, time travelers and ESPers were going to be over. That is until she introduced herself. Claiming to be interested in only aliens, time travelers, and ESPers, Haruhi Suzumiya was the strangest girl I've met in a long time…

Before I knew what's going on, I've been dragged into her weird club, and it looks like I'm not the only one who has been drafted into this 'SOS Brigade' of hers, because there are three other students who don't seem to be so ordinary themselves.

Either way we've all found ourselves caught up in Haruhi's quest to search for all things extraordinary. And what's this I hear about us making a movie? http://asosbrigade.com

Colours are approximations. They are also significant, because each one links to another small (circular) icon-sized image: namely Yuki Nagato's introduction in chronological episode 1, a chibi Haruhi doing the famous eyelid-tongue thing, Haruhi in her ouendan male uniform in the opening, Haruhi and Mikuru's first bunnysuit appearance in chronological episode 2, and the SOS emblem (non-reversed). The ASOS Brigade website URL doesn't seem to link to anything else (apart from the obvious).

The cover is not reversible; there's nothing on the flip side. Not that I was really expecting anything there, but one never knows. There's no insert, which I had been expecting, but I suppose the other extras make up for it. The case itself is an Amaray case with the two nubs, which may seem trivially unimportant to anyone who doesn't remember the old Scanavo cases. Yes, those Scanavo cases. If you don't know, be glad. But I digress.

The DVD has four episodes, namely the first "student movie" Episode 00, followed by the first three chronological episodes.

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