May 06, 2018

3D Kanojo - Real Girl

Rats, I had a nice long post about this show, and Facebook crashed my machine.

But the best summary is, while Hikari is an emotionally stomped down Otaku, it's quite possible that Igarashi, the 3D girl who enters his life may be far more damaged than he is. It's a very interesting show that strikes a little too close to home, but you have to be good at picking up the subtexts.

I'm really pissed that somehow the new, less worthy version of TextAreaCache was somehow disabled. So I got nothing.

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April 22, 2018

Kizumonogatari

So, I finished the three movies in Kizumonogatari yesterday. It was great to finally understand the situation with Araragi, the vampiress with the ridiculous name, Oshino Meme (the negotiator), and the busty class rep, Hanekawa.

But it's going to be quite a jolt when I finally get back to the first installment of the series, because the direction is so different. One of the things Bakemonogatari was known for were the many brief flashes of interstitial text related to the story appearing on screen between cuts. This has been cut down extremely, mostly just red or black cards with words for red or black in different languages on them. Maybe not as interesting, but it helps it flow a bit better because you don't need to mash the pause button so much (On the earlier series, I recommend just watching it through once before even trying to read all the text).

The other stylistic difference that will clash is the use of simplified, near-chibi, and other odd character design shifts to go with the mood. There is also, in the third movie, a really over-extended fan-servicey scene with Araragi persuading Hanegawa to let him fondle her boobs before going to fight the vampiress, although I'm sure I've just persuaded some folks to seek this out with that....

The story is a a lot less talky and more action oriented than the previous (or technically following) chapters. That's not to say it's a wall-to-wall actioner. But having been turned into a Vampire by an especially powerful (although weakened) Vampiress has given him extreme regeneration powers. He can lose an arm (And does, many times) and have a new one appear in seconds. This is played out to absurd extremes in the final battle.

Despite all the differences, it is still very clearly in the same mold as the other Monogatari stories, with artistic settings and no unnecessary characters being shown.

It exists in this weird state of being the first story with all the background needed for the first released series, but perhaps not necessarily the best entry point either for the series.

(The other artistic difference in this set of episodes is they use that annoying red skin highlight with the white dot in the middle technique, which looks so much to me like it should be a first and second degree burn. I may be wrong, but I don't recall that being in the earlier releases.)

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April 14, 2018

___-Monogatari

I've been fascinated by the Bakemonogatari series, but I've never watched them all all the way through. It kept bugging me that I had missed the origin story.

Apparently I was wrong, but not by much. The original encounter between Koyama Araragi and the vampire was chronicled in Kizumonogatari, which actually didn't come out until 2016/17 (It's in three parts). A chance search today turned it up. Now maybe the completest in me can finally sit down and watch the whole thing IN ORDER! (At which point I'll probably find out there was another series I missed.....)

But at least there's a chance I'll finish them, unlike the Final Fantasy games 1 through 11 I accumulated for my Playstation, which hasn't been hooked up since my old Tube TV died.

ETA: Added a new tag in uTorrent just to group them all together, and according to this list I missed a LOT. Fortunately it all seems to be available, but what I DO have is a mess. A lot of circles stopped part way through, so I have some duplicates, and some single episodes, and at least one season says it has 13 episodes, but all the batches are 1-12. It's a mess everywhere, not just my directories.

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April 07, 2018

Steins;Gate

With a new series (Alternate ending) coming out, I realized I never finished watching the original. I started over. I was surprised when I realized my files were dated 2011! (Sheesh, was I on dial-up then? Or Clearwire?)

Annoyingly, the audio track on the first episode sounds like crap, like it's overcompressed or full of noise or something. A quiet scene sounds like it's got a rocket flying through it. Dunno if it's the file, or maybe the codec in the 64bit version of MPC-HC doesn't like the old encoding so much any more. I don't think it's corrupted, but I've never run into anything like this before. It's really annoying.

Further testing. Still bad when opened in Ifranview, but that could be using the same codecs. Still bad when opened on Etna, which has the 32 bit CCCP loaded (for some reason the 64 bit version started crashing on start, so I uninstalled.). So it must be the file. I guess everyone was compressing things to death back then. The episode is just over 281 meg,

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April 06, 2018

Mining a Meme from Killing Bites

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March 31, 2018

Killing Bites ends

Thank Goodness.

It's hard to do any kind of in depth review. Episodes 4-11 were almost entirely consumed with one big arena battle. Complete with Stats lawyering, absurd strategic analysis, named strikes, and surprise (eh, not after the first one ) extra power ups, as well as ignoring the rules they have previously pulled out of their asses.

Well, if you like bloody fight scenes, you could probably go for this.

They DID pack a few surprises in the end, which I'm fully cool with spoiling for you, just to save you the misery of watching the whole thing.

So all the fighters are "Therianthropes" (I don't think that was the word used in Japanese, but I had trouble picking it out), who are created by some kind of gene therapy. Dr. Shidoh is the mind behind the tech. The four Zaibatsus in this bloodsport game are competing this year for control of the technology because a law is pending to make it legal.

Now in Episode 10, there's a bit of a flashback where we find out that Hitomi (The Honey Badger) was actually a naturally born critter, living on the streets of Hong Kong when Shidoh finds her and manages to tame her. So she's ultimately loyal to him, and has been doing everything she has done on his orders.

I do have to give them some credit for choosing some unique animals to transform. The worst tank/damage dealer in the show is a Pangolin, whose armor plates are apparently sharp too. But there's a limit to their imagination, and two opponents, including Hitomi, lose their right arm mid-bicep to him (And don't bleed to death).

Hitomi's ability to recover from what should be lethal abuse borders, no, crosses the border of the absurd. But hey, she has to be conscious at least once per episode to say her line. "Whoever has the sharpest fangs wins. That's what Killing Bites is." Seriously, EVERY episode, sometimes several times. Even Shidoh says it once.

BTW, our hero/POV character. I didn't even bother to learn his name because he literally sits in a chair watching the video feed for the entire event.

The other thing I have to give them credit for is twisting the plot at the end. While everything is pretty much by-the-numbers for the majority of the fight, at the very end when it seems like Hitomi has finally beaten the Pangolin (By throwing her severed arm at his head! Before punching out his brain through his mouth), she passes out and he somehow gets up again. The Cheetah manages to finish him off (After having been a bystander for three episodes.) But she's not the winner either. The rabbit, who was knocked out smacking head-first into a wall comes to, and when the Cheetah chases her down to kill her, she accidentally trips, does a flip, and plants a big fluffy lucky foot into the Cheetah's glass jaw, knocking her out and winning the whole shebang.

But that's not the final plot twist. The winning team happens to be run by the weakest Zaibatsu. The strongest one doesn't like the idea of abiding by the results. He takes out the leader of the second strongest company, and also has a crack team of chameleon commandos who are out to eliminate everyone on the arena island in order to void the results. Hitomi briefly rises from the near-dead to take out a couple of them, then Shidoh's ninja-assistant (and the disturbingly enthusiastic announcer of the deathmatch - which seems totally out of character for her) finishes off the rest. Finally, the top company's top therianthrope who stayed out of the competition turns out to also be part of the conspiracy, and kills his boss.

Still not the end. There are a few more twists and jerks, like an man hanged by the short drop method. Our hero goes back to his normal life, the only trace of what happened being three suitcases full of money that he's scared to touch. Finally Hitomi calls him, they meet, and you think This might be where they confess to each other, but they don't manage it. Then she kills him, under Shidoh's orders. That was a surprise. No happy ending there. At least she sheds a tear for him while proclaiming she's not upset.

Two years later there's an artificial island in Tokyo Bay (that was fast) that is a city for people who've gone under therianthrope treatment (Japanese bigotry portrayed as normal, I guess), and the center stage is an arena for more combat, and a bunch of new faces show up for the deathsport. Pray there is no season two....

Or is that Prey? :-)

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March 27, 2018

More Monster girls

I don't link to Manga often. But someone on Twitter posted a really cute picture of a dog girl demanding her tummy be rubbed, and gave the source. So I looked it up. (The dog girl is the last chapter).
Jingai no Yome to Icha Icha Suru is an anthology of Monster/Kemono girl stories. The alley cat one I particularly liked.

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February 25, 2018

Life's a Beach (episode)

Episode 7 is the Beach Episode of Darling in the Franxx. As a reward for their good job in the previous episode, the 13th squad is allowed to go to a safe little beach cove for a couple of days. Normal beach episode type things ensue... at first.

But you have to remember, these kids are orphans raised from an early age to pilot the robots, and if it weren't for the Protagonist, they wouldn't even have names. So there are a number of things about their mentalities that are just wrong. And Zero Two's addition to the crew has brought along with it some ideas that they are just not equipped to deal with, like what a kiss really is, or love. Now the Jealous schoolkid reaction you see in many shows towards the guy who is getting some female attention thing rears its ugly head, but the result is decidedly off-kilter.

About halfway through the episode though, the crew discovers a fissure in the cliffside, which leads to a path to an abandoned town. These kids were never taught anything not needed for their mission. Like history. They never knew that people used to live on the surface, instead of the mobile plantations. One girl wanders into the remains of a clinic and finds a book for first-time expectant mothers. Expect that to cause issues in the future.

When they get back, there's a barbecue buffet set up for them, and they dig in. Although at least one of them wonders about how it appeared, since they're alone on the beach.

But afterwards, how badly they've been mind-fucked is put on display, as one of them declares the plantations to be superior to living on the surface, how he's proud of his function to defend the cities, and his hopes to join the ranks of the adults in the future, and the others respond enthusiastically. This in the middle of a discussion about why humanity left the surface, as Zero Two mentioned. "But the world is full of Klaxosaurs!" (The monsters they fight). Our hero speculates that mining magma energy might have brought them, but that is shot down as going against the revered Dr. Franxx, who moved everyone TO plantations to make them safe from the Klaxosaurs. The order of events, as far as they know it, is inverted. I actually found the scene rather chilling.

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February 23, 2018

Gonna need more sources

Ever since Nyatorrents lost its old host, it's been kinda crippled. It's not as comprehensive as it used to be. I've found a couple of other lists, but they all seem to be only one or two circles participating. Lots of shows seem to get dropped or skipped. I could really use some suggestions of better places to check.

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February 11, 2018

Killing Bites

I was kinda hoping for "So Bad it's Good" out of this. But no, I'm bouncing hard off the start of episode 3 and they haven't even introduced the third girl yet.

The Setup isn't that atypical. Four ancient Yakuza/Corporations have been settling their differences with bloodsports for ages, and recently thanks to some mad scientist type, they've upgraded their fighters to "Therianthropes" - were-creatures who can transform at will to exhibit enhanced powers. Due to an accident of misfortune, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, our hero/harem center finds himself embroiled in the scheme that will upset the entire apple cart. Not so bad, right?

Oh if only....

So the writers I guess want to appeal to the Otaku crowd, so they make our hero an otaku, although it's not entirely obvious from his apartment what he's a fan of. And he's a college student for once, instead of a high schooler. But our first exposure to him is when he's driving the van for a bunch of "cool" bastards who apparently took advantage of his gullibility, telling him that they were gonna pick up girls and get him laid (for the first time, they make sure to mention), but they didn't mention that in this case "Picking up girls" meant snatching them off the street, dragging them into the van for a bit of the ol' Gang Rape.

Unfortunately for the boys, the girl they grab is a Were-Ratel (Honey Badger), and she don't care. In short order the guys are bloody rags, and our hero is freaking out, and she orders him to drive her to where her first actual deathmatch is.

And thus he becomes embroiled in the whole sordid game. And of course, she has to stay in his apartment. Contestant Number 1 has joined the harem, and he thinks she's cute when she's not threatening to kill him.

Now remember, he's an otaku, but really not much of one. He's even barely handsome. The next day, he's back at class, and Honey Badger for some reason has to go with him. That's when the single most obnoxious geek character I have ever witnessed shows up - his best friend. And things go to contrived shit from there. It becomes obvious that while the writers are perhaps trying to cater to the otaku audience, they absolutely revile them. By episode 2, Player Number 2, a Were Cheetah shows up, mostly because she's stalking Honey Badger and wants to be the one who kills her in her next sanctioned match. And in episode 3, our hero is now hanging out in the college otaku clubroom with two pretty girls, and at least five, lecherous, slobbering, leering creepazoids, led by his hyper-fat, obnoxious "best friend", and the only contrived way to escape this situation is not to just walk out, or callously slaughter the entire manga club, but to make the girls wear costumes.

This is where I stopped.

Now perhaps, once we get past this, it will be less shit, but I doubt it. I might jump ahead to the next episode just to see the Were Bunny show up, but right now all the male characters are all the worst refugees from a guro hentai game animation, and all the women are bitchy killers, and the hero is a blank-slate nobody.

The transformations aren't all that much better either. Their animal characteristics are limited to growing huge clawed arms and legs, tails and ears, and fangs (But the male therianthropes go much further). I suppose that kind of transformation has been done before - see Felicia from Darkstalkers. And it could be worse. The werewolf from Monster Princess (something I reviewed YEARS ago) only grew giant paws.

I miss Liru already.

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