June 20, 2016


Yay! I finally earned my Arpeggio "Kirishima" battleship!

Now I need subtitles.

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June 05, 2016

Symphogear GX

So, what do you do when your sequel has used up every last bit of continuity from the first season of your show? There are no loose ends. What does your band of heroines and the government agency that supports them (With their own sub!) do?

Well, apparently they willingly let themselves be subsumed by the United Nations. So there's your cultural difference between America, as embodied in Captain America: Civil War, and Japan.

A Space Shuttle went to go pick up the remains of the old lady who restored the Moon, and collect technological samples from the piece of Frontier she got launched in, but a systems failure means it's going to crash into a populated area. Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters? No! International Rescue? Good Choice, but also Wrong. No, you call the newly renamed S.O.N.G. Only before they can break into action, they have to wait for UN Approval....

No, Seriously.

And there were two No votes.

So the sub launches a missile at the Shuttle, and the astronauts think they are doomed, but the missile MIRVs into three warheads. Okay, not warheads, but our three heroines, who apparently can survive in space (To be fair, they did in the first series as well). And then they deploy their powers to change the trajectory of the shuttle. It's very over-the top.

How over the top? "Oh no, now it's going to crash into K2!" They blast an entire layer out of the middle of the mountain, fly through the gap, while the top falls back into place, and one of the techs calmly announces "Updating K2 as the third highest peak in the world." They are gliding down the mountainside towards the treeline, and Tsubasa mounts a giant blade on the front of the shuttle, and trees go flying like an episode of Speed Racer. Hibiki punches the canyon walls to redirect their course, which unfortunately leads to another populated area. As the shuttle smashes down main street, towards the city hall, she jumps ahead, and with a punch, causes the shuttle to flip over the city hall and land on its tail behind the building.

That's how over the top.

BTW, we also get to see that the two Lolis and Maria are prisoners, wearing what looks like straitjackets with all the straps, except the sleeves aren't closed, they end in cuffs - big heavy metal ones that aren't actually attached to anything.... But I guess they have privileges, because they get to watch the live feed of the crash/rescue. In fact, later on Maria and Tsubasa get to do the actual concert together that got interrupted in S02E01 by Maria's terroristic announcement that went nowhere.

But, there IS a new enemy, and a little girl carrying a wooden McGuffin box with Norse runes on it is being chased by a woman firing coins at her, who isn't named Misaka. And apparently she has a teammate who ambushes Maria backstage after the concert whose power is draining the life out of Maria's guards. She also has ball-joints like some kind of doll... this can't be good.

Meanwhile, Hibiki is playing Fireman, rescuing people from a burning building (The life-sensors on the sub are just that good). and after saving everyone, she calls out to this strange girl standing on an overpass that it's dangerous to stand there. Little does she know this is the little witch who is behind this (we know she's a witch because of her outfit, and her flashback about her father being burned at the stake), and she wants to destroy the world. Cliffhanger as she fires a shot at Hibiki, who had unarmored after the rescue....

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May 26, 2016

New Wordpress Hugos Post

"If there is Hope, it lies in the Proles Fans"

(Symphogear G updates will continue to be comments on the main thread.)

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May 06, 2016

Symphogear G

This one is giving me a lot of trouble to get through, and I'm only 4 episodes in!

A lot of the things in the first series that were slightly off the tropes have been rigidly reigned in. I suppose it's a problem with what happens when a character's story arc has already been completed in the first series.

I'm speaking of Yukine Chris, the third member of the team who got there after a Heel-Face turn, who was so down on her existence the big bad had turned her into a severely masochistic wretch, and who, even though her powers were musically invoked, hated singing her song.

Now, she's at the musical high school struggling to fit in with the regular school girls who like her anti-social ass for some reason, getting drafted into making spring fair decorations, and shanghaied into the school's talent show, where at the end she decides that she really, really likes singing in front of people.


The big bad is back, sort of, since after all, she was a genetic memory from thousands of years ago, so she's manifested in another woman. Interestingly, the oldest and most powerful of the evil Gear users suffers from the same condition, and the danger of using her power is getting taken over by her incarnation of the big bad.

The other two baddies are a pair of lolis. One dead serious and her overeager protector.

Yeah, those rare magical crystals that turn into armor at the right sonic key are now apparently all over the place, and the baddies have even summoned a monster who eats them. As if the original "Noise" weren't bad enough. It really changes the whole scope of the story when the enemy is basically other humans with the same powers, rather than an extra-normal force and a secret internal enemy.

There are some real groaners. The baddies completely fumble their first plan, making a big splash at a concert demanding the world surrender or else, and then  blowing off their own deadline. They have a tilt-rotor, and an artifact they can use to make it invisible (But the good guys have a Submarine now!) however, apparently invisibility also cancels out the rotor wash too....

But the thing that bugs me is the whole pretense of normalcy in school. I liked in the first series that they kept school life out of the picture for the most part, and battles did NOT accommodate Hibiki's class schedule. But now... The bad lolis are infiltrating the school fair, and know the real identities of the heroines and want to steal their crystals... and it's just bleah.

Although the animation is better, I'll give it that.

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April 14, 2016

My first Instalanche....

I don't post to my WordPress writing blog often, but when I do, I try to make it significant. Sarah Hoyt read my latest, Don't Pirate Indies, and used her guest-blogger rights to link it. I peaked at somewhere around 137 hits/hr. Roughly 800 hits in a 24 hour period that came from Instapundit, and a fair number from Facebook. Not the System Crushing onslaught of Slashdotting, but still far more traffic than I've ever gotten before. And given the nature of Instapundit, the rate slacked off in direct proportion to time until the hits started coming from page two.

Oddly, File 770, which makes a practice of selectively quoting and misrepresenting various blogs, including mine several times, hasn't picked this one up at all.

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April 06, 2016


For some reason (Okay, fan art I found... somewhere) I tracked down and downloaded Symphogear (and the two followons). Amazingly someone was still seeding them.

I will, of course include spoilers. But this will be pretty short.

Hibiki is one of those main characters in Anime who is kind of pale. She's not especially smart or talented, but she's a "Good Friend" and "Helpful to everyone" and 99% of the time she's totally out of her depth. But her determination to help people carries her through. Virtually everyone else in the cast except her best friend is more interesting.

There are monsters that seem to pour out from another dimension called "Noise". They come in a stunning variety, but for the most part stand around to be slaughtered by the heroines. If they touch a person, said person turns to ash.

The government likes to keep this under wraps, in spite of the massive public spectacle of the attacks. But that's what Special Disaster Department 2 is for. Actually, they're there to support the two users of these ancient mystical artifacts that with the right verbal and tonal key, turn into cute armor suits and weapons that let them fight the Noise. Plus crews to vacuum up the remains....

Hibiki is invited by her friend to go to a "Zwei Wing" concert, but at the last moment, she has to cancel, leaving Hibiki to attend the concert alone. Is anyone surprised to find out that Zwei Wing is composed of the two heroines? Is anyone further surprised that the Noise attack? What's really surprising though is that one of the heroines gets killed defending Hibiki by using her artifact's most devastating song. And Hibiki really needed saving because some of the Noise attacks broke off bits of her armor and drove them into Hibiki's chest, leaving her moments from bleeding out. You know, the kind of mortal wound that can be forestalled by shouts of "Don't Die on me!" etc.

By the way, the purpose of the concert was to try to activate some other artifacts. Department 2 (Where is Department 1?) has a kooky science chick who has theories about how these things work. This series may pre-date Steven's fetish for red half-rim glasses, but I figure there's no harm in mentioning it here where he won't read it. The experiment goes badly, and somehow, some of the artifacts they were working on get stolen.

But who is the REAL bad guy? These monsters are largely aimless and purposeless. Someone must be controlling them....

Yep. Chris-chan is a girl who also has the ability to use these artifacts - one of which can summon the monsters, and another that is a set of heavy armor. (Later she is just left with one that manifests ranged gun-like weapons. Very sophisticated, these ancient Babylonians.) She had a tragic past: her parents, who were musicians, went on some kind of world peace tour, got killed for their troubles, and she was basically sold into slavery, until the Big Bad got her hands on her, and really messed with her head, and got her hating the world and considering the brutal sadism she was subjected to the only form of "Love" she could accept.

Anyway, Hibiki and her best friend go to this music-centered school, which JUST HAPPENS to be the cover for Section 2's base, and where the remaining half of Zwei Wing is a major attraction as a senior (Okay, I'll admit, I don't remember her name, and I can't be bothered to look it up). After her best battle buddy died, she got all serious and shit, and is all about pretending she's an unfeeling weapon instead of being human, and blames herself for being inadequate in that battle two years earlier.

Okay, Spoiler time. It turns out that the Big Bad and the Kooky Science Chick are actually the same person. Big Bad is actually some sort of genetic memory that took over Kooky Science Chick - awakened by the same music that our remaining heroine used to accidentally activate the first artifact many years ago.

The bits and pieces of the other artifact embedded inoperably in Hibiki's chest happen to work too. And so she becomes the new Battle Buddy, except Miss I'm a Weapon is all about fighting alone now.

When Hibiki ends up fighting Chris, she's all helpful and friendly and crap, "We're both humans, we should be able to talk and understand each other." This, of course, is the approach least likely to work with this kicked dog of a girl, who believes in no such thing as friendship. But she is doomed to have a heel-face-turn because once the Big Bad is done with her, and she's thrown out with nothing but the interesting clothes on her back and a single artifact (!), she has no place to go. Hibiki's friend finds her and takes care of her, and insists on becoming her friend. Naturally this will cause much consternation later.

And once the Big Bad's plan comes to fruition the three girls team up, although Chris, of course, insists she's not actually teaming up. They all must make the ultimate sacrifice to stop a big chunk of the moon from falling to Earth.

And then they blow it all by tacking on a scene at the very end to allow a sequel, breaking the tragic bookending the show had with Hibiki's friend visiting her grave. "Sorry, Couldn't tell you I'm not dead. Government secret." As if the shattered Moon isn't a clue.

This show also featured some of the WORST tortured spoken Engrish I've ever experienced. And the translators didn't help themselves with sounding things out that they should have had cultural knowledge of (like the Tower of Babel, not Balel.).

Still, it was cute, most of the characters were reasonably well-developed and interesting (except for the main one), and didn't depend on people being stupid to advance the plot. And while the final reveal of the Big Bad's plan was an invitation to facepalm, is that really so important? Although I have to wonder, if the governmental organization is fighting an enemy that is inside the organization, would the problem not exist if the department had never been formed? Do they cause themselves to be needed by existing? Maybe we can protect the world by NOT forming special governmental agencies to protect us from excessive weirdness.

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March 27, 2016


So I'm about three episodes in, and I was suddenly struck by the character similarities between Darkness, the Crusader, and Centoria (the Centaur) from "Everyday Life with Monster Girls".

Speaking of Monster Musumi no Iru Nichijou, one thing that kinda bugged me there was how virtually every monster girl had some kind of inferiority complex with regard to human girls, although with the exception of Smith, there weren't any in the cast, and really, no basis given for it.

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March 16, 2016

WoWS Additional Controls

Apologies to my sailing brethren, I've been seduced back to the Tank side of the force. Wargaming has been running a lot of Experience Buff specials, and even a thing where you could get 5 gold a day just for logging in. Plus I had a chance at earning abilities for my Matilda crew, and I really focused on improving my Win8 score ever since I started using the XVM statistics mod (The results have been encouraging, but erratic).

But as an offering, a useful site about oft-overlooked controls in WoWS.

And for the Tankers, a WoT stats tracking page. For Mods, I've selected Quickybaby's mod pack, best found on YouTube where he keeps an updated link and an install guide.

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January 22, 2016

Winter season

I really haven't decided on any shows to watch this season, so I'm open to suggestion.

OTOH, there really seems to have been an explosion of Marvel and DC superhero programs lately that I've mostly enjoyed watching.

Although I'd really like to see Hayley Atwell in a brass bikini doing "Agent Carter of Mars"....

(Nobody seemed to express an interest in my proposed retrospective of Yamato's abuse of the Perineum cam, so that's on hold unless the public demands it.)

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December 25, 2015

Arpeggio of Blue Steel

I haven't actually watched this, but I do play World of Warships, and it turns out they're doing a little crossover thing, aside from a few ships, you can also change your home port backdrop to the Yokosuka port.

Much prettier in full HD

Updated to add: Actually, it's a full AoBS theme, including crew characters from the show, proper camo, and character voiceovers, plus special missions. But it won't detract from the game for other players.

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