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March 25th, 2012
I finished watching Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru (another one of those show titles I have to keep looking up because I can never remember it). On the whole, I quite liked this show, it was quirky and fun, very light hearted stuff.

Then we get to the last episode.

Hotori dies. Literally. Over the course of that episode we see her dad begging any god who is willing to listen to bring his little girl back, her sister trying to comprehend why Hotori is not there anymore, her brother trying (and failing) to be the calm rock in the storm. We didn't see her mum, but it's safe to assume she was a mess. Her friends are struggling with the concept of why the universe is so fucking unfair, and the rest of the community grieves over her. Hotori herself comes to believe that there is no next time and starts breaking down.

this episode kicks this community squarely in the balls, and for what? In the end she gets to go back (her head is so thick that she probably did more damage to the truck!), but for no gain for all that pain. Hotori remembers nothing of what she saw, so there's no hint of how much her family really does love her despite how they treat her like an idiot, how Moriaki does care and wanted the best for her despite often being very short with her, or even why Hiroyuki was hanging around even before Tatsuno started working there....all she got out of it was an excuse so she wouldn't have to tell her uncle she broke a very expensive gift.

Part of the problem goes to the show. There is little character development over the course of the show. That in itself isn't always bad, but when it comes to episodes like this, it kind of demands some sort of character growth to justify what happened. But that's not why I had problems with it. Believe it or not, I did like this episode. I thought it was an interesting look at how the death of one person affects people around them. In a way, that idea could be adapted into an OVA in its own right.

The problem is that this episode is so very different in tone from every other episode in the series it's like a slap in the face. As the final episode in the series, it was a terrible way to end. Every other episode is very lighted hearted, very fun (and some of them very touching. I really enjoyed the episode where Hotori and Takeru sneak out. A very sweet family moment). But this episode was quite dark and heavy, in very stark contrast to the rest of the show.

If it had been somewhere in the middle, you could write it off as an out of place episode, but as the ending, it leaves somewhat of a sour taste and it really stands out. Maybe that was on purpose, I probably wont be forgetting it any time soon. I still like the show and hope there is more of it, but man, they could have chosen a lighter chapter to adapt as the final episode.
Posted by MajorTom | Mar 25, 2012 6:59 PM | 0 comments
February 4th, 2012
I almost forgot I had this thing. Then again, I've been out of the anime loop for a while. A combination of a few seasons of 'meh', other hobbies taking hold and other issues meant I hven't been watching a lot for quite some time.

However, I seem to be getting back into it. I've recently rewatched Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and 2nd Gig, the Ah! My Goddess TV series, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and the movie, Azumanga Daioh and I've just finished Serial Experiments Lain (I still don't quite get it. I like it, but I don't get it). I've also picked up a few shows to watch, they are on my list.

On the Haruhi note, I see in the last entry I wrote I mentioned the Endless Eight. It's very late, but I thought I might put my 2 cents in. I actually watched all 8 episodes back to back whilst going through the series again. watching it that way isn't too bad, particularly if you have something to do at the same time (I was making models). It just gets boring after a while, as it's still the same thing for 8 episodes straight.

I think the big problem when it aired was the wait in between. We wait a week (or more if there was a problem with the subbers, or it wasn't shown that week, I don't remember, it's been too long), and we get......last weeks episode with a new coat of paint. We remember the awesomeness of last season, spend the week in anticipation of what antics Haruhi will do this week....and they're doing what they did last week. The dialogue was almost the same, the episode structure was the same, the outcome was the same. I think they were trying to play up the deja vu angle, but it was too diluted over the 8 episodes. You get the scene at the pool, and when they arrive at the festival, but that's about it, for each episode. I have to give them props for animating a new episode for each cycle, giving them new outfits and changing some scene compositions, though.

Spotting the differences was fun for a bit, but even that got dull after a while when the overall experience was last weeks episode. Now I think of it, there were probably ways to make it work. They could have done some of the things Nagato listed off. have an episode where they don't go to the Obon festival, and one where they go twice. Instead of the balloons each week, do the different jobs they did. Shake up the episode composition a bit. That would have made it more interesting.

Interesting idea, poor execution.

I don't know if I will use this space to dump what's fluttering through my mind very often, But I can try to remember that it's here.
Posted by MajorTom | Feb 4, 2012 5:33 AM | 0 comments
December 6th, 2009
It's been a while since I've updated, so i thought it might be time to. I don't know what it is with me and anime lately. A few weeks ago I'm all excited for it, and now I'm back to 'meh' Didn't help that Borderlands came out and I sunk time into that.....maybe my new project has something to do with it. More on that later.

I've still been getting episodes for Setokai no Ichizon, though my enthusiasm for the show has dropped right off. I haven' watched it since episode 5. I really think the show started off really well, but to run out of steam by episode 2 is really disappointing. Episodes 3-5 pretty much dragged out 2, maybe 3 jokes out for too long. It also doesn't help that the Valedictorian guy (I forget his name) has exactly 1 joke, uses it incessantly and it was old by the end of the first episode.

Kimi no Todoke is still a pretty good show, I've enjoyed every episode up to 8 so far. There have been a few instances that were a little convenient (like having Pin turn up when Yano and Yoshida were listening in) but so far they haven't been so disruptive as to spoil the show for me. I'm quite interested in who this Kurumizawa girl is, though.

I'm well behind on Trapeze and FMA:B, but I've been hearing interesting things about them. I hope to catch up this week, in between Playing Dragon Age and my new project.

My new project is powered more by nostalgia than anything. lately I've been gathering up my old miniatures, many of whom are some of the first I bought. After finding an old copy of the Codex: Angels of Deat and reading through the Warhammer 40K second edition ruleset (the edition I started with) I began to get all teary eyed for the good old days.

So I've been stripping off paint from these old figures and whatever old bitz I can find in my bitzbox, with the intent to restoring these veterans to the colour scheme I used all those years ago, and purchasing what old figures (2nd hand or new, as long as the design dates back from the 90's, hopefully spending as little money as possible) to make a rules legal army.

Not that Games Workshop makes that easy for me. I have a deep distrust of ebay, and if I can get new castings it reduces the amount of work I need to do. I was 1 figure short of a Valhallan guard squad. And since they changed their online store from having near full access to their back catalogue to what it is now I can only buy them in squads of 10, and I can't get the old cadian designs new anymore, I only need a couple of those. But otherwise it's going good, I've been able to salvage a lot of stuff, but I have a chronic lack of Space Marine arms, but I should be able to start painting soon. Now all I need is someone who wants to take a trip to the past with me.

Overall, I think I'm nearing the end of my willingness to give GW my money. I have a large collection, there are only a few things they have that I want now and I've never been a big fan of their business practices (like this recent event). But it's been a good run, they've gotten a small fortune out of me and I've had lots of fun (will continue to).

Till next time, whenever that may be.
Posted by MajorTom | Dec 6, 2009 6:31 PM | 0 comments
October 29th, 2009
After weeks of mulling around, I've finally found that something that allows me to watch the new episodes as they come out. What that thing is, I don't know. Anyway, I've been watching a few things this season, though to be honest, not much has caught my eye.

Kimi ni Todake is one of the best shows I've been watching. It's a slice of life show, but I think it does things just that little bit different to make it stand out. For starters, it hasn't dwelled on any particular problem for too long. Issues are dealt with within an episode or 2 of turning up, and it does things in a more.....intelligent fashion. I like it quite a lot.

Seitokai no Ichizon is a show I checked out completely out of curiosity, and the first 2 episodes really made me laugh. But the last 2 episodes haven't been so hot. The first episodes were rapid fire with the jokes and references, but episodes 3 & 4 have really slowed down. Sugisaki has exactly 1 joke, and he's overused it already. I'm still not sure what the feud with the journalism club is about. I'm a bit stubborn when I start a show, it's not often that I will simply drop something (I lasted 6 episodes of Endless Eight, and was tired of it by the 4th), so I'll stick with it for the time being.

Trapeze is really off the wall, and I love it. Mayumi-chan aside (she can give me a vitamin shot anytime!), the show really experiments with art styles and storytelling. Each story is connected in some way, and an entire episode is devoted to a single character. It's done by the same team that did Mononoke, and if it continues in this manner, it's bound to be one of the best of the year.

I've been streaming Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood on Madman Entertainments (don't worry, it's completely legit), and I've been enjoying that as well. The origins story felt rushed, and I didn't like the recap episode, but otherwise I'm liking what I am seeing. I haven't seen the original series, nor read the manga so I don't have a point of reference to complain about.

Maybe I'll have to work on a Endless Eight rant, work it out of my system like I did with Chobits. That's no doubt the new thing that I'm going to reference to as all that's wrong with anime. Short version: I didn't like it. Interesting idea, but stupid execution. Shouldn't have lasted more than 3 episodes, 4 tops. Oh I know that they animated each cycle, gave them different clothes and such, but that doesn't mean squat when the content is the same for 8 episodes. Otherwise I like Sighs, and I hope the movie is good. Hopefully they'll see that Endless Eight was a terrible idea.

On the miniatures front, I've been busy beavering away at the Terminators, and a Grail Knight Lord on a Pegasus for a Bretonnian army I've had for years but never painted up. He's a conversion of the Grail Knight Champion model on foot, and I'm quite proud of it.

I did say that I would put up pictures of the Masters of the Chapter I've been building, but as of today, they are officially on hold. A couple things happened. First of all, I stumbled across this miniature. With a few changes, that will make an awesome Blood Angels captain. I've ordered one, and that means my current captain will be replaced with that one, making a hole in the masters lineup. As I started chopping and changing to fill the hole, I heard rumours of a new Blood Angels Codex coming out early next year. These have more or less been confirmed, and after fiddling with them a bit more, I decided it would be best to leave them alone until I know what options I will have and what funky new models or upgrade kits will come out that I can use to really make them Blood Angels captains.

Till next time.
Posted by MajorTom | Oct 29, 2009 5:08 AM | 0 comments
September 28th, 2009
So my initial spark of excitement for Space Hulk has finally dulled down, and things are back to normal. Yet my desire to watch anime hasn't come back. That could be due a number of factors, I have watched all the shows that I really wanted to see again (bar Berserk, disc 5 still MIA and since my housemate has had a falling out with his brother.....), the current season is pretty dry (Bakemonogatari is great, mind you, along with Zetsubou Sensei), the upcoming seaon looks pretty dry, it's all one big pile of 'meh' at the moment. This also drags in the planned rewrites of a couple of my reviews.

I've been reading the Chobits manga, and I have to say it is better than the anime, but mostly because it runs at a much brisker pace that the show. It still reuses many of the same jokes and is falling into the same traps when it comes to Chii, so it's not better by a huge degree. The designs are of about the same quality as the show, though Chii flashes her boobs around in the manga. Dita and Zima still have little to show for themselves and 3 volumes after the question was asked we still haven't touched on why Persocoms are people shaped.

I've lined up the Onegai Teacher manga next (which I found in a box of books I forgot I had). It's only 2 volumes, and I don't remember anything about it. I'm having trouble seeing how a 2 volume manga can succeed where a 12 episode series failed. Then I can get onto the newer stuff. I've got all of Rozen Maiden, and all (I think) of Trigun and Maximum. Of course this will have to somehow slot into the books of Warhammer 40K lore I plan to read (after an interesting discussion on another forum), and Frank Herbert's Dune saga that I finally purchased.

On the subject of Bakemonogatari, I love the style. I like it is, and how it isn't afraid to play around with backgrounds, foregrounds different styles, treating the show as art. Some the extended still shots get annoying and I don't think the text boxes work as well as they do in Zetsubou Sensei, mostly because they move so damn fast it's impossible to read them. You need lightning fast reflexes to catch them or a media player with frame by frame capability, of which I have neither. But I love the stories and the characters and I quite like the ED song.

On a final note, I have pictures of my Chapter Masters now. I'll upload them some time with some details on what I have done.
Posted by MajorTom | Sep 28, 2009 8:23 PM | 0 comments
September 7th, 2009
So, I said before that I had been more distracted by Space Marines than anime as of late. The new Space Hulk with it's wonderful Terminators has unleasehed the modelling passion once again, and I have been busy beavering away with a knife and little plastic and/or metal men.

Yes, I did by a second Space Hulk box so I could have set of Blood Angels Terminators for my army. Not to mention, after playing a couple games, it is possilbe to run out of Genestealer models, especially if the Marine player drags their feet and allows the blips to build up so the more the merrier. Anyway, out of that and a box of assault Terminators, I made 3 squads and should have enough spares to make a Masters of the Chapter Apocalypse formation equipped with Terminator armour. This is a natural extension of my habit of making both a power armour and Terminator armour version of my company captains, and I have gone through several captain designs over time, the net result being that I have some 5 or 6 captains in various stages of completion lying about. So I've been gathering the the power armour ones up and deciding which ones I'll use for a custom Master of the Chapter unit and converting them and building Terminator versions as appropriate (so far I have decided on the third ed captain that came with the command squad box, one made from the plastic captain set, my current army captain and the captain model from the Black Reach box). I do like my current army captain version a lot, converted from a 4th ed veteren and a spare blade from the Terminator captain model. I like that Terminator Captain model quite a bit (I have 2 complete conversions based off that model, and one that intended to be a display piece of a Salamanders captain that is to date unfinished), so I bought one to make that the Terminator version of my captain, and part of the Masters of the Chapter (Master of the Arsenal, I collect 3rd company).

I also ordered some of Forgeworlds fabulous shoulder pads to make the masters look even better and to make the standard Terminators fit in better with the Space Hulk models, but when fitting a new Terminator storm bolter arm to the model, something didn't look right. As it turns out, the new Terminator models are quite a bit bigger than the old ones, something I hadn't noticed before. I toyed with the idea of filing or cutting down the original gun arm pad, but that would take a lot of work, or carefully slicing off the symbols from a pad I ordered and gluing it on.....well I've already sliced one of my thumbs doing something similarthis week and I only have limited times I can stuff up. In the end I decided I couldn't use him in that role. All is not lost, though, I can still use it as an Ordo Malleus Inquistor in Terminator armour(something I've wanted to do for a while, slap a thunderhammer on him and a combi-melta-bolter) but it left me without a Terminator model for the Master of the Arsenal. I ended up ordering a Captain Lysander model to convert, with shouldn't be too difficult and that's a pretty awesome model in it's own right.

I supposed you are wondering why I'm going to all this effort for one model. Well for starters this particular model is my company captain, so when he's not with a command squad pootling around in a Razorback, he'll be in Terminator armour, probably with other Terminators, so he is a centrepiece model and as it is he will not standout as an important character model, but he will be out of place when he's around other Terminators, because he will be quite a lot smaller, and this bothers me. If it was just the style of armour being different (which it is to a degree), I could live with it but having such an important model look so small compared to the others around him.....even normal marines look big compared to him. The Terminator model has changed so much since he was released, and as cool as the old Terminators still are the new ones to a much better job of conveying the power and sheer badarsery of a Space Marine in Terminator armour.

So I haven't been watching the old shows as of late. It's mostly down to Space Marines, but also my particular viewing habits. I have a habit, especially when it's a show I've alrady seen, of needing to be doing something when I'm watching. Like ironing, or sewing. I am a member of the New Varangian Guard, and have been hand sewing a kit for that. Whilst watching anime, I have completed an undershirt, a pair of braies and will have an undershirt with a split for riding done very soon. I will commence quilting an Aketon to wear under some cheap maillle I bought when that's done, but I don't seem to get any done when I'm not watching anime. I suppose neither sewing or anime take up all my conscious activities (well most of the time. Zetsubou Sensei, on the other hand.....), so I need something to do with the unoccupied parts of my brain when I'm doing either.

And so ends the trials and tribulations of converting Space Marines and finding time to sew and watch anime, which ironically I will not be able to do tonight because I took so long to write this blog post. Oh, I wish had a digital camera so I could put up pictures of my fabuous miniatures so you can see what I'm talking about. Makes things a lot easier.
Posted by MajorTom | Sep 7, 2009 6:58 AM | 0 comments