A work in progress

I’ve been re-reading a lot of H.P. Lovecraft lately, and one of his descriptions of the “Plains of Leng” (which are, of course, forbidden) struck me. So I thought I’d try my hand at an image. Before you ask, no, this wasn’t done in a couple of hours. I don’t remember when I started it, in fact, but it’s getting close to completion so I thought I’d share what’s what.

Leng unfinished

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Anime round-up

A year or so ago, I stopped watching anime pretty much completely. Does anyone still watch anime anymore? Given the disappearance of Geneon and ADV, and the rapidly shrinking section at the local Best Buy, I have to wonder.

For me, I simply couldn’t escape the feeling that I’d seen all the “good stuff,” or at least the stuff I was going to enjoy, and the subsequent diminishing returns over the years wasn’t even trying to prove me wrong. So I just kind of stopped after I’d finished Gun X Sword. I made an attempt at another series on the pile, Coyote Ragtime Show, but stopped after half of the first episode. It just seemed too dull–too assured of itself to do anything but bathe in the cliches–to fire any positive neurons.

A few months ago, though, I was suddenly seized with an urge to rewatch some of the older shows. So I fired up Gravion, Ghost Stories, Godannar, and just to step out of the “G” section, VanDread, followed by Risky Safety. And I found I really liked them. Aside from VanDread, I wouldn’t consider any of them classics or essential, but they were a lot of fun. And I thought, why not try to ply through the pile of The Great Unwatched?

First off, I decided to push my way through Coyote Ragtime Show. And I managed to get all the way through it, though I can’t say it was fun. It felt more like an obligation, but I did it. In fact, the whole show felt like it was put together as an obligation. I did like the severed android head and her conversations with the policewomen, but this was entirely a subplot.

Ninja Nonsense. You know, the yellow guy can be funny in small doses. Problem: no small doses.

Next up was Mermaid Forest. Well, the artwork was frequently beautiful, but the story never developed. I’m going to guess that the makers thought, “We’ll get to that in season two!” but I don’t think that materialized. Better than Coyote Ragtime Show, but then, what wouldn’t be?

The Soultaker popped up next. This one had Nurse Komugi in it, and it was interesting to see her own show in the shadow of this one. Her show, in fact, started to seem like a “behind the scenes” thing for the cast of this one, which put all those characters (they’re all in both shows, though of entirely different natures) into an interesting light. This show, though… The story is one you’ve all heard before–guy transforms into monster, fights evil, powerful conspiracies, hidden secrets, blah blah blah. Komugi remains the most appealing aspect. The main aspect, however, is that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show as stylized as this one. The weird, shifting color palates were a constant presence, making the story actually difficult to follow. No, scratch that. It was hard to tell what the heck was happening, let alone put a plot to it.

Soul Hunter came next. Hey, this one was fun. A bit overlong (the first 26-episode series since my watching resumed) and with really nasty, sadistic villains, still it had some good action and some good comedy. Besides, how can you not give some credit to a show whose hero dresses exactly like a cleaning woman, and where people frequently fly around on giant Beany Babies?

Then I decided to take the plunge and watch Aura Battler Dunbine. Talk about long, this series has 49 episodes. That’s not a typo. Yikes. Still, it was fun, with old-school animation (pre-digital) and one of the cutest characters ever, a little “fiorine” named Chum. But boy, the repetition in a series like this–guys in giant robots fight each other–really goes on and on. “Hey, we wrecked the bad guy’s robot, and now he’s escaping? Should we go after him and kill him?” “Are you kidding, we still have almost twenty episodes to go!” (Not actual dialogue.) If you decide to watch this (it’s long out of print, but Netflix has it) beware that it has an absolutely terrible ending.

I’d seen the first disk of Stratos 4 long ago, and decided it wasn’t for me, but I saw the other volumes for cheap and picked them up. Well, it was enjoyable and most importantly, the characters were likable. Good stuff here and there. I’ll probably never watch it again, but hey it…was a show.

Princess Nine I really enjoyed, though I could have done without all the “love triangle” stuff. But then, in the last two episodes, the show shoots itself in the foot quite badly. No, really–they destroy the premise of the entire show. Which is a real shame, because I thought the story of these girls trying to compete in a boy’s sport really should have had the courage of its convictions. I’m thinking they wanted another season that never came. Well, most of it was fun, with some very appealing characters. Even the rotten rich girl had some depth and dimension.

If I thought Aura Battler Dunbine was long, I had another think coming as I finally broke the seal on the giant set of Card Captor Sakura DVDs. According to the Anime News Network, this one has seventy episodes. Big sigh. My big complaint with anime series is that thirteen shows is sometimes just a hair short of being able to tell a good story, but twenty-six has been, with a couple of exceptions, way too long. Things get dragged out to an unreasonable degree and I end up yelling at my TV, “Will you get on with it!” (My TV is used to this and is pretty nonplussed about it all.)

And for this reason, Sakura, I’m afraid, has defeated me for the time being. I’ve gone through the first three disks and the repetition level has already surpassed Dunbine without breaking a sweat. I may still be popping one of these in the DVD player when I’m an old, old man.

So much for that. Hey, an entire post about watching DVDs! Isn’t the internet awesome? Yeah, I thought so too. Thanks for visiting!

The Obligatory “I’m not quite dead” Post

It’s always pleasant to get a comment now and then on this blog. I felt that as I’d seemed pretty certain when I “shut it down” in Autumn of 2008 that most of the folks who read here would have seen the “Closed” sign and moved on. So when I “restarted” it not too long ago, I figured I’d somehow have to find a new audience.

Of course, blogging now is so…2004, isn’t it? What with Facebook and Twitter and all those sorts of things. Who blogs nowadays? I mean, I guess apart from myself, I hope.

Since the Great Event of nearly one year ago, it might be thought that I’d have more time for doing this. Well, time and space being what they are, all in relative dimension to one another, such a thought had a hard time getting a firm grip on the old keyboard. But I’m going to make an effort to provide more content here. Of what nature I cannot say; perhaps a drawing, some random thoughts, a bit of fiction (can’t seem to give that away) or perhaps one of my long-threatened essays.

Hope to see you around more often, and thank you as always for popping by.