krpalmer: (anime)
After all the dire portents and seemingly narrow escapes just in the English-language publication of Makoto Yukimura's Viking manga Vinland Saga, every new volume's become a relief in itself to see. What with the cliffhanger the eighth volume had ended on, the ninth was that much more welcome. Where I'd just been intrigued before by the introduction of the threatening bear huntress Hild, though, the revelation she'd been an inventor to begin with and had rigged up a circular saw did have me thinking all over again of "anachronism"; the author's note midway through, mentioning a Swedish children's book series that had been animated in Japan and had just happened to include the same invention in its own Viking times, did manage to offer a bit more perspective.

That plot arc's flashbacks, in invoking the violent past the manga's protagonist Thorfinn keeps trying to find a way to leave, did have me thinking we were being reminded of significant parts of the story. Those thoughts strengthened as more old characters returned and Thorfinn got deeper into trouble, although I could begin to wonder if this might end up being turned into a way to keep the story from having to travel all the way through Russia to Byzantium and back before the presumable endgame of heading for Vinland. With the English releases now seeming to be quite close to the Japanese ones, the feeling "this could go on for quite a while yet" was hard to shake. I wouldn't say I'm "weary" of the impressive-looking manga by any means, but the constant tension between Thorfinn's ideals and the reality he's stuck in and the toll that exacts on him can be harrowing in itself.
krpalmer: (Default)
Having managed to read a bit more fiction in the past little while than I've thought with mixed emotions to have got through for some time now, I found myself going a little deeper down a pile I'd bought from a library book sale to begin a science fiction novel that had managed to catch my eye there. The back-cover blurb for Christopher Priest's Inverted World had described a city being winched along tracks laid down in front of it and taken up from behind, struggling to pursue a moving "optimum" with fatal consequences should it keep falling back. I could think of other works of science fiction where humans struggled to survive in inexplicably altered worlds, and wondered how this one would turn out.
At the age of six hundred and fifty miles... )
krpalmer: (anime)
The fourth volume of Legend of the Galactic Heroes was one whose translation hadn't been promised back when the first appeared, so it was as welcome as any of them so far to me. I hadn't seen the part of the anime adapting it back at my university's anime club, so while I do have to admit to having managed to see it since then, as I read the book I did have a slight feeling of greater unfamiliarity. At the same time, I did have a sense the story was moving into an ominous endgame as the military genius Reinhard von Lohengramm exploits idealistic exiles and self-centred politicians while colluding with interstellar oligarchs to set up a full-scale invasion of his tottering opponent. I do keep thinking the focus of the series on "the appearance of an epoch-opening genius" can be balanced against "is it also possible a good many 'ordinary' people might only be convinced of that?", but just because a work of fiction raises a question it doesn't have to answer it itself.

Something about the translation did start feeling a bit odd to me as I worked through this volume, and I wound up going back to the earlier books to see they'd been translated by a different person. Whether this amounted to "an unfortunate cost-saving measure" or was just an inescapable necessity, I don't know. I had wondered on the way through if the entire book would amount to "preparations for battle," only for diversionary warfare to break out in the final chapters. This included a hand-to-hand battle between two high-placed subordinates, if one without quite as much significance as some might have anticipated. On getting to the end of the book without a preview page, though, I got to worrying again about this amounting to "everything hinges on how this volume sells if it hasn't already..." Looking a little further, however, did turn up some preorder listings for two further volumes. As I understand it this still won't complete the translation of the series, but there does seem to be a bit more to look forward to at the moment.
krpalmer: (anime)
It was something, anyway, that three months ago some of the capsule descriptions of anime series from the upcoming season were catching my attention, something that just hadn't happened at the start of the year. That, though, just put me in another uncomfortable, familiar dilemma. Knowing I'd be leaving on a month's vacation in the middle of the season, no longer able then to circle around to streaming shows every week with the small, helpful push of routine, had me remembering similar vacations now several years past where being left with my own thoughts just had me dwelling on how far the reaction threads had soured for the series I'd taken chances on, such that I found myself rehearsing end-of-the-quarter explanations for why I'd dropped them myself until I returned with accusing blocks of time empty on my schedule and uncomfortable thoughts about yielding to peer pressure. (At certain times afterwards, I would go ahead and buy the home video releases of some of those abandoned series just because I felt "sorry" for them, but a lot of those peculiar purchases are still sitting around unopened...) I'd already spent some vacation-affected seasons since then not starting anything brand new, and with all the previously made anime I have ready at hand to watch I was just in the same position as at the start of the year, but I do still feel aware of all the possible consequences of "disconnection" from other fans, even if it's only wondering if anyone else will find something in these reaction posts.
Getting started: Lupin the Third and Please Teacher! )
Queue-clearing with verve: Symphogear GX )
A major project begins: Mobile Suit Gundam movies )
A major challenge: Zeta Gundam )
Getting back to queue-clearing: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too )
Not what I'd thought: Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars )
Movie experiences: your name. and A Silent Voice )
More movies: Time of EVE and Strike Witches the Movie )
krpalmer: (Default)
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It was a bit odd to really start picking up on the "Canada 150" logo "out in the wild" by seeing it on packages in the supermarket, and that might only have got me thinking back to the centennial itself and its assorted construction projects having happened well before I was born. I know free passes to the national parks are available, but I have to confess to feeling "camped out" ever since graduating from Scouts in high school (even with having travelled up north in an RV last year). However, once I'd begun remembering of an anniversary celebration that had happened while I was alive, I could start to see some new perspectives.

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It had also felt a bit odd at the time to mark a "hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary" with its own logo, but there had been that worried feeling in 1992 that the country as it stood would crack apart in the next few years (and things did get pretty close those few years later), sometimes followed up by the feeling it would be a subsequent inevitability the flag left over those of us speaking English would be replaced not that many years later. For all that back then I did manage to get into an anniversary project called the "Young Space Ambassadors," which sent high school students to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal to see science museums and aerospace companies, I can think at least some feelings have changed and there might even yet be a reason or two to prefer now over then.

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krpalmer: Imagination sold and serviced here: Infocom (infocom)
Seeing a bit of attention paid to "old computers" from an unexpected but notable direction did get me thinking of the home computer games I'd actually played when I was young (instead of managing to get around to them years later), and which of them might be called "personal standouts." I thought of the Pole Position imitation I would load and then twiddle the TV's tint knob until the blue "artifact colour" of the backgrounds changed to "green grass" (although the Radio Shack Color Computer 2 could start up with its blue and red artifact colours switched, which made for a different experience again), of the "first-person perspective maze" our disk had gone bad for unfortunately early on so that long years later it became one of my most notable pushes towards getting emulator programs working, and of several illustrated adventures, some easier to play all the way through than others. After remembering those and other Color Computer games, though, all of a sudden I reminded myself that before it my family had started out with a TRS-80 Model I. Even with its low-resolution black-and-white graphics (converted to black-and-green with a thick piece of green plastic foam-taped to the converted RCA surplus TV that served as its official monitor), we had some games for it. Two of them that came to mind right away were the Berzerk imitation "Robot Attack" and a "swoop a spaceship over an enemy base and through a cavern" game from a "software every month" cassette magazine, both of which I'd got working on emulators in recent years. That double revival, though, had also got me thinking of a third game stuck in my mind but which I hadn't been able to find in these latter days...
The third game, and some illustrated proof )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Leaving on vacation meant taking a break from my slow and steady progress through the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival. This was a decision rather than an imposition, given there's a "download to watch, at least with some things, and at least for a while" feature in the Netflix mobile application now. The only device running that application I planned to take with me was my iPod touch, though, and squeezing the high-definition episodes into a screen that small didn't really appeal to me. (I was fine with finishing off "Voltron '84" that way, however, perhaps even getting a bit more of that casual old sense of there being something a little suspicious to what the show tried to say about what it showed...)

Returning from vacation, I got back to the revival. Picking up with the new episodes again, though, did remind me I'd wondered just how I'd take one of them in particular from the moment I'd seen their capsule descriptions, and that just perhaps I'd been trying to put off a potential instant where a possible personal standout might turn into something actively unpleasant...
The crucial ninety minutes )
krpalmer: (apple)
I'm cautious about invoking "political content" on this journal, but when I saw some "Apple commentators" bring up a Twitter post on the account of the Prime Minister of Canada, my thoughts veered in a direction I did want to say something about. Seeing Justin Trudeau promote with enthusiasm (and in both official languages) an article about the Macintosh emulation now available on the Internet Archive got me supposing that while there are people who were using Apple computers in the 1980s and people who've seen themselves as having "bought into a story" afterwards (as I suppose I was, just earlier than some), they don't amount to a constituency to be talked up in an analytical fashion. I was therefore willing to suppose Trudeau had used a Macintosh back when the game Dark Castle was a standout on it, and from there I could wonder if Pierre Trudeau had bought one of the computers (although this does bring to mind all those smirking juxtapositions of "the computer for the rest of us" and Apple's pricing strategies, along with how the elder Trudeau had been well-off before becoming Prime Minister) after retiring from office, and if he'd used it himself or supposed himself "too old for this sort of thing" even with its much-promoted graphical user interface and left it to his sons. Of course, the computer could also have been in a school lab with games floating around.

In any case, I was already aware of those Javascript emulators, but can admit to thinking I'd rather stick with files saved on my own computer for use with the self-contained Mini vMac emulator, especially given its recent push from the small black-and-white screen of the original Macintosh towards the larger, more colourful screen my own family's purchase not that far into the 1990s provided us with. (There was a comment in the article wondering if the author's return to MacWrite could be extracted from the emulator; I can do that with Mini vMac, even if I don't do that often.) After a first bit of difficulty that had me supposing the PCE Javascript emulator demanded disk images formatted in a way Mini vMac couldn't do anything with, though, I did find at least some of the files from the Internet Archive can be put to that offline use, and that before this somehow amusing bit of unexpected attention paid to the whole thing.
krpalmer: (anime)
A few years ago, I mused a bit about how I'd managed to keep reading one long-running manga series for a full forty volumes. With that point made, every volume of Fairy Tail that followed did register on me; at the fifty-volume mark I did wonder a bit about making another post before putting the thought off. Now that I've reached the sixty-volume mark, though, I have managed to put words together.

It's simple enough to say the appeal of the series remains uncomplicated with its brawling guilds of eccentric magic-users, battles made a big deal of and then resolved through raw determination, and dashes of cheesecake, and that simplicity is what keeps me reading. I seem to have avoided wishing for "greater depth" or any of the other things that might amount to "frustation a story isn't what you first imagined it to be," even if I get back into every volume a bit fuzzy about where everyone's come from in the tall stack of past chapters. In the past few volumes, I have been wondering if an impression the story is working towards drawing a final line and ending is exaggerated, and then seeing the author's afterwords mentioning that very thing. That it does seem there's not going to be an eighty-volume mark at the moment, though, is easy enough to accept. It does, however, get me thinking of how I made a Kickstarter pledge to get the Skip Beat anime released over here, then decided I'd continue the story from there, and have now piled up thirty-six volumes of the manga (in three-volume paperback re-releases) without having read any of it yet...
krpalmer: (anime)
Seeing interpretations of another "girls' love" manga Seven Seas was beginning to publish in English that looked at the very slow build of the feelings of one of its main characters and dared to bring up the word "asexual" was enough to give me a particular interest in "Bloom Into You." As the second volume showed up, though, I could keep supposing the inevitability of its central character Yuu "warming up" and not just accepting but reciprocating Nanami's feelings, and the interpretations becoming just an intriguing memory.

As the second volume got under way, though, a character who'd been sort of in the background before just happens to pick up on Nanami kissing Yuu again, and reacts with "I'd rather sit in the audience and watch the story play out on stage." If the manga is really all about less-familiar takes on love, this would seem to be another, even if I can ponder whether this would be more familiar and less seemingly inexplicable, even if more seemingly condemnable with dark allusions to "there are too many substitutes for the risks and rewards of actual human interaction." Anyway, for all the subtle nudges at Yuu over the course of this volume she still seems to end it in a sort of "it would be nice to change" mood. I've also been supposing the art has "smoothed out" a bit, perhaps better in service to the story now.

The other girls' love manga from Seven Seas in my crowded manga reading list of late do seem to divide between "charming fluff" and "exploitative," which makes the different path "Bloom Into You" is taking of particular interest. That interest may have ticked up a bit with a little more uncertainty of just how things will play out to the end, although "it was a long road to a familiar happy ending" remains a definite possibility, and one that perhaps wouldn't even be unsatisfying now with the path treated as having "unusual challenges" along it.
krpalmer: (Default)
While on vacation, I was at least aware of the fortieth anniversary of Star Wars, but where I'd managed to say something at the fifteen-year mark since Attack of the Clones I didn't have the same drive to make a post about the movie that had got the saga rolling, much less find somewhere offering wireless online access that particular day. It's easy enough to be concerned this has something to do with "I get you cling to your disappointment because of how much you value the old movies, but why do those statements of value just seem to amount to 'they're cool?'"

The fragment of good news at the tail of today's radio reports, though, did get me thinking about a somewhat similar topic. I remember seeing newspaper articles about it having been "twenty years ago today" that "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was officially released, and now it's been fifty. Since seeing those articles I have managed to listen to the album, and I can listen to it with definite interest and pleasure even if I try not to dwell on extreme judgments. At the same time, though, I do wonder just how many attention was being paid to the popular songs of 1917 fifty years ago. Aware just how many of the things I pass the time with are rooted in one way or another in my grade school to high school years, I'm conscious I could be dismissed with comments about pots and kettles or something similar (or at least told "you aren't looking hard enough"), but it is something I keep pondering.
krpalmer: (Default)
It turned out that as my cruise around northern Europe continued, ports of call where shore-based wireless access was convenient to the ship when I had the time to make up another post became hard to find. Getting back from the cruise left me jet-lagged and trying to get over a cold I had picked up in its second half. Still, I got through the whole thing, and saw many interesting things as the ship continued to Norway and Scotland. I am glad to be back, but I'm conscious all over again of how fast time can vanish in a day just by running through a regular routine.
Pictures within )
krpalmer: (europa)
"Prequel Appreciation Day" has been moved up this year with the fifteenth anniversary of Attack of the Clones rolling around, but while I'm still away on vacation this does happen to be one of the days I can access wireless ashore, and while I didn't bring the movie with me memories are ready to hand.

I'd wound up feeling stuck between a sense I hadn't been triggered to hostility by The Phantom Menace the way what had seemed so many others had made such a deal of and the nervous fear watching that movie, the previous trilogy, or indeed just about any other movie would at last grind my face in how "obvious" the hostile reaction was, but the trailers for the next new Star Wars movie (one of which my brother had made a big deal of accessing by going online with the Phantom Menace DVD loaded in his computer's disc drive) had somehow managed to begin invigorating me again. After forming tentative theories and going back and forth on whether the "clones" in their white and black armour might even be on the side of the Republic, the opening crawl did jolted me by mentioning Amidala as "former" queen (the first hint other people could also be positive about the extension to the saga were "fanfics" that had speculated ahead with a great sense of Amidala being Queen, even if I hadn't looked beyond them yet to the group of positive people I would discover in the nick of time), but from there things managed to build, and the opening night audience had seemed to enjoy the movie in the end. I did overhear a "George Lucas has redeemed himself" comment from someone that did, after everything, provoke a sort of "I'm not that hostile to what came before" reaction from me, but I can still wonder if, in different circumstances, I might have wound up convinced "the real story started with 'Episode II.'"

I have to mention that as speculation because of the way certain people rallied to find something to be offended at even as I kept realising that while "shipping" doesn't do a lot for me I can get gooey and sentimental about the indisputable romances that don't match sheer imagination for others. By "the nick of time" I've already mentioned, I was stuck the same miserable distance from the then-latest Star Wars movie as from the others. In happening on the positive people who became "prequel appreciators," things managed to work out, although I can wonder yet if a "middle movie" caught between something with the freedom to look "different yet familiar" and the payoff for everything set up can feel somehow "overstuffed" and be a bit easier to just sort of take as part of the whole. At the same time, though, some recent comments noticed about Attack of the Clones being the most like the Flash Gordon serials at one root of everything do have a pleasant resemblance to thoughts I've had before about the movie being free in its variety to "be a Star Wars movie pure and simple."
krpalmer: (Default)
When my parents said they'd be making another cruise to Northern Europe, the thought of coming along did appeal to me. Unlike the trip I'd made eight years ago, I'd be flying all the way out and flying back, but I suppose that could also mean more time to see things off the ship. One thing I did think I'd try this time was to look for wireless connections at the cruise terminals, remembering how expensive it was just to ration out ten minutes a day. There hasn't been quite as much wireless available as I'd hoped, though, so I'm trying to squeeze what I can out of a stop in Stockholm even as I tell myself there's nothing wrong with taking a vacation from more than one thing at once.
Pictures within )
krpalmer: (mimas)
I've been conscious for a while now of continuing to hold back from watching The Force Awakens on Netflix, but the latest time I thought about that I also thought it's been a while since I've watched Clone Wars. I had made a point of returning to the late plot arc I'd heard had included a character who would appear "decades later" in Rogue One (only to wind up thinking it was hard to suppose Saw's character in the movie showed any particular influences of that previous story), but other than that the same "I'd rather use my time watching other things" feeling seems to apply in both cases.

However, the "Clone Wars era" itself doesn't quite seem to have left my contemplations. In starting to wonder if the Jedi wound up so focused on "Count Dooku leading the enemy" as to neglect the other Sith Lord he'd even named to Obi-Wan, all of a sudden I happened to wonder if the assorted "Dark Side acolytes" in the Clone Wars series were meant to get the Jedi thinking he had become the master. While I had grown to find characters like Asajj Ventress and Savage Oppress interesting, I suppose the discussions of other fans about how there can only be two Sith had intrigued me, influencing the way I thought about the old movies; to start multiplying acolytes for the sake of more action had led to a few unfortunate thoughts of the old Star Wars novels I wasn't reading any more. Having mulled over this new idea for a little while now (until, of course, the day people start tossing an amusing greeting back and forth) does seem to suggest it's not pushing me back towards watching Clone Wars again, but it's at least nice to keep thinking about the subject.
krpalmer: (anime)
Returning to the original Voltron (as distinct from the anime series it was made from) after long years, though the episode at the top of a playlist on Netflix introduced by people working on the new Voltron Legendary Defender, did bring to mind all those old impressions of just how hard the dialogue was trying to claim the animation wasn't showing anyone being killed. Instead of stopping there content in my convictions and moving on to "The Real Ghostbusters" or something else, though, I did keep working my way down the list, and a few more things started striking me. If the episode at the top seemed to have been selected in part because it didn't display a familiar formula, a good number of the episodes just below it were from quite early in the series, often featuring conference-room scenes from Dairugger XV (which became "the other Voltron") cut into them. I could understand this getting to the point where it just couldn't be repeated any more, but it was something to see an effort made to link the two series, even if that effort didn't seem particularly remembered by anyone. More than that, there were moments that didn't quite seem to be followed by "so he was a robot after all" or "they were just knocked out."

For all of that, I was interested when vagaries of schedules brought me straight from the first episode of the original series to the episode that concluded the second set of episodes of Voltron Legendary Defender. There was what did seem like "a final consequence if you can notice it" and "another sudden revelation about a character" that did seem, at last, to tie into the sudden revelation about a different character that had concluded the first set of episodes and left me jumping at a theory. In some ways, Voltron Legendary Defender can be exactly the story it's saying it is, distinct from the suspicious yet amused impressions that had done a lot to keep the original stuck in a small corner of my mind. At the same time, with what new "mecha anime" series do appear these days seeming to have a hard time garnering positive comments from other people, the giant (piloted) robot action the concluding episode got around to was quite satisfying in its own way.
krpalmer: (europa)
Some imp of the perverse might have been driving me as I noticed an item on Satellite News that Rifftrax would be providing their own brand of commentary in a synch-it-yourself audio file timed to Rogue One. The odds seem minimal I'd ever listen to that track, given that Rifftrax having begun by "needling blockbusters" has kept me away from the "video files with pre-synched commentary featuring more MST3K-like B-to-Z-movies" they do mostly offer these days (although that in turn might have been an "I can't become utterly paralyzed with fear I might hear disparaging references I can't find funny" push to pledge to the MST3K revival Kickstarter). I looked at the comments, though, and one of the first ones was someone more or less saying "sure; Jyn is the Mary Sue Rey didn't turn out to be." Someone else riposted, and the comment "You don't know what a Mary Sue is" came up.
Something came to mind at once )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I am taking my time watching through the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000; hour-and-a-half blocks of time are valuable and very often fine-sliced commodities for me. As I got to the second episode, I suppose I was thinking a bit of a comment or two just seen of this somehow being a moment where the revived series had to prove itself all over again and climb past "the novelty of a first episode," and I did even wonder a bit how I was taking the first minutes of "Cry Wilderness." As with quite a few of the original episodes, though, the humour seemed to build in a cumulative fashion. The movie itself perhaps wasn't quite as "high concept" as "a giant monster movie set in Denmark," but it packed plenty of absurdity all the same.
Then, all of a sudden... )
krpalmer: (anime)
It was something that Makoto Shinkai had gone from "making a work of animation lengthy for one man on his own" to "directing full-length anime features," but I'm always aware of a nagging sense of the general rhetoric about "impressive lighting effects and background art" being followed by "but..." Working backwards through his filmography, The Garden of Words was short and might have raised an amused eyebrow or two, Children Who Chase Lost Voices just perhaps took "someone has to carry on the Ghibli tradition" to the point of "now let's see your own thing" dismissal, 5 Centimeters per Second could provoke some resistance to "downbeat, inability-provoked developments," and I remembered more positive impressions of The Place Promised in Our Early Days, but not its title without looking it up.
There was something different about Your Name, though... )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
The announcement Joel Hodgson was planning not just a new "movie-riffing" project but a revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000 itself raised a more uncomfortable mixture of emotions than I would have liked to have felt. I've tried saying it's a matter of being ambiguous about a sense that modern "pop culture commentary" has so much stuff to comment on nowadays that it doesn't reach back as far as it once did and that "righteous superiority" can shade into "somehow not energetic enough to go looking for better stuff," but I suppose it's all just trying to cover up for how, as the MSTing community was slowing to a standstill, it didn't help that just about every comment hostile first to The Phantom Menace and then to Attack of the Clones would grate on me and kill my enthusiasm to read on then and there...

At almost the last moment, though, I decided I could take so much of a chance as to pledge for the "digital-only package"; if I did wind up deleting my downloaded files, at least it wouldn't be quite the same as trying to get rid of a Blu-Ray set with accompanying collector's book. That pledge did happen to produce downloadable versions of the very first two episodes of the show's formative season, and that was something I could think of as to the good. Even so, I knew the premiere of the episodes made decades later was approaching...

I started the special one-day-only preview stream with caution, and yet an hour and a half later there was "optimism" shading into that caution. While I later saw comments from others about "riffs being thrown at us" (the first few minutes of the rather memorable movie, though, were slow enough there to somehow alter my impression of the whole thing), to me they did seem to reach beyond "here and now," and more than that to address the movie in an entertaining way rather than just springboard off to all too familiar opinions. As the fourteen episodes enough money was raised for go up on Netflix, I know it'll be a while until I can watch all of them (and I'm still cautious about one described as a "1970s Star Wars ripoff"), but I can now at least hope the good stuff I've already seen will keep outweighing whatever hypothetical comments might disagree with me.

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