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.
krpalmer: (smeat)
In eking this journal along through the ten-year mark (although I've just taken a step of a certain weight in switching off crossposting to the Livejournal it started as when new terms of service there, pushed at us instead of just sort of snuck by, raised a gut-level uneasiness), I have thought it'll get harder to make up "anniversary" posts. However, where there might not seem to be much of a difference between, say, "thirty years since" and "forty years since," there is one between "ninety years since" and "the centennial"...

I've been contemplating for a while the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, but in taking note of what seems the general attempts these days to give it significance in the Canadian historical consciousness, I've got to wondering if Canada stands out by efforts to look back to the First World War singling out a "success." Just among the other Dominions brought into the war with Great Britain, my general understanding of Australia and New Zealand is that they focus on the futile struggles to break open a back door of the war at Gallipoli, and even Newfoundland, which wouldn't join the Canadian confederation until after the Second World War, looks back to the heavy losses of its small force at the Battle of the Somme.

There are risks in narrowing history to single moments in time. Capturing the ridge at Vimy was one operation in one more larger, inconclusive battle as crisis started really setting in for the Allies in 1917, and for all the mythologizing afterwards (although to say efforts to play up the battle only picked up in recent decades as its last survivors died do remind me I've seen a book from a Canadian centennial series that picked the battle as its "headline of that decade"), the war didn't help national unity so far as the conscription crisis pried apart English and French Canada. At the same time, I might have a weakness for "counter-counterarguments," and while making the Second World War "the good guys versus the bad guys" can neglect how much of it hinged on Germany turning to attack the Soviet Union and how much that reshaped the world afterwards, to the best of my understanding the First World War wasn't quite a matter of "the side scratching its head over why its flower of youth being fed into a grinder wasn't working somehow lasted long enough to declare victory"; to that extent at least Vimy could be seen as a step towards learning to get through the Western Front. I suppose, though, I've also thought that perhaps we've come to remember Vimy from the First World War because one specific moment that keeps coming to mind from the Second World War was the unsuccessful Dieppe raid.
krpalmer: (anime)
The start of a new year meant, among many other things, the start of another season of anime series, but in the first days of the year I watched the list of streaming announcements accumulate without quite seeming grabbed by any of it. (Exclusive licenses to streaming services I don't have subscriptions to or which hold episodes back until they're good and ready to pull in "binge-watchers" were a side note, but not quite a crisis in themselves.) This might have bothered me more than it did given I'd had the same problem for most of last year, but in its last three months I'd managed not just to start but to stick with a fair handful of streaming series. I could watch other people muttering about how thin the new season seemed while thinking my own anxieties had somehow reset; in any case, I still wasn't lacking for things to go back to.
Returning to start off: Planetes and Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans )
Two different catch-ups: Princess Tutu and Sound! Euphonium )
A standout catch-up: Flip Flappers )
More getting around to things: Full Metal Panic! and Lupin the Third series 2 )
Finishing up: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU )
krpalmer: (Default)
I managed to notice that not only was SpaceX about to launch another satellite, but that launch would use one of the first stages they've begun collecting by managing soft landings on floating barges with in-jokey names or even heading all the way back to where they've started. The launch was scheduled for when I'd have a chance to watch it via streaming video, but I suppose I was conscious of the chance of something going wrong. That thought only got stronger as I saw the Falcon 9 rocket standing on the launch pad repurposed from Apollo's Saturns to the space shuttles and now to another generation of rockets, aware all the same SpaceX had moved in after blowing up a rocket at the launch pad they had used to use.

The rocket lifted off into a clear evening sky, though, and the second stage separated. The first stage was left to descend towards its barge, and I did notice its pop-out stabilizing grids starting to glow from re-entry before the video cut out. To the accompaniment of a very enthusiastic crowd at the SpaceX headquarters, though, the picture returned to show the first stage once more standing in one piece on the barge. Knowing the space shuttles wound up needing a lot more refurbishing in between flights than they were supposed to require, I am still wondering what it'll take in the end to turn the first stage around again, but it is something that it managed to land a second time.
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
The episodes of "Star Trek: The Animated Series" were engaging enough to watch while exercising on weekend mornings; I'd been thinking a bit, more or less from the start, that they somehow somewhat dodged the sense of "familiarity" and even "set consensus" that can settle over all of the live-action series, along with "if you are convinced Star Trek 'has' to involve its original characters..." They came to an end, though (with an episode I'd read Alan Dean Foster's novelization, considerable expansion upon, and rationalization many years ago), and I did get to wondering how I'd keep myself occupied on my ski machine from then on.

Right then, however, I saw an announcement the people working on the new Voltron Legendary Defender had selected some of the original Voltron episodes to be streamed on Netflix as an adjunct to their own series. That did get my attention, although I was quite ready to remember that when the original Voltron had had its "nostalgia release" on DVD a decade ago, I'd held out for the anime series it had been made from instead. The thought's occasionally come to me, though, that I just might be dismissive of Voltron because of the accident of having had "the other Voltron" stick in my mind a bit more, and just perhaps that "other" science fiction action had been more vulnerable than the space fantasy it seems just about everyone else remembers better to having all that careful "this is a cartoon; nobody ever dies in a cartoon" redubbing stand out. I went ahead and took a chance on "Voltron '84."
The complications of a single episode )
krpalmer: (anime)
When deciding to take a chance at last on beginning to read Milk Morinaga's "Gakuen Polizi" manga (only to surprise myself discovering it really was complete in two volumes), it's at least possible I was thinking ahead to news another one of her "girls' love" titles was going to be published in English. I did understood "Secret of the Princess" was complete in one volume (with a larger page size than normal), but perhaps I was still wondering how this one would turn out.
It did wind up with one advantage... )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Even before I was remembering today can be marked as "Pi Day," I was thinking ahead to Joel Hodgson's announcement the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 will be appearing on Netflix on April 14. As that date gets closer, though, I'm still struggling with what kept me from taking in any of his previous "Cinematic Titanic" project and what keeps me from trying any "Rifftrax," namely the suspicion that to comment on even a "cheesy movie" these days is perpetually to springboard into taking shots at specific "outside" targets, jabs some would proclaim "cathartic" but which just seem to grate on me after all these years. I went so far as to admit this in a "Satellite News" thread about "watching the new series," if without stating just what targets would most grate on me; nobody seemed to notice and take me to task for that, though. However, later on in the thread some were worried the backgrounds of the new people involved with the series meant not that they'd be dwelling on the party line for that ambiguous term of "geek culture," but that they'd be making "political" comments... The specific case invoked, at least, doesn't seem to bother me. It even got me thinking that to have felt sorry for some movies to the point of thinking they weren't bad after all could have some differences from humourless ideological commitment too.

(Then, thinking I'd take one more look at the "countdown" on Satellite News, I happened to notice a selection of "classic episodes" will show up in advance of the new premiere on Netflix. It's sort of intriguing to contemplate "a direct comparison" being welcomed.)
krpalmer: (anime)
After taking much interest in two of Milk Morinaga's "girls' love" manga series, I was more than ready to start reading another one, and one Seven Seas was now publishing in regular-thickness volumes as well. As I bought the first volume of "Gakuen Polizi," though, I did notice a few comments that the flirty, slashy preliminaries seemed less undeniable to start with, and I suppose I decided to wait until I had the second volume as well for a bit more impact. Once that had been published, I didn't quite get around to the series right away, and then I realised there weren't any more volumes being solicited...
One day, though... )
krpalmer: Imagination sold and serviced here: Infocom (infocom)
Something about reading news about text adventures and interactive fiction every day but seldom getting around to playing any of those games I read about can get to me just a bit. On one trip to the Interactive Fiction Database, though, a new review on the front page managed to pique my interest and point me onward. For all the games I haven't played, I do still seem to have picked up enough knowledge of "familiar adventure genres" that a game promising to poke fun at "the psychological landscape of an incapacitated protagonist" evoked amused expectations. I downloaded Ryan Veeder's "Nautilisia" into my iPad's interactive fiction interpreter and started into it.
The adventurous push )
krpalmer: Imagination sold and serviced here: Infocom (infocom)
I got an email today reminding me it's been a year since I signed up on Tumblr. At the time, I'd been feeling just a bit fatigued at putting together a new post here every week "just to keep my streak running." After a few "crosspost" posts listing the old computer magazine covers I was putting up in order, though, the ideas for here did seem to start coming with a bit more ease, and I let the two streams flow in parallel (although I usually try to cross-promote posts here over there, just in case). Sometimes it's easier to just look at where my queue of covers is, but in any case I am beginning to round out 1981's computer magazines; I'm a bit conscious of plans to add more titles around 1983 or so, though, a while yet before the ebullient "8-bit boom" went bust.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
"The Complete Peanuts" may be more than complete, but the spinoff project to release the Sunday pages in colour is still under way. It did take me a while to get the latest volume of "Peanuts Every Sunday." I had ordered the previous large and pricy volumes from amazon.ca, but this time the wait for the listing to offer physical copies had stretched on until at last I ordered it through my local bookstore, which with my discount card was cheaper than going through an online reseller. In any case, I had a definite interest in this volume. The second half of the 1960s, as I understand it, were "the phenomenon years" for Peanuts, where all the developments of the fifteen years before added up to more attention than most comic strips get as the television specials added up along with the magazine covers, followed by appearances on stage and screen and going to the moon, with the World War I Flying Ace more or less leading the way.
'I scan the air carefully searching for the Red Baron.. I *must* bring him down!' )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
A piece on Anime News Network described the president of a Japanese television network speculating about artificial intelligence taking over the production of anime. I have to admit one of my first reactions was that this felt so much one of those "one of these days" cyber-utopian visions that there did seem an edge of "trying to provoke a strong reaction just for the sake of attracting attention" to the posting of the article itself. Anime fandom, at least that part of it I can follow, does seem to have a strong undercurrent of disdain for what computer animation has worked its way into the industry. An AI-produced work might look like it was drawn by human hands (assuming tastes don't change at last by then, even if only by the fandom itself turning over), but I can still imagine other people looking ahead with specific aesthetic concerns for the future, given how ready some seem to make accusations about "stuff produced by formula." Beyond that, there's the whole deal with and issue of "sharing the profits of production out to as few people as possible"; the piece made a point of mentioning the familiar worries about how little money gets to the actual people with the pencils.

I can manage to think beyond even all of that, though, and there seems at least the possibility what might begin as "expert systems in the hands of the existing producers" might yet wind up "available to everyone." There, I could remember an online anime magazine from years ago (even if not which one it was to try and delve into the Internet Archive) that had looked ahead with apparent enthusiasm to the moment when people will just have to tell computers what they want to get entertainment tailored to them. The thought of everyone becoming more-or-less inarticulate moguls with endlessly patient creative staffs at their disposal can seem to hold the solution to some very familiar fan woes; the only cost would seem to be collective experiences dissolving into a certain kind of solipsism.
krpalmer: (anime)
The unexpected buildup of its third series, from "I suppose it's playing to its strengths" to "did it just leave a part of its familiar setting behind?", did a lot to revitalize my interest in the computer-animated, "anime-esque" RWBY. I wound up buying its Blu-Rays and watching through them with a full awareness of where they were headed, perhaps still helped along by the thought it was "an indie production" but getting past "it's something it was done at all." (This might reflect a bit on how I did just stop watching the slightly connected "Red vs. Blue" without making a big deal of it.) As the fourth series got under way, I was pleased to see it available on Crunchyroll, even if this might bring to mind "it's perhaps even an all too comfortable way to convince myself I'm not just watching anime."

In any case, as the fourth series got under way the characters did remain scattered and in new places, and that pushed from my mind the wondering I'd done right at the end of the third series of if things might be put too much together again. That did, though, connect to how it might be all too easy to pile up a list of anime series where the characters have fantastic adventures but never have to go very far from the safe base of their high school, although when I think a little bit more about that not all of them can be called "recent" in the way just perhaps used by some for who every "fannish" diversion is forever falling from the heights they started at. Noting the different ways "family" got involved in the plot threads, I stayed interested all the way through. It was only thinking back that I did wonder a bit about the story having taken its time dwelling on large and staggering things having happened, but that might have been inspired by one comment from someone else I did look just a bit for, which may only have reminded me of all those suspicions that to delve too much into the opinions of others for reassurance your own opinions are valid can feel like a zero-sum game. In any case, I'm wondering where things might go next, even with new episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender available to keep taking that trifling step away from outright anime. (Some of the first episodes in its own new series, though, seem, without having made a big, showy deal of it, to have stepped away from "this is a cartoon; nobody ever dies in a cartoon.")

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