krpalmer: (anime)
I've bought a pretty good number of the "girls' love" (or "yuri," to use the more in-the-know term) manga that Seven Seas publishes, and as I began picking up they were about to begin another series I supposed I'd take a chance on "Bloom into You" as well. The reviews I read as part of that process, though, made it of particular yet perhaps peculiar interest to me.

"I just don't seem interested in boys" might might seem obvious enough leading off one of these series. When the viewpoint character Yuu's attempts to find the best way to turn down the confession made to her just before she moves from junior high to high school happens to get her acquainted with the slightly older Nanami, though, whose also turning down a boy's interest makes Yuu think she's found a kindred spirit, Nanami soon tells Yuu "I think I might be falling in love with you," and the younger girl's reaction remains pretty much "shouldn't I have more of a reaction?" Nanami kisses Yuu a few chapters later to show just what she mean by love, and Yuu keeps thinking to herself "I'm not even excited." The Anime News Network review suggested there was something asexual about Yuu, a strangely intriguing interpretation for me. I'm aware of all the times I see other fans willing to play along with the game of "shipping" characters and I just sort of suppose that with no definitive (much less daring) commitment in the story we get I'm content to push thoughts of "this fictional character must get paired off for their own happiness (to say nothing of my own satisfaction)" to outside the story and pretty much outside my mind.

With that said, one of the things that appeals to me about "girls' love" manga is the definitive commitment or even the promise of that, and Yuu in no way tries to turn Nanami down over the course of this first volume, willing at one point to mull over a comment from one of her friends (the supporting characters, although they have minor roles in the story, do manage to stand out a bit at points) that time may be all that's needed even in unusual cases. While I seem to find a subtle, hard-to-define peculiarity about the artwork (the closest I can come is to say the faces look a little "elongated," or "sharp," perhaps), I am interested in seeing where things will go.
krpalmer: (anime)
It's a lot easier to start buying a manga series than to come to its conclusion (save perhaps for "reissues"), and thinking of that has begun to place a certain weight on picking up first volumes at the bookstore these days. However, I did manage to come to one conclusion just lately, and almost by surprise.

Seeing preview listings for a seventh volume of GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class sparked some fresh anticipation for a four-panel manga series that's managed to hang on in my thoughts despite its not seeming to have quite the same general impact as some other four-panel series also published over here by Yen Press; with GA still shelved next to my eight volumes of the series they publish as "Sunshine Sketch" where I've relocated K-ON! to much more out of the way, I could think "it wasn't that far behind," and that its paper quality hadn't changed halfway through the long run the way Sunshine Sketch's did (although the price per volume did climb). Not that long before that seventh volume was to show up, though, I heard it would be the final instalment in the series. That seemed to concentrate and clarify my thoughts that much further.
Some of those thoughts )
krpalmer: (anime)
Buying anime faster than I can watch it, in large part through the penny-wise, pound-foolish desire for "free shipping" turning most every casual interest into another title stored away here or there, does seem to have brought me to the point where every so often I just shrug off "getting through it" and go back to watch a series over again. The fair number of manga titles I buy haven't quite amounted to that yet, but that in turn has seemed to mean I never quite want to spare the time to go back and read a series again. When an older title that seemed to have attracted some lasting attention after all is licensed over again and released with promises of an improved edition, though, that can manage to get past my resolution.

Makoto Yukimura's Planetes got my attention near the start of the "cheap and fast manga paperbacks" era, and its science fiction tale of orbital garbagemen, collecting space debris and delving through layers of "resolve to exist beyond normal limits" to simple human connections in the end, left me with a "will anything else measure up to it soon?" sort of feeling. While his following work Vinland Saga has got through some risk-of-being-discontinued spots over here, it did get my attention again when I heard Planetes had been licensed once more, now by Dark Horse Comics. I did my best to buy both of the enlarged new volumes as soon as they were released, but it did take a bit longer to get around to reading them, specifically the Christmas holidays. Once I'd started reading them, though, I got through them with the speed of fresh interest.
A few new things, but one old thing too )
krpalmer: (Default)
Getting through this year happened to mean I've accumulated ten years' worth of posts to this journal. Some months short of that early in the year, though, the steady routine of coming up with still more posts seemed to become enough that I started up a "Tumblr" with the thought it just might provide an easy source of post-like substitutes. After a little while of that, however, inspiration seemed readier to hand again; I haven't stopped lining up covers of old computer magazines elsewhere, though, even as I put together another look back at the first line of the first post of each month.
A year in twelve sentences )
See you in the new year!
krpalmer: (anime)
Over my last few "quarterly reviews" of anime watched I did start dwelling on how, for all that these three-month intervals correspond to the way new anime series roll out, I was playing less and less of the modern game of watching those series through online streaming. It wasn't the obvious and oft-proclaimed tragedy of "falling out" with anime itself given the slightly-older to "older" series I was watching, but the whole situation of "this first description didn't grab me the way it did others; this description did seem sort of interesting but I don't have a subscription to the service it's on; the stiff price I know this series will be ultimately be sold for if at all somehow still places a shadow over it; I took a chance on this show but it's not much fun watching it when everyone else winds up complaining a few episodes in" felt far from ideal.

If not in the very nick of time, though, the past three months were different at last, as several descriptions caught my attention. The new alliance between the online streaming service Crunchyroll and the more traditional disc-producing company Funimation could have helped put more options within my casual reach. More than that, I managed to stick with the shows I started, even if there were still problems with "the real jackpot is when your sagacity is shown by everyone else liking what you do," and added ambiguities about how slow the particular message board I've focused on for a long time has become, at least when it comes to week-by-week discussions. It is somehow different to "watch a show by myself at my own pace" (even if that pace may only be twice as fast as "once a week"), anyway.
Streaming, part 1: WWW.Wagnaria and Izetta: The Last Witch )
Streaming, part 2: Brave Witches and Keijo!!!!!!!! )
Two different takes: Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans and Turn A Gundam )
Two takes on something else: Animation Runner Kuromi and Shirobako )
Catching up to the crowd: One Punch Man and Mob Psycho 100 )
To round things out: Symphogear G and Princess Tutu )
krpalmer: (apple)
When iTunes announces there's been another iPad operating system upgrade I tend to be pretty quick giving the okay to download and install it, but I can be a lot slower when it comes to the operating system of the iMac that first program runs on to begin with. I guess I always feel I have to fight past a miasma of "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" and the lurking presence of those people who've refused to upgrade for half a dozen major revisions by now. It does so happen I have a black plastic Macbook bought used that can't be upgraded much past system 10.6.8, but the awareness of the recent programs that can't be run on it is now getting to me. I did get around to setting up a double-boot system on it with a version of Mint Linux (which does seem to get more updates than some hypothetical scenario of "settling on perfection to be followed by lots of security updates" might seem to have it), but the unfortunate feeling of not being clever enough to really get things configured and installed just the way I like it gets to me in turn.

While last year I "upgraded" to "El Capitan" by the expensive method of buying a new iMac with the operating system pre-installed on it, I knew I'd have to resort to a more typical method when it came to "Sierra." The one thing I did pick up on was that the interactive fiction programming language Inform, and all the major text adventure game engines, weren't working properly with the new system. After a few months of waiting (and the peculiar awareness that "Sierra On-Line" had been a historical force in the however-ambiguous rise of graphic adventures), though, I'd heard about the language and some of the interpreters being revised in turn to work. Waiting just a little longer turned up one more point revision to the system, and I stepped off the deep end.

After making several backups of the old system, I ran the installer in place to save on having to reload old files, and yet it all started up again. So far I've only used the new operating system for a few days, but even so things do seem to be working and I'm settling in. I might not have noticed but for creating some custom folder icons that the regular folder icons are just a shade darker than they'd been in the system previous; I've begun a bit of work on that with another program that continued to work afterwards.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
For the unexpected twenty-sixth volume of The Complete Peanuts, I pondered over just how to get a copy of it and wound up ordering one online, almost "for old time's sake" remembering how I'd got a certain number of volumes that way over the years. There was something a little "Charlie Brown-like" about that, though, when I received the book in the mail and found its hardcover boards were warped. I had it anyway, though, and could contemplate seeing what had been selected to go in it. Hearing what would be in it a little while before it was published did get me realising that, for all that I seldom suppose myself "an assiduous collector," I'd lucked into getting a good number of the stories promised to be in it back when they were still generally for sale. Even with that, though, there did turn out to be surprises.
'Now, I can go back to worrying about soil erosion!' )
'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.' )
krpalmer: (anime)
In getting to read the Legend of the Galactic Heroes novels in translation at last, I am always sort of conscious of having managed to see their anime adaptation first. (At times, too, buying the novels does sort of seem a no doubt inadequate effort to try and "make up" for just how I saw the anime...) At the end of the second novel, I was as inclined as anything to keep seeing the story as pausing at a moment of great impact, but remembering a change in the anime's opening and closing credits (after a good number of episodes spun out of two novels) was one more sign of that. As the third novel picked up, I could see the Galactic Empire's protagonist Reinhard von Lohengramm as having been isolated by that, with his not nearly as totipotent counterpart on the other side of the interstellar space opera war, Free Planets Alliance Admiral Yang Wen-li, isolated in turn by being hauled before a kangaroo board of inquiry. I can understand this steady emphasis on the degradation of the Alliance (with an enigmatic third party meddling all the while) troubling people who might read the novel now; at the same time, I'm conscious of having become more dubious about invocations of "front-line military leaders who possess inbuilt dignity and reasonableness" since I first read the Robotech novelizations long years ago. The one point that might be made in favour of Legend of the Galactic Heroes could be that by this point in the story, the aggressive Alliance commanders have been killed off.
Space opera in the meantime )
krpalmer: (europa)
When I got around to watching the Star Wars movies this year and, halfway through "hybrid order," found any possible previous concerns that this time things would be different seemingly overcome by invigoration, I went ahead and posted about it. After I'd done that, though, I did get to wondering if I'd "set myself up at last," if Attack of the Clones in particular would feel "stuck as the middle movie" or something. I got through it in turn just fine, however, and thoughts that maybe Revenge of the Sith would pose personal problems somehow might not have had the chance to get started. On getting back to the old movies with Return of the Jedi, though, I suppose I was at least conscious of the laments of others on interpreting most of the major performances as "burnt out," as much as I tried to bring to mind other, more positive interpretations I've seen. At least since reading the modern "making of" book, I sometimes find myself wondering if George Lucas saw the important part of the movie as "redemption," but with the big secret of The Empire Strikes Back having leaked (if perhaps not to as widespread publicity as might happen nowadays) he tried even harder to keep that part restricted to those who needed to know, only to leave everyone else kind of underwhelmed at the impression the movie was "about" "creatures..."

I was perhaps following more Star Wars discussions in the late 1990s since I've done since, and I'm ready to suppose a "golden age" wasn't "lost" in sudden and shocking fashion in 1999 (or even 1997) because I'm aware of the complaints about Return of the Jedi from back then. It's at least possible I fell away from possible "groupthink" just out of the inarticulate conviction the then-third Star Wars movie was the conclusion and getting upset about it wouldn't make a difference except to yourself, but in since coming to think I could really shock some by declaring the three new movies a more interesting and compelling unit I always feel that also has to face the possibility all the "blame" then falls on Return of the Jedi itself. That, of course, might not even really touch on the unpleasant feeling that the latest of three "official" continuations from that point (and the one that has the apparent advantage of existing in the same medium as the previous movies) involves the celebrated heroes of the apparently beloved movies having failed off-screen in just about every way for the sake of getting new product with a drab ethos and a barrage of snappy dialogue rolling. Still, that hasn't quite stopped me from thinking "roll on Rogue One" so far.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
According to the official Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode guide's brief section on the show's formative instalments aired on a UHF station in Minnesota ("Oh, and trust us--you don't want to see the KTMA episodes."), "Invaders from the Deep" and "Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars" were a double feature on American Thanksgiving in 1988. When those two long-lost episodes were made available to the revival Kickstarter backers, though, I took my usual week in getting to the second show. I knew it was another "Supermarionation" epic, but could only guess how it might come across in turn.
'Who says puppets don't have a sense of humour?' )
'I would never say that.' )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
Naoki Urasawa's manga was respectable. At the time I'd started hearing that, it was also being translated into English and published in a specific order, with promises of some works that sounded particularly interesting only to follow other series. I more or less accepted that and started buying "Monster," about a Japanese neurosurgeon who just happens to be working in Germany, where he jeopardizes his career by operating on an injured boy instead of the mayor, only for that boy to reappear in his life years later as a serial killer... I was only three volumes into that series, though, when a few panels in another manga Viz was also publishing at the time were retouched in an another apparent attempt not to offend the moral, and in the second fit of pique that had gripped me over that I stopped buying all Viz titles (save, that is, for the occasional appearances of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga).
That was it for a while, but... )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
When I filled in the last space on my list of "episode thoughts" about Mystery Science Theater 3000, there were some "end of an era" thoughts, and yet there still could have been a certain negative space left open on that list. I'd commented on every episode shown on cable, the movie, and Joel Hodgson's proof-of-concept pilot, which he'd shown at a convention where someone had made a fully adequate recording that had wound up an online video encoding. I could have followed the pilot by seeking out those episodes people had managed to videotape off an Minnesota UHF station in 1988 and 1989, but along with all the comments overheard how the improvisational "KTMA episodes" had a lot of "unriffed space" in them and the personal impression the first cable episodes themselves can feel sort of tedious, I had what might seem the convenient excuse there were no fan copies of the first three episodes. Starting close to one beginning seemed fine to some, but somehow I was a little too conscious of the gap.
'I think it's a good time to point out these puppets do their own stunts.' )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Many people may be searching for "good news" right now. I suppose this only means that to a certain number of them, but I was at least surprised in a pleased sort of way to see the titles announced for one more official collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs. The case will be crowded with lettering for the set number in Roman numerals, and as for the episodes itself they all happen to be from the "Mike years," but most of them have a fair bit of resonance for me. "Invasion USA" is an entertaining slice of cheaply produced Cold War agit-prop (which I suppose I compare to the "Joel episode" "Rocket Attack USA"), and "Colossus and the Headhunters" sort of keeps up the pattern by being Mike's counterpart to the Hercules movies of the Joel years. "High School Big Shot" is a depressing yet perhaps compelling skewed take on "juvenile delinquency exploitation," and "Track of the Moon Beast" does at least jump out of the sixth season to the tenth with a bleak sort of 1970s monster movie.

There was also a limited-time preorder bonus announced when buying from the Shout! Factory site. I haven't ordered many of those (save for the cardboard slipcase to go around the DVDs in a "canned set"), but the promise of a certain number of "host segments" from the initial "KTMA episodes" did get my attention and leave me wondering. It would be something to see whatever introduction was offered to those watching the very first episode (unless the opening credits were more or less that), but if it's just excerpted from the well-worn fan copies of the later episodes that have been passed along for years that might not be quite as compelling. The very first episodes not having been recorded that way may be my excuse for not plugging through the apparently very improvised beginning of the series.
krpalmer: (Default)
Cleaning up some piles of old correspondence a while ago, I managed to find two free movie passes in an envelope trying to get me to go back to a particular car service. Aware the passes would expire in the middle of next year, I got to wondering just what two movies I would try and see with them. One option opened up when I heard of a science fiction movie called Arrival. On going to see it, though, I did find myself thinking that what I'd managed to hear hadn't given too much about the movie away. That might have made it more interesting for me, but also left me half-convinced there'd be something gauche about turning around and saying too much to someone else in turn, as much as I want to share a positive opinion.
What I say might be vague anyway )
krpalmer: (europa)
A few hours after putting together a post yesterday suggesting it seems at least possible to escape indignation at the conviction that the "battle for Naboo" hinged altogether on a "whoops" moment, I had a "whoops" moment of my own remembering an additional thought I'd had but forgotten to set down in writing. That "not everything depended on Anakin" doesn't have to lead to the smug conclusion he should have just been left with his mother on Tatooine and everyone would have wound up happier; he did also happen to clear some "destroyer droids" out of Queen Amidala and company's path to get his Naboo starfighter moving. (I suppose this could be seen as beginning to set up the suggestion a larger power was guiding him, anyway.)
krpalmer: (europa)
When I made the time last year to watch six Star Wars movies (which can, among other things, leave me aware how often I can't make the time to watch even one old movie), I suppose thoughts of "the end of an era" were at least present. After not managing to work up interest in buying the Blu-Ray of The Force Awakens, though, and after making one excuse after another to not watch it on Netflix this weekend, all of a sudden I'd resolved to get back to the familiar six before the end of the year, almost as if things hadn't changed after all. I did resort to what I can call "hybrid order," with the new movies in the middle as an extended flashback, as if to avoid both a too-strong statement of just where "numerical order" points and the direct lead-in of "production order" to Rogue One (although at the moment each of its successive trailers seem to have impressed me a bit more than before...) While I'd at least imagined accusations of resenting how I'd put all that work into "appreciation" to the point of resisting an effortless barrage of snappy dialogue, when the order rolled around to The Phantom Menace once more I didn't seem troubled at all. I suppose I'd put a bit of thought beforehand into one particular interpretation of one particular moment, though.

I can still wrap my head around to supposing Anakin seeming to fire the shot that blows up the droid control ship "by accident" added to the indignation of some. While there just might be a chance now to point elsewhere at "the Force guiding someone," I happened to think that while "the big explosion" catches attention, the crucial moment that had been mentioned before in the movie was Amidala and company managing to capture the Trade Federation viceroy, an echo perhaps of Palpatine managing at least a partial success in becoming Supreme Chancellor. Anakin would then have definitely helped more pilots survive the battle than otherwise and eliminated the possibility the droid army would eventually execute its captives, but once again the rush to indignation might have overcome some. That thought might not help anyone but me, but it did at least add a bit to getting to the halfway point; I'm looking further ahead yet at the possibility of managing to watch the Clone Wars episodes that featured the younger inspiration for a Rogue One character, anyway.
krpalmer: (Default)
Happening on the Wikipedia article for a book I'd heard of a fair while ago as one of the first serious critical looks at science fiction, I was reading almost idly through its information on Damon Knight's In Search of Wonder when all of a sudden I noticed it mention there was now an ebook edition. With dawning interest I made a quick search of the iBooks catalogue and discovered the ebook was available there as well. Eventually, I suppose, I could get around to "buying a first book for another e-reader application," but not having to do that in this case was fine for me.

On starting to read through In Search of Wonder, though, I did realise it wasn't quite the book I'd imagined it to be. As with some of the first science fiction novels linked to the tradition that grew out of American pulp magazines (which is of course a different thing altogether from "the first science fiction novels ever"), it was put together from small pieces from magazines. Knight's critical reviews of SF novels of the 1950s are incisive, often entertaining, and do seem written in such a way they perhaps didn't goad me to an uncomfortably familiar recoiling feeling when they were more negative than my own old reactions, but perhaps I'd imagined something constructed more as a unit. The book was revised a few times, and happening on a chapter about a single nonfiction book dwelling worryingly on irrigation projects spreading disease was one of the oddest touches for all that I could suppose Knight saw that point as needing to be made no matter what. At the very end of the book, after sorting out that a caustic take on "mainstream success" had been written in the 1950s rather than, say, the early 1980s, all of a sudden Knight was mentioning William Gibson and Kim Stanley Robinson; there'd at least been enough of a break to tell this was one of the revisions.

In any case, it did become interesting to see period opinions of books that, by the time I'd got around to them, were presented as "enduring classics" (as much as I've had to face how those "classics" have had some of their patina wear thin since then). I began to contemplate a two-volume boxed set of "classic novels" I'd bought not that long ago (although I never quite got around to writing a post about its second volume) and Knight wrote reviews of most of them, only for most of those reviews to include a fair bit of criticism. Two of the novels seemed to draw ire for invoking "striking images" that were nevertheless scientifically implausible; I have to admit this did provoke a thought or two about "gatekeeping" in general for all that I could see the specific point. Perhaps, though, it was the thoroughly negative takes on books I'd never heard of (for what I could see as perfectly good reasons) that were the most entertaining parts of the book, even if that might hint at quixotic quests ahead.
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
As I worked on my latest "quarterly review" of anime watched at the beginning of last month, in commenting on how impressed I'd wound up with the series Nichijou I did contemplate how I'd also been quite impressed by some other series I'd only seen via the underhanded method of "fansubs," and then added the comment that in some cases series that had impressed me that way had actually been licensed for official subtitled release over here, and yet sometimes watching through those discs had wound up with ominous sensations of feeling like an "obligation." The sudden news that Funimation had managed to license Nichijou (they've recently released two other series from Kyoto Animation Bandai Entertainment did get to release before being shut down) therefore didn't have to dredge up that ambiguous impression from very far. It might not be a strange personal record in terms of "least time passed," but it does sort of feel like one.

I'd at least like to hope impressions that Nichijou's comedy can be enjoyed over again will turn out all right, although there I'm reminded I now have five volumes of the original manga waiting to be read; at the moment I'm trying to concentrate on working my way through another manga series I'd piled up a stack of thick volumes of before getting around to it. I suppose it turned out Vertical getting to license it wasn't just a singular occurrence.
krpalmer: (apple)
I delve back into enough old computer systems that I do seem to let them lie fallow and then return to dig deeper. A big part of this depends on contributions made by other people, though, whether in the form of scanned documents or emulator programs. Pushing past the early 1980s, three different emulator programs for the Macintosh can get me to the end of the 1990s. One of the jumps between them is a bit bigger than the other, though, and it just so happened one single thing fell into that space to get my attention.
A gradual process )
krpalmer: (Default)
I happened on a pointer to a site with an interesting yet challenging title. "Young People Read Old SFF" declared itself a "test of the hypothesis" of a comment from someone else that "nobody discovers a lifelong love of science fiction through Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein anymore, and directing newbies toward the work of those masters is a destructive thing". In facing that I had to face the recollection that, while the movie Star Wars and science fiction books specifically for young readers had played their own definite roles, I'd been reading older science fiction paperbacks from the library at an early age. It might not be just a matter of "time catching up," though; it's easy enough to suppose nobody likes to contemplate that their opinions on various works of entertainment might not be the only reasonable one for others to come to.
One thing sticks, though )

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