I’m not so hard to please, after all.

I’m really enjoying Chihayafuru, as much as I’m ashamed to admit it again. I’ve seen up to episode 12 now but I’ll be trying to catch up as soon as I can. It’s such a soothing show. Yet, at the same time, though it feels a bit peculiar to say it, there’s a great deal of suspense involved in watching it.

I tried watching Guilty Crown last season and found it unwatchably boring. The directors are telling you that some sort of national crisis is going on, the protagonist is somehow involved, and that you ought to be looking forward to with apprehension the sinister results of this mix. If I felt any suspense watching that show or others like it it was because I felt guilty for not feeling the suspense that the show was obviously telling me I should be overwhelmed with.

With Chihayafuru the suspense doesn’t seem as manufactured as that. It’s a visceral suspense, in the stomach, that says, “I want to know what happens next!”. It comes naturally. Because I barely know the rules of karuta at all I’m learning things as I watch. The games are exciting. It feels like being a spectator at an actual competitive event. The characters’ inner dialogue serves a purpose basically the same as the announcer at a sporting event. I know I’m being manipulated but, unlike most of the time, it doesn’t feel that way. I only realise after the credits roll that I’ve wasted all that emotion on a TV show about make-believe people.

The relationships between characters develop at a steady but quick pace as well. Since the end of the childhood prologue, the passage of time has been handled well without too much wasted time on episodes that focus on just one character for the sake of some fabricated “deep character development” that has little bearing on the overall plot. Each character has some role in more or less each episode without jeopardizing the preeminent position of Chihaya as the protagonist and Taichi as the fuzzy, as-yet-not-fully-realised love interest.

The mythification of Arata as some sort of abstract karuta deity whose support Chihaya has been seeking all these years, despite not much of any response from him, also provides for some suspense and opportunities for speculation on the part of the viewer, who can’t help but wonder if the two will be reunited and, if so, what form the reconciliation will take. Will he be hostile, like he was when she saw him in Fukui? Or will he be apologetic? Could it be that he will join the team? I’m looking forward to finding out.

Can I call ’em, or what?

I read on wjunction that uploaded.to had banned US visitors and it looks to be true.

Sure enough, FileServe stopped making payments and dropped its affiliate program. I nearly feel guilty for predicting it, almost as though by making the prediction I somehow brought it to realization, like I’m a prophet or something.

Filehost operators are shakin’ in their boots, it seems. I suppose I don’t blame them, but as far as I know FileServe is in Hong Kong. I suppose that doesn’t necessarily mean that a person from the United States isn’t involved in running the company though, which would be a good reason for them to be afraid. As for uploaded.to, I’ve never used them so I know next to nothing about the service.

This shit just got serious

Gives you the heebie-jeebies, doesn't it?

(as though it weren’t serious already)

I never imagined MegaUpload would shut down. Years ago, it didn’t take much imagination for me to foresee the eventual closure of suprnova. Likewise, I was frustrated, but not terribly surprised when mininova went “legit” and lost all significance, but I never imagined MegaUpload would close its doors.

I suppose I’m naïve, but DDL sites, particularly one with a founder/mascot so bombastically confident and publicly expressive of its safety from those who would wish for its demise, always seemed to me too mainstream and even “safe” to be targeted like this. MegaUpload was, in many ways, a legitimate business. If they earned ad revenue from downloads of copyrighted content, that’s not their fault. I suppose when you make money by the sackfull off such advertising schemes, throw parties to rival those of Tracy Jordan in ostentation, and hire the most expensive ensemble of pop stars to sing the praises of your company, people take notice.

According to torrentfreak the defendants are being charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. I would believe the money laundering charge, but I want to know more about the “conspiracy to commit copyright infringement” and what sort of conspiring, specifically, they are accused of. I don’t totally doubt the money laundering thing though. Of course, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be quite happy to be shown that it’s false, too.

I had rarely used MegaUpload at all, actually, but I did like it a bit more than other free DDL sites after I got FiOS because it was the only service on which I could get near 1MB/s download speed without the use of jdownloader. Fileserve usually gives me about 400kB/s, which is more than tolerably fast, of course, but if I was in a rush to get a file and there was no other source for it I was always happy when it was on MegaUpload as opposed to some slower DDL site.

Now I fear that FileServe will be next. If MegaUpload was CocaCola, FileServe is at least Pepsi.

Oh good, Chiaki Omigawa is in a show this season

Skies of Arcadia ranks as one of my favourite games for Dreamcast. I will watch anything with airships and pirates.

That means I will be watching Mouretsu Space Pirates. This is a good way to force me to watch the show, since it’s not as though I enjoy piracy or miniskirts for their own sake or anything like that.