Kamisama no Memochou made me yearn for that OSX86 setup I once perfected

The only thing I can say now that I’ve finished watching this show is that it made me really want to buy a Macbook Pro, a Mac Mini, an iMac, an iPhone, and an iPad.

It’s always been more or less hit-and-miss installing OS X on AMD hardware. You’d think that, being the compulsive buyer that I am, I’d have a Core 2 Duo system around here somewhere but, for some reason, I don’t. I’m glad I documented everything I did to get it working on my A8N5X since I’m hopelessly out of the loop now. The HDD that had my working OS X installation on it exploded one day along with several hundred gigabytes of stuff I was seeding, so if I want OS X now I’m going to have to start from zero. That’s what I get, I suppose, for using for bittorrent a partition on a disk that had an OS on it. It’s just not the safest thing in the world.

Now I’m waiting for an HDD to arrive so I can see if I can install Lion. That would be very, very satisfying if possible, but, from what I understand, there’s not yet a modified Lion kernel available that works on AMD processors. If that’s the case, I’ll try Snow Leopard. I have a retail Snow Leopard installation disc anyway and there is more information available about it.

I’m so totally buying an Intel processor next time I revolutionise my setup here. I hate how all of the nice things you can do on a computer are Intel-only. It’s not just OS X; I have to use real PS2 hardware to play PS2 games because, regardless of how much RAM I have, which video card I have installed, or how many cores my processor has, PCSX2 performs poorly on AMD systems.

Poor Shouma

You silly duck; that's not how you eat pudding!

He didn’t ask to be involved in this mess with Ringo, penguins, and kidnappers. I’m not very smart or observant, so I don’t have any criticism of this episode, but it was fun and I’ve now developed a feeling of obligation to take amusing screenshots every week while watching the episode and make obvious and inane comments about them, even when I didn’t pay much attention to the episode. Now we know who that orange-haired girl is. Well, we still don’t know who she is exactly, but she and her penguin are up to no good at least.

I also feel bad for Ringo now. She’s not a villain. Yes, she did cause Shouma to get hit by a car, and she is more or less to blame for his life being put in danger, his getting kidnapped and having this and that done to him, but now that we know her sob story about rejection and Momoka and her daddy issues, I feel bad for her. She doesn’t need to go through all this.

I’d also like to know what the hell kind of hospital Shouma is in. It looks like a printed circuit board. Or the inside of Manhattan Mini Storage!

As Kanba progresses from one storage unit to another, descending the stairs into deeper and deeper levels of his memory, as it were, I was reminded of Kaiba, which I just watched for the first time this week. It reminded me of how Warp uses that gun thing to open what looks like a thought balloon above the head of a person whose thoughts he wants to enter.

I still don’t remember the name of that orange-haired Pigeon Blood lady. I don’t even remember if we ever learned her name and I’m too lazy and important to go check. I think she’s called Masako, but I’m not sure. Is she just another of Kanba’s many ex-girlfriends? One thing is for sure: it seems she went to medical school with Dr. Irabu:

The last episode of that penguin show looked just like Bakemonogatari

…with all these panoramic shots of big landscapes, repeating geometric backgrounds with lots of straight lines, right angles, and characters tilting their heads to the side with their faces half-covered in late afternoon shadow.

Sora no Ana…I saw that movie. It took place in Hokkaido and was pretty mellow as I recall.

I had one of those sliding puzzle things when I was a kid. Coincidentally, instead of numbers, it had a picture of a penguin that you were supposed to construct by sliding the pieces around. It was pretty aggravating until I figured out that I could pick the pieces off the board using my fingernail and then reattach them in the proper positions.

Looking like Bakemonogatari is a good thing though. The whole episode was just such a pleasure to look at. Although I kept thinking of Bakemonogatari throughout the entire episode, it still had some of the familiar theatrical elements in it that have been present throughout the series, such as spotlights and other lighting effects that make scenes look as though they’re on a stage before an audience.

Unfortunately, also like Bakemonogatari, this bara — I mean unmei — no hanayome stuff makes it clear this show will now be denounced by those pesky foreign feminists as guilty of sexualizing children. Maybe Antonin Scalia will solidify his place as the Justice about whom I have the most conflicted feelings and defend media like this as he’s done when it comes to similar concerns with video games. It feels so peculiar liking that guy.

Mawaru Penguin Drum: I need to pay more attention to plot details

Tee-hee: those things look like boobies!

I’ve watched episodes 07 and 08 and now I’m more confused than ever. Part of the problem is because I’m used to watching simple-minded school comedy shows and overwrought shoujo bullshit that demand little attention to be paid. This show is a big transition from those genres for me. I’ve actually watched one or two episodes twice now, but I still keep forgetting which characters are which and how they’re related. This really demonstrates the scanty limits of my attention span because there are neither very many characters thus far nor are the relationships particularly complex.

See? I can't even remember the name of this one, despite the fact that she's obviously a pretty important character

That said, the fact that I’m too feeble-minded to remember even the most prominent elements of the plot doesn’t stop me from looking forward to every episode. I mean, what the hell are these red ping pong ball things that the light-haired character is shooting at people? Is she like, turning them into zombies or something?

Zombies would actually be pretty cool. The last show with zombies that I watched was High School of the Dead, and that was less than completely satisfying. I just watched a show on the History Channel about Haitian zombies in which some self-styled “scientists” concluded that zombies are not only real, but they’re created by a very simple process of first feeding a normal person some tetrodotoxin that priests extract from a local type of fugu fish. If done properly, the person then becomes completely paralyzed, so much so that even western doctors can mistake the patient for a corpse. You then bury the person and, later, when the victim recovers, he or she will rise from the dead and be a zombie. Of course, the fact that the amount of tetrodotoxin that would kill a human, according to Wikipedia is a mere 8 micrograms, it seems rather unlikely that there will be any zombie survivors of this process knocking at my door demanding my scrumptious brains any time soon. But you can never be too careful, so I’ll still be sure to cover all my belongings, self, and home with zombie repellent.

The segments about Ringo make me hungry because she's always reminding me of the "Happy Family" dish with shrimp, chicken and beef from the Chinese restaurant here.

I liked all the new revelations recently, such as how Ringo is adopting for herself and fulfilling Momoka’s fate in her stead. The way in which these, by all counts, extremely dramatic, even sombre moments are recalled in flashback with a high degree of absurdity and even some inexplicable humour are really are out there, like the scene about remembering Momoka on Ringo’s birthday in which the mother is a kappa and the father is some kind of teddy bear. Then the house is suddenly underwater and the two get attacked by an eel that reminded me of the big scary eel in the Jolly Roger Bay stage in Super Mario 64 that I was scared of when I was younger.

This also goes to further explain her delusions about — or rather fascination with — Tabuki and “Project M”, which, in light of recent events, we’re lead to believe stands for “maternity”.

Ringo Oginome is really one of the more interesting characters in any anime in recent memory.

It was funny that what Ringo took for an invitation to a date actually had her end up going to watch the Curry Lady perform in her frilly Frenchy fairy tale story which Tabuki, of course, is profoundly moved by. Ringo’s imagination is as wild as ever. I like her imagining Curry Lady as a killer whale.

Stupid Curry Lady had to go and invite Ringo and Shouma to her frilly hoity-toity actor snob party. Poor Shouma gets ordered around by Ringo even at the party. What a cruel-hearted, malevolent, sadist of a whale she is, inviting Ringo to the party just to announce her stupid engagement in front of her. What are you trying to do, Curry Lady? Drive her to kidnap Tabuki? She’s liable to do it.

It does, by the way, look like I was correct about the Men in Black. They are up to something sneaky with those ping pong balls. Either that or the long hiatus has forced Don Draper to venture into the world of cartoons.

But the thing that really keeps me watching this show, besides the penguins, is the sheer weirdness of it all. There are very few shows in which miracle frogs are used to make love potion number 9 in a sauna.

gero gero

Then what’s up with that ending? Is Ringo no longer just your run-of-the-mill stalker but an actual rapist? That’s a pretty appealing thought, but it’s more in line with an eroge than a mainstream TV anime so I doubt things will play out like I started imagining them in my head…which is a bit unfortunate.

I love Hanasaku Iroha

Sixteen years old: still a bud...nonetheless the four main characters in this show have mastered the use of meaningful stares off into the distance. A girl's adolescence isn't easy da mon!

Good to be back home in New York. Our tap water really is the best. I got back on Monday actually. I didn’t realise Penguin Drum wasn’t airing today. Next episode airs on 08/18. Why they air anime so late at night is still a mystery to me. I shouldn’t complain, since it’s early afternoon here when it’s late night anime time there.

Moving right along though, Hanasaku Iroha is great. I take back everything I may have said about not caring for the premise. After seeing the first episode or two there were a couple of things that put me off, constituting big hurdles to enjoyment of the show, but once the show overcame them, its brilliance became clear to me. I couldn’t get past what I saw to be a half-hearted setup where Ohana ends up at Kissui Inn because of her irresponsible mother running away from her debts. That seemed unrealistic to me. The first episode confession event and Ohana’s subsequent minimal reluctance to leave Ko behind were also a hard pill to swallow. I also hated her grandmother so much that I didn’t think I could stomach watching more of the show. All of these roadblocks to enjoyment of the show were intentionally set up, almost as straw men, although I don’t like to use a term with such a negative connotation, just so that the show could proceed to obliterate them in its characteristc growing pains style and claim the mushy remnants of the viewer’s heart as its well-earned battle trophy.

You're mine now!

Nonetheless, I did continue watching it. It’s rare that characters are developed so subtly and skillfully that I can hate someone at first as much as I hated Okami-san and, by now, grow to love her just as much as I loved Yuina from the start.

Say what you will about Ano Hana — it was fantastic and made me weep some high value tears — but I may have to revise my previous assertion that it was the best of last season. Hanasaku Iroha has more episodes to work with and not only can afford to take a more subtle pace, but it benefits from it by allowing the intricate, analytical explorations of each character that are its great strength. All of the characters are so likeable and earnest, even Takako. Ohana though is, of course, impossible to hate, even more so as a little girl.

Her isshokenmei work ethic and spunkiness are, perhaps at times, overwhelming, but that’s all right, since not overdoing things is, itself, just one of the many lessons she is learning on her journey. That said, Ohana isn’t even my favourite character. She’s nice in a slightly typified take-on-all-comers genki na shoujo type of a way and there’s nothing wrong with that. To me though, she’s a lot less interesting than Minko and Yuina. Despite not getting most of her accents, it’s that quirk of hers and her ambivalence about her future that make Yuina the most likeable character for me, I think. I loved the episode in which the class had a filed trip to the ryokan in which her would-be-boyfriend Yosuke works and, in the end, she helps him clean the bath, proving herself to be capable of working only to later reveal to him that, though she doesn’t know precisely what she wants to do in the future, it should be something she enjoys, rather than working in the ryokan. Ah~ they’re growing up!

I really want her massage chair. It looks really nice. Too bad The Sharper Image went out of business. Whenever I used to go to South Street Seaport I would stop by The Sharper Image shop there and try out the massage chairs.


Minko, meanwhile, is probably the most interesting. If Tooru were the protagonist we’d call her a tsundere and character development would stop there. But that’s not the focus of the story, so her personality is allowed to be unraveled in a way that’s not constrained by the typical character archetypes of harem shows with male protagonists. She has a number of really nice facial expressions. Of course, the fact that she’s played by Chiaki Omigawa doens’t hurt either.

My only remaining complaint is that I still get Jiromaru and Enishi confused. One of them should have purple hair or something so the viewer can tell them apart.

Finally, Nako might be my least favourite character. This isn’t because there’s anything particularly disagreeable about her; it’s merely that I find her the least interesting. I still enjoyed the episode about her wanting to change her outward personality to more closely resemble her inner self that she displays at home, but I still think she’s somewhat more limited in the depth of development we’ve seen with her. She’s a pretty standard character type: the shy, nurturing (she cares for her siblings), large chested, introverted, poor with men, self-conscious, soft-spoken beauty. There’s nothing really wrong with hers being a conventional character type; it’s a staple precisely because it makes for a likable character with good potential for popularity. Saying that she’s the last on my list of characters isn’t really a bad thing since I love all four of them; it’s just that I think I’m least enthralled by her story. I think that, if not Ohana, either Yuina or Minko are captivating enough to be the protagonist, whereas with Nako, I don’t think she would be enough to keep me watching if she were the protagonist. She’s extremely likable as the supportive friend though.

Other than the simply excellent storytelling and character development in this show, something in particular that I think stands out are the dreamy sequences. For example, in episode 10, the scenes in which Ohana was sick in bed with fever and kept having all sorts of crazy delusions were far out. It reminded me a bit of El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer, my favourite episode of The Simpsons, except her visions actually made some sense, pertaining to work, Ko, and Jiromaru’s story.

The metaphor used in episode 18 of the sea and land was cute but very effective and unmistakably Nakoppoi, with the sea representing Nako’s home life and inner face, while the land represeents her outer face that she displays in society and at work. The sequences where she was a mermaid and all the other characters were friendly little sea creatures (even Mame-jii!) except for Okami-san who was somehow still smoking, despite the serious impediment of being underwater were quite fun, yet still meaningful.

Ohana’s imaginings are really interesting and dreamlike too, such as in episode 19 when, in preparation for the cultural festival, she pictures Ko in waitress garb.

There’s just the right amount of comedy in this show to prevent me from falling into despair, as I’m prone to do at the slightest provocation. Tomoe is a source of much of the lightheartedness that this show props itself up on, as are Jiromaru and his literary creations, but I think the funniest moments come from Takako.

Her silliness is enough to lighten the mood when it’s necessary, but never crosses into the territory of slapstick or anything that will completely distract the viewer from the heavier themes of a given episode.

I think you could call this show “heartful” and not sound like an idiot.

I really regret being quick to judge this show when it started airing. On the other hand, I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself back then and drop the show. I would have missed out on, though it sounds ridiculously clichéd to say this, a moving story of the adolescence of four young girls and their, uhm, trials and tribulations as they learn to live and love. Ah, well, I suppose that’s why I always dodge the question when people ask me why I like things; I spout nonsense like that which makes it sound like the work in question is trash. Be that as it may, it’s a show overflowing with love and warmth and valuable lessons about growing up and the valuable moments in life.

Bwahhh~ I feel myself growing alongside them!

It’s one of those shows that I really feel like I should buy on Blu Ray to appease that guy in my head shouting about my abysmal internal morality imbalance I’ve racked up over the years from watching fansubs. I doubt he’ll win though. I’d spring for R1 BDs at R1 prices, not R2 though unless I could get ‘em at R1 prices, which is unlikely. Or should I even use DVD region shorthand when talking about BDs? the price discrepancy still exists so I guess they’re still useful designations, despite USA and Japan both being region A.

Mawaru Penguin Drum: The curry of fate!

Looks yummy

Apparently Himari and I have one thing in common: we’re both allergic to milk. She’s so cute.

This outfit had the unfortunate side effect of reminding me of a cow-girl character in Toppara: Zashikiwarashi no Hanashi, by which I mean the bovine variety, not the Western cattle herder variety.

I like the part where the brothers break into Ringo’s room for good and noble reasons.

Ringo is still pretty scary though.

There are limits to how far the adage "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" can be strained and still be valid


I like Ringo’s little fantasy scene at Tabuki’s doorstep.

Noooo! Don't eat the Penguin Drum!

Unfortunately she runs into his real girlfriend and the connection between her curry and her fate is made clear as her curry comes into direct conflict with the non-fatal curry Tabuki’s girlfriend made in an unmistakable attempt to ruin Ringo’s life and destroy her very much not imagined relationship with Tabuki.

SUBETE HA KEIKAKU DOORI

This episode made me very hungry. I just bought Fantasia on Blu Ray and watched some of it a few hours before watching this episode of Mawaru Penguin Drum. Perhaps for that reason I was specifically impressed by the mushrooom things in the house, which reminded me of the dancing amanitas in the movie, pictures of which I’m not brave enough to post and risk angering Disney.

There are lots of neat decorations like that in the show. That’s one of the reasons I like it so much. The environments aren’t bare and sterile like so many other programs in which the homes of the characters don’t look as though anybody really lives there.

Summer 2011: There’s a lot of surveillance going on in Mawaru Penguin Drum

Once upon a time...

I’m glad that I’m still enjoying this show. Sometimes I’ll look forward to a show too much and it ends up being really devastating when it doesn’t live up to my high expectations that I groundlessly built up. Some shows have a spectacular first episode that grabs my attention immediately but then promptly loses my interest on the second episode. I’m also happy that this a 24-episode series, which I didn’t realise last week. The pantsu and oppai bits are a bit distracting though and frankly, something of a surprise. They’re not showbreaking though; just a bit out of character, perhaps.

The penguins sure do suffer a lot of abuse in this show. They should form a union or something; they’re working far too hard and in such dangerous conditions that they should be entitled to better compensation for their efforts. In this episode the theme is spying. The space penguin hat tells the brothers to get the Penguin Drum from this Ringo character, so all sorts of zany mishaps occur as they pursue her in secret. The penguins get lots of screentime in this episode to showcase their blunders, which I certainly enjoyed. There’s a funny scene in which Shouma is mistaken for a chikan and has to be saved by Kanba and his radiance.

Meanwhile, the penguins engage in various cute antics, including extensive elastic deformation and being put to work as Silly Putty.

But with all the silliness aside, it’s nice how the story had such an explicitly unifying theme to it; in order to get the Penguin Drum, the brothers are basically stalking Ringo, going so far as following her into an underwear shop. She in, turn, is stalking Tabuki. This is pointed out explicitly to the viewer through dialogue, but it’s still a satisfying revelation at the end of the episode. Kind of like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm in which all the little hints dropped throughout the episode come together to cause some extravagant culmination for Larry David where everything that has been building up comes crashing down from above all at once in the form of some crushing misfortune or injustice. It’s not quite as fulfilling as all that, since, unlike a sitcom, this show does have to have plot continuity, after all, so it’s not as though the whole deal can be resolved in a single episode, but the circularity of this episode did have a similar effect on me, nonetheless.

Hello? Operator? Get me the President of Television. I have a winning combination!

I liked seeing the penguins put to work. Penguin # 3 got to hang around the apartment though and generally be lazy. That wasn’t fair.

That Ringo girl sure is creepy though. I mean, a few loose screws or not, who in the world steps out on the ledge of a tall building just to photograph of a bird nest? Who hides in the space beneath a home to listen in on her unwitting crush?

I like more or less everything about this show and I’m fairly certain that, unless I get really, really distracted, I won’t drop it. I might stall eventually, as nearly always ends up happening to me, but I’ll probably watch the entire series with minimal delay between airtime and actually watching the episode. The only thing that bothered me about this episode is that it wasn’t until now that I realised that the penguins, though much cuter and obviously more likeable, nonetheless remind me of Beelzebub from Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san. You know, he’s that annoying fly that actually eats shit.

Summer 2011: Usagi Drop

I don’t know how many more shows I’ll be watching this season, but this one will probably be on the list. In a rare deviation from my norm, I actually knew the basic premise of the show before watching it, unlike my usual practice according to which I watch shows based on how eye-catching the promotional artwork is. For this reason and this reason only, I was not disappointed by the conspicuous absence of bunny rabbits.

As with all high class art, the show begins with a funeral. Things can only get more upbeat from here, right? I hope not actually. The slowish pace and low key atmosphere established by the first episode work really well. This jives well with how little dialogue there is. The protagonist’s interest in Rin is conveyed through meaningful glances and changes in music and subtle shit like that.

I'm sick of characters gazing off into the distance like this, head filled with complicated thoughts. For all we know, Rin could be watching two squirrels fighting right here rather than having some convoluted internal dialogue about her uncertain future.


There’s a lot of contemplating going on here and rustling of bushes and wind. The imagery changes to suit the mood. Prior to the intro everything is all flowery and springtimey and idyllic:

This bloomy vaseline on the lens thing stops as soon as the funeral begins. Then there’s some neat use of lighting and framing to make the viewer feel the same mushy way about Rin that Daikichi does. Despite what a downer the guy seems to be, Rin takes a shine to him and they do some wordless bonding.

I’ve got to watch the next episode to see how I feel about the show. It may become clichéd and uninteresting. It somehow reminded me of Koi Kaze. I’m not entirely sure why, but perhaps it’s the pacing and mellowness of the first episode; it certainly wasn’t because my lolicon senses were tingling. There’s no hint of that here at all and I don’t say that sarcastically. If there were, it’d just ruin everything the show has going for it.

To restate my complaint from the other day though, why couldn’t Rin be ugly? She’s already unwanted. It’s not too much of a leap to make her ugly and fat or something. There are lots of people who think eyepatch girls, pegleg girls and even dialysis girls are moe, so don’t underestimate the ability of the audience to love a character. They don’t all have to be so damned adorable in an obvious way.