Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Crawling out from under a pile of email and faxes to wave, weakly, at the half-dozen or so whom I've been shorting posts. Why, again, did they have to set election-day in the midst of the harvest season? Weren't we a nation of agrarians back then? I can't help but think it was a conspiracy of Alexander Hamilton and his cabal of industrializing banker-conspiratorialists. Disadvantaging the farmers by voting while the harvests were distracting everyone! Diabolical!

No wonder American Grange and farming-reformist factions have always, historically, been bugfuck nuts. The screaming craziness of politics while the crops need tending is bound to drive even the sanest and most stable to distraction.

While I'm waiting for some Louisiana data to process, I suppose I'll go on a bit about manga and anime I've been sampling recently...

Wallflower (aka Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge) is more odd than great. The female protagonist, Sunako, isn't exactly likeable, in that she's basically batshit. She talks to skulls and transparent-anatomy dolls, has all the fashion-sense and charm of Sadako from the Ring, and easily confuses people for angels. She was deranged by a harsh rejection by her "first love", and now she hangs out in the dark and obsessively watches slasher movies. Her aunt tries to reform her by luring four bishounen contemporaries into taking her on as a renovation-project by promising free rent if they can turn her into a proper young lady. Through the end of the first volume, all they've managed to accomplish is to move her from hebephrenic, morose shut-in to violently homicidal borderline-dominatrix. It's the sort of shoujo manga where you're supposed to be drooling over the sexpot bishie male leads. Since I'm not really prone to that sort of thing, I'm missing at least half of the attraction of the presentation. I will note that I had real trouble keeping the four bishies straight, or even remembering their names. They seem to be somewhat lacking in personality. But since Sunako has enough personality - and personalities - for three heroines, I suppose it all balances out.

Via Dave's magic anime-sampler, I've been working my way through the new Fall offerings.

Sunabouzou is, unexpectedly, a fun shoot-'em-up postapocalyptic comedy, featuring a diminutive "monk" in heavy desert-gear, so heavy that you never actually see any of his features. It looks sort of like Fist of the North Star with the role of Ken played by a smartass, faceless midget with a pump-action shotgun. Looks like it'll be this season's Bandit King Jing.

Gankutsuou, a loose SF adaptation of the Count of Monte Cristo set on the moon, is this season's Gonzo eyecandy. It's got a very distinctive visual aesthetic, relying heavily on shifting texture-patterns to produce a sort of slow kaleidoscope swirl. The first episode didn't really get too deep into the plot, but it was all very atmospheric and harrowing. Gonzo has a studio-wide habit of promising more with first episodes than they ever deliver, mostly due to a very limited and shallow writers' bench. But, since this is an adaptation of a classic novel, it's possible that they might dodge the usual Gonzo curse. I have my hopes.

Grenadier is a transgendered Trigun, set in a Japanese-themed world instead of the pseudo-Western setting of Vash and the girls. I found myself rooting for the Darwinian extermination of idiot samurai trying to fight heavily-armed riflemen with swords, so I suspect I'm not exactly the ideal audience for this sort of we're-pacifists-but-we-want-the-fun-of-an-action-show-anyways hypocrisy. It doesn't help that the show's called "Grenadier", but the protagonist uses a pistol. I recognize that "Pistoleer" is a stupid name for a show, but really - there's a lot of thesauruses in the world, people. Put some work into it. Call it "Musketeer" and give her a slightly longer carbine-pistol, and not only would you have a more apropos title, you'd also have a protagonist who only performs unlikely feats with weaponry, rather than outright impossibilities such as rapid-fire sniping at a distance of a half-mile with a pistol.

Tsukuyomi Moon Phase is about a psychically blind occult-photographer who finds a cute, bubbly little gothic-lolita vampire in a ruined castle in the Black Forest. Much atmospheric, pretty scenery and saccharine predation ensues. No there there, but it's got it's moments. Real "shut your mind off and coast" material.

No comments: