Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I've not been saying much, and I'm sorry about that. It's the dead of the year, and I just don't have much energy left after work's done and what little exercise I get in.

I end up deleting most of what I have to say for the high sins of tediousness or ill-consideration. Most days the sun is a rumor, appearing in breaks in the monocloud during office-hours spent in my windowless cubicle. The weather is oddly mild, unwelcome warmth in the Christmas-solstice season. At least I can now start counting the days until daylight will stretch far enough to light my way back down the hill, and put myself back on a walking regimen.

But, it's not all gloom and drear. I bought Gun Frontier cheap from Right Stuff, and it's a grand lark of a series: Leiji Matsumoto characters shanghaied into The Old West. And not just any version of The Old West, but a darkly comic, bitter, late-Sixties version, full of racism, ill repute, sudden violence, and dubious heroism. Harlock as a laconic doofus of a gunfighter is particularly impressive, but the real hero of the story is his lecherous sidekick Tochiro, searching for the scattered remnants of the massacre at Samurai Creek. Their dynamic is roughly similar to that of Eastwood and Willich from the Dollars trilogy, but with the addition of the third character, maiden of negotiable virtue/conspiratrix Sinunora, it becomes clear that the model we're looking at is that of Paint Your Wagon or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Matsumoto anime shouldn't be this much fun - they're supposed to be all long-faced and virtuous and noble in that typical Japanese nationalist fashion. They're not supposed to have episodes featuring riflemen fatally giving away their positions with rainbows created by pissing into the sunrise, or having the protagonist arrested & sentenced to hang for the high crime of public urination in a particularly starchy town.

Also, the Japanese creators seem to know more about the period than the American adaptation crew. There's a mention at one point about knowing that a character hadn't been with the cavalry because he was lugging around a converted Springfield '61 - an infantry weapon, not a carbine. Or, at least, there was in the original Japanese - the translator got confused and had the characters talking about a "Calvin cavalry gun". No, guys, that wasn't "Caluvin", that's "carubin[e]".

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