30 June 2010

Review: "Code Geass", season 1

There's going to be some massive spoilers in here, but that's because I need to write these things down in order to fully express all my opinions on Code Geass.

As I've been watching new series through the last few weeks, I've been hit by the fact that it has taken me a while to get interested in certain shows. As stated before, I needed some effort to get into watching Azumanga Daioh and Fate/Stay Night. I was lucky that Haruhi started with a show that was right up my alley, though it could have also been the order that the episodes were run, as research on the Internet has indicated that there are two different ways to watch the first season of Haruhi.

Code Geass only took an episode. I was already hooked when they started talking about a foreign power invading Japan and imposing their will, making the citizens generally miserable yet there's nothing that the citizenry can do about it. I drew so many parallels to my current work situation, covered ad nauseum below, that it wasn't funny.

The main character, Lelouch, could care less for the most part though. He just wants revenge. In a major way. (Yes, this is another parallel, deal with it.) His father, the Emperor, seemed to have a hand in his mother's death and his sister's subsequent disability (paraplegic and blind). In the first episode, he is put under the titular "geas", in that he can make any person obey his instructions once when Lelouch desires it. Lelouch is out for revolution in order to attain his revenge, and he's not squeamish in the least about trying to obtain it.

His opposite number is his childhood friend, Suzaku. Suzaku was the son of the late Japanese prime minister, the one who committed suicide which effectively surrendered Japan to Britannia. Suzaku is ethnically 100% Japanese, but would rather enlist (and take orders from) the Britannia Empire. He believes that through his work, he can change Britannia to be better from within. And by the way, Suzaku ends up piloting the best mecha in the show.

Yes, it's a mecha show. It's also a bit of a political intrigue show. There's a high-school setting, domestic scenes, shoot-em-up scenes, philosophical scenes. There's really something in here for everyone. There's fanservice (once episode 15 really gets it going, there are more than a few instances of "why did that girl just take off all her clothes anyway?"), bishounen, and about the only thing it's really missing is the cliche cute anime mascot.

The main conflict in the series though is the eternal waltz between sudden action and collaborative action. The show tells us that sudden action can be the wrong action, but collaborative action can be bogged down in bureaucracy. To be honest, while watching the first season, I was extremely curious to see if they would resolve the intricate ballet... where on one hand, you have the proverbial "nail that sticks up which should be hammered down" in Lelouch, while if the other side won it would be due to a traitor who betrayed his homeland. Is it best to trust power and work with power to try to bend its aims and goals, or is it best to directly confront power and risk having power defeat you totally and possibly make your life worse?

I loved the message and the plot, and I really enjoy watching shows where you have all the knowledge yet the characters don't. I'm interested in the interplay of characters when they're not fully informed and it also promises a dynamic denouement. Lelouch needed to keep his underground life a secret from all, and that part of the plot was terrific in my opinion. I enjoy a good Tom Clancy novel, so the political stuff was right up my alley as well. The mecha wasn't terrible, the fanservice was fairly decent as well, and the fight scenes were mostly fun.....

However, there are many warning flags with this one. In full disclosure, I was rooting for Lelouch, because while his goals were slightly abominable and the way he treated people was not the greatest at times (for example, triggering a landslide to defeat an army with superior forces but also not warning any civilians below), I absolutely could not stand Suzaku. Hard-core spoilers are definitely ahead here. Suzaku actually killed his father rather than to let Japan resist... but now, he's absolutely a cog in the machine, nothing but a tool who never can resist an order from the same imperial power that now absolutely mistreats his fellow citizens. Lelouch called him out on it, asking him how he's able to reconcile his absolute hypocrisy in killing his own father while saying that no one else is able to break the rules.

Suzaku, you're a complete ass and an utter fool. I meet so many people like you in my daily life, tools that are more than content to let others suffer as long as you're fine. For all the sermonizing Suzaku did about changing from within, he didn't do a single thing about actually changing anything. As a low-level flunky, he couldn't. In essence, he was a hypocrite that never put his money where his mouth was throughout the whole series, and he was supposed to be the alternate protagonist.

The other major complaint that I had with the series is the semi-famous sequence involving Princess Euphemia in episodes 22-23. This set into action a series of events that seemed very poorly written. I looked through Wikipedia and found that there was a second season commissioned of "Code Geass", and it would have been roughly the time that these episodes came out. I do not know if the writers changed the plot in order to make a hook for the second season or it the plot was supposed to have hashed out this way, but I was amazingly disappointed. In essence, the goal of creating a semi-independent Japan was moving along due to the inside efforts of Princess Euphemia and the outside influence of Zero/Lelouch. However, in an idiot plot twist, Lelouch accidentally told Euphemia to kill all Japanese (in jest) and his power forced her to obey.

Firstly, I was sincerely hoping to see what would happen with peace. That was Lelouch's primary objective, though his secondary objective (revenge on Britannia's royal family) was still unmet. I would have enjoyed seeing his conflict over this matter, to find out if he was to gain support for a second go-round or go rogue. I would have really enjoyed seeing him lay out his reasons in front of Suzaku and to see Suzaku's inner conflict. The series could have really ended well then.

But, it didn't. The final fight for Tokyo was attended by characters thought LONG dead that were reintroduced as living possibly one episode before. It was attended by new super-mecha that didn't even exist until after episode 22. It was the most slapped-together ending I've ever seen. Again, being an enthusiast for Lelouch, it did not help to see an ending which seemed to be going against him... but dammit, I don't like winning or losing by plot hole, and there were some really craptastic contrivances marching across my screen in episodes 24 and 25.

To be honest, I'm not sure if I'd ever rewatch the series because I know where the ending will take me. I may just watch through episode 22, because while there was still some unbelievability, I like the intrigue, secrets, mecha fights, but I can't tell you how much I despise the ending. It took a quality show, one I'd rate 9 out of 10, into a 6. Yes, same as Fate/Stay Night, and to be perfectly honest the Achilles' heel of the first season ending of Code Geass turned out to be worse than the characters I saw in Fate/Stay Night

I am not watching the second season of Code Geass. I do not like plots that start contriving themselves, because it tends to be a runaway reaction. I feel that watching twenty-five episodes is a good indication of where a series will go in the following twenty-five episodes. However, I will absolutely say that through episode 22, it's a terrific series, and I will be making up my own ending much like the 'bots did following MST3k's "The Girl in Lover's Lane".

28 June 2010

The downside to art:

Within the next few days, one of my coworkers will be leaving BigConglomCoInc. for the greener pastures of the east coast. He's been a friend of mine through the last two years, and he's a conversation starter. He's always got an opinion, and every once in a while I can really catch him off-guard with a good riff. It's great, he's the type that takes the two seconds to try to catch up with me, and once he does you can see the realization.

It's doubly disappointing for me, because I'd been looking for new employment (as all you folks know) for the previous three years. I wanted to be the one leaving, because it's far easier in that position... there's something to look forward to. In essence, he's leaving the island and the rest of us are trying to find our own boat off. Of course, the knife in the guts is that he managed to find a luxury cruiser, he'll be making almost double my salary at the new position.

For my wife, she's dealing with her own separation, and it's also not one of her making. One of her good friends, a mother with two children who introduced her to some kids' groups and the one she could call if she was feeling down, is also moving away. Her friend's husband was let go from his job, and he had to scramble to find another one. They'll be leaving for Arizona this very morning (28 June 2010). They left a few reminders though, they had three cats and did not want to transport them immediately... so the cats are all living temporarily with us.

This brings me to the point of my post, the downside of the art that I've been immersing myself in. The best art, in my opinion, is art that is able to make you feel. Sometimes you're able to celebrate, to feel better, to enjoy... but art is also good if it is able to make you feel sad, sorry, nostalgic, or any other emotions. Unfortunately, the "down" emotions are magnified in my circumstance due to all the things going on.

I know that if I were to feel nothing over this that I may as well be half-dead. I'm not wishing to feel badly about my friend and his amazing good fortune, and I really don't... except that I don't want him to leave. I don't want my series to end, because I really enjoy the characters or plot... but everything has an ending and nothing lasts forever. I suppose that in finding analogues from anime plots to what's going on with me, I should both be heartened that I'm not the only one going through this as well as to see that there is an ending, even if my life isn't a tidy twenty-four episodes counting finale.

As you may note, this has left me more than a bit maudlin, though at this point I'm throwing everything I've got into the search. I put through twelve applications between Thursday and Friday last week, and I look forward to another week of at least twenty to thirty applications. According to my lucky friend, he'd been searching from February and finally found something starting mid-July. (Of course, I remember that the interviews for his July job started in April.... ) I hope that I am able to locate something quicker, especially with the classes that I would rather not start than to go halfway through and have to cancel.

On the other hand, life is worth living and I'm building my own path. The difficult part is finding out whether or not it's a sedate little trip or a roller coaster. Emotions may be high, emotions may be low... but between life and art, I know it will be an amazing trip regardless.

22 June 2010

Final grade: Fate/Stay Night

Still a 6. I stand by every last word I said about the characters, with only one revision. Only the Japanese could come up with a gender-swapped Arthur and Bedivere and really change the lessons of the Legends of Camelot... from "don't trust women" (Guinevere) to "if King Arthur's in your tub, she may have to cover up her naughty bits lest you get excited." (twice during Fate/Stay Night)

Next, I believe, will be Code Geass. Dunno when I will start, but we'll see how things shake out. The Summer of Anime shall continue.

21 June 2010

Update on life and Fate/Stay Night

Hey again folks,

So far, I'm at episode seventeen of Fate/Stay Night. This show is as plot-driven as Azumanga is character-driven. (Okay, warning, possible spoilers ahead here too)

It's a good thing that Fate/Stay Night is more plot, because I'm not crazy about the main protagonist. From what I was reading online, the source for Fate/Stay Night was a hentai videogame, which was first cut back into a videogame, which was then adapted to the screen.

A dispassionate viewer can tell these things, because as I have continued the series it's become more of a harem-building as it goes along. So far, the harem count is at five. There's still eight episodes left for that number to go up too. I mention this because this is one of the few subtypes of anime plot that to me is just unbelievable. There's really no analog to this plot in Western drama or shows, yet it pops up every once in a while in anime. It must just be a cultural or wish-fulfillment thing that makes this subgenre tick.

It's a shame, because the rest of the series has been pretty decent with the overall story. Even if the main protagonist is a doofus, the plot they've built around him has been interesting and there are some nicely-animated fight sequences.

I'm too late to stop watching, as I've covered two-thirds of the show and I am curious how they will resolve the plot. I'm almost to the point of fast-forwarding some of the scenes though, and have only held off because I figure they may attempt to advance the plot while I'm least expecting it.

I think I spoiled myself finding both The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Azumanga Daioh as the first two series to jump back into anime with. Both were fascinating and while they each had a couple of slow or dull spots, I remain very impressed with the product as a whole even a few weeks later.

If both shows were a 10 (forced to choose, I'd pick Azumanga by only a hair), this one is treading a 6. The odd part is that it started at a 6, getting into the plot nudged it into a 7, but the main protag took it back to a 6, the harem stuff started knocking it down further, but the fight sequence in Ep. 14 was terrific and gave it a notch back. There's a LOT of ground for this one to make up, and unless the ending is stellar (or completely terrible) I don't think the 6 will be changing.

The worst part is that it could've been a solid 8, something that'd be worth revisiting every once in a while and would be worth looking up fanfiction for. The plot of the show, the overarching story driving the plot (even the super-magical MacGuffin) could lead to many interesting stories, but not with these characters. Hopefully, the remaining third redeems it somewhat, but this may be my final review depending on how it ends.

Work, as if they couldn't have tried harder, has become worse. It is now tied to the fact that all of us peons have had our status change, from salaried to hourly workers. Now, the almighty clock becomes our enemy, as if we hadn't had enough enemies to choose from to begin with. Of course, it's only the lowest-level of workers that this is happening to, our management is so not hourly because they'd be like given eleventy billion hours of overtime weekly because of all the awesome work they do.

The worst part is that they've "assured" us that our salary and none of the other perks (vacation time, insurance, etc.) will change in the future. This gives me zero confidence, because they've already changed a major fundamental piece of my compensation and I won't be the least bit surprised to hear, six months from now, "We've got to change you all to put you in line with other hourly workers." I've played the hourly game exactly once, as a contractor a long time ago. I'd never wanted to deal with it again. Every single job since then that I've taken has been salaried.

Now, without any choice, I'm back to the tyranny of the clock. Making peanuts. Watching others get big bucks due to work relationships rather than due to effort and/or ability. And now, the sledgehammer is close enough to all our heads to be plainly visible instead of lost in the fog (or hidden behind management's back). At least this final swing is slow enough that hopefully moving out of the way (i.e. finding another job) is possible, though this absolutely puts my educational plans in a complete bind.

Thankfully, lately, we've been able to resolve more than a few issues. This weekend, it was the below family issues... they're finally mending, and it's something that we don't have to spend time feeling bad or worrying about. Now, it's just this. I hope that the same magical fix-it tape that's fixed the other problems below is not out of tape yet.

16 June 2010

New Cinematic Titanic QnD Review!

(Warning: Contains mild spoilers)

"Cinematic Titanic: Danger on Tiki Island" w/ Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Josh Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl. -- You know, as much as I love Rifftrax, movies like this bring back warm and fuzzy memories of the golden age of MST3K and CT has brought us what I feel is their best live effort to date.

This movie has Percy Chiseljaw, Booby McHorny and Wally Cleaver arriving on BLOOD ISLAND to study radiation or something and encounter a native flannel wearing tribe lead by a shriner with a really hot daughter that have ‘returned to the old ways’ by sacrificing their virgins to appease the island’s screeching hentai tentacle trees and a monster that resembles a pile of melted tires who moans like a porn star. Meanwhile, a bald man named Goro (FINISH HIM!) plays tour guide for our heroes as they visit a midget sanctuary/slave labor camp, run by Mr. Rourke as played by Ricky Ricardo and... that’s all I’m going to reveal here. This is one GOOFY monster film that’s perfect for riffing, with plenty of WTF moments.

The movie is also a little more mature than the last two live films with occasional (really cheap looking) gore, a bit of bondage with flashes of ‘almost’ nudity and a great deal of cleavage, 70% of which is MALE, but damn that other 30% is nice. There’s an odd yet funny moment during the riffing where Joel just flat out asks the audience why guys are so attracted to women like Booby McHorny, not really expecting an answer.

(Crow: Boobies, the deciding factor in many a hasty marriage.)

Anyway, all the riffers did a great job with this one, especially Josh Weinstein and there were very few, if any, flubs this time that I noticed. The few dull spots that occured during riffing were thankfully short-lived this time around as well. Overall, Very Highly Recommended!

(Additionally, this CT release includes a short 17 min documentary featuring the Cinematic Titanic performers as they share their thoughts on each other and their experiences with CT as well as comments from fans leaving the theater after the show. While the documentary is a bit self-congratulatory, you can tell these people share a great deal of affection for each other and their fans as they playfully snipe each other’s flaws and Trace mockingly threatens to sue a young fan who shares his name. Frank Conniff has a funny story about coming up with a riff that he was unable to say without bursting into uncontrollable laughter and when he finally did deliver it flawlessly during a live performance, it was greeted with dead silence from the audience. ;P)

15 June 2010

Azumanga Daioh : The Review

I lied... I was able to finish Azumanga Daioh through this morning. I will likely have spoilers in the next few paragraphs, to outline what I thought were some of the good points and the bad points of the series, but I will keep in general in the first two paragraphs.

I think the main reason that I enjoyed the ending of the series is that I was able to really get to know and enjoy the characters. As mentioned before, in order to keep attention while introducing characters, the show falls back on humor that at least wears on me after a bit. On top of that, there are three characters that will also be off-putting to begin with, and they end up keeping you off-balance for the majority of the series. (Far later, one of the main characters actually shows signs of growing up and being more mature, which ends up making you just as off-balance as seeing her to begin with.)

I had a hard time continuing after watching the first few episodes. After about the fourth or fifth episode, I thought that it would be more entertaining to finish my last play-through of Dragon Age, and even trotted out my five-year-old copy of Rise of Nations to play afterward.

However, I gave Azumanga a couple more chances, and I feel that I was definitely rewarded for the effort. I enjoyed watching this show quite a bit, enjoyed engaging with the characters, and definitely feel as if I wanted to see more of it after having completed it.

(Spoilers will start here)

While The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was in some respects a "start over" show, where the status quo will be preserved even if it takes a couple episodes, Azumanga Daioh has a strong current of change to it. The characters themselves are shown through the course of all three years of Japanese high-school. The last couple episodes tie up loose ends to show that the characters have survived and thrived in high school and that they will be entering the uncertain world of post-high-school, but that they will try to stay together as best as possible.

The characters do grow to some extent through this time. As mentioned above, Tomo in particular learns toward the end of the series to be more considerate of her friends and to not do things "just because", which is off-putting to the others considering her actions through the first twenty-three episodes. Sakaki overcomes her issues with cats. Chiyo is able to come to terms with the fact that she's not an elementary-school student.

I think that one of the most endearing parts of this show is the fact that the characters grow rather than stagnate. I know that I felt more emotionally invested in watching the show because of this aspect, and I can certainly understand where all of the fanfiction for Azumanga is generated from, because of the wide range of personalities and the care given to the fictional characters. The show's high-school setting is very poignant to this growth because high school is where one really starts to become an adult rather than a child, and having to navigate that rocky terrain can be difficult yet rewarding at times.

I'm not sure the show would have worked past high-school... if it attempted, it would have had to change just like the characters did. I can only imagine the cast if they tried, because it truly seemed that the only main characters that would remain together are Yukari and Minamo at the high school. The other characters graduated and will be scattering to the four winds, but not before one last blow-out trip to the amusement park for celebration.

Celebration is a good word for the show in general. Azumanga Daioh really is a celebration of growing up, of friends and a slice of life. Not only am I happier for having seen the show, but this is one that I will gladly show my eight-year-old daughter. It will not only entertain her, but show her that life is your own story. Life is not an episode of anime-- you can knock all twenty-six Azumanga episodes out comfortably in a week or two, compared to the three-year time period it covers (you've probably noted this from the last four blog posts)-- it's something that you write as you go along. Life can be hard, it can be pleasant, and you meet the strangest people... but knowing that it's a journey to try to enjoy is a good message.

The ultimate example of this, I suppose, are my family's weekend plans. We are driving separately, as we bought the new car and our old car is being sold to my brother-in-law. At the same time, on Saturday, we will be celebrating my wife's ten-year anniversary of being in remission from cancer (non-Hodgkins lymphoma). At the same time though, my wife is currently estranged from her father, who was her primary care-giver and the person most responsible for her recovery. He will not be to the party that he in part helped to make happen. Life can be a bittersweet collection of events, and while we close two chapters (car, cancer recovery) we will still be living through others (the estrangement, my job search, going to school, children in school, baby, etc.)

Now, especially considering most of the posts I place on this blog, not everything in life can be celebrated especially while you're still living in the moment. On the other hand, I suppose that since my final episode hasn't happened yet, there's always a plot twist to come. Toward the end of the series, Yomi was unable to pass exams for her backup college choices, and her stress was shown as the others passed into college one-by-one. In the moment, all she can see is the task ahead. Past the moment, she's able to reflect on the task. There are future challenges for her, with college and moving away, but those can be treated as they come rather than life-and-death issues. It's hard to stand back in the middle of problems and appreciate what's going on, but there's always time and opportunity to do so.

(spoilers over)

I suppose one of the greatest parts yet hardest lessons of life is to appreciate the plot twists and the changes of seasons... and to remember the happy parts of plot twists and seasons already experienced. Like all good art should, I'm touched by the creativity and the message. My biggest hope is to find more shows like Azumanga Daioh as I watch anime. I can say that I'm happier having watched it than not, and extremely happy that I afforded it the chance.

As with all my reviews, your mileage may vary. I'm sure that by now, whatever readers are hanging out know my tendencies and my likes/dislikes. Suffice it to say that though I'm the jaded sort, I liked this one more than a bit. I've got action queued up next, in the form of Fate/Stay Night. I think I will take a bit of a break through the next couple days before starting it, probably to accomplish some writing and to try to get into a different mindset, work has been extremely stressful lately and troublesome and leaving it behind has been more difficult.

< A! >

14 June 2010

Another "We're still here" post.

It's barely been a week since the previous post, but I thought that a short update would be appropriate. Megane and I have been working on the most recent MSTing through the last couple weeks, and we've come up with some decent stuff. The process has been a bit slower, and it is due to the length, but on the other hand I'm still happy with what we've done so far and I think that it shouldn't take many months, only a few.

I mentioned to Megane, and I am happy to post on the blog, that Azumanga Daioh has absolutely grown on me as a series. I needed somewhere around four or five episodes to get acquainted with the characters. There are a few good moments in the first couple episodes, such as Chiyo and Osaka "practicing" volleyball together. However, it seems that the show kind of picks up for me around the tenth episode or so, when you've got a decent idea of all of the characters. The show has zany humor, uncomfortable humor (mostly Kimura, though the cracks about Yukari's driving are a bit unsettling too), and character-driven humor, mostly Osaka and Tomo.

The problem I had with this show was that I only enjoyed the zany humor, and even then I'm not crazy about a lot of it. However, once I started seeing the character-driven humor along with the zany humor, and understanding it, I really started enjoying the series. I will have a more complete write-up of Azumanga Daioh when I finish, which will likely be in a couple days. Just like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, I get the distinct feeling that this series is ending a few episodes too soon, which is a bit depressing.

For me, I'm able to get into these shows lately due to the fact that I'm seeing myself in some of the characters. For Haruhi, it was as Kyon. For Azumanga, it's as Yomi. Of course, it seems that many series need a character that represents a status-quo, someone who is moved by some of the zanier characters so that you can see the impact of what these zany characters do. At any rate, I know that I will definitely enjoy delving into some of the fanfic for these shows because these are characters that I enjoy. If not for the enjoyment of characters and situations in shows, would there be any call for fanfiction after all?

Still no traction on the job front, though I have my classes for next semester laid out. Another micro-econ class, which I tend to enjoy... and then econometrics for winter, featuring the professor I'd been talking about through the beginning of the year. Man, I definitely did not want to see more of that professor, but I suppose that I have no choice if I want to be able to get through with a masters' degree. Such are the challenges of life, I suppose, though I feel somewhat fed up with the same challenges. I really feel as if I'd already stepped up and done what was necessary and needed, yet there's never really a positive result. (Hence, the statement about wanting a "win" for a change.) Hopefully, opportunity will come knocking on my door shortly.

No real opportunity to review Rifftrax lately, there's HP4 but I haven't had a chance to get a copy of it. I hope that Mike and the crew will pick up the output soon, and yeah it's me asking for it while telling you guys "a few months". At any rate, stay frosty folks!

08 June 2010


I attempted to get together with Megane, fully understanding that I would talk with him during my wife's viewing of Glee. Of course, I tell Megane Wednesday, rather than Tuesday... so, since he's not here, a rundown of the schmaltz that comprises both "Glee", the show, as well as the average season finale of a first-year show which needs writers desperately.

We join "Glee" already in process...

0:06 ...as they cut into yet another replaying of "Don't Stop Believing". Considering how many times I listened to that song in the promos of the show....

0:07 "Nine months ago, we sucked". Nothing's changed.

0:07:30 The faux-stalgia ain't working on me. I remember all of the crap that brought the show to this point, all the idiot plot points and nonsense. And now, a Journey medley. If only I wasn't a closet 80's fan, I'd denounce it for the numbskullery it is. (As it is, it's Glee singing Journey, so I can hold back my enjoyment very easily)

0:09 I get to watch my first Eclipse trailer commercial. It's everything that the past two movies was and then some. About time, I'm in the mood for some killer cheese, and this stuff has already proven to be epic. "How are you fixed for some jangly, shoe-gazing music?"

0:12 I knew that the "twist" was in here, the mean cheerleading coach is now the "impartial" judge. Knowing for a week hasn't helped me believe it any more. This show asks too much from my suspension of my disbelief.

0:13 "It's not about winning, it's about us." Every button must be pressed. I wonder if the pregnant cheerleader will be going into labor shortly.

0:14 Journey's only other song, ever. ("Forever Yours, Faithfully")

0:14:30 I'm struck, the female "lead" (Rachel) is wearing a Haruhi hairband. Heh, random moment of the night I suppose.

0:16 Long notes, the fingernails of the world's chalkboard.

0:16:30 "Any Way You Want It", a Rock Band favorite. Not enough to make me forget that the girls are wearing space-cadet inspired golden aprons.

0:17 The crowd's behind them! Is Al Michaels announcing?

0:18 One of the few reasons I enjoy "Don't Stop Believing", other than the weirdly hilarious chorus, is the line "born and raised in south Detroit". I dunno why, but if there's anything that can more express dead-end loser, what is it?

0:19 Ooh, mom and daughter reconciliation! How could I forget the long-lost relative angle? Better yet, it's the pregnant girl! And her water just broke, what a shock. I swear that the above bit about the buttons was written before this.

0:23 "Unnatural History"... no main complaints about the show per se, but shouldn't it be on SyFy or ABC Family rather than freaking Cartoon Network? (Full disclosure: I would probably watch it as an anime, but on the other hand there's so many different directions they could take it in as an anime rather than the goofy kid currently grinning maniacally at me.)

0:24 Queen. "Bohemian Rhapsody", to be specific. I can deal with Journey by mediocre singers, but Bohemian Rhapsody is SO Freddie Mercury, I'm absolutely unable to accept any other versions, even if it's supposed to be an allegory about pregnancy. Of course, it's EXTREMELY unsuitable for a dance choir, as I'm currently experiencing.

0:27 "Bohemian Rhapsody" with glowsticks. Yeah, that's what it was missing. Oh, and every single glee club member is in there with her. I couldn't even smuggle her mother and my sister in when my wife was giving birth last time.

0:28 I finally realized that this is the guitar solo of the show. As played by Stephen Hawking.

0:29 I think I just heard Luke screaming at the end of Episode Five.

0:29:30 So, "choir" is all about one soloist singing for the whole song except for the exceedingly short backup portion at the end of the song. I could use the headbanging beaver at the end of "Loaded Weapon 1" right now.

0:31 Knight and Day. Tom Cruise action. Is there any scenes where he's sad about Goose while trying to pass some gas? I can't see any situation where this isn't cheesy either.

0:34 Haruhi's back and trying to manipulate others. It's so close yet so far to the real show. Speaking of a suspension of disbelief, Haruhi and the rival coach being mother and daughter was a amazingly large leap of faith.

0:36 "Kiss my ass, Josh Groban". There's one redeeming portion of the show, even if Sue voting for her own school is foregone conclusion number.... eight by now?

0:38 And Sue announcing the winners, when one of the judges is a newsanchor and therefore a professional announcer.

0:39 Must say, I'm semi-surprised by the announced winner, though not terribly. Legit arguments for both sides. Though this means that the horrid version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" wins. Hollywood majjic!

0:41 An advertisement for Toy Story 3. I hope fervently that this isn't the beginning of the end for Pixar. Considering this and the Monsters Inc. sequel, I'm not sure.

0:42 Huge on ABC Family. There doesn't seem to be much of a plot other than the large girl telling everyone that she's not changing for their benefit. Decent message for one show, not for a series of them.

0:43 Fox drama, teenagers asking whether or not they want to keep a baby as if they were talking about a cell phone plan.

0:44 Let's set up the next season's drama. And let's make sure to keep the creepy female teacher square in the center of the drama by having her hook back up with the choir teacher.

0:45 Here we learn about how we've all grown since the beginning of the series. I learned that I should listen to the GI Joe lessons at the end of the show more often! With bonus faux-stalgia.

0:47 We've dredged up something from the 50's or early 60's, at least from the sound of the arrangement. Bonus points for something I haven't heard before that's older, but it's still THESE PEOPLE singing it, and the choir teacher biting his tongue in order to provoke tears for the camera.

0:48 I would like to give a shout-out to a group of people who really need to receive kudos, which are the musicians backing these actors. They've done a good job, and the underrated part of any show is the music (rather than the actors they've placed out front as "singers"). Thanks, you guys, I've enjoyed the music at least.

0:50 I'm watching the bastard child of Eminem and Justin Timberlake for a Yahoo ad. I'm amazed that the level of talent is dropping by the second.

0:51 Chevy Traverse, only starting at $29,999. I think that you need three incomes to make it in the U.S. anymore.

0:52 "Raising Hope" on Fox, about a doofus trying to raise a baby. Gramma's wearing a bra, and some unidentified lady is unable to speak. Can't wait for that to go the way of "Sons of Tucson".

0:53 The reveal showed that the show wanted it both ways anyway. Just as above.

0:54 The snark in this show is the high-school equivalent of House adult snark. Every once in a while, you can see that there's a bit of an adult trying to get out, but it needs to grow up desperately.

0:56 This odd thing they call plot, the weird bet thingy or whatever it was that was threatening the glee club is called off on another "surprise" twist. The choir teacher yelling that they've got another year almost completely matches what the cast did when Fox announced that they'll continue paying these actors for this thing.

0:57 One last chance for something more recent than 2000.... oooh, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Swing and a miss, on a pitch bouncing to the plate. One of the most major reasons I enjoy watching AMVs, as stated before, was to hear new and exciting music. As far as the music, I like the 80's stuff... but sung by their artists, not "reimagined". Give me something new and interesting, I've heard the rest of this stuff too much. This is yet another reason I will absolutely defend "House" and pile on this show.

1:00 "So You Think You Can Dance" results. Glee is Shakespeare compared to "Dance".

So, one more year of "Glee". Thankfully, I have Season 1 of "The Mentalist" to watch from Netflix next...

01 June 2010

Very slight update:

It'll be quick, I promise. I am an avowed proponent of free commenting. I love comments, though to be truthful there aren't too many here. However, I've been getting spam comments on a very frequent basis lately, and I'm getting a bit annoyed at the fact that it takes a while to take them down.

I'm absolutely not taking away anonymous comment settings. However, I am putting up one of those evil little "enter the letters" boxes, because I need to cut down on the robo-spam. I hate them myself, but I truly dislike seeing someone put the verbal equivalent of throw-up on this struggling little blog.

If there are any readers out there who disagree with this action, please be sure to put it in comments. (Ha!) Actually, you can also email me through the address at the website, though you may have difficulty being heard through the spam that thousands of robo-mailers have already deposited there.

Very little status updates to provide, other than I'm almost through the second play-through of Dragon Age, postponing watching more Azumanga Daioh because I've been in a funk for a while. I located a copy of Fate/Stay Night, though I am not sure if I will be checking it out soon.

Work is the same... it's either I don't put myself out and get what little satisfaction I can from my job, or I attempt to actually do work thinking I may get rewarded for it and usually get smacked down for presuming such an audacious thing. So, the job search continues as does registration for year 2 of 4 for master's degree. I could really use a win right about now, I've kind of forgotten what they feel like (and this is pretty much 85% of the current funk.)

If there are any series that any of the readers can recommend to get out of a funk, I'd be glad to know. Drop a line, I'm curious to know what I should attempt to review next.