Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sayonara Phoenix Wright

Supposedly from the animators of the original Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei OP

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Vocaloid ranking #17

Sorry for the lack of updates, school has been keeping me busy :P. Vocaloid Ranking #17 for the week of 1/21-1/28. Thanks again to miraclemilk765 for the upload.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

RightStuf ADV sale! 10 for $50!

Right Stuf is having a sale on selected ADV titles!. Things are running out quickly, and a lot of the good stuff is gone. FMP Fumoffu is still around, but not much else...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My attempt to install Linux on an Abit IP35-E motherboard

This is a bit of a deviation from my usual posting material, but seeing as how I spent a lot of (somewhat wasted) time on installing Linux on my machine, it may help others with a similar hardware configuration.

Bottom line, before I go into details: As of today, with the latest kernel (2.6.23) and video card drivers (ATI 8.01), it has some major problems that are stopping me from using Linux. Details after the break.

Strike 1: Video

I need my machine to play videos (anime). The latest ATI drivers, 8.01, for my pretty recent video card (ATI Radeon HD 2600XT), have two problems. First, the hardware video scaling frankly sucks; text (like subtitles) has very noticeable, jaggy edges. This is easily addressed with mplayer's software scaling, but it's a bit of a pain because then the window is stuck at one size. The second problem which doesn't seem to have a fix yet, is bad video tearing. This is noticeable during scenes with pans or fast motion (like what you'd typically see in an anime OP). Video tearing, for those that don't know, is an effect you might see that looks like a scene is rendered from two different frames, resulting in a line where they don't match up. Other people have noted the problem as well, so it's not just me :). Here's some pictures to illustrate my example:

In windows (Vista to be specific):

In Linux: (Note the brightness difference is due to the camera)

Somewhat of a lesser issue is that the ATI driver does not support compiz (or maybe it's compiz not supporting it) on the latest X.Org 7.4. Compiz is what's responsible for all the fancy effects you see in a lot of screenshots.

Strike 2: Networking

The Abit IP35-E has a Marvell Yukon 2 gigabit ethernet controller. This has a linux driver, sky2, which seems to work... but it doesn't. Some people have reported a lot of disconnects and reconnects, while I've personally experienced limited network performance (like 100K/sec, way, way below the limit of both my local network and my cable modem). I've tried different cables and ports in my switch, and the same cable and network card work just fine in Windows.

Strike 3: DVD drive (or lack thereof)

Intel removed IDE controllers from most of their latest chipsets, so motherboard manufacturers are forced to use 3rd party chips, like JMicron. This is all well and good except when the Linux driver is broken. The old JMicron driver, jmicron, is old and pretty much known to be broken; it's been replaced by the newer, hotter, pata_jmicron. Unfortunately, it's not a module in the amd64 kernel in Debian, possibly requiring compilation from scratch.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Vocaloid Ranking #16

Thanks, as always, to miraclemilk765 for uploading these onto Youtube.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Winter 2008 OPs!

Nipponsei has released a whole slew of OPs, including, but not limited to, reflectia by eufonius, Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi by KOKIA, and Spirale by Makino Yui!

Now all I'm waiting for is the Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei OP and the Spice and Wolf OP. Everything is out except for Spice and Wolf, but that isn't due out yet...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Vocaloid ranking #15, better late than never

Vocaloid ranking #15 is up! List of songs can be found at mikumiku blog. Songs for Rin/Len are definitely starting to improve now.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

SaiGar 2008 - get your votes in!

I'm a bit late with this, but voting for SaiGar 2008 has already been going on! To put it in words of the creator, "...SaiGAR was created to find the manliest badass in Anime."

To vote, you click the vote link. You check back in an hour to get your code, then use that code and vote during the appropriate time. If you have a favorite character, this would be the time to show it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anime sheet music

I can't play an instrument or read music for my life, but for the day I will be able to, I want to remember SODA Sheet Music which has sheet music for Asian songs, and Josh's anime sheet music.

An anonymous commenter pointed out this link to me, but it's also a good one: Ichigo's anime music.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Hikki song! Stay gold

A new single from Utada Hikaru getting radio play time. It's called "Stay Gold", and I've spent the past hour looping it. It comes out in February. Youtube preview below:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fansub comparison - Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 1

Hopefully the first in a series of posts, I plan on "reviewing", in a loose sense, fansubs released by different groups of the same episode. This hopefully helps those people on slow connections that can't afford (or are too lazy to) download several releases and make their own decision. Note that my Japanese is pretty much non-existent (I took a year of it many years ago in college), so I can't really comment on translation accuracy, but I can comment on things like fonts, attention to detail, how well the English flows, and image quality.

First up is Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Two groups are subbing it at the moment, a.f.k. and SpoonSubs. For the images below, SpoonSubs is on the top, and a.f.k. is on the bottom. a.f.k uses a much more readable font, but it does take up more space. a.f.k. also tends to translate most (if not all) of the text in the background of the scenes, whereas SpoonSubs doesn't. a.f.k.'s raw or encoding is slightly better, but most people probably wouldn't be able to tell.

Release date:
SpoonSubs: Jan. 11, 2007
a.f.k: Jan. 11, 2007

Note that a.f.k (on the bottom) explains how HAMASHO is derived, otherwise they both get the meaning across.

Based on the image of the girl in the seconds that follow, I think nosebleed makes more sense (there is no joke otherwise).

a.f.k. translated the note on the board.

I'm not sure which is "more" correct; it looks like SpoonSubs is more literal, but a.f.k. sounds better in English. Again, note that I don't have any Japanese skill!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Winter 2008 OP Reviews

Now that all the major series for winter have started their runs, it's a good time to rank the OPs of the season! This post was inspired by Epic Win's post on anime OPs.

I'm rating the OPs based on the following, with each on a scale of 1 to 5, with higher being better:
  1. Song awesomeness: Even the best animated OP is going to be glossed over if the song sucks
  2. Animation quality: This is why we watch anime, isn't it? This also takes into account whether the song is synced with the animation at all.
  3. Bonus points: Extra (or negative) points for things that aren't included above.
Note that I've tried to find high-quality versions on Youtube; unless you have an awesome fast connection, you'll probably have to pause it and wait for it to finish loading before you try to play it. Without further ado, here is number 11!

11. Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de ~They are my noble masters~, Hizamazuku Made 5 Byo Dake! (Miyuki Hashimoto):

Song: 2
Forgettable j-pop. It's not unpleasing to listen to, but nothing to compel me to recommend it.
Animation Quality: 3
Synced to the music, shows the characters, but that's about the only good things about it.
Bonus Points: 0
Nothing special

10. Spice and Wolf, Tabi no Tochū (Natsumi Kiyoura)

Song: 3
Kind of slow and melancholic, so far it doesn't really match the mood of the series.
Animation Quality: 3
It shows scenes from the series, but it's not really synced to the song.
Bonus Points: 0
Nothing clever about the OP jumps out at me

9. Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-, Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi (KOKIA):

Song: 5
A catchy song with a touch of melancholy. It's actually pretty catchy, and it (might) match the mood of the series.
Animation Quality: 2
Basically lots of still pictures of random scenes and guns done in either water color or using some photoshop filter on real images. It's creative, but 1) isn't specific to Gunslinger Girl, and 2) doesn't give any indication what the series is about. Heck, it could be the opening to a drama.
Bonus Points: -1
I took off a point for not living up to the OP of the first season, which wasn't even that good!

8. H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~, Katayoku no Icarus (Yui Sakakibara):

Song: 3
Typical j-pop, with some interesting instruments. Nothing really special, and I could see it getting annoying with repeated listening.
Animation Quality: 4
Animation is good quality, mostly scenes of the characters in typical harem anime fashion. It's not as good as the True Tears OP though.
Bonus Points: 0
Nothing special

7. Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, kūsō Rumba (Kenji Ohtsuki and Zetsubō Shōjo-tachi):

Song: 5
Catchy song, kūsō Rumba, by the same people that did the OP to the last season.
Animation Quality: 1
If you remember the first season's first episode OP, this is mostly the same, with lots of text and still pictures. I expect this to get better, but right now it's kind of lame.
Bonus points: +1
The text is actually relevant to the series, and this alludes to the previous season as well, so bonus points here.
Since this is really just a "fake" OP, I ranked it above H2O because it was trying to be bad :P.

6. Rosario + Vampire, Cosmic Love (Nana Mizuki):

Song: 3
Pretty generic upbeat j-pop.
Animation Quality: 4
Good quality animation that's synced to the song, shows all the characters I guess.
Bonus Points: +1
Censoring bats ftw!

5. PERSONA -trinity soul-, Breakin' Through (Shūhei Kita):

Song: 3
J-rock music, appropriate for the OP, but not very catchy in my opinion. Reminds me a bit of the OPs for GTO.
Animation Quality: 5
Cool transitions with silhouettes of characters in the beginning, nice color/texture effects, shows some of the characters.
Bonus Points: +1
Nice animation effects.

4. Minami-ke ~Okawari, Kokoro no Tsubasa (Rina Satou, Marina Inoue & Minori Chihara):

Song: 3
J-pop, has a very dramatic feel to it (which is not suited to the series, but appropriate for the OP.
Animation Quality: 5
Great animation, dramatic scenes which make it funny since that's not what the show is about, all the characters are shown, creative backgrounds/situations; I like it a lot!
Bonus Points: +2
Sims/Sim City reference in the beginning! Bear! LULZ if you watched the first season -- it makes the series look so dramatic, but it's not.

3. True Tears, Reflectia (eufonius):

Song: 5
It's eufonius. Upbeat j-pop, if you like any of her other stuff, you'll like this too.
Animation Quality: 5
Animation is good quality, mostly scenes of the characters that are probably taken from the series. It's synced to the song, so full points here.
Bonus Points: 0
Doesn't really do anything special...
This is ranked above Minami-ke Okawari because I like the song better.

2. Hatenkou Yuugi, Heartbreaking Romance (Kanako Itō):

Song: 4
Upbeat techno j-pop, actually sounds a bit like video game synth music in the beginning. Probably would get annoying after a bit.
Animation Quality: 5
Second most interesting OP this season. Shows the major characters, and some crazy stuff going with the backgrounds in the beginning. Synced to the music too.
Bonus Points: +1
It goes together really well.

1. Hakaba Kitarou, Mononoke Dance (Denki Groove):

Song: 4
Unique song in a sea of j-pop. This is probably what I'd call techno; it's Denki Groove!
Animation Quality: 5
Very creative! They animated in the style of an American comic, with bold lines and colors. And it actually flows pretty well! I lack the words to describe its awesomeness, just watch it.
Bonus Points: +1
Incredibly unique style. Most interesting OP this season and that's why it's number 1.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Calibrating your monitor

Many people don't bother to properly adjust the brightness, contrast, and gamma of their monitors. This results in distorted or washed-out colors. I found this site helpful for adjusting my LCD monitor, but it doesn't address color calibration.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Vocaloid Ranking #14

The second Vocaloid Ranking of 2008!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The bold, powerful, and cute robot -- Koharu Biyori OP

The OP for Koharu Biyori (Apron dake wa Toranaide!) is really catchy, and while it has some, uh, questionable scenes in the OP, it was aired on TV so it's not too bad. I've been looking for the lyrics online, but since I can't find them, I just copied them from the Rozen-m.3.3.w sub.

Daitan muteki moe robo! Burabo!
Epuron toccha ikemasen
Me o sametara anata to nikkori
Watashi wa mappa de hakoiri joutai
(help me)
Epuron sashidasu anata ni gakuzen
Kosupure magai no furiru wa kanben
(hentai desu ka)
Doko kara mitatte ichimoku ryouzen
Watashi ga meido de anata wa goshujin
(sou deshou)
Gohoushi suru tame urarete kita no ni
gohoaigan youto ja ganbaremasen
(tatakai wa hajimatteru)

Ai ga aru kara yurusenai
Kore ijou wa dame ikemasen
Yamete hazukashiin desuu
Shiawase wo agetai na
Wakatte hoshii
Shita koto nai koto shimashou
Otto bousou kinshi
Epuron ni kakureteru romanchikku wo
anata dake ni misemasu
Chira chira hora!

Daitan muteki moe robo! Burabo!
Epuron hayaku kaeshinasai

The bold, powerful, and cute robot! Bravo!
Don't take off my apron!
When I opened my eyes, and smiled at you,
I found myself completely naked in a box
(help me)
I'm shocked to see you holding out an apron,
but spare me the cosplay-like fake frills
(Are you a pervert?)
Obvious in every way,
I'm the maid and you are the master!
(Right, aren't we?)
Even though I was sold as a servant,
I'm disappointed to know you bought me as a pet!
(Our fight has already begun!)

I can't allow it because we have love.
You can't go further, no don't!
Please stop, it's so embarrassing!
I want to make you happy,
so please understand me
Let's do something we've never tried.
Oops, going wild is forbidden!
The romance hidden in my apron,
is for your eyes only.
Can you see it? Look!

The bold, powerful, and cute robot! Bravo!
Gimme back my apron now!

An idea for blogging

Taking a page from Ani-nouto's blog, I think I'm going to just start blogging about interesting blog posts that I find, in an attempt to have something new to write about every day.

An interesting post about what makes a good anime OP from Epic Win. You can read the article over there, but I just wanted to point out that my main criteria are 1) awesomeness of the song, 2) epicness of the animation, and 3) bonus points if the OP makes more sense as the series progresses, like in ef.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Vocaloid Rankings galore! Year end rankings, #13

I'm so far behind on these rankings! The latest ranking (#13) is the first with Kagmine Rin/Len on it.

Year end rankings follow!
Part 1, ranking 100 to 51:

Part 2, ranking 50 to 8:

Part 3, ranking 8 to 1:

Friday, January 4, 2008

Free CD/DVD burning for Windows

There's two free general disc burning apps I would recommend. InfraRecorder actually has a 64-bit version, while CDBurnerXP has a nice interface and HD/Bluray support.