Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kaiba OP - Best OP this season

This is perhaps a bit late, but I can't get over the amazing Kaiba OP. The singer does a surprisingly good job of singing in English.

Friday, May 23, 2008

New TV!

I have spent most of my free time these past few weeks researching televisions. I finally decided that 32" was just not big enough to watch anime, and so I went shopping for a new TV.

I was looking for an LCD with a good value/performance ratio. Basically, I just wanted an LCD with really good picture quality for really cheap. I crossed out the typical cheap brands, because while they're good values, they all seem to make some compromises in picture quality. From reading AVS Forum's LCD forum, I narrowed my choices to:
  • Toshiba 42XV540
  • Sony 40V4100
  • Samsung 40A650
  • Samsung 46A550
  • Sony 40W4100
I was originally planning on getting a Toshiba 42XV540, but it seems to have issues with poor viewing angles and off-colored blacks. Plus, it's not any cheaper than the much better Samsung 40A650. Amazon has a great deal going on the Samsung 40A650, and it has pretty much everything you'd want -- great picture quality, 10-bit display panel, and 120 Hz. However, some of the great picture quality is from the glossy screen, which may be a problem for lots of people with bright rooms. There are also reports that, possibly due to the coating of the screen, blacks have a purplish tinge.

I was all set to get the Samsung 40A650, but the glossy screen and purple haze issues worried me. I ruled the Sony 40W4100 out, because it was a lot more expensive than the Samsung 40A650 (on the order of $250), and didn't seem to be worth the extra price. I would have probably bought the Sony 40V4100, but then I went to Best Buy and looked at the TVs. And then, I saw the 46" TVs... once I saw the size difference, I didn't want to get the 40" anymore!

The TV I ended up buying is the Samsung 46A550. It has a semi-glossy screen, only an 8-bit panel (but 10-bit processing), but oh boy it is big. The picture quality is very close to the A650 series, but without the added kick of the glossy screen. I'm kind of bummed about not having 120 Hz, but I didn't think it was worth losing 6" o screen over. And to top it off, it was about the same price as the 40A650.

So how is it? Well, I'll let pictures speak for themselves:

Picture taken from my couch. My Macbook is shown for comparison

A scene from Vexille

Everything being said, I'm happy with the TV, and I'd totally recommend anybody looking to spend about $1500 on a TV seriously consider it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Utada's Heart Station album available in the US?!

I never thought it would happen, but Utada Hikaru's latest Japanese album, Heart Station, is available on Amazon and on Utada Hikaru - Heart Station (Mastered By Tom Coyne), both in glorious DRM-free MP3 (Amazon) or AAC (iTunes)! Only $10 too! (50 cents cheaper at Amazon, but AAC is the better format, so it's a wash).

I am quite tempted to buy it on iTunes actually...

If you have Pepsi stuff points, you can buy the songs on Amazon for 5pts/song.

I'm actually surprised by what else is available on iTunes, like Bonnie Pink's Even so, Yuka Funakoshi - Morning Bird, Fujimoto Takako - Feel It, or Namie Amuro - Play. I actually have no excuses now...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Anime watching and "mood"

At one point in life, I was so enthused about anime that I could watch any series, any time. Just bombed a test? No need for happy anime, just go straight into watching Saikano! Yet, I find that as I get older, or perhaps I should say, more jaded, I can only watch certain anime if my mood allows for it. It's something unfathomable, kind of like when you hear people say they're not in the mood for sex. When you're young and hormone-crazed, you think that can never be the case! But here I am, with the following anime options available: Kaiba, Kanokon, Allison to Lillia, and Crystal Blaze. I like Kaiba, but I'm just not in the mood to watch it right now. Same with AtL and Crystal Blaze.

I find that this does not happen to some anime, however. I'm nearly always up for watching a new episode of Code Geass, Macross F, or Kure-nai. Perhaps it's a testament to the quality of those shows, or maybe it's because they span the range of genres, so there's literally something for every mood.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

ARIA is here, huzzah!

Yes, that niche anime that people either love or find incredibly lame, Aria, has been licensed by RightStuf. Aria, is at its core, a slice of life anime following three girls. It sounds generic, even dull, and I didn't watch it until bloggers like Jeff kept leaping praise upon it. I watched the first season, and wow. Nothing happens, but it's such a mellow anime! It's hard to recommend blindly to people, because you need to be of a certain mindset to appreciate it, but if you like 5cm/second, you'd probably like Aria

On another note, RightStuf is also having a sale on DelRay manga. I bought the volumes of Tsubasa Chronicle I have yet to collect, and it was a perfect time to get Aria for the free shipping.