Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Where have I been?

Where have I been? Last week, I was at a conference (SPIE Medical Imaging); I came back late Friday night. I was jetlagged on Saturday, and doing homework most of Sunday, Monday, and today.

The Town&Country hotel in San Diego has horrible internet; the wireless slowed to a crawl after the conference. Perhaps this is to be expected since all of the conference attendees use the Internet, but come on! I ended up using the Internet very sparingly.

So anime I've watched this week that were awesome: True Tears 8 and Shigofumi 7. I share the majority of bloggers' opinions that Shiniichi is getting with Noe for the wrong reasons, and the revelation and ending of Shigofumi 7 were awesome.

In other news, the Vocaloid rankings are still going, even though I haven't been updating them. The 20th ranking is way past; you can look for it on YouTube if you so desire. Apparently they've started doing daily rankings, but I'm not hardcore enough for that. But there is someone who is! In fact, you should catch it there, it has a nice listing of the songs on the list.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Belated vocaloid ranking #19

Sorry I'm very late this week, I've been busy preparing for a presentation in San Diego next week! Without further ado, ranking #19. It's in two parts this time, the second part is after the break.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weekly anime ranking (2/10/2008)

Again it's time for another self-indulging weekly anime ranking! I don't even know why I do it, but it gives me something to write about.

7. Dragonaut (18)
No picture, because I don't think it's worthy of one :P. For some reason, the setting is now one year later and shit is going to go down in the next episode. This has so many plot holes and loose threads! The animation is nice though.

6. H2O (6)
What a waste
Why would you race to finish a frozen dessert? That's incredibly idiotic! Anyway, looks like Hayami and Yui made up in this episode. The animation quality is pretty mediocre, the plot is still kind of random, but the next episode should have lots of drama. This probably wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't going up against True Tears or Clannad.

5. Bamboo Blade (16)

Bad girls
Kirino is worried about her mom, and the competition at the preliminaries starts. This is mostly a transition episode to setup for the competition in the next episode. Still, the more serious side of Kirino was nice to see, and it's an enjoyable watch. I think Bamboo Blade's place in my ranking is more due to my preference for drama over pure comedy, as production-wise, Bamboo Blade is probably above Hatenkou Yugi and Gunslinger Girl.

4. Hatenkou Yugi (4)
Such a kidder
Another independent episode, this has the trio going on a dubious treasure hunt. The episode is full of witty banter between the three characters, but the treasure hunt was kind of lame. I find the interactions between the characters are the real driving force and the reason I keep watching.

3. Gunslinger Girl (4)

What a messed up world
This episode reintroduces Angelica back as a member of the killer loli squad. This covers chapter 16 of the manga. Overall, it followed closely to the story of the manga, and it was good to see it animated finally, but the low production quality detracts from the story a bit. I think the blush lines were overdone a bit. Anyway, Angelica seems to need a lot of conditioning drugs to maintain her sanity, and it's rather sad to see her break down. Priscilla said it best when she said that Angelica's done nothing wrong and it's all their (the organization's) fault.

2. Clannad (17)

Oh my!
Things heat up on all fronts in this episode, with all girls making progress on Tomoya. Clannad is able to balance drama and comedy pretty much perfectly. I like how KyoAni is able to interweave all the girls' routes together (though the Fuuko appearances are just WTF), and the music during the storeroom scene was just lollerful.

1. True Tears (5)

False hearts
I continue to be impressed by the consistent quality PA Works is putting out. The animation is amazing, but not just because it's aesthetically pleasing; there is attention to detail in body language and facial expressions that you don't see in a lot of anime. This was another awesome episode, with development in all three girls. Noe is still naive and cute, Hiromi is still conflicted, Ai is going to lose, and Shinichiro is a bastard for lying to Noe. I don't know what Shin's mom's problem is with Hiromi's mom, but it's kind of sad :(. Some other opinions on True Tears.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Utada's Heart Station

This is likely to be pulled off Youtube, so apologies if the link is broken. This is the other song to go with "Stay Gold" on her single to be released later this month. The video is a bit plain, but the song is awesome as always.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Vocaloid Ranking #18

Another week, another vocaloid ranking.

My favorite songs:
# 24. 時の回廊
# 21. 歌に形はないけれど
# 15. ほうき星 ユンナ 完成版
# 13. Everwhite
# 6. メルト
# 2. リンで魔理沙は大変なものをごっすん

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Weekly anime ranking (2/3/2008)

In a nod to many other anime blogs, I'm going to try my hand at doing weekly anime rankings. These are based on what I watched during the week, which probably won't coincide with when they are aired or when fansubs are released. I'm also only including currently airing shows in this list. This isn't intended as a plot summary, there are lots of better blogs for that :D. (Note: numbers in parentheses after the anime title are the episodes I watched this week.)

10. H2O (4-5)
Hayami and Hinata finally make up, but it was kind of lame and rather sudden, like, "Oh, I've stayed away from you for the past bazillion years, but I'm really sorry now, waaaah". Animation quality is nothing too exciting either, with the level of detail in the characters very variable. I'm only following this because I want to know why the village hates Hayami, but I have a feeling it's mostly because of Hinata's grandfather.

9. Minami-ke Okawari (1)
I'm a bit behind in watching this, but the subs are taking awhile. I don't think this is horrible -- the new character designs still look good, even if they're different than the first season, the animation quality is almost as good, but, at least in the first ep, it wasn't as funny as the first season (more like an anime that'll bring smiles to your face as opposed to LOLing).

8. Bamboo Blade (15)
Training camp FTW! Seems like it was really just to develop Tamaki's character, since she's never been to camp before. Other than that, it was kind of filler.

7. Hayate no Gotoku (41)
Another funny episode. It may not have the best plot or animation, but it does a good job of being consistently funny

6. Ghost Hound (8-9)
Ghost Hound is kind of hard for me to rank, On the one hand, the animation quality is awesome, the story is well-written, it's just an overall good production, but for some reason, I just can't get into it. At this point, they're still developing the background, and there's not much in the way of action. As for conflict points, we still have Taro trying to meet his sister, Masayuki's just tagging along and trying to come to grips with his role the past suicide, and Makoto wants to know if his dad was involved in the kidnapping. I think this may just be one of those animes where you have to be in the right mindset to watch it...

These next series were very hard for me to rank, just letting you know. :D

5. Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (3)
First ep with the real OP! I love Shaft's animation for this, and I have to give mad props to afk for their incredible job of subbing the episode. The beginning of the episode wasn't full of LOL, but it was pretty amusing how the radio show for the anime was playing in the anime, and that there were self-references all over Harumi's room. I had to keep pausing to read the translated text everywhere. The rest of the episode was the typical random stuff that was amusing yet true :).

4. Spice and Wolf (4)
More character development for both Horo and Lawrence, some development of their relationship, some pretty intense action scenes, and a cliffhanger at the end. Awesome episode!

3. Clannad (16)
Mei's appearance was kind of random, and I don't know what role the basketball game played since we still don't know what's going to happen with the theater club, but as always, top-notch animation and movement in the plot (Tomoyo is "interested" now, and I think Tomoya has a clue about Ryou now) make for a good episode this week.

2. Shigofumi (3-4)
Two single-episode arcs. The stories were pretty interesting; the anime doesn't concentrate on the deaths, but the reactions and actions of the people who get the shigofumis. There is also a bit of mystery surrounding Fumika that gets revealed in these episodes.

1. True Tears (3-4)
Things are getting interesting! Lots of conflicted people (Ai and Hiromi), Noe is as cute as ever, and there's a cliff hanger ending. Animation is probably second only to Clannad and Ghost Hound this season. I'm more interested in what happens in the next episode of True Tears than Clannad at this point.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Update on my attempt to install Linux

I've used Debian for several years now, but I figured going to a more mainstream, desktop-oriented distribution like Ubuntu would be worth a shot. On the plus side, it uses Debian's package management system, which I love for the ease of installing new programs, and there are lots of repositories with things like a decent version of mplayer and associated libraries that Debian didn't have. The kernel also has the correct driver for my IDE controller as opposed to Debian which uses the (broken?) jmicron driver instead of pata_jmicron.

Downside - video is still broken in the same manner (ATI driver problems, I guess), network still craps out, and now the machine locks hard whenever I quit X (either to logout or reboot). So bottom line is that Linux is still unusable on my machine. :(