Sunday, March 30, 2008

Anime on sale at Best Buy!

Deals on Anime boxsets at Best Buy this week. In particular, I'd recommend Elfen Lied and Noein.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Week in review

Like many blogs, content is not being updated very often (and when it is, it's kind of lame). This is what happens when you have Rock Band and anime to watch :P.

New this week: March madness ended at Derailed by Darry, with Haruhi winning the title. There was a new weekly vocaloid ranking with a new number 1 song, Soar, by Hatsune Miku. True Tears 12 aired, and was pretty epic according to many people. Spice and Wolf ended this week as well, which was also epic. News is also traveling that there is more Clannad to come.

I'm also shopping for a new LCD TV, and I think the Toshiba 42XV540 is perfect for me, if only I made enough money to afford it :P. According to the AVSforum post, it has a 10-bit LCD, wide color gamut backlight, and a good implementation of 120 Hz.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

No more H2O!

Today saw the end of two harem animes - H2O and Clannad. You can read about Clannad from lots of other people; here's a short list: Overall, I was a bit let down by the ending and the fact that Tomoya's beef with his dad never really got sorted out (though there was a bit of a hint at the end), but I still liked it.

However, as much as it surprises me to admit this, I liked the ending of H2O better. The series had a lot of flaws, and this last episode made a lot of logical jumps, but for the last 10 minutes, it had me going "OH NOES, HAYAMI-CHAAAAAAAN!" Even though I guessed that scene was coming, and I thought she wasn't too smart for doing that... in any case, despite all the problems with the episode, I liked it.

And no, I don't think H2O rocked my soul. I probably wouldn't recommend it to anybody either. My rating for it is a 7 -- it had some nice music, and it had some interesting ideas, but it wasn't pulled off that well and the animation quality wasn't too hot.

Rock Band is a time sink

My evenings this past week have been spent either doing homework, or playing Rock Band at my friend's house. Rock Band has this strange ability to make time disappear -- I'll start playing, then BAM next time I look at the clock it's two hours later. I really, really want to get my own PS3 now so that I can play Rock Band in my own apartment instead of lugging all the equipment to my friends' houses.

I would really like some way to have community-made songs; my dream is to have God Knows from Haruhi in Rock Band.

On an unrelated note, DTXmania is not quite the drum game I thought it was going to be. It's pretty complicated (like it has 6 different drums!) and the songs on the easiest level are still pretty darn hard! Also, playing any of these music games on the computer is kind of a pain, as you have to worry about lag (my awesome computer lags every now and then in Frets on Fire).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Frets on fire: be the guitar hero you never were

I bought Rock Band (which is on sale at Target this week for $157, btw) tonight. I spent the last hour playing it on my PC with Frets on Fire, and I can happily report that the PS3 Rock Band guitar works with Frets on Fire just fine. The wireless dongle shows up as a USB HID device in Windows XP, and it shows up as a normal game controller. You can then map the guitar keys to the appropriate controls in Frets on Fire.

So why is this related to anime? Well, much like Stepmania, there's a whole community of people that make files for Frets on Fire, and you can find things like God Knows for it!

And supposedly the Rock Band drums work with DTXMania, though I haven't tried it yet. And yes, there is God Knows for the drums as well, though I haven't tried it yet (too lazy to unpack the drums tonight).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Weekly Vocaloid Ranking #23

I could duplicate all the work of this Weekly vocaloid ranking blog, but they've done such a wonderful job that I think you should just visit that site.

Best song of the week: Kokoro (Kagamine Rin)
Second best song of the week: Koi wa sensou (Hatsune Miku)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Anime and linux

I was going through my Google Analytics data and found I was mentioned in an Ani-nouto blog post. He (she? it?) does, correctly, point out that there is no real relation to linux and anime in my previous post, but it's pretty hard to watch anime when you get distracting video tearing.

But anyway, a few tips for people watching anime in linux:
What video player to use? - MPlayer has the best support for softsubbed anime; it supports embedded fonts and formats the subs correctly, unlike VLC (though this depends on what options it was compiled with, but I just compiled my own). However, VLC is somewhat easier to use, since it has a decent GUI. But it's worth learning how to use mplayer; I like it so much I use it on my mac, thanks to some on the AnimeSuki forums that have made a nice package for OS X.
Screen captures with MPlayer - Just use the x11 video output module (-vo x11 on the command line), and take screenshots with your favorite program, or add -vf screenshot to your command line and hit the s key.
Downloading anime - Use Azureus. You can also download the ScaneRSS plugin and configure it to download anime from the Tokyotosho RSS feed. For example, I use the RSS feed for only anime, and setup a filter with a pattern like:
I'll probably have a more detailed post once I get the time to take screenshots.

As an aside, let me on why I'm using Windows now. I used Linux for about 7 years; for 4 of those years, I used Linux pretty much exclusively. I liked it because, back then, it was stable and ran faster than XP on my admittedly low-end computer at the time. I also liked the window managers better than Windows and the fact that I could pretty much configure everything how I wanted. So what happened? Simply put, I found that I was actually wasting too much time with in linux, due to its configurability, and the fact that programs were getting updated all the time. I also had some hardware that didn't work in linux (printer, scanner, iPod, at the time, Windows Mobile PDA, etc). So I switched to Windows for 2 years. About 6 months ago, I did a massive computer upgrade, and figured it was a good time to switch back to using linux, which is when I encountered all those problems. I still boot into linux whenever ATI releases a new driver to see if the video tearing is still there, but, as much as I hate to admit it, Vista is running pretty well so I'm not too inclined to switch.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cheap ADV anime from Rightstuf!

Rightstuf is having another one of their studio sales! This time it's 40% off ADV titles until March 16. I'd suggest the following, if you don't have them already:

Five Centimeters per Second
RahXephon Complete Collection
Elfen Lied Complete Collection
FMP: Fumoffu Complete Collection
Full Metal Panic

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Weekly Vocaloid Ranking #22

Other blogs seem to be slacking on updating the weekly rankings, so here they are for you! (Update: The weekly vocaloid ranking site finally made a post! And it has links to each song on Youtube, so check it out.) So a (rhetorical?) question: what do you value in a Vocaloid song? I really like songs where the creator has made the voice sound as natural as possible, but listening to the rankings, there are a lot of songs where the voice still sounds mechanical. Are my expectations too high? Part 2 after the break.

Tsukihime: vampires, oh my!

I spent my weekend and the better part of my evenings this week playing (do you really "play" a visual novel?) Tsukihime. The English patch has been out for quite a while now (over a year), so I'm not sure why I didn't play it sooner, but it's probably because I watched the anime first and wasn't too inspired to play the game. That was quite a mistake, the game is pretty awesome. Like most anime adaptations, the anime didn't do justice to the visual novel. There is a lot more depth to the characters, and their actions make a lot more sense. I've completed the Arcueid and Ciel routes and liked them both, possibly because I'm a poor, lonely guy or because the writing is just awesome :P. In any case, if you can *ahem* get your hands on a copy, I'd suggest going through it. Arcueid's route took me about 5 hours, and Ciel's route took me about 4 (even with skipping scenes I've seen before). There is a good walkthrough if you're too lazy to play the game, but you really should!