“Speaking as a lifelong female, it was very encouraging to discover that there’s nothing as weird about guns as some guys are about guns.”

— Teresa Neilsen Hayden

Shy, episode 1

Meet Our Shy Heroine Shy, who is both shy and Shy. Gifted with generic superpowers and crippling social anxiety, this newbie superhero is… less of a goofball than the more established heroes in her world. They skipped the origin story and dropped you right into her daily life, but also managed to cram in an entire crisis-of-confidence arc, set up Our Busty Drunken Popular Russian Heroine as a big sister figure, have Kikuko Inoue show up to announce a future conflict that’s worse than war, put Our Creepy Lurker Boy in the background, and still have time to airdrop Our Future Best Friend in at the end.

No idea where this is going, but it follows the same Western superhero tropes as My Hero Academia, including the first thing that All Might pointed out to his protégé: the heroes are the ones who run toward danger.

Verdict: if they can keep the shy/Shy thing from making her a one-trick pony girl (as opposed to a trick-turning pony-girl, which would liven up that other show…), I think I’ll like it. Lots of well-known voice actors in this one as well, including a few favorites. Bonus points for the lead actress not sounding anything like her vampire waifu from Hoe Harem or her desert princess from Restaurant To Another World.

Fan-art note: searching for the official title シャイ is useless, because it’s a substring match for the far-more-popular Idolmaster: Shiny Colors series. Hashtag SHY works better, excluding 99%+ of the irrelevant results, leaving you with a small number of SFW pics where the characters are at least recognizable (and the usual porn).

(the rest of the new shows I’ll try to watch won’t be until Saturday, when I expect to be disappointed by Shut-in Vampire, and hope to not be disappointed by Tearmoon and Potion Loli)

Irregular Witches, episode 1

Officially, Dekoboko Majo no Oyako Jijou (“The Family Circumstances of the Irregular Witch”). I’ve always thought dekoboko (bumpiness, roughness; imbalance, inequality) was an interesting word, largely because of how it’s written: 凸凹. There aren’t a lot of Tetris kanji.

Anyway, this is a show about Our Legal Loli Witch Mama and Her Voluptuous Witchy Adopted Daughter. Cons: it’s a four-koma gag comedy. Pros: voluptuous witchy adopted daughter.

Verdict: I lasted 4.5 minutes, and that includes the opening credits. Too shouty, and there’s something off about the faces. This was not unexpected, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

Time to wash the memory of this away with a Komi/Yor crossover:

(this is the second “found a baby in the woods” show of the season; how many more will there be?)

Someday, my (3d) prints will come

Looks like the latest firmware update bricked my Bambu Lab X1C. Customer support should will be mailing a new AP board out to me in a day or so.

Update: While the initial response from customer service took a few days, once it was in someone's queue, I got responses on both Saturday and Sunday. So, yes, they still need to staff up (the cloud hasn't been their only difficulty adjusting to success), but once you reach someone, they're good.

The one snag is that there's a final handshake when you replace the AP board, and that's sending them the old and new serial numbers so they can update your registration in their system, so you can re-bind your printer to your account. For The Cloud, of course.

Frieren, episodes 1-4

[this was advertised as a two-hour-ish premiere, but Crunchyroll has it broken up into four normal-sized episodes, each with OP/ED. Since they’re continuing directly into the next season, it will either run longer than the usual 24-26 or finish up early]

Warning: autotune is a privilege, not a right. And that’s the last time I want to hear the OP song for this show. The ED song is listenable and fitting, at least.

With that out of the way, it’s a slow, quiet show, so the acting and the art style reflect that; the animation budget makes it feel a bit like a video game, getting choppy in scenes full of background characters, but smoother when focused on the story. The backgrounds are a more realistic style while characters are closer to the usual, which makes them pop without looking like they don’t belong. As a bonus, the lead voice actress does not use her Anya Forger voice!

The first two are tearjerkers, so unlike most anime, a box of tissues would have a wholesome use. Comic relief is provided by Frieren’s unusually close relationship with mimics. Things lighten up for the next two episodes, as she acquires an apprentice, lets her hair down, and begins to pay more attention to the lives of the mayflies around her.

Verdict: a solid start to an interesting story.

(…and this is the second most popular fan-picture that doesn’t involve cock; seriously, they barely made the top 20)

S-Rank Daddy's Girl, episode 1

Turns out Crunchyroll isn’t on the one-week delay for this show that most networks in Japan are, so I got a pleasant surprise this morning.

The first episode is all setup, but it’s good setup. The Tenka Seiha preview is, to be kind, baffling, bearing no resemblance to this show. And I say that having read the 9 currently-translated light novels.

What there is is a grown man who reflexively shoulders responsibility, an adopted daughter who dearly loves him in a completely appropriate (if slightly obsessive) way, and a growing collection of people who fill in the gaps between his slow village life and her adventures.

The art style is distinctive and leans towards realism, in both characters and background, which goes a long way to compensate for the limited animation budget. And there’s basically no fan-service of the usual sort: female adventurers wear clothing and armor, and damsels in distress are rescued before they’re stripped for the camera (even the one with red under-rim glasses…).

Our Devoted Heroine is a 17-year-old adventurer who has spent five years building up an impressive reputation, and is a victim of her success, unable to get free time to visit her rural home town. Our Doting Dad is a 40-ish farmer who lost a leg during his brief adventuring career, but grew up into a solid, dependable grownup who raises his daughter to be caring as well as skilled, and is honorary uncle to every kid in the village.

Verdict: I was really looking forward to this one, and the first episode met my expectations.

(I give it the Rory Mercury seal of approval)

Nasally-inserted fire...

You Will Be Upgraded

For some reason, Amazon recommended a cheesy anti-snoring aid to me, sort of a bargain-basement CPAP that puts Chinese-made rechargeable batteries up your nose. The most interesting thing about it was the before/after picture:

(the reviews look as authentic as the photos; unrelated, the broken item that was rejected by the shipper was automatically refunded today (really 3-5 days from now), and the re-order will supposedly arrive in two days, shipped from a local warehouse)

Whoops, You Upgraded!

MacOS Safari 17 removed the Developer menu option to disable Javascript. This is the only way to safely browse many sites, especially the ones with pictures of pretty young women who shouldn’t go out dressed like that.

It’s still possible to disable it globally in the browser preferences, but you can’t assign a keyboard shortcut to that. It might still be possible to do it through a browser extension, but no one has updated their app-store pages to confirm compatibility.

Good thing there are other browsers that don’t know what’s best for you!

Doctor Who Disney

The new Doctor Who specials, featuring cast/crew from another, better time, will stream on Disney+, demolishing whatever interest I might have had. I can’t blame Disney, which secured the rights by the old-fashioned method of investing in the production, but every time I look at Disney+, it has the least to offer of any streaming platform.

(now, if they made a new generation of Cybermen that looked like this…)

Space to breathe

Frieren not only kicks off with a two-hour episode, it will run for two cours. In a row, even.

(wrong elf getting tickled, but I’ve wanted to use this one for a while now)

Local Pie

I finally had a chance to stop by Mehaffies, and didn’t recognize my grandmother in any of the pictures they had from the Thirties. As for the pie and cheesecake, the peach pie had excellent filling and decent crust, while the New York cheesecake was light on both crust and flavor. It would have made a good base for the cherry, strawberry, or blueberry toppings they sell, but it didn’t stand alone.

Pack it up!

Amazon Fragile™

Looks like I’ve got another two-day Prime delivery that’s going to take more than a week, as the bamboo garden stand I ordered was rejected by the carrier for damage and sent back. Switching from reliable delivery to dirt-cheap delivery is not a great long-term strategy, but it must be giving someone a quarterly bonus.

To add insult to injury, the notice that “Unfortunately, a problem occurred during shipping” is accompanied by a “Buy again” button. They should replace that with a “Buy somewhere else” button.

Another day, another data breach

I’ve never done business with Progress Software or used their MOVEit Transfer software, and neither did the credit union holding my HSA account, but their banking-services vendor Sovos did, and therefore I’m one of the 60 million people whose personal and financial information were compromised.

I think this is the third of fourth time I’ve been given free credit monitoring and identity theft protection due to some asshole’s sloppy coding practices.

This week or next…

Crunchyroll hasn’t announced the start date for S-Rank Daddy’s Girl, but it turns out that the previews claiming it’s this week are for one specific “premium” network, and everyone else in Japan gets it next week. Which means that Crunchy probably gets it next week. Sigh.

If that’s the case, it looks like Frieren will be the season opener for me.

(note: this is the most popular fan-art of the title character that does not involve cock; seriously, Pixiv?)

Interviews With Monster Girls manga ends

In translation, that is; it ended in December in Japan. The anime was terrific, but I’ve always had trouble writing about it because I can’t help wishing Steven had lived to see it; I think it would have pushed all of his buttons, not just the one about the gorgeous virgin succubus wearing red under-rim glasses.

I don’t think the post-anime source material would have held together for a second season, but it did at least bring an appropriate conclusion to the growing feelings between Our Iron-Willed Hero and Our Age-Appropriate Heroine.

Dungeon-Drop Gals, final episode

Y’know, it really undermines the seriousness of the cliffhanger boss fight to title the episode “let’s all have a party”. Anyway, Our Well-Strapped Hero quickly figures out its weakness and we move on to the wrap-up, bouncing from one dangling thread to another with whiplash-inducing speeds, with a large side order of warm-and-fuzzy exposition.

But what’s really important is that Our Big-Heart-And-Bust Receptionist finds a way to keep an eye on her love rivals, and Our High-Level Princess blushingly delivers a memorable confession. Which Ryota naturally assumes is just about the dungeon drops…

Verdict: an absurd premise that treats the overpowered cheat isekai tropes just as seriously as they deserve, without a hint of the dark side of the genre. I could watch more, but they’re pretty much out of source material for now.

Random roundup

Drain the swamp!

My landscapers have been wondering why part of my back yard is so soggy, since they’ve overhauled the drainage and put in a lot of thirsty plants.

I’m halfway up a hill, and it hasn’t rained much in weeks, but a large section of the yard near the back fence is downright soggy. They probed in a few places to find the source, and dug down to uncover an old clay-tile drainage pipe running under the fence. It apparently used to run further down toward the street (most likely part of an old irrigation network from the original farmhouse), but it recently broke off right at the property line.

Either there’s a major water reservoir at the top of the hill, or the neighbor has a busted water line and hasn’t noticed the bill. He’ll be very motivated to fix it after my landscapers cap it off on my side. The water is going to have to come out somewhere…


Um, Pete?

“Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

(Update: the link should go directly to his comment, but it ends up showing the entire thread from the top; the bit I'm responding to reads "My harem of slave catgirls is extremely efficient at satisfying my needs, in fact it's superior to any alternatives.")

And you thought light novel titles were bad…

New RPG released for PC, PS5, and Switch:

Mon-Yu: Defeat Monsters And Gain Strong Weapons And Armor. You May Be Defeated, But Don’t Give Up. Become Stronger. I Believe There Will Be A Day When The Heroes Defeat The Devil King.

It looks like a crude dungeon-crawler.


In response to Pippa’s computer woes, someone wrote:

“Even my computer I built myself half hazardously has less problems somehow.”

At least, I’m assuming it’s an eggcorn for haphazardly; otherwise someone’s re-implemented the Halt And Catch Fire opcode. 😁

You’re grounded!

Amazon just offered me a conductive sleeping pad that implements the “proven medical benefits” of sleeping on the ground with a grounding wire. I mean, a doctor said it works, amirite?

Name that tune!

Once upon a time, there was a Jim Croce album featuring not only his best-known songs, but stories linking them together. I had it on vinyl, but I can’t find it on CD or streaming. It’s been frustrating me for decades.

I can hear his voice telling the stories, and remember bits of it, like talking about someone trying to have sex with a really fat woman (“that’s a winter-time woman”) and thinking, “‘am I there? am I there?’ you don’t know!”, and then linking that story to Roller Derby Queen’s line about “built like a ‘fridgerator with a head”. Another was a short explanation of why he didn’t use a guitar strap, because he spent a lot of time playing in cheap bars where he needed to protect his guitar when a fight broke out.

But I can’t even find anyone who mentions an album containing this stuff. Grrr.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”