December 2004

Anime Endings: Kaleido Star, Season One (discs 1-6)

You know, I originally started buying this series on a whim, thinking that it might be amusing, well-drawn, cheery fluff. I figured that it would be entertaining, but not good enough to justify the pre-release hype.

I was wrong.

In any sort of fiction, the people who get the most out of it are the ones who come to feel for the characters and their situations, and this requires placing a lot of trust in the creators, a faith that the story will continue to be told well. All too often, this faith is misplaced, and the ending hits them like a slap in the face. In anime, it’s usually called “the Gainax ending,” named after the company who seems to hit fans the hardest. Evangelion and Mahoromatic seem to set the standard for this sort of ending, although they came painfully close to finishing Mahoro’s story well before pulling a Zeist at the last minute (apologies to anyone who was trying to forget that Highlander 2 ever existed).

The creators of Kaleido Star never abuse the fan’s faith in the story. They make a lot of promises early on about the people, the place, and the plot, and they keep those promises, episode after episode. The result is a show that keeps getting better, building up to a climax that is both surprising and pleasing. Even if you failed to avoid the remarkable number of shameless spoilers put out by ADV, Newtype, and everyone else in the business, you’re still in for a treat. It’s so good, even a publicist can’t ruin it.

Season two? I’ll buy the entire thing, sight unseen.

Snake-oil alert!

I’m sorry, but Matsushita lost my battery business right here:

Reporters were also shown audio players powered by a regular battery vs. Oxyride. The one with Oxyride delivered a stronger, deeper bass, and Matsushita officials said some music experts express a preference for Oxyride.

Yes, not only does their battery last significantly longer in portable devices, it makes them sound better, too. I’m surprised they didn’t also claim that it improves the contrast on your digital camera.

Hey, Fark, ya mistagged this one!

The government of the city of San Francisco wants to ban all private possession of handguns. Oddly, Fark tagged it as Misc. I’d have gone with Asinine or Dumbass, myself.

Money quote:

Barnes said the initiative is a response to San Francisco's skyrocketing homicide rate, as well as other social ills.

Yes, their response to a “skyrocketing homicide rate” is to make sure that only people who disobey the law have guns. And government agents, of course. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to the four remaining gun owners in SF, of course; the city hounded the gun-shop owners out years ago, and if there’s one thing they can’t stand in San Francisco, it’s people who don’t conform.

AP phone poll

Got an amusing phone poll tonight, by some company called Ipsos, on behalf of the AP. They led off by asking about approval of Bush and Congress, then asked if I liked NASCAR racing, then a series of questions about ice cream as a comfort food and “relationship bonding” tool, then New Years resolutions about diet/lifestyle, then pizza delivery chains, then specifically about Dominos Pizza, then about Dominos’ sponsorship of NASCAR, then buying prescription drugs from Canada and Mexico, then whether I was some variety of born-again or evangelical Christian, and finally the usual demographics.

Each segue was accompanied by the words “now on an unrelated topic”. Unrelated, my ass; they were definitely trying to tie things together to support a predetermined conclusion. About the only thing they left out was the gay-rights issue.

I’m quite certain that my answers won’t fit their spin. :-)

Constantine Bewitched

After viewing the latest trailers, I just can’t decide which film is going to be worse, Nicole Kidman’s Bewitched (yes, that Bewitched) or Keanu’s Constantine. For a long time, I thought Constantine would set a new low in franchise abuse, but then I was exposed to the concept of Kidman as Samantha.

I have to admit that I can’t think of a better Endora than Shirley MacLaine, although I doubt that will be enough to save it. For me, Kidman’s best film will always be BMX Bandits.

Anime Endings: Kiddy Grade

After I finished watching this series, I started imagining how they came up with it…

(warning: some spoilers included)


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