November 2013

Halloween monster report


A few Iron Men and Captains America, zombies male and female (including an undead prom queen), a pirate girl who could have been quite sexy if she’d been old enough for her taste in clothing, a lovely princess a few years shy of kissing her first frog, a teen witch who bought her stockings and heels at Fredericks of Hollywood and the rest of her costume at Toys R Us, and the usual assortment of ghosts, vampires, dinosaurs, ninjas, bears, cats, hungry teenagers, etc, many of them barely old enough to lisp out a “thank you”. The youngest were invariably accompanied by rather attractive mothers dressed up as Suburban MILFs.

[young teen girls with black-framed glasses in relatively normal clothing was a big thing this year; they looked to be dressed up as something, but beyond “cute nerd girl”, I couldn’t guess]

Since the neighbors at the end of the street started putting on a haunted house a few years ago, I’ve bumped up my candy supply. I give out large handfuls, so I figured 40 pounds wasn’t going to cut it this year, and bought 11 five-plus-pound bags at Costco. I had maybe a bag and a half left at 8:30. If they’d kept coming for another half-hour, I’d have been out.

Off to the convenience store!


Captain Future goes out for twinkies and beer...

SAO Swimsuit Special


Crunchyroll reports that they’ll be simulcasting the Sword Art Online Extra Edition special episode, in which sister/cousin/haremette Leafa/Suguha learns to swim in the real world, so they can do an underwater quest in the virtual world.

No doubt the next special episode will send the girls to an onsen so Liz can overcome her fear of steam.

They could have animated the one-and-only story with Asuna as the protagonist, but no, they went for the fan-service.

Pop Quiz


Q: How do you say “pop quiz” in Japanese?

A: 抜き打ちテスト, “nukiuchi test”

The literal meaning of nukiuchi is to draw your sword and attack in one motion, but over time it’s come to mean “doing something suddenly, without warning”.

These days I’m more likely to draw swords than take quizzes, so I was briefly surprised when I found it used in a discussion of Marika’s performance at school.

Yuu-shibu manga comparison


[Update: I just bought the second volume of the straight adaptation. I hope they do this properly in the anime, because there’s a real story going on, and I quite enjoyed the revelation of how the Demon Lord was defeated.]

So I picked up the Kindle editions of the first volume from both of the Yuu-shibu manga. The one that’s actually called Yuu-shibu is the extra-ecchi version that adds Elza, Lam, Nova, and a lot more fan-service, while the one that shares the novels’ full ridiculous title looks like a more direct adaptation. The anime is using a lot of material from the ecchi manga.

The simplest way to explain the difference is to show the Witch’s Arms… (NSFW!)

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Yuu-shibu story potential


After looking at both manga (which I’ll just call Straight and Ecchi, to keep it clear), I think I know where the anime is going, and how they’re going to get there. They seem to be mostly following Ecchi, and usually toning it down a bit (manga: Nova trips and plants her crotch in Raul’s face, Lam flips up Elza’s skirt to show Raul her sexy panties, tentacles are very ecchi, etc; anime: magical bukkake). Character design is pretty consistent across all three versions:

Yuu-shibu manga (straight), Fino and Sarah

Both manga follow more or less the same path so far, with volume one ending soon after the Witch’s Arms incident. There’s some young Fino flashbacks in Straight that set up the big reveal in volume 2, but nothing comparable in Ecchi.

The big reveal in Straight comes less than halfway into volume 2, before Amada appears on the scene. Volume 2 of Ecchi isn’t out for another six weeks or so, but I’m guessing they do the same.

I think the order of those events is what they’re changing for the anime. Speculations and spoilers below:

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Smoke ’em if you got ’em


Volcano edition:

Mt Etna blows smoke rings

(via Volcano Discovery)

Danger Level: Freckles


Kanae Kanzaki

Kanae Kanzaki, collected here, here, here, and of course a google image search for 神崎かなえ will find plenty more. It looks like she did some part-time amateur modeling in college, then moved on. Her blog is abandoned, “her” twitter account exists only to promote some digital photobooks by one of the photographers who shot her, and I haven’t found anything to suggest that she’s still getting in front of cameras. Pity.

Queen’s Blade, The Live


Queen’s Blade, the ecchi anime, was based on a set of game books featuring art by popular character designers, with rules from the old Lost Worlds game books.

To attract a new audience, the latest set features photos of popular cheesecake models such as Ayaka Sayama, who takes the role of Captain Liliana.

Queen's Blade The Live, Captain Liliana
Ayaka Sayama, out of her pirate gear

No Bodacious Space Pirates were harmed in the production of these books.

Yuu-shibu 8: Bikinis and plot crumbs


As I feared, they’re setting up the Amada arc to finish out the season, and the final scene makes it clear that they’ve merged it with the plot of book 1. They now have four episodes left to bring it all together, and while I appreciate the eye-candy and the culturally-acclimated evil genius that is Lamdimia do Aximimor, I wonder if they can finish the story properly, or if they’re too busy setting up “buy the BluRay” scenes.

The revelation of how the Demon Lord was defeated should still be worthwhile, but I worry that the actual resolution will be over-shadowed by the cheesecake. I think they’re going to try to have all the girls there for the big finish, particularly Lore and Lam. That will involve some rather contrived plotting unless they move it to the Leon store.

Not that the novels are short on cheesecake…

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Lost in translation: Lam-chan Punch!


[Update3: just rewatched the episode and there’s another translation that doesn’t work; I didn’t comment on it earlier because at the critical moment, I wasn’t looking at the subtitles. At 17:35, Elza flirtingly asks Raul to take her picture, insisting he’d do a better job than the customers. But what she says is “you’d take me properly, wouldn’t you?” and “(I) want you to take (something)”. His blood-starved brain wasn’t capable of handling the omitted word “photographs”, which explains his panicked reaction, something that the translation obscures. You can see that she’s being “haha, only serious”, but his hysteria doesn’t make sense if you follow the subtitles.]

At 15:15 in episode 8, Lam announces her intention to help improve sales, translated by Crunchyroll and those who copied their work as “Lamdimia do Aximemor will just have to get hot and heavy…”. Raul then says “hot and heavy?” while looking her up and down, which leads her to clobber him. Unfortunately, the “hot and heavy” choice doesn’t really work for either her meaning or Raul’s misinterpretation. It’s easy to forgive, though, because it’s a bit tricky to match the idiom.

Her exact words were “hitohada nuide”, from the verb 一肌脱ぐ = “to pitch in and help”, but literally a compound of hitohada (skin) and nugu (to undress). Raul, dazed from the heat (or a lack of blood flow to the brain from all the eye candy), heard only the literal meaning and gave her bikini-clad body the once-over.

[Update: to clarify, there are two different words read as “hitohada”: 一肌 and 人肌. The first (“one+skin”) means to help out, the second (“person+skin”) means skin. JMdict doesn’t list 一肌 as a standalone word, and uses both versions for the compound hitohada-nugu; my good dictionary separates the two. ]

I think I might have gone with “give it her all”; it changes her intended meaning a bit, but works in both contexts.

[Update2: Actually, it looks like the key piece of the idiom is hada-nugu, 肌脱ぐ; alone, it means “to take your shirt off” or “to work with great effort”, and in addition to hitihada-nugu, there’s also katahada-nugu, 片肌脱ぐ “to bare one shoulder” or “to lend a hand”. Lam-chan’s shoulder was already bare, so that expression wouldn’t have confused poor Raul the same way.]

What is this “turkey” you speak of?


My leftovers didn’t come from no bird:

Ribs from my smoker

(sadly, while Costco usually trims the silverskin, they apparently got too busy the day before Thanksgiving, so while these are delicious, the smoke didn’t penetrate the underside as thoroughly as I’d like)

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