Anime

Idol hands have busy fingers


Molesting Magical Girls, episode 9

Our Bustiest Magical Girl is still trying to overcome her forbidden desires, but it turns out that pretty much anything can flip her switch now. Meanwhile, Our Terrible Idol Singer and friend try for an exhibition rematch with Our Naughty Trio that ends up revealing secret things.

Also, “Oh, that’s where our bath scene went!”, say the girls of McPharma. Not that it ends well for Azure.

Verdict: having Baiser’s attempt to dominate Loco backfire was a nice touch. Kind of a “won the battle, lost the war” moment.

Shangri-La Frontier, episodes 1-20

Had some dead time, so I binged this. A bit shouty for my tastes, especially when Vanilla Bunny freaks out (which is often), but the girls are cute and the art and animation are pretty good. (they really can’t cut the budget too much for something that’s explicitly supposed to be the best VR game…)

Verdict: am I a bad person for wanting to see Chocolate Bunny’s human transformation?

The name’s the thing

Coming soon, your iTools .Mac MobileMe me.com iCloud AppleID will be your Apple Account. That oughta fix it.

McPharmaFam & Hero-2, episode 8


In which the formerly-dysfunctional former-hero former-party throws down with the new kid, who just keeps getting worse. The real problem with this episode, though, is that they forgot to include bath scenes.

Verdict: if I’m going to put up with Wackjob Zealot Van and His Tiny OP Girlfriend, I insist that the girls bathe frequently.

(LLENN says, “show me the honey! or else!”)

Jin Rummy


Solo Repeating, episode 7.5

Clip episode; new material next week. Also, Crunchyroll just announced a two-episode documentary about the franchise, which strongly suggests that there should be more cours coming.

(after complaining about all the Jin-something characters in this show, I noticed that despite the subtitles calling Our Player “Jinwoo”, the japanese dialogue just has him as “Jin”; sigh)

The Apothecary Diaries, episode 20

This week, Maomao channels her inner Tanya Degurechaff while earning her Scooby Snacks, and any remaining ambiguity about Jinshi and Gaoshun’s manliness is removed. After tying up all the recent mysteries, it’s back to the harem, with Gyokuyo possibly preggers while the emperor tries to avoid knocking up the new gal. Who seems to be the well-informed scheming type; her plans might be subtle, but the show’s aren’t (“is this a foreshadow I see before me?”).

Verdict: much better than last week, although rehashing that mess cost them some points. Which they earned back when Maomao completely lost her shit reserve.

On Golden Pon

I found an actual “999 fine” gold mahjong set! The devil’s in the details, though, since the actual gold content is 0.1 grams per tile…

(no self-respecting dragon would settle for foil wrappers)

Mindless Magic Made Manifest


Frieren, episode 24

I kind of wish they’d made all these other mages interesting before demanding that I care about them. As it is, I can’t keep track of their personalities and powers from week to week.

Verdict: the only thing I really liked was Fern’s jealousy. If she reacted like that around her boyfriend, one or the other of them might figure out that he is her boyfriend.

Community Pon-Service, episode 8

Apparently all the opening dream sequences are based on a well-known video on how to cheat at mahjong. After that, though, this episode has even less to do with mahjong than usual, with Our Lead Girl being volunteered to produce thousands of paper lanterns for a festival on very short notice. Naturally the gang joins in, and the rest of the episode is spent making them, setting them up, and viewing them. The mahjong references are restricted to drawing the tiles on some of the lanterns, which means they continue the welcome trend of no man-face jokes.

But hey, it takes place over several days, and they wear different outfits; it’s hardly like anime at all!

Verdict: my greatest disappointment is that they completely skipped over the part where Our Goth Girl slept over; they immediately cut to meeting up at the parlor the next morning. On the bright side, they promised Our Poor Little Riiche Girl a pajama party…

  1. the only way to get the tiles out is to dump the box, which is sure to damage the table.
  2. putting a handle on the case is kinda pointless, given the weight. It should have wheels.
  3. the box lid is as deep as the base, which makes no sense whatsoever.
  4. she paid to commision solid gold tiles, but then had them engraved and painted with the exact same design as a $50 Chinese-made set?

Speaking of which, here’s a copper mahjong set that is, to be blunt, gaudy crap. It’s also one of the many phony “vintage” sets being sold on etsy and ebay. As in, “vintage last Thursday”.

While we’re on the subject…

It seems that last year The Forces Of Evil attacked an American mahjong company for creating whimsical tiles. Apparently they were whitewashing and culturally appropriating an ancient treasure of Chinese culture (that’s barely 150 years old, was banned in China for much of that time, and has been modified continuously by pretty much every other country in the world for roughly 100 years). It should surprise no one that the only people outraged were upper-middle-class white women, which ironically was also the target market.

I wonder if they’d have been equally outraged by this sparkplug set or this anime character set

Molesting Magical Girls, episode 8


In which Our Rejected Sub seeks martial counseling, Our Not-Evil-Just-Naughty Team meets their Actually-Evil Superiors and faces holy marshmallow hell, Our Terrible Idol Singer is severely punished for failure, Our Naughty Dom levels up and gets serious with Her Lying Mascot, and Our Gun-Crazy Weakest Tamer Panty Fighter grows up just a little.

Verdict: I approve of Loco Musica’s costume, her display of more jiggle in 30 seconds than an entire season of Pon No Michi (including the credits), and even the part where she strips while facing the camera, but there was nothing playful or fun about the whipping she took after that, which is not the sort that belongs on cheesecake. Villains gotta villain, sure, but no more of that, please; we get it, Evil Lord Is Evil.

(this week they brought out the big guns, and when I say big guns…)

Dear Adobe,

Why does Illustrator default to 1 decimal place of precision for SVG export when the tooltip says “3 is the best choice for most files”?

(four-eyed pony girls are four-eared as well!)

The adventures of Jin-something


Solo Lettering, episode 7

A common piece of advice for fiction writers is to not give a lot of characters similar names, to reduce the burden on the reader. Usually when I start coming up with aliases for anime characters it’s because I’m feeling trope-y, but this show’s got real issues:

Jinwoo’s Our Hero, Jinah’s His Hot Little Sister, Jinho’s Our Clingy Sidekick, Jinhee is His Big Sister, and Joohee’s Our Hot Not-Girlfriend.

Anyway, apart from some little-sister time, this is an “am I strong enough” big fight episode, in which the answer is “no, but since you refuse to just lay down and die, kinda yes in the end”. It’ll be a while before he returns to this too-tough dungeon, but when he does, Esil is waiting for him. And I’m waiting for Esil.

Verdict: they continue to pace this as if a second cour is guaranteed. Hope they’re right.

The Apothecary Diaries, episode 19

In which all the pieces fall into place. Unfortunately, they land on Maomao, leading to the second melodramatic insert song of the series.

This felt way too contrived, leading me to wonder if they over-compressed the relevant scenes from the book. The timing is just too precise, and the last puzzle-piece literally came out of nowhere. And where the fuck was Gaoshun for all of this?

Verdict: weakest episode of both seasons. Do better. On the bright side, you can stick a fork in the big secret, it’s done.

(we need a better Great Detective; this one’s broken)

McPharmacist & Fam, episode 7

In which Our Psycho New Hero’s severe fundamentalism is about to clash with the laid-back lifestyle in Zoltan, Our Slow Couple fights special ogres using the power of panned stills, Our Best Girl Assassinette deflects suspicion by being selectively honest about her motives, and Our Hot Wife And Sister bathe together with the clingiest buy-the-bluray soap bubbles available.

FYI, if you’re starting to conclude that Almighty Demis is a real dick of a god, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Sigh.

Verdict: the decision to compensate viewers with bath scenes for having to put up with the plot was a good one.

Say it with pon

Based on the 23-minute ad that was episode 4 of Pon No Michi, I downloaded the Mahjong Soul app to my iPad and tried it out. Okay, I soaked up every available English-language reference and played for several days on the offline app Kemono Mahjong first, which is a decent basic implementation of Japanese “riichi” mahjong (the relevant one of the bewildering variety of variations), with some non-animated low-budget furry NPC art.

KM is indie, while MJS comes from the same publisher as Azur Lane, etc, so it’s a polished game with plenty of cheesecake (and bishicake) avatars you can win through really expensive gatcha pulls. So don’t do that, just play with one of the two you get at the start. And don’t let anyone look over your shoulder if you’re playing in the office. During actual matches it’s fine, since you need every pixel to show everyone’s tiles clearly (I need my bifocals for this one); it’s just the random loading screens with lightly-covered T&A that could require explaining.

You can set up a private game with bots and longer timeouts until you feel confident enough to play against actual people, of which I haven’t seen less than a thousand online at any time of the day or night. Having skipped all mahjong-related movies, manga, and anime, I went into it cold, and had to find a few cheat-sheets for valid hands, which I’m still working on. I’m not even trying to learn how to score yet, though.

Verdict: free to play, money only buys you dress-up dollies and decorations, hardest part is learning to create valid complete hands. The game will do all the grunt work, including showing you every legal opportunity to draw from someone else’s discard pile. You just have to ignore the shiny buttons for a while until you figure out when they actually help your hand.

Unrelated, Apple iCloud QA

I went to save a bookmark from Safari on my iPad for later use on my Mac (the various orderings of the Discworld novels, after a massive Humble Bundle…). I was just going to dump it into my generic “Stuff” folder, except that didn’t exist. Check the Mac, it’s there, but it’s missing on the iPad (and iPhone). Drag it around, rearrange it, delete it, re-add it, etc, nothing. Every other bookmark and folder synced immediately, but not that one. Copy-paste to create an entirely new folder with all the same things inside it? The new one immediately appears on all devices.

With that sorted out, I added the new bookmark from the iPad. It took several minutes to appear on the Mac.

By the way, Rakuten Kobo’s iPad client works fine for manga, but has terrible page-turning lag for novels. Go figure.

(this is definitely not a Discworld elf!)

Once upon a cyberdoll...


(I was planning to post this Friday night, but I saw three inches of global warming building up, so I saved my energy for clearing my steep 75-foot driveway first thing Saturday morning, before the delivery drivers showed up. The scraping and salting took quite a while, and led to a relaxing soak in the oversized tub that requires every drop of hot water in the house. Then a nap. And Chinese takeout once the roads were clear)

Hand Maid May Bluray!

This one’s a guilty pleasure that Steven and I spent a lot of time talking about back in the day. Possibly the thing I’m most looking forward to is that it won’t have the obnoxious-to-navigate menu system the DVDs had, which tries to tie into the first episode, and which uses the English dub actor for Nanbara, who was terrible at it. It’s not any more fun in Japanese, but it was a dumb idea for the US market at the time, where most people buying the DVD wouldn’t have seen the show on TV first to get the joke.

There was an attempt at an adult OVA sequel, Hand Maid Mai, which was largely handled by the C team at the studio, but it completely lacked the charm of the original, and the best thing about it was the ED song. Only the first episode was released, despite studio claims that the entire thing was completed and ready to go once they worked out the problems with their bankrupt distributor.

(and, yes, that’s a link to a 21-year-old web site)

(it comes out the same day as Farm-Related Skills AKA Hoe Harem, and Fired From The Demon King’s Army AKA Twin Peaks)

Frieren, episode 23

If there’s a mimic on the mantel in the first act…

Verdict: there’s finally a reason she keeps falling for it. The other mages are still annoying and tedious, but at least they’re flashy this week. Next week: that’s just not fair.

(I might even learn the name of the cute refugee from Dead Or Alive if this keeps up)

Bikini Pon, episode 7

We begin by celebrating International Mahjong Day (Pai No Hi, not to be confused with National Mahjong Day in April or Pie Day in March), which is also Pai’s birthday. At the beach. In swimsuits. Surprisingly service-free swimsuits. Despite a game of beach volleyball.

I’m willing to believe that Our Little Riiche Girl is so divorced from the concept of money that she’s willing to give a solid-gold mahjong set as a birthday present, but what I’m not willing to believe in is a solid-gold mahjong set. Never mind that the tiles would weigh about 30 48 pounds and be worth over $800,000 $1,150,000 just for the metal, solid gold is soft; there’s a reason it’s not used much. This may be a mis-translation in the subs; I’ll have to listen to the Japanese dialog more carefully on a rewatch to see if she says “jun-kin” 純金. [update: yes, she says jun-kin, and so does the magic bird]

That said, it would have made a much better joke if they’d turned out to be gold-wrapped chocolate in a weighted box; she wouldn’t look like the sort of heiress who’ll hand over the family fortune to two gigolos and a psychic. Now, if she were giving away Riiche’s Peaches, I’d be all in, but it’s not that kind of show.

(yes, there’s a maid in red under-rim glasses for some reason)

Swiftly, Discord!

My spam folder had a bunch of messages telling me to log into Discord and change my username from the deprecated “name#number” format. But it wasn’t my Discord username, and it went to a non-standard email address. Not one of my used-with-one-vendor-only aliases, just one that I don’t typically use for online services.

The message certainly looked legit, and the links in the email went to the right place, so I went to their site and requested a password reset. Sure enough, the account existed, and it was subscribed to some modder’s forum that I don’t remember ever using eight years ago. The username was a keyboard pattern, so all I can think is that I made a throwaway in order to download one mod, and didn’t even bother recording the username or password. Deleted now.

(hmmm, robot maid or robot bunny girl? Or embrace the power of “and” and embrace both?)

Molesting Magical Girls, episode 7


Achievement unlocked: Break The Cutie! In which we learn the innocent origin of Our Dominant Villainess’ naughty obsession, and watch Our Bustiest Magical Girl reveal her origin while falling into despair as her will to fight is compromised by her submissive awakening. With plenty of nudity, of course.

Verdict: the production team’s real kink is storytelling. Next week: the other two girls in the OP have been out there kicking Magical Girl ass, not just spanking it. Or spanking it.

Reference Density, Pon Edition

An occasional mahjong blogger watched Pon No Michi and called out all the references in the first two episodes (1, 2), including the OP and ED songs. I imagine this will continue.

(this picture has more bounce than six episodes of the show…)

Killer Bingo

Did you have illegal alien, person of color, fraudulent voter, Bernie supporter, schizophrenic, repeatedly involuntarily committed, identified as opposite sex (but hasn’t been claimed by trans activists for some reason…), lengthy criminal record, Hamas supporter, illegal gun purchaser, church shooter, and suicide-by-cop on your card? Bingo!

Squirrel!

When activists and lawmakers work to disarm the populace and force them to rely on professionals for protection, maybe they should, y’know, train them, so they don’t shoot up their own (occupied) squad car because they heard an acorn hit it.

(I like cops, and appreciate the value they provide to society, but most of them can’t shoot for shit, and this one was clearly a touch too excitable for the profession)

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