This wouldn't have happened with Gainsborough or one of those proper painters.

Friday, October 24


One, Two, Chi!

So I took my new anime goodies back downstairs to the living room, where they can sit with the other 80-odd DVDs I have waiting for me to have time to watch them, and there I noticed something odd.

The new volume of Chobits was number 4.

The existing volumes were number 1 (which I have watched) and number 2 (which I will watch, one day).

Those who have taken the advanced course will see the problem here.*

Well. I counted them twice, looked around in case it had crawled off to be with another genre. No dice.** So I headed off to the spare bedroom.

When I'm really busy, but not really really busy, I will go shopping, and then bring the goodies home (whatever they might be) and drop the bags in the spare room. If there's something I want to read or watch or listen to or install right away, I take that one thing, and leave the rest for later. Right now, there's about six months worth of goodies bagged and waiting in that room. Surely Chobits volume 3 was among them?

Well, lets see. Figurines from Love Hina, Oh My Goddess, and Dirty Pair. Not quite what I'm after. The Complete SF Novels of Fredric Brown. I really need to find time to read that, but not what I want right now. Two issues of NewType. Getting warm!

A bag full of Anime DVDs! Paydirt! Two box sets of You're Under Arrest; Inu Yasha, Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar***, Noir... No Cho. No Bits. Rats. Well, not actual rats.

Dig. Six Weird Al Yankovic CDs. Oh, yeah, forgot about those. A 120GB hard disk. Another issue of NewType. Scientific American. Aha! More DVDs.

But no Chobits.

Dig. Aha! Dice! Um, I already have about 200 dice; they live in a vase on my coffee table. I'm not sure why I thought I needed another (count) 28. They are pretty, though.

Rise of Nations. The latest Sims expansion pack.

And there, in a bag, all alone, Chobits 3.

Oh, and if you happen to see a guy in a full suit of armour wandering around, looking lost, I seem to have this grail-looking thingy too.

* "One, two, five!"
   "Three, sir!"

** Well, actually...
*** Fear the power of the cute side!

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Sunday, October 19


Bebop Den Beste

Steven Den Beste has written a lengthy and insightful review of Cowboy Bebop, number 8 on my Anime Top 25. As is his wont, where I said
And, unavoidably, each of them runs into his or her past and has to deal with it.
Den Beste runs into several dozen paragraphs of detailed analysis.

I don't agree with him entirely; I think that Faye in particular was doing better with coming to terms with what she was than he gives her credit for. But then, he's seen the series much more recently than I have, and as a more coherent whole, since I was watching it two episodes at a time as it was first released with subtitles. I mean to watch it again; number 8 out of 25 may not sound very special, but that 25 is itself selected from over 200 anime series that I have seen. And that's ignoring the 500 or so that I read about and decided not to waste my time on. So, number 8 out of 700, really.

Warning: His review gives a lot of spoilers, so go watch the series first, and then read it. Pixy Misa says so.

Update: Steven Den Beste (!) writes in the comments:

Thank you for the kind words. I'm curious to know what you think of my second explanation.
The second explanation is the viewing of Cowboy Bebop as a Ronin saga, that is, the story of masterless Samurai.

This rings true to me.

Now, I haven't sat down and analysed the motivations of the characters in Bebop the way SDB has; nor have I studied Japanese history in any great depth, but I have been exposed to at least the popular version of the Bushido code and the life of the ronin (as in, masterless Samurai, not youths studying for their college entrance exams).

But when I watched Bebop, I had a visceral understanding of Spike and Jet (and Faye and Ed too, but they are less relevant to this discussion). With Jet, this is not difficult, because his actions are not that far from what a certain Western archetype in the same position might do. Watching Spike, though, the only answer to some of the questions of why would he do that? is that he is following a code of honour, that there are certain things he must do to redeem this honour, and that the consequences - even his death, if need be - are less important than that these things are done.

Is it truly Bushido? I don't know; I'm no expert on Bushido, and except for the movie, it has been years since I watched Cowboy Bebop. But nothing in this interpretation strikes a wrong note to my ears.

Update: Untold Millions write in the comments that Bebop is not a classical tragedy, lacking the necessary elements of hubris and nemesis (hubris plus nemesis gives exegesis, if I recall correctly). They (the Millions) also suggest that Spike's code of honour is not Bushido at all. Anyway, since U.S.S. Clueless (quite understandably) lacks comments, feel free to debate the point here.

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Wednesday, October 15


Photos, Day Two

Ash discovers a hitherto unknown Pokemon.

Chiyo and Kagura from Azumanga Daioh. The management, etc, etc.

Pengi-san fall down!

I am not Rei from Sailor Moon. I am not Inu-yasha. Do you see any doggy-ears? Well, I had ears yesterday, but...

Ruri Hoshino from Nadesico. Baka.

Sakura from Naruto.

Um, some chick from Final Fantasy singing a song. Nice costume, tho'.

Lain, Navi, and Man in Black from Serial Experiments Lain. There was another Lain, also in teddy-bear pyjamas; unfortunately my photos of the teddy-bear battle-to-the-death didn't come out.

Girl-type Ranma, just for Daniel.

Posh Spice... Uh, that is, Umi from Magic Knight Rayearth.

Left to right: Seras Victoria from Hellsing - accessories sold separately (in the series, she carries a 30mm cannon as a sidearm); Vash from Trigun; no flaming idea; Yuna's mother from Final Fantasy.

I don't know who this is, but it's still a cute girl in a yukata with a parasol.

Great Director Nabeshin from Excel Saga takes over the stage.

Sakura from... Naruto? Funny, we had no Sakuras from Card Captor Sakura this year.

No Face from Spirited Away.

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Oh, Yes...

The Audience

See what I mean about the girl:guy ratio?

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Photos, Day One

Bohemian Fire Drill

The Anime Fans decamp onto the lawn as flames fail to engulf the building.

Batgirl! Her costume was fetchingly low-cut at the back, with little bat wings... Which I utterly failed to get a picture of.

The Fire Brigade arrives! We are saved!

Cosplay Contest

A rather good Vash the Stampede from Trigun, complete with cat.

Our bat-girl, showing off for the crowd.

Left to right: Umi, Hikaru and Fuu from Magic Knight Rayearth do their famous Dance Dance Revolution routine.

Miyu (right) and Larva (left) from Vampire Princess Miyu.

You need Yu-Gi-Oats!

Four girls and a guy from Gravitation.

Alucard from Hellsing.

One of the girls from Martian Successor Nadesico... I forget which one. A "bridge bunny".

Two of the girls from Azumanga Daioh sing Chiyo-chan's song. Aaaah! Cuteness attack!

Hey, we're on the big screen!

Um... Dejiko and Rabi-en-Rose from Digi Charat. Management takes no responsibility for any side-effects that may ensue.

The boy and girl (whose names I have utterly forgotten) from Hayao Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Really nice costumes, these, simple but effective.

Just another random Yuna.

San from Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke.

Day two to follow...

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Tuesday, October 14


Drat Those Mice!

They ate all my photos!

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Monday, October 13


Animania, Day Two-ish

Just back from day two of Animania. Fortunately, the rain held off until the convention was over. Unfortunately, it didn't hold off until I got home...

News and pictures once I'm dry and have had dinner and maybe a nap and caught up on blogging elsewhere and such.

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Sunday, October 12


Animania, Day One

Today was day one of Animania 2003, Sydney's only dedicated Anime convention. Sure, there are things like Comicfest and Supanova, which are larger and have lots of anime content, but Animania is different because it is fan-driven and devoted entirely to anime.

Well, and Street Fighter and Dance Dance Revolution... But we'll ignore that for the moment.

I missed the first couple of hours, since today was a Saturday, and I never get up on Saturday mornings if I can help it, and because Animania is being held this year at the University of New South Wales* which is miles from anywhere and rather a nuisance to get to.**

But I did get there in time to see Haibane Renmei, which I was quite enjoying, right up until the Bavarian Fire Drill. Complete with real fire engines! If you want to see what an anime convention looks like decamped onto the lawn outside the Scientia*** at UNSW, I've got pictures and will be posting them tomorrow.

Then, after the building spectacularly failed to burn down, back inside for a rather good panel on model making from an artist who's worked on the recent Star Wars and Matrix films, and then the Cosplay (costume) competition, the highlight of any anime convention.

One of the nice things about anime, as opposed to my other hobbies such as programming, computer and role-playing games, and science fiction, is that it is very popular with the other half of the species - you know, girls. In fact, the audience looked to me like about a 60:40 girl:guy ratio. Lots of cute girls, and even better, lots of cute girls in anime costumes.

Lots of photos of the cosplay contest, of course, and I'll post the best ones after the second round tomorrow. My favourite of the day was the girls from Magic Knight Rayearth doing their DDR routine. Cool!

The day ended with Who's Line is it Anime, a series of improvisational comic skits with an anime theme. It was during this that I started wondering why so many of the female contingent kept referring to yowies... Until I realised that I had never heard the word yaoi spoken before.

Anime... Truly something in it for everyone.

* A.k.a. Kenso Kindy, yes.
** I studied there for three years. Trust me on this.
*** That wasn't there fifteen years ago!

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