Sunday, March 26


Engineer's Disease

There's one meaning of Engineer's Disease which concerns specialists in one field assuming that they can speak with authority in another, but that's not what I'm talking about today.

What I'm talking about is the inability to turn your brain off. An engineer is someone who comes out of The Matrix and says "That part about humans being used as batteries was really stupid. Humans are net consumers of energy. Now, if they'd said that human brains were being used as computation and memory units by the robots..."

(As an aside, there's a tendency to diagnose engineers, or rather engineers-to-be, as having high-function autism, or Asperger's Syndrome, or PDD-NOS, or whatever this weeks fashionable term is. To which I say, piss off you over-socialised wankers!)

Uh, where was I. Oh yeah. So, an engineer who happens to like, just to pick an example at random, silly little anime shows, will tend to over-analyse them, assuming (or hoping) that said silly little show will fully address the implications of the situations in which it has placed its characters.

Now, when you're dealing with something like The Matrix, or more contemporarily V for Vendetta, you know that this sort of analysis is almost certainly a waste of time. You're dealing with late 20th / early 21st century Hollywood, the place where dreams go to die.

But the Japanese are different. The less seriously they take themselves, the more likely they are to tackle complex ideas and deal with them well. (Maybe not so different as all that; one of the biggest problems Hollywood has these days is that it takes itself far too seriously.) We saw that with Popotan; a sillier, littler series you would be hard pressed to find, and yet the last few episodes are amazing.

And so we come to UFO Princess Valkyrie. The show has a gun that turns women into cat-girls, for crying out loud. And yet...


Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:54 PM | Comments (14) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 538 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Either this is a short-form shaggy dog story, or the link is a bit off.

Posted by: HC at Monday, March 27 2006 12:45 AM (qmTWt)

2 Hmm.  It should work.  Don't open it in a new window or tab, just click on it. Screws up the comments editor, though.  Sigh.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, March 27 2006 12:50 AM (vlH1M)

3 Well, the comments editor works fine for me - but the hidden part doesn't, at least in Firefox. IE seems to work, though. Is there supposed to be a picture with the 'And a Cure' post? Anyway - point taken, and perhaps I'll look up UPW after all. Otherwise, enjoy the cream of NWN.

Posted by: HC at Monday, March 27 2006 01:58 AM (qmTWt)

4 Hmm.  Works for me in Firefox, and now it isn't messing up the editor.  Maybe I'm just going crazy.  Yes, that seems likely.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, March 27 2006 03:10 AM (vlH1M)

5 Okay, the editor problem only happens in Firefox 1.07 or older.  So that was easily fixed.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, March 27 2006 03:22 AM (vlH1M)

6 I've updated the "And a cure" article with a link to my video clips and an appropriate quote.  No pictures, because (a) they're up at Chizumatic already and (b) the fansub I have isn't nearly as good a transfer as the DVD.  I may well buy the DVD once it's available as a reasonably-priced box set.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, March 27 2006 06:23 AM (vlH1M)

7 I tend to be very scared of Hollywood making adaptions of my favourite books and comics. I've heard mixed things about V For Vendetta. I had the entire run of Warrior magazines that originally published Miracleman and V For Vendetta. Unfortunately they got water damaged. Sob.

Alan Moores desparate attempts to distance himself from movie adaptions is equal parts understandable given the horrendous track record (I still haven't seen League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and can't bring myself to) and partly bloody minded.

I find it endlessly amusing that DC drop wads of cash on the poor man and he's constantly forcing them to give it to anyone but him. Philosophically I understand what he's getting at but still its a situation I wouldn't mind.

I'm going to defend the Matrix. (Ducking for cover from the brickbats) The first is actually pretty good. The Wachowskis'  combined a fun mess of stylish kickin' and explodin' with just enough science fiction / cyberpunk. In what other movie can Keanu Reeve's deadpan acting skills be a positive ? Except for maybe Point Break. Gotta love surfin' cops. Or maybe not.

The battery thing was just an excuse for some cool and scarey visuals by Geof Darrow. It wasn't enough to knock my "suspension of disbelief" though.

You can't say that anime and manga are low on the "suspension of disbelief" scale either. I'm as much into anime and manga as a good hollywood flick. And I do agree that Hollywood takes itself far too seriously.

The Matrix series was at least an attempt at a solid movie series which delivered action and something to think about afterwards. Instead of the usual poor Philip K Dick premise hiding a standard action flick.

Having said that, Richard Linklater's Scanner Darkly does look interesting.

Here's hoping I can square some time to see V For Vendetta. I think the Wachowskis' kinda understand it. Even if they botched the central premise of anarchy versus fascism to liberal versus conservative.

Posted by: Andrew at Monday, March 27 2006 09:09 AM (0585Z)

8 You can't say that anime and manga are low on the "suspension of disbelief" scale either.

What, you mean you have a hard time swallowing the premise of, say, Midori No Hibi or Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi?  Puh-leeze. ;)

The Matrix was a good flick.  The battery stuff was a stumble, an unncessary one, but one that really only irritates engineer-types.

As for Alan Moore... I like about half his work.  He can be very good indeed, but sometimes it all gets a bit pretentious.  (I haven't seen League of Extraordinary Gentlemen so I can't comment on his disagreements with Hollywood.)
Gah. Note to self: Do not enter HTML into new WYSIWG comment editor. Does not work.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, March 27 2006 10:20 AM (vlH1M)

9 Whaddye mean "Don't click"? You expect someone with Engineer's disease to resist that?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Monday, March 27 2006 04:57 PM (+rSRq)

10 Heh.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, March 27 2006 05:50 PM (vlH1M)

11  Is this similar to the King from the film "300" being struck by loads of arrows but he is still on one peice? A shower of arrows nail this guy but he still has a sword in his hand, limbs in all one piece and his flesh is just "peppered" with arrows going though his body...

Posted by: jayeola at Monday, May 07 2007 11:10 AM (YjDFn)


I have this problem, too. In the blog that I write I always try to relate anime to something, and most of the time it's literature. I guess I'm sick with the first definition of Engineer's disease: I major in biology, but I don't like it as much as I do literature. Despite this, I can speak or write at length about literature compared to biology.

But I'm also diseased with the second definition: I have the need to read novels, or think too much, even when it's things are very simple. It's not that I'm overanalytical, but I am fond of thought. I don't know why, I just am. This is just like trying to explain why some people like Uwe Boll. It just is, they just do.

Oh, and let me say once more that your blog's header image is awesome! It soothes my eyes, and it has the best header among all the other anime blogs I've read. Looking forward to more posts of yours. smile

Posted by: Michael at Monday, April 14 2008 05:15 PM (GSYsh)

13 Thanks!  It was actually a test image from the banner generator program, but I liked it enough that I kept it.  (Well, that and I've been too busy to set up the automatic banner changer...)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, April 14 2008 07:32 PM (PiXy!)

14 This is the weirdest spam package!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Saturday, August 15 2009 08:23 AM (+rSRq)

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