Thursday, April 27, 2006

Anime and Summer Classes

Of course, most of this post would be about anime.

Anyway, summer classes have already started, and I'm at the least having a piqued interest in Math while having a desperate malaise for Filipino. Because I go to school and I study (an infinitesimal bit) I don't have much time for anime.

When I say 'not much time,' it still means a lot of time dedicated to anime, just not as much as I want to. After the depressing eighth episode of Ergo Proxy I have searched for other anime that may be in different genres but are as interesting or unique as Ergo Proxy once was.

I recently found these anime:

Ouran High School Host Club - I'll try my best to be coherent and cogent in describing my love for this anime (t3h pwnzZ! t3h ro00x00rzz! ZOMGZWTFBBQ!!!) ... sorry, I leaked. Anyway, this is an ingenious mix of comedy and romance like never before. It parodies other serious romance anime, but also has a significant romance story itself. Personally, after just being ten minutes into the first episode, I was laughing out loud at about late afternoon that my dorm mates have perhaps thought of me as depraved/insane/*insert derogatory remark here.*

The general plot is this: Fujioka Haruhi is a special girl for entering Ouran Academy because she is the only among the whole student population who qualified for the school not by being rich but by being intelligent and diligent. Because she lost her mother at an early age she doesn't really mind wearing men's clothes. Her sense of gender is indefinite because of this: she doesn't care if she gets treated like a girl or a guy.

Wearing perhaps her dad's old clothes, she tries seeking for a quiet room to study. (Even the library is noisy.) She stumbles across a music room where she senses silence inside. She then finds six handsome men who call themselves the Host Club. Because she was vexed by their presence and teasing, she accidentally broke an $80,000 vase for their auction.

And here, the story begins... trust me, it may not look good written, but it looks good watched.

Ayakashi ~ Final Arc - I've watched Ayakashi from the first episode, and got mildly interested to keep on watching it. As the series progressed, I got more and more interested, because although I am a guy, I'm just a sap for well-made romance stories (an example of which is Shingetsutan Tsukihime), and that was what the second arc of this series had: a well-made romance story.

I was expecting my excitement for the series to regress, however, the final arc made me love the whole series. Novel animation, a more novel story, and a wonderfully cool protagonist with a wonderfully cool voice, it made me love the mediocre OP because of its exact and almost perfect animation. My jaw dropped throughout the episode, and I was clapping like a five-year old schoolkid awarded with 'good stars.'

Black Lagoon - is an anime that may not perhaps par with the depth and scalpel-like incisiveness of the final arc of Ayakashi or the humor of Ouran, but makes up for it more than enough with its fast-paced action, almost negligible 'fanservice,' and a good start for a story (or a remnant of it). As I'm a guy, and I like people shooting at one another, this is a fresh anime that ranks well with me.

(And how COULD you resist a big-chested, magnificent gun-wielding fighter with a bad-ass tattoo who smiles whenever she kills people?)

I also watch Ah! My Goddess ~ Sorezore no Tsubasa, but I'm sure not a lot of you would like a love story between shy people. I myself have been a fan since its inception, and I wouldn't stop being one unless the story becomes unsatisfactory for me, which it hasn't been.

I watch Hiatari Ryoukou, an old-school anime with great characters and a great plot, but because it's old, has really bad drawings and animation. I still watch it whenever MJN subs a new episode, but I don't mind if I can't. (Besides, what CAN I do?)

I watched the first episode of Gallery Fake, but I now know why no one finished subbing the show.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Meditatio VIII - Shining Sign

It has been a long time since I've posted. I could explain the reason of the hiatus, but I'd rather not seeing that all over the Internet blogs on vacations have been published. I'd like to be unique: I'll be talking about shows I've been watching or have planned to watch. Right now, however, I'd like to chat about Ergo Proxy.

After Rozen Maiden ~ Traumend there have been only little anime worth watching. One of those few is Ergo Proxy. As you may have known, I am a fanboy of that series. In its later episodes, however, the quality of the story has been fluctuating, and it has been fluctuating a lot.

Cliches have been introduced; deep below the complexities of the etymological archetypes of the characters and a thrilling plot lie some hard to swallow banalities. Among these banalities is the lack of any deeper meaning to the story. These may appear later, but the plot has been weaker than the established Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

For now, it has become a mystery anime; however, I personally like the subtleties and nuances in the series that make the seemingly nondescript backgrounds and seemingly non-living objects proffer important hints and clues to the characters in the anime, and to some extent their motivations as well.

But right now, to be honest, I am not watching Ergo Proxy for the sake of its incisive story. I am watching it because I am expecting a robotic/android Lir to appear in the next episode. I also am expecting, with all my fanboy heart, that beneath all this pastiche of events and relationships among people, Lir and Vincent will get to love one another.

(I've got terribly sappy over the years of watching anime. )

Anyway, I hope it will be a modification of the beautiful Tsukihime plot: maybe now, it will be a love story with science fiction elements. The beautiful first episode of this series, once full of tension, danger, and conflict, has cooled to the point of mediocrity. The intensity is no longer as strong as the first episode, but I still expect a good anime to be pulled off despite the glaring cliches.

One of these cliches seems to be a Pokemon-like (credits for the thought go to wao) invocation of the proxies as is made seemingly and glaringly obvious in its eighth episode.

It's somewhat like Vincent or Lir crying out: 'Proxyball! I choose you, Monad! (or Ergo)'

It somehow downgrades the value of watching the anime, but don't get me wrong: this anime stands as among the best (so far) in the class of 2006. I just hope they can continue with coherence and cogency towards the end (which I hope would have something to do with Lir and Vincent ending up together.)

(Yeah, I know I'm boring in that I don't have screencaps. But I didn't aim for ostentation, however: I aimed to fuel a discussion.)

Any thoughts?

Monday, March 20, 2006

physics223's Introduction to Rozen Maiden

After talking all about computers, I realized one thing: I loved Suigintou, and I loved Rozen Maiden!

Rozen Maiden and its sequel, Rozen Maiden: Traumend are two series concentrating on magical dolls and their relationships with their masters and peers. Although it may sound gay and childish, believe me, Rozen Maiden is NOT for children, and definitely NOT only for girls. I am a guy; although I was biased towards these series before I decided to watch the first episode. Twenty-three episodes later, the two series having already ended I still wanted more~! Yes. More.

Guys are often turned off when it comes to dolls. I myself was that way before watching Rozen Maiden. As guys, we attach a symbol of femininity to dolls, and perhaps because of our social structure that attachment is only pertinent. It will all change, however, when you watch it yourself.

Not only is it an anime about dolls, it is also among the most well-crafted anime I've seen. Although the dolls act anthropomorphically, their human dimensions is what makes them extremely likable by the end of the series. You will laugh when they are happy; you will cry when shit will happen ... believe me, as a guy, though I haven't cried in anime I have been saddened and deeply affected by Rozen Maiden, especially by Traumend.

Although the relationships between the dolls are of note and beautifully molded, the social connotations behind too much education and the reality of life in Japan are also reflected in Rozen Maiden. In Japan, because of the extremely high expectations parents have of their children, only a little stress can trigger these children to break down and literally 'lock themselves away' from society. They hermetically seal themselves even from their own family. Known as hikikomori in Japanese lingo, these children have been growing in number ever since.

Our hero, Jun Sakurada, suffers from this ailment and the first series of this two-part anime deals with his recovery because of the unflinching kindness and love of his sister and of the dolls that surround him. It is a very poignant story and can definitely stand alone without the second series.

However, after watching the first series you most definitely will not stop watching Rozen Maiden. By then you will have fallen into a deep pit of fanboyism or fangirlism, and different degrees apply to different people. (I've fallen into a very deep pit of fanboyism.)

The second series continues directly after the first series, and as much as I would like to spoil you I'm just going to tell you that the second series is more plot-driven than the first series, which was more character-driven. Your enjoyment will not be attenuated, believe me, as a bittersweet story lies waiting for your consummation.

All in all, let me tell you that YOU (t3h r3ad3r) must like Suigintou (t3h hotti3). This is a rule in fanboyism ... there isn't really much boys in this series, but YOU can still be a fangirl! Yes, you! But don't worry, although every doll has different characteristics from one another, they are extremely likable. Just don't expect to like them immediately, though.

If you plan to watch this anime, definitely watch it. I did, and I've never regretted seeming to be gay ... for watching a show about dolls. If you don't plan to watch this anime, definitely watch it, as you may change your mind on the whole about dolls - you may even get to like them.

Don't worry, us regulars of the Rozen Maiden thread in the Fansubs forum can attest to that.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

SpyFerret (part two)

With extended testing SpyFerret always changes your HOSTS file into a clean one, and does it silently. This is good for HOSTS file with problematic, spyware-ridden entries, but for an edited one like mine that filters out all the nasties it isn't recommended or desired. I appreciate the effort, though.

It, however, has a strongly lacking scan system. It detected Kazaa (which I definitely not have), smitfraud.c (SpyFalcon and its family, which I also definitely not have), and WinAntiVirus (having a clean and secure computer, I also do not have this). It also detected parasite BHOs, which I don't have, and Download Accelerator Plus which was NEVER in my computer in the first place.

There is a lot of false-positives. Imagine detecting thirty entries more or less, while SpySweeper and Spyware Doctor detected zero ... well, eighty-two to be exact, but it detected only BearShare Test and some editions to my host file (no false positives were detected, however).

Ugh. It's programming like this that makes me want to puke, though I do laud the deletion of Temp files before scanning and the constant (more or less) updates. However, there's just too much marketing and subterfuge. (Note that SpyFerret stole a .dll from Spybot - S&D.)

I hope that this company changes its ways in the near future. But seeing how evil is more lucrative than good, I can expect little.

(Gosh, I'm sooooo sleepy.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Spyware is supposed to be removed, not lampooned or travestied.

This is what SpyFerret does well, however. Not only does it manage to steal a copyrighted .dll made by Patrick Michael Kolla, Spybot - Search and Destroy's creator, it also makes fun out of people's stupidity.

I scanned my computer for spyware before scanning it with SpyFerret. Spybot - Search and Destroy found nothing, Ad-aware found nothing, Spyware Doctor found only BearShare (clean) (which, to be fair, was also detected by SpyFerret) and my edited MVPS HOSTS file while having WinPatrol and F-StopW running all the while.

My HijackThis log file was also clean. It was parsed by the HJT Log File Analyzer.

But check out the scan results of SpyFerret:

(Click on it to enlarge the image.)

It detected SaveNow, WinAntiVirus, but most absurdly, smitfraud.c!

Smitfraud.c is the group of programs that are desktop hijackers and force the user to buy their severly lacking 'anti-spyware program' to remove the spyware that they themselves placed. I definitely don't have that - because I don't use Internet Explorer and don't go (anymore) to crack sites. I also don't have the symptoms of WinAntiVirus and Smitfraud.c

And this costs $39. That's much too expensive considering the quality of Spybot and Ad-aware Personal. Spyware Doctor, the leading anti-spyware application, costs only $30.

Yeah, there's a lot of shit in the Internet. But it helps when even in their blog, one admonishes others to stay careful. :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Everything just went right for me today, thank God.

I won't talk about how I did great with my subjects, however, I'd like to talk about one of the things I've discovered by accident from watching Ergo Proxy, one of my favorites among current anime. Because of subbers' mistakes I came to discover what Deita meant, and it denoted God in the olden times. I learned this from doing a search on Wikipedia, the ever comprehensive and free online encyclopedia. Although the search was less than fruitful (the most relevant entry was only relevant by nine percent) I decided to read up on the results, and it somewhat enlightened me on a time-effaced figure that was Ratramnus (cool name, eh?)

I'm going to try my best typing this entry without looking at the Wikipedia entry. (Doing so will also test my memory skills.) He was a theological controversialist of the 9th century, and tried to substantiate God into science – he tried to unite science and God. His theory was largely unaccepted as compared to his comrade whose name I could not remember who stated that God was found in miracles.

Ratramnus also wrote about the dog-headed people, the cynocephali, and most importantly (this time I had to look at the entry) he denied the existence of the triune persons in one God. That's probably why he was knows as a theological controversialist: he went against the flow of the Church, and perhaps because of this, he had marred the annals of history with his name, even if only very small print in the humongous book of Man.

Belonging conspicuously to the history of Man is no easy task. At least, although his name was effaced and covered with the sands of time, one can still discover him if one digs deep. I accidentally did, and was able to perceive and appreciate a whole life in a couple of paragraphs – a whole life etched in history forever.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora: looking up at the half-moon

Granted, it had a good story, but it wasn't really my cup of tea. It wasn't as funny as Hiatari Ryoukou, and it wasn't as perceptive as Ergo Proxy. It was simply trite.