Saturday, October 29, 2011

Homestuck Filk: Temporal Shenanigans

This is an awesomely singable song.

Blue Exorcist Episode Eleven “Demon of the Deep”--Review

We begin this episode with a fisherman in the middle of the ocean during a storm. He's yelling what seems like a pretty impossible threat at a huge demon. (Impossible in the sense that he has no weapons; he is Captain Ahab without a single harpoon.) The ship appears to get swamped by a wave, and then we go to the opening credits.

After credits we see Rin and Renzo Shima being every enthusiastic about being at the beach. Izumo is also present but seems to be considerably less enthused by what appears to be a vacation. The next scene reveals that it not a vacation, because Rin and Renzo are manning a grill in front of a small diner. (Rin is still very cheerful since he likes to cook, but Renzo is disappointed.)

Rin notices after a while that no one seems very interested in buying the grilled squid that he's currently barbecuing. After some conversation between Rin and Renzo, it's revealed that this is not a vacation--it's a mission. Renzo appears to believe that this "mission" is just an excuse to for the teacher to provide free labor for the diner. Renzo also complains about Izumo not helping, which results in Izumo immediately appearing and pointing out that she helped grill the squid.

Read the rest of this article at Associated Content.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Homestuck End of Act Five: Cascade

Late last night or early this morning depending on your perspective, you may have heard a shrill EEEEEEEEEE sound. That would have been me, when I discovered that Cascade was up and downloadable. (This is not my download, this is something someone else uploaded to YouTube.)

My initial reactions were somewhat incoherent, but I have to say that over all, I adored the art and the music. There were so many amazing scenes, some of them pretty dark, and some of them kind of horrifyingly adorable.

Gosick Episode Twenty One "The Bells of Christmas Eve Toll at the Heels of Time"--Review

In this episode, Victorique continues to investigate Queen Coco Rose's murder. Victorique has the grave of Nicole Lulu excavated. When the grave is opened, it's revealed that while the body is preserved, the head had been severed and is rotting. Victorique sends Grevil to talk to whoever runs the cemetery to find out who brought the body, and under what circumstances.

As Grevil heads off, Kujo notices a cameo locket. When he picks it up and opens it, a scrap of paper is revealed. Victorique snatches it out of Kujo's hand, which draws the attention of the Order members who had accompanied them. Kujo quickly starts praying out loud to cover, which Victorique promptly explains is an "Oriental incantation." (Much to Kujo's outrage.) 

When we get back from the opening credits, we see Victorique reading the note. She sees a dove, and then we next see the dove flying away with the note strapped to its leg. As she's watching the bird fly away Grevil comes up to her with a report about the corpse. 

Read the rest of this article on Associated Content.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Finicky Anime Watcher

I am a very finicky person when it comes to what I watch or read. This tends to shoot me in the foot because it will take me forever to decide to read or watch something. (I have occasionally waited too long and the book is no longer available or the show is no longer findable.) Since I've just had a severe "Oh god why?!" reaction to no less than three anime in less than an hour I thought I'd go over what I do (and don't) like in an anime (or manga).

What Will Drive Me Away
  • Really long descriptions and analysis of combat moves. Oddly enough this does not happen when we're talking about a sports-type show, or a board game. Named combat moves and detailed tournament style anime however is boring and annoying. (Sorry Naruto)
  • Huge Comedy Boobs. Sometimes they don't bother me, other times they do. I am in general not a boob person, and I tend to dislike the personality types that usually get assigned the Huge Comedy Boobs.
  • Gosh Aren't We Wacky I am not a wacky hijinks fan except in a few special cases. Bizarre sexual humor is also something I don't care for because it's never the right kind of bizarre sexual humor. I find Wacky Hijinks to be off putting because I tend to become deeply embarrassed for anyone subjected to same.
  • Bad animation, or Art that I don't like.
  • If my suspension of disbelief is not just stretched but also snapped. 
  • Too many characters I either want to slap or drop off cliffs. (I can't read the works of certain authors because of this.) 
  • This is the anime that never ends/yes it goes on and on my friends...
What I Really Really Like
  • A main character or characters who instantly grabs my attention, and not in a horrifically annoying way.
  • Tsunderes. Given the number of anime that I like that also have characters of the "tsundere" personality type...yeah. 
  •  Ridiculously awkward yet goodhearted characters.
  • Snarky, sarcastic characters. 
  • Bratty "delinquent" characters who are secretly goodhearted and/or doofuses.
  • Stories with a clear beginning, middle and end. Must be neither too short or too long. Said story must also make sense within the context of the world building and stuff like that. 
  • Comedy perverts (specifically the dirty old man, dirty old priest, drunken old broad, oversexed broad who may be someone's mom, etc.) are kept to a minimum or serve some purpose beyond being a gag character.

There are other things that I like and don't like, but these are what immediately came to mind.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bookish: Library Haul

I need to start cross-posting more from my other blogs...This was crossposted from a livejournal entry.

The Demon's Lexicon and The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan

I'm about a quarter of the way through The Demon's Lexicon. It has some very interesting world building and has a more "fantasy" feel to the urban fantasy than some of the other urban fantasy I've been reading. (This is to say, there is no "romance lineup" for the protagonists where we know there's going to be a hook up between character A and character B right out of the starting gate. Also, there's more of an action-adventure feeling to it.) There is some interesting worldbuilding going on here, and I'm really enjoying the characters and the story.

Revenant by Phaedra Weldon

This looks to be the third book in an urban fantasy series. Our Heroine appears to have the ability to travel out side her body. She is also some kind of investigator. (Dear urban fantasy writers. Here's a thought: could we have Our Heroines be something beside some sort of law enforcement person, detectives or whatever. See, this is why I like Nina Kiriki Hoffman. We get all kinds of family stories and coming of age stories, it's not all about the sexy babes with guns and hot supernatural boyfriends. I have not heard of this particular series or this author. (Also, just checked and it's in first person.)

The Infernals by John Connoly

This is a sequel. This is what happens when I just place holds on any book that looks interesting: I get sequels. This book looks sort of interesting though I don't think I've ever read anything by this author.

The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge

And once again, a sequel. Vernor Vinge is a hit and miss (mostly miss) writer for me. I like some of his work but never enough to re-read.

And some non-fiction:

All My Patients Kick and Bite: More Favorite Stories from a Vet's Practice by Jeff Wells, D.V.M.

What it says on the tin.

Blue Exorcist Episode Ten “Black Cat”--Review

We open with a bright, very hot sunny day. Rin is returning from a shopping trip, and is eating ice cream. While Rin is walking, the scene shifts to a security guard station where a small two tailed cat with horns is apparently waiting for someone. The security guards talk about the cat, which has apparently been hanging around for quite some time now; the cat is someone's familiar, and unfortunately for all concerned, his human is dead.

After the opening credits, we discover that Rin had been sent to the store for water, not ice cream. This leads into an argument where Rin is complaining about not advancing far enough and Yukio pointing out that Rin isn't applying himself to his studies. (He also points out that Rin can't even go on a simple errand. Rin feels this comment was uncalled for.) Yukio also makes some valid comments about Rin relying on his powers and on his sword to get himself out of trouble, which Yukio doesn't approve of. Then the argument devolves into name calling highlighted by Rin breaking Yukio's glasses.

Their argument is interrupted by a phone call. Yukio has been called away on a mission and Rin wants to follow. Yukio however, does not feel that Rin is competent enough to go with. This does not stop Rin from following anyway. This sparks another argument, but eventually, Yukio relents. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gosick Episode Twenty "Led by the Phantom of a Phantom"--Review

We open with Victorique arriving in Saubreme. She's at the theater where "The Blue Rose of Saubure," the play about Coco Rose is being played. The theater is known as "The Phantom." (And is apparently a reference to Leviathan the Alchemist.) Then we go to credits.

In the next scene, Kujo is running back to the theater. He is looking around for Sophie outside the theater when there is a disturbance over by the carriages. A suitcase is hopping around on the ground and turns out to contain Cecile, who had apparently decided to accompany Grevil and Victorique any way she could. Kujo heads over to her and learns that Victorique is apparently in the city.

Kujo immediately heads off, looking for Victorique. Kujo heads into the theater, charging past the ticket takers. Meanwhile, Grevil is escorting Victorique deeper inside the theater, which apparently has a lot of basement levels. As they're about to head into a room guarded by robed figures, Kujo catches up. Victorique is unspeakably relieved to see him, but tries to warn him off. Kujo is not going to cooperate with her request, but before he can follow after her, he gets grabbed by the ticket takers, who have finally caught up with him. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Reading Homestuck Part Four: ==> John: Refuse to Walk the Plank

From here to here.

The unknown director of John’s actions directs him to take a towel and go out to the balcony. John’s job at the moment is to translate these wordy and badly requests into reasonable directions. This proves to be somewhat difficult. The director is not familiar with the game jargon and the narrator is less than helpful. (The director is asking John to do things that Rose is supposed to be doing.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Web Comic Review: Digger by Ursula Vernon

Digger is a completed black and white web comic series, and a longtime favorite of mine. It features the adventures of an extremely practical anthropomorphic wombat as she tries to find a way to get home, and turns into an amazingly epic quest involving a not-quite-dead-god, demons, and prophetic snails. (Trust me, this all makes sense in context.) Its tone ranges from darkly whimsical to deeply philosophical, and is frequently both at the same time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blue Exorcist Episode Nine "Memories" --Review

This episode continues directly from the previous one. It features a stare down between Rin and the teacher who is apparently trying to kill him. Rin is about to alert Yukio to this fact, but he is abruptly interrupted by Mephisto, who suddenly appears and bowls him over. It turns out that the entire scenario had been the "exwire authorization exam" to see if they would become esquires, and they had been under very close supervision the whole time.

Everyone ends up in the infirmary, where the kids all have various reactions to having been "punked" by their instructors. Poor Izumo is upset because she is certain that she got the worst grade of any of them because of her earlier behavior and the way she had frozen up during combat. Suguro attempts to give her a pep talk and rags on two of the other students who hadn't done very much during the battle. (They don't care about what he thinks of them. Rin however is greatly impressed that they can actually talk, and that one of them is a really good ventriloquist.) 

Read the rest at Associated Content.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire--Review

354 pp.

One Salt Sea opens with Toby getting schooled in swordsmanship by her liege lord Sylvester. While Toby gets run ragged, we get caught up on what’s been happening since just after the ending of the previous book. Toby is trying to settle into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen. She is also talked into taking Quentin on as her squire. (She is extremely reluctant to do this. She does not feel that she has what it takes to be a mentor and given her track record, she is understandably worried she might accidentally get him killed. Everyone else feels the exact opposite, which is to say that she will be able to teach Quentin how to not get himself killed.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gosick Episode Nineteen "The Rose Colored Life is Buried Under Fresh Snow"--Review

In this episode, we learn a lot about Cordelia Gallo's past, and more than we really want to know about Victorique's father. We open with a scene that is both sinister and horrifying, and full of dark implications as Cordelia gives birth. She is obviously a prisoner, and her attendants are members of the Ministry of the Occult. Then we go to the opening credits.

After the credits, we have a much more innocent scene; Kujo being ridiculously excited about his first snow fall in Saubure. We get a small flashback to a conversation Kujo had with Victorique. He is understandably excited about the upcoming Christmas party, but Victorique is less enthused when Kujo prompts her about presents. She wonders out loud why she should give someone else presents on her birthday, and general does not seem to be very happy about Christmas. (We totally don't blame her.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homestuck Music

So, I wasn't sure at all of what to make of Homestuck. It seemed clunky at first and not very funny. On the other hand, I there were a lot of people who seemed think this weird little game/comic/cartoon thing was something special. So I kept trying to read it, and then I hit the part where there is music.

And the music?

Is seriously awesome.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tears of the Sun by S.M. Stirling--Review

530 pp.

Tears of the Sun continues on from The High King of Montival with Rudi now High King and the various changes the various regions that make up the new kingdom are going through. We also get a good view of how preparations are going for the war against the Church Universal and Triumphant, the war itself, and how everyone who had been previously nonreligious are now suddenly finding religion now that magic of some variety works.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blue Exorcist Episode Eight "Now a Certain Man was Sick" --Review

In the next episode, we begin with Izumo waking up from an epic nightmare of rejection after having failed to protect her friend from the ghoul in the previous episode. We then go to the opening credits. When we get back to the show, we see Izumo returning the shirt that Rin let her borrow. She tries to extract a promise from him not to tell anyone she had been crying after the fight with the ghoul, but Rin doesn't care about that. What he does care about is that Izumo washed the shirt. (He is less happy that she implied that it was only because it was horribly dirty.) Then Rin's brother turns up, and they go see how poor Paku is doing.