Daily Archives: April 14, 2012

Kids on the Slope: Review

From composer Yoko Kanno and director Shinichiro Watanabe, it’s another music-theme anime in the tradition of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. But this time, instead of being set in the future or in a pop culture fantasy version of pre-modern Japan, we go back to the cool jazz part of the Sixties and an ordinary Japanese school! (And we get to play the collect-em-all Japanese accent game, because it’s set in a town in Kyushu.)

Yup, it’s yet another angsty, smart kid who’s been transferred all around Japan to follow his parents’ work. His new school stinks in a lot of ways, but some of the people there are good folks to know, and there’s a pretty darned good drummer. If the two of them can get past all their personal and artistic differences, maybe they can get a band together….

This was definitely an introductory episode — not much music or action yet. But there’s some amazingly fluid animation, particularly of the musical scenes. They achieve such realism that the quality goes unnoticed, until you think about it afterward.

The drawing style is a bit different because it comes from “josei”, manga for mature women. This also means some light-halo’d lingering on the cuteness of the guys. Some male anime fans have found this disconcerting, though they don’t seem to mind the female fans being subjected to similar tropes designed for guys’ tastes. (But don’t worry. There’s no floaty flower petals or anything. The budding romance between Kaoru and the main female character is actually very nicely done.) I think some of the scenes are supposed to be hints about one character’s relationship with other characters we’ll meet later; Japanese drama often does this when one character is mistaken for another.

Anyway, here’s a link to the 1958 jazz track mentioned in the episode.

And yeah, “Kaoru” can be a guy’s name in Japan, but it’s usually a woman’s name. (Probably depends on the kanji spelling.) For some reason, we’re getting a lot of weird male names lately.


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“Beer Champion”

There was a part-time job advertised this week, calling fairly explicitly for young, popular, good-looking people to become the “Beer Champions” of some kind of craft beer. I don’t think it was a job where they astroturfed the beer brand on social networks; they just want this person to go around to various college hangouts and encourage people to buy the beer. (Probably in connection with promotional campaigns.) I guess it’s not the most painful job in the world to go forth and market brand awareness, but also it seems to show some kind of producer distrust of all media whatsoever!

Sooner or later, door to door sales will become new and trendy again. 🙂

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Tsuritama: Review

High school kids go fishing, are forced to hang out together by a very determined oddball newcomer, and gradually become friends. (And save the world.) Also, there’s a mysterious goldfish, men in black, and a fowl which Knows Too Much.

Tsuritama is a fun combination of slice-of-life and sf with remarkable art, and something more adventuresome going on in the background. It reminds me very strongly of Shingu, especially since it’s set in a seaside town.

And apparently there’s going to be a lot of fishing. Rod and reel fishing. Like one of those shows they air on Sunday on the outdoor channels, except without the tanned middle-age guys. I expect to enjoy this sort of sports-advocate/educational anime stuff, but I also expect to find it hilarious. See, the intense fishing expert Japanese kid is the exact opposite of my picture of a fishing expert…. If we don’t end up watching them do some kind of fishing cast katas, I’ll be surprised.

The only thing is that, since the first episode only sets the stage, I have no idea where they’re going with this. Somewhere funny and exciting, I hope!

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“Stoved Up” as Stiff

Heh… when I was growing up, “stoved up” in southern Ohio only meant “constipated.” For example, “If you eat bananas at night, you’ll get all stoved up.”

However, it turns out that in a lot of Southern places, and in old English settlement areas like Maine, it means “stiffed up” or “sore” or “not able to move easily, incapacitated”. A horse or dog with temporarily swelled legs is “stove up” as opposed to “tied up.”

I guess it’s a good thing I found this out now!

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Um… What Does That Mean?

Just saw a job posting headed — and I quote —


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A Franchise of Internet Cafes for Internet Gamblers

Just saw this. One of the most startlingly immoral things I’ve ever seen. I’m not normally against gambling, but this one pretty much reeked of “taking advantage of poor people with gambling addictions.”

Do I even have to add that they’re setting up shop in places with a lot of retirees living off pensions?


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