back when i was young…

So I randomly decided to watch the Black Rock Shooter OVA again, and smiled wryly at the scene when Mato is deliberating over what to write in her text. It’s pretty interesting how things like movies, TV series, and anime can be used to analyze the state of technology at a certain point in time. Back when I was in junior high, cell phones weren’t very widespread yet, so if your friend didn’t show up to school, you had to wait until school was over, then find their home phone number and hope someone picked up. E-mail existed, but affordable high-speed internet didn’t, so you had to use dial-up, meaning that e-mails weren’t as convenient a form of communication as it is today. If I had access to the communication options back while I was growing up that I had today, I’m certain I would have turned out differently. Being dependent on “archaic” technology partly defined our lives; the convenience of the world today is truly a force to be reckoned with.

For example, if you’ve seen the movie Back to the Future Part II (1989), they travel to the year 2015 (only a few years from now!). It’s pretty hilarious to see what the people of the 80s thought would be “futuristic” or “advanced” and compare it to what we already have access to.

Apparently, in “the future,” not only will there be flying cars and hover skateboards, but every home will have a multitude of fax machines, and the in-vogue thing to do when someone is fired is to spam their fax machines and networked televisions with “YOU’RE FIRED!!!” This is definitely a big reason why technology and the advancement of humankind fascinates me, though; analyzing the imagination of humanity and seeing how well the restrained rate of technological progress matches with our “predictions.” io9 is a great site to browse that compares the two very well, being a reporter of news on both the technological front and the entertainment industry (books, comics, movies, TV shows).

irresponsible old people ep 1

This anime is about a guy who decides to take care of his deceased grandpa’s illegitimate child. There are a few key words to take note of, in addition to the fact that the child is about 8 years old.

Usagi Drop starts with Daikichi, a 30-year old man who is at his grandfather’s wake. There, he meets a little girl named Rin, who he finds out is that same grandfather’s child. The grandfather was 79. Rin is approximately 8. /facepalm. I can’t help but think about how irresponsible the grandfather was. It’s like, at that age, you know you aren’t going to last a whole lot longer, so having a child is just asking for trouble. As we saw in this episode, the trouble comes when the family determines that the mother abandoned the kid, and no one wants to take care of her. Spoiler alert! Daikichi decides to step up to the plate. Regardless, this is just the kind of situation that causes problems for kids growing up. I mean, you have a dozen or more strangers running around your house, your dad just died, your mom fled, you find out all these people are your relatives, and none of them are willing to take you in. Meanwhile, your third cousin (or grand-niece) is running around stealing your cat’s cradles and calling you a recluse.

The irony? This is shaping up to be a slice-of-life anime (I didn’t check the source material), but if it was shounen-action, this girl would no doubt be one of the super villains who was corrupted by her tragic past.

Anyway, the animation seemed kind of sketchy at first, but by the time we discovered what was going on, either it got sharper or I no longer cared because I was busy trying to figure out the situation or condemning the stupid niece. I’m a pretty big sucker for these serious-type slice-of-life stories, although this is more tragic than comic, a departure from my usual fare. I certainly want to see what becomes of the unlikely duo, though.

the world only god knows

Not really any spoilers here, but maybe voicing some of what readers/viewers of this manga/anime may have thought.

Katsuragi Keima, the main character of The World God Only Knows, has to make girls fall in love with him in order to fill the “gaps” in their hearts, expelling demons that feed on their negative emotions. However, once the capture is complete, the magic of Hell causes the girls’ memories of Keima’s actions to disappear. In other words, they forget the events that made them fall in love with him.

I have been planning on a post about the use of memories in media for a while, so prepare for a long one! There will be anime/manga plot spoilers, so beware the headings!

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megamind: the review

Just got back from Megamind, and I loved it! Near the end of the week, one of my friends sent me an e-mail with some early reviews. Stuff like unoriginal, stale, cheesy. My thoughts on those:

Unoriginal: It’s really hard to be original these days. What defines something as original? If there are humans in it, is it unoriginal? Most things involve humor. And talking, and buildings, and colors. But when it’s black and white, it’s also “copying old-style movies” or something. I read that the writers strove to make all the jokes and comedy original. Only a couple gags had concrete past references, such as the “space daddy” Marlon Brando character. I can say that I really did appreciate the “original” humor. I’m a sucker for witty banter and obviously bad jokes, and this movie had a ton. I felt that the twist in this movie made it quite unique. Apparently some people don’t.

Stale: Again, it’s a double-edged sword, if you really think about it. New movies that have specific genres (i.e. superhero/supervillain movie) can be seen as copycats, “the same thing again;” movies that try to do something new are labeled as “too complicated” or “too audacious.” If you go to extremes, any movie will be either stale or trying too hard. As far as reviews go, it’s probably more that very few movies are perceived as “perfect,” so it’s like “if you have to list the 3 worst attributes, what would they be?” But, this works against the viewers since they might be more likely to notice things about the movie that they might perceive as negative, contributing more to a negative perception of the movie as a whole. Again, being a psych major, I’d love to do an experiment where you see how people rate movies based on whether they read no review, a generally positive review, or a generally negative review.

Cheesy: Meh. If you saw the previews, you should be aware that it’s pretty cheesy. I think part of what glues the movie together is its cheesiness. The characters even indirectly comment on it. Sometimes it takes well-known memes to establish an understanding with the audience to save time in presenting the material you want to show.

As per usual, I urge you all to see it for yourself if you are interested and make your own judgment rather than using a metacritic or my own review to decide for you. People say reviews are helpful, they can decide whether they are likely to enjoy a movie or not from a movie. I say, if you like spinach, you like spinach, no review in the world is going to convince you one way or the other. That being the case, where do you draw the line? You like the foods you like, you like the activities you like, clothes, cars, music, etc. Letting someone else’s opinion drive your actions just means you’re missing out on your own ability to find something enjoyable to you. So many of my friends cringe and gag when I tell them I like turnip cake and stir fry tofu dishes. Well, if you haven’t tried it, it’s not really fair to be prejudice.

Fair to whom? Fair to yourself! Don’t set limits and you’ll discover that, surprisingly, there is no limit. How’s that for metacognition?

gearscore – ruining endgame wow for casuals for months!

Gearscore is a way for lazy WOW players to say “If you somehow got good gear, then you must be a good player.” Unfortunately, it’s also a way for bad WOW players to say “If you don’t have good gear, you can’t be a good player.” Equate it to someone who wears expensive suits and drives an expensive car. If you arrive to a dinner party in your business casual and used Honda Accord, you look less impressive, certainly. Maybe the person is just a car maniac and likes clothes that happen to be expensive *shrug* It’s not impossible. However, I don’t have any reservation saying “Hell no am I wasting my money on that crap when I can get functional replacements for 5-10% the price!”

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internet insecurity

So Blizzard recently announced that World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and Starcraft II forums will display a user’s RealID (more or less the name registered to the account) whenever that user posts. They want this change to foster more mature and friendly communities, raising it from the depths of the cursing, flaming, trolling cesspool that it is now. Hey, that’s a good goal. Props.

All right, enough basking in praise, let’s discard the advocate suit and point you here, to a blog newly created for the express purpose of telling Blizzard “Hey, you know, this ain’t such a grand idea…” Hey, this is the Internet. For all I know, this person randomly picked a bad FAQ from GameFAQs and is pretending to be that person, while also picking a “random” person from the WoW credits to e-stalk who just so happens to be a parent’s friend’s sibling who he meets at family gatherings. Whatever. The point is, this person has a point.

The tools are out there. If you frequent Kotaku or Sankaku Complex, you might have already read of these crazy stories where people get e-stalked and assaulted already in real life, and that’s with the veil of anonymity intact. One of the suggestions made in Kotaku’s coverage of this news suggested something good: make 2 forums, one that functions the same as the current forums do, one that uses the ReadID. This way, people have the choice to remain anonymous or otherwise.