A LITTLE BIT OF THIS, A LITTLE BIT OF THAT, AND, WHEN YOU ADD IT UP, YOU GET A LOT OF LAUGHS!
Well, no laughs, just I'm feeling so uninspired this week that I couldn't think of a good title for another potpourri article of stuff that wouldn't warrant separate articles by themselves other than a reference to the theme song from the Wuzzles
cartoon. How lame am I that I can still remember the lyrics to that? I hardly even remember anything else about the cartoon!
Guess who might have looked at my blog the other night?
I'll give you a hint.
(SCENE: WINDSWEPT VACANT STADIUM PARKING LOT, A TEENAGE BOY AND A TEENAGE GIRL DRESSED UP FOR A TEXAS WINTER)
I... uh... heard about your science fair project on Action 13. They said the Navy wants to buy it from you.
No, not anymore.
Because it was a fake.
What do you mean?
I faked all the results.
Because it didn't work. I thought it would but it didn't...
...you were a real jerk to me, you know that?
I'm sorry, Margaret.
Well. anyway, nice to see you.
(Revs up remote control airplane and takes off.)
Obviously, for those of you that recognize this scene from Wes Anderson's Rushmore
, I am saying that my surprise guest star search engine "hit" was either from Jason Schwartzman ("Max Fischer") or Sara Tanaka ("Margaret Yang").
And the correct answer is...
is one of my top 8 live-action movies of all time, but I haven't talked about it much here as it's been out 6 years while this blog is only 2 years old, so I was a little surprised to get a hit about her, since I don't recall mentioning her, but, checking the archives, I did mention her once, in passing, in this review of Old School I wrote
Now, I'm sure you're wondering exactly how I know it was her. Well, truthfully, I don't, but the hit was from a certain educational institution and I had a hunch and decided to look it up, and, sure enough, she's currently a student at that particular educational institution. And it was someone who evidently wanted to look at every single page on Google that mentions her, no matter how brief the mention is, and my own mention of her was pretty far down, somewhere in the 400s, so it's either Sara Tanaka doing a vanity search or it's one of her classmates who is a fairly dedicated Google stalker.
If it was her, she didn't seem interested in looking at any other pages. Not that I'd blame her; I was still experimenting with different... umm... "tones" and didn't really know what sort of blog I wanted this to be back then. I mean, I don't think my blog is exactly Pulitzer-worthy now, and it's not like I don't want to talk a little more about current events than I've been doing lately, I just haven't been feeling too inspired, but I am a lot more satisfied with the way I write now than when I look back through the archives of the early days of this thing.
I've seen some of the Superbowl commercials at the iFilm Superbowl Commercial site
, but, eh, I don't know if it's just that I didn't get to see them during the game
, but, divorced from the context of the live event, they don't seem to be quite up to par with some years (though I didn't watch them all). Nothing had quite the impact that the Ford GT "The One" spot
from last year has with me. I'd say that the best one of the lot is "Mascots" from MasterCard, with the Green Giant, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Charlie the Tuna, Count Chocula, and several other commercial icons having what appears to be Thanksgiving dinner (and Mr. Clean doing the dishes), since making that commercial must have been "clearance" hell, with all sorts of corporate restrictions as to what the characters can and cannot be shown doing and saying, with the runner up being the "Can Superheroes Help" ad for Visa, with Marvel Comic characters like Captain America, the Mighty Thor, Spider-Man, and assorted X-Men including Wolverine and Storm, all wearing costumes much closer to the comics than the big screen versions of the characters, not being able to help a woman whose credit card was stolen, as Visa cardholders aren't liable for fraudulent charges (bonus cameo by Underdog). The best Ford ad this year was the one with the guy in the Mustang convertible frozen to death at the steering wheel (illustrating why Ford doesn't introduce convertibles in the middle of winter). The one everyone seems to be talking about didn't impress me. Why not? Because of the small size of the screen, I didn't even realize that the guy in the Ameriquest "Cat Killer" commercial was holding a knife at first. Arxane gives some of his thoughts on the commercials here.
Jesse Betteridge's information site about various issues pertaining to the broadcast and distribution of Japanese cartoons in Canada, Zannen, Canada
, is back up and running at a new domain, zannen.ca
. I personally corrected some of the more bizarre misconceptions Jesse seemed to have about anime distribution in the Quebec market
before that particular page was "ready for prime-time", like how he seemed to think that all DVDs in Quebec had to have bilingual packaging. No, as draconian-regulation-happy as the Quebec government is when it comes to language, entertainment products like books and DVDs are exempt from packaging regulations, and the companies that release DVDs in Quebec with bilingual or reversible packaging do so because of market-driven decisions. At least 90% of the DVDs in the anime section of Metro Video in Montreal would be illegal if the Quebec government insisted on French dubs and bilingual packaging on all DVDs, as the vast, vast majority of anime DVDs in Canada are imported from the United States, and the American anime distributors usually don't even take the relatively small market for French dubs into consideration. I believe the reason you can't find certain shows on DVD in Quebec, like Urusei Yatsura
(excluding the movies), Kimagure Orange Road
, or the subtitled, intact version of Cardcaptor Sakura
, is because all DVDs sold in Quebec have to have the blue-and-white Régie du Cinéma ratings sticker on them and the distributor has to pay for the Régie just to sit down and watch them, and shows like UY
, and CCS
are so niche that they'd likely only sell in the dozens of copies per volume in the entire province at best, so it's just not worth the cost of getting the sticker.
Last week, I mentioned Matthew Sweet's "I've Been Waiting" music video
from 1992, the video that was mostly shots of Lum
. I forgot to mention an interesting piece of cartoon-related trivia about that video that has nothing whatsoever to do with Urusei Yatsura
. During the reprise of the first verse, when Matthew Sweet's head fades in-and-out over the "insert" of the guitar, look very carefully at the guitar. It's a little fuzzy in the AVI file (I wish I could get the video on DVD), but there is a marker drawing of Ren Höek wearing Stimpy's "Happy Helmet". Keep in mind that, at the time the video was made (early 1992; I was still at Macdonald High School when they first started showing it on Musique Plus), Ren & Stimpy
had only been on Nickelodeon for a couple of months, so that's another kind of cartoon Matthew Sweet and/or his band members liked before they were all that popular. I think the drawing was done by Chicoutimi-born Ren & Stimpy
creator John Kricfalusi
himself, as there is some hard-to-read-on-a-television writing and an autograph next to the drawing andI don't know who else would have done it, but I've never been able to confirm this.
I wasn't particularly impressed with the episode of Yukikaze I saw at the anime club on Saturday
(with the obvious caveat that it was just one episode, and they might have developed the characters better in the first episode, which I missed), but one thing I forgot to mention that I find very amusing is that a series which is a dead serious psychological science-fiction drama somehow is getting its own magical girl comedy, Sentou Yousei Shoujo Tasukete! Mave-chan (Battle Fairy Girl Help! Mave-chan)
, which has the ultra-high tech A.I. planes transmogrified into cute and busty girls with powers
and a younger version of the pilot character, Rei Fukai. I wonder if it's a harem show like Tenchi Muyo
, another series which itself got several spinoffs, including Pretty Sammy
/Magical Project S
and Tenchi Muyo GXP
? At least this is an indication that even creators of pretentious cartoons have senses of humour, much like how Evangelion
creator Hideaki Anno later went on to direct the bouncy and fun live-action version of Cutie Honey
For anyone who might have been a little distressed at my malt liquor experience that I discussed in the first part of my article about the trip to the anime club
, especially for those of you who are metrically-impaired, 710 ml is only 24 ounces. I don't buy those 40 ounce bottles (1143 ml) people most commonly associate with malt liquor. I tried one 40 oz. bottle of malt liquor once in my life, back in the summer of 1998, I think it was either St. Ides
(8.0% alcohol) or Lucky Lager Force 8
(8.0%; they didn't have Lucky Lager Force 10 back in 1998), and I didn't make it halfway through the bottle before either throwing up or passing out. No... I think my only slight vomiting experience was with harder liquor. I have tried other malt liquor, like the 9.0% Canadian version of Colt 45
, but it was in the normal-sized beer bottles. Buying beer in 40 ounce bottles is just too embarassing; you might as well stick a fricking label on your forehead saying, "Yes, I'm an alcoholic". If I felt like getting that drunk, I'd just buy some vodka and make a screwdriver.
MY ANIME CLUB EXPERIENCE...
I slept in a lot later than I expected, so I only was in the room for an hour-and-a-half.
Why did I sleep in? I think it's because, on Friday afternoon, I went to a job resources place at the Centrepointe building that I guess used to be Nepean City Hall, and, it was a nice afternoon with temperatures above-freezing, so I decided that I'd walk home (a little more than two miles), especially considering that I hadn't yet explored much of the area I live in beyond the Merivale/Clyde area. Just north of Algonquin College, there's a stand of outlet-type stores very similar to those near the Colisée Kirkland cinema, so I stopped by the Beer Store and bought myself a single 710 ml can of Red Bull, by which I mean not the Red Bull energy drink
but the Red Bull malt liquor
by Schlitz, which was purchased by Stroh (though the can I bought says that it's brewed by something called the "Silver Creek Brewery" of La Crosse, Wisconsin... I don't feel like solving that mystery right now). After I went to the Beer Store, I walked down Baseline and went to McDonald's (but one I've never went to before... ooh!) to have fries, and then turned down Clyde (which becomes Merivale) and stopped by the Comic Book Shoppe in the Bleeker Mall, though they still didn't have Super Gals!
volume 6, so I decided to just place an order for it. Then I walked home.
Anyway, I used to drink Red Bull malt liquor maybe once a week back when I was going to that animation college and had the apartment in downtown Montreal part-time, but I haven't had it since I moved out of the apartment since only a couple of stores in Montreal sell it, and none of them were anywhere near Pincourt. But the Beer Stores in Ottawa all seem to have it, so I decided to buy it again, just once, for old times' sake. It's 7.1% alcohol, about as weak as a beer can get and still be called "malt liquor", and actually weaker than the 9% La Fin du Monde beer
I usually drink (which, for the mathmatically-impaired, is 26.76% stronger than the 7.1% Red Bull, NOT 1.9%), but it's in a can that contains twice as much beer as a bottle of Fin du Monde, so I thought drinking it was going to be quite the "par-tay" (though I'm not someone who gets drunk in a comical sitcom way, I just get sleepy), but, eh, I didn't get drowsy any quicker than usual and had to endure my very-thin-skinned online friend telling me how everyone at a certain forum either ignores her or hates her. (I like to make her feel better, but I wish she would stop imagining that everyone is angry when they type something to her.) And, eh, I'm very spoiled by Fin du Monde, which has a nice fruity taste that doesn't taste nearly as strong as it actually is. Even if Red Bull is just 7.1%, it still has a straight alcohol taste similar to that one time I tried 11% beer. Yeah, it's cheap swill, but it's the cheap swill I used to drink, so I was nostalgic for it. I don't think I'll be buying it again anytime soon, at least not until the next time I can't quite remember what it actually tastes like.
So, eventually I nodded off on the chair in front of the TV watching Super Gals!
on DVD and somehow got up and walked 1:30 p.m. And, after I got up, I wanted to write about the live-action Kiki's Delivery Service
, since I didn't write about it on Friday as Arxane beat me to the punch. And you know I tend to like to be complete and put in absolutely everything I can think of into that kind of article, and the articles don't write themselves, so it took me at least two hours. (I know it says 6:47 p.m., which is Greenwich Mean Time, meaning 1:47 p.m. Ottawa time, but that's when I started writing it, not when I finished.) Taking into account showering and dillydallying on the message boards on which I post, I didn't even leave the house until just after 6 p.m., and the club starts at 4 p.m. I actually took an articulated bus (the kind that are extra-long and jointed in the middle), which, until yesterday, I had never seen on the 86 Elmvale/Lincolnfields route. As far as I can remember, it was my first time in a bus like that anywhere in the world, but, it felt like any other bus.
I got off at the 1A University of Ottawa stop just after the one for the Rideau Centre, and then proceeded to find the Montpetit building, where the club meets, on the campus map, which, just to confuse me, had east pointing up instead of north (though some of the other maps were of the proper
north-up orientation). Just to make super sure I wouldn't get lost, I drew a little map of the way I wanted to go on a piece of paper, which, come to think of it, is the most anal-retentive thing I've done in a good long while. The middle of the campus reminded me very much of the middle of the Université de Montréal campus, with cluster of buildings around an open central plaza with a lot of steps. It didn't take me long to find the Montpetit building, though it's one of those buildings with windowless walls and only one external entrance, other than the fire exits. I was surprised to see that there was a lot of French inside the buiding, both on Student Union election posters and on official University of Ottawa signs, some of which had French first. Not that I minded, French isn't evil, and it reminded me almost of going to my old anime club at UdeM (though not quite, since there were still a lot of Englsh signs as well).
It took me a little while to navigate upstairs, since I took a wrong turn after the stairs and got to the 230s and 240s, when the room I wanted to find was 203, but as soon as I saw a couple of guys talking passionately about Dragonball Z
, I knew I was in the right place.
I couldn't find anyone official-looking sitting outside the room where the club was, so I couldn't pay the $3 for the night or the $6 for the membership. I quietly walked into the room, wondering if anyone would stop me (and, trust me, I would have paid if someone had stopped me), but, eh, either no one noticed me or it was so late that they didn't care. The room was very similar to B-2305, the lecture hall-type auditorium where the Animate/Anime Central club met in the Pavillion 3200 rue Jean-Brilliant building at UdeM... well, I guess many lecture hall-type auditoriums look the same.
After the club computer operator fixed some sort of audio glitch with an AVI file (something that never would have happened in the days of VHS fansubs), they showed an episode of Yukikaze
, which I guess was the second episode since it was now past 7:30 p.m. and their presentation of that OVA series was scheduled to start at 7. What can I say about Yukikaze
? Honestly, it seemed like a really pretentious version of Macross Plus
. It was thirty minutes mainly of either shots of CGI-planes or brooding characters looking up at the sky, and there was only a spattering of dialogue. The CGI was very well done, but it's getting to the point where the CGI in anime is too perfect and too realistic. What's the point of having realistic-looking planes flying over a realistic-looking ocean with realistic-looking atmospheric effects if the characters themselves still look like normal cartoon characters? I think a chart of how well CGI intergrates with anime follows kind of a bell curve starting in 1983 with the very crude (but pretty impressive for the era) sequence with the CGI helicopters and the skyscraper from The Professional: Golgo 13
, which seemed like someone stuck a computer graphics demo reel in the middle of a cartoon for no particular reason. It didn't mesh well at all. The high point of the bell curve would be in the mid-90s, with examples like the aforementioned Macross Plus
, where the CGI isn't so primitive that it's distracting but it isn't so advanced that it looks out of place. The CGI intergrated well because it was, in its own way, just as stylized as the character designs. Today we're at the other end of the bell curve where talented CGI animators can almost replicate virtually anything almost perfectly photorealistically (we still have the "uncanny valley" paradox
for when they're trying to make CGI humans look real, but, within a few years, you won't be able to tell), but I don't see the point of making everything except the humans in an animated world look completely real. Why not just go all the way and have CGI humans instead of characters drawn in the general anime style, because, in Yukikaze
, I thought the anime characters looked very out of place?
Another problem I had with Yukikaze
was that they overused the cliché "HAL shot" (as in HAL, the computer from Stanley Kubrick's version of 2001: A Space Odyssey
), with a large round lens meant to represent the personality of the plane's Artificial Intelligence, since the A.I. obviously doesn't have a face. I think they used it every time the plane talked. Now, my absolute favourite piece of Japanese anime/manga science-fiction, Hitoshi Ashinano's Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
, also has the occasional HAL homage shot to remind us that, even if Alpha looks, acts, thinks, and feels more or less than a human, she's still a machine, but it's much more subtle, in the form of the lens on Alpha's camera. In Yukikaze
, the "HAL shot" is used all the time, to the extent that it's ripping off Arthur C. Clarke so much that they might as well call the plane "HAL".
, I was in much more comfortable territory with a "friend" I hadn't seen in a while, Lina Inverse
. They showed two episodes of the first Slayers
television series from 1995, the episode
wherein Lina had to pretend to be a bride in an attempt to trick a sorceress into leaving a guy she cursed alone (and he's paying Lina 5000 gold pieces), and the episode
whereon Lina, Gourry, and Amelia, who have to hide from various bandits and sorcerors after them, as punishment for eating a theatre troupe's stew, find themselves becoming actors in a play. The title of the play? "Grant Us Justice and Peace: The Death of the Abominable Fiend, Lina Inverse", with Lina and Gourry playing both halves of a dragon and some guy in a big, ugly suit playing the part of "Lina". Will Lina stick to the script in a play written against her? Though I had seen both episodes before, since I own them on VHS which I bought this one time that HMV was selling subtitled Slayers
VHS tapes for just $18 Canadian each (which, in 1997, was a very good deal for subtitled anime), I haven't watched them in years, and it was nice seeing them again.
It does make me feel a little old to consider that kids in anime clubs today consider Slayers
, which hadn't even yet aired in Japan when I started attending the UdeM club in 1994, to be quite "old school", but, considering I find the cheesy, low-budget animation of anime from the 1980s up through the mid 1990s to be a large part of the appeal, I'm happy that this club was showing something from era when anime was still painted on cels and not coloured with digital "ink-and-paint".
, they showed a couple of episodes of the now "old school" anime Saber Marionette J
, but I could never get into the whole Saber Marionette franchise
, which people often compare to Tenchi Muyo
, but I never found Lime and Bloodberry remotely as interesting as Ryoko and Ayeka (or Kiyone), so I left. Even though I've been in Ottawa for nearly two months now, it's still weird to be "downtown" not see Mount Royal, which is what every Montrealer orients themselves with. In downtown Montreal, "north" is actually closer to being "west", but it's "north" because the "north-south" streets like Peel point towards the mountain. In Ottawa, there just isn't as obvious a landmark with which to orient yourself, but, fortunately, the Peace Tower of Parliament, just to the north of downtown, was within my line of sight where I was, so I was able to find "west" fairly easily after leaving the university, and made my way to Nicholas street, which crosses the Rideau Canal and which was closed off to traffic because of the "Winterlude" festival
, with a lot of people skating on the Rideau Canal even after 9 p.m. at night and some musicians a street or two away. After crossing the canal, I passed by the new Ottawa City Hall
, which I don't recall seeing before and which looks quite impressive. Very modern and expansive. Then I turned south down Elgin street to get to the Wendy's I had found the other day when I saw Sideways
, ordered a Spicy Chicken Combo, and continued reading the French version of volume 6 of Mihona Fujii's Gals!
manga. (I've compared Gals!
to Fat Albert
before, but this volume had a story, and I'll be nice and not give any details for those of you reading the far behind English version published by D.C. Comics CMX manga imprint, that actually had a Scooby Doo
-type ending. I doubt Fat Albert
ever crossed the Pacific, but I'm sure that at least the classic Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
episodes did, so I wonder if Mihona watched that?)
Then I went home. And... umm... that's it.
I will definitely go back to the University of Ottawa Anime Club
next week, where they're having a social event, definitely exactly the sort of thing I need to go to more to meet people, which is the whole point of me going anyway.
It's Super Bowl Sunday, but I can't watch the American ads live this year like I did last year
, since this year, the show is on Fox, and there's no Fox station close enough to Ottawa to pick up off the air, even with an outdoor aerial like we had in Pincourt. (I'm not even sure if we have one here.) There's WWNY-7 in Watertown NY
, but that's about 101 miles away from Ottawa
(much closer to Kingston, the Ontario city that marks the point where Lake Ontario flows into the Saint Lawrence River), and, though they have added a secondary "repeater" type transmitter, WNYF-28
near Massena NY, which is about 51 miles away from Ottawa
, it's very low-powered and not something we can pick up off the air at all, even here in south Ottawa. EDIT:
Oh wait, WWNY-7 seems to be a CBS affiliate but WNYF is the Fox one, but they have the same owners and website. Damn, I'm really, really confused.
And, yes, we get Fox on cable (WUHF from Rochester), but, as I've pointed out many times before, if an American programme is being simulcast in Canada, they have to run a Canadian signal in the American slot, so, even if I watch Rogers Cable channel 36 (Fox), I still get the Global promos for Global National News
and whatever shit sitcoms or reality shows they're trying to get me to watch, as well as Molson ads instead of the cool Budweiser and Miller Lite ads. And they repeat them over and over, especially the Global promos.
At least I'll be able to watch the American ads online later on... but it's not the same as watching them live.