Hitoshi Ashinano's Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
(Yokohama Shopping Log
a.k.a. Quiet Country Café
), the manga about a kindler, gentler post-apocalyptic (technically post-catacylsmic) world, has come to an end with chapter 140
(N.B. press the left
arrow to go to the next page, and the panels are read right to left).
Though it's hard to tell because of Alpha Hatsuseno's robotic eternal youth, this chapter, which was published in the February issue of Kodansha's Afternoon
monthly, seems to take place several years in the future after the previous few chapters
, which already seemed to be jumping ahead in the future a bit (with "Ojisan"'s ("uncle"), the elderly gas station owner, death some time before this chapter being hinted at in one of the panels). It seems that the human population of Japan, which was already severely diminished at the start of the series in 1994 due to some never quite specified meta-enviromental catastrophe, possibly something to do with Mount Fuji losing its cone, has diminished even further (which seems to be due to the birth rate having dropped to almost nothing, not because of any kind of plague), although the androids still make life for the few remaining humans bucolic and carefree by still distributing goods and providing services for as long as the humans are still around (and after the humans are all gone, the androids will be like the living memory of humanity, still carrying out a facsimile of human society, at least until their parts or batteries wear out).
Pretty much as I expected, virtually all the big mysteries
of the series (such as the purpose of the androids and what happened to the world prior to the start of the series) remain unexplained, but as this series was only ever really about creating a serene atmosphere for the reader and the appreciation of the small joys in life, whatever the "big picture" is isn't really all that relevant. I like that Hitoshi Ashinano left the "big picture" answers to the imagination of the readers.
It's a not-overtly-melancholy-but-still-melancholy-but-happy ending to one of the greatest manga series ever created (and certainly the greatest manga series that will likely never be licensed by any American publishers due to most young manga readers not appreciating manga that move as slow as molasses).
For more information about this series, the Wikipedia entry
is a good primer and the Blog of a Yokohama Shopping Trip
is a nice reading companion (albeit one that focuses primarily on what turned out to be the final few chapters).
...I had the same reaction as I did when I watched my first Uwe Boll movie, and I don't mean that in the usual way that most people do when they invoke the name of Boll.
It was a thoroughly mediocre episode, not great, but, if you watch it expecting an eye-gougingly unwatchable "train wreck", you will be very disappointed. It was just another "swimsuit episode" with a minor conflict that has absolutely nothing to do with the main plot, just like the first season Sailor Moon swimsuit episode
where they go to that beach hotel with the Addams Family monsters.
One weird thing I noticed: the plesiosaur takes Chibi-Usa (Rini) to a mysterious volcanic island surrounded by sharks.
Wait a minute... a child was kidnapped? A mysterious volcanic island? Sharks?
Oh my god, Kirin-chan, the plesiosaur, must be a member of the Dharma Initiative
Is this the "lost episode of Sailor Moon"
, or is it the "Sailor Moon episode of Lost"
? (And there are a few other visual similarities too, like how the other girls see smoke rising from a fire far in the distance, just like that one shot towards the end of the first season from the fire that was from the Oceanic Flight 815 "tail-enders" survivors' camp.)
While I'm looking for unintentional, purely coincidental, parallels between Sailor Moon
, in the other episode I mentioned in passing, episode 20, there's a psychic girl who can project visual hallucinations that others can see. There's an obvious parallel with Walt
, and the father who hypnotizes her to use the hallucinations to scare off visitors could almost represent Dharma. Weird, huh?
Yes, sometimes I can read way too much into things as well.
I had to watch most of the episode this afternoon, since I tried watching it last night after I finished writing the preceding entry, but I fell asleep on the computer (while I was semi-chatting with Jesse Betteridge
too on AIM). I hate it when that happens.
Speaking of Jesse Betteridge, whose site, Zannen, Canada
, just went back online after being offline for a week, he points out
that all five episodes of Nelvana's Harold Rosenbaum: Chartered Accountant Extreme
, a vague spoof of 1930s private eye comics like Dick Tracy
and the look of the Max Fleischer Superman
shorts, can now be seen at YouTube.
SAILOR MOON: THE FORBIDDEN EPISODE!
I hadn't thought of looking for it since at least December, but, since the last time I checked YouTube for it, two people have uploaded Sailor Moon R episode 67
otherwise known as the "forbidden episode of Sailor Moon
", the filler episode with the girls in swimsuits (not the first swimsuit episode, I know) and Chibi-Usa (Rini) befriending a plesiosaur (a sea-going dinosaur), and the episode that is reputedly so awful that Sailor Moon
creator Naoko Takeuchi pressured Toei to withdraw it from circulation completely. That may be true or it may be an urban legend, but what is certainly true is that DiC didn't have a "master" of that episode to give to ADV when ADV was producing its limited-edition subtitled box sets of the first two seasons of Sailor Moon
, so the Sailor Moon R
box set skips from episode 66 to episode 68.
And now I can watch it. I feel just like Locke
did when Mr. Eko
gave him the Bible that had one of the missing sections of the Dharma Initiative "orientation film"
Sorry for the lack of updates. I have a couple of things half-finished, as usual, but I'm still feeling bummed over the Merivale Toys R' Us job interview, not so much by how I felt he saw me during the interview itself, but rather because I simply don't have anyone I can honestly use as a reference, and the people from the old church my mother contacted to use as references didn't get back to her, and now, over a week after the interview, it's just a tiny bit late.
I mean, I'm not the most sociable guy in the world. Is that a crime? And the few people I do socialize with aren't the sorts of people I can really use as references. And, since I was able to coast through my twenties in a financially-stable situation where I didn't need to get a job, I lack formal job experience. I suppose I shouldn't have been so lazy and should have gotten a job anyway to get a foothold in the working world, but it's a little late for me to second guess what I should have done in my twenties. Realistically, who can I use as a reference? The guy whose kids I babysat when I was 16, which was (checks watch)... oh, 15 years ago? Or that one English teacher I got along famously with back when I was in my first semester at Dawson College... a decade ago this coming fall? I mean, I maintain a fairly large online presence, but, unfortunately, it doesn't translate into solid contacts.
Sorry for the rant, but it's damn frustrating being a "lone wolf" sometimes.
AT HOGWARTS, THE LEGAL DRINKING AGE IS ONLY 17...
When Toronto Police raided the Alexander Keith's Angry Scotsman's house a couple of weeks ago, many articles noted that, in his fridge, police found not just Keith's but also several bottles of Corona.
That came as a shock to me. Okay, not quite as much as what he was arrested for
, but, still, it left me wondering what the Alexander Keith Angry Scotsman was doing with Corona in the fridge.
I think I might have found the answer: he could have seen the following photo.
Yep, that's Harry Potter's Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, drinking a Corona
. Or, at least, she's posing with a Corona at her lips. The bottle isn't quite tipped enough that she can swallow any of the contents so it could just be her posing with one of her parents' (or guardians') drinks as a gag.
But, let's assume that she really is drinking it. Emma Watson turns 16 in April. The legal drinking age in England is 18. Legally, she's over two years too young to be imbibing that in her part of the world.
So, would this picture disturb me if she was drinking it?
Not at all.
First of all, as you can see from the place settings on the table, Emma didn't sneak into a bar. It's obviously a restaurant, and she seems to be with at least one adult (as well as whomever snapped the photo).
And the beer is Corona, which is only 4.8% alcohol, not quite light beer, but certainly on the weaker side of the beer spectrum. One Corona is not going to corrupt her for life. Maybe, considering her small size, she'd have been light-headed for a couple of hours, but that's about it.
Finally, I really don't have a problem with a 15-year old having a single beer at what seems to be some kind of special occasion with her parents' blessing (preferably with one of them present), as long as these "special occasions" aren't more than a couple of times a month. My parents did the exact same thing with me when I was her age (possibly even a year or two younger) to take the mystery and the lure of the forbidden out of alcohol, and, while I still drink beer (and the very occasional vodka screwdriver) I don't drink to excess. I very, very, very rarely (like maybe only a couple of times a year) have more than one beer at once. I don't drink nearly enough for people to consider it a problem. I'm the very essence of drinking in moderation. It's far better to teach your kid to drink in moderation than it is to demonize alcohol to the extent that drinking large amounts of alcohol becomes too enticing to resist for a rebellious teenager.
I don't know how else they treat her, but, in that one photo, they appear to be raising Emma quite correctly.
Though, if I was her agent, I'd be a little uncomfortable with letting my famous 15-year old client be photographed holding a beer.
...but, yesterday, I was watching an episode of Las Guerreras Magicas
, the Mexican Spanish-dubbed version of the action-oriented "magical girl" fantasy anime series Magic Knight Rayearth
, and I find the Spanish version of the theme song unintentionally hilarious.
I mean, I'm not a good judge of Spanish-language dubs, since, as someone who grew up in the province of Quebec and who had a hard enough time learning French, I don't really know any Spanish beyond what little I picked up from watching American Sesame Street
, but the acting in the dub itself sounds fine as far as I can tell.
It's just the opening theme song, which follows the melody of the Japanese theme song, "Yuzurenai Negai"
("Unyielding Wish") using the same opening animation (other than eliminating the nude transformation shots of when Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are Barbie-doll naked and are surrounded by the color-coded mists), uses deep-voiced male singers. Rayearth
, which is based on the manga produced by the all-female comic artist team CLAMP, isn't exactly the most "girly-girl" of all the varied mahou shoujo
anime out there, it's actually fairly progressive, with female characters being just as powerful as the guys, but it's still very
jarring hearing men with sub-baritone bass voices singing a song I've never heard anyone with a penis perform before. Excluding me in the shower. When I first heard it, it sounded like I was hearing a bunch of angry dogs barking in the distance. Or maybe even one of those "bear" death metal guys singing just a tiny bit more normal.
It's not like the English theme song from the Media Blasters/Anime Works version
, where they did a pretty good job finding a singer whose a fairly close match for the Japanese one (and they get the gist of the meaning of the Japanese lyrics
As it stands, as hard as it is to believe, I find the Mexican version of the theme song to be even more unintentionally hilarious than even the R&B-ish take on "Yuzurenai Negai" heard in the opening to the English-dubbed version of the Sega Saturn game
(whose dub has nothing to do with the Media Blasters dub of the anime).
Also on YouTube, I found this Dutch version of the opening song
, but I think it's just a joke recorded by some guy with his little $10 computer microphone.
GADZOOKS! I ADDED A SITE FEED!
That's right, I modernized this blog. I added a site feed
in an attempt to bring it up to... erm... 2003
So now you can subscribe to me and be instantly alerted anytime I write about taking the bus to Wal-Mart.
Isn't technology grand?
By the way, the site feed is with Atom Enabled's Atom Feed
. I'm aware that there are other popular site feeds out there like RSS, but Atom's the default one available to Blogger users and I'm too uninterested to add the others. I don't really follow or subscribe to any site feeds myself, so I have no idea whether, by not having RSS, you won't be able to read about arcane details I noticed in Gran Turismo 4
on your cell phone, Blackberry, or other such personal data assistant, and I really don't care either.
I'm completely disinterested in site feeds personally (preferring the old-fashioned alternative of "wondering whether a site or blog I like has posted anything new" and "checking to see if they have"), I really just added the Atom Feed because I noticed that my entries were sometimes taking weeks to be added to Google Blog Search
and I'm a Sitemeter search engine hit whore. Now that I've added Atom Feed, they're up there within a couple of minutes.