A new VR ride lives on top of a 60 story building in Tokyo, which lets you have the experience of being shot out of a cannon, off the roof and across the city. They have another VR ride on the same top floor I am much more likely to go for, where you swing on a swing while floating above the city. The place is referred to as Sky Circus, and it looks like an entertaining thing to do with the spectacular view. Thanks to VR Scout for the heads up on this one.
It is finally time for Captain America: Civil War to hit the big screen, and I am ready! It already pulled in $84 million in its first three days in various countries around the world, putting it on a par with Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Movies has The 5th Wave, a tale of alien invasion based on the first book of a Rick Yancey trilogy. 400 Days has astronauts flying a simulated mission to another planet that isn’t as simulated as they think it is in this movie from Syfy. While it isn’t genre, it is worth mentioning that A Royal Night Out is also being released on disc this week, based on a true story. If there is any genre TV this week I managed to miss it.
In Anime RWBY 3 is the third volume in the series of high powered combat with monsters and other humans. While hidden political agendas and secret plans fight to determine the fate of the world, we slowly learn that their own history has been hidden from our 4 heroes and their various allies. Gundam Evolve is an interesting release because it contains 15 short pieces that were originally aired at conventions and/or packaged with kits, and is now compiled onto DVD for the first time. They are outtakes or side stories from a range of Gundam series done using a number of different animation techniques.
Akashic has only been together for a couple of years, and has two mini-albums under their belt, one in 2014, the other this past March. They have the kind of high energy pop sound that makes me think they would do very well doing anime intro songs, but so far I haven’t located any titles they were involved with. The first track is CG Gal posted a month or so ago, the next is Purichi from their 2014 mini-album.
In Divine GateAdapters are folks with powers over their realms of Air, Water, Earth and Fire, each realm existing on a different plane of existence and each accessible to the others through a mundane gate. The Living, Heavens, and Underworld become connected to each realm after a Divine Gate is opened, adding another set of layers to the situation, and whoever opens a Divine Gate can change the universe as they desire, including changes in the past and future. Adapters use Drivers to control their powers and keep them from going into meltdown, but they don’t always (or often) work. I have been enjoying this one a lot this new season, and can’t wait to see more.
It looks like SpaceX is gearing up to colonize Mars, with the first flight targeted for 2018 (the next time the Red Planet is close enough to give us an orbital shot at getting there quickly). That will just be the first unmanned test flight and attempted non-exploding landing, if they can even make that incredibly close deadline, but damn, I am excited! My favorite article about it so far is the one put together by Space Flight Now, who always do a great job of analyzing all the pros and cons of a proposed space mission. The Dragon 2 spacecraft could possibly deliver 4 tons of supplies to mars per launch (you wouldn’t want to use that craft for the actual mission, since the crew capsule is the size of an SUV), building up to enough food, water, and equipment to make the project viable. No word on when the first humans would head that way quite yet, but I expect them to make some comments once we see how the initial mission goes.
Tan Le developed a wearable EEG, and the other week a team of engineering doctoral students at the University of Florida used it to control drones in a competitive race as the first step to developing a brain/robot interface. One of Tan Le’s more elegant contributions to this telepathic headset was the algorithm that lets it unfold the convolutions of the brain, making it much more accurate and a lot easier for anyone to put on and start training with. This has major implications for everyone from the physically disabled who will gain previously impossible degrees of self reliance, to the military research teams trying to create their own personal Gundams. The major breakthrough’s that made EEGs wearable were developed in parallel in a number of different research projects around the world during the early part of this century, and affordable (as little as $500 a pop) the early part of this decade, and so far every year since has seen major improvements in their functionality. Another major player in this field is Ariel Garten, so I had to include some commentary from her. It seems like her system is a lot lower rez then Tan Le’s, only able to trigger actionable input from the whole brain state (Alpha, Theta) rather than specific mapped neural sites. But they are both on the market with a cheap neural computer interface as are a number of others, and there is no way to know who might come out with the advancement that pushes us into the future.
We have two films that look interesting this week: Ratchet & Clank for animated silly fun, and The Man Who Knew Infinity, the story of Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar, a true mathematical genius and pioneer. I am thinking I am going to have to see both films this weekend.
I couldn’t find many genre Movies or TV shows this week, but there is The Driftless Area, a ghost story in which Anton Yelchin is once more getting closure for the dead, but I saw no indication that he had the name Odd Thomas this time. Stella, played by Zooey Deschanel, saves his life so he can avenge her murder. It is based on the novel of the same name written by Tom Drury.
In Anime, Rage of Bahamut: Genesis has all 12 episodes of a story where a charming rogue, a clueless demon, a disgraced knight, and a tiny zombie are the only ones who can save the world, if they can find a way to work together long enough to pull it off. Even though it was made in 2014, a lot of the footage looks like old school Anime from the 1980s. Space Brothers: Collection 8 brings episodes 88 through 99 of that series, completing the story. One Piece: Season 7 Voyage 6 has episodes 446 through 456 of a story line that shows no indications of every reaching a conclusion. Garo The Animation: Season One Part One has the first dozen episodes of the magical knights vs the evil usurper story.
Kamisama Kiss: Season 2 brings back Nanami the Land Goddess, who is finally getting the hang of the world of gods, demons, and spirits, but maybe not fast enough to save her piece of the world. Earl and Fairy is a romantic fantasy adventure in which a fairy doctor and a count are looking for a magic sword. This one was on TV back in 2008 in Japan, but I have found no indication it was previously released in North America.