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December 2016
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Something to Watch: Discs

We get two animated western films this week, with The Secret Life of Pets being my vote for the best choice. Mind, Lego Star Wars: Freemaker Adventures is probably also a good option, but since I haven’t seen it yet I have to go with the one I have seen and know I like. The Lego Star Wars set is the first season, totally 13 episode, 22 minutes long each.

Anime starts out with the Live Action Attack on Titan The Movie: Part 2, but I am sad to report I have seen no mention of the Live Action TV show that accompanied the movies. By all reports it wasn’t very good, but being a completest I would still like to see it. Rurouni Kenshin Part II: Kyoto Inferno is also the second Live Action film in a series that started life as a Manga, then an Anime, although this one will have a total of 3 films in the set, the third one being released in January.

Bikini Warriors: The Complete Series is actual Anime, with the emphasis on Fan Service and a premise so silly this definitely qualifies as Comedy. Speaking of Comedy, Fairy Tail: Part 22 has episodes 253 through 265 and all the magical collateral damage we have all come to expect from this series. Little Busters Ex is an OVA spin off of the Little Busters! Ecstasy variation of this anime based on a lite graphical novel that is sometimes a game. Ninja Slayer kicks reason to the curb, and includes some animation that looks like it was done by pre-teens drinking way too much coffee. I am unclear who the target audience is for that one, I only know it does not include me.

Seiyu’s Life: The Complete Series is based on the Doujinshi by voice actress Masumi Asano, and its all about (surprise!) Voice Acting! In fact Seiyu is the Japanese word for a Voice Actor, and there are a number of big-time voice actors doing cameos in this series. If you ever wanted to get an insiders eye view of what it takes to become a successful voice actor in the world of Anime, you need to watch this series.

OK Go: The One Moment

I love their music, but OK Go consistently make the most amazing music videos I have ever seen. They have done it yet again with The One Moment, watch this one and see if you don’t agree. Then watch the next few videos, which will give you insight into their creation process.

Street Level Viewpoint

A few of the same places, from a totally different perspective.

Street 1

Street 1

Street 2

Street 2

Street 3

Street 3

Street 4

Street 4

View From Above

This visit we managed to make it into the London Eye, which is the huge Ferris Wheel that gives you a birds eye view of the city, and it is amazing. It makes a nice contrast with the view you get from the ship that cruises along the Thames, and both of those viewpoints are completely different from the way everything looks from the streets. I was somewhat surprised to learn that the famous London Clock Tower is actually called Elizabeth Tower, after the Queen; Big Ben is the name of the bell in that tower, not the tower itself. The foundry that made Big Ben, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, also made the Liberty Bell that called the Continental Congress into session in Philadelphia.

Westminster

Westminster

Clock Tower

Clock Tower

North Bank

North Bank

East

East

Chinatown London

These are a few pictures taken while wandering around London’s Chinatown area, and the first one is my new favorite snack, TaiYaki. We first ran into this snack while hanging out in Second Life, but had never seen it in RL until we found a little bakery in London’s Chinatown that seemed to be making 70% of its sales from fish waffles. Most times of day they had a line the length of the store queuing up to buy them.

Taiyaki

Taiyaki

They may look like fish, but they taste like lightly sweetened Belgium Waffles (the real ones that you can buy from the street vendors in Brussels) with just a dab of creamy custard in the center.

Chinatown Tori

Chinatown Tori

I think of Tori’s as the gateway into an area, but the one in London’s Chinatown is a good two blocks in.

Monkey King

Monkey King

I never did find out exactly why this representation of the Monkey King was hanging out on this building, but I found it interesting so I am including it here.

Paris

For the last week or two I actually partook in a vacation which consisted of a trip to Europe both instigated and accompanied by my very good friend Jenn, and it was amazing. Most of our time was spent in the UK, but there was a day trip to Paris, with a bus stop by the Moulin Rouge, a boat ride by Notre Dame, lunch in the Eiffel Tower, and a visit to the Louvre. I realize that a serious trip to the Louvre takes about a decade to get a good start on, and much longer to complete, and the rest of the city requires a lot more attention than a single day allows for. But within the time allotted for the days visit we got enough of a glimpse of the structure and flavor of Paris to get a good general impression, and I now have a lot of mental and emotional hooks to hang references off of that I might be exposed to through various books, movies, music, or other media. I enjoyed every minute of my time there, and had to share a few pictures.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

This complex of buildings was awe inspiring to finally see in person, but when you started looking into the detail work (especially through a high powered telescopic lens) you began to understand just how immense the project that created the facility was.

Angle-A

Angle-A

Here is one of the statues on the bridge that was featured as the suicide weapon in Luc Besson’s Angel-A. Note that if either the Angle or the Human had leaped off the bridge they would have fallen an entire 14 feet before hitting the water, so only careful camera angles kept the scene tense.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower springs to everyone’s mind when they think of Paris, so how could we miss it? We not only looked at it from the ground (from multiple angles; it is visible from quite a ways off, after all), but we got on the lift that took us up to the lower platform and to a wonderful lunch of chicken under foam. When we tried to get back to the ground we discovered that was not quite as easy; it seems that some of the approached to the lifts are only accessible at certain times, and while we were not there long enough to learn the rules we did manage to get down again.

Chicken Under Foam

Chicken Under Foam

The wonderful lunch of chicken under foam I mentioned; trust me when I say it tasted even better than it looks, and it was heart healthy besides!

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

As a kid from Louisiana, no way I was leaving without a glimpse of the most famous and art-infused strip club of all time! Moulin Rouge is in a category by itself, and had to be included here!

Something to Do: Movies

Most of the titles for this weekend are horror variations, so I intend to binge watch some good streaming video. If you haven’t seen it yet I can recommend Time Taxi at Crunchyroll, Deadbeat over at Hulu, or Any of the Marvel TV series over at Netflix

Something to Watch: Discs

There are a lot of family friendly choices this time, starting with the live action remake of Pete’s Dragon from Disney. Spielberg’s take on Roald Dahl’s The BFG is also by way of Disney, and also family friendly. The animated adventure comedy The Wild Life has one of the more cleverly done interactive web sites that I have seen, is a world of fun, and again, is family friendly. It is also still another excellent example of the kind of quality animation work coming out of Belgium and France this century. I do have to admit that Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is family friendly for only certain totally twisted and dysfunctional variations of the word Family (or Friendly, for that matter), which should be obvious from its R rating, but it is a total hoot as well. See this one, just don’t let your kids in the room while you are watching it.

In Anime, Death Parade: The Complete Series has a simple premise: When two people die at the same time, they have to fight. The one who wins gets to live again, the one who loses is gone for good. Decim is the arbiter:a judge who determines whether or not a soul is worthy of reincarnation. At least until he until he meets a mysterious young woman whose fate seems impossible to decide, and the real story gets underway. Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine, Complete Collection is season 2 of this series, and includes all 12 episodes plus the movie. This is not the first anime series to explore what it means to be human, or even the first to do so while the characters DNA is being rewritten, but it does have a somewhat unique approach to the question. The first part of one of this years most edge-of-your-seat shows, God Eater 1, also becomes available this week. I will be waiting for them to put all 13 episodes into a single box set myself, but it is good to see they are making it available in however limited a form.

ЯeaL

I have to say Osaka band ЯeaL lead singer and songwriter Ryoko can definitely belt out a tune. Their first album came out in 2014 under the name Change Your ЯeaL, with this first track being called Senaka Awase. The amazing part of this group is not so much that they were in high school together when they wrote and recorded the track in 2012, but they went on to win a major music competition against a lot of older, more experienced, and better known bands, and signed a record deal before they even graduated. The second track is called Opposite Words, and is also from that same time period. Grown and graduated now, they are still rocking out, but sadly their record company has flagged all the music they wrote under contract as not available for viewing in my country, so I can’t share the rest of it here. The good news is you can grab their newer music on iTunes.

Holidays Have Arrived

Thanksgiving is always a fun time, this year more than usually so for me. Despite all the retailers that started playing Christmas songs on Halloween, to me the season doesn’t kick off until the Black Friday sales start going crazy. In honor of that, a few seasonal images I wanted to share; hope you like them. And yes, that last shot is the cartoon me, standing in front of the sketch rendition of the second image.

Covent Garden Lights 2

Rudolph

Happy New Year

Happy New Year