Bite size Anime (in the 5 to 10 minute long range) is fun when you don’t feel like giving up half an hour but still want to watch a little something, and this season we have several. Miss Monochrome is an android (the humanoid robot, not the operating system) who wants to be a Pop Idol, in a show that pokes fun at the entire Idol business model. About half of each 7 minute episode is Vocaloid-sounding music performed by singer and voice actress Yui Horie, so you don’t end up needing to burn too many brain cells to follow the story line. They are calling this the 3rd series, but only if you count the singer’s Secret Mission Tour in 2012 where the character was first introduced as a series. I do find it somewhat amusing that the android’s house pet is a Roomba. The other short story series this season I am watching is Hackadoll the Animation, about three personal entertainment AIs who don’t have a clue. Their assigned goal is to to improve the efficiency of their clients by filtering the sea of information into the bits important to their human, but these three have no idea how to go about the task. I am sure it will be no surprise that this one is a comedy. So far I only have a single episode of either to base an opinion on, but they both have the potential to entertain if they are done right.
These are the Top Art Submissions for September 2015 from Daz Studio, and they are all quite well done. For those of you who have not been playing with it, it is an excellent and free 3D modeling and animation program which is integrated pretty closely with Poser. Meaning you can not only share a lot of the same resources between the two environments (including everything you create yourself), but also that any skill set you learn in one program is directly applicable to the other. Take a look at this trailer to give you an idea of what is possible, and see if you don’t feel the urge to try to create a little something of your own.
The first very simple Quantum Computer Calculation has been made using room temperature silicon rather than ultra-cold superconductors. This was done by a team lead by Andrew Dzurak of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and it could mean true Quantum Computing is almost here. If that is the case, the world is about to go through another paradigm shift just as intense as the personal computer revolution itself. You can read about it at the New Scientist Basic Quantum Computation article.
Put together by PistolShrimps, this is a mashup of Star Wars with various Disney animation characters. This is the same crew that cranked out Titanic SUPER 3D a few years ago, so I am throwing it on the page too for anyone who missed it the first time. Thanks to Digital Spy for the heads up on this one.
Two movies in different genres but with a link between the protagonists this week; Pan is the latest reiteration of the Peter Pan classic story, giving it a Prequel spin, showing how it got to the beginning of the event sequence we all know and love. Steve Jobs tells the tale of another who refused to grow up and give up his dreams, but instead dragged the entire world with him into the future his imagination created. If I only have time to see one of them this weekend I am going to have to flip a coin, because I really feel the need to see both. Of course, I may just go off the deep end, and opt for Yakuza Apocalypse instead, and enjoy watching a Tokyo Vampire Crime Lord go bats all over the Cityscape.
I am happy to report that Movies this week include Tremors 5: Bloodlines, returning Burt Gummers to the universe of Perfection, where the usual high-tension comedy ensues. In the same vein, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, a movie that couldn’t have been even slightly serious at any point in its production path, is also coming out. There are also the usual collection of old horror films being re-released in the hopes that they will get some new sales as we roll up on Halloween. What may be the final film released from Studio Ghibli, When Marnie Was There, is also being released this week. Finally I need to mention a documentary, AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda.
TV gives us Reign: Season 2, taking place just following the plague, when survivors guilt was sweeping Europe. Also this week, the miniseries Tut starring Ben Kingsley. Because it is October we get Penny Dreadful: Season 2, the Showtime series with a Horror edge to it, and Leftovers: Season 1, about the people left behind.
Anime has Brynhildr in the Darkness: Complete Collection, a dark tale about a girl who believed in Aliens and then supposedly died but later returned as one of an army of human weapons. The World is Still Beautiful: Complete Collection is a fantasy about royalty with supernatural powers marrying for reasons of state. The fourth princess of Rain lost a game with her sisters to determine who would marry the King of Sun, and when she meets him neither is what the other is expecting.
They are touring North America right now, promoting their latest album on their first tour with an American release, 35xxxv (DELUXE EDITION), a best of collection from all their recordings since they formed in 2005. The lyrics are all in English, and the first song posted is Last Dance, the next one here from the same album is Cry Out. Don’t let their initial ballad for the US fool you, this band is all about serious Rock-N-Roll, in a way so many bands wish they could pull off. If you have even the slimmest chance to see them, I urge you to do so; they are truly amazing. The last few tracks here are Mighty Long Fall, Decision, and Be The Light. And yes, while all of their music has been available through iTunes for the last half decade, it is nice to finally have a natively available source for it. And OK, the final track of this set might be just a bit of a ballad again, if you are going to be a stickler about formats.
The first interesting Anime I found now that the new season has started is Heavy Object over on Funimation. It is based on a light novel by the author of A Certain Magical Index and takes place in the medium future, where warfare has been transformed by the development of weapons systems called Objects. I liked the characters in the first episode, the story telling was interesting, and there seems to be something of a mystery to be solved. I haven’t read the book yet, but I think I am going to enjoy following this show, and it has become the first one of the new season to be added to my Que.
On October 10th Library Wars: The Last Mission hits the big screen in Tokyo. This time the Armed Librarians are guarding the one-of-a-kind “library law handbook” on display at a special exhibition. What they don’t know is this is a trap meant to overthrow the Library Defense Force and possibly wipe them out. This is the third presentation in this series of live action projects based on Hiro Arikawa’s series of Library Wars light novels, but besides the award winning books, this has also been a Manga, Anime series, and Live Action TV series. For the live action movies they started in 2013 with the film Library Wars, which will be airing on TBS (Tokyo Broadcast System; the same folks who came up with the Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior game shows) on Sunday the 4th. A made-for-Television second live action film, Library Wars: Book Of Memories will be airing on Monday, October 5th, and the new movie itself follows that Saturday in Theaters. The author also got to write the Manga and the screenplays for the movies, so her romance and comedy made it into the films as well as the action. Thanks to the team at Tokyo Pop for the heads up on this one.
They released The Divergent Series: Allegiant trailer the other week, and it looks quite good. There is a less-than-trivial chance they will close the story with a typical Hollywood ending rather than the original one from the book series, but that might not be a bad thing (at least for folks who were as unhappy with the books ending as I was; it was powerful, but it wasn’t what I wanted to see happen). And like many book projects converted to film before them, they split the last book into two movies. The claim is always that they had to in order to tell the whole story, and the suspicion is always that they were overwhelmed by the need to milk their cash cow just one more time before they had to let it go. It is only after you see the final film that you find out which one it is, but considering how much richer in detail, backstories, and subplots most books are than the movies made from them, it takes a less than competent film production effort to create an inferior result. I look forward to finding out which side of that coin this series ends up on.