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Dated 19 December 2008: Still waiting for the eighth Full Moon wo Sagashite DVD

Full Moon wo Sagashite DVD 7
This is the cover of the last R1 Full Moon wo Sagashite DVD released.

I just wanted to point out it has now been more than a year since the last Full Moon wo Sagashite DVD was released. MORE THAN A YEAR.

You know who didn't have a year?


Dated 29 April 2009: I forgot to buy a calendar this year

Asuka calendar
Asuka May/June 2009 calendar.

Someone get me this calendar. You have until Friday.

Dated 22 May 2010: Love Hina and its place in anime history

Love Hina opening credits
At least there's no spinning watermark.

Although I own all the DVDs, I chose to re-watch my archive of Love Hina fansubs over the past few months. As you might expect, the video and audio quality is atrocious by modern standards, with 320x240 15fps encodes being the norm. (The entire season fits on two CD-Rs.) Depending on the group, the subtitles themselves can also be quite poor by today's standards. Many lines are poorly timed and some episodes were clearly finished by non-native English speakers. Every single episode was generally inferior from a technical perspective than the samples in my recent Chu-Bra!! PSP experiment. Nevertheless, Love Hina in this crude form invokes a certain nostalgia when remembering the brief, recent history of anime distribution in America.

Motoko and Keitaro
Try a little tenderness, Keitaro.

Love Hina was one of the first shows successfully distributed widely in entirely digital formats. Although the initial rips came from analog broadcasts, the Internet (and sneakernet) distribution of Love Hina episodes was accomplished digitally. Heretofore, American anime fans typically purchased, traded, or copied videotapes of fansubs. This is how I first watched All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, for example. For those unfamiliar with the medium, videotapes are purely analog, so the quality degrades significantly after each generation. If you were lucky, you got to watch something that was low enough on the copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy chain that it did not look like mush.

Tsuruko, Motoko's sister
Aneue > Onee-sama.

What a long way we've come in merely a decade. Fansubs today appear with soft-subs that can be turned off and video quality that surpasses DVD limitations by a large margin. No wonder the anime DVD bubble collapsed so quickly. I, like many buyers, contracted my buying habits once DVDs became clearly inferior to recordings of initial broadcasts—waiting for Blu-ray releases. I'm still waiting. FUNimation is taking cautious steps, but I won't be cajoled long by lackluster upscales.

Keitaro and Mutsumi
Keitaro's dilemma at the end of Love Hina is not
unlike Shinji's struggle with Instrumentality.

So what about Love Hina itself? Many former fans have recanted their affection for the title, disclaiming, "I hadn't seen much anime at that time, so I didn't know better." I still find Love Hina as charming and funny as ever. It balances a winning combination of absurd mechanized turtles and emotional resonance. It's a relic from a time of the big-boobed tsundere (before the stereotype turned into a complete joke), to be sure, and its harem comedy roots were unoriginal even then, but its cast remains engaging. Megumi Hayashibara is still absolutely dead-on as Aunt Haruka, and a round or two with Motoko reminds me how sorely Asakawa Yuu is missed. Likewise, the motif about promises still rings true today; it carries more import than the typical canned motivations anime characters generally spout. And perhaps it also implores viewers to remember a past they once loved and should not forget.

Dated 1 June 2010: Expect a crush of Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22 posts herein, part one

Shinji's SDAT

For those of you who don't know what I'm going on about, Shinji's SDAT player during the original series only displayed tracks 25 and 26, suggesting the mindfuck final episodes may have been deliberately planned all along.

Dated 14 June 2010: Well, the T42p died again

Re-installing Ubuntu 10.04 on the T42p
IBM Thinkpad T42p now on its sixth life.

This time the hard drive died. Well, I was running out of space anyway, and this gives me an excuse to upgrade to something larger, although buying a PATA hard drive seems kinda silly nowadays. At least everything was backed up on the server anyway. I think.

Dated 16 June 2010: Expect a crush of Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22 posts herein, part five

Asuka and her WonderSwan.

I won't lie. I totally wanted a WonderSwan because Asuka has one in Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22.

WonderSwan Color
And now I have one.

That was easy. Should I be distressed I bought a portable video game console I'll never actually use? Should I be distressed I bought a pink one? METALLIC pink.

WonderSwan Color
Next I need to find whatever game Asuka keeps playing.

Should I be distressed Asuka has no interest in Kaji in Rebuild of Evangelion? Oh wait, that probably counts as a spoiler. Sorry.

Dated 18 October 2010: Expect a crush of Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22 posts herein, part nine

Shikinami Asuka Langley hawks UCC coffee in a can
I'll take some of whatever you're selling, sweetheart.

Delicious product placement.

Despite pretty overt ties to Darker than Black, Maria-sama ga Miteru, and basically every other anime in creation nowadays, my Pizza Hut consumption has not changed meaningfully. However, I'm sure it's no mere coincidence I feel compelled to purchase cold coffee in tiny metal cans. I could also go for some ice, snacks, and beer. Well, not so much the ice.

Dated 12 December 2010: Cardcaptor Sakura Re-Watching Project

Cardcaptor Sakura DVDs
Just so you know, the shoujo rack has grown
considerably since this 2005 picture.

I've been re-watching Cardcaptor Sakura courtesy of some Blu-ray rips. Despite being relatively low-bitrate re-encodes, these Blu-rips do look better than my official Pioneer/Geneon region one DVDs. Well, at least they look better than what I remember—I haven't done a side-by-side comparison. The frame jitter is gone at least.

Tomoyo and Sakura
Sakura is actually one of the most powerful magikal
girls even though she sometimes fights harmless
enemies that make cakes too sweet.

Visual quality aside, the most notable difference is the remixed 5.1 surround sound audio. I suppose it is a little gimmicky, to tell you the truth, but I still enjoy being surprised by the multi-channel changes. Cardcaptor Sakura remains an excellent show that has aged very well, so I find myself caught up in its storytelling and charm instead of spending my time watching for technical changes; thus, the occasional rear-channel sound effects and such continue to catch me by surprise, even 30 episodes deep into 70-episode re-watching project.

Sweet and Sakura
On a related note, I heard that if you put
salt on a bird's tail it won't be able to fly.

Now if we could only get the Blu-ray discs released properly over here with English subtitles at a price point below that of the otaku-bleeding Haruhi discs. I'd also prefer it if the American-market discs were not all jacked up in some exasperatingly incompetent way, too, thanks.