Thursday, September 11, 2008

Aside: Anime

I've been watching old episodes of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the TV series based on the movies. I'm enjoying the hell out of it. I don't know how popular it is in Japan or in the States, but I think it's amazing. The illustration, the detailed animation, and the little things they think of to add. One person was leaving a building and glanced at a wall clock. It would've been simple to just have it look like a retro analog clock, despite this show taking place in the future, for irony's sake. Nostalgia is big in a show about cybernetics and humanity. It could have been minor enough of a prop that they simply use an LED digital clock, you know, no big deal.

But no. Someone wanted that clock to look nice. It only shows up in the 15th episode and doesn't play a key part in anything (except to let the audience know when the action's happening), but someone went out of their way to design a unique clock for the office. It has a rectangular liquid crystal face, running horizontally. Arabic numbers at the top and center tell the time, and then here's what kills me: the LED clock pendulum. Again, they could've taken the easy way out and simply animated an analog-looking pendulum, leaving the viewer to assume that the technology is so advanced that of course it would look real. But no. Someone designing this clock decided that the pendulum should be represented by angled ovals in only seven positions! This black dot blips across the clock face in seven spots. Someone decided that the LED clock should not hearken as far back as a retro analog clock but should go as far back as the murky, experimental dawn of exploring LED technology! That just kills me.

That, and one of the extras for this episode's plot has requested a booth in a bar for himself and one of the main characters, because he's forming a friendship with him. The waiter comments favorably upon this and brings him a bottle of alcohol. But not just any bottle: the beveled, spherical bottle distinctive of Blanton's, my favorite Kentucky bourbon. It even had the little brass horse-and-rider on the cork. It was at that point I had to put it on Pause and come here to my laptop and hack out my praises.

The first anime I remember loving was Bubblegum Crisis: 2040. This is funny because not only was there at least two generations of anime prior to this series, but the 2040 series is the sequel series to the original Bubblegum Crisis, with which it only shares a few characters. I suppose it's not terribly different from someone enjoying Laverne & Shirley but never having heard of Happy Days. Something like that. Bubblegum Crisis: 2040 was the catalyst that got me passionate about anime and prompted me to seek it out at all costs. Those costs turned out to be "free" as the grey market of BitTorrented and fansubbed anime fresh from the Japanese airwaves was easily indulged. Then again, it wasn't quite "free" as I rapidly filled up a 200GB hard drive with all the shows I fully intended to see when I had the time.

Of course, you can't mention that without someone chiming in that he's got 1.5 terabytes of anime on his computer, and someone else adds that she just crested four petabytes, as a matter of fact. Yeah, well, when I was collecting anime memory was considerably more expensive than it is now (without such luxuries as 7200rpm hard drives, even) and I've never earned more than $32k/year, so, it was an accomplishment for me...

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