January Anime Update

So, I’ve been busy with the Anime watching in the last couple of months. The rundown:

Real Drive – it took forever for me to get into this series, but once I was at around episode 8, I couldn’t stop watching. This is by the same author as Ghost in the Shell (Masamune Shirow), and I completely love his work to begin with, so that was the original reason for watching. Have to say, though, that the ending arc could have been done better – it was kind of a letdown. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Toradora – This was a “WTF” series. I picked this one completely at random, but I’m glad I did. You knew right off who was going to end up with whom, but the whole point of watching is to see HOW they do it. (3 out of 5 stars)

Kurogane no Linebarrel – Giant robot series in general are always going to attract viewers. This one, though was so cheesy to begin with, I had to wonder about it. And 4 episodes in, I was starting to regret it. Then the midway ep came around and I was hooked – all the previous eps had little teaser bits that you looked back and went OH I GET IT NOW – and the storyline turned serious. If there was a sequel, I’d probably skip though. (3 out of 5 stars)

Shangri-la – Totally and without question a series that can hook you from episode one. If you missed this one, you need to go out and buy it. This is a keeper, all the way through to the end. (4 out of 5 stars)

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 – Every so often, I like to see those “could be” series, where the timeline is the very near future. This is one of those – yes, it takes place in Tokyo, but you know, the same thing could happen in Southern California if the Big One hits. Worth a watch just because of the effects of the aftermath. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Scrapped Princess – I dug into my bag of Classics Yet To Watch and found this gem. Why I didn’t watch it when it came out, I’ll never know, but I’m glad I did eventually see it. The interaction and growth of the characters makes it fun to check out, and near the end of the series, it was only reluctantly that I turned off the TV. (4 out of 5 stars)

Clannad After Story – This sucked – in a good way. I mean, it was so emotional and tear-jerking that any person who watches this and DOESN’T get teary-eyed has a heart of stone. I hated watching it because I knew something else was going to happen that I didn’t want to see, but yet I had to see it just to know what happens next. (4.5 out of 5 stars)

Eden of the East – Kind of a Bourne Identity theme, but nevertheless leaving you with wanting more than the paltry 11 episodes. This was one where I thought it ended way too fast – almost like watching a movie on the Lifetime network. (3 out of 5 stars)

Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka – Why I watched this, I don’t know. Unlike Toradora, which had endearing qualities, “Akasaka” (the shortened name of this series) does not. I couldn’t connect with any of the main characters, and there was nothing really outstanding by any of them – in fact, I can’t even name one of them, that’s how bad it is. (1.5 out of 5 stars)

Ride Back – For the love of everything visual, this series was absolutely outstanding. The storyline was tight and cohesive, I could actually get into the characters, and the action was perfectly paced. If you like motorcycles, this is definitely the series for you, because it takes bikes and elevates them at least a hundred notches. (4.5 out of 5 stars)

Gunsmith Cats – another classic I dusted off to watch, mostly because I had been going through and reading Sonoda’s manga again. Always a great watch. (4 out of 5 stars)

Toaru Majutsu no Index – “Index” was so good, I actually spent a Saturday watching 4 straight episodes. The beginning was a little hokey, but after you get through the first episode – and basically re-orienting yourself to the terminology and the theological references – this is a damn good series. In fact, so good that its spinoff (A Certain Scientific Railgun) will be another I’m going to be watching as well. (4 out of 5 stars)

Gundam G00 Season 2 – Holy @^#$&!!! Gundam G00 Season 1 was a 5-star series to begin with. This raised the bar even more. I mean, when I have servers at work named after the mecha AND pilots, I know it’s good. And I was never a real Gundam fan to begin with, but … well, holy &@#*$&*!!!! If you haven’t been watching this on Cartoon Network, GO BUY THE BLEEPING DVDs!! (6 out of 5 stars) — (yes, 6. It’s better than 5.)

I’m Still Only Human

A little over five years ago, I posted a note where I admitted that I had done someone very wrong. I had hoped at the time that I would be able to at least explain what I had done and maybe make amends. In no way did I expect forgiveness, I just wanted that person to listen and try to understand what had happened from my perspective.

Five years later, things still aren’t where I’d like them to be, but at least I had the opportunity to contact the person in question. There was a very illuminating conversation – that sometimes you “need some sort of closure”, but “people rarely get that in life. We do things, we make mistakes or we do them right or we just do them and never know whether it’s good or bad. That’s life. You’re just supposed to take the times when you realize your mistakes and try not to do it again.”

While I feel that I received whatever closure to that chapter of my life that God was allowing me to receive, I also feel that there’s a friendship still buried there that could be revisited. I hate to think that whatever I am, I’m not “cho very yokunai” (loosely translated – “really not very nice”). There’s a lot of mileage in the last decade or so, and I’d be interested in sharing. Besides, I still want to hear about the four years spent in Japan, a place I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit.

So, if you’re out there, I’m talking to you. Even if you finally ended up considering the incident as yurukunai, I ask you this – what do you have to lose by reopening dialogue?

Condos in Japan

Apparently, only 47000 condos went up for sale last year in Tokyo, Japan, and that’s down almost 30%. The average price was 47.75 million yen.

Now as of the end of January, the yen-dollar conversion was 90:1, so 47.75 million yen = US $530555.55.

What I’m wondering is – WHERE THE HECK ARE ALL THESE CONDOS? Is Tokyo THAT big to hold THAT many condos???

And apparently, people there believe that to calculate how much you can afford, you multiply your annual salary TIMES FIVE… Here in the US, when you are looking at a new HOUSE, you multiply your annual salary times 2.5. And they double that for a CONDO??? Yikes!!!

Here’s a thought.

If US senior management would take a page out of Japanese management styles, maybe they wouldn’t be hurting so bad –

Some 2,200 midlevel managers at Toyota are to voluntarily buy new cars from the company to shore up its slumping sales. (Taken from the Japan Times 1/15/09).

If all those rich bastards that make up senior management in the Big Three (Ford, GM, Chrysler) did this, they wouldn’t have such a fiscal crisis on their hands. Once again, the Japanese, who are already kicking US counterparts butts in the market, have a good idea.