[personal profile] jtniehof
The Menace from Earth, Revolt in 2100, Expanded Universe,
Double Star, Beyond Blame, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Independence Day, Burn After Reading, Hakone-Chan, Girls Beyond the Wasteland, Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation, AOKANA, Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens, Pandora in the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn, Living for the Day After Tomorrow, Active Raid.

The Menace from Earth (Robert A. Heinlein) (reread): Mostly depressing, partly because this is around where the timeline reaches Scudder and the general decline of the US, even if most stories are apart from the main Future History. The brighter stuff stands out. The titular short would be great except that RAH can't write teenage girls at all. By His Bootstraps is another fine time-travel story. Project Nightmare maintains great tension. Columbus Was A Dope is short, direct, and good for a grin, if a bit too smug in its cleverness.

Revolt in 2100 (Robert A. Heinlein) (reread): A bit odd as the culmination of the main Future History timeline. "If This Goes On" is fairly by-the-numbers and a touch heavy-handed, not quite up to his usual standards. RAH goes back over this ground with both better writing and more mature thought in Moon is a Harsh Mistress Props to "Coventry" for managing to pan Atlas Shrugged before it even came out.

Expanded Universe (Robert A. Heinlein) (reread): Some is quite good...the background parentheticals are always interesting, and the two essays on tourism in the USSR (really!) are brilliant. His early writings on the bomb are clear and prescient and it's still amazing that we just sort of muddled through (and still haven't solved the problem). By the later essays he's gotten bombastic and with an excessive confidence that mirrors his decrease in information. His projections of technology are one thing; the projections of social trends from the end of the 70s are laughable and the proposed solutions, chilling.

Double Star (Robert A. Heinlein) (reread): Well-deserving the Hugo, and a clear marker on the road towards Door into Summer and all that followed. The sci-fi elements are minimal---or, rather, the obvious trappings are less important to the story than the science of psychology and personality. RAH liked to put his foot down that the science in science fiction need not be just physics.

Beyond Blame (Dave Zwieback): Nearly the entire book is in faux-case-study narrative. This book would have been a lot more useful if it had broken narrative to discuss the concepts at play rather than leave it up to a mix of reader deduction and insert-words-into-characters' mouths. There are certainly some great principles here, but needs a LOT more depth.

Star Wars The New One: The characters are excellent. The world-building is crap. The plot, as the meeting of the two, is uneven. Overall quality is about in prequel territory. Too many scenes are either "that's an obvious J.J. Abrams scene" or "that was ripped directly from the originals.". Worth seeing. Worth seeing in the theatre? Maybe to avoid spoilers, not for the "theatre experience". $15 a pop for matinee tickets, and the image was muddy, crawly, and really low contrast.

Independence Day: Rewatch just because the lady hadn't seen it and the sequel is coming. Held up a lot better than I thought...it's still pretty fun, and the model work is spectacular.

Burn After Reading: The genius here is in making me care enough about the characters to want to see what happens, but not so much that I don't laugh when terrible things start happening to them. Definitely "dark farce" rather than "comedy"; it's not jokes but situations of the absurd. Also does a nice job of gradually setting up several different plot threads before driving them towards the inevitable collision. I enjoyed.

Hakone-chan: One of those three-minutes-per-episode shows, so not enormously deep but kind of light fun. Reminded me of Locodoll in the promote-tourism-in-our-town sense.

Girls Beyond the Wasteland (1ep): I can't remember the one episode I watched; a bunch of characters with no introduction running around saying things with no context or significance.

Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation (1ep): Why should I be surprised it was basicaly a letter to PSO2 fans/ad for PSO2? Tossed in one.

AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across the Blue (1ep): "We can fly due to some applied phlebotinum in our shoes which we're going to spend five minutes talking about without explaining anything.". I could tell that when someone tapped a power button on their shoe and started flying; why waste time on exposition that exposes nothing? Then we have the sports anime cliche of someone with no experience winning due to amazing unusual form! Dropped in one.

Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens: While cute, this show abandons its premise pretty early on and goes into pure harem mode. We watched the whole thing and it's okay, well-executed in what it does, but ultimately rather by-the-numbers.

Pandora in the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn (1ep): One and done. Partly because there were painfully obvious "secrets" that had the feeling of being big reveals later; partly because there was nothing interesting in plot or character until the last couple of minutes. The protagonist is bland and stupidly naive.

Living for the Day After Tomorrow: Tough one to judge. There's a lot to like, particularly the nice intertwining of the present plot, reveals about the characters' past, and the internal development of the characters. It's slow and slice-of-life; some of the story beats are a bit expected from the genre (which feels a lot like dating sim VN, honestly). I do find it amusing that they think it's possible to take a train from Boston to New Hampshire to go hiking in the Whites. Cute, Japan.

Active Raid (2 ep): I think it's supposed to be kind of Patlabor (and looks a LOT like it's crossed with Rail Wars, but from different production companies), but it's mostly boring. One or two riotous bits of slapstick per episode don't really make up for it, dropped in two.



March 2017


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