Example, in the Star Frontiers community I'm searching for "human technicial"
More info: http://www.itsokaytobesmart.com/post/40543409942/sticky-stick-insects-of-lord-howe-island
Rules: Tricks & Treats, a simple, custom story game system (it uses pieces of candy [!] or a d6)
Time: 7:00pm Pacific / 10:00pm Eastern
Duration: 2 hours
Tool: Google+ Hangout
(Photo credit: stock photo from iStock)
Part 1 here: https://plus.google.com/+BrentNewhall/posts/TWansNoeNFG
Part 2 here: https://plus.google.com/+BrentNewhall/posts/e4jWTVwsX8b
Part 3 here: https://plus.google.com/+BrentNewhall/posts/TtEA79wHCH1
Part 4 here: https://plus.google.com/+BrentNewhall/posts/3u8KT2gFWrJ
While there was plenty of anime aimed at an older teen market in the early to mid 1980’s, that trend exploded in the summer release of Akira, which adapted the first of 8 manga volumes to the big screen. It was big-budget, it was aimed squarely at late teenagers and young adults, it was violent, it was in-your-face, and it made tons of money.
This was important because of the message it sent to the people who finance anime: you can put a lot of money into a high-budget work of anime aimed at an older audience, and you can make big bucks. So they did.
As a result, the flood gates opened. The late 1980’s and early 1990’s saw the foundation of many major anime franchises that are still beloved by otaku today: Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Tenchi Muyo!, Ranma 1/2, and in the mid 1990’s, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
I must pause here to place Evangelion properly. You might hear a lot of hyperbole about Evangelion; some fans talk about it as though no anime had been made before it. Evangelion was actually a reaction to ongoing trends in anime and otakudom. Its staff attempted to both deconstruct tropes in mecha (and anime broadly) and produce a powerful mecha series at the same time. This is one of the reasons that the show’s presentation can seem schizophrenic.
It was also hugely trendy. It became fashionable for teenagers who weren’t even otaku to show off an Evangelion charm or bookmark. The vast majority didn’t stick around to watch more anime, but its success made Evangelion a household name to a degree that’s still exceedingly rare for anime.
However, Evangelion didn’t really change the direction of the anime industry as a whole, except in one respect. There’s a scene in Evangelion in which it’s clear that two characters are having sex, though it’s not shown on-screen. Thanks to Evangelion’s 7:30pm time slot, plenty of families saw this scene, and parents called in to complain. Until this point, censors didn’t quite realize how mature anime was getting, so anime aired at any old time slot. The ruckus over Evangelion caused TV stations to push anime series with mature content into late-night time slots, a trend that’s continued to today.
In any event, the anime industry as a whole meanwhile was dealt a serious blow: the burst of the Japanese bubble economy, which popped around 1991. Thanks to the gangbuster success of Akira and anime like it, there was still plenty of money in the anime industry for a few years. But by the late 1990’s, budgets began to drain fast. That led a lot of anime professionals to jump ship to other industries, particularly the booming video game industry. This created a worrying brain drain.
Two anime series released in 1998 are excellent examples of the anime industry’s response to plummeting budgets.
The first, serial experiments lain, can best be explained by the second word of its title. It’s a weird, heavily stylized, dramatic technological thriller, and very much experimental. It embraced digital animation production at a time when most studios were still hand-painting cels. It set its story in a near future of a ubiquitous internet, asking tough questions about how humans should relate to each other in a world of instant messaging (hint: it’s not black-and-white).
In other words, some studios experimented with unusual subject matter and story-telling techniques that can only be accomplished in animation.
The other anime series symbolic of these changes was Cowboy Bebop. While not a big success in Japan, Bebop sold like gangbusters in America. In fact, its American sales were so strong that when its staff investigated the possibility of making a Bebop movie, they discovered that it would lose money in Japan, but make a profit in America.
American anime fans were buying so many VHS tapes and DVDs by this point that they were partially financing the Japanese anime industry. In fact, American licensors would partially finance the production of some anime, like the first Ghost in the Shell movie and Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040. American fandom made up the shortfall from the shrinking Japanese economy.
Unfortunately, many new technological trends then combined to create an entirely unexpected danger. But that’s for part 6.
The devil is down on his luck, pop culture having turned people away from selling their immortal spirits, and he's slumming somewhere where he assumes people are rock-dumb witless marks ready for the eternal harvest.
The very first person he meets is some yokel with a fiddle and he's like "Oh shit, I got this." He rolls on up, all swagger and brimstone and is like "I guess that's good fiddle playing, idiot mortal. Not like the music of the spheres, which I was present for the creation of, but you're okay, you know?"
And this dude, Johnny, is like [EYEBROW RAISE].
So the Lucifer Morningstar, thinking he's baited this trap, literally hops up on what is essentially a sales podium and gets all "Look, you dumb-diddle fiddle-frick. I, the actual devil, challenge you to a jerkhole farmhand rap-battle. I win, you suffer eternal torment. You win, this tacky but expensive doorstop." The devil rapidly adds: "It looks a bit like a fiddle, doesn't it? Yeah? Pretty cool, huh?"
This is the god-actually-damned Lord of Lies with the most suspicious prize on earth and this yabba-dabba-dork doesn't even consider his options. There's no bargaining, no questions, no moral quandry. Johnny's just like "That is so metal! Frick yeah, Satan. Buckle your boiling ass to that tree-stump, we're going for a ride!"
So, the devil, one of the angels who pushed his hands into the stuff of darkness of brought forth the building blocks of creation, who successfully defied a vengeful omnipotent space-dad. is like "I got you now, fiddleprick." And busts out a gnarly tune on his fiddle, which may or may not be the golden one, the song isn't terribly clear.
Johnny listens patiently, but the second the devil is done he's like: "Yeah, not bad. For an angel." And then breaks right into the kind of fiddling that Mathias Fiddlius, the Roman Fiddle Despot* himself, would weep with joy to hear.
The devil doesn't try to weasel out of his loss. He doesn't throw a fit. He's like, wide-eyed. He mouths "holy frick" in a breathless gasp and just... holds the fiddle out. He's been beaten and he knows it. He doesn't understand how, but he knows he'll never fiddle on earth again.
If in the UK like me, you can watch it on Viewster legally for free here: https://www.viewster.com/serie/1283-19516-000/full-metal-panic/
There is also FMP: Second Raid here, legally and free for UK: https://www.viewster.com/serie/1283-19517-000/full-metal-panic-the-second-raid/
Sousuke is my favourite character. <3 Enjoy!
This is a strange anime franchise that depends on the viewer appreciating a lot of specific tropes:
1) The emotionless child soldier (a la Heero Yuy in Gundam Wing)
2) The constantly-frustrated girl with a heart of gold
3) Giant robots as established military hardware
This is all assembled into a package that does something very fresh with those tropes, amazingly enough. Imagine a science fiction action comedy, and that's Full Metal Panic!.
The protagonist, Sosuke, is a child soldier who was taken in by a benevolent secret government anti-terrorism organization. So he's basically doing the Jack Bauer thing, except his group all pilot giant robots. Because it's anime. So that's awesome just to start off with.
But then you get the first twist. One of the reasons this world has things like giant robots is special people called the Whispered, who in their teens manifest knowledge about super-technology. This power makes them extremely valuable, naturally, and they have a tendency to disappear into various governments' secret research labs.
So a Japanese high school girl named Kaname is discovered to be manifesting these powers, and Sosuke is assigned as her bodyguard. Since he's about her age, he goes undercover as a normal high school student.
And that's where the second twist comes in: he's spent his life as a child soldier, so he not only has no idea how to be normal, he interprets every normal daily interaction as a potential military threat, blowing normal situations way out of proportion. Want to clear the way for Kaname in the cafeteria? Pull a gun and fire a few shots in the air.
Which would make the show a classic over-the-top anime comedy. But then they throw in the third twist.
They make you pity Sosuke.
There's a wonderful scene early in the show when Kaname actually gets kidnapped for her powers and Sosuke rescues her. He's been calmly machine-gunning bad guys as he pulls her away from a military base, and once they get a chance to catch their breaths, she demands an explanation. He says they don't have time, and Kaname freaks out a bit, saying that no she needs to know, because Sosuke has been acting like a cold-blooded killer, and what the hell is he anyway?
And Sosuke looks at her with an expression of profound sadness. In the original novel, Kaname sees in that expression not just pain, but familiar pain. He's spent his entire life as an outsider, because he never had a childhood and never will, and that very fact--which isn't his fault--has put him on that same road as an adult, too.
Nobody trusts Sosuke, nobody will be friends with Sosuke, and he's used to it. Even though it hurts.
The first series bounces back and forth between comedy and action/drama. The second series is almost entirely comedy. But the third series decided to throw its weight almost entirely behind the drama. Sosuke is (psychologically) torn to pieces, made to confront every flaw he has. And for good measure, they put Kaname through the wringer, too.
It's an amazing journey.
I use the words "Chinese anime series" carefully. B.E.E. was made entirely in China, but intentionally mimics the Japanese anime style to appeal to Japanese audiences. The staff even produced a Japanese dub (not available on this video, I believe).
You can absolutely watch it without understanding the dialogue. The story is told almost entirely visually.
This is an important point. One of anime's defining features is "storytelling through storyboards." This series does actually feel like anime (though the animation is inexpensive and lacks the smoothness of modern anime movement).
Is it time the food industry was brought into line?
No, I'm not talking about the sugar tax that has had a significant amount of news and hype around it recently. Nor am I talking about salt c
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