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Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

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Still Watching Anime: Snow White With The Red Hair

Just because i deleted the unused anime blog and just because I spent most of the last three years barely using my CrunchyRoll account doesn’t mean that I’m not still an anime fan.

For instance!

Starting up this month is the second batch of episodes for a delightful fluffy gem of a fantasy-romance show called Snow White With The Red Hair.

What’s it about, really? In short: A spunky redhead who wants to be an herbalist comes to the attention of a sleazy local prince who tries to force an indecent proposal on our heroine. She promptly cuts her hair and kites off through the forest toward a neighboring country. Along the way she runs into trouble and is saved by… the younger prince of that country. Sparks fly, adorableness commences, adventures are had, hearts and minds are won over, and so on.

Let’s be clear: This is fluffy stuff. Sometimes it almost looks like it might get a smidgen dark, but that’s been averted every time so far. It’s just that kind of show. Bad things do happen but the show doesn’t make a grimdark deal about it.

And you know what? I adore the show. It’s nice to get a relatively uncomplicated romance with two young, determined, smart, devoted people surrounded by similar smart and devoted mentors and minions. If Snow White can’t make you smile, you may need to consult your doctor about a heart replacement.

You’ll find it on Funimation‘s streaming service, which runs you something like five bucks a month. Honestly I’d say it’s worth it to be able to watch Snow White and Arslan alone, never mind whatever else is in their streaming catalog.

House of Clubs

You have a weekend to burn, and you’re planning a viewing marathon of a TV show on Netflix. If that’s your thing, who am I to judge? Perhaps I can help you make a decision, however, on what show to watch.

The first season of Netflix’s version of the show, “House of Cards,” totals 13 episodes at just under an hour per episode, give or take. The only existing season of the anime, “Ouran High School Host Club,” totals 26 episodes at about twenty three minutes per episode, if you don’t skip the theme songs and previews. The run lengths balance out, more-or-less, for each show’s initial season outing.

“But Karel,” I hear you asking, “what is it about either of these shows which would make me choose one over the other?” Well, let’s put it this way:

One show centers on a group of rich and powerful people who use their money and influence to shape the world according to their whims, leverage the media to fashion narratives of their choosing, trample the fourth wall, shamelessly exploit taboo behaviors, and engage in complex schemes which would never actually come to fruition in the real world.

The other show, of course, stars Kevin Spacey.

Adaptation Consideration

I had time to kill last night, between finishing “game night” (came in a strong second at “London” and kicked Mike’s ass at “Stone Age”, hah!) and starting on some client work, and didn’t feel like being On The Computer. So I put in the first disc of my recently-acquired set of the BBC/A&E “The Scarlet Pimpernel”.

Now, I’d last watched the show when it first aired back in the late 1990s and remembered (vaguely) that it was a cheesy, breezy little adventure yarn. You know what? It still is, and it hasn’t aged as poorly as I might have expected. Richard E. Grant is still a brilliant lead, playing the Bruce Wayne / Batman dichotomy as well as anyone could ask. Elizabeth McGovern is still pretty, somewhere under all that pancake makeup and somewhat-ratty wig. Buckles are swashed, entendres are doubled, and so forth.

The Internet, of course, begs to differ. Apparently what I watched last night is “atrocious.” You see, liberties were taken with the source material. Heaven forfend! So-and-so wouldn’t behave like that! They killed whats-his-name! After all, the only good translation of novel to film is a completely and totally literal one, right? I mean, really now. Those “Lord of the Rings” movies clearly suffered from the loss of all that dratted Bombadil-ish and elvish and hobbitish poetry & song every dozen pages, right? Right.

Now I’ve made the Tolkien nuts mad at me. I can live with that.

There are some gripes with “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” but they’re mostly just quibbles, regardless of how you rate Liz McGovern’s acting talents. (Seriously: The vitriolic posts I’ve seen online almost all mention one or more failings on her part. Does she have a history of drowning kittens and kicking puppies that I didn’t know about? Because, sheesh.) One scene comes to mind involving the sharpening of a guillotine, which is supposed to sound ominous (scrape, scrape) except the stone’s being dragged across the broad side of the blade instead of anywhere near the edge. Weird details like that, where someone just wasn’t paying attention, jar you from time to time.

But, you know what? The good guys won, the hero rescued the girl, love triumphed over evil, yadda yadda. Some days, that’s all I really want.

(Yes, there’s a rant coming later about the current state of modern high fantasy novels. Hint: I AM SICK AND TIRED OF GRIMDARK. STOP IT.)

So I’ll be watching the other discs in my boxed set, even if I have to do it alone. I’m okay with that.

James Burke on YouTube

Recently I Twittered (tweeted, whatever) about the sudden disappearance of the JamesBurkeFan collection of videos on YouTube containing the entirety of “Connections” (1, 2 and 3) as well as “The Day The Universe Changed,” my favorite educational series of all time. Turned out that YouTube pulled the videos at the request of the publisher of the upcoming new boxed set of “Universe Changed.”

Oh, by the way? My birthday is coming up

Alan Carre, the man behind the JamesBurkeFan collection, stopped by a couple of days ago to let me know that he’s back on YouTube. Awfully nice for a guy to follow me back here from Twitter, I think! Check out his page, say something nice, and patronize the folks offering the boxed sets if you can. I particularly recommend the original “Connections” and, of course, “The Day The Universe Changed.”

Touched By An Atheist

Taking up a worthy challenge, I present George Carlin on Mad TV in, “Touched By An Atheist.”

(The Python-esque disclaimers are just icing on the cake.)

1st 13th Annual Fancy Anvil Award Show Program

It’s the two-hour extravaganza with the silly title! So what is it, really? As far as I can tell, it’s an excuse to showcase Cartoon Network original programming.

Hosted by Johnny Bravo, the Fancy Anvil Show makes a good attempt to spoof all those other self-important award shows that air at this time of year. At the same time it gives CN a chance to run a few choice episodes of their core properties, namely Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls and Ed Edd and Eddy.

Some of the presenter bits were clever, the human host segments weren’t too painful, and the production quality was surprisingly good. On the flipside, the continual appearance of Goober and the Ghost Chasers as an award nominee was moderately absurd. I mean, who the hell cares about a Scooby Doo knockoff? I don’t like Scooby Doo in the first place, let alone cheap imitations.

As an obligatory beef, I’d like to point out that there was absolutely no anime representation on the show. None. No Tenchi Muyo, no Cowboy Bebop, not even any DBZ… and with the amount of Dragonball aired on that channel, you’d think they’d leverage that somehow. Ah well.

Overall, it’s cute enough to watch but not so great that you’re going to want to tape it for posterity.

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