Animelog: Mary and the Witch’s Flower

I’m probably late to this party… but this is going to be short anyway — I’ve never been a Ghibli fan and watched this movie only because, you know, anime movies isn’t something that’s released every day.

This is a typical Ghibli movie despite the fact that de jure the production studio is different — a girl moves to a countryside, hates it, meets a boy, hates him, discovers a magical world, figures out that something is wrong with that world, becomes a friend with the boy — and together they save the day. The true power of friendship! For those who like Miyazaki’s films Mary and the Witch’s Flower may be a good choice — its visual is really good (especially backgrounds) and the theme of friendship is something that’s always going to be popular. On the other hand — the movie doesn’t contain a single interesting or new idea so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Reading Log: The Real Story, Prey

Recently we talked about books with guys at work and I was recommended a whole bunch of authors and stories I’d never heard of before (and among other things I discovered that one of my co-workers is extremely well-read). I decided that “why not” and read two novels suggested by two colleagues =)

“The Real Story” is the first book in “The Gap Cycle” written by Stephen R. Donaldson. Apparently, later on the series becomes darker and deeper but “The Real Story” is a very easy-to-read piratical adventure about two space pirates and a woman who’s captured by one of them. The book doesn’t contain any new ideas and doesn’t even describe the world it takes place in. However, Donaldson is a very effective author — the plot flows smoothly and it’s very easy to get hooked. He explained that his idea was to show how characters involved into the famous triangle “a Victim – a Villain – a Rescuer” all change their roles — and that indeed happens but you’ll pay attention to this only if you’re aware of the author’s grand plan. The funny thing is that we observe everything mostly from the Villain’s point of view and even though logically you understand that he’s a bad guy it’s kind of difficult to _not_ sympathize with him when finally his plans ruined and his life is on the verge of destruction. Going to buy the second book — and look forward to finally meet aliens there, I was told that they’re completely inhuman.

“Prey” is a child of Michael Crichton’s imagination, whose the most famous work is “Jurassic Park”. There’s an opinion that Crichton is a “pop scifi” writer and I’d say that “Prey” confirms that. As far as I understood his books follow the scenario where we see some technological and/or biological advancement, then something goes wrong and then the main characters save the day. In the “Prey”‘s case this advancement is nanomachines. The main character is a former programmer (but currently he has to be a stay-at-home dad) and whose spouse is in charge of an unbelievably important project. But the wife’s becoming acting more and more weirdly. Is she cheating on him? Is she on drugs? This part, when the normal life of an average guy is disturbed but disturbed by something relatively ordinary is the best one of the book. Then things become more action-packed and more stupid. Swarms of nanomachines on the wild, their evolution, the attempts of the main character to destroy those swarms (and the main hero is a 40-years old programmer and accompanied by other programmers — a squad less than ideal to destroy whatever, except maybe a couple canisters of beer) — it felt unnatural and, frankly, boring. Also, Crichton was a smart guy and he added a lot of real-life facts in his book. But unfortunately he _added_ and not wove them. It looked as if he had a list of “Things I must mention” while working on the book, which he’s going to use without any consideration how well they’d be integrated. So, as the Warden Twins in Persona 5 usually said “Not terrible but not impressive”.

 

The first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs finished with a crazy game between the Leafs and the Bruins. It was the seventh match of the series and Boston celebrated this scoring 7 goals. Toronto answered with just 4. Good game anyway.

I discovered that my forecasting skills suck — I correctly predicted only 50% of teams who’d advance to the second round. Golden Knights, Lightning, Sharks and Penguins were bound to lose according to my predictions. Haha. It’s funny that NHL 18 is way more precise — so far they’re absolutely correct:

https://www.nhl.com/news/winnipeg-wins-stanley-cup-in-ea-sports-nhl-18-playoff-simulation/c-297863906

Animelog: Spring 2018, Dropped

Persona 5 The Animation

Despite the fact that I enjoyed the game a lot the same plot in animation format looks rather silly. For people who haven’t played Persona 5 this anime’s description unlikely will be especially tempting — a bunch of school students led by a guy whose parents don’t care for him at all trying to change the “rotten world built by corrupt adults”. Those damn adults, they always corrupt everything! Out of curiosity we checked out the first episode, saw that it wasn’t filmed any better than in-game animated cutscenes and dropped it.

Megalo Box

I don’t watch sports anime but visual of Megalo Box is so old-school that I couldn’t resist. However, other than unusual graphics it’s very difficult to find any reasons to keep on watching this show. (Note for the future self — megalo box is just like regular box but when sportsmen wear exoskeletons).

3D Kanojo: Real Girl

An otaku falls in love with a girl who supposedly does this and that with anyone who’s closer than 5 meters to her. To add up, the first episode was rather poorly animated. I might’ve continued watching this anime if we didn’t have a better one about otaku-in-love this season. To drop without a trace of remorse.

Golden Kamuy

We’re going to watch how an “immortal” Japanese deserter accompanied by an ainu girl is looking for stolen gold, killing humans (decently drawn) and 3D bears (they look terrible). Interesting character design and unbeaten period of time but somehow this anime didn’t impress me much, maybe because of that war-and-prison vibes it has.

Gurazeni

I think that this anime is going to be covered in bad reviews and eventually forgotten. For sports anime fans (and baseball fans in particular) it’s too slow and too concentrated on everything except actually matches and characters who, hm, overbear all the time. For others — it has too much baseball in it. But again — character design is really nice.

Survived so far:

Steins;Gate 0
Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii
Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai
Hinamatsuri
Mahou Shoujo Ore
Comic Girls (actually, this one can be considered pretty much as dropped)
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These – Kaikou
Piano No Mori
Akkun to Kanojo
Hisone to Maso-tan
Fumikiri Jikan
Cutie Honey Universe
Space Battleship Tiramisu

Recently discovered that Dave Lombardo isn’t only one of the best drummers we’ve ever seen but also responsible for some (questionable, I must admit) art.

The website dedicated to his collection is: http://davelombardoart.com/

Just to get an idea what the collection looks like:

Actually, I wouldn’t mind having one of his artworks at home but prices are not especially friendly =(

 

 

Misc stuff.

Guys at work rarely ask me something about Russia but a couple of days ago were curious whether it’s true that the Russian government managed to block a hellish amount of websites in attempts to stop Telegram. I didn’t know for sure so my answer was full of “apparently” and “as far as I know” — but some food for thought they definitely got.

Finally figured out how the coefficients in Sloan’s “Stupid SH tricks” irradiance calculations are, hm, calculated. For me this stuff looked slightly magical

const float fC0 = 1.0f/(2.0f*s_fSqrtPI);
const float fC1 = (float)sqrt(3.0f)/(3.0f*s_fSqrtPI);
const float fC2 = (float)sqrt(15.0f)/(8.0f*s_fSqrtPI);

But as usual turned out that it’s just stupid me. If we take a coefficient we use to project onto SH basis and then multiply it with coefficient used for convolution — we’ll get exactly this fC0 and so on. For example, for the first band:

A1 = \dfrac{2\pi}{3}; c1 = \sqrt{\dfrac{3}{4\pi}};
A1 \cdot c1 = \dfrac{2\pi\sqrt3}{3 \cdot 2\sqrt\pi} = \dfrac{\sqrt3}{3\sqrt\pi} \cdot \pi

As a final step we divide by \pi to get irradiance.

And the last but not least:

Discovered a beautiful band — Grandpa’s Cough Medicine. These guys and girls play bluegrass and probably are not known anywhere expect the town they proudly reside in. So far the band released 3 albums and I have to say that “The Murder Chord” is definitely worth listening.

website

Official video

My favourite song (Julianne):

A bunch of new screenshots from Ni No Kuni 2.

I’ve played about 20 hours and somewhere in the middle of the game I guess. Locations in the game is its best part (this and simple but nice jokes) — Goldpaw is my favourite place now. Gameplay-wise everything is more complicated, there is a lot of mechanics and honestly I don’t care about virtually all of them. Weapons or armor? Once in a few hours I check out what I have a equip the best ones. Spells? Don’t even know if I got any new. Higgledies (or Funya) are so sweety-cutie that it’s even annoying. Kingdom building is a big part of the game and you have to do it whether you want it or not because the story requires some improvements that can be made only when the level of your kingdom is at least 2 (to level it up you need to finish 2/3 of available side quests because that’s apparently the only way to recruit new citizens the certain number of citizens is one if the level-up requirements). The same goes for skirmishes — you have to play them because at least one quite a high-level combat is an unavoidable part of the story.

In general — the game is super-relaxing and a lot of fun to play (despite my complaining).

Animelog: Violet Evergarden, Fate Extra

Violet Evergarden

I wrote that a couple of times before and I’m ready to write this again but Violet Evergarden is beautiful. It basically yells at you “Look, I’m not your typical low-budget TV garbage”. The only downside of the anime’s visual is sometimes questionable rim light but it’s bearable. However, if you removed that great appearance you’d be left with nothing. Primitive story that can be described in one sentence. Bland characters doing useless things. Shallow and laughable sometimes world (yep, of course we need Dolls to write the declaration of peace). And on top of everything is Violet herself who evolves at a pace even Bulbasaur would be proud of, jumps from planes and has eyes as sharp as a hawk’s. Oh, I forgot to mention that you’re supposed to wring out streams, rivers and sometimes even oceans of tears during every episode. I wish Violet Evergarden wasn’t that gorgeous and I would’ve dropped it instead of cursing during all 13 episodes.

Fate Extra Last Encore

Well, sometimes even Shaft makes mediocre anime. To be honest, all Fate shows so far have been rather boring to me (I watched the original Fate Stay Night and Zero) but Extra turned out to be not only boring but also lacking a logical plot. All those SE.RAPHs, Angelic Cages — I honestly couldn’t get what’s going on. The strongest Shaft’s selling points, animation and direction, also were not the top notch this time. Either the studio didn’t have enough money or they were too concentrated on finishing “March Comes In Like a Lion” — anyways, first 5 episodes looked cheap. I had a feeling that before episode 6 the team had changed and the second part of Fate Extra was almost flawless in terms of direction — however, it was too late (not all people are patient Shaft fans) and, what’s more important, the plot hadn’t become more sensible. Obviously, this anime’s going to have a second season because the last episode finished abruptly, with bare minimum of explanations, I’m not sure though that Shaft will be the studio filming the second one.

[Kooritsukai] Fate EXTRA Last Encore - 10 [720p][0D75646C].mkv_snapshot_10.08_[2018.04.14_13.54.17][Kooritsukai] Fate EXTRA Last Encore - 10 [720p][0D75646C].mkv_snapshot_23.36_[2018.04.14_13.55.58]

The ending in the anime is really good though.