The People's Republic of Fub
|Dec. 10th, 2013 @ 08:49 pm Twenty years of Doom|
Current Mood: nostalgicWhen I was 13, I got my first home computer, a Toshiba MSX machine. The OS and the BASIC interpreter were on ROM, but the rest had to be loaded from cassette tape. Of course, everyone freely traded in illegal software: most of it games. Konami made the best stuff for MSX, and I had quite a library. I have been playing computer games ever since: on the MSX, later on the MSX-2, and then on to PC and the Playstation.
When I was studying Computer Science, out came Wolfenstein 3D. Running around a maze-like castle, shooting nazi guards -- I had never seen anything like it. I played it a lot.
And then, a year later, twenty years ago now, out came Doom. This was during the days that many game companies released the first levels of their game as shareware, and you could buy the full game from them. (Think of it as a precursor of BitTorrent, really: someone downloaded the shareware version, then distributed it with his friends, who then shared it with their friends, etcetera.)
Doom added a whole new level of sophistication to the newly created genre of the first person shooters: the walls didn't have to stand on right angles anymore, there was a height difference, and the lighting effects were enhanced. With the addition, sci-fi textures and the wide variety of monsters, Doom was certainly a new experience to play.
And it was exciting. You never knew what was around the corner, and you could hear the monsters moving around in the dark ahead... Some levels really stressed me out because of this -- I really dislike blundering about in the dark amongst powerful monsters, an emotion I'm revisiting often while playing Dark Souls these days!
Even if I say so myself, I was pretty good. I played it on keyboard, and all of my years training on the MSX keyboard gave me good hand-eye coordination. I set up a network with my flatmate -- first through a long serial cable, then through a BNC network -- and we played against each other a lot in a deathmatch. I often won, and even when he got one of his friends in for a three-way deathmatch, I often bested them despite them cooperating.
The multiplayer deathmatch was what made the game immensely popular. And then the level editors were released! Suddenly you could create your own levels -- some made devilishly hard levels, others gave you the most powerful guns right off the bat. Most of the levels were built for deathmatches, though some people created whole new episodes and there were even a few 'total conversion' projects to re-create, say, Aliens in Doom.
Our student association once organised a Doom deathmatch competition, and I was one of the authors of the level. Good fun.
And then Doom II came, and suddenly you had to use a mouse for targetting. In Doom, there were height differences, but it was as if a sheet of paper was draped across a table with things under it: there were no over-passes. So if you saw a player straight ahead but above you, you could simply shoot and still hit: the targetting ignored the height difference.
But with the new FPS'es, the new engines allowed real vertical differences. And I just couldn't use a mouse for targetting -- still can't, which is why I completely suck at FPS'es and never play them anymore. I simply lost my edge due to technological progress! ;)
(That didn't stop me from playing. I have fond memories of playing many, many rounds of Quake II with xaviar_nl on Fridays to blow off steam. Most of the time, he bested me without too much trouble.)
There's not much point to this entry -- I just wanted to point out that Doom was released twenty years ago, and that everyone played the hell out of it. It was the game that defined a whole genre. And if you start it up nowadays, the graphics are quite dated, but the gameplay is still there. That's really something.
|Dec. 9th, 2013 @ 08:18 pm Single-cup tea machine|
Current Mood: thirstyI don't drink coffee, so that meant that klik never drank coffee at home either: too much trouble to brew a pot for a single person, and she wanted only one or two cups anyway. So I got her a Senseo machine many years ago, and that was fine. But then I got her a Nespresso machine for her birthday some years ago, and she found out just how bad the Senseo coffee was...
So we serve Nespresso at home, and all was well in the world.
Last week, I got a folder from Nespresso by mail. They sometimes do this, to urge you to buy a tin of horribly expensive (but at the same time horribly delicious) cookies to go with your coffee, or to get a matching set of coffee spoons or something like that. Most of it, we look through briefly and then it gets recycled.
But this time, the folder was for a tea machine. Nestlé's Special.T (cheesy pun-name alert!) is a single-cup tea brewer, that takes the type of tea in consideration with respect to temperature and seeping time. That's pretty neat -- I guess they integrate RFID tags in the capsules or something. And like with Nespresso, the vacuum-sealed capsules do preserve the taste of the tea very well.
Yes, I am a tea snob. At home, we only serve loose-leaf tea. At the office, I have my own tea pot for loose-leaf tea, and I store my private tea-stash in a small tea-container made from wood cut from the bark of a cherry tea (most expensive souvenir ever). I do care about stuff like temperatures and seeping times.
And yet I will not get this machine, because of one simple reason: it's single-serve. I drink no less than a pot, and I suspect many tea lovers do too.
On the other hand, Nespresso is king in coffee for Michelin-star restaurants. I wouldn't mind having the choice and quality in tea when we go out to dinner that this machine would bring.
|Dec. 8th, 2013 @ 09:46 pm Printing progress|
Current Mood: accomplishedToday, I broke a personal record: I did six print runs in a single day! This progress is also very necessary, because the project I'm working on (a text by luna_puella) has 40 pages. Of those, 39 pages have a title (the medium and/or a time) and the text. I'm printing the title in blue, and I'll be printing the text itself in black -- so that's two print runs per page. I have now finally printed all the titles.
There's also another first: it's the first time I've set three lines of text:
That was kinda tricky, actually. You have to 'fill out' the lines with 'white': pieces of lead that are shorter than the letters, so they don't get inked and printed. Every line has to be exactly the same width, because you then clamp the lines tight in the galley. If one line is shorter, the letters may fall out during printing (or before). But if one line is longer than the others, the others have more space and the letters may fall out as well.
With three lines, it's finnicky but do-able. But for the next print runs, I may have up to ten lines of text -- a lot of work to balance that. And since I'm not trained as a typesetter, I improvise. And improvisation gets you far with this, but it'll cost a lot of extra time. With so many print runs in the future, I need an efficient proces -- otherwise it'll take another year before this gets finished.
So I think I'll be measuring the width of all the letters and all of my 'white' and then write a small program that will tell me which white I need to fill out which line. That shouldn't be too hard to make, and it will change the typesetting from a trial-and-error process into a simple pick-list.
I used a piece of kitchen towel to rub off most of the ink from the letters after the print run. I've bought the supposedly best ink for small run letterpress for the text, but that's an entry for another time.
|Dec. 7th, 2013 @ 09:11 pm The religion of programming|
Current Mood: amusedMuch fun can be had by running both the King James bible and "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" though an analyser and then creating texts through Markov chains, as evidenced by this Tumblr.
Of course, it spews lots of text, and the maker is left to interpret these -- acting as a high priest for the masses of programmers who ask things like "is it OK to use global variables"? It seems like it's OK.
|Dec. 6th, 2013 @ 08:51 pm Springtide and Delta Works|
Current Mood: impressedLast evening, a severe storm came from the North Sea over the Netherlands. In the north of the Netherlands, public transport was shut down, schools closed early and all that. We've had storms like that before, and the reaction was similar, not much special there.
What was special is that the north-west storm coincided with a springtide. The resulting high water got to just under 4 meters higher than normal -- the highest that had been recorded since 1953.
1953 is a special year for the Dutch. It is the year of the Watersnoodramp. The circumstances were the same: springtide with a north-west storm. The dykes that protected large parts of the south-west of the Netherlands failed and over 1800 people drowned. Many more were displaced, with lots of drowned (farm-)animals and property damage. (The storm also caused deaths in the UK and Belgium, but on a smaller scale.)
Upto that point, the system was "everyone their dyke", but it only takes one lazy farmer who underestimates the dangers to innundate a whole polder. After the flood, it was decided that we didn't want any of that ever again, and the huge Delta Works project was set up to protect the Netherlands from these kinds of floods. The project was so large that the last part was only realised in 1997.
So, yesterday evening we had a storm of the same size as 1953 -- sixty years on. The protocols worked: the locks and movable dams were closed, and all that happened was that part of a road on a dyke collapsed without compromising the integrity of the dyke. It resulted in a tiny article in the newspaper, not in a national disaster.
Nobody seemed to pay it much attention, but to me that says we did something very well.
|Dec. 5th, 2013 @ 08:12 pm Sinterklaas and racism|
Current Mood: grumpyThis evening is Sinterklaasavond, St. Nicholas eve, a traditional festivity in the Netherlands when children get presents. Sinterklaas is accompanied by a group of helpers, "Black Pete". And in the past months, there's been quite the kerfuffle about Black Pete: some people pointed out that the figure of Black Pete has racist roots -- racism that persists to today. Other people had a knee-jerk reaction and denied there's any racism, and concluded that if a person of color has a problem with Black Pete, they should go back to their own country.
It is undeniable that Black Pete does have roots in racism. The figure of Black Pete is depicted like the African slaves that rich people held, clothed in the colorful garb in the colors of their masters. But historically, St. Nicholas bought a slave and gave him his freedom, and the ex-slave decided to stay with him as his servant. Some of the lyrics of the Sinterklaas songs are also... problematic.
This is a real problem, and I fully understand that people of color have a problem with white people dressing up as African slaves for a children's festivity.
And the problem does not go away by denying there is a problem. The problem does not go away by inviting everyone who identifies the problem to leave the country. The problem does not go away by pointing to people of color who have no problems with Black Pete. The problem does not go away by saying that the figure of Black Pete is not intended to be racist.
There's a good analysis of the question here.
I really like the Sinterklaas tradition. I have fond memories of it, and we celebrate the holiday almost every year (though we do it on Christmas, because then my sister can take days off from her work to visit the Netherlands). Simply abolishing Sinterklaas is unacceptable to the majority of the Dutch -- it's a unique Dutch celebration, and we want to keep it. (But no-one who has given the matter some thought is suggesting that.)
But it is clear (at least to me) that something needs to be done. Listening to the Black Pete apologists did not make me feel proud of my fellow countrymen. The facts are simple and clear: Black Pete has roots in racism, and we should look for ways to take the racism out of Sinterklaas.
I do not have a ready-made solution, unfortunately. But I do wish to point out that there's a very easy way to change Black Pete into something else entirely within, say, four years.
Children become away of Sinterklaas at, say, two years of age. And by the time they turn six, they are let in on the secret. That gives a 'generation' of four years, from beginning to end. That's pretty short, so any change you make in the mythology of Sinterklaas can become canon within that period. And from then on, you can use the new mythology, because the target audience doesn't know anything else.
Dutch public broadcasting has been doing a 'Sinterklaas news show' every day in the run-up to Sinterklaas, for a few years now. They feature the 'official' Sinterklaas (the one in the televised arrival of Sinterklaas in the country) and his 'official' Petes. Every year, some kind of complication is scripted to ramp up the excitement (sometimes to the exasperation of parents whose children become unmanagable due to 'Sint-stress'). And so whatever they script, that's the truth for all children in the Netherlands.
I would propose that the Dutch public broadcasting invites the relevant parties for a broad discussion on what to do with the racist legacy of Black Pete, and how to move forwards towards a modern Sinterklaas mythology that retains the best of the tradition while adressing the existing issues. The trick is probably in finding reasonable people to have this discussion with -- re-stating your knee-jerk reaction is not going to move anyone forward. But hey, we have a whole year to start fixing this.
And then, when a consensus/compromise has been reached, script the news show accordingly. Make gradual changes and take a time-frame of four years. And after those four years, the mythology of Sinterklaas has been changed. Every kid who discovers Sinterklaas will then go with the new mythology because that's what they know.
|Dec. 4th, 2013 @ 05:03 pm New kitchen|
Current Mood: contentTwo weeks ago, when we had a week off from work, we decided to look around at kitchens. When we bought the house eight years ago, the kitchen was already kinda long in the teeth. We decided to keep it and to prioritise renovating the bathroom, which was in a far worse shape.
The end result is that we still have the same kitchen. It's not getting any better, and so it's time to look for something new. Also, the whole ground floor of the house is switched to one group on the switching board. With three computers running, the TV and the kitchen appliances, that's a lot. And we had to come up with some 'creative' solutions to get power everywhere we wanted. That's something I wanted to get fixed as well. We'd have to do something about the electricity for a new kitchen anyway, so we could have that done all in one go!
Just before that week, we got a folder from a large kitchen seller in Kleve, just across the border with Germany. Apparently, kitchens are a lot cheaper in Germany, so we decided to check it out. We also went to the Ikea to see what they had -- friends of ours recommended their planning service to us. And we don't want a very expensive kitchen anyway: the house is not of a calibre that you could put in a 10 thousand euro kitchen because it wouldn't be in balance with the rest.
So, first to the Ikea. We saw some things that would go very well with the rest of our furniture, and it was in the price range that would be acceptable. Then to Kleve, where we wandered through three floors of exhibition kitchens. In Germany, kitchens are really big and are more of a general living space than a place to only cook in. Which is lovely, of course, but we don't have that kind of house! So cooking islands and stuff like that is right out: we have just over 5 meters of wall, and that's where it has to happen.
Also, the exhibition kitchens there did not have a price indication. That was a problem for me because of two reasons:
- I do not like asking after something and then, after hearing the sales pitch, concluding that something is out of the price range. Putting up a price indication saves everybody time;
- I really, really hate haggling, and that's certainly a thing if you buy a kitchen. I do not mind people earning some money on the purchase: we all have to eat, after all. But when I hear stories of kitchens where the salesman knocks 25% off the price right off the bat, Iget that sinking feeling...
After that, we were tired and didn't want to watch kitchens anymore. If you want, you can spend a whole week watching exhibition kitchens in various showrooms, but that's not my hobby. And we knew that the Ikea kitchens give good value for money -- and 25 years of warranty!
So we tried to make an appointment with one of their kitchen planners. This turned out to be more difficult than we thought: it's not explained on the site, and when I called the helpline, they didn't know what to do and didn't call me back. It took two(!) interventions from their webcare team on Twitter to get an appointment...
On Thursday we went back to Ikea, picked up the coupon for the appointment and then paid for it. (It's EUR 70 for two hours of support.) We also got a coupon for their lunch buffet, which was nice. After a quick lunch, we went back and met our planner. She took us through the process and gave very helpful advice. We then made a tour of the appliances, the various types of countertops and so on. Fun fact: Ikea has a piece of software up on their site which you can use to draw your kitchen and generate a shopping list. It's a bit finnicky, but it works. The kitchen planner uses that precise component, and you get the login codes afterwards, so you can always go back and maybe change something.
After two hours, we had a kitchen that both fit with our style and was practical, for just over EUR 4000 (including the 10% discount we'll get). We asked our planner to arrange for their assembly partner to contact us to make a quote for what it would cost to have the kitchen assembled.
That appointment was today. We discussed the details and some minor modifications were made to the plan. We will also get a decent compromise for the electricity wiring, which will split up the one circuit breaker group into multiple groups without having to re-wire the whole house.
I just received the quote, and it's about the same as the kitchen. That's an all-in price, including breaking out the old kitchen (and taking the mess away!) and all the other work. All it will take us is a few days cooking on electricity, which is something we do often anyway.
We need to chew on this for a bit, but I think we'll do it.
|Dec. 3rd, 2013 @ 08:30 pm Rogue Legacy, a subversive game|
Current Mood: pensiveWe're all raised with the idea that if you work hard enough, success will automatically follow. And if it doesn't? Well, you just haven't worked hard or smart enough!
But we also know that is a lie. Some people have parents who can give them the resources to get an advantage. I'm the third generation of my family who went to university, but klik was the first of her family. A university-schooled family tends to get the higher-paying jobs and value education more, which results in more of their offspring to get into university. And that is only one way that your parents' situations (and other 'environmental' factors) determine your outcomes.
This is best illustrated in a game that I bought recently in the Steam Autumn Sale, Rogue Legacy.
'Rogue' is a text-mode dungeon crawling game that uses randomly generated dungeons. And that's where the 'Rogue' from the title comes from: it's an action platformer, but the dungeons you cross (or the castle, or the swamp) are randomly generated. So far, so good.
But the 'Legacy' part is the subversive part. You see, your character is the founder of a bloodline of heroes who all go off into the dungeon. If you die, you choose one of the offspring of your hero to continue. The money your parent gathered can be invested in better equipment, or a better mansion so that you have better health or more mana. So equipped, you enter the castle once again and try to gain as much gold as you can to make life easier for the next generation. With that gold, your offspring can better their station after your inevitable demise.
You do this for a few generations, and indeed: the castle becomes easier to navigate because of the better equipment, increased hitpoints and what-not. Having it as one of the main mechanics of the game makes it very, very obvious how these things work. In this way, it's a very subversive game, because it demonstrates that it's not just hard work that makes you a success.
(As for the game itself: it's terribly good fun. You can choose from three children for the next generation, and they all have their own class, spell ability and traits. Sometimes they're colorblind (which means you'll see everything in greyscale), sometimes they're giants (so they're bigger) and sometimes they have irritable bowel syndrome and fart with every jump you make.
Every adventure in the dungeon is a mad rush to find chests containing as much gold, so that you can give your next generation a boost so they can get further into the dungeon. Sometimes you fail miserably, sometimes you succeed.)
|Dec. 2nd, 2013 @ 08:09 pm Stupid Americans|
Current Mood: bitchySo, there's this idea that Americans are only interested in what goes on in the US, and don't know anything about the rest of the world. And time and again, there's a nice way to reinforce that idea. Such as what happens if you ask Americans to fill in the names of European countries on a blank map -- note that the account is named 'mapfail'.
Sure, hahaha, look at the stupid Americans being stupid!
So, let's turn this around. European friends, would you be able to correctly label all the 52 US states on a blank map of the US? I know for certain that I would not. Heck, I'm not sure I would be able to fill in the map of Europe correctly. I'm not sure I would know which Balkan state is which. Which one is Romania, which one is Hungary? I don't think I could point them out reliably. And yet I do not consider myself stupid (and, I hope, neither do others).
Let's go a bit further afield. Could you correctly label African nations? Countries in Asia? Point out Kyrgyzstan on a blank world map? (Though I'm reasonably sure that nwhyte and blacksearoamer could pull that last one off.)
Let's not kid ourselves. It's good to be aware of what happens in other countries. Not being able to point them out precisely on a map does not automatically mean you're stupid or dis-interested.
|Dec. 1st, 2013 @ 09:41 am Darkvision|
Current Mood: lovedI don't think cats understand that they can see better in the dark than us humans. And being the delightful kitties that they are, they actively seek us out: if you move around in the house, they come to check it out. When the alarm goes in the morning, they're sitting just outside the bedroom door.
So if you stumble out of bed in the middle of the night, they come running, sitting around in the dark landing waiting for your return from the bathroom. And you don't want to turn on the light, because there's a little window above the bedroom door. You don't want to wake up your spouse -- you just want to get along with your business and then slip back into the warm, warm bed.
And so you pick your way across the landing with care, but it is dark, and the cats have dark fur, and you can sort-of see them if they move around, but if they sit in one spot, waiting for you to pet them? Then yes, it can totally happen that you accidentally kick one of your kitties. Not hard, mind you: you're moving slow to avoid them, but you do give them a shove with your foot.
And then they run away, offended. Because they could see you fine, and they don't understand that you couldn't see them.
But in the morning, all is forgiven, and they climb up on your bed to cuddle.
|Nov. 30th, 2013 @ 10:12 pm Testing board|
|Nov. 29th, 2013 @ 09:27 pm Finished series: Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku|
Current Mood: boredWe've finished watching Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku. My first episode review is here.
It's an adaptation of a gag manga, and it shows. There's lots of characters doing or saying all sorts of improbable things, with Natsuki as the 'straight man' who gives a retort. So it's comedy, but most of it isn't very funny -- though there's a few snigger-worthy passages. The characters also frequently break the fourth wall, talking about what they're going to do for the final episode, for instance.
And it's a real budget anime: the visuals just aren't that good, and the animation is very basic too. You can see clearly where the production had to cut corners to stay within budget.
It's not that bad, but it's definately not good either. I'll give it a 6. A simple diversion that does not demand much (or even anything at all) from the viewer.
|Nov. 27th, 2013 @ 10:49 pm D20 pin group buy?|
Current Mood: bouncyI've just stumbled across a Kickstarter for D20 pins: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/100
The thing is, they only ship a full set of 10 different pins internationally, because of the ridiculous postage costs in the US. And I like them a lot, but I don't think I need 10 pins.
So, would anybody be interested in ordering together?
|Nov. 27th, 2013 @ 01:20 pm Finished series: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S|
Current Mood: calmWe've finished watching Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S. My first episode review is here.
OK, so it's more Railgun. But most of the series is taken up by the Sisters-arc, which is simply a re-telling of an arc we saw in the first Railgun series! But it's not like there was a 'universe reset', because we meet people that Misaka met in the first series... That's kind of confusing...
It is also jarring that there is such a big disconnect between the 'light side' of Academy City, where you have schoolkids doing normal, schoolkid-stuff, and the 'dark side' where there are experiments going on, people getting killed and all that. And of course there is quite a bit of escalation, because Misaka being one of the seven strongest ESPers in the city kinda precludes any meaningful opposition.
I liked the second arc of the series much, much better. It has a good mix between light and dark, and this time Misaka's friends get involved too, which makes for much more fun viewing. And since her friends aren't as powerful, the solutions they come up with are very entertaining and are different from "if it doesn't blow up the first time, simply apply more force".
Unfortunately, the second, more interesting, story arc is the shortest. Which makes the majority of the series just watching Misaka brood and then blow stuff up. It's not a bad series (though it does feature some uncomfortable scenes), so I'll give it a 7. But I think I'm done with both Index and Railgun by now -- it's becoming more of the same.
|Nov. 27th, 2013 @ 11:16 am Dungeon Roll|
Current Mood: okayLast Saturday, usmu celebrated his birthday. We went to our FLGS to check out their selection of non-collectible card games: a form that usmu is a collector of. Of course, they had the usual stuff, but they also had a non-collectible dice game, called Dungeon Roll. It seemed like a fun game, and it came in a treasure chest -- what's not to like?
So we bought it for him, and later in the evening, when we were the only visitors left, we opened it up and played a game. It's good fun, if a little abstracted. But that makes it easy to play: set-up is minimal, so you can simply jump in and play. I would have liked a little more interaction between the players, but it's a nice little diversion.
|Nov. 24th, 2013 @ 02:39 pm Finished series: Servant x Service|
Current Mood: okayWe've finished watching Servant x Service. My first episode review is here.
The series is a lot like Working!!: a group of people together in a work-situation -- and it's never about the work itself. The difference is that these are all adults, which makes for a bit more mature plots. There is a slight problem with these relationship/situational comedies: they need to keep introducing new characters to keep things interesting. That's certainly a problem that Working!! had, but Servant x Service manages quite well without the need for new characters. That is because this series has actual plot development, instead of a perpetual status quo.
And it works really, really well. The series focusses on different (pairs of) characters and their relationships (sometimes merely working, sometimes also romantic), and that keeps it fresh and interesting to watch. The characters are all pretty sympathetic as well (though it takes some time to discover that with some characters), and that helps immensely.
And, let's not forget: the series is funny, without having to resort to that same-old, same-old ploy of "let's hit the male lead". It's just that the mannerisms and the peculiarities of the characters provide the comedy in a well-rounded way. I really liked the opening and closing songs and sequences too!
I really liked it: it's a great situational comedy that avoids the usual pitfalls. I'll give it an 8.
|Nov. 23rd, 2013 @ 11:22 am Bridge|
Current Mood: okayToday, a new bridge across the river Waal will be officially opened in our city. For a long time, there was only one bridge to get out or into the city -- resulting in long traffic jams. The only other alternative was to take the highway, but that's a long detour if you have to be in the city centre.
The bridge is situated on the site where US paratroopers crossed the river in boats during Operation Market Garden, in an attempt to take the single bridge across the river. (I'm sure you've seen "A Bridge Too Far": they were succesfull in Nijmegen, but failed in Arnhem, over at the next river.)
The bridge is called "de Oversteek" ("the crossing"), after the operation. There was a small monument at the north side of the river where the paratroopers landed, but now there's the bridge. The bridge also has a light art installation to commemorate the 48 paratroopers who died during the crossing. The bridge has 48 pairs of streetlights, and at dusk they are turned on one-by-one from south to north, at a walking pace.
You can read more in this press release by the Dutch Embassy in the US. The opening will be attended by veterans who participated in the crossing and relatives of the paratroopers who died.
We can't go today, but tomorrow the bridge is open for cyclists and pedestrians, so we'll check it out then. Monday the bridge will be open for cars.
|Nov. 18th, 2013 @ 09:57 pm Finished series: Uchouten Kazoku|
Current Mood: impressedWe've finished watching Uchouten Kazoku. My first episode review is here.
The series is about a family of Tanuki in Kyoto. Being tanuki, they shapeshift into humans and blend in with the locals -- mostly to simply play around. The family consists of mother and four sons -- their father ended up in the end-of-year stew of the Friday Fellows, a weekly meeting of seven humans who use the names of the seven lucky gods as their nicknames. The family even knows one of the members: Benten, a human woman who was taught by an old tengu, just like the sons of the tanuki family. She is vastly more powerful than the tanuki, so everyone makes sure to stay out of her way.
All except for the third son of the family, who has re-defined his mission in life to "leading an interesting life". And his life sure does get more and more interesting as the series progresses!
There are a lot of separate plot-threads at the beginning: their father's death, the Friday Fellows, the tengu master and the rivalry with another tanuki family. At first, these things seem separate, but they get all tied together in a really spectacular finale. The last two episodes had us staring in disbelief at the screen, thinking: "Surely they wouldn't...?" and then they did! It reminded me of Baccano!, which also had a masterful way to tie all the plot threads together in an action-packed finale.
What also struck me was the detail put into the scenery. If you've been to Kyoto, there are plenty of sights to recognise. The backgrounds are all crafted with a lot of attention to detail -- even the places where only one scene takes place. Not only the temples and shrines, but also a normal back street... It all really captures the atmosphere of the city.
We've really enjoyed this series. It's funny and interesting, is set in a city we know and love, looks gorgeous and has one of the tightest plotting we've seen in a long time. I recommend it highly, and give it a 9.
|Nov. 15th, 2013 @ 10:17 pm Hot foil stamping|
Current Mood: happySo, two weeks ago? I totally bought a hot foil stamping press!
|Nov. 12th, 2013 @ 06:57 pm (no subject)|
Current Mood: festiveHappy birthday, anemoona!