March 13th, 2005

Bishoujo squad!

Family and wifi

Friday, we went to Son straight from work. paultje is touring the Netherlands again, and that evening my parents had a dinner party. Which gave us the perfect opportunity to chat with her without children and parents interfering. We all had a wonderful evening -- it's been a while since we've had the chance to talk to her seriously.

But I also had some work to do... You will recall that my attempts to install a Linksys WAG54G had been unsuccesfull because of the horrible quality of the wireless link. I requested an RMA from the store where I had bought it, and I got a WAG54G version 2 in return -- according to various reports, the V2 is a much better machine with upgraded hardware.
A few weeks earlier, my dad had brought the package to our house, so that I could test it. I had my machine whip up a torrent of bits via the wireless link for a full 24 hours, and the link didn't drop even once. That's much better performance than we got from the previous model, so I was confident that this would solve all of our wireless woes. So when I went to Son a week later, I installed the router and the cards in my dad's laptop and my mom's desktop -- and all was well. But a few days later, my dad called me again to report it all had gone to hell in a handbasket.
So friday evening I lugged mom's desktop downstairs and started working on it again. It was as my dad had reported: I couldn't get a connection with the router, but when I disabled WPA on the router, it all worked flawlessly. I googled around for a bit, and discovered that WPA sometimes gave problems under WinXPSP2 -- even though it is supported by the OS. After fiddling some more, I decided that good was good enough, so I downgraded the security to WEP. With a pre-shared WEP-key, no broadcasts of the ssid and access restrictions based on MAC-address, there is no chance of a neighbour accidentally using my parents' router. A dedicated hacker can still gain access, but it's not like my parents will be transmitting state secrets over their network.
I also tried to get Windows file sharing to work between the laptop and the desktop, but I couldn't get that to work -- probably has something to do with the ownership of the directories or something. I did install my dad's Bluetooth dongle (amusingly enough, the BT chip is called 'Blutonium'), so the most pressing business has been taken care of.

This morning, my dad called me again to tell me that things were broken again, but when we walked through the correct configuration setting together, he was able to fix it all by himself. Good stuff so far.
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished
Kashira? Kashira? Gozonji Kashira?

Finished series: Princess Tutu

We've finished watching Princess Tutu, a multi-layered series that at first glance seems like a magical girl series based on ballet.

The main character is Ahiru, who is really a duck. She watches a sad prince dance from afar, and a myserious man gives her a jewel that enables her to turn into a girl -- and even into Princess Tutu. The prince, Mytho, has lost his heart, and it is Princess Tutu who can give his the scattered pieces of his heart back!
And it all happens in a small town, where Ahiru and Mytho attend the ballet section of an art academy. We meet the mysterious Fakir, who seems to guard Mytho, and Ru, Mytho's girlfriend and dance partner in the advanced class. And there is a host of other characters, like the marriage-obssessed Neko-sensei and the mysterious Edel-san who guides Ahiru in her quest through various cryptic messages...
Whenever her pendant lights up, a piece of Mytho's heart is near, and Ahiru turns into Princess Tutu. With her ballet, she consoles the vessels of the pieces, and returns those pieces to Mytho.

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Design-wise, Princess Tutu is really something: the village and the backgrounds are realistically colored in a charming Bavarian style (it's set in Germany -- wait for the Japanese voice actors pronouncing German phrases!), and the character designs are more realistic than in most magical girl series. The animation is really good, but it's a pity not every dancing scene is completely animated.
And then there's the music. This being an anime about ballet, music plays an important role. Every episode has it's own music (announced in the opening titles). And the pieces have a connection to the contents of the episode. For instance, when Ahiru has to explore the cellars underneath the library, the music used is the "Catacombs" part from "Pictures at an Exhibition".
And then there's the ballet itself. Where most magical girls express themselves via magical attributes and powers, the characters in Princess Tutu express themselves via dancing. I had the benefit of watching this series together with klik, who used to dance ballet. She could point out certain techniques  that the characters used, or explain how a certain move works. While not essential for enjoying the series, it does add some extra depth.
The only downside to the series is that it seems to lose some of it's narrative thrust at the beginning of the second season, but towards the end of the series the pace picks up again. The finale is breathtaking.

Good points:
- Multi-layered;
- Grimm-like darkness just below the surface;
- Music and ballet really fit the story;
- Original concept.
Bad points:
- Loses some narrative thrust at the start of the second season.

If you're into multi-layered stories, fairytales, ballet and/or classical music, then this is for you. I'll give it a 9.

This series has something for everyone to enjoy, I think. If you're into multi-layered stories, then you should really check this one out.
  • Current Mood
    impressed impressed