August 21st, 2007

flex brain!

VM issues

I have installed VMWare Server under Ubuntu, created a VM and installed WinXP on it. It's all patched up now as well, and now I'm busy installing the whole tool-chain on it.

However, drag-and-drop doesn't seem to work other than with Windows OSes both on the host and guest side, so it was a bit of a pain to get everything in there. And I need to set up some of my own software too -- and if I need to make modifications to that, I would need to boot back into Windows to do so.
But hey, it's a virtual machine! So I copied it over to the Windows side, and I'm now installing my stuff there. When it's done, I'll copy it back to the Ubuntu side, and run it there.
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Bishoujo squad!

Finished series: The Third

We've finished watching The Third: Aoi Hitomi no Shoujo.

The Earth has been ravaged by a particularly nasty war. Most of humanity has been wiped out by the various mega-weapons, and most of the surface of the Earth has turned into a desert. Mutant species, such as large spiders and killer ants, roam the sands and make travel dangerous and hard.
Humanity is huddled together in villages, overseen by 'The Third': mutants who have a red eye in their foreheads. This enables them to merge telepathically with computers and machinery, which gives them tremendous power over pretty much every piece of machinery that was left after the dust of the war settled. The Third have put some strict rules in place, to prevent a technology-driven war from ever happening again. Those who delve too deep into the forbidden technology of weapons development are arrested or even killed by the automated footsoldiers the Third employ for such a purpose. On the other hand, the Third also provide the villages with hydroponic farms to grow food, so they're not some sort of evil overlords. It's just that they see themselves as keepers of the Earth.

Honoka lives in this world, travelling the desert with her sentient tank Bogie. She works as a jack-of-all-trades, never living for too long in a single place. One night, on her way back from a job, she rescues Ikus, a mysterious boy who simply appeared in the desert, from an attack by giant ants. His calm demeanor puzzle her, but when he hires her to show him around the planet, she has an excellent excuse for him to stick around her.

Honoka gets into various adventures -- some quite typical for a post-apocalyptic setting, but most serve to show more of the setting and to advance the plot. She is some sort of Third too -- only she has a blue eye, which makes her useless with machines. Rather, this enables her to cut through any material with her mind -- the sword is merely a tool for her to focus her ability. But this places her outside of normal society, which makes her a perfect tool for the Third to clean up their messes. And the Third do have a few messes that need to get taken care of, too. And it all leads into one big plot -- which is resolved in the end of the series as well!

Visually, the series is quite striking. The cell animation is very, very good. The CGI is fluid (but not too fluid) and detailed, and blends in quite well with the cell animation. The characters are designed with great attention to detail, and the mechanical designs are awesome. When there is a scene with lots of things going on at once (for instance, when Honoka walks through the marketplace in the village), there is lots of movement on the screen from all the extras doing their thing. This gives the series a very lively appearance.
The soundtrack is excellent as well, with some great songs. The voice acting, especially that by Megumi Toyoguchi, is top notch.

It's clear that the series had a lot of budget, and it shows. But as we all know, a big budget doesn't make a great series -- but in this one, they hit all the right notes. The adventures of Honoka are interesting, the world is interesting, the overall plot is interesting, and it all gets resolved in the end too!
If I had to give one point of criticism, it would be that Honoka seems too effective at what she does. Towards the end of the series, she turns into some secret weapon that the Third can throw against any problem to make it go away.

Good points:
- Excellent production values;
- Interesting setting;
- Interesting plot.
Bad points:
- Our heroine is a bit too heroic compared to everyone else.

All in all, a 8.5.