Friday, May 29, 2015

Somehow This Is The First Time I've Posted About Daimajin

Daimajin is a sort of oddball in the overall history of kaiju films, but definitely qualifies as a kaiju by virtue of the sheer over the top nature of his rampages.

(Warning: The following clip involves a fair bit of violence; while none of it is especially graphic, my sister gasped in startlement when she saw what happened to the guy who tried to escape at the end. I wasn't much bothered myself, but that's probably because when I'm in a certain kind of mood, fictional violence against horrible people tends to make me chuckle rather than cringe, and I was definitely in that zone the first time I watched it, probably because this kind of movie is exactly the sort of thing that puts me in that mood*.)

This does not look like a movie that was made the same year as Gamera vs. Barugon by the same company. (Admittedly, Gamera vs. Barugon is one of the better Showa Gamera movies, but there's still not much of a comparison.)

But considering the time period the movie was made in, setting a kaiju movie in a medieval time period seems like such an obvious choice for making the setbuilding and effect work easier (and more impressive), it's amazing that it wasn't done more often.

Although seeing every single group of medieval folks faced with a monster try the grappling hook/chain tactic might eventually have gotten old. Might have; both Daimajin-related sequences where it was tried that I've seen were pretty entertaining, by virtue of how effortlessly Daimajin turns it around on them.

(Which is frankly why I'm interested in owning these movies; Daimajin seems from context to have nearly unlimited supernatural powers, but he mostly seems content to use his indestructibility, physical strength, and the simple fact that nobody seems to realize he's an intelligent being to wade through things and just kinda be a giant, well... asshole.)

*I promise I don't have that kind of reaction if I think real people are being hurt. Actually, I find America's Funniest Home Videos hard to watch anymore, despite the fact that I can't imagine videos would make it on the show if the events in them had actually seriously hurt anyone.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Impressive Moviemaking

(Fair warning: The clip I've embedded today has a ton of links in the annotations, so if that sort of thing annoys you (I know it bugs me), you might want to stop the video at 2:10 or turn the annotations off. Also, as is not uncommonly the case, I never bothered listening to this video*, so I don't really know what it sounds like.)

I still haven't seen the 2014 Godzilla movie (this sort of delay in watching stuff happens from time to time), but I did learn something interesting about the director's previous movie recently.

See this?

The film that clip comes from had a budget of $500,000 (and stayed "way under" it), all the special effects were done by one person on his home computer, and didn't have a script.

And that one clip tells me that the movie is pretty decent, at least on the visual effects front**.

*I had good reasons, the most important of which was "didn't feel like it." ...Don't tell me that's not a good reason, there are lots of things for which that is an incredibly sufficient reason not to do them.

**From what I've read, the story has significant elements in common with one of my all-time favorite films (you can tell I really love something when I call it a "film" because normally I think that's a super-pretentious word used by pretentious jerks being pretentious), Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind***. If I ever spotted a DVD of this thing, I'd probably get it.

***For one thing, while there's a strong (and admittedly heavy-handed and occasionally nonsensical) environmentalist message in Nausicaa, I've always taken away that the "real" moral of the story is that strange/alien is not bad, just different. This story seems to have a similar message, if what I've read and this particular clip are anything to go by.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 25, 2015

(Large Number of) FATALITIES

Y'know, the original Ultraman wasn't exactly gentle; he killed quite a few monsters in his day. (Note: There's a few cases of rather gratuitous violence against monsters here.)

But there's something* about his successor, Ultraseven, that just seems a lot worse. (Note: There's a lot of cases of rather gratuitous violence against monsters here, and it's more gratuitous.)

Special note should be made of about 5:23 to around 6:15, wherein he rips a monster's arm off, wrestles it to the ground, and then slits its throat, and then (in a clip presumably from a different episode) beheads a monster that's trying to run from him. (He also blows up a lot of spaceships, though Ultras are fairly prone to that.) That's not even getting into the numerous dismemberments and bisections.

*It's the Eye Slugger. Having a blade-based finisher as your most-used finisher is rather going to cause trending towards quite a bit of violence.

Not that there's anything actually wrong with that, but it can be a bit distracting.

-Signing off.

Friday, May 22, 2015

This Song is About a Cat

Supposedly, some people didn't realize this song was about a cat.

I'm not sure how; even people who have never known cats ought to have some idea that it's at least about an animal. (I can confirm, by the way, that this song is basically like living with rowdy but otherwise good-natured cats. Some cats*, of course, are better-behaved than that.)

*Taking the opportunity to talk about my own cat, Captain, because she makes me happy and I adore her.

She's one of the smartest cats I've ever met. Aside from the fact that she's better than any other cat I've ever met at kitty diplomacy, she came up with a unique solution to a problem facing her.

See, she likes to sleep on the back of a couch, but she's awfully big, so she doesn't fit on it well, and is in danger of rolling off if she relaxes.

One day, I realized she had her front leg in an odd position for a relaxed cat; her paw was against the couch.

She'd stuck her claws into the couch to anchor herself.

At first, I thought she might have done it by accident, but after checking on her on three or four separate occasions, I discovered she always does it.

I imagine the first time was an accident (she is a bit prone to getting stuck**), but she clearly had a good sense of how it was useful.

**Funnily enough, while she adores me to the point where she's literally started purring if I walk into the room or talk to her, trying to help her get unstuck is the one area where she doesn't want anything to do with me ever. If I approach her while she's stuck, she flips out and rips free no matter how much trouble she was having dislodging herself. One of our other cats also absolutely adores me but wants nothing to do with my attempts to rescue her from getting stuck, but she's not nearly as strong as Captain*** and thus has less luck escaping. Apparently I'm just terrible at getting stuck cats loose.

***My sister's cat is stronger than any dog we've ever owned, despite being a fifth the size of our average dogs' size. Captain is probably stronger than that, because she's roughly the same size (enormous for a cat) and built like a frickin' tank (and also has more claws and thus a better grip). The other cat mentioned is a tiny waif by comparison to either of them.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Uncanny Timing

With my usual lack of timeliness, I present a really neat cover of a song from a movie I've never seen*.

It'd be kinda hard for this post to be less timely, it's nearly as far in both directions from being Halloween as possible. Not that I ever feel like posting holiday-themed things in a timely fashion anyway.

*There's lots of movies I've never seen, to be frank; there's a host of reasons why, including preferring an episodic/serial format, said movies being in genres or subgenres I rarely watched as a kid and not being widely available since**, not wanting to watch them because people insist I'll love them***, and just not having enough time and/or feeling like it. ...I still need to get around to watching Godzilla 2014 and Gamera 3...

**I don't spend a lot of time buying junk online, which would of course be a solution to that problem, but I waste enough money on this stuff, and I probably shouldn't be wasting any on it.

***Sometimes, nothing makes me want to see something less than "THIS IS SO GOOD YOU MUST SEE IT." Especially if you're telling me it's significantly better than a thing I like which you say isn't worth liking, though that's hardly required. I can be pretty contrary, and an actual motivation I have for avoiding certain things is "they're popular." And not in a hipster way+, either. More in a "leave me alone" way.

+I disliked popular things before it was popular. [/sarcasm]

-Signing off.

Friday, May 15, 2015


So I was looking up super robot music, as one does, and found a lyrics video for the first opening of Akuu Daisakusen Srungle, a series with a pretty rad intro song that I know very little else about*.

There was a word repeatedly used in the intro that I never quite understood; if the captions given by this video's poster are anything to go by, the word in question was... well, see for yourself.

"Gorilla" was perhaps not the dead last thing I'd have expected the enthusiastic cries of "greelya" to be, but it was pretty far back there.

Then there's the intro to Sengoku Majin GoShogun**, which is one of my all-time favorite super robot openings of its era across the board (music, visuals, whatever):

And the vocals of this song starts with a meaningful question:

"Do you know the red button?" (Followed up by asking if you know about the blue button. Yes, really.)

That... actually makes it even better.

*The main thing I know about Srungle is that it was given a Robotech-style merged dub treatment where its cast and Goshogun's cast were supposedly both members of a cross-dimensional organization working to overthrow some multidimensional tyrant or something; the new show was called Macron One, which actually had its own pretty neat intro song. Also, its cast had the most ridiculous names, listed here for your education: Captain Chance (okay, not THAT weird, but wait for it), Babyface, Sexy, Magician, Superstar, and Jet. Amazing that they manage to make "Jet" sound remarkably ordinary.

I also learned today that the intro song cataloged here was replaced partway through the series' run. WHY?!

**There's slightly different ways to translate it, but the title's meaning can be roughly translated as "Warring States Demon-God GoShogun." GoShogun the series is rather more light-hearted than the title would indicate, at least from what I've read; supposedly it's among the first super robot series to qualify as parodic.

One of the villains, a "synthetic human" named Kernagul, wanted to open some restaurant chains as his major motivation: Kernagul's Fried Chicken and KerDonald's.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dead Roach Trigger Warning

So I was looking at something involving cockroaches and robots intended to mimic their social behavior... (The relevant bits are about forty minutes in.)

...And I was rather startled to realize that the video involved a bunch of dead roaches at one point.

It probably caused that reaction because a lot of arthropods have the ability to provoke empathy in me.

In fact, I generally feel much worse about having to squash spiders than I do about accidentally running over squirrels and such. (Admittedly, my lack of reaction to running over furry animals probably has to do with the fact that I worked at a factory for a few summers running the mowing tractor, and I ran over a number of animals without seeing them, especially rabbits, and couldn't really afford to get too upset over it*. The only animal I ever really got upset over hitting was a turtle I hit one year. ...How that turtle managed to get so big when it was living so close to those train tracks, I'll never know.)

*As much as I hated that job, I got to see a lot of nature in less harmful ways, too. Like the local bird of prey that knew that following the tractor would bring it food (and the huge horde of little birds that were after the bugs the tractor kicked up). And then there was the day I must have seen half a dozen praying mantids in one stretch of five hundred feet or so, which was nearly as many as I'd seen in the wild in my entire life to that point.

And then there was the time I was mowing a particularly wet place, and I met two or three entire species of mosquito** that I'd never met before. Ah well, you take the good and the bad together, I guess.

**My general insect empathy doesn't extend to little jerks that want to bite me or people (or animals) I like. I.e. mosquitoes, fleas, those big biting flies, etc. But spiders, roaches, beetles, etc. are generally pretty harmless. Also, I like ants, but honestly anytime they're in one's house, one must be on a war footing with them, and empathy is something you can't afford in that situation.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Couldn't decide which panel in the current Atomic Robo story (which I'm bringing up because Atomic Robo is now officially a proper webcomic, rather than uploading more than twenty pages every three days-which is kind of like reading a controlled archive binge, really) was my favorite; fortunately, they were right next to each other on the same page, so I decided to screenshot them both.

One of the most amazing things about Atomic Robo is that he has two long-running arch-nemeses.

One of them is an incredibly old racist German with lots of super-science that predated Hitler by decades and has been plotting to conquer the world since the late 1800s.

The other one is a talking dinosaur who may not be a real dinosaur but don't tell him that who has roughly the mannerisms of an anthropomorphized turkey or a chicken.

-Signing off.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Back When the Truck Guy Died

One of my earliest Transformers memories is of the death of Optimus Prime from the original silly cartoon movie. (That recollection fuzzes things quite a bit; I had a vague sense that the Matrix was passed among half the Autobot ranks before Ultra Magnus actually got the thing, which from one of the clips I've embedded you can see is not the case even if you know nothing about Transformers. Momentary aside: That probably would have kept people from believing the bit of fanon that the Matrix works for Hot Rod and not for Ultra Magnus because it "imprinted" on Hot Rod. What a silly idea... and yet I've seen it from at least two people who probably had nothing to do with each other. One of them was my older brother, incidentally.)

The memory didn't have a lot of weight for me because it was so fuzzy; in fact, my first big Transformers "thing" was "The Return of Optimus Prime," which is of course sort of the happy fixfic epilogue to the movie's story.

But the scenes between Optimus and Megatron in the movie...

(Bonus screenshot: The most awesome frame of animation from the above sequence!

Bask in it.)

...and his subsequent death scene traumatized the hell out of a generation of kids, and probably cemented Transformers as a major franchise in the minds of a lot of people.

(Bonus screenshot: Dead Optimus Prime!

Stupid anecdote time: I once watched a stupid YouTube video where Optimus Prime sings a lengthy piece of opera before suddenly dying; the "turns his head as he dies" bit appeared in the sequence with a screeching clank sound. I think of that video every time I watch this scene.)

The brutality of the death scene in what had previously been a relatively light-hearted franchise (which was apparently inspired by Hasbro realizing "hey, our products are characters! We could kill them to explain why we're not selling them anymore!" in response to a GIJoe writer wanting to kill off Duke in the GIJoe movie-funny story, the death of Optimus Prime saved Duke's life because Hasbro got scared that killing Duke would trigger another outcry) was unintentional, but one could certainly imagine that they were trying to traumatize children without that context.

That's the only actual explanation I can come up with for the Death of Convoy advertisement.

(Bonus screenshot: Other dead Optimus Prime!

While the advertisement was made for the Japanese market, where brutal character death was much more common in animation, even animation ostensibly aimed at children, this scene is amazingly harsh. Seeing the mangled remains of a beloved character carted off by helicopters like so much meat wreckage, while a crowd chants his name in a way that's meant to sound positive but really comes off as creepy as hell, with a narrator grimly saying "Convoy is dead" [a loose translation of something the commercial's narrator does say; I can follow just enough Japanese to know he said "Convoy" and a word that has to do with death], and having this be the closest thing to an explanation that the audience gets for three or four years** all add up to make this way more horrifying than the movie.)

*The child actor who screams "Convoy!" during that commercial apparently showed up in the YouTube comments for the video, commenting that the ad's director "had me say 'Comvoy' instead. Never knew why." He also was enough of a fan of Transformers that he couldn't sit on his nondisclosure agreement and told a friend about Prime's death way too soon. His friend didn't believe him.

**Japan didn't get the movie until at least 1989, several years after Optimus dropped from Transformers fiction with only this*** as an explanation. (He did kind of show up again, but Japan casually killed him back off when the next season started.) They just kind of dove into the third season of the cartoon with no explanation at all. You think "Five Faces of Darkness" was confusing for the American audience...

***This and a momentary scene from the Headmasters cartoon, which wasn't a good explanation either. Shoulda doublechecked on the wiki sooner...

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Because It's A Video Game, Dummy

Y'know, I know it's probably for the best not to ask questions about this sort of thing, but...

Why would there be power cells to power a personal shield generator that basically only one person in the galaxy uses sitting around in a base full of people hostile to him? (Also, it's pretty great that the page quote for "personal energy shield" is actually attributed to this game's character.)

For that matter, I'll admit they're actually pretty cool, but why are the elevators in Dark Forces so... so... non-OSHA compliant? Because those things would take off a lot of fingers and probably cause quite a few falls to one's death. (Not to mention the "elevator" that's a giant drill bit that's somehow being spun by invisible forces and raised and lowered via the same invisible forces, which hurts you if you so much as brush against the wrong part of it and requires you to be good at jumping.)

-Signing off.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dark Forces: The Short Edition

Recently picked up the original Dark Forces for three bucks at (it's still on sale at that price as of this writing; if you miss the sale, you'd have to pay another whole three bucks) and noticed something: Kyle Katarn walks like any normal human being would run, and runs like some kind of mutant turbocamel*.

The above is a speedrun that makes me feel a bit pathetic; it took me months to beat the game the first time, and even this time I'm progressing pretty slowly.

Though I'll grant you part of the problem is that I keep getting distracted whenever I see a probe droid, because I really enjoy punching them. (I'd take screenshots, because probe droid punching** is a truly fine pastime, but apparently DosBox keeps me from using the screenshot button properly.)

The other part of the problem is mazey areas that require jumping.

And Anoat City. Screw you, Anoat City.

*On average, from what I've read, camels are as fast or faster than horses. Like, some very fast horses are faster than camels, but a camel at a sustained pace is as fast as the average galloping horse and can sprint a fair bit faster.

**A revision of my estimate of how far probe droids fly when you punch them: They don't go any further than, say, stormtroopers do when you punch them, if you're punching them sideways. You have to get underneath them and punch upwards for the best absurd results, which can send them flying over a hundred in-game feet straight up***.

***Make sure to do it outside. Ceilings are such spoilsports.

-Signing off.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Friendly Research

So I was randomly playing the free RTS Warzone 2100 today, and noticed something that amused me.

I screenshotted it...

...then remembered that the screenshot was too big to fit well on my blog, so here's a cropped version:

In the game, you need to do research to have a lot of technology be available. Also, when you have allies, you share research.

And the hearts in the above screenshot tell you what research your allies are doing at the same time as you.

I'm not sure how beneficial this is for research in general-it looks rather like it doesn't speed things up, and if it could, you'd probably be allowed to put multiple of one's own research stations to work researching the same project-but I have noticed that if you click to research a thing that an ally wants to research but doesn't have the resources for at the moment, your resources will start up the research. Sort of an angel investor thing, I guess.

Too bad you can't rescue them from their own stupidity in other ways...*

*One of the things that I find rather useful in an RTS where one may have computer allies is the ability to use friendly fire to manage the AI's basebuilding. For whatever reason, numerous RTS AIs are notorious for their bizarre, extreme basebuilding habits, which often result in hideous, unnavigable sprawls. And sometimes they just snipe the resource spot you want, which is nearly as bad.

At any rate, being able to hurt allied units is useful, especially when your ally doesn't complain.** But a lot of RTS games, this one included, make it incredibly difficult to do even the slightest harm to an ally. (Or in this game's case, to one's own units.)

To be fair, the only game I've played that actually makes it easy is Total Annihilation-a force-fire option plus massive artillery, nukes, powerful self-destruct explosions, and the Commander's disintegrator gun-with TA:Kingdoms being a distant second (only artillery and area-of-effect spells there, which are nowhere near as flexible and effective as the TA options).

The closest I got to that in Warzone 2100 was using a laser satellite on a neutral building while friendlies were nearby, and for obvious reasons that only works on my own guys. But then, the only other way to harm one's own units in Warzone 2100 is to send them into hostile fire, so there are times when that's useful.

**I can't imagine, if you've ever played an RTS, that you've never screwed with an AI, whether friendly or enemy. They don't have feelings, but they can still be aggravating, and being able to mess with them has always been an important part of why Total Annihilation is good catharsis for me. And most RTS players are probably bigger control freaks than I am.

-Signing off.