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"That statement is either so deep it would take a lifetime to fully comprehend every particle of its meaning, or it is a load of absolute tosh. Which is it, I wonder?" ~Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Never before have I seen two hours of TV that so perfectly encompassed that quote. FLCL might be a work of brilliance, loaded down with puns and metaphors and biased narrators/viewpoints and deep, deep meaning…or it might just be a nonsensical mind-screw. (Though, at only 6 super-packed episodes, it’s worth the time even if it’s the latter.)

What does it MEAN? )

Overall: …eyebrows?
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Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - After watching three episodes and not finding this amazingly hilarious, my friends informed me that this show was not “for” me, as I had not watched enough other giant mecha anime to properly appreciate it. (Which is true; as Voltron is the only mecha-heavy show that I can recall any useful amount of. I’m sure I saw some other little bits and pieces decades ago, but that’s not helpful.) I think it says something about my taste that I had seen enough Magical Girl anime to properly appreciate Madoka.

Big Hero 6 - Is awesome and hilarious and you should totally see it. It has SCIENCE! And SUPERHEROES! (And a majority-Asian cast, good female characters, the power of family, and heartwarming moments, and only one really irritating moment of forgetting what computers are capable of.) Oh, and the short that accompanies it, “Feast”, is really cute.

Blue Lotus Indian Restaurant - Though my heart is still with Mantra, this is closer to my new home, is very tasty, and (though I’ll need to check more thoroughly) they have a vegan menu that should be ARR-safe.
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Madoka is a normal girl with a normal family who has a strange dream about a magical battle on a giant tree, and a cat-like creature that asks her to make a contract and become a magical girl.

From two episodes in, I suspected that the “offer” wasn’t all that it seemed. I was alerted that the third episode would show me the actual flavor of the series, and that seemed to be an accurate warning. It ain’t all hugs and puppies, certainly. Basically, this seems to be a takedown of the magical girl genre and concept as a whole. Why would magical girls exist, why would they fight, where would their powers come from? And man oh man, how much would it suck for everyone involved?


Overall: It’s a quick watch (…even at the rate I manage to get through things) with a complete arc and well-fleshed out concepts and characters. And it’s DARK. Recommended after you’ve seen more straightforward examples of the magical girl genre.
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My verdict: It’s a reimagining / alternate universe, not any sort of linkable continuation. But see below.

What a scandelicious video! )

Overall: Even if 39 episodes was too long for everything they wanted to do, 87 minutes is far too short. They had to assume too much while still trying to change too much. Also, by this point, all of the WTF is starting to feel forced.

But I’m up for discussion if anyone wants.
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When Utena’s parents passed away, she was rescued by a prince who gave her a rose crest ring. She was so impressed by the prince that she vowed to become a prince herself. Years later, at a boarding school with a lot of secrets, we discover that the student council all have rose crest rings, that they can use them to access a floating garden and dueling tournament, and that they have some kind of plan for world revolution. What happens when the girl who wants to be a dashing prince gets accidentally get caught up in their plans and wins the hand of the Rose Bride?

Full of spoilers, ramblings and theories. )

Overall: A series with a heaping helping of WTF that I probably (again) watched at a less-than-optimal point in my life. Though I suspect I understand a lot more about friends who saw it at a more formative time, now.
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Hitomi is a normal teenage girl who likes running track, doing tarot readings, and mooning over hot boys. Until a boy named Van and the dragon he’s fighting with come through a mystic portal, and drag her back with them to the world of Gaea. There, Hitomi discovers that there’s more to her fortune-telling abilities than she’d ever guessed. Also, there’s sword-fighting, giant magitek robots, dragons, mad science, musings on the nature of fate, catgirls, politics, ill-fated romance, sibling rivalry, lost civilizations and really nothing that could possibly qualify as “filler”.

Note that there are spoilers in here so I can discuss plot points. )

Overall: Stan Lee figured out that little boys would read soap operas if the characters had laser eyes and claws. This follows a similar principle, appealing to both those who like giant swordfighting magitek power armor that transforms into a flying dragon, and love triangles guided by magical destiny.
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- Clueless - When I watched Empire Records and commented that it was a quintessential 90s movie, TrinityVixen argued that Clueless was a better choice for that title. After rewatching it (Amazon Instant Streaming is awesome, y’all) I agree, but I think it’s quintessential in that it was a trendsetter, not a reflection. It invented or codified a ton of slang that caught on; it’s like our generation’s Casablanca in terms of being quoted out of context.

- Zits - I periodically buy the omnibus collections of various newspaper stripes, and recently did a catch-up. I don't think I realized until recently that, like Garfield's hatred of Mondays, Zits has a number of fallback punchlines they use every month or two: Jeremy eats a lot, Jeremy has big feet, Jeremy has a messy room, etc. It’s also interesting how they’re occasionally allow changes to the world—relationships change, the van was repaired enough to actually run, Hector’s style change has stuck, etc.

- Speaking of Garfield, I hit Garfield & Friends episode 35 in my slow plodding re-watch, which I suspect I'd seen a lot as a kid (I could still sing the Abu Dhabi and Hamelot songs and it includes one of my favorite shorts, "How to Be Funny"). It's up there in the list of most memorable episodes for me, along with Dr. Garbanzo Bean's first appearance in #25 ("Robodie") and the important life lesson in #29 ("It Must Be True").

- We watched all 12 episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team with some folks on Saturday. It's a side-story series set during the original Gundam series, and though it mostly stands alone, having folks who knew the series to provide context helped. It has some tone issues, it has "reality ensue" in a bunch of places but not in others, and at heart it's about star-crossed lovers who make terrible life choices and are really rather crap at their jobs. My feelings were mixed, overall. An interesting note: as I was watching, I could swear I knew Norris' English voice actor (Michael McConnohie) from something. Turns out he's done voice acting in pretty much everything everywhere, but I was recognizing him as Margulis from Xenosaga.

- We’ve been periodically re-watching episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, since Amazon Instant Streaming has all of them available. Besides “The Best of Both Worlds” and “Trials and Tribble-ations”, does anyone have votes for the best episodes we should re-watch?


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