June 27th, 2006

Behind Charlene

Er, Robyndia . . . Robay?--Robyn . . . Robynday. It's Robynday.

To-day's robyn_ma's birthday. We pause on this day to remember the ink demons of the Galapagos Islands, who were torn from their subterranean abodes by the amazing, 70 foot "Spruce Robyn", Howard Hughes' secret machine of war. The tiny demon souls were placed in a simple, rock bowl known as a "mortar" and crushed into a powder with what is known as a "pestle".

Released into the winds on an auspicious day in northern Russia, the resulting dust mingled with transatlantic gales before spontaneously reforming in the White House on one June 27th, at daybreak.

Most minds have been cleansed of those memories relating to the brief reign of America by Casper the Dead Baby King, who was vanquished by Robyn within hours of her birth with the help of Nightcrawler and Henry Fonda.

One of America's greatest heroines, nicknamed "Robyn Ma" after she used her mighty telekinetic powers to overturn the twin 80 exalitre jugs of Massachusetts to irrigate the secret 1980s dustbowl, she nonetheless to-day lives anonymously amongst the people she saved, due to the cruel mass-mind-wiping perpetrated by Robo-Tommy Lee Jones.

But the heroine remains yet a heroine, for while brains may wash clean as Etch A-Sketch in the waves of God's boring shore, the heart is a thing of clogable arteries, wherein the blood and the spirit may remain steadfast. Such a heart is not Robyn's, no. Her heart burns independently with the pure fire of ghosts! The echoing voices of tropical demon souls resound back to us as the song of hope as Robyn handles books that some people turn in way past due, and get angry at her for some reason.

The perplexing riddle of this world is a mug of boiling liquid cellophane, pondered by the smiling Buddhas eternally sitting on Robyn's shoulders. Keep your vigil, Buddha Fairies, and fight on, Robyn Ma! Fight on!
  • Current Mood
    sleepy sleepy
Salt Precaution

Perhaps I'm Mutating?

Ever get the feeling there's a little phantom or something working against you? I guess it began a couple days ago when I was eating breakfast and the power went out for maybe ten seconds. I went outside and checked the fuses, to see if some kid had been messing with them. I didn't see anyone.

Later, as I was colouring a Boschen and Nesuko page, Paint Shop Pro, the programme I use to colour, closed. For no apparent reason--it didn't ask me if I wanted to save my work, either, as usually happens when any programme closes. It was just gone. I'd never had that happen to me before.

I was getting this strange fatigue that made it extremely hard to concentrate. I wasn't tired, I was just sort of smooshed. And after that came one of the really bad headaches. Monday it kept me awake for hours after I normally fall asleep. It was like sleep deprivation torture--I was absolutely tired enough to sleep, but my brain wouldn't have it.

So I've begun to wonder if all these problems could possibly be related. Maybe there's some kind of radiation anomaly around here? I don't know. I'm about a page and a half behind on Boschen and Nesuko, partly because of these goings-on. The past couple nights I go until I feel like I can't trust my pen to draw straight, and then I've been watching an anime series Tim gave me twenty-something episodes of called School Rumble.

It's a decent anime. I found the animation and designs in the first couple episodes to be adequate, and the characterisations and writing to be good enough to keep watching. It gets better as it goes. It's extremely cute, though it sometimes makes me look back longingly at Maison Ikkoku, which managed a lot of the same teen-romance humour without having to rely on the characters being unrealistically stupid. In fact, I've noticed School Rumble directly lifting a bit or two from Maison Ikkoku, including a scene where the characters are all sleeping on the floor, and the male characters are fervently trying to "accidentally" fall asleep next to their respective crushes.

I'm starting to think certain kinds of scenes have just become traditional in anime and manga, though. Like the bath house scene where the guys are constantly trying to peek at the girls' side (my favourite's still the Ranma 1/2 where lecherous little old man Happosai engages in full-blown martial arts combat in a bath house with Ranma, a boy who turns into a girl when splashed with cold water, and back into a boy when splashed with warm water), or the girl nervously cooking for a boy scene.

One of the things I've liked most about School Rumble so far is actually the subtitles. It's a fan-sub, in this case by a group called Wannabe Fansubs, which tend to be far superior to the subtitles on DVDs, and in this case the translators go several extra miles by providing footnotes for cultural references and to explain untranslatable jokes. For example, in one scene where the characters are at a beach, Nara, a young man who has a crush on a girl named Tenma, has his back turned when Tenma cries out, "Bathing suit lost!" In English, this sounds like peculiar grammar, but the footnote helpfully explains that it's very common in Japanese for the subject to be omitted altogether--in fact, it would have been grammatically peculiar for Tenma to include it. So it's perfectly natural for Nara to think Tenma's lost her suit, and the resulting punch-line of him finding the bathing suit of Harima, another male student, instead, makes sense.

I think people tend to underestimate the role a translator plays. For commercial anime, where the studios prefer there be little or no footnotes, the task of the translators requires creativity equivalent to writing a whole new script, and then some. That's one of the reasons Princess Mononoke's English dub version is to this day the only anime English dub I can tolerate--because Neil Gaiman wrote a great script for it. It's too bad a screenwriter of similar calibre wasn't brought in for Howl's Moving Castle, the English dub of which I really want to like for the presence of Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, and Jean Simmons. As it is, Jean Simmons' performance is still outstanding.
  • Current Music
    "Homesick" - The Cure