August 14th, 2010

Zetsubo Sensei

Web River

Looks like I've earned enough goodwill in the spider community to receive an auspicious visit from a black widow. Some bees are building a hive in a vent on the roof, and as I was looking at it, I noticed this black widow in the window sill, the first black widow I've seen at this house, though I've seen other black widows at other houses, enough to be surprised by the rather exposed place this one chose for her web;

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At Fashion Valley mall to-day, I watched while eating lunch in the food court a young pretty woman set up with guitar and microphone, performing. A pretty girl outside on a slightly windy day wearing a short sundress, cradling a big wooden guitar is inevitably hot. But I didn't catch her name and it's probably just as well, as I doubt she'd want even the small amount of negative publicity created by my blog when I say that she sucked. Really sucked. All of her songs were just three chords, over and over, the only variations being a couple dramatic pauses, and her singing, while on key at least, was utterly unremarkable, sounding sort of like that chick who sings that "Goodbye to You" song, the sort of singer who if she's very lucky will think of one catchy, superficial song.

Then I felt bad for her when she wanted people to sing along to the chorus of a cover song I'd never heard of, the repeated chorus being something like, "I'm yours, so yours, I'm yours, so yours, I'm yours . . ." There was something so teenager about it, especially coming from a woman apparently in her twenties.

I heard her say the woman at the table next to her was her mother, and her mother was handing out pamphlets about the mall and the young woman asked people to fill out a survey about the mall between songs. I realised her mother was probably one of those pageant mom types, and had made some kind of a deal with the people in charge of the mall. Fashion Valley is probably the most posh mall in San Diego, having all the high end stores, so that must have been some deal. I just couldn't help thinking about the simple, good hearted fantasyland the mother and daughter lived in, the sort of delusion fostered by disposable wealth of having a dream, going for it, and achieving it while still looking perfect and having lots of time for parties and dates. I bet it would never occur to the young woman to stay inside practicing scales eight hours a day.

With breakfast, I watched the first episode of Amagami SS, a new anime series Tim recommended to me. It's based on a dating simulation game and it shows, featuring a male POV protagonist having a series of simple, one on one encounters with beautiful girls. The target audience of shy young men is a little embarrassingly obvious, as usual, but it's not bad for what it is. It's not misogynist like High School of the Dead and is remarkably light on fan service for a modern shonen or seinen series. The girls are even characters, albeit very simple ones. Haruka, the popular girl Junichi, the male protagonist, interacts with in the first episode has a series of dialogue scenes gradually developing her personality as having an outside layer of friendliness with another layer of very firmly established boundaries without the yelling and broadcasting most anime series like this resort to.

Junichi is established as nursing a wound from being stood up by another girl on Christmas Eve, so we have the clear programme of guy who feels like a loser redeeming his self esteem by earning the love of a popular girl out of his league. It's very lightweight male wish fulfilment, and one could do a lot worse with modern anime. Though this shot

of Haruka after a moment reminded me of Senjogahara from Bakemonogatari;

And, in addition to causing me to observe how the influence of Bakemonogatari's visuals is trickling into other anime, it caused me to lament that Bakemonogatari's coupling of intelligent, psychological writing with male wish fulfilment, has not been very influential. Oh, well, I guess this is the case with all genres and media, isn't it?

Amagami SS also features one of the most embarrassingly, unintentionally funny and pathetically endearing theme songs I've seen in a while;

That's, in English, "I love you forever, from my heart, I love you forever, we do."

Yes, we do, don't we? There's nothing like getting broad, unambiguous proclamations of affection in bad English.
  • Current Music
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