I was asked in my Literary Criticism class to come up with a comparison of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew with some (read: ANY) form of pop culture. That was their first mistake. The following is copy from the 12 pages of references to anime bullshit Shakespeare could have always done without. I may or may not believe any of this, but hey, do what you gotta do.
A recent study conducted by the University of Illinois, the University of Pittsburgh, and MIT surprised several people when it found that brain size is proportional to video game performance. The experiments consisted of people with relatively little gaming experience playing two games specially developed for the study. One game had players concentrate on a single task (think Tetris), the other shifted their attention between multiple jobs (think a strategy or simulator game). Presumably these were non-competitive games, and results were compared via a scoring system. If I'm reading the article right, the team found that they could predict the best player 25% of the time based on the size of their brain.
When watching a movie, there comes a point where you feel as though you know already what to expect. You've seen the bottom of the rabbit hole, as it were. The gimmicks have already been played out, the plot has presented a predictable climax, and continuing to watch the movie seems a bit futile -- you've seen all there is to see from this movie.
I'm not usually one to get excited over "fandoms" and "niches" and series' "canon" or really "things" in general. I do my homework when something catches my interest or seems relevant enough, so I could certainly hold my own in an intelligent conversation, but there isn't really much intelligent conversation to be had on the subject of cute Japanese cartoon girls shooting at each other with magical spells. It's like trying to write a thesis on Evangelion and Princess Mononoke -- you'll sound really smart, but only in the realm of worthless nerd crap; and more importantly, no one will ever take you seriously.
I am, however, finding myself more and more fond of Touhou by the day. Surprisingly enough, I haven't really played any of the Touhou games -- any of them. I know a fairly good bit about them, but I've never touched them. Yes, yours truly -- bastion of all things MAN; vessel of hotblooded burning courage and fiery manly passion; the pinnacle of manly exuberance and youthful explosion -- has been tempted by the dozens of cutesy fairies and shrine maidens of the Touhou-verse.
"Do you Tweet?"
For some reason, Twitter has been in the news lately, and as such, I'm sure you've had someone ask you this at some point. You had to at least feel slightly embarrassed because all you could say was "well, not really," or -- even worse -- "why, yes, sir, I am indeed an avid and frequent Twitterer! Let's discuss our Tweets at length and share Tweeting stories!" If you have actually said anything remotely close to the latter answer, even so far as saying "yes, I am on Twitter," please kill yourself. People, don't get excited about Twitter. Nobody likes Twitter. Twitter is stupid. It is also completely and totally worthwhile: here's why.
Many of you anime fans who like to keep current with Japan's anime seasons have probably heard of -- or have been watching -- Sengoku Basara. The show just recently ended its first season, with a second season announced by Production I.G. Studios themselves. The entire cast of characters has a rabid Japanese fanbase, primarily female -- a strange paradox, given that the anime is very blatantly a shounen battle series. The original video game franchise has grown from the first game, Sengoku Basara, to a straight-up sequel, a Guilty Gear-esque 2D fighter developed by ArcSys and Sammy, a PSP brawler that quickly took first place in software sales on its release; and a third title in the works for 2010. The anime brought with it a number of incredible product placement opportunities, from cellphone straps and character novelties to a Pizza Hut endorsement, a special rice label deal, a half-dozen different character-specific flavors of energy drink, and, oh, a stage play. Outside of Japan, however, Sengoku Basara (known to the rest of the world as Devil Kings) has almost never been heard of. What happened?
One of the oft-touted features of electric cars is their silent operation, which reduces noise pollution in large cities. But Japan's MLIT has recently suggested that hybrids' lack of noise may pose a threat to blind pedestrians, as well as drivers who can't use a mirror. A ministry panel has suggested that automakers such as Toyota incorporate noise-making devices into their hybrid lines. This is bound to please car companies, who have, doubtless, been looking for a way to negate the efficiency gained from the electric motor. The addition of a noise maker would also present an opportunity for automakers to sell custom sounds for hybrids, such as train and horse effects. One wonders why the option isn't already available, potentially profitable as it is.
Japan Mulls Making Hybrid Cars Louder [New York Times]
It seems that teens and twenty-somethings in London have recently discovered the ancient Japanese manba fashion trend.