Sekirei, from season one opening credits

To the one, it seems easy enough: If the series has an ecchi tag associated with it, one is best advised to simply avoid it. In truth, it is not so much a prudish rejection of sexual stimuli in animated motion media, but, rather, a critique disdaining the waste of prudery. The tropes are myriad and obvious, with the result that it really does seem childish to a creepy degree. Say what we will about the (ahem!) “premature nosebleed”, but it does kind of work as a catch-all symbol within the frame.Because premature ejaculation is always worth a laugh .... (Sekirei, ep. 1)

More problematic, of course, is the blatancy of the stimuli. It is almost hilarious when baseball and anime overlap off-screen, because those who will discuss in earnest the physics of a left-handed pitcher’s throwing motion in relation to the placement of the heart within the human body apparently find no reason to wonder how this or that best fighter in the Universe managed to pull off that maneuver without slicing off one of her myth-cupped breasts.

The nature of ecchi, though, is to not be so explicit as, say, hentai or open pornography. But the artists do seem to revel in what they do present. And it is, of course, one thing to chuckle at the outsized breasts popping into open air, and the goofy sound effect that goes with it, but somebody had to draw that.

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I tawt I taw a … oh, never mind

Some friends have finally given me a reason to play around with that social networking phenomenon known as Twitter, and for the time I won’t knock it. Nor will I encourage it.

But Twitter, indeed, brings me today’s great betrayal. No, no, it’s not anything profound. I’m not talking about the Obama presidency. Nor would I deign to comment on Disney’s posturing as a family-oriented company. Rather, it’s just a small thing:

What passes for reality in these United States.

As we contemplate the complexities of the reality check presented us by the proposition of a bunch of Hollywood A-listers getting gaga over British royalty, we also note with quiet and passing dignity that social networks are just one more way in which the internet allows truly clueless people to feel important.

I don’t know. These people are following me. Likely because I got myself one o’them Tweedledee thingies. You know, so I can Twit my grocery list to … oh, never mind. It’s a stupid joke, anyway.

But, yes, apparently some rich, famous folks in southern California were made slightly uncomfortable by having to think about eating under regal scrutiny.

One of those stupid robots that follows you on Twitter to make you feel important so you'll come to the site and make them feel important, too.Yeah. I needed to know this. Look, if a robot is going to “follow” me, can it at least be an intelligent one? I’ll even take sinister. Yeah, like those slow-assed shiny things from the original Battlestar Galactica series, with the Vocoder talkboxes? Yeah. I’d love to be chased by one of those. I can outrun it. The damn thing can’t shoot straight. And it sounds really groovy when I’m stoned.

Oh, right. Betrayal. Yeah. Reality check. Tinseltown and royalty. Those two sentences are very nearly mutually exclusive.

Rule number one of Twitter: If you want to Tweet, get used to looking like an idiot. Well, in the first place because you’re Tweeting. And, in the second, a lot of stupid people will follow you just because they want you to think they’re somehow important or admirable, yet they’re just morons who would suggest that some manner of “reality check” can be achieved by giving a damn about what Tom Hanks thinks about Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (*½)

Confusion actually led me to this film. I had intended to take my daughter to see Up, but the listing I followed to the cinema apparently had yet to be updated. Once we were inside, looking up at the board, I couldn’t simply take her hand and say, “Too bad, we’re going home.”

Especially after she saw that Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was playing. Score one for soulless target marketing.

The script, penned by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!) was, to say the least, lackluster: slipshod story construction, shallow character development, and cheap comic gags abound. If anything characterizes Hollywood’s low aim, it is these enterprise or “franchise” films. Night at the Museum is all about merchandising and brand recognition. Actual content is an afterthought. Still, though, the prospect of good money pushes these projects forward; after all, they got three films out of Problem Child and Look Who’s Talking alike. Both projects were throughly abysmal, and leaves one wondering how bad the third Museum film can possibly be. With any luck, bad enough to be shelved.

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Review: Robert Julian’s “Postcards From Palm Springs” (Part 1)

Julian-Postcards From Palm SpringsA friend recently returned from Palm Springs and handed me a copy of Robert Julian’s self-published memoir Postcards From Palm Springs. The jacket summary informs that the recollection of a writer/actor’s adventures in Palm Springs “does for this California desert community what Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil did for Savannah”. While I enjoyed Berendt’s tale of murder, strangeness, and antiques, I’m not sure this is a compliment to Palm Springs. It would be more appropriate to say “does to this California desert community …”.

Postcards is not without its charm. Indeed, for someone who enjoys a casual yarn about the melodrama of the resort, Hollywood, or homosexual social sets, the book delivers—or, at least, seems to. I must confess that at this moment I’m only approaching the halfway mark.
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