Episode 7 Links & Notes

July 29th, 2009 by Kyle

And, contrary to popular opinion (or, at least, David’s opinion), we’re still at gtpodnotes.blogspot.com

So here’s what got talked about this episode, with links to the related stories:

Uncle Floyd

Tr2n Coming Soon

Marvel And Madhouse Team Up To Produce Wolverine And Iron Man Animes

Boondocks: Only Partially Anime

Fallout From EA’s Tasteless Dante’s Inferno Game Promotion

Family Guy News

Seth Green To Produce Voltron Parody “Titan Maximum”

Which Is An Idea I Liked The First Time I Saw It

Batman, Having Begun, Continues

Geoff Johns May Take On Flash Movie

Jake Lloyd Ten Years Later

Possible Roger Rabbit Sequel Coming

Attention Diddy: You’re Not James Bond

Marvelman Comes To Marvel, Man

Mass Effect Movie In The Works

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The Wabi-Sabi Of Paramus

July 28th, 2009 by Kyle

Kyle here;

This somewhat stretches the boundaries of the purpose of this blog, but I justify it as a way to present a really cool short documentary.

Smartbunny presents her documentary on the Bergen Mall. It’s another place I remember very, very well growing up.

It was completely rebuilt a couple years ago, renamed Bergen Town Center, and is now clean and modern. It’s also completely devoid of character and uniqueness.

This is it today:


You punk kids and your Whole Foods get off my lawn!

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Hi-Way Of Mixed Emotions

July 27th, 2009 by Kyle

Kyle here;

So when I was growing up, I really wasn’t a sci-fi geek, and (like almost everybody else on this side of the Pacific) had no real idea what anime was other than Robotech and G-Force. No, I was – and still am – a plastic model guy; and specifically an aircraft guy. Being back east gave me a chance to go visit my old model shop from when I was growing up; Hi-Way Hobby in Ramsey, NJ. I wouldn’t even want to estimate on how much money I spent here in my teenage years, though to be fair, it was still probably cheaper than having stuff like a car, a girlfriend, or a social life (which are highly overrated anyway).

And yet, as they say, “you can’t go home again”. Oh, Hi-Way Hobby is still there. But someone seems to have turned my model shop into a sci-fi/comics/games store! This, as someone who’s both the co-host of a vaguely sci-fi/comics/games-themed podcast and a continuing model builder, gives me… mixed feelings, to say the least.

So here’s what I saw when I tried to take a drive back to my past:

Star Trek items sold here?” That was never there before.

This isn’t a good sign. This case used to be full of aircraft & armor.

Comics boxes?

Gaming tables?
Well, here’s the model aircraft, hiding behind Yoda.

This whole aisle, on both sides, used to be model aircraft. And that was just the airplanes – the next two aisles were armor and cars.

Now that’s all that’s left of the aircraft – one half of one side of an aisle.

But they do indeed have a bunch of Star Trek items.

And… Twilight merch?! In my model shop? WTF?!

I know the whole “You punk kids get off my lawn” thing is kind of a catchphrase with us, but what happens when you are one of the punk kids? I mean, if I found Hi-Way Hobby now, for the very first time, I’d think it was kind of a cool little comics/sci-fi store with – oh, look! – a little model section, too. But I’d be approaching it as a sci-fi fan. As it is, I approach it as a model builder, because that’s how I remember the place. Thus, whether it’s a good comics/sci-fi store isn’t the issue for me. I still find it vaguely depressing.

I also wouldn’t be upset if this wasn’t part of a trend I’ve seen with model shops. Virtually the same thing happened with D&J Hobby – one of my model shops back home in California. I suppose model-building as a hobby is changing. It’s gone from a cheap hobby for teenage boys to an expensive hobby for grown men. It’s become less popular and more specialized. This is good and bad. The quality of molds and accessories has grown exponentially, as have their prices. Lots of really cool stuff is available from sources all over the world on the internet, but the old-school model shop seems to be a dying breed. I guess places that want to stay in business have to diversify, but I liked old-school model shops, and I don’t like seeing them fade away.

So you punk kids and your… uhm… stuff that I like*… get off my lawn!

(*Except for the Twilight merch. No, really… that has to go).

Categories: Uncategorized

.MKV = .SHT

July 27th, 2009 by Kyle

Kyle again;

Few things in my world of fandom really make me rage. But .MKV is one of them.

How many more anime viewing experiences do I have to have ruined by this buggy, unstable, resource-hogging crapware of a video container?

Several series, including Ghost In The Shell: 2nd Gig and Detroit Metal City come to mind as already having been ruined by this not-ready-for-prime-time garbage format. Especially DMC, which is a slapstick comedy where comic timing is everything. It kind of ruins it when the video incessantly stutters and freezes. And no, I don’t have an old POS of a computer. This container just sucks. There’s no excuse for anyone to put out videos in this format.

And I’ve heard every excuse there is in favor of this toilet bowl of a video container. Such as:

It has chapters!

I really don’t need chapters in a half-hour fansub.

It does soft subs!

Hey guess what – if I didn’t want subtitles, I wouldn’t be downloading an anime fansub, would I?

It does high quality video!

So does .MP4 – and, unlike .MKV, it actually works. Besides, who’s watching fansubs for the amazing video quality, anyway? If that’s what you want, save your money up and buy the Blu-ray when it comes out.

It does high quality audio!

Better audio is good. Too bad the video that goes along with it doesn’t work.

It’s Open Source! It’s free!

Old pizza out of a garbage can is free too. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Our container doesn’t suck! Your OS/video player does!

Funny how no other video container has these same problems. Everybody else made their stuff work and play well with just about everything. There’s a word for this: compatability. There’s another word for it, too: usefulness. As in; not useless, like .MKV is.

The bottom line is: all the “advantages” .MKV might have over other containers don’t matter if .MKV just plain doesn’t work right. Which it doesn’t.

Then let’s go on to the fact that .MKV is supported by nearly no hardware video players (iPods/iPhones/Zunes/PSPs/smartphones, etc.). Or that it’s essentially impossible to burn to video DVD. Or that it’s difficult to impossible even to convert .MKVs into a format that’s actually useful, like .AVI or .MP4. Just try converting an .MKV file with those much-vaunted soft subs into an .MP4 so you can play it on your iPod. Hope you weren’t counting on those subtitles still being there in your nifty new .MP4 file.

You’d think that at least the hardware player thing would be a hint… that it’d cause people to reevaluate whether continuing to push .MKV down the throats of the fansub community was a good idea. A few years ago, watching video on a mobile device was uncommon – at least in America – but now you can hardly step on a bus, subway, train, or airplane anywhere without seeing people watching video on a handheld. So that’s the wave of the future, right? Everybody should drop .MKV and start doing fansubs in .MP4, right?

Well, yes, actually – that is right. But for some incomprehensible reason, they’re all gravitating toward the incompatible, buggy, open source junk instead. Why? Open source fetishism? A conspiracy to deny certain anime series the audience they deserve? Belief that the world has the desire (not to mention the bandwidth) to download fansubs of Oruchuban Ebichu in 720p? Some purist disdain for mobile devices, perhaps brought on by having spent hard-earned money on a Newton, some years ago? Simple buttheadedness? Just to piss me off?

Stop the insanity! Stop using .MKV!

Categories: Uncategorized

Plugsuit: Part II

July 26th, 2009 by Kyle

Kyle here, and today I’m wearing the plugsuit, as I plug a friend’s deviantART page.

Trust me, this is a lot better than your average deviantART page – you know, the kind that’s full of fanart that looks like it was drawn by a five-year-old. This is actual good art, and deserves to have the word spread about it.

So, go have a look. It’ll be worth your time.

Categories: Uncategorized

Plugsuit: Part I

July 26th, 2009 by Kyle

As long as we have iTunes buttons working…

NPC Comics currently sponsors two podcasts. So we shall don our plugsuits to plug NPC’s other podcast. It’s called West Coast Bias – where you’ll get all the news and views on sports from a unique west coast perspective.

If you like sports, check it out here:

Categories: Uncategorized

All Hail Browncoat Lisa!!

July 26th, 2009 by Kyle

Browncoat Lisa, who was the author of our first piece of listener mail, is now otherwise praiseworthy as the person who made the iTunes subscribe button you see on our sidebar operational.

What does that make her? A big damn hero, sir.

Here’s our brand-new iTunes subscribe button:

Categories: Uncategorized

Marvel… Anime?!?!

July 26th, 2009 by Kyle

Kyle here;

News from SDCC. io9 has previews up of the first two of four new anime series that are joint ventures between Marvel Comics and Madhouse, the anime studio that brought you (among many other things) movies such as Paprika and series such as Boogiepop Phantom.

The two series we have previews for are Iron Man and Wolverine.

Prediction: They won’t work.

Well, they will and they won’t. A lot of the casual anime fans in America will love it. Cartoon Network is, I’m sure, already salivating over the ratings when this series takes its inevitable place in the Adult Swim lineup. It’ll sell a lot of DVDs/Blu-rays/iTunes downloads.

But it’s unlikely to really click artistically.

The thing is, the gap between cultures really is bigger than we give it credit for in our internet-connected, globalized world. Because of this gap, when someone from one culture tries to imitate another culture’s art, they rarely get it right. They just can’t capture the soul or the spirit of it.

Sometimes such attempts result in the creation of something new and different that has value of its own. In the mid-1950s, for example, poor southern whites started singing the music of poor southern blacks. It wasn’t the same, but it created something new, and the sound was so exciting they gave it the name “rock and roll”. Ten years later, working class English kids started singing their own imitation of the southern whites’ imitation of the music of southern blacks. It doesn’t sound like it’d work real well when you think of it that way, but of course, it did work.

That said, the Beatles weren’t Leadbelly. The Rolling Stones weren’t Robert Johnson. They couldn’t be. Their music had soul – they had soul – but not the same kind of soul.

I’m reminded of an anime series from a couple of years ago called Red Garden. It was a vaguely Buffy-ish story of four high school girls taking on monsters in their off hours. But, unusual for an anime series, it was set entirely outside of Japan (New York City, to be specific), and had no Japanese major characters in it.

And it got America all wrong.

Almost all wrong, I should say. It’s obvious that the art director for the series had bought a plane ticket to New York, and had spent a couple of weeks carefully taking pictures and doing drawings. The backgrounds used in the anime were accurate recreations of New York street scenes that someone had obviously put a lot of work into.

But the situations were all wrong. The relationships were all wrong. The characters were all wrong.

Let us for a moment look past the fact that they depicted a New York City high school that had absolutely zero people of color in it. Let us also look past the fact that all the students in that high school dressed impossibly fashionably – in the style, specifically, of Harajuku hipsters. It went beyond surface things like that. The characters had Japanese personality types. They reacted to the things that happened to them the way a Japanese would. Their relationships followed Japanese patterns. They had a Japanese sense of humor.

In other words, the Japanese artists and writers who created that series could faithfully recreate American streets and buildings, but they couldn’t recreate American personalities. Writing American personalities – living in those souls, as writers must in order to write in their characters’ voices – was just not something they could do.

Of course, that goes both ways. I’ve seen plenty of American attempts to do manga, and they all have exactly the same fault that Red Garden did, just in reverse. They could recreate the character designs, the set pieces, the street scenes… but they couldn’t recreate Japanese personalities. They just couldn’t find a way to live in that skin.

That’s not necessarily an insult to them as artists or writers. But it is by way of pointing out that what they set out to do is so difficult as to be nearly impossible. I think that too many people – even very experienced and creative writers – don’t really appreciate just how much of a barrier it truly is.

But you know, these series could get all that stuff wrong and still be fun anyway. I’ll admit that I actually enjoyed Red Garden once I accepted it for what it was and took it on its own terms. Maybe these series will charm me the same way.

Categories: Uncategorized

G-Force?!

July 25th, 2009 by Kyle

Kyle reporting;

So Disney’s G-Force opens this weekend. Finally, a movie about gerbilling that doesn’t star Richard Gere…

But seriously guys… this was not even close to the G-Force movie I wanted.

No, this is G-Force:

I’m sorry, Mark – but I am wearing the f***-you boots!!

Categories: Uncategorized

So Jesus And Gandalf Walk Into A Village…

July 25th, 2009 by Kyle

…you see, and Gandalf turns to Jesus and says…

Kyle here, and, well, I don’t have a punchline to that joke. Not yet, anyway. But we’ll all be hearing the punchline when ITV/AMC’s miniseries remake of The Prisoner, starring Ian “Gandalf” McKellen as Number Two, and Jim “Jesus” Caviezel as Number Six, arrives.

While we’re anxiously waiting for it to show up, io9 has an interview posted with series writer Bill Gallagher on how the remake will differ from the original. It sounds like Gallagher has put a lot of thought into retooling the themes of the show to be relevant to a world that’s changed a lot since the days of the original series. While purists may complain about it, it’s a good thing.

Remember, none of us at the podcast object to remakes per se, we just require them to have something worthwhile to add to the established story. Most don’t, and are either just nostalgia-based cash grabs or purposeless vanity projects. This actually looks like it has something new and interesting to add to the original concept. If so, that qualifies it as a worthwhile remake.

I’ll… be seeing it.

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