Excitement in the gaming industry, huge upset! AMD R9-290X or as i like to call it “Titan-shall-fall”

AMD has saved the best for last as always, and good god was it worth the wait. Introducing the Brand new, hot off the silicon press, The Amd r9-290X sound like a complicated name? too bad, remember it anyway, very rarely does something come along in the gaming industry that gets me this excited, don’t get me wrong, new hardware releases are always rife with excitement, as the flagship cards of the new generation hit the ground showing what’s in store for the current gen gamer, but this is different, this is your favorite team making it to the superbowl, and EMBARASSING the other team.

Alright, enough of me fanning the flames of excitement. on to business, Amd’s new line is simply a refinement of their current gen cards with totally revamped circuitry. Now it’s no big secret that for a little while now the Nvidia heavyweight GTX Titan has run largely unopposed in the ring of graphical superiority for a while now, but that’s been the trend ever since Nvidia released the 8800gtx back in 2006, Nvidia is usually present with a bit faster card than their opposition, at a premium price of course. For a while now the $1000 gtx titan has sat atop the throne at the pinnacle of performance among the extremely competitive realm of PC hardware, and while not completely dethroned (the titan still outperforms the 290x in 1 of the 32 games benchmarks have been performed under, though i suspect a driver update will change this.) There is surely going to be some recoil as this new card , that beats it (almost) across the board is half the price.

Wait what!? you heard right, that was not a typo, the launch price of the R290x is 549.99 for the reference and some aftermarket versions creaping up to 579, It also blasts away the 7gtx 780 ($100 more) and of course the 770 is far outside of it’s price point and dwarfed in performance. The scalability of these cards has also demonstrated to be extremely good for crossfire applications, some games showing scaling as significant as 95%, but of course that’s not par for the course as any crossfire setup is only as good as its drivers.

these cards also run HOT, they’re DESIGNED to run super hot. the target core temperatures of these devices is 95C, which it shares with the 280x and 270x respectively, and benchmarks show temps are very stable at that 94C even with 15% overclocks, and i have confidence that AMD’s engineers would not release a card that runs that hot without considering all the effects it would have under sustained heavy use.

I just upgraded in january, but these are reaaallly tempting.. hmm, may have to add this to my wedding registry


Swearing has a wonderful effect, are you ruining it?

Swearing has a wonderful effect, are you ruining it?

Okay, this is just a quick one, but it’s something i really believe and try to practice as an everyday theory. Swearing has several very useful purposes, certain words in our english language have what i like to call “shock value” These words communicate with our brains on a different level from the background, to get logistics out of the way quickly, lets define swearing. swearing is using deliberately offensive terms, many of them are instantly recognizable such as a particular letter starting with s that rather coarsely refers to solid excrement.

Swearing is a wonderful tool, saying something that you know you shouldn’t creates a feeling of daring and circumstance when used. It’s FUN, the use of expletives have been shown to reduce sensations of pain, and release tension, but this doesn’t depend on your audience. My favorite use of offensive language is in argument, the use of terms with inherent shock value can be extremely useful, exceptionally so when the other person is not listening and you can tell their time not talking is entirely thinking of what they are going to say next.

To me, swear words should be like a woman’s shrill cream in a crowd, it breaks flow, it triggers an inherent reaction, and draws attention for a moment, in which case you have the undivided attention of the listener. Like a scream in a crowd, it should snap attention. The downside for this though, is that for the strike an expletive dagger to be effective, it must be kept sharp, and out of sight. If you dance around twirling the dagger in your hand swinging it’s blade recklessly, it does two things, potentially make your listener uncomfortable, negatively distracting the listener from your points, and it prepares them, if they see you swinging a dagger wildly and then see you swing it at them, they will jump back, they know what’s coming.

If you think of an argument as a fistfight, and using words with inherent shock value as this dagger i described just now, the most effective way is to participate in the fist fight as if unarmed, only pulling the dagger from your cloak in the midst of a grapple and striking your target quickly and efficiently.

For that reason, in both argument, and iteration, swearing definitely has its place, but one that should be a place of disuse until it is needed.


Has The Bar Been Lowered? In My Opinion, Yes.

Has the bar been lowered? in my opinion, yes.

Alright, Hopefully I won’t offend anyone here, but really, as a whole, we’re really letting ourselves go guys, both physically and intellectually. For a while now i’ve had a pretty busy schedule and that left most of my social interactions to be with my friends, or at work with people usually… “qualified” for the role or position they represent. But I went to Walmart with my Fiance on Saturday day because i needed to purchase a somewhat diverse array of things. Talk about culture shock, overhearing bits and pieces of people’s conversations i could TASTE the incompetence coming off these people. It was rather awful, i just kept my head down weaving my through isles of people wider than carts trying to get out of there as fast as i could. Probably the most cringe-worthy thing was when I was grabbing Butter for the meatloaf i planned to make, I overheard a girl i estimated to be between the ages of 15 and 20, What she was wearing was irrelevant to my point, but lets just drop it at saying it does nothing to suggest she was in any way scholarly, but i digress. I witnessed this Girl look at a tub of butter that had one of those big “great source of calcium” graphics on it, i think it was country crock if memory serves.

This girl looks at the tub for a second and turns to her mother, “Mom? What’s ‘kalk-e-yum’ ?”
my reality was shaken when i heard the response she was given, “I don’t know, just put it in the cart.” Without even thinking about it i responded saying “It’s actually pronounced calcium, and it’s a mineral your body uses for everything from increasing the platelet count in your blood to strengthening bones and teeth.”

The tone this woman took when responding embodied everything that i think is wrong with society today. “It’s rude to correct people, and nobody asked you.” Now i usually like to leave the color of people’s skin out of these situations, but this bitch was orange. Slightly carried away in my anger I responded by speaking directly to the girl. “Incredible… Please make it a life goal to be smarter than this woman when you’re her age, though judging from what i’ve witnessed, you should be able to have that accomplished by next week.” and walked away with an expression that brought the image of that scene from CARRIE where they dump the blood on her in front of everyone.

We live in an age where perceivably infinite information is available to anyone that seeks it. We sit at a turning point, the opportunity to create an entire generation of minds to parallel and even exceed the greatest thinker’s this world has ever seen, and we as a people are shitting all over it. Could you imagine where we’d be right now if great minds like Robert Oppenheimer and James Watson had had access to the internet? like at all!?. They spent their lives in libraries, and laboratories doing experiments that unbeknownst to them, had already been done, YEARS were spent replicating research and experiments that had already been conducted. If they could have just googled and found everything humanity already knows, it’s incomprehensible what could have been accomplished. Since the 80’s science and technology have accelerated forward at unbelievable pace, not because the people were smarter, but because it was easier to pick up where their predecessors left off. It surged ahead with the creation of instantaneous collaboration around the world, where work could be shared and received in real time. Thanks to this benefit, incredible devices like that smartphone in your hand that is thousands of times more capable than the combined processing power of the vehicle that first put man on the moon.

Sorry, i got caught up in the majesty that is daily life for us just now. I’ve also majorly digressed from my point. To pick up where i left off, articles and studies have determined that we have been on a steady intellectual decline since the Victorian era, and though literacy rates are scads above what they were back then, it is incredibly evident that the willingness to learn has plummeted. In today’s world of instant gratification and the readiness of information at your fingertips, it seems the attitude has changed to “I’ll never use this in life, why should i learn it?” This thought is POISON to society. The willingness in students has never been lower either. Students don’t WANT to learn, and yes, in elementary school most children don’t want to learn, they’d rather be playing outside, but in high school and even college, students are less willing than ever to learn.

College campuses used to be esteemed places, you went to college because you wanted to learn. You went off to college to expand your mind, and classes made it quite evident that you WANTED to be there. Today though is an entirely different story. Young adults go off to college to get some piece of paper, which in the process they are making meaningless. How is it that the most educated nation is also the least intelligent nation then? Doesn’t make sense at all does it. As of 2012 33.5 percent of the US population had a bachelors degree or higher and 42% at least have associate’s degrees. 92% have graduated High school! those are some incredible numbers, but what has it gotten us?

well if you ask me, the attendance and graduation rates don’t mean a thing to me, graduating from college is something anyone can do given proper time, but with an unwillingness to learn, you don’t RETAIN anything. Students are taught, retain the information for the test, and then wipe it all out until exam time when they realize they don’t remember anything they’d been taught more than 2 weeks prior.

I hypothesize that the reason for the bar being lowered so far, is because we let it. Children in high school are told that if they don’t get a college education, they won’t get a good job, so they go to college to get a piece of paper and drift their way though classes not actually learning anything in the long run. They come out of college with a degree that is made worthless by thousands of others like them, who got degrees in random things because they didn’t know what they wanted to do. Now that piece of paper you got, that hundred thousand dollar piece of paper that essentially says you finished the same work these thousand of others did.

So that separation a degree holder had over a non-degree holder is no longer present, and you’re back to being compared by your resume skills and interviews. Employers have known this since the turn of the millennium, a degree from a university doesn’t necessarily guarantee you REMEMBER anything you were taught, or even if you showed up to BE taught. So unless you are shelling out to very exclusive schools, ones graded by the toughest curriculum’s and showing merit in students achievements, rather than letting anyone in with the proper “donations”, will carry the same value they once did. Prestigious schools such as Harvard, Princeton, MIT, GIT, and CalTech will be the only ones to really set you above those with degrees from local colleges who will pass anyone given enough tuition money and time. You are representing that school’s reputation, and the school is endorsing your skills.

with all that being said the biggest problem of all is “this’ll never benefit me later in life.” which i have to admit i take part in a bit myself, mainly regarding topics such as art or history, there are people out there who do know that so why should I?

the desire to learn as a whole is unbelievably down, and as a person who seeks to know and learn EVERYTHING, it is depressing to see, especially when it reaches a point where differences in vocabulary and basic understanding of principles make communications strained.

the image is a clickable link to a free IQ test, it asks for a little info, but nothing too personal, and nothing authenticated, so just lie about your name, zipcode hair color and salary. as an additional experiment, if you’d like to share your score along with what faith you follow to help me gather some data, i’d appreciate it, if you’d prefer not to, please do not feel obligated.

Contracts, and companies that “hold you to them” somewhat rant.

This is more of a rant then a blog post, but it’s been happening ALOT in the recent weeks that companies have tried to screw me out of some things.

Now first off, let me define my definition of “screwing” I completely understand that when i purchase a product or service that i am entering a binding contract with the issuer/provider. As the issuer/provider of a product or service, they are QUITE entitled to request payment from me, and they are completely within their rights to change their price at any time if they write in to said contract that ability. I signed a piece of paper that said this was completely within their rights, that’s totally on me. I am not screwed in the least if a cable provider were to say double their price over the course of a month, it is my right as a consumer to seek service elsewhere. I also suffer the delusion that given the proper time and study i could easily have been a lawyer, i love legal text, it is written extremely concisely, much like code. They go to painstaking efforts to define EVERYTHING in legal contracts, because of course ambiguity in a contract always benefits the signee.

What i DO consider screwing is when I am contacted by these companies demanding payments that are undeserved. I’ve been hit like this enough times to know to keep or record anything they send me, because unless there is a disclaimer at the bottom, anything sent to you, or said to you over the phone by a representative of their company is legally binding, (If you ever wondered why you can never get a solid answer when contacting a support line for a product of service, this is why.)

If there was ever a piece of advice i’d give someone it is that whenever you make a payment on ANYTHING, obtain confirmation of payment, usually they’re emailed to you without you even noticing with strings of numbers. There have been several times in the not-distant past where i have paid for something received confirmation, or confirmation that a contracted service was terminated, and then was contacted months later by either that company or a corresponding collection agency demanding that payment, with all kinds of fees and taxes tacked on. I HATE collection agencies because as a third party they operate under completely different rules, they don’t care about you, the service provider, or the relationship between you and them, all they care about is getting your money, and they are permitted to tell you anything they want to encourage you to pay them.

An example i’d like to share is one that didn’t actually happen to me, and i’m pretty sure the actual victim here would prefer not to be revealed. This person signed up for a personal trainer and then due to special circumstances could not continue. There was a significant fee for cancellation fo the contract, but there was a clause that protected you if you moved more than 25 miles away, you could cancel with 1 month’s notice, and they would waive the cancellation fees. This person went and did all the things necessary of them, gave sufficient notice and payed for the final month,and the account balance read $0.00. He/She then returned to submit the requested proof of residency credentials. She was told the documents needed to be forwarded to the corporate office and they would issue final cancellation of the contract. 2 Days later the company contacted her by phone and gave the usual “sorry to see you go, your contract has been terminated” spiel. Not another word from this company for several months, 4 months after termination a call was received requesting payment for the increasing unpaid balance. After light dispute the caller told her that there was a mistake and that her account was indeed closed, and apologized for the trouble. 8 mo. later a collection agency calls scaring the poor victim by threatening to send the debt to unnamed creditors unless some payment was received. The victim did. Turns out the person that told her the contract was terminated hadn’t actually submitted anything, and of course no longer worked there. Fortunately after some further debate and a few legal threats against the company and the individual who fraudulently told her that her contract was terminated things were resolved.

THIS is screwing, when companies go against their own contracts to gauge money out of their customers. Fortunately in the hopes of not getting sued companies seem pretty quick to back down if the victim seems to have sufficient knowledge against them, but the fact they do it at all is infuriating. For that reason I ALWAYS read anything I sign. ( pissed the realtor off right dandy when i bought my house and insisted on reading the seller/mortgage agreements in full before signing anything, ( Good thing i did too, there were a few glaring issues in that version that were not in the one they submitted to me in advance, which legally speaking nullifies them so long as i got the original notarized, however i refused to sign the final until i was presented the terms set forth in the original contract i requested an advanced copy of prior to signing anything.

my god, i know I’m tangenting here, but the look on the seller’s lawyer’s face when he pulled out the other contract from his briefcase which he’d “conveniently ” brought, and i proceeded to read that one in full as well and ultimately signed it, in hindsight i almost wish that that one had been different as well, because i’d love to have wasted another 45 minutes of that bitchy realtor’s time reading a third one.

The point of the matter is, there are all sorts of contract terms that protect us, they’re there because lawyers always read companies contracts like this and it’s never good business to have ” company offers massively one sided contract to screw over customers” plastered all over the headlines of news sites that will pop up right alongside your own website.

“Bullies” Arrested on Felony Charges in Teen Suicide. (Not Awesome)

I am forced to post today about something that infuriates me, something NOT AWESOME, something

So i just saw an article this morning about a little girl that killed herself by jumping off a cement factory silo, which sucks, but then i saw something infuriating. They’re sentencing 2 “bullies” with felony charges because of it!?!?!? what the hell!!?

I have 2 major problems with this, 1. we’re focusing on applying criminal charges to two young girls that “bullied” her? come on, we all know how girls are, do you really thing they’re THAT bad?

2. Killing yourself is a pointless waste, the only victim in suicide is you, DO NOT attempt to give suicide a meaning, when you show people that are apparently impressionable enough to jump off cement factories that people who commit suicide “get justice” don’t you think that they will see this as a more viable option? Suicide is pointless and must REMAIN pointless. I pray this trend does not catch on and people “responsible for people’s suicides” do not continue to be sentenced. Because, and you can quote me on this, I would lay down money that says the amount of suicides will triple if this becomes the norm.

You wanna stop people killing themselves? stop the situation, and teach the children ways to cope, do NOT give them a REASON to do it.
teach kids to stand up for each other, don’t Incentivize this pointless waste of human life.

What grounds do I base this on? I have acted as counsel for several individuals at several ages (spanning from 11-32) contemplating taking their own lives, I have spent more time trying to dissuade suicidal individuals than I would even care to recall. I have had a great deal of experience with people contemplating this SENSELESS act through my church’s youth group, through friends, and just that I’ve met on my own, I occasionally distastefully joke that ” they always seem to find me.” but you know what? I’m glad they do/did.

As I have told several people over the years, Suicide Is pointless and a waste, and a burden. Now They don’t like to hear that at first, and i’ve gotten several weird looks from people when I tell a person in that situation they’re doing something stupid. It seems the consensus on dealing with these people, OMG DON’T DO THAT YOU’LL PUSH THEM OVER THE EDGE. Bullshit, It is this mentality that keeps suicide so prominent in young people, especially young girls. People Pussy-Foot around them and console them and try and make them feel better, but that’s not the answer, it is a patch, a patch that puts you responsible, it puts you in the position as the “giver of happiness”. What this then in turn does is puts you in the place of that person’s loved ones, because you give them the kind attention they need, and yes it’s good, you WANT your relationship with those people to be strong, but not just because you say nice things, or worse, tell him/her that what he/she is doing is okay.

Suicide is a very delicate issue, one that is annoyingly commonly considered by young people. To them, ending their life, is viewed as a “way out” or done in the sense of “that’ll show them”.

To each there are answers that i usually give.
1. Suicide is a way out- Suicide is technically a way to ” end your suffering” but I severely doubt it’s what you’d really WANT.

An analogy i commonly use is that when it gets tough, life is like a broken leg. You can either deal with the circumstances, have the bone set, splinted, and placed in a cast, then after the doctor recommended amount of time you must attend physical therapy to restore the muscle tissue which has atrophied from being held stationary. It’s not a terribly enjoyable process, but in the end your leg is completely healed. Alternatively, you could have the leg amputated, grab a wheelchair and be good to go. Suicide is chopping off that leg instead of fixing it. It is the belief that your life will never ever improve, so why waste time relearning to walk when i can just put this to an end right now.

2. “That’ll show em” – this is usually the mentality of a bully victim put against a wall, THis person has done all that they could to fix a situation and be ignored, whether it is by a school board preventing a teacher from intervening, or parents who do unspeakable things to their children. With no-where else to turn, they somehow believe that the guilt that tehy THINK that person will feel is more valuable to them than living the rest of their natural life.

Well, to quote myself,” Listen, no offense but that is COMPLETELY inaccurate, What you Think, will happen, will not happen, the people you will be hurting, and the people you WANT to hurt are to entirely separate entities. Will that girl feel guilt over whatever portion she had in the decision you are contemplating? Maybe… Lets play this through for a moment, lets say you get home from school tomorrow, leave a note blaming everything on this girl, and actually go throw with it, you are now dead, from whatever means. Either immediately or a bit later when calling you for dinner, your mother will find your body, The body of her only daughter, Who she has made countless sacrifices to raise all on her own, and she loves unconditionally. Imagine the shock, picture for a moment, you went downstairs right now, and found your Mom lying face down in a pool of blood in the kitchen with only the point of an upturned knife protruding from her back. The impact of never hearing her voice again. Is that something you’d want to find? Why would you force HER to do the same thing. Trust me, the only people sure to be hurt in this whole ordeal, are those that care about you, not those that don’t.”

There are almost no situations where i would consider ending one’s own life to be the best option, pretty much the exception being if that life saves the lives of others, in which case, thank you hero.

I’ve begun rambling now so I’m going to stop now, but i really think cyber-bullying especially needs to be looked at more individually, becuase it can be anything from me saying a mean thing on your facebook page, to me hacking all your accounts and saying untruthful or hurtful things on your behalf.

anime: Shiki and my original observation, The 3 Types Of Character Story Telling

anime: Shiki and my original observation, The 3 Types Of Character Story Telling

A while ago i watched an anime called Shiki, and i wasn’t THAT crazy into it, but looking back on it now, I had watched it right after Rosario vampire, which i really liked alot more, though for separate reasons.

I really don’t have all that much to say about shiki other than it was a pretty good style and i really loved the writing in it. Everything is shown to you, rather than given in exposition. It takes the approach of hurling information at you and leaving it up to the viewer to get to the bottom of things, rather than have characters deduce it from information unknown to you. I’d totally give it a watch reccomendation, but i won’t be shouting its praises here either.

In my mind there are really 3 kinds of story telling that are prevalent right now, whether it’s anime, movies, or loosely in short spurts in tv.

1. The characters know more than you – This is a really hard sell tactic that is fairly prevalent in scifi animes, some examples that use this type of story telling are Neon genesis evangelion, full metal panic, bubblegum crisis 2044, and Ghost in the shell stand alone comeplex. The primary features of this type of story telling, are when most of the developement comes from inside the characters, taking Ghost in the shell t explain, THe major already is a master hacker, capable of gathering any information from the net. THis is not to say that The major knows EVERYTHING pertinent to the plot, but 75% of the time she knows things well before you, the viewer do, and then the story is told through memories, or actions based on pre-existing knowledge.

2.You learn WITH the character- This tactic is fairly difficult to pull off because it limits the writer to only tell the characters what the viewer can see at the same time, and plot devices such as pulling in details from character memory, and two-sided story telling. ( i will elaborate on these tactics in #3) The best possible example I can think of for this type of story telling is in “Another” but some others like Initial D, Bleach, and Dragonball Z use primarily this tactic to great effect to give you the sense of “growing with the hero” rather than just watching something and then hearing about how they did it afterwards.

3. You know more than the Character/ Characters – usually this is my least favorite, tactic, and degrees can vary significantly from the light side in which you may have seen the antagonist talking and learned something that the protagonist doesn’t, but it would be rreeeaaaally useful if he/she did. Super hero movies are especially prominent here, where you may be shown the villain’s plan, and watch the heroes try and stop what they don’t know. The Holy Grail of examples has to be Batman Returns, (my favorite batman movie of them all.)
You meet the villian before you meet the hero, you watch his transformation unbeknownst to the hero, actually strike that, BOTH villains plan and grow off screen. YOu’re introduced to the character Robin KNOWING that his entire family is going to dye (not really the movie’s fault here, such is the way of things when working with pre-established characters.) The riddler especially you watch the whole time developing his villiany and build a big brain-drain island thingy. Even the Attack at bruce wayne’s house, you KNOW it’s them before the door is opened, but like i said this is the holy grail of examples, it takes all these instances and sews them into 4 amazing characters, bringing a story the viewer already knows to life.

those are minor instances of times when the the viewer knows more than the characters. there are some examples to reference where they make you knowing more than either side the FOCAL point. Examples of this include slasher films featuring title characters like Jason Vorhees and Freddy Kruger slashing up unsuspecting victims as you shout at your television “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE YOU BLOODY IDIOT!! NO NOT THE BASEMENT YOU STUPID GIRL!” pretty much any “infection based” movie ever, and what i have to consider the BIGGEST case of the VIEWERknowing EVERYTHING, Deathnote. Now I love Deathnote, and there’s no other method of story telling that would keep this interesting for very long. In Deathnote the viewer knows everything at all times, well except L/Near/Mello’s real names. The viewer is volleyed back and forth over the net of morality watching the nearly Genocidal murderer Light Yagami plan his actions to the heartbeat, and Watching L try and figure them out in real time. It does well to create an entirely unique sensation of the viewer knowing everything about everyone, except of course what these two masterminds will come up with next.

Now as I’ve illustrated, each of these has strength and weakness depending on their usage. No story telling method is inherently WRONG, but there is a time and place for each and unless you’ve got a HUUGE story featuring tons of isolated conflict, there’s probably going to be only one of the three stuck two at a time. That’s not to say that more than one tactic can’t exist in a single work, of course not that happens all the time. At some point in nearly every work you either catch up to the character, or the character catches up to you, or the character suddenly learns alot more than you conveniently off screen.

My main beef with Shiki is :

They do a great job setting up lore and legend that the viewer is pretty well informed to at the same times as the protagonists, and for the first few episodes there is a really strong atmosphere of a great mystery being presented for you the viewer to solve, but a few episodes in… it’s blatently shown to you that the cause of trouble here is dead villagers coming back to life as vampires (Shiki). All that wonderful suspenseful buildup that so defined this anime’s great art style, and story telling just come crashing down. The cat’s really out of the bag as soon as you read the title, As soon as the real threat is revealed the pace changes from ” what’s killing these people” to “how do I, the doctor of this town, the authority on blood-born illness and hopefully the first one to listen to when say 20-30 people just suddenly get sick and die over the course of 3 days, convince these people that vampires are behind this.” after that, the carefully maintained balance between viewer and character gets buried, and you the viewer now know everything from who-dunnit, to when where, why, and to whom. Of course, all you can do with this knowledge is sit there progressively frustrated and losing your grasp on the urge to shout ” LISTEN TO THE DOCTOR YOU FUCKING IDIOTS. ” loud enough that the pixels on your screen might react favorably.
this is the timeline of shiki
1-7 what’s killing these people?
3-22 viewer learns “Oh, vampires, neat!”
7 two kids prove for themselves it was vampires, shame nobody is listening to them.
8 okay so the doctor knows it’s vampires, now we’re getting somewhere.
9-18 Man… it’s a shame NOBODY wants to listen to this doctor guy and these two kids
that are trying to save their sorry oblivious asses.
19 THERE he killed one RIGHT in front of you, will you dumbasses finally start believing
him NOW!?
20-21 Vampire killin time!
22 way to go doc, sacrificing yourself to end it all… wait seishin you idiot what the fuck
are you doing!?!? she’s the one that sterter this whole thing and you’re just gonna
help her escape to go kill untold numbers of additional people!? pffft monk my ass…

It’s this issue that makes shiki fall from what i think it should have been, the timing, the first 2 episodes build up an awesome suspense murder mystery vibe, but the fact there are 12 episodes between the time that it’s proven to be vampires, and the time something is actually DONE about them, left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt a little angry having watched 6 hours of ” Vampires, that’s ridiculous, get out of here you crazily inadequate loon, sure you’ve got video proof of the autopsy you did on one, and you seem to be able to keep their victims alive through blood transfusions and you know, keeping them inside the hospital away from the vampires, but that’s just crazy talk here in our quiet farm town.”

aside from the 6 (9 if you consider that you the viewer know from episode 2 and the villagers are ignoring OBVIOUS signs.) hours of frustration, it’s a really great anime with great storytelling.

Another anime suggestion, “Another”

I logged into Hulu+ for a lazy saturday of working on a small writing project with some anime and video games, and i saw this in my “recently watched” list, apparently i forgot to log out of my hulu account on the wii at my fiance’s apparetment, but it was fun to freak her out with the information a little bit.

Anyway, Another is an interesting interpretation of horror-suspense in anime form, which I haven’t really seen work out so well in the past. Just something about the combination of anime and an attempt at horror just doesn’t seem to connect in my mind, i don’t get scared by horror movies, never really have, there’s just too many degrees of separation between myself and the people on screen i suppose. So even though it does a magnificent job creating a forboding atmosphere the horror aspect didn’t strike home.

Not scaring me though should by no means be held as a strike against it, What it lacked in horror it more than made up for in suspense. This anime does a wonderful job of making every single character pretty interesting. What i mean by that is, as we all know, there are often overblown stereotypes, it’s part of anime, and a part that i love to see, having a varied cast created wide appeal which is very important, but when using a plot device such as “The Calamity” in order to make things unpredictable it is much better practice to have 20 individually interesting characters than 3 characters you really relate to and 17 faceless blobs to be disposed of at the writer’s discretion.  This is one gold star i give to “Another” because it really combines with the wonderful atmosphere to really resolutely bring the sense of mass hysteria to the surface, both on screen and in the viewer.

Speaking of the atmosphere, the animation is beautiful and the dark lighting is tastefully done, creating the sense of foreboding at all the right times. The setting, characters, and dialog are all great and come together to form a wonderful sense of personality that really makes this anime stand out.  At this point I usually try and reference an anime or two that share a feeling or experience, but I don’t have any under my belt that i can really compare it to. The closest thing that i would bother referencing is the anime “Shiki”, and that’s really only in the first few episodes of shiki, after episode 8 of Shiki, the similarities end.

I’ve saved my favorite thing for last as always, and that is the level of suspense.  Another is a Shining example of the PERFECT use of suspense, I already have a bad habit of playing “one more episode” chicken  into the wee hours of the morning, but i was really glad this was a short series and that i had all day to watch it in one sitting.  This is one anime that i could not have survived the ” oh i’ll watch the next episode tomorrow after work.” mentality with. I really liked the pace at which information was given to the viewer here as well. At all times the viewer feels like they know just as much as the victims, or occasionally a little bit less. this is my personal opinion now, but I think the FASTEST way to destroy suspense is to have the viewer know something that the characters do not.  As soon as you have information the Characters don’t you’re no longer clenching teeth in suspense, you’re yelling at them for not seeing things that were shown to you. At no point does this anime do this, beginning to end, you know exactly what the characters know, and that’s absolutely wonderful in my book.

To illustrate my point one step further, and throw out the title of another film i really greatly enjoy, the movie “Orhpan” does an awesome job of painting the picture of something being “off” about the little Russian girl, Esther. Well, They do an awesome job with that until the mother finds out she’s not a child at all, but a woman with a rare condition that kept her from growing, so she became a disguised murder jumping from life to life after escaping a Russian insane asylum. at that moment all the questions and suspense are answered… but wait there’s still half a movie still! From that moment on it’s not a suspense thriller anymore, it’s a ” watch this woman try to convince her husband that this girl wants to kill her and repeatedly get ignored” story.

In closing, “Another” does a wonderful job of doing something that i think should really be done more, telling the whole story from a Victim’s eyes. I definitely recommend this anime to anyone really, there’s a little bit for everyone, and it takes such a tired concept in horror movies, transfers it to animation, and does so phenomenally, creating something different from what you’re used to and may not have realized you’d like until just now.