Babe: San (Princess Mononoke)

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sanSaw the Disney/Miramax dub of this film yesterday. FABULOUS movie. The dub was actually quite listenable compared to the corniness I’m used to – a few clunker lines, but for the most part lively and engaging. If it’s coming to your town on the trial run, definitely go see it.

Anyway, the point is, San here is the babe of the month. Raised by wolves and sort of a medieval eco-terrorist, she zooms about knocking industrial humans down a peg or two wherever possible. She’s pretty savage at times – quite prepared to kill or be killed, and she doesn’t mind blood. But she’s also got the respectable/noble/fearless spirit of a Nausicaa type, and just plain kicks ass at times. Does a good bit of jumping around, waving spears, riding on wolves, etc. I suppose that should be enough material to work with.

Hunk: Kaworu Nagisa (Evangelion)

kaworu(Above picture courtesy the Angelic Seashore site, which let me use it back when I added Kaworu to my original Babes page. I also went to the trouble of making a quick vidcap of another pic of Kaworu, in his more sinister pose)

Once more into the breach, I suppose. Eva is a show I must be quite careful of spoiling, and since Kaworu doesn’t show up until towards the end, when spoilable events are happening left and right, I’ve got to be especially careful.

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“Cute, kind, and a philosopher. What more is there to say?” is how I described him a year and a half ago when I first put together my Babes page, and that’s basically the most I can say. I guess it’s not too much of a surprise with Eva to remark that he’s a skilled Eva pilot and has many mysteries around him.

Since I have nothing more to say, I will include this picture:

Shoot the Dog

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shootthedogSong: Shoot the Dog
Artist: George Michael
Album: Shoot The Dog CD Single
Sample Lyric: “Nine nine nine gettin’ jiggy / people did you see that fire in the city? /  It’s like we’re fresh out of / democratic / gotta get yourself a little somethin’ semiautomatic”
Apresands (out of 5): & & & &

Like Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrrty” and Madonna’s “Erotica,” “Shoot The Dog” was an inescapable pop culture event, a song inextricable from its video that every newspaper wanted a piece of the argument over, at least for a day or two.

That is, it was in Britain, where thankfully I was attending a study-abroad program at Oxford; as far as I can tell, all copies of the song and video must have been involved in some sort of major marine accident and are no doubt lining the bottom of some ancient trench, providing entertainment to krill and barnacles as I write these very words.  Alternately, the song may have been shut out of American airplay for political reasons, or cultural ones – it is a terribly British piece in its way – either way, nobody in America seems to know what I’m talking about when I bring this song up, so here it is now, a major single by a pop superstar, transformed by fate into a Song That Time Forgot.

“Shoot The Dog” is strikingly political coming from a man whose repertory is not exactly loaded down with polemical scorchers.  The subject of Michael’s rage is a little bit unclear in the lyric, but the video and Michael’s statements at the time seem to direct us to the following interpretation: the song is an expression of frustration at the buddying-up between the British and American governments, particularly over the possibility of war on Iraq (a topic of considerable debate and doubt in Britain in the summer of 2002), and a prediction that such violence would only end up encouraging more terrorism such as that of September 11, 2001.

Not a particularly uncommon prediction at the time, but certainly not a popular one in the United States, which is why I favor the theory that the song’s complete absence Stateside has more to do with its contents than with typhoons and the like.  It’s a shame – the video features probably the most hideous imaginable animated representations of George Michael, Gerri Halliwell, Tony Blair, and indeed George W. Bush.  (Okay, I admit, the Blair and Halliwell stuff would probably have sailed over most Americans’ heads.)  The song is probably worth checking out just for the sheer oddity of hearing George Michael – George Michael, people! – singing (in his typical style over a typical production) lines like “The Ayatollah’s gettin’ bombed, yeah / See Sgt. Bilko havin’ fun again / Good puppy, good puppy / Rollin’ on over for the Man.”  The Man!  Oh man.  Oh, and you can’t get more racy than propositioning the Prime Minister’s wife, adding “Could you leave the way clear for sex tonight / Tell him ‘Tony, Tony, Tony / I know that you’re horny / but there’s somethin’ bout that Bush ain’t right.’”  Classic.

Hunk: Miki Kaoru, aka “Mickey” (Utena)

mikistrikesOnce again, I haven’t seen too much of this series, so try not to spoil me too badly. Miki is your average guy-adored-by-all-the-girls type, except he plays piano (extremely, extremely well), fences (extremely, extremely well), and is subject to comical moments of panic.

For some reason, he reminds me of Linus from Peanuts. Don’t ask me why.

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Um, let’s see….spoilers are such a pain, aren’t they? I’m telling you now, it was quite the challenge to score a couple of Miki pics without being inundated with spoilers. So here’s the pages I got these pictures from….use at your own peril, I guess:

The big picture above ….actually, I don’t remember where I got it. ^_^;; I’ve seen it several places (Animerica magazine, the box for tape two, etc). If one of you out there realizes I got this from your webpage, let me know. Apologies in advance.

The little full-figure thing came from Take My Revolution, the only Utena site which answered my mail in time for this update….

And that’s basically it. He’s sweet, he fences, he plays piano. I don’t know anything else, but boy he’s cool!

Soily (Studio Version)

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soilySong: Soily (Studio Version)
Artist: Wings
Album: (Unreleased)
Sample Lyric: “To your left and to your right / Got some pretty soily company.”
Ampersands (out of 5): & & & 1/2

“Soily” was always about the best reason available to listen to the massive, studio-jiggered, three-disc mess that is Wings Over America.  Unavailable on any normal Wings album, it rocked reasonably hard in that pseudo-live performance and puzzled millions with its lyrics (which were nonsensical when they were discernable at all).  But true Wings fans would do well to track down this never-released studio cut of the song, which dates from roughly the Band on the Run / Venus & Mars period.  This latter fact probably accounts for the song’s obscurity.  It was a fertile period for Wings, and one can easily imagine that the band, forced to choose between an assortment of excellent tunes, flipped a coin and decided to finish “Letting Go” instead of “Soily.”  So it goes.  Besides, even in the studio, “Soily” sounds like a song waiting to be played live – McCartney’s vocal delivery on the chorus sounds a litle thin and overprocessed, and there’s even a part where he says something about a “tommy gun” and the drummer takes a moment to mimic the sound of machinegun fire on the drums!  The song would also benefit (as it does on Wings Over America) from having its lyrics buried in the roar of a rock band in full swing.  In fact, this is the only song (to my knowledge) whose lyrics McCartney has publicly ridiculed:

Q. With Wings, did you feel pressurised to live up to The Beatles?
A. Yes, it was a case of “follow that!”. Impossible to do. Looking back  on it, it’s a lot better than I thought, though some of it is just not PLAYED as well as The Beatles. My son [...] plays a lot of Wings, so I’m re-listening, and there’s good shit that I’d forgotten about. A lot of the lyrics were off the wall, drug stimulated. Things like “Soily – the cat in the satin trousers says its oily”. What was I on? I think the answer is stimulants.  (From Q magazine interview, 1997, transcribed by Usenet poster Allison Fiddler, emphasis added by me.  This is my new all-time favorite McCartney quote, by the way.)

So what are we left with?  A sloppy, concert-ready rocker by a band just about to find its legs as worldwide arena sellouts, that just happened to be headed by one Paul McCartney.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, it sounds more than a bit like “The Mess,” with a little of the bizarre vocal inflection that later crept into such bad songs as “Famous Groupies.”  For all its admitted virtues, I find myself recommending it primarily based on the fact that the chorus is, indeed, “Soily! Soilyyyyy!  The cat in the satin trousers says it’s oily.” Note: This is the worst idea for a chorus ever.  Only Paul McCartney could ever bring himself to write such a thing, and then, while singing, amend it with rock-n-rollisms like “Yes it is!” and  “And you know he’s right!”  Yes, Paul.  The cat in the satin trousers does say it’s oily, and I do know he’s right.  “Yes he is!!”  Ah, who am I kidding, it’s genius, or at least better than “The Mess.”  Three ampersands.

Hunk: Ferrio (Magic Knight Rayearth)

ferrioAnother one of those extremely popular CLAMP characters… okay, well, not really another one, since I don’t think I’ve tapped the CLAMP repositories for this page yet.

Anyway. Ferrio’s a wandering swordsman (note the enormous blade) who is your basic Mr. Dashing type. Like most males in this series – heck, females too – he has a tendency to get randomly irritated and go superdeformed. Pay it no attention.

Um…what else? This is a sticky situation – I have lots of space to fill since I wrote San’s text fisrt and it extends wayyyyy down. WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY down!!!!!

WAYYYYYYYY ….okay, never mind.

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Okay, let’s see here for legitimate material. Um…Ferrio’s pretty clever for a mystical-medieval swordsman, and figures out pretty quick how to use modern technology (such as a pager-type thing) to his advantage. And did I mention he’s a killer swordsman? Has a soft spot for Fuu…ah well. He rocks.

Seriously, should I bother that much with the description? I get the impression most of you who draw the characters are already familiar with them, but I’ve gotten a lot of submissions with emails indicating that the artist hadn’t heard of the character before coming to my page (which is nice)…ah well.

Babe: Benten (Urusei Yatsura)

ferrio(Vidcapped this picture myself. Also note the tiny pic I got with permission from Tomobiki-cho for my original Babes page)

I’m a sucker for just about anybody in UY, honestly (though Kurama is kind of bleh, as is Elle), but Benten is truly the leader of the pack, thanks in part to her admirable performance in the epic fanfic Just A Dream (and its sequel, Still Dreaming). The short bio: Benten is an alien from the world of the seven gods of luck – yes, the same mythology that’s in the first Ranma movie. She’s the rambunctious tomboy type who rides a bitchin’ red airbike, shoots firsts and cackles in glee later, and is able to do physically impossible things with a length of chain.

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She’s sort of like half the anime characters out there, since this mildly bad girl archetype seems to be in vogue these last couple years….but she’s different in that she’s got a true heart of gold, and not one that’s manufactured on the spot for key scenes. She’s also in UY, which knows how to give its characters really effective personalities without too much attention-grabbing, spotlighting, and cheap tricks.

I’m really kind of amazed at the lack of Benten coverage on the net, and it’s sort of masked by the lack, by and large, of any Urusei Yatsura coverage on the net at all. Folks, this is a really charming, engaging series; don’t let the animation quality of the first couple dozen episodes throw you. Ah well. Please draw Benten. She rocks.

Babe: Kei & Yuri (the original Dirty Pair shows)

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dirtypairNow that ADV is finally resurrecting the Lovely Angels by putting out the old OAV series (though I wish they’d start on the TV series!), the time couldn’t be better to do a quick spotlight on these gals. So, for those of you not in the know, these two are the stars of one of the most fan-adored series ever and can be considered the twin godmothers of fanfic…the general description of them that I see most everywhere is that they’re a couple of future-time secret agents of sorts, who tend to cause a bit more collateral damage than they’re worth. It’s all in good fun, of course, and actually more of the laughs come from their absolutely brilliant dynamic than all the mayhem they cause.

Kei, the redhead, is the more fiery-tempered one…Yuri, the bluehead (in case you couldn’t figure it out) is the somewhat more thoughtful and careful one…though really they both tend to get caught up in whatever’s going on to the point where it doesn’t make a difference. Their behavior can best be equated to a couple of post-college roommates with a few big differences in opinion – they get along well and have similar opinions, but they can seriously get competitive at times.

But enough rambling. Draw ‘em, either separately or together. The Dirty Pair Flash designs, which are sickeningly slick IMO, won’t be accepted – this month, anyway! Sorry.

Got the pic from WWWA Database. I tried to scrounge up a good individual pic for each Lovely Angel, but I couldn’t find any I liked on the whole entire Internet.

Nothing As It Seems

nothingasitseemsSong: Nothing As It Seems
Artist: Pearl Jam
Album: Binaural
Sample Lyric: “One uninvited chromosome / a blanket like the ozone.”
Ampersands (out of 5): & & & & 1/2

Binaural marks the point at which Pearl Jam more or less dropped off the cultural radar and resigned themselves to making records that would be heard only by people who were already fans of the band.  While no one would claim that No Code and Yield were exactly hit machines, they had some degree of market presence and certainly brought a few new people to the band (myself included).  But the rock landscape had unquestionably changed by 2000, and the sometimes-forced, sometimes-brilliant experimentalism of Pearl Jam starting with Vitalogy had caused much of their original fanbase to wander away.  The result of all this is that “Nothing As It Seems,” one of the band’s most interesting recordings and certainly their boldest choice for a single, became almost instantly a Song That Time Forgot.

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That’s a shame.  Unlike most of Binaural (which amounts to a collection of relatively uninspiring songs married to lackluster, sound-alike performances1), “Nothing As It Seems” is elegant, brilliantly executed, and moody – very, very moody.  It’s probably the moodiest thing Pearl Jam has ever released, a slow-burner saturated with curdled guitar noises and unplaceable drones.  Three minutes go by before the bridge kicks the tempo up above the level of a heady dirge sung in the dead of a starry night by a slowly smouldering zombie!  And it works.  Eddie Vedder’s lyrics are perhaps vague, but the repeated conceit works to capture a sense of disorientation and the disappointment of life’s half-baked consolation prizes: “And all these words elope – it’s nothing like a poem [...] A scratching voice, all alone / It’s nothing like your baritone.”  This still leaves plenty of room for Pearl Jam’s traditional bombast and drama: “Who’s kidding, rainy day / a one-way ticket headstone / Occupations overthrown, a whisper through a megaphone!” Against all odds, and aided by the shaded majesty of the instrumentation, it works.

1 – There are moments that distinguish themselves – “Grievance” and “Insignificance” are passable rockers – but pretty much everything is shockingly forgettable.

Addison Godel’s Home on the Web

I needed something new to try, and I decided I was tired of the same old online casino routine. So, I tried casino roulette one day, and I was hooked.
I acted like a dustbin lid.   Redesigned the Songs That Time Forgot page to make it less unreadable; added a few songs while I was at it.  It’s still linked in the Umma Spotlight below.  I’ve also fixed one or two broken links, but there’s still a lot of them around, I fear; this business of being on a case-sensitive server has yet to become fun.  Added some stuff to the Doctor Casino website.  Upcoming: A lot of somewhat minor, silly things.  It’s all about getting this site up to something remotely presentable as my body of work. That’s going to mean more purging, but also a lot of cleanup and freshening.  I’ve found I enjoy the Songs That Time Forgot format for pages – it’s something I can do pretty easily in small chunks without having to ready a massive update, and gradually it could accrete enough material to be one of those unspeakably extensive sites that you occasionally stumble on and blow an afternoon at work surfing.  This is my dream.  Who’s with me?  Anyway, I don’t know what else might follow the format of the STTF, but I’ve been kicking around the idea of a gradually expanding collection of half-baked musical performances, but I think that’s what the Doctor Casino site is anyway.