Archive for September 2011

Warriors

September 25, 2011

Now that’s some heroic saga.

Current Events

September 12, 2011

Well, isn’t that interesting. Porn gets its own internet domain like .gov

 

In other news, it seems that Britain didn’t stomp out slavery as much as people said they did, to make America look bad in comparison. Still got some while to go before then.

EDIT1: Second link fixed.

Bandwidth Capping for the US: Report

September 11, 2011

 

As part of the Open Technology Initiative’s continuing research to compare international broadband capabilities and policies, we have completed this report comparing bandwidth or usage cap policies between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the United States and Japan. Bandwidth caps are imposed limits on the amount of data or traffic a subscriber can consume over their Internet connection. The report compares caps across multiple pricing tiers for residential high-speed Internet services including cable modem, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) or fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) and Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL). The report reveals a large discrepancy in the usage limits ISPs place on consumers in the two countries, with U.S. providers substantially limiting the amount of bandwidth their subscribers can consume. The data has been juxtaposed with the price and the speed of the service offering and the complete data and sources are available in an appendix at the end of the report.

 

ISPs with the most constrictive bandwidth caps are in the United States. As shown in Chart 1, U.S. Internet service providers (ISP) have monthly bandwidth caps as low as 1GB for combined upstream and downstream traffic, while many Japanese ISPs only utilize bandwidth caps of 5GB per day or approximately 150GB per month for upstream bandwidth, with no limit on the amount of data consumers can download. 

 

Baka to Test to Shokanju

September 8, 2011

A pretty good comedy. Rated it 5/5 because the battle system was unique and interesting enough to last 13 episodes, putting the comedy series up half a star.

While Mayuri Chiki took the joke line that nosebleeds weren’t not indications of sexual arrousal, Baka to Test takes the opposite extreme, with over the top hemoraging.

The things that happen when people try to adopt Americanization without the soul

September 7, 2011

While releasing Sengoku Basara, Capcom attempted to appeal to the western audience, by removing all Sengoku references in favor of a generic fantasy story vaguely connected with Capcom’s hit franchise Devil May Cry (a DMC-type font was even used for the cover title of Devil Kings).

An extract from IGN interview with the game’s producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi:[1]

Kobayashi: In Japan, Devil Kings is called Sengoku Basara, and it focuses on Japanese history in the same sense that Dynasty Warriors focuses on Chinese history. So it’s similar in that sense, but with a Capcom style, a Capcom flair to it. We took the concept, and said, “What can we do to differentiate this to make this different from the Dynasty Warriors games?” And we decided the secret maybe lay in some other games Capcom has done. We said, “Let’s give the characters a kind of Devil May Cry flair — some really cool moves, like the kind of things you might see in Devil May Cry. Let’s the characters and make them all vastly and distinctly different from one another, like Street Fighter II.” That’s the Japanese version. Then, we said, “Okay, let’s release it in North America — what can we do to make it different again?” So we said, “Okay, we’ll make it dark.” Call it Devil Kings. The main character sold his soul to the devil. We’ll darken up the background, give more moves, more ability to power your character up, and things like that for the American market.
IGN: Plus it’s not historically accurate?
Kobayashi: The Japanese version of the game is based on Japanese history. There are some fantasy elements that didn’t actually happen, of course, but enough of it is there. With the U.S. version, we’ve taken that element out entirely. Some of the backgrounds may retain that eastern flair. Many of them don’t and are brand new; many of the enemies are brand new; and it’s no longer based around the idea of feudal Japan at all. That part of the game has now been changed to be darker, devilish.

Well, did you think that was a good idea?

These alterations were regarded as unpopular, as the Devil Kings version was a critical and commercial failure, and no more Sengoku Basara games were brought to North America and Europe until the release of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes in the fall of 2010.

It’s usually not a good idea to take the soul out of something. The Japanese had this tendency to believe Americans love power and powerups, but in fact Americans like history and context as much as anyone else, the Japanese included. While the American military does forever seek more powerful weapons and the American government seeks more and more power, that’s not the same as what the commercial free market of America desires. It wasn’t true back then in the US and it certainly isn’t true now.

This is what happens when you don’t understand cultural differences and try to make economic gambles in ignorance. A lot of times changes are made due to economic restrictions, but here you saw that Capcom intentionally went out of their way to “add features” which in reality detracted from the draw of Sengoku Basara. Generic fantasy will always lose out over specific, historically real, heroes. Hollywood could not have created the Spartans or the Battle of Thermopylae if you gave them a million typing monkeys and a million years to work with. Truth is often stranger than fiction.

The Japanese of earlier times were rather xenophobic. They had an intense pride in their own nation and culture, but expected other cultures to be like themselves: wary of foreigners. But the United States is something foreign to the Japanese senses. The US is a culture with a strong tradition and love of country, yet at the same time this love comes from embracing, not rejecting or fearing, other cultures. Thus the primary reason why Americans like anime, especially amongst the younger generation, is that it is different. It is quite obvious that the show came from a different culture with different expectations and aesthetics.

Starship Operators Review: Rewatch

September 2, 2011

From the second episode on, I knew this was going to be a rather serious series with realistic outer space physics and action. It then transitioned into a war on land, and I was surprised it got even better then in terms of consistency, attention to detail, and character development.

The dialogue and action are fast: a consequence of being only 13 episodes. This speeds things up and prevents it from being boring, but strategic pauses to read UI full of English (or Engrish) can be very rewarding and help one comprehend what’s going on. The combat monitors are in English and so are the system data panels for systems, ports, and planets. While not critically important, they do set the mood. I especially like ZX’s green shaded subtitles, as they fit very well with the green glowing monitors of the ship itself.

Due to its high speed nature, I was always worried and in high tension that it would either end too quickly or collapse into a crash. The first time I watched it, the ending went well and I am on my rewatch of it now after a few years of a gap. I knew by the sixth episode that if the ending was in anyway consistent with the rest of the series, this was getting a 5/5.

One of the things I either didn’t notice in the beginning or just noticed now because of a stronger grasp of firearm details, is the fact that there are safeties on the guns. Not only that, but the way people hold their pistols is the correct way; the trigger finger is outside the trigger guard or above it, preventing an accidental discharge. It is this attention to detail, to action, to consistency, to plot and character development, in only 13 episodes that truly impressed me. It was one of the first 13 episode series that was actually good in the creative and consistency sense, with another one being Ano Hana (that flower we still don’t know the name of) at 11 episodes. Most producers and directors do not compress the information, so they lose time or become unable to fit the source material into the number of episodes that will air. Something like Code Geass 1/2 fit more than a novel’s worth of plot development and character background into just two seasons. This was only achieved because every episode was high in action, adrenaline, and speed.

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