Sunday, March 5, 2006

Instead of writing more about self-improvement, as I usually do, I thought I’d spend some bytes on some things I’ve been watching this weekend.

I spent all weekend home, some of that cruising Google Video (which, of course, is in Beta. Like Google Groups has been for the past five years).

Anyvay, I came across some fun little videos. Tripod’s Song is a perfect pop song about, um, love in the modern age. Matrix Dance features what looks like a bunch of stunt men showing off their stuff; they wouldn’t look out-of-place in a Jackie Chan flick. And, amazingly enough, A Funny Mime.

[Gundam X]

I’ve also been watching some Gundam X. Most Gundam shows are pretty heavy fare; stories of gritty battles and almost unwinnable wars. This is a lighter show, oddly enough helped by its post-apocalyptic storyline. It’s set fifteen years after a massive bombardment of Earth, so mankind is now on the upswing. It’s upbeat in a lot of ways, more of a rough-and-tumble adventure across a dangerous landscape than a typical Gundam war story. Refreshing and fun.

Also been watching Shinsengumi, a live-action TV show (fifty episodes, an hour each) about a critical period in Japanese history about 150 years ago. It’s a fascinating look into historical Japan and the forces that shaped it, and it appears to be accurate, to boot.

What’s amazing about the Shinsengumi is that they were formed as a response to the revolution occurring around them, despite the fact that the revolution had some fair points. And the Shinsengumi eventually imploded in a self-destructive cycle of ever-tightening rules and punishments. All within the course of, oh, ten years or so.

Also watched (thanks, again, to Google Video) some clips of Hello! Morning, which is another story in and of itself. Years ago, a Japanese music producer held auditions for a female lead singer for one of his popular acts. It was narrowed down to six girls, and though one of them won, the producer was intrigued by the other five and offered them a break: They could record a single, and if they could sell 50,000 copies of it within five days, he’d give them a record contract. They sold out in four days, and he formed them together as the band “Morning Musume.” When he auditioned for another girl, he got five thousand applications. The band then got their own weekly TV program, Hello! Morning, which is sort of in the style of The Mickey Mouse Club; the members sing and dance, but also perform in skits and pretend game shows. They’re incredibly commercialized, too, and it’s a bit weird to see thirteen-year-old girls put through incredibly grueling training to audition as the next Morning Musume girl.

Our world is far stranger than any SF or fantasy world I’ve ever experienced.

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