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Horse girls considered

Thursday 11 April 2019, 13:27

Uma Musume Pretty Derby (ウマ娘プリティーダービー, hereinafter UMPD; the first couple words translate as "horse girl") was a hit anime series in 2018. It quickly became a favourite topic of fan artists on Twitter and the federated network, largely because of the cute character designs. It's basically a sports anime, which is not exactly my favourite style, and it took me some time to get around to watching it, but I finally did in December and I became interested in a number of questions about the world-building.

I'm sure UMPD was never meant to be "hard SF" and the writers, throughout the series, just did what they thought would be cute without regard to whether it made any sense; but let's see how far we can go on the assumption that this show actually does depict a consistent world that makes some sort of sense. What kind of world is it?

Animated romance day

Thursday 25 December 2003, 22:26

This is a re-posting of an item that originally appeared on Livejournal.

I think it was "dagbrown" who told me that in Japan, December 25 is like February 14 in North America - it's not so much a family holiday as a couples' holiday, the day you give your lover gifts if you have one, or feel sad and alone if you don't. Maybe he told me that or maybe I just inferred it from the Irresponsible Captain Tylor Christmas episode. Either way, this seems like a good opportunity to post some thoughts about romance in anime. This may contain spoilers for Inuyasha, FLCL, and Saikano, and if you aren't familiar with those series, you probably won't get most of it anyway.

Another wacky theory

Sunday 20 June 2010, 16:39

I just noticed that the way Téodor gets out of his horrific night of high school fun with Nice Pete, is exactly the same way that Kyon gets out of his horrific time loop of high school fun with Haruhi. You realize what this means, don't you?

Madonna, Bourdin, and Robin

Thursday 1 April 2010, 08:44

In May 2004, pop star Madonna paid an undisclosed amount to settle a lawsuit with the estate of French erotic photographer Guy Bourdin. The Smoking Gun archived some court papers and a side-by-side comparison of stills from Madonna and Bourdin videos. The similarities are pretty significant; it looks like plagiarism.

The interesting part from my point of view is that Madonna seems to have been the victim of similar plagiarism herself in the matter of the 90-second opening sequence to the 2002 anime series Witch Hunter Robin. The Livejournal posting that everybody linked to when this story first came out, lost its image hosting after a few years and by now has also become locked. But I archived the images, and you can see them below. These are stills from the opening of WHR, stacked up next to stills from a Madonna video called "Take a bow." They're about as close as those other Madonna screenshots were to the Bourdin photos, so if that situation was plagiarism, this one should be as well. To my knowledge, however, there's been no court case here, and it's been enough years now that there probably never will be one.

Edited to clarify: as far as I know, there's been no suggestion that the video "Take a bow" in particular was one of the ones involved in the Madonna/Bourdin case. The claim is not that the WHR opening came from Bourdin by way of Madonna, but only that Madonna's general body of work seems to have suffered the same fate as Bourdin's. The stills at the Smoking Gun link, from videos in the Madonna/Bourdin case, are from other videos and don't much resemble images from WHR.