Thursday, 26 November 2009

Yes 90125

Recently Audio Fidelity released this remastered version of the 1983 Yes album 90125 so called after the original lp catalogue number.
It's a enjoyable album in the Yes collection featuring the hits Owner Of A Lonely Heart and Leave It rather than a must have so I thought I'd get this edition to see what the fuss was about.
The main difference between this and the original is the album is badly engineered with different tonal balances on each of the many tracks before mixdown and so an attempt was made to give it more gloss. Also it lacked punchiness so the difference between the loud and quiet parts was reduced and some extra bass added.
In it's own way this stripped down version works giving a bigger soundstage at times but it's not for everyone apart from the error of not having the fade in on Cinema.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Olympus OM4

This wasn't a good week for me.
Firstly the wet stormy weather lead to traffic delays getting into work so being late and I almost lost my hat when it blow into the road!
If that wasn't enough my analogue camera died!
Which leads us to this post.

Because my camera is in reality a body to which you attach separate lenses then it was more a case of getting a replacement body which wasn't going to be 'new' as well if ya hadn't noticed there are very few 35mm film cameras of any description made even though you can still get and have processed your film including having them digitized on a CD-rom ready to upload for websites and that.
As I use Olympus lens that only fit Olympus OM series camera bodies that narrowed the choice down a bit.
For the more photographically minded, I use Olympus fixed focal length lens for their high fine detail resolving properties rather than zoom lens in conjunction with a Tamron 90mm Macro lens that lets you photograph things like models at up to half-life sized (1:2) ratio.
In the end I got this:

It's a simple to use professional SLR with a top shutter speed of 1/2000 sec with a very elaborate built in spot meter you can use when taking a light reading from the main area of picture is likely to make it too dark or light.
You just point the camera so the spot area is over what you want it to expose right and it does it for you. It can add a number of such readings together for really tricky lighting.
There's even a button for making anything black jet black and whites Persil white too!!!

Best of all having cancelled that it goes back to regular centre-weighted metering which while as old as the hills is very easy to use and predict how your photo will come out.
That photo is of my actual body and you'll see it looks almost new with hardly a mark on it only just a few on the battery holder where you use a coin to change them. For the more knowledgeable of you it has the famed 'later circuits' fitted to reduce the amount of current drained while it's not taking pictures, something the first versions had a minor problem with.
I'm looking forward to using it.

Friday, 13 November 2009

November Anime Roundup

Well Crunchyroll people did you seriously think I'd stopped buying and for that matter viewing anime off site?

For one thing spotting a NEO article that referenced the 1998 girls baseball anime Princess Nine I managed to track down the complete R1 DVD out of print  series for about $15!

And finally those nice folk at MVM issued Slayers Try 3 this week for R2 Pal (UK and Europe).
If you hadn't all spotted my clue November 5th saw this months NEO magazine come out strongly recommended for manga, anime, Asian film and all things Far Eastern fans.

In other news I finally finished watching Chobits

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Yes at last here is my post about this much anticipated Studio Ghilbi movie Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea.
Unfortunately for those of us living in the UK Optimum Asia the UK distributor, isn't showing the theatrical release until February 12 2010 so the DVD/Blue Ray won't be out before then at least.
Of course as we're in 2009 not 1989 this doesn't mean we can't get to see it as having been shown in the Spring in Japan followed by Summer for North America - with Disney 'English' dub - the DVD and Blue Rays are out in East Asia already.
CD Japan and HMV Japan stocks the DVD (R2 NTSC) which will play native in European Players as it's the same region and most modern tv's handle PAL as well as NTSC while for North America it's not that hard to 'hack' your DVD player to play all regions! It took a minute to do mine!
From Hong Kong you can get the R3 DVD in NTSC and I got to see it.
Buying Asian means we lose the English dub but unless you've very young children it's really no loss and frankly I prefer to hear the original Japanese cast dialog with their intonations intact.

Pictured above is the two dvd edition issued June 7th 2010 in the UK which I own.

Let me start by saying it's very much a children's story with a good heart about acceptance of people for who and what they are are.
The animation is well up to Hayao Mayazaki's excellent standards being well drawn not being upon effects adding to the spoken narration.
I'd give this 9 out 10 as really enjoyed it.

Plot outline:
The plot centres on a fish-girl who lives in an aquarium in her father's underwater castle with numerous smaller sisters. When her father takes her and her siblings on an outing in his four-flippered submarine, she is driven by a desire to see even more of the world and swims away. She ends up stranded on the shore of a small fishing town, and is rescued by a boy named Sosuke. After taking a great liking to her, Sosuke names her Ponyo and promises to protect her forever.
Meanwhile, her father, Fujimoto, is looking for his daughter, upset that she ran away and believes the humans kidnapped her. He calls his wave spirits to return Ponyo to him. Sosuke is heartbroken by this, and goes home with his mother, Lisa (or "Risa" in some translations), who tries to cheer him up, but to no avail. Ponyo and her father have a confrontation, where Ponyo refuses to let her father call her "Brunhilda". She declares her name to be Ponyo, and voices her desire to become human because she has started to fall in love with Sosuke. Her father silences her with difficulty and goes to summon Ponyo's mother.
Meanwhile, Ponyo, with the help of her sisters, breaks away from her father, and uses his magic to make herself human. This causes an imbalance in the world, which in turn results in a huge storm. Riding on the waves of the storm, Ponyo goes back to visit Sosuke. Lisa, Sosuke, and Ponyo stay the night at Sosuke's house, hoping the storm will be over, whereupon Lisa leaves the house to check up on the residents of the nursing home where she works.
Granmamare, Ponyo's mother, arrives at Fujimoto's submarine. Fujimoto notices the moon has come out of its orbit and the satellites are falling like shooting stars. Granmamare declares that if Sosuke can pass a test, Ponyo can live as a human and the world order will be restored. If he fails, Ponyo will turn into sea foam.
Sosuke and Ponyo wake up to find that most of the land around where the house has been covered by the ocean.
Lisa has not retured home yet, so with the help of Ponyo's magic, they make Sosuke's toy boat life-size and set out to find Lisa. While travelling they see ancient extinct fish swimming, such as the Gogonasus and Licosus. After landing and finding Lisa's empty car, Ponyo and Sosuke go through a tunnel. There Ponyo loses her human form and resumes the form of a fish. Sosuke and Ponyo are taken by Fujimoto into the ocean and down to the protected nursing home where they're reunited with Lisa and meet Granmamare, both of whom had just had a long private conversation.
Granmamare asks Sosuke if he can love Ponyo even if she is a fish or human. Sosuke replies that he "loves all the Ponyos".
Granmamare then allows Ponyo to become human once Ponyo kisses Sosuke on the surface. The film ends with Ponyo jumping up and kissing Sosuke, turning while still in the air into a little girl.

Aww. That was cute!

The UK DVD comes out July 8th 2010 and I hope to get a copy.