BHS Blogress Report: 2019, Week 4 – Undeserving

Week 4 – Undeserving
Ever have incredible, amazing news that you’re dying to tell people, but you can’t? That’s me this week. I’d love to spill my guts, but given the circumstances of said news, I feel like that would be asking for trouble. It’s something so huge and so incredibly improbable that it’s taken me several days just to process it, and I’m still struggling with the nagging worry that I don’t deserve something like this… which is horseshit, of course; this isn’t the first time my brain has tried to pull that trick on me. Anyway, please take for granted that the news is really, really good, and a couple months from now I’ll be able to dish out all the juicy details.
HUGTTO, HOLY CRAP. The penultimate episode aired yesterday, and any tiny worries I might have had about the series choking in the clutch were given a thorough beatdown. I’m saving my full thoughts for after the now-traditional coda/baton pass final episode airs next Sunday, but it’s gonna be a gushing review.
And on the subject of Hugtto:

BEST DORK’S FIGUARTS IS NEXT IN LINE. HELL YES. Release by summer, please and thank you, Bandai. :D

I’m slowly but surely getting back into my Shattered Skies groove. I probably won’t start work on Chapter 43 until the beginning of next month, at least, but I feel refreshed on the project and I’ve been having ideas for how to proceed with it.
Work continues on Silent InvenTOYry episode 09. I hit a few snags, but I think I have only one more on-camera bit to film before I can start filming. This bit needs to be shot outdoors, which… well, hence the snag. Nobody’s going to want to stand out in 24 degree weather running the camera, and I can’t shoot this one by myself. I’m still aiming to get it out before the end of the month, though.
The anime season has only started, but I think I already have a favorite comedy of the cour: Kaguya-sama: Love is War. It’s the story of the student council president and vice-president of a prestigious high school, the star students and awe of the student body, who are madly in love with each other… but not only will they not admit it, they’re obsessed with forcing the other one to confess first, because they’re both absurdly, hilariously narcissistic and nowhere near as smart as they think they are. So they have this ridiculous escalating campaign of mind-games against each other, and “the first one to confess loses!” Drake and I were in tears laughing at the first episode, so if it’s able to keep this up, it’s a knock for the best winter anime of 2019 in my book.
– BHS

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BHS Blogress Report: 2019, Week 3 – Change of Plans

Week 3 – Change of Plans
I hate to have to do this, but I’m canceling the Silent InvenTOYry Semi-Short episode that would have gone up at the end of the month. Looking at the next couple months’ worth of expenses, I think it’s for the best if I hold off purchasing the figure I had in mind, which was really nice but relatively low-priority on my wishlist, and instead save up for one of the Big Ones, something I’m dying to get my hands on. So you will get SISS Episode 5 at some point, it’ll just be covering a different item and releasing at a later date.
Speaking of SI, as you can see up there, work is progressing nicely on Episode 09. Filming is about 70% done; there’s an outdoor gag I still need to shoot and two more portions of the review to do, but assuming nothing needs to be reshot, I should be in good shape to post the episode within the week. One full day spent editing ought to be enough to get it out the door… I hope.
Looking at the listings for this anime season, I really thought it would be a dry spell after last season’s bevy of interesting shows. The first week’s worth has proven me wrong yet again, it looks like. First up in my watchlist is Dororo, based on an unfinished manga by the God of Manga himself, Osamu Tezuka. One of his darker works, it takes place in a particularly hellish depiction of the Sengoku era, opening with a power-hungry lord bargaining with forty-eight demons for his own personal glory. The demons take the… well, pretty much everything from his newborn infant son as the cost, leaving the baby with no eyes, no nose, no skin, no arms, and no legs… but somehow still alive. The lord’s attempt to quietly get rid of the poor thing doesn’t take, and he shows up sixteen years later as a badass demon hunter whose entire body, more or less, is prosthetics and hidden weapons. Killing one demon to save a cocky little thief named Dororo restores his skin… so, one gathers, the plot involves him tracking down the rest of the forty-eight to recover all the body parts he lost. I described the show to EvilNeko as “the weirdest example of Mega Manning ever”, and in fact the story was adapted in video game form for the PS2 fifteen years ago… Anyway, as far as great hooks for a series go, that’s way up there, I think. The fight animation is gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see what hidden gadgets our demon slayer will pull out of his artificial parts next.
The second is The Promised Neverland. All I’m willing to say about it is that it reminds me of Made in Abyss in terms of “seemingly cute and innocuous series has absolutely horrible things happening to small children underneath the surface”. Granted, in Neverland’s case, the darkness isn’t hiding very far under the surface, but the question of “What do we do now?” makes a pretty compelling reason to tune in, I think. So long as you can stomach the very real possibility of adorable kids meeting gruesome ends, I give this one an earnest recommendation.
I also need to give credit to my friend Ninty (go check out The Convergence, his magical girl crossover fanfic, which I’m beta reading! Leave comments and feedback, please!) for talking me into watching Symphogear, a magical girl franchise which I had heard of before but avoided due to some really bad info from the person who recommended it. I was led to believe it was “idol singers with light magical girl elements”, when in fact it’s the other way around: the show has a pretty impressive fusion of Nanoha and Madoka going in terms of the level of darkness (Madoka) and the magitech that the girls use to fight (Nanoha). And yes, they do sing while they’re fighting, and they do sing to activate their powers… but as jarring as that is at first, it fades into the background really quickly. The music is universally great, too, which helps! So you’ve got a girl named Hibiki (played by Madoka’s Aoi Yuuki, giving an awesomely hot-blooded performance) fighting off waves of horrible monsters called Noise by Bruce Lee-ing them to death, while her two (so far) teammates slice them up with swords and lots and lots of dakka… and they’re singing all the while. It’s a weird premise, but I swear the show makes it work. According to Ninty, the following seasons are even better… I can’t wait. No, before you ask, this does not mean that the Symphogears will be showing up in Shattered Skies… but a subtle indirect reference or two might make it in there at some point.
Speaking of Skies: after my brief hiatus, I’m slowly feeling the urge to get back to work on it. I really do need to finish my other projects first, but I have ideas percolating as to where to take the story next. More to come on this later.
– BHS

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BHS Blogress Report: 2019, Week 2 – Back to Work, You Bum!

Week 2 – Back to Work, You Bum!
I ended up taking most of the last week off from creative stuff. I felt a creative burnout coming on, and I wanted to do whatever I could to head it off at the pass. So I’m trying to take small steps to get back in my groove, doing a little bit of work on Silent InvenTOYry each day, in increasing increments of time. Easing back into my groove, in other words. I may try to do the same with writing, perhaps make a little progress on Uravity Falls while Shattered Skies cools its heels for a bit.
I really do need to get the Appendix and Chapter 3 of Viluy’s Database out sometime this year. Those entries have been sitting there in the to-do list for way too long. At least this season’s new anime doesn’t have anywhere near as many interesting shows as last season did… that’s a strange thing to be thankful for, but less time spent keeping up with anime every week means more time spent doing other stuff. The itinerary for January is to get SI out first, then Twilight’s Dreaming Chapter 7, then finish my Hugtto Precure tributes (yes, tributes, plural) in time for the last episode at the end of the month.
Also on the subject of scheduling: I’ve decided to change up my streaming schedule a bit, partly to give myself an extra day to work on other stuff. I’m now going to be streaming Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 PM EST to 8 PM EST. It’s a half hour less each week in total, but I feel it’s a net gain overall.
Lots to do, but I always get through it somehow.
– BHS

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BHS Blogress Report: 2019, Week 1 – Believing in Bunny Senpai

Week 1 – Believing in Bunny Senpai
Yeah, I’m calling this “2019, Week 1” even though 2019 hasn’t technically started yet. I mean, it’s better than calling it Week 53 of 2018, right?
It’s been semi-quiet today, for once. Holidays are always busy seasons for those of us in the petsitting business, but today was the first day in over a week that I haven’t had to get up and run out. Bless. I’m thinking tomorrow will probably be pretty low-energy too, since I suspect I might have caught a cold, but if I manage to work on anything, it’s probably going to be Silent InvenTOYry Episode 09, due out as early in January as possible. I’ve also got a Semi-Short episode in line for the end of the month and another full episode on track for early March, so you’ll be getting lots of SI goodness in the first part of the new year.
Speaking of project updates: since I put three Shattered Skies chapters up over the course of the past month, including one big event that I’ve been planning for an absurd length of time, I’m putting the story on temporary hiatus, for at least a week or two. After the rush to get Chapter 42 up and finished in time, I’m quite ready for a break where I can work on other things, including the Tasakeru chapter that I neglected for December. Fear not, as this is only until I can make up for all the lost time lately.
Special thanks are due to Neko / rinsweeb, who convinced me to try out one of this season’s anime, a series that I likely wouldn’t have picked up otherwise. That series is now one of my contenders for Anime of the Year; it basically grabbed hold of my heart in episode 3 and refused to let go. That series is Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny-Girl Senpai, based on a series of light novels by Hajime Kamoshida, author of The Pet Girl of Sakuraso and Just Because. Rascal is a hard sell based on the premise of its opening story arc, I admit: a teenage high school student named Sakuta Azusagawa sees the beautiful, famous actress and upperclassman Mai Sakurajima walk by him in a Playboy bunny girl outfit in the middle of a crowded library, but no one else seems to even notice her. Thus begins a relationship that’s probably one of the realest and most honest that I’ve ever seen in an anime; this is a power couple and watching them is a joy. For that matter, for a show that revolves around supernatural happenings with complicated quantum physics explanations, all the characters and their problems feel amazingly grounded in ways that you just don’t see often. Even better, Rascal seems to be a refutation to Japan’s horribly backwards attitude toward mental illness and seeking therapy. Having anime characters confronting their traumas through anything close to realistic psychotherapy, professional or not, is mind-blowing in ways I can’t explain without a multi-paragraph treatise on the cultural context, but having endured similar traumas to some of Rascal’s cast, it means the world to me. And dammit, when it comes to characters being able and willing to shoulder any humiliation gladly for the sake of those they love… I’m a sucker for that, and Rascal delivers in spades. I really can’t recommend this series enough; it’s miles deeper than it appears to be on the surface, and it feels both wildly unique and comfortingly familiar. Thanks again, Neko, for insisting that I try it. I owe you one, or several.
Anyway, that’s about it for the 2018 Blogress Report. May the next year be better, more peaceful, and more productive for all of us.
– BHS

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