(Yeah, that paragraph is, sadly, a bad consequence of the previous post.)
New Year's Eve was spent hanging out with good friends, watching Teenage Cat Girls In Heat. Which was, well, rather how one would expect. (Both the hanging with good friends and the Cat Girls In Heat.) Today was spent doing a bit of this and a bit of that. Tonight we shall see if I dream of a golden ship. Or even of being in charge of a tea party attended by Ultraman Mebius, Ultraman Hikari, Captain Serizawa and Captain Sakomizu. (And me with no coffee beans! ... Is that like dreams of showing up to work naked?)
Today I did get to watch the DVD I ordered of this year's Ultra Fest stage show, and get caught up on KR Den'ou. I picked the Ultra Fest DVD up on a whim (a side result of spending too much time at work surfing eBay -- Danger, Will Robinson!), figuring that it was worth $10 to me just to check it out and see what it was -- maybe the Nagoya show? Pretty please??? And yet, alas, no. It was, however, much with the love. (And I only say this as a Theatre Arts/Japanese double major finally finding out what such a degree combination is useful for: Being impressed with how they executed a special effects-heavy show on stage.) I ponder breaking my long translational drought by throwing myself into the deep end with this. (Two months! Two months since I last finished a translation! :P) Very much a set-up for the movie in some ways, I now hold slightly higher expectations for it.
Den'ou... My word, Den'ou got good when I wasn't looking. I should have caught up on it a month or two ago. Now I only have three episodes to wait impatiently for. Of course, I got caught up right at the New Year's holidays, so I suspect that there was no episode for this week. :P I'm compensating by going back to the beginning to figure out where I got the mistaken impression this series was barely worth the time. It's not into Mebius's "oh my word I must have the next episode RIGHT NOW" realms, but it's certainly up to "wow, that was a good episode. Next, please?" I shall miss this series when it ends. The characters grow on you until one day you wonder how it is you ever got along without them.
SevenX... Ah, so difficult to quantify, this series. I think it would probably be best if it were not labeled as an Ultraman series at all. Sort of like how G Gundam should not have been branded a Gundam series. Both are good in their own rights, but lose out a little because they are associated with a legacy that they have no relationship to. Sort of like that long-lost distant cousin that no one even knows their name wandering around at the family reunion. They're interesting enough to talk to in their own right -- but everyone's left scratching their heads and wondering why they're there. I'm sorry -- whose nephew did you say he was?
That said... I like the individual episodes of SevenX, but I think the series as a whole so far is failing to hold together for me. I haven't finished it yet (stopped somewhere in the middle of episode, uh, eight I think, and need to get back to it, since what I'd seen so far I enjoyed.) The themes are interesting but the execution feels altogether disjointed. And that disjointedness is what leaves me ambivalent toward the series. And the main character seems almost like... I dunno, bread. Just there to get the good stuff to your mouth, but not worth a lot in and of himself. Which is sad, since Seven's cool. But this guy's bland enough that... uh, well, bland enough that I don't remember his name, for all that I remember that K's cool and S and her chocolate amuse me. Yeah, bread. White bread.
Ultra Galaxy, on the other hand, is something that I shouldn't like but do. I don't watch the Ultra series for the monster fights. In fact, I didn't care much for them up until I got involved with a subtitling group and suddenly found the value in several minutes completely free of dialog. And with a title like Ultra Galaxy Big Monster Fight, it's kinda doomed to lots and lots of monster fighting. Add in a gizmo that's practically Pokemon-esque and you get something that I should be fleeing from, not be completely caught up on and impatiently waiting for the next episode. But I am. The plot is so far, so formulaic, and none of the characters are going anywhere that we haven't had someone go before. But they manage to pull it together into a cohesive, engaging whole. So, yeah, lots of monster fights and a plot that seems like it came out of a random plot generator (base has been destroyed, we must find out why -- oops, and now we're marooned and gee, random mysterious guy who saves our butts while annoying us with his antisocial attitude.) And yet, it's one I'd considering kicking translations of out in my spare time. (If such a mythological creature existed; Ultramen are more common in my universe, alas.)
Some of it probably is that the universe has a very familiar feel. They've recycled some of the sets from Mebius, just changing some paint and a few bits here and there. One of the characters is, so help me, Teppei reborn. Whenever a monster shows up I try to name it before Teppei-reborn (yeah, I don't remember the character's name, I'm sad) manages to ID them with the same silly enthusiasm that I used to call out "Ima da, Sailor Moon!" or "Bakuretsu! Shining Finger!" back in the day. And with many of the main Mebius staff working on this (I've spotted at least two screenplay writers, a couple of directors, and the suit actors are did monsters on Mebius), I keep half expecting Mebius himself to randomly show up to save the day. This very much feels like a future version of the Mebius universe -- to the extent that the primordial ooze in my hind brain is just waiting for the right hook to reel this world into the Alliterative universe.
And now that I'm mostly caught up on that stuff, I wonder what to dig into next. (Yes, yes, Abaranger ;) ) I want something that's good, but not brain-sucking. Such a difficult creature to find. I suppose there is always more Tiga -- if for no other reason than it has a deadline.
P.S. swtjemz, Ultraman played Tokyo Dome years before Arashi. ;P