November 2nd, 2014


Huh -- Bleach Ends

My viewing of anime has been very uneven. I do not choose to go chasing after it online -- I have so many things I try to work on -- and the American cable networks show what they want to show when they want to.

So it's rather odd that the last few Saturdays I had caught new-to-me episodes of Bleach on Toonami at Cartoon Network. While I didn't have specifics about what was going on, you can figure out a lot, because all the battles are prefaced by long soliloquies. As are the battles themselves, for that matter. This time I came in somewhere around Episode #360 -- and next thing I know, tonight is Episode #366 and the end of the series.

No, really. The end of a seemingly endless anime series. I'm pretty sure I saw all of the first 150-180 episodes and then big chunks of the next 200. Even stranger for me, I did catch Episode #1 and therefore was able to follow Ichigo Kurosaki's origin story from the start.

And I caught the end only 2½ years after it aired in Japan.

There are also four movies. I had planned on seeing the first one at a special showing at Celebration North one time, but they failed to get the film and canceled the one-night showing. If they rescheduled it, I never found out or was unable to attend. Can't remember.

It's easy to dismiss Bleach as Yet Another Japanese Anime which features battles between people and creatures with superpowers. Dragonball Z was always amping up the powers of the bad guys and so we had endless threats, endless training to meet these threats and near defeats before rolling everything up.

But Bleach DID feature a lot of talking. There was a lot of history, politics and competitiveness between the various units of these Soul Reapers. And betrayals. Ishigo was a Substitute Soul Reaper -- a human with access to powers that the Land of the Dead possessed, but he came from the Land of the Living.

The Soul Reapers were a mixed lot, from foot soldiers to lieutenants to the thirteen captains. A military structure, plus experience and rock solid confidence as one ascends the pyramidal org structure. This also results in a massive cast of both friend and foes. And that, I think, it what really separated Bleach for me from other anime. Such a huge cast who were all distinct in appearance, attitude, capabilities, etc.

This also may be the first anime I saw where between the first and last episodes there was actually a resolution, a closure -- an ending. So many of the anime series I had access to on TechTV and Cartoon Network had incomprehensible ends, when I actually got to see the ending at all.

So I guess Ishigo Kurosaki ends up going back to being a third-year high school student... (grin)

And doesn't get the girl? (double-grin)

Dr. Phil

Lombard Bound in Two Weeks

I finally decided that, like Penguicon in May, I could do a day trip to WindyCon 41 on Saturday 15 November 2014. I missed WindyCon last year, having just gotten out of the hospital. And I missed in 2011 when I had to cancel my panels, reading, room and registration when I suddenly had to go to Atlanta to deal with Wendy's death. So deciding to go, even for a day trip, is a definite plus.

But lately we've been experimenting with going longer than 24 hours on the bandaged left foot on the weekends, so rather than making for a rather long, long day -- I could get a room Saturday night. Even better, the Westin dropped the room rate. Even better, I could indulge in the excellent Harry Carey's Steakhouse for dinner.


I did contact Programming to see if they needed anyone of the panels. Alas, when I emailed them ten days ago the program was just going to the printer. But they said to stop by Programming Ops when I got in -- there are always people who can't make it. So I cannot confirm or deny I might be on any panels Saturday, or even Sunday morning.

The Westin in Lombard is in the middle of a mall parking lot, but it is a very nice facility. And WindyCon runs a good convention. If you're in the Chicago area, you might consider coming in two weeks. The theme is Grimm Tales, but there's always more than their theme in panels.

Hell, if anyone I know wants, I might do a private reading from the opening on my YA series-in-progress The Lost Kingdom. Not quite Grimm or a Fairy Tale, but it does have princesses and a secret kingdom trying to survive in the 21st century. Also, always happy to have steak with people. (grin)

BTW -- if you might be interested, my room does have two beds and I'd be willing to consider a roommate.

Al? Cole? Buehler? Buehler?

Dr. Phil


Sunday evening, after a wonderful dinner, we looked at our schedules for the week.

I was thinking that Interstellar opens on Friday -- that was the date originally given. But then I saw something in a TV ad about opening Tuesday -- midnight perhaps? So I started checking Wednesday shows. Nothing at Holland 7, success at Celebration North. But only at one theatre. Darn...

Cinema: Celebration! Cinema GR North
Show Details:
Wed, Nov 5, 2014 6:20PM

Advantages -- pre-selected seating for advance online tickets. Means I can get a seat that can accommodate my leg. The seats already sold were propagating about the center starting in the fourth row. But I want center, first row, so I can stretch the leg out with the foot brace and stash the walker along the front side.

But Interstellar!

A good start to the month of November, I'd say.

Dr. Phil