Anime review: Darker Than Black – The Black Contractor

You know, among all the anime that I have watched till now (which is not really a large list), this one seemed to stand out quite inexplicably. Why? Well to be honest with you, the first thing that occurred to me was how carefully the plot was developed. They made sure from the start to minimize any kind of errors and loose ends. It might not seem like an eye-catching anime to you, like some of the popular shounen examples like Naruto, One Piece, etcetera. But trust me, it has a simplicity of its own, and what I admire the most is that it has got a different, complex, but simple within itself kind of story. No wonder Darker Than Black (DTB) was voted as the best Original Anime of 2007.

The full name of the first season of this TV series is actually Darker Than Black: The Black Reaper, but shorten it to Darker Than Black. Sure enough, this show is not about shinigamis as it may sound. DTB features a world inhabited by humans and contractors. Contractors are said to have supernatural powers and have to pay a certain ‘price’ after using them. Another thing that makes you want to watch it is because of the powers which contractors possess. A lot of them are so innovative and original, and even scientifically accurate.

What you might find funny is that unlike most other anime where the main character goes around and stirs up things, in DTB it is quite the opposite. Here, the main character gets caught up in some incident by coincidence or he is at the scene intentionally (it’s kind of unclear at times). They do not show much of Hei, as in you get to know what kind of a person he is but that’s about it. Whereas, they did a decent job with Huang for his role in the story. There was always a part of me looking to understand Hei more, and craving for him to slip something that defines him better. I was almost satisfied in the end. He is the kind of person who strikes you as ‘cool’ when you first look at him. The effect is pronounced because he doesn’t talk much. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if he is genuinely happy or just pretending to be. Other characters are there to give a quiet guy like him support and inevitably the spotlight.

This show leaves many questions unanswered, mostly about the characters’ past and some concerning the main story. But they are not questions which will leave you frustrated at the end of the show. Subtly, the give it potential to become better. You may go like, why does this happen in the first place? Or why are they doing this or that, but worry not, they make sense out of almost everything at the end.

I primarily liked this show because it is a compact package of the good virtues that any show could have, they did not waste any episodes and the amount of screen time given to most characters is just about right. Because of all this, I recommend this as a must watch, it could also qualify as an entry-level anime, basically first time anime watchers may gain interest in anime by watching DTB.

Installing MinGW Compiler with NetBeans (IDE)

  • Download and install the MinGW Compiler.
  • In the NetBeans IDE, click on Tools>Options.
  • Go to the C/C++ tab.
  • Click on Add under Tool Collection.
  • Select the directory where MinGW is installed. It will in most cases be C:/MinGW/bin.
  • Now download and install MSYS. Identify the directory in which MinGW is installed as C:/MinGW to the MSYS installer.
  • Open the file browser next to the Make Command, and select the make.exe in the directory where MSYS is installed.
  • Restart the IDE.

Anime review: Angel Beats!

Type: TV
Episodes: 13
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 2, 2010 to Jun 26, 2010
Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Supernatural
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS RIDDLED WITH SPOILERS

‘Does God really exist?’

The most controversial question every asked by human kind. Howsoever simple it may sound, it is has been hotly debated for centuries, and even now, science is not sure about the answer. Setting aside the scientific aspect, it has provided a great scope for fictional works. It gives the author the liberty to think beyond the conceived rules of our universe and gets the readers hooked to the unimaginable.

The anime portrays a ‘high school’ in the world of afterlife. Not everyone who dies in the real world comes there, but teenagers who have unfulfilled wishes from their real lives. There exist people other than the ones who have landed there after dying. But they don’t have souls, and like AI in video games, they are called ‘NPCs’ or Non-Player Characters. They interact like normal people but they lack character. By that I mean, they follow all the rules and do what they are told, which gives onlookers a sense of utopia, or shall I say ‘contentment’, but they don’t have a soul like the people cast into afterlife.

The more zealous face of Angel Beats! are the characters, as always, my opinion about what gives life to an anime are its characters. AB steals fandom with its splendid character development. I still haven’t talked about the crux of the anime. The description lies in the question ‘Why afterlife?’ Supposedly, such a world is provided for people who hadn’t had a great childhood, so that they can re-live something similar in an other world and let go of all their regrets and finally disappear. As long as people aren’t free of regret, they do not disappear. All the people who are brought to afterlife form a coup to rebel against god for the terrible lives that they have led. Everyone there was exposed to the rough edges of life, thought and seen the unthinkable. For a long time they do not understand the purpose of the place they are in.

The violence is mainly between the coup and what the coup thinks is god’s messenger, the angel. I got to see some of my favorite visual effects during the fights. Graphics are pretty decent. So is the audio. As for the music… I’m sorry, if you’ll please excuse me. *Jumps around like a lunatic remembering the excitement*
Ahem. It blew me away (for good). The best. Girls Dead Monster outdid themselves. The fun watching them escalated because the already amazing soundtrack was paired with an exalted music video. A formidable combination!

I’ll close this with my speculation. Angel Beats! is a highly emotional anime. I have noticed from researching that anime which make people want to cry are quickly pushed to the top of the charts. I’m not implying that such anime do not deserve it or anything, just that it is a persistent pattern, and hence it doesn’t surprise me that the anime has extravagant ratings. What I enjoyed the most in the anime were those depressing and passionate scenes and the overall idea of the plot. I’ve never cried while watching any anime till now, but if you usually do, then I suggest you keep a box of tissues nearby 🙂

Links: MAL AniDB

LibreOffice Startup Error

If you get an error after you install LibreOffice, you simply have to delete your user profile. But before you do anything, first close all the instances of LibreOffice.

The location of your user profile will be here:
C:UsersAppDataRoamingLibreOffice4

I’m using version 4.0.3 at the moment, and I remember I had the same problem when I installed 4.0.0. LibreOffice will work normally after you fix this, it won’t give you an error the next time you start it.

Anime Review: Kotonoha no Niwa

English: The Garden of Words
Synomyms: Kotonoha no Niwa
Japanese: 言の葉の庭
Type: Movie
Genres: Romance
Duration: 46 min
Rating: G – All Ages

 

“A faint clap of thunder,

Clouded skies,

Perhaps rain comes,

If so, will you stay here with me?”

 

Like all Makoto Shinkai movies, Kotonoha no Niwa is a masterpiece of art. The beautiful visuals and animation coupled with the most subtle audio that fits perfectly with what is going on gives the work an impression which will last in your head forever. The storyline is not all that captivating though, unlike his 2007 blockbuster 5 Centimeters per Second. It follows a romantic plot with a small twist at the end. What I was happy about is that the story ended well. I mean, after watching 5 Centimeters per Second, I was left with a strange mixture of feelings, which eventually made me read the manga. I guess I felt satisfied after that. Well anyway, I feel Kotonoha no Niwa is a light movie. Nothing much to think about, especially because it has a happy but it has an uncertain end. What I mean by that is the story wants to tell the viewers that things will work out for them in the near future. A similar understanding is brought upon the viewer even in 5 Centimeters per Second; it’s a nice feeling, but I could even do with a confirmed happy ending.

The protagonist Akizuki Takao is the ordinary good guy; he works hard, has good character and is honest with himself. Yukino Yukari is going through a bad phase in her life, and hence she is in a depressed state. Even though I am making it apparent now, the movie didn’t drill into my head that fact that Yukino needed Akizuki to make her see the light again. I guess, when I think about it, that meaning was there all along. I guess it is not such a light movie, after all it’s a Makoto Shinkai production. Just like his other works, there are a lot of not-so-obvious meanings in this movie, which are mostly depicted in the narration and the visuals.

I’ll keep this short, and try not to spoil the fun too much. By the way, from what you’ve read up till now, I might have made it sound pretty bad, but that’s not the case. It’s definitely an excellent watch. Especially if you like Makoto Shinkai’s works, or if this is your first time watching one of his movies, give it a shot, it’s totally worth the time. I frankly don’t know what else to say; it’s just that when you are watching the movie, it feels great, but when I am writing the review, I don’t remember the emotions that went through my head and all. I wasn’t thinking too much.

Simply, Kotonoha no Niwa is a perfectly ordinary story which is beautiful. Yeah.

Anime review: Tsuritama

English:  Tsuritama
Japanese: つり球
Type: Series
Episodes: 12
Genres: Sci-fi, Alien, Slice of life
Duration: 23 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English

 


 

Plot

Sanada Yuki is an ordinary student. His parents are unfortunately no more, and he lives with his grandmother. Yuki does not have many friends, because he moves with his grandmother from one place to another often and as a result ends up going to different schools. Whenever he gives a self-introduction in front of the class, he breaks down under the pressure of all the students watching him. He starts sweating profusely and the tension on his face makes him look like a devil, and hence he is dubbed ‘Devil Face’ by his classmates. Yuki has a feeling of emptiness and he always recollects the events of the day when he is alone, especially just before he goes to sleep. One day he moves to a place called Enoshima. It is a fishing harbor. He encounters Haru, who starts living with them and other interesting people who he becomes close friends with. As time passes, he begins to enjoy fishing and becomes a totally different person…

 

My review

I especially enjoyed this because I really love ‘slice of life’ content. Tsuritama is brimming with that. I liked the  overall feel of the anime. It is slow paced, eventful and it is worth mentioning that if you are into fishing, this is a treat! There is also a lot of technical details about fishing, hence the ‘Sci-fi’ genre. Oh right, one thing that I observed was that there exists plenty of dramatic irony. I mean the anime characters don’t laugh about some spastic joke in the anime itself. There are a few instances like the Duck symbolic dance, or whatever they call it; that’s funny actually, but none of the characters ever laugh.

Story: Sometimes I wish that if the supernatural stuff like the aliens did not exist, the anime would have been much better. If it was only a slice of life anime with Yuki learning how to fish and finding friends, it would have been one of the the best anime. Well anyway, that’s just my opinion. Story-wise, Tsuritama is a bit dull in the beginning. But as the story progresses, it gets more fun but I got a queer feeling while watching it. So I’ll give this 8/10.

Art: It’s different from other anime I’ve watched. The sky lacks detail. I doubt they made it that way because they were feeling lazy, but I suppose that it’s an ‘artistic’ lack of detail. Not bad, but adds to the dullness. Characters and the animation is good, nothing special though. Right, the fishing gear is well done. One thing about the art is that in some scenes, there is an overdose of colour. I recall the flowers kept in the porch of Yuki’s house, they are of different colours. There are many scenes with such superfluous use of colour. It’s not that I don’t like those colours, it’s just that all of them together doesn’t look very good. But it’s not something that’ll ruin your day or anything. Just something I think that could have been different. Again a 8/10.

Characters: One thing about this 12 episode anime is that, each and every character has been developed to their extent. Now that I think about it, that is a well planned feat. All characters have a right side and a wrong side, and as the anime progresses, they improve themselves with the help of the people around them. The fact is that regardless of how the story is, the characters help make the anime complete. I got a great sense of satisfaction at the end, I owe that feeling to the climax too! Everyone is just so friendly. Enemies later become friends. Friends become best-friends. Everyone accepts one another. Oh yes, one aspect that made a lot of difference was that everyone is selfless. It brings about the cozy feeling of trust, it added to the pleasant feel of the show. This gets nothing less than a 10/10.

Overall Rating: 8/10

LinksAniDb MAL ANN

La Journée

A really random poem started off
by my friend and we kept adding new lines.

She napped like a sprog,
Gorged herself on dinner like a hog.
And now that her tummy was full,
She crashed out like a log.

The following morning,
She jumped off her bed like a frog,
Groaned at the week’s backlog,
And went out for a morning jog.

Later she waded through the dense smog like a polliwog,
Where she got distracted by a hotdog.
Losing balance she fell on a bog,
And shook hands with a hedgehog.
Staggering to her feet,
She glanced at her analog.

Realized that it was late,
She took to her heels,
And reached home all agog,
To see the collab on her pal’s blog!

~ Sunflower

Anime Review: Sword Art Online

Title: Sword Art Online
Synonyms: SAO
Japanese:  ソードアート・オンライン
Type: Series
Episodes: 25
Duration: ~23 minutes per episode
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Game, Shounen
Age Rating: PG-13
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English


Plot

The story starts with the release of a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online (SAO). Kirigaya Kazuto (Kirito) is among the few chosen beta-testers of SAO. It is the first ‘Virtual Reality’ game ever made. After the game’s official release, thousands of players log in to experience virtual reality gaming. But soon, they find out that the only way of logging out is by finishing all the hundred levels in the game. The catch is, if they die in-game, they die in reality…My Review

I took over a month to finish this. It is a nice anime, and it has a terrific ending. The first few episodes were good, but around the middle of the series I found it a little boring. I think it is because I enjoy anime that have more of a fun factor rather than seriousness. It is definitely worth watching. A lot of sentiment, action and some depressing scenes make the viewing experience complete. I primarily enjoyed it because of the idea of there being a ‘virtual reality’ so real that it feels like reality itself. I really hope science and technology advances quickly so that in the near future, we would all be wearing a ‘nerve gear’ and logging in to a VRMMORPG.

Story: I think the story/plot is very original, and gets you hooked. There are plenty of tense moments, and a sweet romantic arc. Also, there are a lot of sentimental scenes, especially because everything is a matter of life and death. The only thing that made me uneasy was the stark seriousness. The story’s fun factor reduces considerably because some people are just pure evil, and they don’t understand the grave situation they are in. So, I will give this a 9/10.

Characters: What can I say, amazing anime always have amazing characters. Everyone’s character is rich, very well developed. Kirito’s sarcasm gets me every time. I also liked the way everyone has a very contrasting character. It gave me a sense of ‘satisfaction’, the feeling you get after you watch something mind-blowing and it stays in your mind for a long time. This gets a full 10/10.

Art: Nothing short of great. Characters look really cute. Fight scenes are done excellently. Not only have they precisely made the characters’ emotions, but also every time there is a clash of metallic surfaces, numerous sparks fly. It gives a very nice effect to the scene. Very good as a whole. I will give this a 9/10. Could have been better. There are some really serene places in SAO. Quite a lot of footage takes place there. The art has a utopian feel. There are various environments, snow, lakeside, sometimes just plain grass. Everything else is like reality itself; night and day, different weather conditions etc. But there are places where there is no background at all, an infinite void. Scenes like that make the anime a bit dull.

Overall Rating: 9/10

Links: MAL AniDB ANN

Basic IRC (Internet Relay Chat) Commands

Internet Relay Chat is a protocol for instant messaging, and file transfer. It supports both private messaging as well as group chat. Multiple clients on multiple platforms enable users to use IRC. It forms an ideal chat network over the internet. People can host their own servers to run IRC, or join channels on existing servers.
Connecting to a server:
/server <server_name>
Example:
/server irc.freenode.net

Joining/Creating a channel:
/join <channel_name>
Example:
/join #help

Registering your nick name:
/msg nickserv register

Example:
/msg nickserv register pass123 mymail@gmail.com

Registering your channel (on most servers, you can register a channel only after your nick name is registered):
/msg chanserv register <channel_name>
Example:
/msg chanserv register #help iloveirc IRC Help

Changing your nick name:
/nick <new_nickname>
Example:
/nick samurai123

Leaving a channel:
/part

How to undo YouTube strikes

You can undo your YouTube strikes on your account. One obvious way of getting rid of them is to create a new account using a different email id. But, you can also remove them from the account without using a different email id. There are four steps to achieve this:

  1. Backup all your existing videos.
  2. Unlink your YouTube account and your Google account.
  3. Close your YouTube account.
  4. Sign up on YouTube using the same email Id as that of the account you just deleted.