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“A Modular Genre? Problems in the Reception of the Post-Miyazaki ‘Ghibli Film’”, Mes & Agnoli 2021

2021-mes.pdf: “A Modular Genre? Problems in the Reception of the Post-Miyazaki ‘Ghibli Film’”⁠, Tom Mes, Francis M. Agnoli (2021-11-22; similar):

With the eternally looming spectre of Miyazaki Hayao’s retirement, the death of Takahata Isao and the failure to establish a viable new artistic figurehead to follow in their footsteps, Studio Ghibli has been at a crucial crossroads for some time. Over the past few decades, the acclaimed Japanese animation studio has adopted three main strategies to cope with these changes: apprenticeship to foster new talent, co-productions both domestically and abroad, and shutting down their production facilities. Each approach has affected Ghibli’s evolving brand identity—and the meaning of the ‘Ghibli film’—causing confusion in the international critical reception of the resulting movies. Academic approaches too have shown difficulties dealing with recent shifts. While conceptualizing the ‘Ghibli film’ as the product of a studio brand or as the work of auteurs Miyazaki and Takahata has proven useful, such frameworks have become inadequate for accommodating these changes. This article therefore proposes a new approach for understanding recent ‘Ghibli films’, arguing that, rather than being treated as a brand or genre, they have increasingly been fashioned along modular lines.

“What’s the Story With Shenmue?”, Ciolek 2020

“What’s the Story With Shenmue?”⁠, Todd Ciolek (2020-11-23; backlinks; similar):

Shenmue itself invites bigger questions. Where exactly is it going after three massive games? Did it really put Sega out of the game console business? Why does it have a fanbase devoted enough to revive it with a $7.6$6.02015 million Kickstarter? Aren’t the games really just about frittering away an afternoon? And why is Shenmue getting an anime adaptation now, of all times?

Sega wasn’t having the best decade by 1996. Their Saturn console, while a success in Japan, was stumbling internationally and being rapidly eclipsed by Sony’s PlayStation in the world of fancy new 3D games. Yet Sega had done well in arcades, and much of that was due to a producer named Yu Suzuki⁠. Sega’s biggest arcade hits of the 1980s, from OutRun to After Burner to Space Harrier⁠, all came about thanks to Suzuki. His home-run streak had continued into the 1990s with Daytona USA⁠, Virtua Cop⁠, and Virtua Fighter⁠, the last of which proved a runaway success…

…the project became an original game called Shenmue. Instead of a traditional dungeons-and-battles RPG, it aimed to build a sprawling 3D world for players to explore as they guided a young man named Ryo in his quest to track down his father’s killer…Much of these options are commonplace in today’s open-world games, but in the late 1990s it was madly ambitious—and expensive.

Sega gave Suzuki unprecedented scope with his new project, banking on his skill with arcade games. Such carte blanche is common among studios and film directors; John Boorman used the success of Deliverance to greenlight the bizarre, underrated fantasy Zardoz⁠, while Andrew Stanton parlayed his accomplishments with Pixar films into a massive John Carter of Mars movie⁠. But never before had a game company bet so heavily on one creator’s vision. Years later, localizer Jeremy Blaustein compared Shenmue to another notorious tale of Hollywood excess: Michael Cimino⁠, fresh from scoring Oscars with The Deer Hunter⁠, ran up such a huge bill with his indulgent western Heaven’s Gate that it bankrupted the entire United Artists studio.

Shenmue’s budget remains in debate: some sources placed it at $130.0$70.01999 million, while Suzuki himself estimated it closer to $87.3$47.01999 million. In either case, it was the most expensive video game of its day, eclipsing Final Fantasy VII’s already staggering $83.6$45.01999 million price tag. In some respects, the cost was inevitable when making a fully-realized 3D world, but spending ran reckless in other departments. As Blaustein recalls, Suzuki made extravagant choices even in localizing the game. Common practice was to record English dialogue in America with experienced voice actors, but Suzuki required the game’s English version to be recorded in Japan—and for Ryo, his demi-girlfriend Nozomi, and other lead characters to be voiced by actors who partly resembled them. Forced to cast hundreds of roles with a limited pool of English-speaking actors in Japan, Blaustein had to fly voice talent from the U.S. to Japan for the recording sessions, and even then the actors had to make do with an already-translated script that left no time for rewrites.

Shenmue was bound for financial failure even before its release. The Dreamcast had more traction than the Saturn, but it still wasn’t as big as the PlayStation. In a 2015 retrospective, Games Radar estimated that Shenmue would’ve been a success only if each and every Dreamcast owner had bought the game twice at full price…As Shenmue took a break, the game industry moved on, frequently following Shenmue’s path. Grand Theft Auto III brought its carjacking and violence into a fully 3D world of side attractions and player freedom. Action games like Resident Evil 4 integrated Quick Time Events. And Sega started up Shenmue’s most obvious descendant with the Yakuza series.

“Traveling Whimsical Roads With Izumi Matsumoto”, Callahan 2020

“Traveling Whimsical Roads with Izumi Matsumoto”⁠, Kat Callahan (2020-10-14; backlinks; similar):

I met Matsumoto in person in February of 2012 when he visited Washington, D.C. to attend the anime convention Katsucon⁠. I had first become a fan of his work 15 years earlier as an adolescent in the mid-90s, and had gained something of a reputation as being one of the more knowledgeable fans of the series [Kimagure Orange Road] by the mid-00s. In 2011, Matsumoto himself became aware of who I was after I contributed to an English language Japan-based article on his work, as I offered context to the interviews conducted by the author of the piece who was, at best, a casual fan. Prior to these interviews, Matsumoto was largely unaware of the depth of North American and English language Kimagure Orange Road fandom.

…And then there’s Madoka. She’s the very epitome of a latch-key kid. Her parents don’t even live in Japan, and she is largely ignored by the older sister tasked to take care of her. There’s a distinct class difference between Madoka and Kyosuke which repeatedly comes up, with Madoka playing the “poor little rich girl turns bad girl” act. There is even some evidence, though Matsumoto was unwilling to give me specific details even in private, that Madoka is biracial. Not only is she based on a combination of Japanese and American idols Akina Nakamori and Phoebe Cates specifically, something Matsumoto confirmed, but characters also hint that her father is not a native Japanese speaker and may not be Japanese. While good at everything (or perhaps earlier driven to be), her parents largely don’t appear to care or even notice. They’re not even there. Madoka has serious abandonment issues and a major inferiority complex which is at the heart of her “whimsical” or mercurial nature. Not to mention her substance abuse issues, specifically drinking.

“Anime's Atomic Legacy: Takashi Murakami, Miyazaki, Anno, and the Negotiation of Japanese War Memory”, Manji 2020

2020-manji.pdf: “Anime's atomic legacy: Takashi Murakami, Miyazaki, Anno, and the negotiation of Japanese war memory”⁠, Rufus C. Manji (2020-07; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

This thesis explores the cultural commentary by Japanese Neo-Pop artist Takashi Murakami in relation to Japan’s war memory and its legacy in popular culture, addressing in particular the essays accompanying his 2005 exhibition Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture⁠. Murakami constructs a genealogy of postwar otaku subculture— anime, manga, tokusatsu⁠, and video games—which he sees as reflecting anxieties repressed within mainstream culture: namely, memory of defeat, occupation, and ongoing military protection by the United States, epitomized by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These concerns become intertwined with the social malaise of Japan’s “Lost Decades”, in which postwar narratives of endless economic growth through scientific innovation give way to nihilism and social withdrawal. While anime of the “Economic Miracle” period show empowered heroes overcoming apocalyptic trauma through technology and righteous ideals, those of the 1990s frustrate such heroism: as scientific optimism deteriorates, protagonists are forced to question their beliefs, affiliations, and self-definition.

While Murakami offers a wealth of socio-historical insights, clear limitations emerge, particularly the immediate post-Occupation release of films and artworks depicting the war and the atomic bomb, which challenges the notion that these topics were repressed exclusively into subculture. Furthermore, critics have argued the emphasis on Japan’s defeat and the hardships faced by civilians downplays the broader history of the Japanese Empire and its wartime activities abroad, a tendency Carol Gluck terms “victim’s history”. This thesis proposes a revision of Murakami’s theory which argues that memory of Japan as perpetrator emerges subliminally in subcultural narratives alongside memory of victimhood. Drawing on Hashimoto’s, LaCapra’s, and Elsaesser’s insights on the transmission of perpetrator memory, I argue that many of anime’s most iconic Sci-Fi and fantasy narratives are rooted in ambivalence towards national history, with heroes forced to identify simultaneously with hero, victim, and perpetrator roles. I focus on directors Hayao Miyazaki and Hideaki Anno⁠, identifying the recurring motif of the “perpetrator fathers” whose legacy young heroes must overcome, while at the same time experiencing a traumatic identification with their father figures. These narratives complicate questions of national identity, reflecting a simultaneous desire to escape from, and redeem, historical memory.

  1. Anime’s Atomic Legacy: Takashi Murakami, Miyazaki, Anno, and the Negotiation of Japanese War Memory

    1. Contents
    2. Abstract
    3. Acknowledgments
  2. Introduction

  3. Chapter 1: Superflat⁠, Subculture, and National Trauma

    1. Takashi Murakami and superflat

      1. A genealogy of superflat subculture
      2. Framing JNP: Japan’s Postmodern Condition
      3. The Database & Animalization
      4. Superflat and National Cinema
      5. Trauma Theory
      6. Atomic Trauma in Mainstream Japanese Cinema
      7. The Subcultural Split from Mainstream Cinema
  4. Chapter 2: National Identity and Perpetrator Trauma in Anime Subculture

    1. National Identity & Perpetrator Trauma
    2. Miyazaki and Anno: Negotiating Historical Memory
  5. Chapter 3: Hayao Miyazaki

    1. Hayao Miyazaki

      1. Murakami on Miyazaki
      2. Troubling Parental Figures: the Perpetrator Fathers and Earth Mothers
    2. The Economic Miracle: 1978–1989

      1. Miyazaki’s Early Apocalyptic Narratives
      2. Future Boy Conan: Trauma, Nature, and Industry
      3. The Return of the Repressed: Conan’s Trauma Narratives and the Perpetrator Fathers
      4. Becoming the Perpetrator: Monsley and Intergenerational Trauma
      5. The Grand Narrative Preserved
    3. The Lost Decade: Miyazaki’s Nihilism and the Decline of Grand Narratives

      1. Fragmented Identity and Survivor Guilt in Porco Rosso
      2. Complicity and Withdrawal in Howl’s Moving Castle
  6. Chapter 4: Hideaki Anno

    1. Hideaki Anno

      1. Anno’s goals as artist
      2. Interior Perspective and Hyperlimited Animation
    2. The Economic Miracle: Gunbuster as Nationalist Fantasy

      1. The New Japanese Empire and Nationalist Nostalgia

        [see “Imperialism, Translation, Gunbuster”: 0⁠/​1⁠/​2⁠/​3⁠/​4⁠/​5⁠/​6]

    3. Anno’s Turning Point: Fascism and Technological Ambivalence in Nadia

      1. Nemo and Gargoyle: Reconciliation with the Perpetrator Fathers
    4. The Lost Decade: Evangelion⁠, Withdrawal, and the Decline of Grand Narratives

      1. The Decline of Scientific Optimism
  7. Conclusion

    1. Works Cited

      1. Reference Texts
      2. Films & Artistic Works

“Technology Holy Wars Are Coordination Problems”, Branwen 2020

Holy-wars: “Technology Holy Wars are Coordination Problems”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2020-06-15; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Flamewars over platforms & upgrades are so bitter not because people are jerks but because the choice will influence entire ecosystems, benefiting one platform through network effects & avoiding ‘bitrot’ while subtly sabotaging the rest through ‘bitcreep’.

The enduring phenomenon of ‘holy wars’ in computing, such as the bitterness around the prolonged Python 2 to Python 3 migration, is not due to mere pettiness or love of conflict, but because they are a coordination problem: dominant platforms enjoy strong network effects, such as reduced ‘bitrot’ as it is regularly used & maintained by many users, and can inflict a mirror-image ‘bitcreep’ on other platforms which gradually are neglected and begin to bitrot because of the dominant platform.

The outright negative effect of bitcreep mean that holdouts do not just cost early adopters the possible network effects, they also greatly reduce the value of a given thing, and may cause the early adopters to be actually worse off and more miserable on a daily basis. Given the extent to which holdouts have benefited from the community, holdout behavior is perceived as parasitic and immoral behavior by adopters, while holdouts in turn deny any moral obligation and resent the methods that adopters use to increase adoption (such as, in the absence of formal controls, informal ones like bullying).

This desperate need for there to be a victor, and the large technical benefits/​costs to those who choose the winning/​losing side, explain the (only apparently) disproportionate energy, venom, and intractability of holy wars⁠.

Perhaps if we explicitly understand holy wars as coordination problems, we can avoid the worst excesses and tap into knowledge about the topic to better manage things like language migrations.

“Anime Crop Datasets: Faces, Figures, & Hands”, Branwen et al 2020

Crops: “Anime Crop Datasets: Faces, Figures, & Hands”⁠, Gwern Branwen, Arfafax, Shawn Presser, Anonymous, Danbooru Community (2020-05-10; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Description of 3 anime datasets for machine learning based on Danbooru: cropped anime faces, whole-single-character crops, and hand crops (with hand detection model).

Documentation of 3 anime datasets for machine learning based on Danbooru: 300k cropped anime faces (primarily used for StyleGAN⁠/​This Waifu Does Not Exist), 855k whole-single-character figure crops (extracted from Danbooru using AniSeg), and 58k hand crops (based on a dataset of 14k hand-annotated bounding boxes used to train a YOLOv3 hand detection model).

These datasets can be used for machine learning directly, or included as data augmentation: faces, figures, and hands are some of the most noticeable features of anime images, and by cropping images down to just those 3 features, they can enhance modeling of those by eliminating distracting context, zooming in, and increasing the weight during training.

“PaintsTorch: a User-Guided Anime Line Art Colorization Tool With Double Generator Conditional Adversarial Network”, Hati et al 2019

2019-hati.pdf: “PaintsTorch: a User-Guided Anime Line Art Colorization Tool with Double Generator Conditional Adversarial Network”⁠, Yliess Hati, Gregor Jouet, Francis Rousseaux, Clement Duhart (2019-12-01)

“The Effects of Internet Book Piracy: The Case of Comics”, Tanaka 2019-page-2

2019-tanaka.pdf#page=2: “The Effects of Internet Book Piracy: The Case of Comics”⁠, Tatsuo Tanaka (2019-08-08; ; similar):

In this study, the effects of internet book piracy in the case of the Japanese comic book market were examined using direct measurement of product level piracy ratio and a massive deletion project as a natural experiment⁠.

Total effect of the piracy is negative to the legitimate sales, but panel regression and difference-in-difference analysis consistently indicated that the effect of piracy is heterogeneous: piracy decreased the legitimate sales of ongoing comics, whereas increased the legitimate sales of completed comics. The latter result is interpreted as follows: piracy reminds consumers of past comics and stimulates sales in that market.

[Keywords: copyright, comic, piracy, Internet, DID, manga]

“『シン・ウルトラマン』映画化に関するお知らせ”, Khara 2019

“『シン・ウルトラマン』映画化に関するお知らせ”⁠, Studio Khara (2019-08-01; ; backlinks; similar):

A new film production of SHIN ULTRAMAN was publicly announced today. The new movie will come to theaters in 2021.

Hideaki Anno will join a film team, Higuchi-Gumi led by Director Shinji Higuchi⁠, taking charge of Produce and Screenplay. First draft script has been finished in February 5th, 2019. Anno will fully join the project after finishing his EVANGELION:3.0+1.0 film.

“The Inner Life of Chinese Teenagers”, Greer 2019

“The Inner Life of Chinese Teenagers”⁠, Tanner Greer (2019-04-19; ⁠, ; similar):

The second point probably deserves more space than I was able to give in the LA Review of Books. Consider, for a moment, the typical schedule of a Beijing teenager:

She will (depending on the length of her morning commute) wake up somewhere between 5:30 and 7:00 AM. She must be in her seat by 7:45, 15 minutes before classes start. With bathroom breaks and gym class excepted, she will not leave that room until the 12:00 lunch hour and will return to the same spot after lunch is ended for another four hours of instruction. Depending on whether she has after-school tests that day, she will be released from her classroom sometime between 4:10 and 4:40. She then has one hour to get a start on her homework, eat, and travel to the evening cram school her parents have enrolled her in. Math, English, Classical Chinese—there are cram schools for every topic on the gaokao. On most days of the week she will be there studying from 6:00 to 9:00 PM (if the family has the money, she will spend another six hours at these after-school schools on Saturday and Sunday mornings). Our teenager will probably arrive home somewhere around 10:00 PM, giving her just enough time to spend two or three hours on that day’s homework before she goes to bed. Rinse and repeat, day in and day out, for six years. The strain does not abate until she has defeated—or has been defeated by—the gaokao.

This is well known, but I think the wrong aspects of this experience are emphasized. Most outsiders look at this and think: see how much pressure these Chinese kids are under. I look and think: how little privacy and independence these Chinese kids are given!

To put this another way: Teenage demands for personal space are hardly unique to China. What makes China distinctive is the difficulty its teenagers have securing this goal. Chinese family life is hemmed in narrow bounds. The urban apartments that even well-off Chinese call their homes are tiny and crowded. Few have more than two bedrooms. Teenagers are often forced to share their bedroom with a grandparent. So small was the apartment of one 16-year-old I interviewed that she slept, without apparent complaint, in the same bed as her parents for her entire first year of high school. Where can a teenager like her go, what door could she slam, when she was angry with her family? Within the walls of her home there was no escape from the parental gaze.

A Chinese teen has few better options outside her home. No middle-class Chinese teenager has a job. None have cars. The few that have boyfriends or girlfriends go about it as discreetly as possible. Apart from the odd music lesson here or there, what Americans call “extra-curricular activities” are unknown. One a recent graduate of a prestigious international high school in Beijing once explained to me the confusion she felt when she was told she would need to excel at an after-school activity to be competitive in American university admissions:

“In tenth grade our home room teacher told us that American universities cared a lot about the things we do outside of school, so from now on we would need to find time to ‘cultivate a hobby.’ I remember right after he left the girl sitting at my right turned to me and whispered, ‘I don’t know how to cultivate a hobby. Do you?’”

“This Waifu Does Not Exist”, Branwen 2019

TWDNE: “This Waifu Does Not Exist”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2019-02-19; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

I describe how I made the website (TWDNE) for displaying random anime faces generated by StyleGAN neural networks, and how it went viral.

Generating high-quality anime faces has long been a task neural networks struggled with. The invention of StyleGAN in 2018 has effectively solved this task and I have trained a StyleGAN model which can generate high-quality anime faces at 512px resolution. To show off the recent progress, I made a website, “This Waifu Does Not Exist” for displaying random StyleGAN 2 faces. TWDNE displays a different neural-net-generated face & plot summary every 15s. The site was popular and went viral online, especially in China. The model can also be used interactively for exploration & editing in the Artbreeder online service⁠.

TWDNE faces have been used as screensavers, user avatars, character art for game packs or online games⁠, painted watercolors⁠, uploaded to Pixiv, given away in streams⁠, and used in a research paper (Noguchi & Harada 2019). TWDNE results also helped inspired Sizigi Studio’s online interactive waifu GAN⁠, Waifu Labs⁠, which generates even better anime faces than my StyleGAN results.

“Making Anime With BigGAN”, Branwen 2019

BigGAN: “Making Anime With BigGAN”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2019-02-04; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Experiments in using BigGAN to generate anime faces and whole anime images; semi-successful.

Following my StyleGAN anime face experiments⁠, I explore BigGAN⁠, another recent GAN with SOTA results on one of the most complex image domains tackled by GANs so far (ImageNet). BigGAN’s capabilities come at a steep compute cost, however.

Using the unofficial BigGAN-PyTorch reimplementation, I experimented in 2019 with 128px ImageNet transfer learning (successful) with ~6 GPU-days, and from-scratch 256px anime portraits of 1000 characters on an 8×2080ti machine for a month (mixed results). My BigGAN results are good but compromised by the compute expense & practical problems with the released BigGAN code base. While BigGAN is not yet superior to StyleGAN for many purposes, BigGAN-like approaches may be necessary to scale to whole anime images.

For followup experiments, Shawn Presser⁠, I and others (collectively, “Tensorfork”) have used Tensorflow Research Cloud TPU credits & the compare_gan BigGAN reimplementation. Running this at scale on the full Danbooru2019 dataset in May 2020, we have reached the best anime GAN results to date (later exceeded by This Anime Does Not Exist).

“The Genetics of Human Skin and Hair Pigmentation”, Pavan & Sturm 2019

2019-pavan.pdf: “The Genetics of Human Skin and Hair Pigmentation”⁠, William J. Pavan, Richard A. Sturm (2019; ; backlinks; similar):

Human skin and hair color are visible traits that can vary dramatically within and across ethnic populations. The genetic makeup of these traits—including polymorphisms in the enzymes and signaling proteins involved in melanogenesis, and the vital role of ion transport mechanisms operating during the maturation and distribution of the melanosome—has provided new insights into the regulation of pigmentation. A large number of novel loci involved in the process have been recently discovered through four large-scale genome-wide association studies in Europeans, two large genetic studies of skin color in Africans, one study in Latin Americans, and functional testing in animal models. The responsible polymorphisms within these pigmentation genes appear at different population frequencies, can be used as ancestry-informative markers, and provide insight into the evolutionary selective forces that have acted to create this human diversity.

“How Women’s Manga Has Performed the Image of ASIAs, Globally and Locally”, Ogi 2019

2019-ogi.pdf: “How Women’s Manga Has Performed the Image of ASIAs, Globally and Locally”⁠, Fusami Ogi (2019-01-01; backlinks)

“TVTropes: Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack”, TVTropes 2019

“TVTropes: Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack⁠, TVTropes (2019; ; backlinks; similar):

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack is the first full-length Gundam animated movie released in 1988. Char’s Counterattack is the culmination of the original saga begun in Mobile Suit Gundam and continued through Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ⁠, marking the final conflict of the fourteen-year rivalry between Amuro Ray and Char Aznable⁠, and the end of the Earth Federation/​Zeon conflicts.

…The movie is noteworthy for having a rather unusual genesis. Originally, director Yoshiyuki Tomino was going to wrap up Amuro and Char’s storyline in Gundam ZZ, but mid-way through production he was given the go-ahead to make a movie, forcing the plot of ZZ to be rewritten (details on its trope page). In the meantime Tomino wrote the novel Hi-Streamer, but when Sunrise gave him the green light, he went back and wrote a second novel, Beltorchika’s Children, which he specifically wrote to be adapted into a movie. However, Sunrise instead chose to use Hi-Streamer, with the final film being a pretty straightforward adaptation of its second half.

“MLP:FiM: S9E26: The Last Problem”, Wikia 2019

“MLP:FiM: S9E26: The Last Problem”⁠, MLP Wikia (2019; backlinks; similar):

The Last Problem is the twenty-sixth episode of season nine of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the show’s two hundred and twenty-second episode overall.1 It premiered as the final episode of the series, as part of the 90-minute finale with The Ending of the End—Part 1 and The Ending of the End—Part 2.

In this epilogue episode, an older and wiser Princess Twilight Sparkle is visited by a student with a friendship problem. As she attempts to solve it, she looks back on the times she and her friends spent together.

A sequel event to the episode, “The Crowning Achievement”, was included in Gameloft’s mobile game.

“MLP:FiM: S9E14: The Last Laugh”, Wikia 2019

“MLP:FiM: S9E14: The Last Laugh”⁠, MLP Wikia (2019; backlinks; similar):

The Last Laugh (incorrectly1 titled as “That’s a Laugh” by some sources), is the 14th episode of season 9 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the show’s two hundred and tenth episode overall.2

When Pinkie Pie seeks help from her old friend Cheese Sandwich in finding her life’s purpose, she discovers the unimaginable has happened.

“MLP:FiM: S9E23: The Big Mac Question”, Wikia 2019

“MLP:FiM: S9E23: The Big Mac Question”⁠, MLP Wikia (2019; backlinks; similar):

The Big Mac Question is the twenty-third12 episode of season nine of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the show’s 219th episode overall.3 The title is a reference to the saying “the big question”, which is often used as an euphemism for a marriage proposal.

When Big McIntosh and Sugar Belle decide to propose to each other, everything their friends do to help ends up making a mess of the whole thing.

“MLP:FiM: S9E4: Sparkle's Seven”, Wikia 2019

“MLP:FiM: S9E4: Sparkle's Seven”⁠, MLP Wikia (2019; backlinks; similar):

Sparkle’s Seven (also titled “Twilight’s Seven” by some sources and in the episode’s script,1) is the fourth episode of season nine of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the show’s two hundredth episode overall,2 celebrated as a milestone episode. The title is a reference to the 1960 film Ocean’s 11, its 2001 remake, and/​or the all-female spin-off to the latter Ocean’s 8, previously referenced by “Sparkle’s Six” in Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell and “Luna’s 5” on the My Little Pony: Nightmare Knights Issue #1 cover RI.

In this episode, Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor pit their wits against each other to settle a long-standing sibling rivalry, but they soon discover they are not the only competitors.

“MLP:FiM: S9E21: Daring Doubt”, Wikia 2019

“MLP:FiM: S9E21: Daring Doubt”⁠, MLP Wikia (2019; backlinks; similar):

Daring Doubt is the 21st episode of season nine of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the show’s 217th episode overall.1

When another author releases his own version of the events in A. K. Yearling’s Daring Do books, Rainbow Dash is furious, while Fluttershy is curious to know the truth.

“MLP:FiM: S9E13: Between Dark and Dawn”, Wikia 2019

“MLP:FiM: S9E13: Between Dark and Dawn”⁠, MLP Wikia (2019; backlinks; similar):

Between Dark and Dawn is the 13th episode of season nine of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the show’s 209th episode overall.1 It marks season nine’s midseason finale.2

In this episode, Celestia and Luna take a “bucket-list” sister vacation while Twilight and her friends struggle to cover the princesses’ many royal duties alone.

“Evolution As Backstop for Reinforcement Learning”, Branwen 2018

Backstop: “Evolution as Backstop for Reinforcement Learning”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2018-12-06; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Markets/​evolution as backstops/​ground truths for reinforcement learning/​optimization: on some connections between Coase’s theory of the firm/​linear optimization/​DRL/​evolution/​multicellular life/​pain/​Internet communities as multi-level optimization problems.

One defense of free markets notes the inability of non-market mechanisms to solve planning & optimization problems. This has difficulty with Coase’s paradox of the firm, and I note that the difficulty is increased by the fact that with improvements in computers, algorithms, and data, ever larger planning problems are solved. Expanding on some Cosma Shalizi comments, I suggest interpreting phenomenon as multi-level nested optimization paradigm: many systems can be usefully described as having two (or more) levels where a slow sample-inefficient but ground-truth ‘outer’ loss such as death, bankruptcy, or reproductive fitness, trains & constrains a fast sample-efficient but possibly misguided ‘inner’ loss which is used by learned mechanisms such as neural networks or linear programming group selection perspective. So, one reason for free-market or evolutionary or Bayesian methods in general is that while poorer at planning/​optimization in the short run, they have the advantage of simplicity and operating on ground-truth values, and serve as a constraint on the more sophisticated non-market mechanisms. I illustrate by discussing corporations, multicellular life, reinforcement learning & meta-learning in AI, and pain in humans. This view suggests that are inherent balances between market/​non-market mechanisms which reflect the relative advantages between a slow unbiased method and faster but potentially arbitrarily biased methods.

“MLP: Immanetizing The Equestrian”, Branwen 2018

MLP: “MLP: Immanetizing The Equestrian”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2018-10-24; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks):

A meditation on subcultures & review of the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, focusing on fandom, plot, development, and meaning of bronydom.

I watch the 2010 Western animated series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (seasons 1–9), delving deep into it and the MLP fandom, and reflect on it. What makes it good and powers its fandom subculture, producing a wide array of fanfictions, music, and art? Focusing on fandom, plot, development, and meaning of bronydom, I conclude that, among other things, it has surprisingly high-quality production & aesthetics which are easily adapted to fandom and which power a Westernized shonen anime—which depicts an underappreciated plausibly-contemporary capitalist utopian perspective on self-actualization, reminiscent of other more explicitly self-help-oriented pop culture movements such as the recent Jordan B. Peterson movement. Included are my personal rankings of characters, seasons, episodes, and official & fan music.

“Umineko: The Opium Of The Magics”, Branwen 2018

Umineko: “Umineko: The Opium Of The Magics”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2018-07-04; ; backlinks; similar):

Review of famous light novel series Umineko no Naku Koro ni: it is a highly idiosyncratic, wildly self-indulgent, yet impressive exploration of all possible locked-room mysteries, knocked for a loop mid-composition by personal tragedy, triggering a descent into a deeply harmful endorsement of fantasies & running from painful realities.

While writing my review, I took 2 geeky detours: estimating how much time, exactly, it had taken me to read through Umineko; and how long is Umineko compared to other works known for being incredibly long like Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time (which I have also read)?

Measuring the actual time spent reading, and comparing the compressed file sizes to normalize the formatting & repetition, Umineko is about as big as Shakespeare but still much smaller than the full Wheel of Time series.

“Construction of Arbitrarily Strong Amplifiers of Natural Selection Using Evolutionary Graph Theory”, Pavlogiannis et al 2018

“Construction of arbitrarily strong amplifiers of natural selection using evolutionary graph theory”⁠, Andreas Pavlogiannis, Josef Tkadlec, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Martin A. Nowak (2018-06-14; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

[WP] Because of the intrinsic randomness of the evolutionary process, a mutant with a fitness advantage has some chance to be selected but no certainty. Any experiment that searches for advantageous mutants will lose many of them due to random drift. It is therefore of great interest to find population structures that improve the odds of advantageous mutants. Such structures are called amplifiers of natural selection: they increase the probability that advantageous mutants are selected. Arbitrarily strong amplifiers guarantee the selection of advantageous mutants, even for very small fitness advantage. Despite intensive research over the past decade, arbitrarily strong amplifiers have remained rare. Here we show how to construct a large variety of them. Our amplifiers are so simple that they could be useful in biotechnology, when optimizing biological molecules, or as a diagnostic tool, when searching for faster dividing cells or viruses. They could also occur in natural population structures.

In the evolutionary process, mutation generates new variants, while selection chooses between mutants that have different reproductive rates. Any new mutant is initially present at very low frequency and can easily be eliminated by random drift⁠. The probability that the lineage of a new mutant eventually takes over the entire population is called the fixation probability⁠. It is a key quantity of evolutionary dynamics and characterizes the rate of evolution.

…In this work we resolve several open questions regarding strong amplification under uniform and temperature initialization. First, we show that there exists a vast variety of graphs with self-loops and weighted edges that are arbitrarily strong amplifiers for both uniform and temperature initialization. Moreover, many of those strong amplifiers are structurally simple, therefore they might be realizable in natural or laboratory setting. Second, we show that both self-loops and weighted edges are key features of strong amplification. Namely, we show that without either self-loops or weighted edges, no graph is a strong amplifier under temperature initialization, and no simple graph is a strong amplifier under uniform initialization.

…In general, the fixation probability depends not only on the graph, but also on the initial placement of the invading mutants…For a wide class of population structures17, which include symmetric ones28, the fixation probability is the same as for the well-mixed population.

… A population structure is an arbitrarily strong amplifier (for brevity hereafter also called “strong amplifier”) if it ensures a fixation probability arbitrarily close to one for any advantageous mutant, r > 1. Strong amplifiers can only exist in the limit of large population size.

Numerical studies30 suggest that for spontaneously arising mutants and small population size, many unweighted graphs amplify for some values of r. But for a large population size, randomly constructed, unweighted graphs do not amplify31. Moreover, proven amplifiers for all values of r are rare. For spontaneously arising mutants (uniform initialization): (1) the Star has fixation probability of ~1 − 1⁄r2 in the limit of large N, and is thus an amplifier17, 32, 33; (2) the Superstar (introduced in ref. 17, see also ref. 34) and the Incubator (introduced in refs. 35, 36), which are graphs with unbounded degree, are strong amplifiers.

…In this work we resolve several open questions regarding strong amplification under uniform and temperature initialization. First, we show that there exists a vast variety of graphs with self-loops and weighted edges that are arbitrarily strong amplifiers for both uniform and temperature initialization. Moreover, many of those strong amplifiers are structurally simple, therefore they might be realizable in natural or laboratory setting. Second, we show that both self-loops and weighted edges are key features of strong amplification. Namely, we show that without either self-loops or weighted edges, no graph is a strong amplifier under temperature initialization, and no simple graph is a strong amplifier under uniform initialization.

Figure 1: Evolutionary dynamics in structured populations. Residents (yellow) and mutants (purple) differ in their reproductive rate. (a) A single mutant appears. The lineage of the mutant becomes extinct or reaches fixation. The probability that the mutant takes over the population is called “fixation probability”. (b) The classical, well-mixed population is described by a complete graph with self-loops. (Self-loops are not shown here.) (c) Isothermal structures do not change the fixation probability compared to the well-mixed population. (d) The Star is an amplifier for uniform initialization. (e) A self-loop means the offspring can replace the parent. Self-loops are a mathematical tool to assign different reproduction rates to different places. (f) The Superstar, which has unbounded degree in the limit of large population size, is a strong amplifier for uniform initialization. Its edges (shown as arrows) are directed which means that the connections are one-way.
Figure 4: Infinite variety of strong amplifiers. Many topologies can be turned into arbitrarily strong amplifiers (Wheel (a), Triangular grid (b), Concentric circles (c), and Tree (d)). Each graph is partitioned into hub (orange) and branches (blue). The weights can be then assigned to the edges so that we obtain arbitrarily strong amplifiers. Thick edges receive large weights, whereas thin edges receive small (or zero) weights

…Intuitively, the weight assignment creates a sense of global flow in the branches, directed toward the hub. This guarantees that the first 2 steps happen with high probability. For the third step, we show that once the mutants fixate in the hub, they are extremely likely to resist all resident invasion attempts and instead they will invade and take over the branches one by one thereby fixating on the whole graph. For more detailed description, see “Methods” section “Construction of strong amplifiers”.

Necessary conditions for amplification: Our main result shows that a large variety of population structures can provide strong amplification. A natural follow-up question concerns the features of population structures under which amplification can emerge. We complement our main result by proving that both weights and self-loops are essential for strong amplification. Thus, we establish a strong dichotomy. Without either weights or self-loops, no graph can be a strong amplifier under temperature initialization, and no simple graph can be a strong amplifier under uniform initialization. On the other hand, if we allow both weights and self-loops, strong amplification is ubiquitous.

…Some naturally occurring population structures could be amplifiers of natural selection⁠. For example, the germinal centers of the immune system might constitute amplifiers for the affinity maturation process of adaptive immunity46. Habitats of animals that are divided into multiple islands with a central breeding location could potentially also act as amplifiers of selection. Our theory helps to identify those structures in natural settings.

“Analysis and Qualitative Effects of Large Breasts on Aerodynamic Performance and Wake of a Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Character”, Rabino 2018

2018-rabino.pdf: “Analysis and Qualitative Effects of Large Breasts on Aerodynamic Performance and Wake of a Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Character”⁠, N. Rabino (2018; similar):

A computational fluid dynamics methodology is used to study the salient flow features around the breasts of a human figure and to describe the aerodynamic differences imparted by their geometric presence.

2 models are proposed for examination: a 3-dimensional reference based on a character design with a largely buxom figure and a modification of this design where the breast size is reduced largely. The 2 models are tested at speeds ranging from 1 to 30 m⋅s−1 using Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes (RANS). Drag, lift, and skin friction forces, along with turbulence kinetic energy (TKE), are investigated and compared between the different models.

The present results are expected to provide useful information on the validity of the statement, “Flat is Justice” in terms of an aerodynamic standpoint. In addition to this, the results can offer worthwhile data investigating the anthropometrical presence of large breasts on sport aerodynamics.

“Predicting Personality from Book Preferences With User-Generated Content Labels”, Annalyn et al 2017

“Predicting Personality from Book Preferences with User-Generated Content Labels”⁠, Ng Annalyn, Maarten W. Bos, Leonid Sigal, Boyang Li (2017-07-20; ; backlinks; similar):

Psychological studies have shown that personality traits are associated with book preferences. However, past findings are based on questionnaires focusing on conventional book genres and are unrepresentative of niche content. For a more comprehensive measure of book content, this study harnesses a massive archive of content labels, also known as ‘tags’, created by users of an online book catalogue, Combined with data on preferences and personality scores collected from Facebook users, the tag labels achieve high accuracy in personality prediction by psychological standards. We also group tags into broader genres, to check their validity against past findings. Our results are robust across both tag and genre levels of analyses, and consistent with existing literature. Moreover, user-generated tag labels reveal unexpected insights, such as cultural differences, book reading behaviors, and other non-content factors affecting preferences. To our knowledge, this is currently the largest study that explores the relationship between personality and book content preferences.

“Review: Belladonna of Sadness”, Elkins 2016

“Review: Belladonna of Sadness⁠, Gabriella Elkins (2016-06-17; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Summary: Medieval peasants Jean and Jeanne are idyllic newlyweds. Their happiness vanishes, however, when Jeanne is raped by the local lord in a legally sanctioned deflowering ritual. Afterwards, while the couple tries to resume their life together, Jeanne starts receiving visions from a demon. It comforts her in her sadness, but it also encourages her to act out against the lord. Jeanne resists at first, but as her fortunes continue to wane, she’s thrown further into the demon’s embrace. As time goes on, Jeanne is drawn into an experience that radically reconfigures her sense of herself, the world, and the course of history itself.

Review: An X-rated anime classic newly remastered for the screen, Belladonna of Sadness is one of animation’s premiere psychedelic experiences, brought over to North America for nearly the first time ever in 2016. Its history has already been covered by us before, but here’s a quick refresher: Belladonna of Sadness is a legendarily low-budget, sexual, and psychedelic anime film from the 1970s. Poorly received at the time of its release, it accrued a cult audience over the next few decades. Recently, its reputation has been rehabilitated to the point where it’s considered an overlooked classic. Still, wider appreciation of the film was hampered by the lack of an English release and poor quality of existing prints. That changed in 2014, when the high-end distribution company Cinelicious chose it as their first candidate for an in-house 4k restoration and re-release. This May, the completed film began screening in theaters across the United States and Canada, and will continue to do so until September. I attended one of these screenings at International House theater in Philadelphia. This was my first time seeing the film, and I left very much impressed by both its artistry and storytelling.

…Fair warning, though—it’s not an exaggeration that this film is touted as ultra-sexual. I’d say most of the film’s runtime is made up of sex scenes, some of them violent and disturbing. It literally opens with a rape. These scenes are appropriate to the story, and the scenes are gorgeous in their artistry, but they are unpleasant. Otherwise, the sexual imagery is largely abstract. Flowers become vaginas, figures in cloaks become disembodied penises, and Jeanne’s rape is depicted as her being bisected from the groin upwards. Some psychedelic sequences also contain intense strobe lighting, so epileptics be warned. As for the visuals themselves, expect watercolors, morphing lineart, and little in terms of actual animation. There are no lush Kyoto Animation frame counts here. Much of the film’s motion consists of pans and zooms across static illustrations. There aren’t even any lip flaps. The studio went under while making this film, so this was a method of cutting costs. However, the results are memorable and even contribute to the film’s power. (There’s a great analysis to be written about its use of vertical versus horizontal space.) Despite these limitations, Belladonna of Sadness is, on a purely aesthetic level, almost unbelievably beautiful. I’d hang any given frame of it up on my wall. Even if you don’t care about it’s message, this film is still worth watching as a work of altered-state eroticism.

Overall, viewers who can handle the content will probably be entertained by this gorgeous and trippy movie. However, I especially recommend Belladonna of Sadness to anyone interested in the history of anime.

Belladonna of Sadness is the culmination of a rare attempt to make blatantly un-commercial, artistically challenging anime. At the cost of bankruptcy, Mushi Productions made a masterpiece that wouldn’t be fully appreciated for 40 years. Now hindsight allows us to see the breadth of its influence and depth of its daring. Get in on this experience while you have the chance.

“Embryo Selection For Intelligence”, Branwen 2016

Embryo-selection: “Embryo Selection For Intelligence”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2016-01-22; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

A cost-benefit analysis of the marginal cost of IVF-based embryo selection for intelligence and other traits with 2016-2017 state-of-the-art

With genetic predictors of a phenotypic trait, it is possible to select embryos during an in vitro fertilization process to increase or decrease that trait. Extending the work of Shulman & Bostrom 2014⁠/​Hsu 2014⁠, I consider the case of human intelligence using SNP-based genetic prediction, finding:

  • a meta-analysis of GCTA results indicates that SNPs can explain >33% of variance in current intelligence scores, and >44% with better-quality phenotype testing
  • this sets an upper bound on the effectiveness of SNP-based selection: a gain of 9 IQ points when selecting the top embryo out of 10
  • the best 2016 polygenic score could achieve a gain of ~3 IQ points when selecting out of 10
  • the marginal cost of embryo selection (assuming IVF is already being done) is modest, at $1,822.7[^\$1,500.0^~2016~]{.supsub} + $243.0[^\$200.0^~2016~]{.supsub} per embryo, with the sequencing cost projected to drop rapidly
  • a model of the IVF process, incorporating number of extracted eggs, losses to abnormalities & vitrification & failed implantation & miscarriages from 2 real IVF patient populations, estimates feasible gains of 0.39 & 0.68 IQ points
  • embryo selection is currently unprofitable (mean: -$435.0[^\$358.0^~2016~]{.supsub}) in the USA under the lowest estimate of the value of an IQ point, but profitable under the highest (mean: $7,570.3[^\$6,230.0^~2016~]{.supsub}). The main constraints on selection profitability is the polygenic score; under the highest value, the NPV EVPI of a perfect SNP predictor is $29.2[^\$24.0^~2016~]{.supsub}b and the EVSI per education/​SNP sample is $86.3[^\$71.0^~2016~]{.supsub}k
  • under the worst-case estimate, selection can be made profitable with a better polygenic score, which would require n > 237,300 using education phenotype data (and much less using fluid intelligence measures)
  • selection can be made more effective by selecting on multiple phenotype traits: considering an example using 7 traits (IQ/​height/​BMI/​diabetes/​ADHD⁠/​bipolar/​schizophrenia), there is a factor gain over IQ alone; the outperformance of multiple selection remains after adjusting for genetic correlations & polygenic scores and using a broader set of 16 traits.

Illustration2Vec: a Semantic Vector Representation of Illustrations”, Masaki & Matsui 2015

2015-saito.pdf: Illustration2Vec: a semantic vector representation of illustrations”⁠, Saito Masaki, Yusuke Matsui (2015-11-02; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Referring to existing illustrations helps novice drawers to realize their ideas.

To find such helpful references from a large image collection, we first build a semantic vector representation of illustrations by training convolutional neural networks. As the proposed vector space correctly reflects the semantic meanings of illustrations, users can efficiently search for references with similar attributes. Besides the search with a single query, a semantic morphing algorithm that searches the intermediate illustrations that gradually connect two queries is proposed.

Several experiments were conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods.

[Keywords: illustration, CNNs, visual similarity, search, embedding]

“Movie Reviews”, Branwen 2014

Movies: “Movie Reviews”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2014-05-01; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

A compilation of movie, television, and opera reviews since 2014.

This is a compilation of my film/​television/​theater reviews; it is compiled from my newsletter⁠. Reviews are sorted by rating in descending order.

See also my book & anime /  ​ manga reviews⁠.

“Genetic Architecture of Skin and Eye Color in an African-European Admixed Population”, Beleza et al 2013

“Genetic Architecture of Skin and Eye Color in an African-European Admixed Population”⁠, Sandra Beleza, Nicholas A. Johnson, Sophie I. Candille, Devin M. Absher, Marc A. Coram, Jailson Lopes et al (2013-01-22; backlinks; similar):

Variation in human skin and eye color is substantial and especially apparent in admixed populations, yet the underlying genetic architecture is poorly understood because most genome-wide studies are based on individuals of European ancestry. We study pigmentary variation in 699 individuals from Cape Verde, where extensive West African/​European admixture has given rise to a broad range in trait values and genomic ancestry proportions. We develop and apply a new approach for measuring eye color, and identify two major loci (HERC2[OCA2] P = 2.3×10−62, SLC24A5 p = 9.6×10−9) that account for both blue versus brown eye color and varying intensities of brown eye color. We identify four major loci (SLC24A5 p = 5.4×10−27, TYR p = 1.1×10−9, APBA2[OCA2] P = 1.5×10−8, SLC45A2 p = 6×10−9) for skin color that together account for 35% of the total variance, but the genetic component with the largest effect (~44%) is average genomic ancestry. Our results suggest that adjacent cis-acting regulatory loci for OCA2 explain the relationship between skin and eye color, and point to an underlying genetic architecture in which several genes of moderate effect act together with many genes of small effect to explain ~70% of the estimated heritability.

Author Summary:

Differences in skin and eye color are some of the most obvious traits that underlie human diversity, yet most of our knowledge regarding the genetic basis for these traits is based on the limited range of variation represented by individuals of European ancestry. We have studied an unique population in Cape Verde, an archipelago located off the West African coast, in which extensive mixing between individuals of Portuguese and West African ancestry has given rise to a broad range of phenotypes and ancestral genome proportions. Our results help to explain how genes work together to control the full range of pigmentary phenotypic diversity, provide new insight into the evolution of these traits, and provide a model for understanding other types of quantitative variation in admixed populations.

“The Hyperbolic Time Chamber & Brain Emulation”, Branwen 2012

Hyperbolic-Time-Chamber: “The Hyperbolic Time Chamber & Brain Emulation”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2012-08-29; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

A time dilation chamber as thought experiment on the power of pure thought, with comparison to computer AGI advantages/​disadvantages.

A time dilation tool from an anime is discussed for its practical use on Earth; there seem surprisingly few uses and none that will change the world, due to the severe penalties humans would incur while using it, and basic constraints like Amdahl’s law limit the scientific uses. A comparison with the position of an Artificial Intelligence such as an emulated human brain seems fair, except most of the time dilation disadvantages do not apply or can be ameliorated and hence any speedups could be quite effectively exploited. I suggest that skeptics of the idea that speedups give advantages are implicitly working off the crippled time dilation tool and not making allowance for the disanalogies.

“June 1996 NewType Interview With Hideaki Anno”, Anno & Inoue 2012

1996-newtype-anno-interview: “June 1996 NewType Interview with Hideaki Anno”⁠, Hideaki Anno, Shinichiro Inoue (2012-06-14; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

English translation of French translation of Hideaki Anno’s controversial NewType interview at the end of the TV broadcast

The June 1996 issue of NewType (published 10 May) included an interview by Shinichiro Inoue with Hideaki Anno⁠, the director of the controversial TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion which had just finished with 2 unusual episodes on 20 & 1996-03-27, sparking a national discussion & backlash. This interview has been widely alluded to in Eva discussions as Anno gave his initial thoughts on how Eva turned out, what he & Gainax were trying to do, and their reaction to the public reaction.

We translate an unofficial French fan translation into English, providing access to the full interview for the first time.

“Earth in My Window”, Murakami & Hoaglund 2012

2005-murakami: “Earth in My Window”⁠, Takashi Murakami, Linda Hoaglund (2012-03-04; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks):

Essay by Pop Art artist Takashi Murakami on Japanese society and on WWII infantilizing Japanese culture as revealed by media, anime, and otaku.

“Earth In My Window” is a long essay by Superflat pop artist Takashi Murakami meditating on post-WWII consumerist Japanese society and on WWII infantilizing Japanese pop culture as revealed by its influences on media, anime, and the otaku subculture.

This transcript has been prepared from a PDF scan of pg 98–149 of Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture⁠, ed. Murakami, published 2005-05-15, ISBN 0300102852. (See also the transcript of a discussion moderated by Murakami, “Otaku Talk”⁠.)

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“Special Talk: Yutaka Izubuchi × Hideaki Anno”, Anno & Izubuchi 2012

2003-rahxephoncomplete-anno-izubuchi: “Special Talk: Yutaka Izubuchi × Hideaki Anno”⁠, Hideaki Anno, Yutaka Izubuchi (2012-02-28; ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Discussion by Izubuchi and Anno of classic mecha anime

This interview was published in the 2003 book RahXephon Complete; it has not been officially translated, but the ANF user Vir arranged for a rough translation. At my request, he gave me a copy and I have heavily edited it to what follows. (Names were translated phonetically; I have done my best to figure out what was meant.)

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“May 1997 AnimeLand Interview With Hideaki Anno (English)”, Anno 2012

1997-animeland-may-hideakianno-interview-english: “May 1997 AnimeLand Interview with Hideaki Anno (English)”⁠, Hideaki Anno (2012-02-28; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

English translation of a French anime journalist’s interview of Hideaki Anno on anime and Evangelion in 1996-10-04.

Fan translation of an 1996-10-04 interview with anime director Hideaki Anno shortly after the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion TV but before the movies, published in 1997 in the French anime magazine AnimeLand, and translated into English here.

This Anno interview is notable for Anno discussing his reaction to the public reaction to Evangelion, his attitude towards celluloid & animation (vis-a-vis the experimental ending), and denying that Christianity was a more than superficial theme.

“Death Note: L, Anonymity & Eluding Entropy”, Branwen 2011

Death-Note-Anonymity: “Death Note: L, Anonymity & Eluding Entropy”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2011-05-04; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Applied Computer Science: On Murder Considered As STEM Field—using information theory to quantify the magnitude of Light Yagami’s mistakes in Death Note and considering fixes

In the manga Death Note, the protagonist Light Yagami is given the supernatural weapon “Death Note” which can kill anyone on demand, and begins using it to reshape the world. The genius detective L attempts to track him down with analysis and trickery, and ultimately succeeds. Death Note is almost a thought-experiment-given the perfect murder weapon, how can you screw up anyway? I consider the various steps of L’s process from the perspective of computer security, cryptography, and information theory, to quantify Light’s initial anonymity and how L gradually de-anonymizes him, and consider which mistake was the largest as follows:

  1. Light’s fundamental mistake is to kill in ways unrelated to his goal.

    Killing through heart attacks does not just make him visible early on, but the deaths reveals that his assassination method is impossibly precise and something profoundly anomalous is going on. L has been tipped off that Kira exists. Whatever the bogus justification may be, this is a major victory for his opponents. (To deter criminals and villains, it is not necessary for there to be a globally-known single anomalous or supernatural killer, when it would be equally effective to arrange for all the killings to be done naturalistically by ordinary mechanisms such as third parties/​police/​judiciary or used indirectly as parallel construction to crack cases.)

  2. Worse, the deaths are non-random in other ways—they tend to occur at particular times!

    Just the scheduling of deaths cost Light 6 bits of anonymity

  3. Light’s third mistake was reacting to the blatant provocation of Lind L. Tailor.

    Taking the bait let L narrow his target down to 1⁄3 the original Japanese population, for a gain of ~1.6 bits.

  4. Light’s fourth mistake was to use confidential police information stolen using his policeman father’s credentials.

    This mistake was the largest in bits lost. This mistake cost him 11 bits of anonymity; in other words, this mistake cost him twice what his scheduling cost him and almost 8 times the murder of Tailor!

  5. Killing Ray Penbar and the FBI team.

If we assume Penbar was tasked 200 leads out of the 10,000, then murdering him and the fiancee dropped Light just 6 bits or a little over half the fourth mistake and comparable to the original scheduling mistake. 6. Endgame: At this point in the plot, L resorts to direct measures and enters Light’s life directly, enrolling at the university, with Light unable to perfectly play the role of innocent under intense in-person surveillance.

From that point on, Light is screwed as he is now playing a deadly game of “Mafia” with L & the investigative team. He frittered away >25 bits of anonymity and then L intuited the rest and suspected him all along.

Finally, I suggest how Light could have most effectively employed the Death Note and limited his loss of anonymity. In an appendix, I discuss the maximum amount of information leakage possible from using a Death Note as a communication device.

(Note: This essay assumes a familiarity with the early plot of Death Note and Light Yagami. If you are unfamiliar with DN, see my Death Note Ending essay or consult Wikipedia or read the DN rules⁠.)

“Why Anime?”, Branwen 2011

Anime-criticism-is-not-about-quality: “Why Anime?”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2011-02-12; ⁠, ; similar):

Objectively, anime/​manga better than American alternatives. So why the need to justify?

The popularity of anime in the 1990s and among nerds reflects in part a historical contingency: the failure of American and Western media to deliver long-form narratives dealing in fantasy, science fiction, and non-realism of every type, and which can cater to a niche or reflect a unique artistic vision (enabled by the cheapness of manga/​LN production and the 1980s–1990s OVA economic model) while benefiting from the flexibility of animation in depicting anything without enormously costly SFX, while instead Western media focused on syndicated mass market lowest-common-denominator live-action series. The post-90s TV renaissance and extraordinary rise of ‘prestige series’, science fiction and superhero franchise, and continuous exponential increase in SFX capabilities/​decrease in cost, sucked much of the wind out of anime’s sails. While still hugely popular both in America & overseas, and an accepted part of the culture, it no longer is as exciting as it used to be, or a growing juggernaut.

So if anime can no longer boast unique access to diversity and long-form SF/​F narrative, what does anime still uniquely offer us? Why not just go geek out over the latest MCU or Star Wars movie ad nauseam? I suggest it is simply that it is one of the most-developed foreign media sources, which gains value simply because it is different–foreign, and not so American. Haven’t you seen enough of that? Even a mediocre foreign work gains interest from the novelty and differences.

“The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax And The Men Who Created Evangelion”, Takeda 2010

2002-takeda-notenkimemoirs: “The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax And The Men Who Created Evangelion”⁠, Yasuhiro Takeda (2010-12-27; ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Fulltext annotated e-book of 2002 memoir by anime producer Yasuhiro Takeda, discussing Japanese SF conventions & fandom, formation & history of Gainax and its productions up to 2002, including the origins of Evangelion & the tax raid.

An annotated e-book edition of The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax And The Men Who Created Evangelion, a short autobiography by a founder of Gainax who became active as a fan and in the anime/​manga industry in the late 1970s; it describes the student fan club scene around SF conventions, the creation of the famous Daicon video shorts, the founding of Gainax, its subsequent successes & travails (although with less emphasis on Neon Genesis Evangelion than one might expect), terminating around 2001. Much of the information Takeda discusses may have appeared in English-language sources before, but in obscure or missing sources and never pulled together, and it is a valuable source for non-Japanese-speakers interested in that time period.

For people interested in the history of the anime industry, Takeda fills in many gaps related to Gainax—it’s hard to think of any source which covers nearly so well DAICON III⁠, DAICON IV⁠, General Products⁠, or throws in so many tidbits about surrounding people & Japanese SF fandom. It is an invaluable resource for any researcher, and I felt compelled to create an annotated e-book edition in order to elucidate various points and be able to link its claims with versions of stories by other people (for example, Okada’s extensive Animerica interview)

Those reading it solely for Evangelion material will probably be relatively disappointed: Takeda clearly finds NGE not very interesting, may have bad associations due to being targeted in the tax raids⁠, and he was writing this in 2000 or so—too close to the events and still working at Gainax to really give a tell-all, and it’s not a terribly long or dense book in the first place. Nevertheless, NGE fans will still find many revelations here, like the origin of NGE production in the failure of the Aoki Uru film project (an origin undocumented in any Western sources before Notenki Memoirs was translated).

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“Anime Reviews”, Branwen 2010

Anime: “Anime Reviews”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2010-12-14; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

A compilation of anime/​manga reviews since 2010.

This page is a compilation of my anime/​manga reviews; it is compiled from my MyAnimeList account & newsletter⁠. Reviews are sorted by rating in descending order.

See also my book & film /  ​ TV /  ​ theater reviews⁠.

“The Case of PenPen”, Branwen 2010

the-case-of-penpen: “The Case of PenPen”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2010-01-03; ⁠, ; similar):

A parody of Evangelion where PenPen leads Instrumentality.

My high school anime club held one and only one contest, a fanfiction contest on a series we had watched. My mind had already been crushed a little by End of Evangelion⁠, so I resolved to write something a little more light-hearted than that. I wound up winning and selected the 2-disc set of Ushio and Tora (we had watched the first 2 episodes and I thought it was almost as hilarious as Dragon Half). The president never delivered and so I never wrote part 2 - it remains juvenilia. I kept meaning to track him down to demand it, but eventually I gave up and just downloaded a copy. (The handful of later episodes weren’t that good, although it was funnier than the reboot.)

“AMV Remix: Do-it-yourself Anime Music Videos”, Knobel et al 2010

2010-knobel.pdf: “AMV Remix: Do-it-yourself anime music videos”⁠, Michele Knobel, Colin Lankshear, Matthew Lewis (2010-01-01; )

“Murakami's 'little Boy' Syndrome: Victim or Aggressor in Contemporary Japanese and American Arts?”, Koh 2010

2010-koh.pdf: “Murakami's 'little boy' syndrome: victim or aggressor in contemporary Japanese and American arts?”⁠, Dong-Yeon Koh (2010; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

This paper examines the ambiguous nature of Murakami’s criticism toward the postwar Japanese condition—as the artist most effectively captured in his phrase ‘A Little Boy’, which was also the title of his curated exhibition at the Japan Society of New York in 2005.

As Murakami wrote in his introduction to the catalogue, demilitarized Japan after the Second World War underwent a collective sense of helplessness, and the metaphor of a little boy is intended to describe Japan’s supposedly unavoidable reliance on its big brother, America. The name ‘Little Boy’, in fact, originates from the code name used by the American military for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

The proliferation of ‘cuteness’ in Japanese contemporary art, which draws upon youth culture, especially otaku culture, evinces a common urge among the postwar generation in Japan to escape from their horrible memories and sense of powerlessness.

Murakami’s rhetorical analysis of Japan’s self-image seems, however, contradictory, given his extremely aggressive business tactics, which can find no counterpart in the Western art world—not even in the efforts of Murakami’s predecessor, Andy Warhol⁠. Like My Lonesome Cowboy (1998), whose hyper sexuality defies its pubescent and immature appearance, his art, theory, and art marketing indicate the paradoxical nature of his theory of impotence.

By focusing on his manifesto and writings published on the occasion of his 2005 exhibition and his style of managing Kaikai Kiki Ltd., this paper delves into the dual nature of Murakami’s interpretation of postwar Japanese art and culture, particularly in relation to those of America.

[Keywords: Takashi Murakami, Japanese contemporary arts, otaku, art and subculture, atomic bomb (Little Boy), nationalism, globalization of art market, Asian masculinity]

“Who Wrote The ‘Death Note’ Script?”, Branwen 2009

Death-Note-script: “Who Wrote The ‘Death Note’ Script?”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2009-11-02; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Internal, external, stylometric evidence point to live-action leak of Death Note Hollywood script being real.

I give a history of the 2009 leaked script, discuss internal & external evidence for its realness including stylometrics; and then give a simple step-by-step Bayesian analysis of each point. We finish with high confidence in the script being real, discussion of how this analysis was surprisingly enlightening, and what followup work the analysis suggests would be most valuable.

“Neon Genesis Evangelion Source Anthology”, Branwen 2009

otaku: “Neon Genesis Evangelion source anthology”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2009-09-30; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Extensive anthology of Gainax/​Anno/​Evangelion quotes, excerpts, sources, references, and analyses, organized by reliability and year.

This page is an extensive anthology of Gainax/​Hideaki Anno/​Evangelion-related quotes, excerpts, sources, references, & analyses, organized by reliability & year.

The purpose of compiling a large page of quotes & references classified by date & source level is to make it easier to put NGE into a historical context by tracing the evolution of plot or characters, cross-reference statements made in interviews, jump forward and backwards to flesh out otherwise obscure allusions to events, and enable easy keyword-based search for various concepts (eg. the connection of Kaworu to cats⁠, Gainax’s bafflement that viewers might think Misato killed Kaji, the influence of earthquakes on people, connections to Aum Shinrikyo⁠, garbled information about suicide attempts, Anno’s conservative nationalist views or philosophy of “poison”, retcons like swapping the Adam and Lilith plot devices, panspermia & First Ancestral Race being slowly removed from production materials and then post-NGE slowly restored, the many conflicting pieces of information on the end of NGE TV and EoE, Yamaga’s questionable reliability etc).

As I compile more material, I become increasingly convinced that far from Evangelion being a baffling mystery, it is in fact one of the most understandable anime out there, with a wealth of information about almost every detail, from the earliest planning meetings to how long particular episode productions took to the source of minor details like the “A-10 nerve”, and that Hideaki Anno, far from being a reticent auteur of mystery, has collectively been forthcoming about anything one might ask—to the point where multiple interviews could justly be described as “book-length” (the books in question being June, Schizo, Prano, the 1.0 CRC, & the 2.0 CRC). There is so much material that half the difficulty is simply collating the existing materials, and some extensive sources seem to have been lost to both the Japanese and English fandoms (eg. there seem to be no mentions or quotations of the Anata to Watashi no Gainax interviews in the Japanese web).

“Miscellaneous”, Branwen 2009

Notes: “Miscellaneous”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2009-08-05; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Misc thoughts, memories, proto-essays, musings, etc.

We usually clean up after ourselves, but sometimes, we are expected to clean before (ie. after others) instead. Why?

Because in those cases, pre-cleanup is the same amount of work, but game-theoretically better whenever a failure of post-cleanup would cause the next person problems.

“What Race Do They Represent and Does Mine Have Anything to Do With It? Perceived Racial Categories of Anime Characters”, Lu 2009

2009-lu.pdf: “What Race Do They Represent and Does Mine Have Anything to Do with It? Perceived Racial Categories of Anime Characters”⁠, Amy Shirong Lu (2009-07-21; backlinks; similar):

Is the intended race of anime characters distinguishable because of their facial features or are they too ‘international’ to tell?

This study addressed this question empirically by comparing the intended racial categories of static frontal portraits of 341 anime characters randomly selected from anime produced between 1958 and 2005 with the perceptions of 1,046 raters.

Results showed that, although the race of more than half of the anime characters was originally designed to be Asian and only a small fraction were intended to be Caucasian, many were perceived as Caucasian by the largely Caucasian raters. Response patterns also indicated ‘Own Race Projection (ORP)’, ie. perceivers frequently perceived anime characters to be of their own racial group.

Implications for anime’s international dissemination are discussed.

[Keywords: anime, cognitive studies, empirical studies, facial perception, internationalization, Own Race Projection, racial categorization]

“The Melancholy of Kyon”, Branwen 2009

The-Melancholy-of-Kyon: “The Melancholy of Kyon”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2009-06-08; ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Literary analysis of the light novel/​anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Haruhi is not God, Kyon is

The light novel series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, featuring a character named Haruhi who is a god unawares and her search for novelty, has a number of anomalies and unclear overarching plot.

I argue that these anomalies can be resolved, and greater literary depth achieved, by interpreting Haruhi as an ordinary “not special” girl whose wish made her extraordinary, because the first-person protagonist Kyon is the actual unaware god. Like the bluebird of happiness, Kyon found happiness only when he forgot about himself to care more about another (making it a positive twist on Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger’s despairing demiurge).

“In Defense of Inclusionism”, Branwen 2009

In-Defense-Of-Inclusionism: “In Defense of Inclusionism”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2009-01-15; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Iron Law of Bureaucracy: the downwards deletionism spiral discourages contribution and is how Wikipedia will die.

English Wikipedia is in decline. As a long-time editor & former admin, I was deeply dismayed by the process. Here, I discuss UI principles, changes in Wikipedian culture, the large-scale statistical evidence of decline, run small-scale experiments demonstrating the harm, and conclude with parting thoughts.

“The Melancholy of Subculture Society”, Branwen 2009

The-Melancholy-of-Subculture-Society: “The Melancholy of Subculture Society”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2009-01-12; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Internet links small groups, helping dissolve big groups; good, bad? But a bit sad.

The future of technology isn’t what it used to be—a discussion of the collapse of Japanese influence on technology & design. Why did Japanese companies cease to be the admired cutting-edge of computer, video game, Internet, or smartphone technology, underperforms in critical areas like software design (such as programming languages) and is instead one of the last havens of fax machines & feature phones, with prestigious but largely useless humanoid robotic programs?

The Secret History of Star Wars”, Kaminski 2008

The Secret History of Star Wars⁠, Michael Kaminski (2008-11-18; backlinks; similar):

Star Wars is one of the most important cultural phenomena of the Western world. The tale of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker has become modern myth, an epic tragedy of the corruption of a young man in love into darkness, the rise of evil, and the power of good triumphing in the end. But it didn’t start out that way. In this thorough account of one of cinema’s most lasting works, Michael Kaminski presents the true history of how Star Wars was written, from its beginnings as a science fiction fairy tale to its development over three decades into the epic we now know, chronicling the methods, techniques, thought processes, and struggles of its creator. For this unauthorized account, he has pored through over four hundred sources, from interviews to original scripts, to track how the most powerful modern epic in the world was created, expanded, and finalized into the tale an entire generation has grown up with. [ISBN: 0,978,465,237]

“Aum Shinrikyo and a Panic About Manga and Anime”, Gardner 2008

2008-gardner.pdf: “Aum Shinrikyo and a Panic About Manga and Anime”⁠, Richard A. Gardner (2008; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

In the midst of the accolades, it is important to recall that there have been moments in recent history when manga and anime have been regarded as potentially dangerous or as emblems of what is wrong with Japan.

Such was the case in the months following the release of sarin gas in several Tokyo subway lines by members of the religious group Aum Shinrikyo on the morning of March 20, 1995. As the extent of the Aum’s crimes gradually became clear, Japanese journalists, scholars, intellectuals, and commentators of every sort attempted to explain the origin and rise of Aum, the reasons for the group’s turn to violence, and what the appearance of such a group might mean about Japan. In the various theories and explanations presented, nearly every aspect of Japanese society, culture, and religion has been held to be at least partially accountable for the rise of Aum and the turn to violence by some of its members (see Gardner 1999, 221–222; 2002a, 36–42). In the efforts to explain Aum, considerable attention was given to the roles that manga and anime might have played. This resulted in what might be described as a panic about their possible negative influence on Japanese culture and society. Rather than attempting to explain precisely how manga and anime might have contributed to the rise of Aum and its vision of ‘Harumagedon’, or Armageddon, this chapter will simply present an overview of the ways in which both members of Aum and commentators on Aum understood the role of manga and anime in relation to Aum. Attention will be given, in particular, to how these perceptions were linked with broader concerns about the possible negative influence of various forms of media, technology, and ‘virtual reality’.

“What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory”, Drepper 2007

2007-drepper.pdf: “What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory”⁠, Ulrich Drepper (2007-11-12; ; backlinks; similar):

As CPU cores become increasingly faster, the limiting factor for most programs is now, and will be for some time, memory access. Hardware designers have come up with ever-more sophisticated memory-handling and memory-acceleration techniques—such as CPU caches—but these cannot work optimally without some help from the programmer. Unfortunately, neither the structure nor the cost of using the memory subsystem of a computer or the caches on CPU is well understood by most programmers. This paper explains the structure of memory subsystems in use on modern commodity hardware, illustrating why CPU caches were developed, how they work, and what programs should do to achieve optimal performance by utilizing them.

[Some parts are obsolete as of 2017.]

“Hideaki Anno Releases Statement About New Evangelion Movies”, Anno 2007

“Hideaki Anno Releases Statement About New Evangelion Movies”⁠, Hideaki Anno (2007-02-20; ; backlinks; similar):

Many different desires are motivating us to create the new “Evangelion” film.

The desire to portray my sincere feelings on film.

The desire to share, with an audience, the embodiment of image, the diversity of expressions, and the detailed portrayal of emotions that animation offers.

The desire to connect today’s exhausted Japanese animation [industry] to the future.

The desire to fight the continuing trend of stagnation in anime.

The desire to support the strength of heart that exists in the world.

Finally, the desire to have these wishes be realized.

For these purposes, we used the best methods available to us to make another Evangelion film.

Many times we wondered, “It’s a title that’s more than 10 years old. Why now?”

“Eva is too old”, we felt.

However, over the past 12 years, there has been no anime newer than Eva.

…As the creator of this project, [I assure you that] a very new-feeling Evangelion world has been constructed.

…Although it seems obvious, we aim to create a form of entertainment that anyone can look forward to; one that people who have never seen Evangelion can easily adjust to, one that can engage audiences as a movie for theatres, and one that produces a new understanding of the world.

“Case Study: Anime Music Videos”, Milstein 2007

2007-milstein.pdf: “Case Study: Anime Music Videos”⁠, Dana Milstein (2007-01-01; backlinks)

“Impotence Culture—Anime”, Murakami 2001

2001-murakami.pdf: “Impotence Culture—Anime”⁠, Takashi Murakami (2001-01-01; ⁠, ; backlinks)

“The Little Engines That Could: Modeling the Performance of World Wide Web Search Engines”, Bradlow & Schmittlein 2000

2000-bradlow.pdf: “The Little Engines That Could: Modeling the Performance of World Wide Web Search Engines”⁠, Eric T. Bradlow, David C. Schmittlein (2000-02-01; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

This research examines the ability of 6 popular Web search engines [AltaVista⁠, Northern Light⁠, Infoseek⁠, Excite⁠, HotBot⁠/​Lycos], individually and collectively, to locate Web pages containing common marketing/​management phrases. We propose and validate a model for search engine performance that is able to represent key patterns of coverage and overlap among the engines.

The model enables us to estimate the typical additional benefit of using multiple search engines, depending on the particular set of engines being considered. It also provides an estimate of the number of relevant Web pages not found by any of the engines. For a typical marketing/​management phrase we estimate that the “best” search engine locates about 50% of the pages, and all 6 engines together find about 90% of the total.

The model is also used to examine how properties of a Web page and characteristics of a phrase affect the probability that a given search engine will find a given page. For example, we find that the number of Web page links increases the prospect that each of the 6 search engines will find it. Finally, we summarize the relationship between major structural characteristics of a search engine and its performance in locating relevant Web pages.

[Keywords: capture-recapture⁠, hierarchical Bayes⁠, marketing information, probability models, World Wide Web]

…Overall, based on the Model 3 estimates in Table 8 (and consistent with Table 1), we can make 5 simple statements concerning the “best engine question”:

  1. Overall, for a randomly chosen marketing phrase and URL, the search engine most likely to find it is AltaVista.
  2. But, Northern Light is a very close second and, in fact, does slightly better than AltaVista in finding managerial phrases.
  3. HotBot is a very respectable third, locating a little over 50%–60% as many URLs as AltaVista or Northern Light.
  4. Excite and Infoseek trail more substantially, locating 20%–30% as many documents as the 2 leading engines.
  5. Lycos found 10%–15% as many documents as the 2 leaders

“12-11-99: Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force Series Supervised By Hideaki Anno”, Newsletter & Web 1999

“12-11-99: Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force Series Supervised By Hideaki Anno”⁠, J-Dream Direct Newsletter, J-Dream Web (1999-12-20; backlinks; similar):

The filming of Japan Self-Defense Force equipment and training, supervised by Gainax director, Hideaki Anno (Evangelion), is being released in Japan on LD and DVD. The first volume: “JUSDF FLEET POWER1—Yokosuka—Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force” went on sale on Nov. 25th. The first volume includes scenes of carrier-based aircraft and asroc shooting and retails for ¥5800

“Plumbing Stanley Kubrick”, Watson 1999

“Plumbing Stanley Kubrick”⁠, Ian Watson (1999; ; backlinks; similar):

[A Scottish writer’s memoir of years working on A.I. Artificial Intelligence & coping with Stanley Kubrick’s eccentricities.

Summoned to Kubrick’s secluded mansion and offered an enormous sum of money, Watson began collaborating on a film idea with Kubrick, who was a perfectionist who demanded endless marathon revisions of possible stories and ideas, only to throw them out and hare off on an entirely different avenue; he would spend extravagantly on travel or books on a topic or demand photos of a particular place or a specific item like a bag on sale only discard them without a second look, perennially challenging his assistants’ patience. (This attitude extended to his films, where he thought nothing of ordering in an entire plastic replica garden, only to decide it was inadequate, discard it, and order real palm trees flown in.) He was a lover of animals like cats, dogs, and birds, requiring a servant to mow grass & deliver it to a cat kept upstairs on a daily basis, although his affection was often quite as harmful as helpful (his generosity in ordering feeding of the birds made them obese). Careless of rough drafts, he’d lose printouts or erase disks, but even more paranoid, he would be infuriated when the local hacker who assisted them with computer problems restored files from backups the hacker had prudently kept. This paranoia further kept him terrified about global geopolitics, such as whether Saddam Hussein would trigger nuclear war in the Middle East.

For all the surreal comedy, when Kubrick dies—A.I still being nowhere near filming, of course—and Watson writes up his memoirs, he finds that he misses Kubrick and “I remain sad that he’s gone.”]

“Proebsting's Law: Compiler Advances Double Computing Power Every 18 Years”, Proebsting 1998

“Proebsting's Law: Compiler Advances Double Computing Power Every 18 Years⁠, Todd Proebsting (1998; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

I claim the following simple experiment supports this depressing claim. Run your favorite set of benchmarks with your favorite state-of-the-art optimizing compiler. Run the benchmarks both with and without optimizations enabled. The ratio of of those numbers represents the entirety of the contribution of compiler optimizations to speeding up those benchmarks. Let’s assume that this ratio is about 4× for typical real-world applications, and let’s further assume that compiler optimization work has been going on for about 36 years. These assumptions lead to the conclusion that compiler optimization advances double computing power every 18 years. QED.

This means that while hardware computing horsepower increases at roughly 60%/​year, compiler optimizations contribute only 4%. Basically, compiler optimization work makes only marginal contributions.

Perhaps this means Programming Language Research should be concentrating on something other than optimizations. Perhaps programmer productivity is a more fruitful arena.

Tokyo: A Certain Style”, Tsuzuki 1997

1997-tsuzuki-tokyoacertainstyle.pdf: Tokyo: A Certain Style⁠, Kyoichi Tsuzuki (1997; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Writer-photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki visited a hundred apartments, condos, and houses, documenting what he saw in more than 400 color photos that show the real Tokyo style—a far cry from the serene gardens, shoji screens, and Zen minimalism usually associated with Japanese dwellings.

In this Tokyo, necessities such as beds, bathrooms, and kitchens vie for space with electronic gadgets, musical instruments, clothes, books, records, and kitschy collectibles. Candid photos vividly capture the dizzying “cockpit effect” of living in a snug space crammed floor to ceiling with stuff. And it’s not just bohemian types and students who must fit their lives and work into tight quarters, but professionals and families with children, too. In descriptive captions, the inhabitants discuss the ingenious ways they’ve adapted their home environments to suit their diverse lifestyles.

“NGE TV, Episode 6: "Showdown in Tokyo-3"/"Rei-3"”, EvaWiki 1995

“NGE TV, Episode 6: "Showdown in Tokyo-3"/"Rei-3"”⁠, EvaWiki (1995-08-11; ; backlinks; similar):

Continuing from the previous episode, the Angel Ramiel is drilling down into the GeoFront to attack Nerv HQ directly. After Shinji barely survived a direct confrontation with it, Misato devises a plan to have Eva-00 and Eva-01 defeat the Angel by sniping it from a distance using a positron rifle which requires the total electric output of Japan to power up…Misato codenames the plan she creates to defeat the Angel Ramiel as “Operation Yashima”.

This is named after the Battle of Yashima which occurred in 1185 in medieval Japan, which also included a feat of conspicuously talented archery.

“Excerpts from the Hideaki Anno/Yoshiyuki Tomino Interview from the Char’s Counterattack Fan Club Book (1993)”, Anno et al 1993-page-4

1993-anno-charscounterattackfanclubbook-khodazattranslation.pdf#page=4: “Excerpts from the Hideaki Anno/Yoshiyuki Tomino interview from the Char’s Counterattack Fan Club Book (1993)”⁠, Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Tomino, trans. kohdazat (1993; similar):

Ogura: Usually he’s [Mamoru Oshii] very critical of other people’s works. Did you hear what he had to say about Porco Rosso?

Anno: Oh, I’m critical of Porco Rosso, myself.

Tomino: What was wrong with Porco?

Anno: As a picture, nothing. But because I know Miyazaki-san personally, I can’t view it objectively. His presence in the film is too conspicuous, it’s no good. In other words… it feels like he’s showing off.

Tomino: How so?

Anno: He has the main character act all self-deprecating, calling himself a pig… but then puts him in a bright red plane, has him smoking all cool-like, even creates a love triangle between a cute young thing and a sexy older lady.

Tomino: Ha! I see what you mean. He and I are around the same age, though. So I get how he feels, unconditionally. So I may think, “Oh boy…” but I can’t stay mad at him (laughs).

“Regionalism in Disney Animation: Pink Elephants and Dumbo”, Langer 1990

1990-langer.pdf: “Regionalism in Disney Animation: Pink Elephants and Dumbo”⁠, Mark Langer (1990; similar):

Walt Disney’s Dumbo (RKO⁠, 1941) is shown to contain two disparate animation traditions operating simultaneously within the Disney studio⁠. Sequences alternate between those presented in Disney’s West Coast style, an expression of the classic Hollywood tradition, and an imported East Coast style, which emphasized artifice, nonlinear narrative, and “rubbery” graphics⁠.

Associated with such New York studios as Fleischer and Van Beuren, the East Coast Style in Dumbo is traced to the contributions of specific New York-trained animators, who were able to operate relatively freely due to Disney’s own lack of involvement [see Disney animators’ strike]. The “Pink Elephants” sequence is analyzed as a major example of the East Coast influence in the film.

“A Grave of Fireflies”, Nosaka 1978

1978-nosaka.pdf: “A Grave of Fireflies”⁠, Akiyuki Nosaka (1978-10-01)

“Intermarriage In Caste Societies”, Davis 1941

1941-davis.pdf: “Intermarriage In Caste Societies”⁠, Kingsley Davis (1941-07; ; backlinks; similar):

Social stratification, whatever its causes, hinges upon certain objective bases or marks—eg. sex, age, birth, race, residence, achievement, and appearance—tangible pegs whereon are hung the more intangible realities of invidious discrimination. This chapter deals with marital selection only in this second sense, being primarily concerned with the interrelation between marriage and caste. It discusses the strange circumstance that despite the intimate dependence of caste stratification upon caste endogamy, intermarriage often occurs in caste societies, sometimes in the highly regularized form of hypergamy. A cardinal principle of every stratified social order is that the majority of those marrying shall marry equals. This rule can be called (according to the type of stratification involved) class, caste, or ständische endogamy. There are forces that oppose rank endogamy. But the principle that stratification in itself necessitates such endogamy remains firm. The chapter also explores actual caste societies and attempts to deal with glaring exceptions (such as hypergamy) which occur in them.

“Rule of Cool”, TVTropes 2022

“Rule of Cool”⁠, TVTropes (; backlinks; similar):

The limit of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to its awesomeness.

Stated another way, all but the most pedantic of viewers will forgive liberties with reality as long as the result is wicked sweet or awesome. This applies to the audience in general; there will naturally be a different threshold for each individual. Also known in some circles as a “rad herring”, in which something doesn’t make sense within the guidelines of the story’s reality, but it’s too cool not to include it…Since it’s subjective, it doesn’t have to be cool in the sense of “Grim reaper on a mountain playing an electric guitar”. The protagonist might not use guns because it’s cooler to have them fight vampires with knives and stakes. You might have Missing Parent Syndrome because it would be weird to have parents with you on a road trip across the country. Basically, Rule of Cool works differently for whichever genre you’re writing for.