Thu. May 30th, 2024

I gave myself the day off today and decided to go into the city for an unnecessary purchase splurge. I, uh, may have overdid it. Here’s what I bought:

    • Ghost In the Shell Man-Machine Interface manga by Shirow Masamune

    • Inuyasha figurine

    • School Idol nenderoid mini figurine: Koizumi Hanayo

    • School Idol keychain fig: Koizumi Hanayo

    • Twice album cards

    • Twice Mina standing doll and key holder

    • Shuna’s Journey manga by Hayao Miyazaki

    • Fierce Bliss LP by Ann Wilson

    • Nijigasaki School Idol bluray

I feel like I have a lot to say about this trip, so I’ll put something up as a blog soon. But the Cliff Notes are, I got the Ghost In the Shell manga at the fabulous Minotaur emporium on Little Collins; the Inuyasha and School Idol figurines at a great new shop called Toka Exchange on Bourke St; the Twice cards and Mina standing doll at the Happy Town kpop store off Bourke; Shuna’s Journey at Readings book store in the State Library; and the Ann Wilson album and Nijigasaki bluray at JB Hifi in Melbourne Central underground. When I got home and did the grand unboxing I discovered my two mystery School Idol box items were for the same character, Koizumi Hanayo, which was some nice symmetry. I didn’t know Happy Town were selling Twice album cards (the much sought after ones that come in the album packaging), and if I had have known, I would have consulted my collection for what I don’t have before the trip. They were $1.50 a pop, so I could’ve gone nuts on them! Anyway, it was a good trip, definitely scratched an itch and shook out some cobwebs (and money).

*

I settled down and watched the first four episodes of Nijigasaki School Idol tonight. This was the 2020 iteration of the franchise, and I hadn’t seen it before. My first thought on starting it was, wow, some of it’s set in Odaiba! I went there last year. That’s where the giant Gundam statue is outside the DiverCity shopping complex. The two main characters, Yu and Ayumu, are shopping there and are seen standing by the needle-like Flame of Liberty statue on the West Promenade in the first scene. I love this! I’m also liking how this story seems to be more about the struggles and formation of this particular school idol club, rather than going almost straight to the School Idol competition – that’s something way in the future for these girls, and they know it. I’m a little confused how School Council President, Setsuna, hid her identity as the former leader of the School Idol Club from her classmates, but it’s not a big deal. I spotted her straight away, even if she was hiding behind fogged glasses and pigtails. By the way, the incidental soundtrack is quite beautiful. Looks like I’m in for another kawaii ride!

*

I started re-reading Gregory Benford’s Timescape, as I mentioned I would yesterday. What strikes me this time is how much the story reminds me of Isaac Asimov‘s The God’s Themselves. The two connecting timelines he writes about are like the two connecting dimensions or universes Asimov wrote about in that book. Benford, a practicing astrophysicist, wrote a terrific sequel to Asimov’s Foundation books, Foundation’s Fear, and is clearly immersed in that lore. But, sorry Isaac, he’s a much better writer, especially when it comes to characters. His writing is so measured and attuned to the details of ordinary life – although what he’s writing about is an extraordinary situation. Revelations about what is happening come about through mundane conversations and passing descriptions. He doesn’t hit the reader over the head with exposition. I’m really enjoying settling in on this ride again, before I get into the sequel.

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