Author Archive for Jamie Spong

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Caving In

♪ All the people are so happy now, their heads are caving in

I’m glad they are a snowman with protective rubber skin… ♫

There’s something that’s been bothering me about a lyric from a They Might Be Giants song.

The song is Nothing’s Gonna Change My Clothes and it’s the first line in the song. My problem with it is that it’s too ambiguous.

I’ve thought about it for a while, and I’ve narrowed-down three plausible interpretations of the line “the people are so happy now their heads are caving in”.

  1. “The people are so happy now. On an unrelated note, their heads are caving in.” There is no direct correlation between the people’s happiness and the caving in of their heads.
  2. “The people are so happy, now, that their heads are caving in.” In other words, the people’s heads are caving in as a result of their currently high levels of happiness.
  3. “The people are so happy now because their heads are caving in.” A reversal of 2; in this case, the people’s heads caving in causes them to be happy.

Further inspection of the liner notes of Then: The Earlier Years reveals that the lyric is written with a comma after the word “now”. This would suggest that interpretation 3 is incorrect. However, we are still left with two possible interpretations of the line. Are people really suffering from caved-in heads due to extreme joy? And what exactly is meant by “caving in”? Are their heads literally collapsing or are they merely suffering from debilitating headaches?

Moreover, why are they a snowman? And how?

Carrots to this. I’m done. ㋼

They Might Be Giants’ new album, Join Us, is released on the 19th of July; a preview EP is available now. They will be appearing in London at KOKO on July the 15th. See you there.

Wish Upon the Pleiades: A Subaru & Gainax Collab

The world of anime distribution is changing. But while us English-speaking viewers can enjoy all that Crunchyroll has to offer, the move to online consumption is happening a lot slower for Japanese end-users. Still, Black★Rock Shooter attempted to shake up the industry by distributing free copies of itself with magazines and merchandise (and by releasing an import-friendly Blu-ray Disc edition at a relatively reasonable price). So now we have popular animation studio Gainax trying something a little different by creating an online-only one-off episode commissioned by Subaru.

The result is Wish Upon the Pleiades (放課後のプレアデス, or Hōkago no Pleiades). One would assume, being sponsored by a car manufacturer, that said show would be about driving. Y’know, like Initial D or something. But no, that just wouldn’t cut it! Yes, Magical Girls are back in fashion this season, so what better way to promote your range of automobiles than with a cute, colourful cartoon that has nothing to do with cars?

Perhaps I’m jumping the gun here. It’s more representative of the Subaru brand than the Subaru product line; the word Subaru, as well as being the name of the main character, is the Japanese word for the Pleiades star cluster – hence the name of the show – and the girls do get to ride around on some magic wands that make engine noises… Yeah. It’s probably better if you just watch it first. And, thanks to a wonderful lack of region locking, you can! Right now!

They even provided English subtitles! That was nice of them. Not that you need them to tell what’s going on: A girl stumbles upon a secret room in her school, meets a boy…

In the second part, she stumbles upon another secret room in her school, discovers a secret extra-curricular club that one of her friends is in, joins said club, becomes a Magical Girl…

It covers a surprisingly decent amount of character and story development for just one episode. Some shows’d take months to get this far.

So that’s Pleiades. I enjoyed it! It’s cute, it’s charming, it tells a nice story, it’s brevitic, the soundtrack is nice… The ending kinda reminded me of Black★Rock Shooter in the way that the title character defeated the bad guy with the Power of Friendship, but it’s a nice ending nonetheless. (I also detected some hints of Nanatsuiro Drops and the works of Makoto Shinkai in there, but they’re not that noticeable.) I’m not sure how well it works as an advert for Subaru, but it did give me that primal urge to purchase Pleiades-related merchandise. I guess that we can call it a success!

Your move, Honda. Put that power of dreams to use and sponsor a cartoon of your own! ㋼