Today's Gaming: "I'm stuck in colonial times, tentacles are taking over the world, and now the toilet's backing up." I dug out the old laptop, found the power cables, and gave up trying to find the mouse. The computer wasn't happy with the memory situation, and I didn't save quite as often as I should have, but I don't think I lost too much progress when the game crashed. I saw some new cutscenes I'd never seen before. Unfortunately, I forgot to screw up the kite part to hear Ben Franklin's classic line. Oh well. At least this time I recognized the whole kite scene as a Star Wars reference. Yes, I was THAT out of it when I last played. And I just realized that a proper Wii port of Maniac Mansion, using the remote as a pointer instead of the directional pad, would be the coolest thing ever.
I've figured out what it is that bothers me so much about the Cromartie High School anime. Bear with me for a bit while I explain. In my youth, around the time I was in high school, I held two fallacious beliefs, neither of which is dangerous in itself, but the two put together formed a dangerous combination: First, that humor could improve absolutely anything, and second, that random things were funny. I would actually sneak up behind the people doing long, boring presentations in history classes and do shadow puppets or use props in any way I could think of. I wouldn't do anything at all unless I thought it was funny - and more often than not, I was wrong. I would, of course, have to sacrifice meaningful content for humor, but I considered that an improvement. And I wondered why I got such lousy grades. Sometime during my college education, or shortly thereafter, I learned what really made things funny, and how to survive boring tasks without resorting to humor even when I knew it really WAS funny. Unfortunately, the people who created the Cromartie High School anime have yet to learn that lesson. I grant that the Cromartie manga, probably one of the best examples of humor I've ever seen, relies largely on long stretches of terse dialogue to set up a hilarious joke, providing visuals no more entertaining than closeups of talking heads. But that's what makes its humor so great. You can almost forget that they're just setting up a joke and get involved in the story. And the jokes make up in quality for anything they might lack in quantity. The anime, on the other hand, has constant background animation that makes no sense, isn't at all funny, and ultimately detracts from the humor that should be focused in the punchlines. I'm not entirely against background gags from time to time, but when the backgrounds appear to have been done by a five-year-old who feels that his credits were insufficient and wants his work to take priority over the anime itself, that's just incredibly sad. Pani Poni Dash pulls it off because the randomness is the focus of the humor, and even then, I think it goes over the top sometimes. The Cromartie staff ruined the original intent of the work entirely, and I can't imagine how much the reviewers must have been paid to give positive endorsements. They must not have read the manga and thus managed to pick up on the original humor amidst the drabble.
I'm going to go watch some more of this DVD in an effort to finish it as quickly as possible and move on to better things. I have an antivirus CD that I should probably install soon, but I'm relying on the old definitions for the moment, combined with my own system for virus avoidance: Don't be a dumbass when using the computer. It's always worked for me.