This felt like the longest week I've had in a long time. I was so tired by the end of the day on Friday -- then Alisa reminded me that it was the elementary school picnic. Ugh.
A week or two ago, I discovered dattebayo.com (DB), a website that does fan-subbing of Naruto (and other things). I've been a big fan of Naruto for several months. I had been aware that there were crappy versions of Naruto episodes available on youtube, but the ones at DB are super high quality -- better than broadcast TV, I think. And the subtitling is *way* better than the commercial crap they push off on US audiences. Well, I don't know that for sure -- I have no way to independently verify how good the translations really are. But they *feel* better: they include mild expletives like "damn" and "hell" and "pissed off" that seem right -- way more right than what viz media does for cartoon network.
When I found DB, I decided I finally had to get up to speed with bittorrent. I've been living with my head in the sand with respect to bittorrent for a couple of years. A few searches later and I found that Miro (formerly Democracy Player) can do bittorrent! So I've been using Miro to watch Naruto Shippuuden episodes with 4/5 of the family (the oryx turns up her snout at Naruto). The rest of us have been screaming with laughter and having a great time watching Naruto. So today, when I saw that boingboing was calling for people to support Miro, I ponied up $20 instantly. Miro really is great software and has worked flawlessly for me. I can't wait to see what's going to be next.
I've finally put my finger on what I like about Naruto. Part of it is that I like the characters and their flaws: the ero-sannin (or pervy sage) is just screamingly funny. The characters are allowed to have flaws that in US media you just don't see -- at least not without a lot of moralizing. Here, the characters are just accepted for what they are. But the larger issue is that the show is about how the never-give-up attitude that Naruto has infects the people around him. Most of the story arcs are about people who have given up or checked out at some level. When they meet Naruto, he acts as a mirror and they see themselves and their weakness reflected in his decision to never say die, to never give up. When Tsunade, broken after having lost her brother and her lover, sees their passion and dreams embodied in Naruto and makes the decision to support him, she says, "One last time... I want to put my hopes in you...just one last time." And I get choked up just thinking about it. I guess it's not for everyone, but I can't get enough.