Even anime girls Lost in Space need some quality time on a beach in order to relax and soak up some sunshine…
Special edition fanservice review. Read all about it…
Plot summary from ANN:
In the year 2063, travelling through space has become commonplace. Eight students from Caird High School, along with one child, set out for a school camp on a nearby planet. However, the students are then mysteriously transported 5,000 light years away from home, with no way to call for help. Aboard an abandoned spaceship they call the Astra, these nine students slowly try to make their way back and figure out why they were transported in the first place. (from manga)
manga, science fiction, space, shounen
Title and summary from Wikipedia:
After the group recovers, they credit Yunhua’s singing for helping keep them alive, and find out that she is the daughter of the famous singer Lucy Lum. To symbolize her growth, Yunhua has her hair cut short. They then manage to find a stable food source and leave Shummoor. Meanwhile, back home, the authorities have all but given up on finding the missing students after an exhaustive search on McPa. The parents of the missing students meet and consider whether they should declare their children legally dead. Only Aries’ mom is genuinely concerned while the other parents are quick to accept the decision to stop the search. The man in sunglasses that Funicia talked about earlier is silently sitting off to the side of the room. The only parent missing is Luca’s father, Marco, who is a powerful and controversial government official. Back in space, the group has landed on the oceanic world of Arispade, which they consider a paradise. Food is plentiful and Charce discovers all life on the planet reproduces via parthenogenesis. Quitterie starts teasing Aries about her feelings for Kanata, convincing her to try and confess to him. However, Kanata misunderstands Aries’ words, angering her. Luca and Ulgar go fishing, with Luca trying to get Ulgar to open up, though Ulgar is shocked to learn the identity of Luca’s father. Later that evening, the group has a picnic to celebrate their last night on Arispade when Ulgar appears with his gun and holds Luca at gunpoint.
It’s a special edition fanservice review of one episode. With an unexpected and all-too-brief beach scene. Which isn’t even mentioned in the episode summary. LOL. It’s probably best to let the images and video clips speak for themselves without going into a lot of detail for an anime that may not be reviewed again.
WebMs (WebM Album)
Gotta go with a few stitches and snapshots from other episodes. Unfortunately, hardly any of the bloggers that I follow are making media for Kanata no Astra. Hard to blame them since this anime is letterboxed… 🙁
Check out the links to AniDB and ANN if you want to learn more about the characters and story.
The dialogue can be amusing at times. Check out the snapshots with subs.
Let’s be honest here. Watch Kanata no Astra because of the plot and not for the PLOT. To their credit, the staff does balance story with comedy and eye candy including sexy spacesuits for the girls. It’s nice watching a serious anime that’s still friendly to the male gaze…
Technical challenges and cost-cutting. That seems to be the theme to the programming notes for this special edition fanservice review.
(TL;DR version: Letterboxing black bars have been removed from all media for this review. This post tries to be more mobile friendly by using jpgs for display images and pngs only for link-to images. The original uploaded png images and webms, or something very close to them, are still on the servers but harder to access directly due to cost-cutting measures.)
I’m a fan of making our posts more mobile friendly. Which is easier said than done when using older technology. This review follows up on the work started by Ares02 (from a suggestion by IHaveNoName) in Miru Tights: Fanservice Review Episode 2. Where all display images are jpg and link-to images are “png”, With a caveat, of course, which I will go into a little bit later. With the technical challenge being to find a less labor intensive method for authors. A WordPress plugin would be ideal but we haven’t found a good fit yet. However, I think I have come up with a way that is workable. So, for this review, all browser “Open image in new tab” should be jpg and all “Open link in new tab” should be “png”. I used jpeg image quality of 80% because that made the jpgs approximately 1/10th the size of the pngs for the same image. Since the vast majority of images from this post viewed in a browser should be jpg, page load times should improve significantly. What’s interesting is that I optimized all pngs before uploading with an approx 10% savings in file size which should make the overall file sizes roughly the same as pngs compressed to level 9 using XnConvert or XnView. So the overall size uploaded should close to the same as if this review had used level 9 pngs which a good number of fapsevice reviews do. But once again, most images viewed in your browser should be jpg instead of png.
I’m not a fan of letterboxing. That’s putting it mildly. I can’t stand black bars on videos and images. So I had no plans to make media for Kanata no Astra. Then the beach scene happened. With best girl, Quitterie, in a sexy white bikini of all things. So I took on the challenge of creating clean video and clean images without black bars. Straightforward for images using XnConvert. Except for snapshots with subs which had to be moved off the black bars via PotPlayer settings. Fairly tricky for WebMs using WebMforRetards since it’s pretty basic by design. Then, of all things, Gfycat.com added black bars back for displaying video even though the WebMs do not have black bars. But with some tinkering, I was able to tweak the Gfycat embed code to display in HD without black bars. Just be aware that removing the black bars turns 720p media into 580p. And that there is some 720p media without black bars which was left as is. Actually, there was another display resolution for a scene showing video on a laptop. I opted to drop that scene entirely since it was extra work for just a few non-fanservice images.
I’m also not a fan of websites where what you upload is significantly different from what you download for the same media file. That usually means a significant reduction in quality via overcompression. That basically undoes the time and effort in creating and uploading high quality media. What’s the point then? Especially when it should be possible to have both high quality originals for downloading and lower quality copies for displaying as discussed above. And as done by a lot of booru sites. The good news is that over time, we have been able to minimize that difference for both fapservice.com and gfycat.com to where there is no significant difference between the two. The bad news is that over time, both servers have been adding more and more cost-cutting. It’s hard to blame them since hosting costs just seem to keep going up and up. Fortunately, the uploaded media is still there without significant changes. It’s just getting more challenging to download what was actually uploaded instead of a degraded copy intended for displaying over the Internet cheaper and faster. But that’s like letting web devs and web admins decide what versions of photographs can be downloaded instead of the actual photographers. Not smart. Especially when there should be a way to do both.
For saving the original WebMs (or something very close to it), it depends on whether you are on fapservice.com or gfycat.com when you attempt to save the WebM. If on fapservice.com, play the video for a little bit then right-click on the video and select “Save video as…” from the context menu (or use the hotkey shortcut if there is one). You do have to play the video first although you can pause it after that. This works because the embed code enables HD mode when the default is now SD. If you are on gfycat.com, then look for the gear to the lower right of the video and click on it until it says HD. Then right-click the video and select “Save video as…”. The video file that is being saved from either server should end in .webm not .mp4.
For saving the original png images, it starts with right-clicking the image and selecting “Open link in new tab”. (Or click the middle mouse button with some browsers.) Unfortunately, this doesn’t take you directly to the original image. The URL probably looks something like this:
However, the URL for the original image really should look like this:
The i0.wp.com portion of the first URL is actually a WordPress image proxy server as are i1.wp.com, i2.wp.com, etc. I did some spot checking on fapservice.com and found that some of the image proxy version of the pngs were approximately 30% of original file size. Which is a big problem. Since PNG compression is supposed to be lossless which means there is only so much compression that can be done before it becomes lossy and that depends on the original compression but the max is closer to 60% of original for lower compression levels and 80% – 90% of original size for higher compression levels. 30% of original file size is simply not possible unless the compression is lossy. In which case, it’s no longer a png image but rather a jpg image since jpgs are meant to be lossy. Yet the WordPress image proxy server calls it a png instead of a jpg which is essentially false advertising.
If you are only trying to download a few images, you can manually remove the i*.wp.com/ part of the URL. But that becomes laborious for a lot of images. In that case, you’ll need to find a programmatic solution which could be a browser extension or a smart download manager. Even then you might need to do a little scripting such as putting together a macro. Unfortunately, the browser extension I have been using went to a pay model and while I was fortunate enough to be grandfathered, that doesn’t help new users. And the last smart downloader I used was ImageHostGrabber which was powerful but complicated. But it has been years since I last used it. If you have something that works for you, please do mention it in the comments. Further discussion is for another time and place. If you have additional questions, please ask them in the comments or head over to the FapService Discord (FSD) and ask you questions there.