Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Heart-Melters #10 - Kiki

Ah yes...time for another peek into my terribly complicated private life. Today I shall reveal to you something that is somewhat dear to my heart: The Heart-Melters. I can't explain why, but ever since I entered high school I've been attracted to females from fictional media: cartoons, anime, video games etc. There are hundreds of ones I found attractive, but overall, ten of those characters stand out for number of reasons: looks, personality etc. They are: The Heart-Melters.

I'm going to be posting the things I originally wrote back on February 26-28, 2005, August 21, 2006, and December 2, 2006. Originally the entries were posted in chronological order, but this time I'm going to take a different route: in overall strength of the Heart-Melter. This is measured in three different ways: by intensity of the heart-melting, length of the heart-melting, and how the number of recurring heart-melting (ie, how many times the character melts my heart after the conclusion of a previous period of heart-melting). I didn't really have a formula to measure all this, rather I ranked everybody and summed the ranking to come up with a score, and the final ranking comes from this score. And so we'll be working our way from #10 to #1.


Who is She?
In an alternate Europe spared from the devastating effects of World War II and where being a witch was a rare but dominant allele, a young witch was required to leave home at the age of 13 and make a living for a year in another town, preferably in a place without other witches. Kiki is one of those witches. She had just celebrated her thirteenth birthday, and is waiting for a good day to do her required year outside of home, hopefully in a city next to the sea. When the weather forecast promised a night of clear weather, Kiki knew it was time to go. And lo, her adventure into the unknown world outside of her village had began. Yet things went awry even from the beginning. The wonderful weather that the weatherman promised turned out to be a lie. (Or perhaps hapless Kiki had left the area of beautiful weather and entered a storm front). The ideal city that she had desired greeted her with animosity. And don't even talk about the freaky nerdy stalker. But armed with an optimistic outlook and a broom, Kiki is ready to tackle these problems head-on. She finds shelter, friendship, and a job with a gentle baker's wife, and begins a delivery service. Things were going well, until her positive outlook became shattered.

Kiki's Influence (Sometime in Winter 2003-Early 2004)
Of all eight Heart-Melters, Kiki may be the one that I had felt the least actual "attraction" towards. I mean, she was cute and all, and she melted my heart, but she did not tug on my heartstrings at all. If you hadn't guessed already, Kiki is the heroine of Miyazaki's legendary 1989 film, Majo no Takkyubin...known in America as Kiki's Delivery Service...with music by Joe Hisaishi. (Joe Hisaishi is a brilliant genius!) Back in 1995, it was the first Miyazaki movie I had seen, but believe it or not, I saw only once in the 1990s. I was not really much of a Miyazaki fan back then, although virtually every anime that I've seen before I became a Pokemon fan were Miyazaki movies. I did not become a major Miyazaki fan until I saw Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) in 2002. After that, I became hooked on Ghibli. In 2002, seven years after I saw Majo no Takkyubin for the first time...I saw it for the second time. It was compelling to see how much my memory had distorted the plot. Strangely enough, even though I went seven years without watch her movie, I had always considered Kiki the cutest of the Ghibli heroines.

Ever since my mom purchased the R3 copy of the Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi DVD during my family's 2002 Taiwan trip, I became more and more engaged in Ghibli works. In late 2002, I found myself heading to KaZaA (...) to download other Ghibli movies, and my main Christmas present for 2002 was a set of bootlegged Ghibli films. In April 2003, I purchased 2 of the three R1 Miyazaki movies that came out, and the trio was completed when my sister (MwrulesC) received a R1 copy of Majo no Takkyubin. In the summer of 2003, I borrowed R3 DVDs from a family friend, which I used to complete the "Screenshot Project," which consists of taking a screenshot for every single shot in a Ghibli movie. I had completed Majo no Takkyubin in the 12 days between July 13 and July 25, 2003, so I had 1,302 pics (97MB) from the movie, of which at least 800 were of Kiki. Yet unlike with Shiori Fujisaki, I did not use these pictures to satisfy my desire to see Kiki, probably because I never really have that desire.

The Age of Kiki...

So I never felt attracted to Kiki. Does that mean she did not have an age of her own? Not necessarily. There was a period of time when Kiki was relatively dominant in my life. This time period came probably during my Taiwan trip from December 17, 2003 to January 10, 2004. On December 22, 2003, I went on a shopping spree with my uncle, who bought several Ghibli DVDs, including Majo no Takkyubin. With several R3 Ghibli DVDs to use with my R3 laptop DVD player, I had access to Kiki that I never had before. During this time, I felt attracted to the movie in a way that I had not felt before. I watched the movie several times and flipped through the 1,302 pictures that were in my laptop's hard drive. The crowning moment came when I spent several hours going over my pictures from the movie to create a Kiki collage/desktop wallpaper with over 100 Kiki pics. It was a brilliant thing, but it was demolished when my hard drive was erased. I had a JPG of it on Geocities, but I don't know where it is, and I can't even get to it because PageBuilder is being a Richard!

On January 10, 2004, I left Taiwan. With that, I returned to the stresses of college and the allure of NSider chat. I eventually found myself thinking less and less of Kiki. She is still cute and her movie is still awesome, but she just was not the Heart-Melter that she once was. However, her presence remains on the record.

Strength: 10 - As I said, I never really felt attracted to her, but she melted my heart with the combination of her sweet nature and the self-doubt that gives her some complexity.

Duration: 9 - While I've thought Kiki was cute for years, since I first saw the movie in 1995, the actual time where Kiki melted my heart was rather short. It came in the middle of the Taiwan trip, in the last few days of 2003, and was over by the time I went back to college, so about half a month. It's not the shortest, but not very long either.

Recurrence: 9- After January 2004, I slowly drifted away from my Studio Ghibli fanaticism, and the possibilities of a recurring heart-melting campaign died along with it. It's really a pity. She's not at the very bottom because I still like Kiki as a character. I can't really say that about #10 in this category.

Overall: 28 - Kiki never really had much of a chance. Sure, she had a great personality and is very cute, she essentially survives only in the middle of a 105-minute movie, and didn't quite capture my attention like some of the other characters. That's not to say Kiki's a failure in any means. Just being in this list is more than many others can claim, but there are nine others that ranks higher. Who will they be?

Next up: Wildcat high school student gone crazy

Friday, January 11, 2008

Random Rumblings About Baseball Hall of Fame Vote

Well, Tuesday was the day the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the results of the Hall of Fame voting. To nobody's surprise, the only person elected was Rich "Goose" Gossage, the former reliever for the White Sox, Yankees, and Padres. I did have some thoughts about the results, but never wrote them down because I was so busy playing Phoenix Wright. Now that I'm finished with Trials & Tribulations, I guess I can finally share my thoughts.


  • A candidate needs 75% of the vote to be elected. Gossage was elected with 85.8% of the vote. At first glance, there's nothing wrong with that, but upon further inspection, a few interesting tidbits stand out.

  • Gossage got 71.2% of the vote last year. This meant that his vote totals rose by 14.6%. Of the 14 players who were on the ballot both years, Gossage had the LARGEST INCREASE IN VOTE PCT, .4% more than the 14.2% increase Bert Blyleven had.

  • Gossage's 85.8% is the largest induction pct. by anybody not elected in their first year on the ballot since Duke Snider was elected with 86.5% of the vote in 1980. 1980 was the year Gossage allowed a 3-run home run to George Brett in the ALCS.

  • Even though Gossage's 9-year wait is 2nd longest out of the five relievers in the Hall, his 85.8% is the highest by any of the five.
  • Rich "Goose" Gossage: 85.8%, 2008
    Hoyt Wilhelm: 83.8%, 1985
    Dennis Eckersley: 83.2%, 2004
    Rollie Fingers: 81.2%, 1992
    Bruce Sutter: 76.9%, 2006


Many call Bert Blyleven the best pitcher not in the Hall. He has a 287-250 career record, with 3,701 strikeouts and 60 shutouts and a 3.31 ERA while playing most of his career in the American League. Many people refuse to vote for Blyleven because of his lack of Cy Young votes and All-Star appearances, although because he doesn't bring about the same vibe as guys like Nolan Ryan or Tom Seaver. Well, those guys were first-ballot inductees, meaning they were the tip of the iceberg. If you're going to compare people with first-ballot inductees, nobody's going to get into the Hall of Fame. This brings up the entire question with what the Hall of Fame is all about, which I don't want to get into.

Anyways, it's Blyleven's 11th year on the ballot, and he was below 50% as recently as last year. Before the vote, I felt that if he ever hopes to get elected, he needs at least 60% of the vote, because not only would that be recovering the 7% that abandoned him for Ripken and Gwynn, but also picking up an extra 7%. That may give him the momentum he needs to get 75% by his 15th and final year in 2012. And well, he had 61.9%. It's still tentative, because the 38% that didn't vote for him may not be easily swayed, but it provides some hope for Blyleven fans.


Two players did not get a single vote. Jose Rijo is understandable, because when he was on the ballot for the first time in 2001, he only got 1. He had since made a comeback, and I guess a 5-4 record with a 4.21 ERA is enough to drive away that one voter. The other is a bit of a surprise: Brady Anderson. You'd think a writer from Baltimore would have put Brady on his ballot. Players who came 1 vote off from getting 0 votes were Shawon Dunston, Chuck Finley (somewhat of a surprise), David Justice (also a surprise), Chuck Knoblauch, and Todd Stottlemyre. Rod Beck, Travis Fryman, and Robb Nen got 2 votes. Needless to say, they won't be back on the ballot in 2009.


Anyways, I made a graph displaying the voting trends from all of the players that appeared on the ballot for more than one year since 1992. 252 players had been on the ballot since 1992. Of those 252, 180 didn't get to 5% to get on the ballot for the following year, and 16 were elected in their first years. 4 players made their final appearances in 1992. That left 52 players for the sample. I listed their percentages on each ballot and plotted the results onto Excel.

A few notes.

  • If you can't tell, there are a lot more players that get below 30% of the vote, but 30% is still 30%. If I made the graph normally, then most of the action would be squished in the bottom 30% and you wouldn't get to see the minute but important rise and falls of certain players, which is what the graph was trying to capture. So I made the bottom 1/3 the players with 1-10%, the middle 1/3 the players with 10-30%, and the upper 1/3 the players with over 30%.
  • The BBWAA as a whole seems to focus more attentions on certain players now than in the 1990s. Only 4 players in the sample received over 50% of the vote in the 7 years between 1992-1999. There were 7 in the 8 years between 2000-2008. You can tell based on the mass confusion on the upper right of the graph compared to the upper left. And this isn't because there are more players on the ballot now. This sample contained 18 players from 1992, 19 players from 1998, 19 players from 2002, and 14 players from 2008. Now that I think about it, the decrease in choices may be leading to this effect.
  • It must suck to be Jim Rice. Gossage is the 4th players to receive a lower pct. than Rice at one point to be elected to the Hall. The others were Gary Carter (1998, 2000), Ryne Sandberg (2003), and Bruce Sutter (1996-2003).
    I haven't calculated the actual data, but just by looking at the graph, there are four years with massive dips in the voting percentages: 1994 (the year of Steve Carlton), 1999 (the year of George Brett, Nolan Ryan, and Robin Yount), and 2007 (the year of Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, Jr.).
  • I have no idea how voting worked before 1998 (the year I started following the Hall of Fame vote.) A candidate is supposed to fall off the ballot if he fails to get 5% of the vote, but as you can tell, three players (Don Baylor, Vida Blue, and George Foster) failed to get 5% in 1994 but appeared on the ballot in 1995.
  • Dwight Evans and Orel Hershiser were major losers. They went from getting over 10% in one year to under 5% the next. Of course, Evans' fall came in 1999 while Hershiser's came in 2007.
  • If anybody is able to create a webpage where you can pick and choose which players you want to appear on the graph, please tell me. It could reduce the clutter that you see in the early 1990s.