The Olympics began in spectacular fashion today, with the United States' women's soccer team coming from two goals behind to win 4-2 against a strong French team. Japan also won, 2-1, in their opening game, so all is right with the world.
Tomorrow men's soccer begins. The USA didn't qualify, but Japan did so I'll still have someone to cheer for. And the day after that the rest of the Olympics begin. The greatest spectacle in the modern world, for the first time being given the coverage it deserves. Instead of a few carefully edited 'highlights' of the games being shown after the evening news, which is all the Olympics were in the previous generation, cable television has given us the ability to watch every event in full, whatever takes our fancy is ours to behold. Thousands, tens of thousands of media personnel are working night and day to deliver the games to the world. And now with HD television we can see the Games as well as if we were really there. The Olympics is the ultimate viewing experience -- previous Olympiads were great for athletes, but these Olympics are a gift to the spectators. NBC is going 100 million dollars in the red to deliver the games to its viewers, with virtually no commercial interruptions. If that isn't customer satisfaction I don't know what is. It's our Olympics now.
Meanwhile, Blizzard has announced that their new World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, will be released September 25th. Before then, the pre-release patch (5.0.4) will get the game up to speed with the new mechanics and world events, which means August will be virtually as exciting as September for players.
Meanwhile, the newest Pretty Cure Dx movie is out, as is the K-On movie. While the Precure movie is pretty bland, the K-On movie is extraordinary. It's basically a retelling of the ending of the second season, with ridiculously good graphics, music, and humor combined with a load of nostalgia and sentiment that will leave any K-On fan struggling against tears. The trip to London is of course wonderful, but the heart of the story is really the senior's graduation day, as it's always been since the very beginning of the second season of K-On. I can't even call this movie filler -- though it isn't based on the manga, it's so true to the manga and the characters that you really feel like it was simply an oversight or the author didn't mention it, but nonetheless it must have happened exactly the way the movie showed it did. This is a truly valuable addition to the K-On universe, and likely the last one, and therefore an absolute viewing must.
Not to be left out, new To Heart, Code Geass, Papa no Iukoto, Tamayura, Idolmaster, and other series have given us an extra bonus episode this July, AKB0048 ended with a splendid bang and the promise of a new season next year (2013 just keeps looking sicker and sicker, anime wise), the Nanoha A's movie has come out in Japan, and Squid Girl is getting a new episode in just a few days.
Saimoe 2012 continues as well. As I predicted, Nodoka won her first preliminary group, and Saki is nearly sweeping the board on all fronts. But Nagi won her preliminary, Shana won hers, and Yui got 4th in hers, so not all hope is lost. We'll probably have to admit rather quickly that Saki has won this Saimoe contest. Saki seems to have an overwhelming number of fans, and it's only a question of which character will eventually rise to the top out of the Saki world. That's fine. Saki is almost exclusively about girls, dozens of girls all playing Mahjong. All the girls are cute and cool. And Saki is my 32nd favorite anime ever. It seems like a very reasonable series to get behind, and far more deserving than those dumb dolls from Rozen Maiden.
New anime releases, new WoW patches, new Saimoe tourney results, and more days full of Olympic champions all await us in August -- the pace set in July won't slacken in the least in the days to come. So brace yourselves, get a good couch, and enjoy!