Friday, November 5

Weekend Warriors

Thanks to an upcoming business pitch, we've had to come in to the office on a Saturday. At the very least though, we were able to come in after lunch. I think it's vital to have a bit of rest before a bout of overtime like this, for sanity's sake. Anyway, I wasn't able to log in any DOAU game time last night... too tired. After work, I'll try to meet up with the gang and hopefully we'll be able to watch a special screening of The Incredibles. That should be a nice reward for a day's work.

Thursday, November 4

Indrid Cold

Last night, while I was playing DOA Ultimate on my Xbox, I noticed high up on a wall in the corner of The Sanctum was a moth. It was a big, yellow moth. Not your usual brown, wide-winged mariposa, but it was an insect nonetheless. It sat there, unmoving as moths do, or don't as the case may be. This is a sign that I have been letting the upkeep of my realm a bit awry. I'm really a stickler for clean, believe it or not. And I regularly do try to keep things tidy and organized and neat. However, the past couple of weeks has my VCDs in a jumble, games and doo-hickies all about, and mags piled up where I should be drawing artwork. I think the moth's a sign that I should schedule a clean-up this weekend in between DOA gameplay and KIA pages or something bad's going to happen.
BTW, Indrid Cold is the name of "The Mothman", an urban legend and contemporary mythical monster that appeared in America up to recent years- an eight-foot tall, shadowy winged humanoid with burning red eyes that seemed to enjoy peeking into houses and disturbing couples making out in shadowy fields. The Mothman was the subject of the Richard Gere movie The Mothman Prophecies. The film was pretty cluttered and heavy-handed, giving the obscure myth the power to read minds and cause disasters while on the side tormenting a Washington Post reporter (Gere) with visions of his dead wife. I actually liked the quirky film, urban legends and monster film buff that I am.

Anyway, in the morning the moth was gone. Was it a figment of my DOA-infused imagination, or was it a true portent of the future? We may never know...
Dream Smells

In dreams, sight is often blurred, and sound is more often felt rather than actually heard. Touch and taste are almost non-existent. But smell... DAMN smell seems to strike at you full force.
My dream last night had me going down a walkway which seemed to be a cross between the area outside my high school's auditorium and some street in Cubao. For some reason, dog shit and other charnal material littered the concrete, and I swear I could SMELL it. It almost makes me want to take a shower immediately after I wake up (which I do, anyway). What was the dream about? Can't remember. But the smell stays, strangely enough. Weird.
My cousin the cosplayer

Jeremy and his girl Kathy strike a pose.

Jeremy is not only my cousin and a regular in contributing art to my comics; he's also a crazy cosplayer! Well, having someone who likes dressing up as cartoon characters may be something a lot of people wouldn't want to trumpet around... but in this case, it's pretty cool. Recently, Jeremy and his friends went off to an event dressed us as members of the Crazy 88 from Kill Bill Volume 1. Since Jeremy's Asian, he pulls it off- though he kinda looks like the kid who gets spanked by The Bride at the end of the battle. Meanwhile, his girl Kathy isn't Go Go Yubari with an eyepatch- she's dressed up as Ryomou Shimei, the cold and deadly schoolgirl grappler from the anime Ikki Tousen (aka Battle Vixens) who's a cross between Sakura from Streetfighter and Royce Gracie from the UFC. And she really looks the part, too!

Just keep having fun, Jeremy! And keep the great art coming.

Wednesday, November 3

Got it.


At long last, I finally have my copy of DOA Ultimate. The 2-disc set comes in a neat paper sleeve that doesn't feel all too durable, but it looks nice. Each disc (DOA1 and DOA2 Ultimate) comes in its own DVD case, and has nice funky artwork all about. Included in the set are a couple of trading cards with ninja girls Ayane and Kasumi on them. Coolness.
I've been waiting for this game forever. Korea and US got the game last week, and now I have it, several days later. The game shop pulled through and I got my grubby hands on the game just after lunch. Right now it's taking all my professional expertise to keep me from running home and playing till my eyes bleed. I'll try to have a review up soon, maybe after I unlock a couple of dozen costumes. Heh.

Tuesday, November 2

Gaming Bits and Bytes

Resident Evil 4 is coming to PS2! Though announced some time ago that their flagship survival-horror title would be exclusive to Nintendo, Capcom has announced the PS2 version of the latest RE game. Perhaps it's in no small part to the fact that the partnership between Capcom and the Big 'N' hasn't been stellar in terms of profits, and has been rife with cancelled titles. I haven't played a good RE title in years since Code Veronica... can't wait for the RE4. The latest title, which is still unreleased, stars RE2 hero and former cop-turned-special agent Leon Kennedy as he goes on a mission to find a mysterious girl in a creepy, hostile village. He soon finds himself neck-deep in ruthless, murderous villagers, giant monsters, dark cultists and more blood and gore than you can shake a pitchfork at. Looks yummy! The PS2 version of RE4 is set for a late 2005 release.

Nobuo Uematsu, the musical maestro behind the tunes of Final Fantasy, has left Square of Japan, joining a new musical enterprise called Smile, Please. The new company creates music for various videogame companies.

The first Final Fantasy title for the PSP has been announced! It's titled Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, and it's an action RPG and the 4th entry in the 'Compilation of FFVII' series. Wow, Square is going all-out in their retro-revolution with FFVII. Just goes to show how sucky all the succeeding FFs (with the exception perhaps of FFX) were compared to FFVII. It's not yet known what the game mechanics are, or which FFVII characters will be starring in Crisis Core. Previously announced games/titles in the Compilation of FFVII series are the PS2 game FFVII: Dirge of Cerebus, the cellphone network game FFVII Before Crisis and of course, the CG movie FFVII: Advent Children.

It's November, so expect Tekken 5 soon in arcades. Actually, it's not sure whether the latest King of Iron Fist tournament will reach our shores' gaming pubs, but one can always hope, right?
Next Attraction

Next week, I'm going to march into a theater and watch The Incredibles from Pixar. I've been wanting to see this ever since the first brilliant teaser trailer, and it's almost here. Reviews have been raving, and I am pumped. This is the first Pixar flick to actually star real humans (it's always been animals before), and the superhero angle is just SOOOOOO me. I'm hoping to watch this with the gang, perhaps on a Friday. Hey everyone! Lock out your weekend, okay? Heh.
Lost Soul

Today is November 2, All Souls' Day here in Manila. Whereas in previous years, All Souls was once as much a holiday as All Saints' Day (November 1), this year it's just another working day. Still, many of our countrymen will still be visiting their departed loved ones on this day; something shown by the greatly reduced traffic in the metropolis. For many, this year's Todos Los Santos holiday was a bit short, but for the daily wage earner it's just another day to earn more money.
Me? Of course I'd say I'm outraged that we have cut the time in which we can visit our dead in half. But then again, I'm just pissed that we lost one day off. GAH. Oh well. There's November 15 for another vacation (in observance of Ramadan) so that's something. Well, back to work...

Monday, November 1

Biggie Size Me

I just watched the documentary film Super Size Me by indie filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. I've been meaning to watch this feature about the effects of a month-long McDonald's diet, and tonight I finally got the chance. It was an interesting watch, though I have to say that watching it actually made me HUNGRY for a Big Mac. Darn. Well, the film raised a lot of points, basically that fast food is bad and all that jazz. It was pretty heady stuff, and I have to say that I want to try some ways to shear off the pounds- perhaps by replacing regular Coke with Diet Coke, and giving up the weekend sodas. Well, the battle against the bulge is a never-ending quest... will this film be the turning point of my life? Probably not. But it was a good watch. Man, I could use a burger right now...
Nail Biter

Buffy is no match for Japanese ghosts.

I spent my Halloween night fittingly watching a scary movie to end the day. The movie is The Grudge, the U.S. remake of the original Ju On by Takashi Shimizu. Unlike The Ring, which was also remade from a Japanese film but megged by a Hollywood director (Gore Verbinski), The Grudge retains the original director for it's translation. Another difference is, while The Ring was literally transplanted and translated into an American setting and storyline, The Grudge is basically the same story with American characters replacing the leads from the original story.

So, in addition to the main premise of a terrible, death-dealing curse and malignant spirits, the remake also gives a sense of the fear, alienation and insecurity of foreigners trying to live in xenophobic, non-english Japan.
For the most part, it works, I think. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who plays the lead female character Kare Davis, is fairly good in her part, though I half-expected her to tear into the ghosts with martial arts moves several times. The rest of the cast of American and Japanese actors carry out their roles adequately.

Except for some changes to the script (which serve to make the plot tighter), a bit of exposition towards the end and the ending itself, The Grudge is pretty faithful to the original, if only for the reason that the actors who play the roles of the Saeki family (Yuya Ozeki, Takako Fuji, Takashi Matsuyama) are THE same performers from the original Ju On films (and still as freaky as before)! Despite my knowing what happens, I still found myself biting my fingers, gritting my teeth or holding my breath. The music, the situations, the growing feeling of dread and anticipation... it's all here. In my book, that means a good translation. And a good way to celebrate Halloween.

Watch The Grudge in theaters when you can. If you dare.


I left the house just past lunch yesterday on a quest for a copy of DOA Ultimate, and whatever else I can scrounge for the Todos Los Santos holiday. It was a bit of a trick to catch a cab when the traffic going into Marikina and the nearby Loyola Cemetary is non-stop, but I did it. From there on though, it was clear sailing since the roads were pretty much clear of traffic thanks to the absence of a good portion of the population.
Greenhills, the 'dibidi' black market seems stinkier than ever, and the pirates noisier and just as intrusive as ever. I looked and searched and asked but to no avail... DOA Ultimate isn't here yet. Excuse me for a moment while I shed a tear.

Okay. I head off to Megamall after my fruitless Greenhills foray, but with a brief stop at The Podium. I found the classy mall filled with young trick-or-treaters. Apparently, the major malls have made Halloween a bonafide kiddie event for the year. This is the first time I have seen the foreign pagan festival celebrated with such hubbub. I spent some time eyeing the costumes even as I went to the Podium's video store, still looking for DOAU. After I saw a grown man in a Zorro outfit though, I resolved to head off.
Megamall is much larger than Podium, and so had exponentially far more trick-or-treaters tramping about, asking for candy and giveaways from the many stores. Vin was there at Comic Quest, doubtlessly finding some pleasure in seeing the funny costumes. After my search for DOAU at the Cyber Zone proved in vain, I decided not to let the day be a complete waste by watching The Grudge (US remake starring Sarah Michelle Gellar). Afterwards, Vin and I had dinner at Rai Rai Ken (The BEST katsu-curry rice meal) and then it was off to home.

Sunday, October 31

Diabolical Pokemon

Sights like this abound in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne.

Last night I started playing the unusual PS2 RPG Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I say unusual because Nocturne is just the latest in a series known for using religious lore and imagery as well as some disturbing themes of the apocalypse in its stories. Well, using angels and seeing the one god as the ultimate enemy is something the Japanese often do (as we saw in Shaider where the enemy often uses crosses and crucifixes as symbols). They're not satanists... they're just Japanese. Hmm.
Anyway, the story in Nocturne concerns the adventures of a student (whom you name) who is called to a mysterious hospital by his beautiful teacher. Once there, he witnesses some fairly unsettling things, including the End of the World as we know it. Yep, in the first ten minutes of the game, the world ends. What happens after though, is what Nocturne is all about. Soon after mankind goes bye-bye, you are injected with an insect by a mysterious child (shades of Matrix) and turned into a demon. Now equipped to survive in the new world, you go forth and seek your destiny.
Now, to aid you in your quest you will have to bring together a party. This isn't Final Fantasy, so you won't find martial artists in mini-skirts hanging around in bars waiting to join you. Nope, instead you can get semi-naked goddesses, floating spirits, wild goblins and pretty much any of the hundreds of mythological denizens of the new world to fight for you by good negotiation, talking and a bit of bribing. As you gather your minions, they level up with you and you can even create new demons by fusing two together. As I said, kinda like Pokemon since you are pretty much encouraged to 'catch them all!'.

Combat is turn-based, and there's a lot of running around in various stages, fighting random encounters and trying to make heads or tails of your new world. The story seems fairly complex and long, and I haven't gotten into a fourth of it, so it looks like I'm in for a long saga. Which is fine, since the game's pretty cool. In a demonic sort of way.

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is out now for the PS2. Recommended for mature players.