Saturday, February 26

Battling Babe

Maki Aikawa AKA The Air Master, packs a nasty kick.

Just watched several episodes of the fighting anime Air Master. The series is all about the embattled life of streetfighter Maki Aikawa, a former competitive gymnast who now finds her only true joy while engaging in brutal, hand-to-hand combat. Maki is so skilled in the use of aerial attacks and techniques, she can almost fly, hence the name 'Air Master'. As yet undefeated, Maki continually searches for stronger and more dangerous opponents. Can anyone defeat her? What is her purpose for fighting?
That's pretty much all that Air Master is about- well, the series is no Serial Experiments Lain. There is a wealth of sidecharacters though, ranging from the obnoxiously bratty little Renge (who looks like a ten year old child but is actually in HIGH SCHOOL), the innocent and HUGE boobed Mina and Maki's continual loud-mouthed nemesis, Saeko. Maki herself is similar to most fighting game heroes- usually taciturn and silent, slightly naive but turning into a totally different beast when she engages in combat. Thankfully, she's not unlikeable, and is perhaps the most likeable person in the cast of airheads in Air Master.
One thing that you will notice first off though in Air Master is the art style; the characters look reminiscent of Go Nagai designs. Maki herself looks a bit on the mannish side at times, and can hardly be considered kawaii thanks to her standing over six feet tall and having slitted, small eyes (something usually reserved to slinky, evil characters in anime). Still, I watch wrestling so I actually find her attractive, so no big- viewers who enjoy the cute battle babes of titles like Variable Geo, Aika or the recent Ikki Tousen might find Air Master's female characters unattractive, or even ugly. To me though, Maki LOOKS the part of being a tough gal, and DAMN is she bad-ass.
Which brings us to the best stuff in Air Master (aside from the frequent panty flashes)- the fighting. Maki goes up against a variety of enemies, and so far the battles are brutal kick-and-punch heavy affairs that are both hard hitting AND graceful.

This series isn't for everyone; I would say that if they prettied up Maki a bit (though I like her as is) and took away some rather risque elements (constant boob jokes, the lesbian angles), this would be more accessible to more people. However, as it is, it's a pretty cool fighting anime- which means it delivers on the blows and the blood without resorting to power blasts and super attacks, and quite a bit of spicy fanservice as well. Those looking for deep plots and rich characterization should look elsewhere though. In other words, Air Master is pro-wrestling class anime. Heh. Anyway, I like it, and maybe some of you out there will too. Maybe.

Friday, February 25


It's the day of the EDSA Revolution. I'm pretty glad that we have this break and all, but I really think they should stop holding the celebratory events. Every year the people who actually attend the 'festivities' grow fewer and fewer- and even then, most are probably just hired for appearances' sake... it's just embarrasing. The EDSA Revolt was a great milestone in our history, but politicians should stop trying to milk it and hype their roles in it. Let's remember the past, but stop wallowing in the past glory. Filipinos have this incredible flaw for resting on their laurels. Onward, ever onward people. Anyway, the three-day weekend's cool, in any case. Yawn.

Thursday, February 24


It's final. I'm giving out K.I.A. Volume 1 for submission to the printers out tonight. It's been over a year in the making, and now it's done. Now, all the work will be for getting the word out about the book, putting up the website and so on. Here's to a print production process with no problems, since this is the first time I'm doing a book this thick, with perfect-binding; that means the usual binding for most books with spines, instead of 'saddle stitching' for phamphlet-style comics with staples. Well, all I can do is hope for the best. We have a great printer, and they've done great work on a previous comic book publication, so everything should go well.

Anyway, here are the final images of K.I.A's exteriors.

Look for K glaring at you from the comic racks this March.

Back cover art by Jennyson. Awesome, isn't it?

Still haven't set down a cover price yet, but we may settle on something like Php180.00 for the 160-page book. We'll set down everything once everything's final, soon.
Tekken Home

Starting today, the PS2 version of Tekken 5 will already be in the hands of some lucky bastards. I'm hoping to find bootlegs already, but I'll be getting an original copy whatever happens. Anyway, from the many reactions online, the game looks spot on- perhaps one of the best home conversions ever. The included versions of the first three Tekkens are reportedly direct ports from the original arcade versions- which shouldn't be a problem for the PS2 since they were built on System 11 hardware (glorified PS One). It'll be really cool to have all the coolest Tekkens in one disk, since Tag Tournament was kinda blah and Tekken 4 is pretty much something we all want to forget.
A nice surprise are the extra costumes made specially for the home version. These fancy duds were designed by various artists in Japan, and some are pretty slick. In particular are the 3rd costumes of new girl Asuka and veteran Yoshimitsu. Asuka's can pretty much be described as a Yakuza mistress, with a revealing, high-slitted black, spiderweb motif-kimono and cloth wraps/tapes around her torso. Not quite the costume you'd expect... awesome! Yoshimitsu, known for having bizarre, alien-like appearances, is given a black, fanged look which makes him appear as a blackened dried zombie from Brendan Frasier's Mummy movies.

Can't wait to get my copy. Lots of Iron Fist fighting's coming. And with K.I.A. finally going out of my hands, I'll actually be able to have some time off to play. YAY!

Wednesday, February 23

Brutal Anime

I've been seeing a lot of the new anime known as Gantz recently. This series has raised a lot of controversy in Japan because of truly horrific violence and bloodshed- enough so that the episodes had to be extensively re-edited, cropped and censored to be allowed to air.
Of course, on dvd or vcd we don't have to worry about any cuts, so anyone wanting to see the brutal glory of Gantz need only get the series for themselves. I haven't seen this around yet, but I am intrigued. However, the write-ups about Gantz have stressed that the violence may be offensive to some viewers. I've seen a lot of bloody anime before, and I've yet to see truly stomach-turning stuff... let's see how Gantz revs up the meter.

Also, the series is produced by Gonzo (Last Exile, Gatekeepers), one of my favorite anime production houses, which is another reason why I want to see it. Let's see if Gonzo truly can do no wrong...

Gantz is the story of Kei Kurono, a Japanese youth whose life is prematurely cut when he is run over by a train. But instead of the afterlife, he finds himself in a strange room, in which dwells a strange black sphere known only as The Gantz. Soon after, Kei and many other recently-deceased resurectees are sent on a deadly game- to exterminate various alien beings in human guise throughout the world. If they fail, they die again. So if he's to survive, Kei's gotta do a whole lot of killing...

I'll post my comments once I pull a copy from someone's bloody hands...

Tuesday, February 22

Cramping my Style

There's nothing more irritating than waking up in the morning, stretching your leg and then suddenly feeling the muscles in your calf KNOT UP harder than a piece of gnarled wood. Like what happened to me this morning. AAAAAEEEEHHHHH!!!! This probably happens to me every several months. Maybe I should try limbering up gently before going to bed. Sigh.

Monday, February 21

Future Fighters

The Streetfighter Series Four lineup from SOTA Toys.

SOTA Toys has finally announced the lineup for their fourth wave of Streetfighter action figures. Series Four will consist of Bruce Lee-lookalike Fei Long from Streetfighter II, moody Goth-guy Remy from Streetfighter III, fan favorite evil master Akuma, chain-wielding bruiser Birdie and last but not the least, Ibuki the ninja schoolgirl from Streetfighter III!
I don't really know if my little e-mail campaign helped since Ibuki was pretty much of a shoe-in given her popularity and the relative obscurity of her competition (Rose and Rainbow Mika from the Streetfighter Alpha games). But just the same I'd like to thank everyone who answered my call and voted for my favorite Streetfighter character. WOOHOO! Ninja action figure on the way! Heh.
The fourth wave of SOTA Streetfighter toys should hit by late 2005.

SF fans wanted her and they got her.
Movie Villain

On the way to work, I heard that former congressman and actor Dennis Roldan has been arrested on suspicion of heading the Kidnapping Gang that abducted a 3-year old Filipino-Chinese boy. The family of the child couldn't pay the more than 100 million peso ransom, and eventually turned to the police after the kidnappers threatened to wound the boy and let him 'bleed to death'. One rare unbotched rescue later, the gang was taken into custody and Roldan fingered by the suspects as the mastermind.

Wounding a 3-year old kid and letting him bleed to death.

A couple of things come to mind. The kidnappers' heads and a that big honking morning star Mel Gibson used to cave in a traitorous noble's face in the movie Braveheart.

I haven't been able to update recently since all I've been doing for the past several days was scrambling to finish everything K.I.A. in time. Despite having over a year to develop, gather together people and material for this project, it still eventually came down to me sprinting the final lap to get everything done finally. In the end though, I am really happy with how the pages are now composed.
Anyway, long story short, K.I.A. Book One is pretty much done. All that remains are some finishing touches- a couple of text materials and one page of extra stuff that I'll finish today or tomorrow. Then it's off to the printers to simmer for a couple of weeks.
The numbers are impressive. 19 contributors. 12 hot pinups, 13 cool stories, 160 pages and one deadlysexy femme fatale. It's been a ride, and I'm just so glad it's coming to fruition. Yipee!

Now, back to our regular scheduled blogging. Heh.