Friday, March 4


Now that K.I.A. is going to print (saw the paper stock we're using last night), I'm here at a bit of a calm before the storm. I think I have a bit of time to rest, but that's probably wishful thinking. Still gotta think of the K.I.A. website (though someone else will be doing it- I'll just be writing the text), posters and display materials for use at Comic Quest, and the inevitable need for PR and exposure in any and every anime, comic or hobby event there is from March onwards to the end of the year. And I STILL want to hold that Grand Launch with all the creators and contributors (well, almost all) together. And I want T-shirts. We'll see what we can pull off.

But for now though, I think I can spare the weekend for some recharge time. New comics are due tonight (latest Fallen Angel and Shanna the She-Devil), and I gotta catch up on some reading, some more hours of Tekken 5 playtime (It made me remember why I love the franchise) and anime watching. Lots of things, so little time. Story of my life. Oh well.

This year's Academy Awards came and went. Didn't see any of the featured movies, 'cept maybe for minor entries like Spiderman 2 (which won for Best Special Effects... Yay!) or The Incredibles. The best parts for me were the Edna Mode cameo- though I wonder if they did it to compensate for Pierce Brosnan's raspy throat- and the 'In Memoriam' segment (kinda morbid, I know). I miss Billy Crystal. I miss Lord of the Rings. Oh well. Next year, I hope Kung Fu Hustle makes it in for any award. Heh.
MAD About Tacos

Tacos to make you go 'Ariba!'

The best taco in town isn't found at Taco Belle, despite what the billboard along Katipunan says. Nope, in the rare times that I was actually able to taste the fare at the popular Gateway Mall branch, it was really nothing special. If you want great tacos, you don't have to crowd with the throngs that clog TB in Cubao. Just head on over to any Pancake House- they've been serving great, delicious tacos for years and years. And they make good side dishes to a plate of flapjacks. Or, you could try the tacos at Magoo's pizza, which is actually quite good. For me, it's all in the mix of the shell, the veggies, cheese and savoury meat, and how they all remain distinct as you crunch into the snack.
But really, my best discovery in tacos recently just has to be the delicious fare at Kamicos, a snack kiosk at Shoppesville Plus in Greenhills. They say they've got the 'Best Tacos in Town', and what can I say? After tasting one a couple of weeks ago, everytime I go to GH I am compelled to buy a couple. The meat is juicy and savoury, the veggies crisp and the cheese plentiful on top. Heap on the hot sauce and enjoy! Better yet, the shells they use are crispy but firm, and eating is not messy. Have a couple or one with a pasta dish- it's great!
So if you got a taco craving, no need to go to those big-name Mexican places. There are other places for to sate that crispy craving. Just have a try and crunch away.

Wednesday, March 2


Namco saves the best for last.

Got Tekken 5 for the PS2 a couple of days ago, and it's pretty awesome. I've also played the arcade version, and all I can say is that the conversion is spot on. Graphically, it's almost identical- save for stuff that only a hardcore Tekkenhead would miss. As for gameplay, it's tight and pretty cool... it takes off the unwelcome additions made in the unpopular Tekken 4, giving it a bit of the old school feel from the better past games.
Anyway, the gang's back, including some oldies like Wang Jinrei and Bruce Irvin, and the offspring of the original Roger the Kangaroo. There are three totally new competitors; power-hungry, amoral kung fu badass Feng Wei resembles an oriental Paul Pheonix with his hard, brutal hits, while ninja superspy Raven enters the fray with his deceptive moves. Finally, teen dream Asuka Kazama is the spiritual successor of Tekken 2's Jun Kazama, with her graceful moves and counters.

The PS2 version gives the customary home extras, but revs up the juice with stuff like the arcade versions of the first three Tekkens, playable in the disc in the game's Arcade History mode.
Playing through Story Mode is now a lot cooler thanks to new and improved voice acting for all the characters- Namco did a great job, and the characters sound great, some even speaking in their native languages. It helps a lot that the Story mode has some nice extra scenes along with the opening narration and ending CG... you CAN actually make heads and tails of what's going on... though often what's going in is pretty crazy.
The best part of the Story Mode is of course the CG endings, of which every character has one. Despite the serious storyline shown in the Opening CG, any of the endings are pretty funny... if not downright comedic. My only gripe is one ending- which shows off a couple of the Tekken MEN in skimpy skimpy thongs(!). Now, Namco has resisted putting their babes in bikinis... but WHY oh WHY do they have no compunctions in putting Heihachi in a thong? EH? Gah, my eyes.

Aside from all the fighting, there's an action side-game starring Jin Kazama called The Devil Within. where you guide Jin through various corridors, fighting guards and the occasional boss. It's pretty repetitive and kinda boring, but worth a shot for some extra goodies.
Another great new thing is the ability to accessorize your characters and buy new colors and stuff for your fighters with money you earn in the various modes. It's a page borrowed from Virtua Fighter, though hopefully in the future they'll add more stuff and more costumes (take a hint from Dead or Alive too, Namco).

Aside from a few little nitpicks and the inclusion of a totally cheesy and cheap end boss, Tekken 5 PS2 is the BOMB. It's loads of fun and totally cool. A great way to cap the PS2 with perhaps the last and best fighting game on the console. A MUST-buy for any gamer. Get. NOW!

Monday, February 28

New Anime

Got some new Japanimation to check out. There's Sanbouzou, which is quite unusual to say the least. It's an ecchi-laden action-comedy set in the future, when man's deeds have reduced the world to a desert wasteland. Even in this day and age, evil men still prey on their fellows, and trouble is commonplace. Enter Sanbouzou- a diminuative little bounty hunter who is feared among the outlaws and lawbreakers. The odd thing here is that Sanbouzou isn't exactly your usual anime hero. In fact, you apparently never see his face. The character seems perpetually wearing his bulky gas mask and straw hat- making him kinda look like an oriental jawa. Anyway, he kicks butt with a shotgun that fires explosive rounds and a wealth of gadgets and traps. Oh, and Mr. Sanbouzou loves the ladies... something that's pretty much a part of the show's copious fan service as various sexy babes cross the Japanese Jawa's path, for better or ill.
If you asked me, this looks like your anime surrogate for ecchi-loving viewers. Sanbouzou is faceless, so particularly imaginative otaku can picture themselves as the little hero- kinda like how usually the faces of guys in porn vids aren't shown. But then again, so far Mr. Sanbouzou hasn't gotten any, but we'll see how it goes in later episodes.

Also got several episodes of the new Oh! My Goddess TV series, which isn't as nicely-drawn and animated as the original OAVs from long ago, and seems very leisurely in it's pace (it takes the series three episodes what the OAV did in one). Looks kinda cool... we'll see.

Finally, got some episodes of the controversial Gantz, but ARGH I'm missing the first two eps. I guess I gotta set them aside until I fill in that gap.

Ah. Lots of shows to enjoy and see. That and I still haven't touched Casshern, Cutie Honey the Movie and Wonderful Days yet. Well, with K.I.A. out of the way I should have time to watch now. At least, I hope. Heh.
Out of my Hands

That's what K.I.A. is right now. I've given it off to the printers, so now it's a matter of production. Crossing my fingers in the hope that the book comes out as great as it should look. I can't wait to have a freshly-printed copy in my hands. DARN. A couple of weeks to go. Sigh.
Retro Gaming Part Deux

WOOHOO! I struck gold yesterday. Though I failed to get a copy of Tekken 5, I did get my hands on an ultra cool Xbox game disc which contains an archive of literally dozens and dozens of games from the Sega Genesis. This includes games from the early to mid-nineties, which enthralled our generation back in the 16-bit era, when the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis were THE gaming consoles to have. There are tons of games on the disc, including adventure titles, action games, run and jumps, shooters, rpgs, beat 'em ups (including the cool Eternal Champions and Namco's classic pre-Soul Edge hack-and-slash fighter, Weaponlord) and more.

The ability to just play these retro classics is just awesome, I'd say. A good chunk of gaming history right there, and what a coincidence- right after the gang talked about holding a retro-gaming tournament in the near future. Coolness. Or should I say, groovy? Next time, I should get that Atari Games Anthology disc too. Heheh.

Sunday, February 27

Fighting Games

It's funny, I think, how there are factions of gamers that are polarized between games like Tekken, Virtua Fighter and DOA. Tekkenheads say all other games are shit. VF claims to be the deepest and the most technique-heavy. DOA says that theirs is the best.
I pretty much like all three games- Tekken is flashy and has that comic book-feel. VF is great because of the realistic techniques and the hardcore feel of martial arts. DOA is fast and fluid and the most visually impressive, and the sex appeal doesn't hurt at all. In my opinion, Tekken could do without the constant down-hits, and it could look nicer. VF is hard to learn and a bit on the mundane side in terms of flash and coolness. DOA could do with more tactics and toning down of elements like too-strong counters and the inclusion of more throws and throw-counters.

They all have their flaws and strengths- the best way is just to enjoy them all for what they bring to your table. But I guess, some people out there have very narrow tables.

Anyway, a recent interview with Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki has him doing his customary Tekken-bashing, which is pretty funny. Predictably, Tekkenheads over at various Tekken websites and forums are up in arms. Itagaki has been a very vocal opponent to Tekken, and Namco's team are equally as venomous in their comments about DOA. It's perhaps one of the most icy rivalries in gaming. Perhaps someone should hold a boxing tournament and put these developers in a ring to settle their differences.

Whatever. I enjoy my DOA Ultimate, have a copy of Virtua Fighter Evolution and am getting Tekken 5 soon. I'm happy. Can't we all just... get along?
Retro Gaming

Tonight, after a Japanese dinner and over fudge sundaes at McDo, the gang's talks went to stories of the lovely, lovely games we used to play in the 24-bit era of the original Playstation. Those were the days... the days when videogaming started to become 'cool' instead of being just geek entertainment... when games arrived weekly for the taking at Virra Mall, and when the games were GREAT overall instead of often just looking great these days.
We reminisced about our common favorites... Final Fantasy, Streetfighter, Suikoden, Bushido Blade... darn, the mid to late nineties were THE time for gaming. These were the days that set the foundation for our generation's love for interactive entertainment. I honestly see myself playing games years and years from now. These games will keep my mind sharp and alive, hopefully, even when I'm retired and in my golden years.

FINALLY got to play Tekken 5 at the arcade. There was FINALLY a gap where none of the hardcores were there on one of the two machines, and I was able to play a couple of games. Someone challenged me using Ling Xiaoyu. Even though I was still pretty much a newbie using my chosen character Asuka Kazama, I won pretty easily (HEY! Someone worse than me). Alone again after that, I played a couple more games until my Powercard ran out of juice.

That's probably the last time I'll play Tekken 5 in the arcade... I'll hopefully be getting a copy of the PS2 version soon, maybe even as early as tomorrow, and then playing to my heart's content in The Sanctum from then on in.

Darn. Winning is fun. Heh...