Saturday, February 25

RAW Tour

I'm really disappointed that I wasn't able to watch the WWE Raw Tour in Manila. According to some posts online and reports from fans on some popular wrestling sites, the show was a roaring success.
The Filipino crowd lives up to the hospitality of our race, and the audience cheered or gave 'pops' to all the performers, whether they were 'faces' (good guys) or 'heels'(bad guys). The biggest applause of the nights went to current WWE Champion John Cena despite some local boys joining in on the 'Hate Cena' fad going about. Also cheered greatly was funny, bushy-haired heel Carlito and his opponent, returning superstar Rob Van Dam who impressed all with supposedly the best moves of the night.
Another superstar to totally impress was Triple H, who despite being probably the nearest thing to the devil himself among the WWE's heels, made big impressions with his presence and attitude. A pleasant surprise of the tour was that the first night was apparently immortal superstar Rick Flair's birthday, which was celebrated by the audience singing, a cake being brought out by the lovely WWE Divas and a tribute to the 16-time World Champion by his best friend, Triple H.

Darn, I wish I was there. But then, I think that the ones who would really enjoy the show are the ones who could afford the ringside seats (which apparently cost about 10K a seat- YIKES). Still, it would have been great to join in big chants and stuff. Oh well. Anyway, I'll make sure to be present the next time the WWE returns to Manila, whether it's Raw or Smackdown. WOOO!

Since Thursday night, you could tell that there were bad things happening. There were whispers of a coup all week, and it was obviously going to come to a head during this year’s EDSA celebrations.
Even so, I had to go to work extra early on Friday, so I was on the road just after 6AM. By 7:30 AM I was at the office and getting set for the big presentation we had been prepping for all week at the Salt Mines.
The good news is that the presentation went very well. The bad news was that we learned that President GMA had declared a ‘State of Emergency’ by the time we were finished. Despite it all, we all leisurely headed for Greenbelt to have a celebratory lunch and enjoy the quasi-fiesta like atmosphere of a day full of rallies, riot police, coup paranoia and commuting nightmares.
The funny thing about a coup here in the RP is how people react. Often, masses of people gather to watch the soldiers duke it out, no matter the danger getting hit by a stray bullet or shrapnel. This time though there was little to worry about in terms of fighting- apparently the coup had been quashed before it had even begun. Still there was uncertainty and you could tell as everyone who had a mobile phone was texting away like crazy or calling to console their friend or family waiting on the other end of the line. Me? I was worried about how I was going to get home quickly enough to avoid the inevitable crush and gridlock that would clamp down on Ayala Avenue.
So as fast as I could (after lunch and some window-shopping), I hied off to the MRT station and took an extremely crowded train to Cubao and home.

It’s a bit with irony that Friday was the same day that the WWE wrestlers came to Manila, the same time that a political rumble started off in the country. What a great way to welcome the world-famous brawlers. Sigh.

Anyway, I’ll probably be staying home over the weekend thanks to the uncertain climate. Gives me a bit of opportunity to get some rest, do some comic pages and maybe catch up on some reading. Hey, at least that’s one bright side to all this coup nonsense.

Thursday, February 23


Jack TV is my friend. Aside from finally giving previously unseen episodes of X-Play finally every weekend, It gives me so much wrestling every week. I get my WWE fix reasonably close to when it happens stateside (about two weeks delay). I've always been a WWE fan, so it is with quite a bit of disappointment that I won't be watching the WWE Raw Tour over the weekend. It would have been great to see old faves (Triple H, Sean Michaels) and new faves (John Cena, Carlito) in action, in the flesh, even thought it kinda sucks that the Smackdown guys won't be around.
But then again, I'd probably have only gotten the less expensive tickets, which would give me a seat that would make the huge wrestlers look like teeny-tiny action figures (videowalls and projection monitors regardless). Anyway, a friend of mine is going so I'll hope to get a review from her. And hopefully there will be reviews or reports on the Philippine shows online soon after the fact.

Wednesday, February 22

Hellish Fun

A bloody good manga.

Recently I've gotten myself addicted to the manga version of Hellsing. I've probably mentioned this title in the past- it's a horror-action series set in a dark, gothic England where creatures of the night are beginning to pop up all over the place like bad cavities on British people. To combat the bloodthirsty vampires and their resulting ghouls, the government turns to the mysterious Hellsing Institute. Led by the imposing Sir Integra Van Hellsing, a young but stern woman who inherited the post from her father, the soldiers and agents of the Institute set out to exterminate the undead scourge in the name of god and country.
Of course, a couple of things stand out in Hellsing. One is that the Hellsing Institute's 'trashman', or their most potent weapon against their targets is a vampire himself- Alucard, an awesomely powerful vampire whose terrifying powers are matched only by his loyalty to Integra (the reason for which should be revealed in the manga in time). Aside from Alucard, there's Victoria Celes, a young rookie policewoman and newly-created vampire (she was vampirified by Alucard to save her life from a vampire vicar in the first episode) who tries desperately to hang onto her humanity as well as getting used to her new undead existence. Oh, and there's of Walter, Integra's butler and former Hellsing trashman who's almost as deadly as Alucard despite being a normal human.
The second thing that you'll notice about Hellsing is that they take religion pretty seriously. Hellsing itself is a Protestant-backed organization, and that puts them into competition with the Catholic faith- embodied of course their opposite number on the Vatican's side: The sinister Iscariot Organization whose agents also work to stamp out undead in the name of Christianity. The competition between the two rival organizations makes for some pretty violent action and even some humorous banter (and insults), but you just know that when real evil makes it's appearance, these two parties will have to come together.
And Big Evil WILL indeed make an appearance, in the form of the enigmatic Millennium, a cabal of Nazi Vampires who are out to remake the world in their own fanged image. These are pretty cool villains previously glimpsed only in that awesome Hellsing MTV included in the US-released DVDs (the bespectacled guy in the shadows who mockingly claps Hellsing's efforts is the Big Boss), and includes a female villain named Rip Van Winkle- How cool is that? Heheh. Will there be any good, or at least humanity, left after all is said and done? We'll just have to see.

A cool extra in the manga is a side-story at the end of each book on the adventures of a pair of Iscariot agents: Gun expert Heiffer Wolfe and Yumiko, a shy nun who, when danger calls, unleashes a persona known as Yumie- a 'berserker' like swordswoman who can use a katana like a bloody Stradivarius. Radical.

Hellsing the Manga is a hellishly good read- it's a lot better than the original Hellsing anime (which diverged from the manga's story after the first several episodes) story and gets deeper into the characters. Integra in particular comes off as a bit kinder and more human in the manga than in her first anime appearance. The art is sharp though with parts looking a bit too cartoony particularly when Victoria's case. Still, this is a great manga with both black humor and action satisfying to the extreme. Anyway, I'm two book deep into the series, and three chapters are already lined up for reading (the series so far has 7 installments out).

You can get Hellsing manga graphic novels at Comic Quest or at Fully Booked. Anime enthusiasts can also look forward to a new Hellsing OAV (based on the manga) from Gonzo later this year. Lots of dark, bloody good fun coming very soon. Hoho!

Tuesday, February 21

Heroes Farewell

The sun sets on the best superhero animated series ever.

I've been a fan of Justice League Unlimited from the first episode I saw, and it tears my lungs out to know that this groundbreaking and dynamic series is now ending (or ended) with the 13th episode of the show's 3rd Season (as JLU). The third season, which should be known as the 'Legion of Doom' season, ends with a two-part finale that culminated with an invasion of Earth by the forces of the awesomely evil Darkseid and an alliance between the Justice League and their opposite numbers led by Lex Luthor.
It's really sad to see such a quality series go... a title filled with great storylines, outstanding action and fight scenes and tons of great vocal performances that truly succeeded in bringing to life the DC Universe. Easily, I consider Justice League Unlimited as THE Best US Cartoon ever. Kudos to the animators, writers and producers of this great show, and I hope that somehow, someday the JLU will somehow, someday return for more adventures.

Well, for now though, us fans have three great seasons of JLU (and two of the original Justice League cartoon) to always enjoy.

The Adventure Continues!

Monday, February 20

Ready for Battle

Recently, a couple of cool images have popped up online as Arnold Arre gets closer and closer to releasing his latest comic/graphic novel work. Entitled Andiong Agimat, this darker, grittier story from the author/creator of Mythology Class, Trip to Tagaytay and After Eden takes on the quest of the titular hero and other characters as they try to rescue someone from the grimy fingers of a menacing Metropolis. I've seen images which seem to refer to this story on Arnold's site, and it looks pretty cool- lots of dirty, polluted scenery populated by harsh, punkish characters with cyberpunk or pseudo-future designs. Of course, the heroes though are Pinoy through and through. It's been remarked that Agimat is very much distant from Arn's previous stories... I can't wait to see and review the finished book (waiting for my copy, Arnold! Hehe).
Andiong Agimat is set for an April 2006 release. Wait for it.
Upgrade Complete

Yesterday I finally went the big step and finished the other half of my home PC upgrade. Several months ago I turned my old PIII into a Pentium 4-powered beast. After that, my once-gargantuan 80 Gig-Hard Drive turned into a barely-usable 30+ Gig HD, for some reason. Well, with me doing video conversions and captures all the time, space is a big priority. So I hied off to Greenhills and got the remaining stuff to make my PC a viable tool again- a 200 Gig Hard Drive, new 64mb Video Card and a spiffy new case.
As always though, having your computer put together by hacks at the Computer Shop eventually results in things not working once we get it home and me having to fly in my tech support team (Andrew and Pot) to help me get things into working order. Well, it took us the whole evening but now, my Windows XP PC is looking and working fine.
Aside from all the work and effort, it cost me quite a bit too, all the day's expenditures costing me about 12K (that includes several Hellsing tpbs which I got instead of a DVD Drive... Heheh). Anyway, this should be worth it. I'm hopefully gonna do a lot of stuff with this baby. Yep. Till the next upgrade!