Saturday, May 10

The Quest begins!

Questers is an action/fantasy/sci-fi comic coming soon from a small but growing US-based comic company called Manga Graphix. Mixing magic and technology, Questers stars Team 325, a young but hungry party of questers, or adventurers, who seek treasure, magic and fame in dangerous otherdimensional worlds and monster-infested dungeons. No release date yet; the only info we have on this is that pencilling and inking chores will be done by someone named Marc Dimaano. Heh.
I hope this nice little side job pans out well. Check out Lone Wolf and Cherub for updates on this one as it develops. Or, you can go visit the official Manga Graphix site to check out info and art of Questers and their main comic, Witch Girls.
Silent Hill 3: Made to Scare You

Bearing a striking resemblance to actress Cate Blanchett (or is it Gwyneth Paltrow?), the mysterious Claudia plays a crucial role in Silent Hill 3.

Yesterday I went over to the Black Market in Makati Cinema Square and was surprised to see a copy of Konami's latest scare-fest, Silent Hill 3. The copy I have is the European version (the game has yet to be released in the US), and gives you multiple language options. Otherwise, the dialogue and text is in english, so it's fine to play.
Unlike the first two games, SH3 puts you in the boots of a teenage girl named Heather. She's been on a trip of some sort and is at a mall headed home when she starts having strange dreams of being in a weird, bloodstained, monster-filled place. As she's headed home, she is met by a detective who tells her he knows something about her birth. Soon after, she suddenly finds that the beasts from her dreams are real...
Silent Hill 3 has PS2 quality graphics, even better than the Silent Hill 2; the character models are very close to each other, from the CG cut-scene models to the in-game characters. The real-time model for Heather may seem a bit grimy-faced compared to the CG model, but the game is pretty... well, as pretty as a bloodstained, rusted, rotting corpse can be. As for the sounds, the effects are chilling... and I don't mean the voice acting (which is not bad- though the dialogue is kinda stilted)... creepy sounds like muffled voices, rusted hinges and moaning monsters will surely be more frightening than anything else in the game.
Controlling Heather is very similar to Resident Evil; 'up' in the directionals is always forward, 'down' is always back, left and right will turn your character. It will take getting used to, but after a while moving will be easy. Fighting monsters will take up your time a lot, but ammo is limited so choose your battles or risk fighting brutes with just a little knife.

Silent Hill 3 is still scary, though I have to say perhaps not as scary as the first one. Pretty much so because despite the fact that SH3 has more gore and blood, and the monsters are more twisted than ever... but we've seen it before, and we know what to expect. From experience I've found out that when you've got more than enough ammo, and have gotten the monster-killing technique down pat, it's all a matter of just going through the paces to kill the bosses and get to the twisted ending. Still, Silent Hill 3 is sure to have many deranged moments and creep-out chases.

Highly recommended to mature PS2 owners who want a good scare and a chill...
Textmen 2 arrives in stores!

The second issue of Textmen is now available at Comic Quest. The cellphone-wielding heroes go on a brawl at the Greenhills Theater Mall with their nemesis, the La Buena Familia. Story by Nikki Alfar, Art by Armand Canlas (Armor Troopers), tagalog translation by Dean Alfar (heh). Textmen is created by Jason Banico of Dynatica.
Chatting at Kitchen

After closing down Comic Quest, the gang (sans Vinnie, Jason and Cams) settled on the fusion cuisine of Kitchen at the Megastrip. It's a funny place that I describe as a prison cafeteria for rich people, where you order stuff with descriptions that make your mouth water at the start but suddenly turn you off when you see the end. Think black squid ink with pork. Eew. Oh well, it's a challenge to decide (though I usually order something I ordered before) what to eat there. This night though both me and Gig ordered the same thing Carl did; A dish called Buttered Up, which is the catch of the day (gindara) served with rice and lots of butter sauce. Now, the servings at Kitchen are served on huge plates which I likened to bucklers, and you use either chopsticks or huge spoons that would be used as serving spoons at my house. It was a good meal, but just too much. And the butter demanded a countertaste soon after. Bleh. Anyway, the talk over the meal gravitated from our probing again of Carl's life, to writing and our group's upcoming little comic project.

We adjourned slightly after midnight. I am so tired. Glad that this week's finally over. It wasn't a hard week, but a long one, seemingly. Have to catch up on sleep and get to draw a bit. Thanks to the Questers comic gig I seem to have bagged, I may be in for some busy art chores in the next few weeks; that's on top of continuing Angel Ace and other stuff. Whew. Gonna have to keep downing those vitamins. Can't afford to break down anytime soon.

Thursday, May 8

Dare to enter the Underworld

Yet another black leather-clad movie is lurking around the corner. Underworld takes us into a shadowy no man's land where a war is raging between Vampires and their ancient werewolf enemy, the Lycans. In the middle of this fang-baring, guns blazing, sword slashing, wall crawling action/blood fest, romance blooms between a beautiful young vampire (played by Pearl Harbour's Kate Beckinsdale) and a powerful Lycan. Blade the Vampire Hunter meets Romeo and Juliet?
The film has a stylized look, and there seems to be some cool weapons and fighting scenes. Miss Beckinsdale gets to wield two guns like that Tomb Raider babe, and she's hot in black leather. But how many more black leather / monochrome-black films like The Matrix, X-Men 2 and Equilibrium can we take before we have to run for a copy of The Wizard of Oz? Sigh.
The Xbox is the Dead or Alive fan's console of choice.

Tecmo of Japan has announced that they are coming out with Xbox remakes of the earlier Dead or Alive fighting games this summer. Entitled Dead or Alive Online, the remakes will come in one volume, or disc, and will include a port of the Saturn version of the original Dead or Alive, and a graphically-optimized and updated Dead or Alive 2. No word yet on any new elements, though it is pretty obvious that DOA2's enhancements will include DOAX-quality character models and animation, and new details to the stages like falling snow. It's not clear if the new characters from Dead or Alive 3 or DOAX will be included in the remakes, or what extras will make it into these games.

Tecmo was also quick to point out though that DOA Online is NOT Dead or Alive: Code Cronos, which is yet another upcoming game in Tecmo's flagship franchise. More light should be shed on these games at the upcoming E3 Entertainment Expo 2003.

Me, I'm doing cartwheels at this news, though it's pretty disappointing that the divine Playstation version of the original DOA seems to be snubbed in the remake (since it IS a Sony game and DOA Online is for the Xbox). The Saturn version's fine; but the PS game has better animation and more good stuff. Then again, the Saturn game has Lei Fang in a string bikini, so that's not bad... Heh. As for Code Cronos, it's anybody's guess what THAT is.
On a final note, it seems as well that Tecmo is also working on a sequel to the very successful Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. This time around I hope they answer all the flaws and shortcomings of the first game. Oh well. That's for the future... Mmmm...
Darna # 2 lands in stores

The second issue of Mars Ravelo's Darna by Mango Comics arrived last night in Comic Quest in the nick of time (just before closing time). Thanks to the fact that the store was in the thick of the weekly bloodletting, I was able to sneak in a copy into my stash of other purchases, including a copy of Official Xbox Magazine, Playstation Magazine and R.A. Salvatore's Demon Wars#1. Anyway, this is about the local comic, so here it is.

In the second issue, Darna encounters the evil that is surrounding her in the Amor Concert, originating of course from the arch-villainess Valentina. As the snake-goddess's plot begins to unwind, can Darna save her friends as well as her own life against her well-prepared and ruthless nemesis?
Artist Lan Medina takes over the reins of the pencilling chores, and it is a marked improvement over the last issue. Not to say that Ryan Orosco's art was in any way ugly; it's just that you could pretty much see much more in terms of substance, emotion and gusto in the second issue's art. Perhaps it is also in the way the writing and panelling is done; improved and containing a fair effort to give characters more expression. Darna in particular shows more humanity and doubt in her thoughts, which makes her more engaging as a character. Some lines of dialogue and text still sound iffy, but overall gets the job done well.
Of course, being the story's middle, this is where Darna meets the villains in earnest, and action ensues. Yet again there is quite a bit of skin and fan service, but that's not a bad thing, especially in the context of the situations they are presented. The action's still not as hot as I'd like, but that's just me expecting detailed action and fight scenes in every comic I buy. Oh well. A good middle makes me look forward to the finale, in a month or so.

Mars Ravelo's Darna from Mango Comics is now available at Comic Quest. Full color, Php 120.00.

Wednesday, May 7

Which X-Man am I?

You are Jubilee!

Though you may be young and inexperienced, you have
great potential and will someday become an
admirable figure. For that to happen, though,
you must overcome your juvenile belief system
and adopt a more mature view on life.

Which X-Men character are you most like?
brought to you by Quizilla
LXG trailer now up!

The obscure comic (well, obscure to me) League of Extraordinary Gentlement or LXG is coming this summer. Not too sure about the exact plot, just that master hunter Allan Quatermain (played by Sean Connery) is asked to lead the newly-formed League in order to stop a madman known as The Fantom who's threatening the world with 'unstoppable assassins'. The League of course is composed of various individuals who come from other works of great literature, such as a grown-up Tom Sawyer who's now working as a spy; a vampiric Mina Harker; an invisible thief named Rodney Skinner; the tormented doctor Jekyll (and his bestial 'partner, Hyde); scientist and submariner Captain Nemo; and finally, the immortal adventurer Dorian Gray.
Though reknowned, most of these characters are flawed, sinister and nowhere near being squeaky-clean. Can the free world rely on the League in its time of greatest peril? We'll find out later this summer when LXG hits the screens. The movie looks... well, extraordinarily cool, with lots of fireworks, a very-stylized Nautilus, big brawling battles and quite a few CG beasties.

Download the first full trailer of LXG here.
Castle in the Sky DVD redux

As I noted yesterday, I got a copy of the Disney-released Castle in the Sky anime, and I have to say that it doesn't work as well as the Spirited Away dub. I just felt that James Van Der Beek is too old to play the young hero Pazu; Anna Paquin's performance as Sheeta was negligible, and Mark Hamill's Muska sounds far too close to his Joker voice in the Batman animated movies. It didn't help as well that the copy I got was missing a pivotal part of the film towards the end- have to have it replaced.
By no means is it horrible... but disappointing given that I really like Laputa's story and given it's Jules Verne/European character, an excellent english dub would have been great. With the so-so dub, it doesn't shine as brightly. Oh well.
Gotta love ENGRISH.

Squaresoft: Software producers or drug traffickers?

Freudian slip? Digital crack gives way to Digital heroin? Is this the secret of the addictive nature of the Final Fantasy games??! Heh. Just had to post this. Moving on... moving on...
Creative Guild Awards

This night I went with most of the agency to the Creative Guild Awards, which was celebrating the best in the country's advertising last year. The show was held at Onstage at Greenbelt 1 in Makati. I don't usually go to these things, but I was quite entertained by the funny commercials that made it into the finals. It was also nice to see friends and acquaintances from other agencies and companies who were present. Unfortunately, our agency didn't have too many winning entries... in fact, we went away with nothing. Oh well, I just joined last year. Let's see how we do in the next awards.

Tuesday, May 6

Dead or Alive Fashion Show

This May at the upcoming Entertainment Expo 2003 (E3), the latest computer and video games will be previewed. Included in the lineup will be a new Dead or Alive game, which will be given a sneak peek right after a DOA-themed fashion show (!). This new game is almost certainly the elusive Dead or Alive: Code Cronos, which is reportedly NOT DOA4. There has been a lot of speculation on what kind of game Cronos will exactly be; the most popular and perhaps accurate theory being that Cronos will be a compilation game or sorts; putting together elements from all the past DOA games (costumes, characters, Danger Zones, bosses) and giving them an Xbox DOA3 or better quality of eye-popping visuals. We'll be keeping our eyes on this come E3 from May 14-16.
DVD in the Sky

Was able to grab a copy of the english-dubbed Castle in the Sky (originally Laputa: Castle in the Sky), the Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) film now being released by Disney on DVD. As with Spirited Away, the translation was directed by Pixar's John Lasseter. The cast includes James Van Der Beek as lead hero Pazu, Anna 'Rogue' Paquin as heroine Sheeta and Mark 'This droid has a bad motivator!' Hamill as the villain, Muska.
Castle in the Sky is about the adventure of two young kids as they race to keep the secrets and treasures of a fabled floating city from falling into the wrong hands. It is one of director and anime legend Hayao Miyazaki's earlier works before Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away
Ding Dong!

Delicious cream-filled chocolate fudge cupcake. MMMMMmmmmmmm.... Thanks to Vinnie for giving me a sample from his stash. Damn good. Now I'm craving for Twinkies. Or Hostess cakes. Mmmmm.... Gotta check out the PX Stores...

Monday, May 5

Life is Unfair.

Life is like a great highway where we all have to await our fortunes and tickets to and from our destinies. Great opportunities are empty, honest taxis with full-blast aircons who'd take you all the way to Baguio if you asked.
It's unfair when you spend more than an hour waiting in the hot sun and fetid, steamy air and when that lovely taxi finally appears, you get beated to it by two freakin' SOBs who just pop out of nowhere a few meters before you. GAAAAADAAAAAMMMMNNN!!!!!

Oh, and this didn't happen to me this morning. It's just a metaphor I just happened to think of. Really.

Wet Dreams

Have you ever pissed in your dreams? I mean, have you ever dreamed that you were pissing? It's infuriating. Usually you forget dreams when you wake up, but pissing dreams are pretty memorable.
I remember wanting to go answer Nature's Call. I remember the unpleasant sensation of a full bladder wanting release. I remember that the dream doesn't make things easy; Nooooo... instead of having a nice, well-lit comfort room like those in posh theaters or malls, I found myself in an obviously stinking, unmaintained, decrepit college building-class toilet, with primitive wall-urinals that haven't had flowing, cleaning water down them in years. It's either that or I am forced to relieve myself on a lavabo. Argh. When I finally let go, I distinctly remember having no relief despite anything.

About at that time, I wake up and immediately head for the real toilet.

Thankfully, I have never actually let go in my sleep, during a pissing dream. Thinking back to it, perhaps the setting of a yucky, horrid CR is the dream's way of protecting you from actually feeling TOO comfortable when pissing in your dream, so that you actually DO start tinkling in bed. Hmmm. Intriguing.

Moving on... moving on...
Steak through the Heart

Today I went out with my college friends and watched X2 at Greenhills. It was their first and my third time watching it. Have to say that despite my reservations with it, I guess I really like it. Afterwards we had a gravy-drowned, hot plate-searing, tongue-burning meal of artery-clogging STEAK at the ubiquitous, ambience-free Steak Joint.
We headed home and I treated the guys to the Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust anime movie. This 2001 movie was produced by Studio Madhouse, the same animation house that produced the anime classic Ninja Scroll. This remake of the original Vampire Hunter D anime is still influenced by the designs of Yoshitaka Amano (who also did cover art for Final Fantasy, and even Neil Gaiman's stuff), but you can easily see Madhouse's unique look and high quality animation.
Bloodlust's title character, the Vampire Hunter D, is a Dunpeal (a half-vampire/half human hybrid) whose life's work is protecting humans and hunting down evil leeches. D is contracted to rescue a young lady named Charlotte, who has apparently been kidnapped by a powerful vampire noble named Meier Link. Along for the chase are an elite team of human vampire killers called the Marcus Brothers, and protecting Link are monsters known as the Barbaroids. Though the quest starts off as a simple chase and rescue, it soon becomes apparent that not all is what it seems, and an evil, manipulating hand is influencing events for a sinister agenda.
Bloodlust has it's share of violence, though not at the level of Ninja Scroll, and has pretty little in terms of nudity or sex. Still, it's a very mature anime with exceptional music, truly excellent animation and a superb english voice cast (Yep, it's in english). VHD is available in VCD and DVD at good anime stores.